blackleatherbookshelf: (Flames)
December, 2014
Hello everybody,

What an eventful year in the Tim and Joel camp. After a particularly hellish winter, where we did not go a single week from mid-December through early March without a measurable snowday, we made a huge decision while basking in the warmth of Palm Springs California preparing for the wedding of Joel’s nephew Oren to his lovely bride Becca. We went looking at real estate, just for fun. We would both like to spend winters there once Joel retires (2016). We found a place for a crazy low price, had it checked out, and as of now we’ve become the owner of a modest winter home in the desert.

The place is a manufactured home in a 55+ mobile home park about a mile south of downtown right up against the big mountain that looms over Palm Springs. It's 2 bedrooms, 1 bath with a 2-car carport and patio in the back with a view of the mountain. The kitchen is beautiful - granite counter tops, an island, plenty of cabinet space. The place needs some work but is structurally sound.

No sooner did we sign the papers than it was time for the trip to India and Nepal. It was an amazing and mind-opening adventure. We got to see amazing ancient ruins, stunning modern opulence, bone crushing over-population surrounded by mind-numbing poverty. There was so much to see and the tour group did its best to get us to and from each location via special luxury busses, which helped to keep us in something of a bubble from the rest of the populous who, as soon as they saw a bunch of mostly white tourists stepping off a bus, swarmed you with either panhandling or attempts to sell you souvenirs.


But the tour was colorful, filled with a completely different culture from what you are used to. What we consider sacred and they do could fill a whole letter on its own, from the cremations along the Ganges river to the omnipresent cows.

However if we had only made one stop on the tour and spent one day, the Taj Mahal was worth the entire tour. We were rousted from our beds at 4:45 AM in order to get there ahead of the lines and – most importantly – to watch the sun rise over the complex. The buildings literally shimmer in the early light. It’s something no description or photograph can possibly relay. As Kishur, our Mr. Fix It of a tour guide noted, “There are two types of people in the world, those that have seen the Taj Mahal and those that haven’t.”

Oh yeah, Tim got to ride an elephant. One more thing off the bucket list. Joel was smart enough not to take that particular sea-sickness potential affair.

Nepal was equally beautiful and majestic. In addition to visiting a few Buddha Stuppas, we flew along Mount Everest, which is one of these thing that makes you think “Oh the Rockies are mountains? We’ll show you some mountains.” Oddly enough, our flight along the Himalayas took place just a week before a series of avalanches killed a group of climbers. Nature still is mightier than anything man can conjure.

Two weeks later, we were in Ohio for one of Tim’s Book events. Tim also hosted his annual Author’s Roundtable which always gets a small but passionate crowd. We’re always pleased by the attendance and the participation. There were other book events this year in DC, Palm Springs, Northern California and Philadelphia.

Then came Summer.
One cross country drive from Philly to Palm Springs. Two campouts. Joel had neck surgery. Two concerts. A renovation that turned the garage into a new family room. And one special announcement. Busy, busy busy.

The trip was an interesting one. Joel made the impromptu decision to buy a used van so that we could haul a bunch of things from home to Palm Springs, including two Kashmir rugs we had shipped to us from India. We wound up with a Chrysler Town and Country that has been affectionately been dubbed Wilma. We stuffed her to the gills and proceeded to drive. We did it over Memorial Day weekend, so my birthday was spent somewhere in middle America. Things turned out nicely, though, as the van is a joy to drive and gets better mileage than one would expect from such a behemoth. Plug in the Ipod and you’re ready to groove.

Before Joel’s surgery, we started in on cleaning out the garage clean out in preparation for the new room. Effectively a storage dump for decades of crap, it took us a full three days’ worth of hauling junk out, sorting wheat from chafe, taking trash to the curb and keepers to the Black Hole of Calcutta….err, the storage shed. As you can see in the picture, the trash was lined from curb to curb. To our surprise, the trash collectors took it all. Then came the contractor. He’s well known throughout the neighborhood, as he’s done work with several of our immediate neighbors and has impeccable credentials. 

Along with that came the banging, the breaking, the smashing, and the DUST! Since we didn’t have a passage from the main house to the garage, one had to be created. The new bay windows had to be created from a non-existent ‘porch’ area. Frames for floors and walls all had to be put into place. All of this while Joel was in the early stages of recovery.

Joel had been dealing with neck and arm pain for the better part of six months when he finally got diagnosed with a pinched nerve that would require neck surgery to alleviate. The Doctors originally wanted to schedule the surgery for before we went camping, but Joel talked them into doing it just after. The surgery went well, and the recovery went faster than anticipated. While he had a month’s paid recovery leave, he was pretty much ready to return to work in three. He did wear the brace to work a couple of nights, but didn’t really need it. The doctors have told him to be careful all the same as such surgeries take up to a year to heal completely. They went through his neck and infused the space between the affected vertebrae with bone shavings to fuse the discs and relieve the nerve pressure.

By then, the house renovation was well underway. Despite the disruption, things went by in a seemingly quick progression. We also had the majority of the first floor repainted. It all looks fantastic. The dining room now holds our marble table with semi-precious stone inlays from India. It’s beautiful and will never be moved: it weighs 300 pounds.

We decided to christen the new dining room set-up with a dinner with Joel’s youngest daughter Miriam and her partner Suzanne, and his recently married nephew Oren and Becca. They both decided to surprise us with the news: both Miriam and Becca are pregnant. We’ll be grandparents again (this makes 3) and Great Uncles.

In the midst of this, Tim had a ticket to see the Queen and Adam Lambert concert. Even though it has been almost 25 years since Freddie Mercury has died, Lambert more than filled the tights of Mercury adequately. Next was The Avett Brothers, a three piece folk band that we travelled to Bethlehem to see. What was as impressive as the show itself was what Bethlehem has done to revitalize their city. What used to be old steel mills are now venues for shopping and for seeing music, instead of being abandoned to the elements. While not a summer event, after years of not being in the USA, we got to see Cat Stevens in Philly.

November was an unusually odd month, even by any standards. We scheduled a trip to Palm Springs to do a little more work on the house and then to drive the van back to Pennsylvania. We even went out for Palm Springs Pride and I packed a suitcase of books to vend. Should have been an easy trip, right?

Well, on the Monday before we planned on driving back, we had a booboo. While trying to park the van at a mini-mall, Joel's foot missed the brake and hit the accelerator. We drove over the curb and into a plate glass storefront. No one was hurt. Fortunately, the only person in the store was a clerk and he was in the back. There was no-one on the sidewalk and we hit glass instead of concrete. It was the best possible outcome for a very bad situation.

The van went to a collision center until early December for some pretty heavy duty body work. Our original plan was to start driving, but that has obviously had to change. Joel flew back that Saturday and Tim decided to stay behind, waiting for the van repairs to be completed that they originally told us might take a mere two weeks. Insurance covered a rental, thankfully. When it was fixed, Tim planned to drive back himself, or Joel would meet up at an airport somewhere on the way and we'd drive the second part of the trip to PA.

As if we didn't have enough going on with the van accident, we went out for dinner with a friend, and when we got home, Tim couldn't find his wallet. We tore the house apart, went back to the restaurant, parking lots where we'd been that afternoon, and called the stores we'd visited. No luck. This was Friday; Joel was scheduled to fly out in the morning. So we started calling the credit card companies, the bank, looking up Tim’s driver’s license online and cancelled everything.

Still feeling bummed out, we resigned ourselves to not seeing that wallet or its contents again. Meanwhile, the lady who takes care of the yard and trash calls from the porch and asks, "Is your wallet turquoise?"

Tim had put it in with the recycling.

All was then well in the world.

After the series of  interesting events in Palm Springs, when Joel arrived home he found one of the trees in our front yard uprooted and toppled over. I guess the evergreens were jealous of the Palm trees.

On the sixth day of what Tim jokingly called “Exile in Palm Springs,” the collision center called and informed us that the van wouldn't be finished until after Thanksgiving. So Tim hopped a plane heading back to Philadelphia that Tuesday. When he left, it was 75 degrees, and then when he got home it was 28 degrees. He wanted to climb back in the plane and head back. But that would have meant missing Thanksgiving, when Tim’s Mom’s side of the family hosts the family reunion dinner. Always fun, food and plenty of joy. We have a very loving and inclusive group. It was held in Virginia, and since Tim’s Mom couldn’t make it this year, we took a side trip to Lebanon on the way home and stopped off to visit. Tim had to show off his “Team Gallagher” shirt.

Finally, the important announcement. We have decided to get married. Now that it’s legal to do so in Pennsylvania, we’re looking at a 2015 October date to correspond with the anniversary of when I moved here to Springfield. We also want to keep it close to home so that Tim’s Mother can attend. We want to keep it small, maybe less than 100 folks. The “Save The Date” notices will be coming in the not too distant future. That’s about as good a note I can think of to end the year on. So we wish good health and good fortune to you this holiday season and for the coming year.


blackleatherbookshelf: (Flames)
I've been a negligent blogger of late. Not only have I been skipping days of posting, I've been neglecting my Amazon reviewer profile. I don't want anyone to think I've drifted away from my LiveJournal, far from it. Just lots of things going on to take up my time, not the least of which has been the multiple series of snow storms that have hit Philadelphia and the fact that our snow blower blew out after the second to last one. We live on a corner property, which means twice the sidewalk and half the fun, plus a fairly long two car driveway. Shoveling is a strain on this old body.

There was Mid Atlantic Leather, which went well for me. I sold many a book over the three day vendor market, and was stationed next to these guys, who couldn't resist posing with an author of some renown.





Then there's my Doctor. My Doctor kind of gave me hell/forced me into a New Year's resolution after my checkup revealed both a significant weight gain and noticeable blood sugar increase. So I have dusted off the stationary bike and have started using it every other day. I started with 10 minutes at a time (good grief was I out of shape). I'm now up to a half hour and crossed the 9 miles mark today with help from a special playlist on my iPod specifically of upbeat songs...mostly of 80's new wave and alternative music. More stamina for the snow shoveling. So far so good.

Tonight's playlist was this:

"Firework" Katy Perry
"I Do The Rock" Tim Curry
"You Can't Hurry Love" DL Byron
"Back In Black" AC/DC
"Killer Queen" Queen
"Burn Three Times" Utopia
"We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off" Jermaine Stewart
"Venus" Television
"Real Cool World" David Bowie
blackleatherbookshelf: (Flames)
My good friend Thom Magister has just released a new book, "Biker Bar." Subtitled "Bikes Beer and Boys," its a playfully illustrated history of how men's biker and leather bars have changed through the ages.  You can check it out on Amazon by clicking the cover.

Here's what I had to say about it for the back cover:
“On back streets and down alleyways. In neighborhoods many feared to tread. Often behind doors marked so only those in the know could open them. That’s where you would find them: lone wolves, strangers, friends, and bikers, banding together with the smoke, the jukebox, and the beer at their bars. Join these men, comrades in arms, as they take us on a leather-jacketed ride through time. See the biker bar change through the decades as chronicled by Thom Magister, a man who witnessed these establishments come, go, and be reinvented.”
Tim Brough, author of Skin Tight, First Hand, and other popular BDSM books

I am proud and feel lucky that I got to witness this book in it's gestation form. The finished work is wonderful, too.


blackleatherbookshelf: (Flames)
Your community comes to your aid in a time of need…You share your food and fellowship.
Your community shares your hope for prosperity and good luck.
Or joins you when it’s time for fun and excitement.
You can share the things you enjoy with the people you most care for.
Maybe, you’ll just get lucky.
Communities are tight knit, social groups. Groups where everyone knows everybody else, and outsiders tend to be unwelcome. Outsiders find out secrets. If there's anything more important to a community, it’s the secrets.
Secrets keep the community together. If you're not part of the community, finding out a secret can get you killed. Or something even worse.
blackleatherbookshelf: (Flames)
This past Saturday, I overslept. This was not a good thing, as the rainbow Book Fair I've been telling everyone to come to was better than two hours away and I had two and a half hours to get there. I bolted from bed and ate a hasty breakfast, then hit the highway. I was smart enough to have loaded the books into the car trunk the night before. I still made it to the event in time, including picking up my friend and fellow author David Stein. A friend snapped this picture of the two of us.


Tim and David book fair


Despite the minutes to midnight sort of arrival, we were set up well before patrons began arriving. In another break of luck, the table next to ours was a no-show, so I used it to spread more books out. Thanks to the Square device that turns a smartphone into a cash register, I did a brisk business, mostly on my new book. I was pleased. I got to see some old friends, and Thor stopped in for a visit, bearing bagels.

Now if you are wondering why I am wearing those groovy hippie glasses indoors, it was I forgot to change from driving with my sunglasses to my regular spectacles. Which was a mistake, as I left them on the passenger car seat. Which means that David, unwittingly, sat on them. Oh Snap was exactly what it meant in the literal sense. Driving home was a real trial, as I had to balance the frame on half of my head while adjusting the nose piece about every 5 to 10 miles. But I made it home safely, and my new book is already getting some very positive feedback. (Always good for the insecure author's ego.)

In less than two weeks I'll be headed for Cleveland's CLAW event, where I'll be moderating "Dirty Words: The Erotic Author's Forum." Everyone gets to do a reading, which is always fun, and the audience tends to be very responsive during Q&A time. With the new book to lead the vendor table, I am also hoping to do well sales-wise again.

I'm so pleased to have the new book out that I've started working on another. I've finally started the Amish Zombie novel I've been batting around in my head for a few years now. "Mennonite Of The Living Dead" is the working title (groan all you want to, but now you won't forget it, will you?).
blackleatherbookshelf: (Flames)
Stop by and visit me at

Rainbow Book Fair

I'll be promoting my new book...which is also now available for Kindle!

 
blackleatherbookshelf: (Santa Brough)
I am for a change, excited and less depressed than usual. I am putting the final touches on a new book, "Bounty Hunters and Kick Ass Cops."

It's my first collection of short stories since 2003 and it's not safe for work.

I was ahead of the curve when it came to that "50 Shade of Grey" stuff. Look for me to debut it at this January's Mid Atlantic Leather.
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Songs to Kill People By 
4 Out Of 5 Stars

300 Years in the future and folk music is still high lonesome depression. Guess "The Hunger Games" thinks that - other than watching kids kill each other for sport - we won't be changing all that much. These songs (mostly inspired by the film/book as opposed to being featured in said film), stick mainly to acoustic guitars and the sad laments of the participants. I find it funny in the odd way that kids usually pounding their way to hip-hop and punk rock will be lapping up country waltzes ("Tomorrow Will be Kinder" by Secret Sisters) and Appalachian cries like The Carolina Chocolate Drops doing "Daughter's Lament."

T-Bone Burnette, as executive producer, allows for few curve balls. Kid Cudi gives the disc its heaviest and most ominous song with "The Ruler and The Killer," which sounds more like the oppressive state that would find a real life version of "The Hunger Games" to be a day's TV dinner. Adam Levine is pulled away from his comfort zone, as Maroon 5 pick up a mandolin and ditch the synths for "Come Away To The Water." Taylor Swift sounds all grown up as she teams with the Civil Wars for "Safe and Sound" then The CW gets their own chance to shine with "Kingdom Come" ("Don't cry my dear, it will all be over soon").

The Alt-Rock crowd gets two dollops from Arcade Fire and The Decemberists. AF pounds out a militaristic drum tattoo on the threatening lullabye "Abraham's Daughter," while Colin Meloy keeps the Decemberists in REM territory for "One Engine." It also happens to be the most propulsive song on the disc, so maybe life in District 12 won't be so sad after all. It used to be that you couldn't turn on the radio without being pummeled by songs from a film, be they good or bad. Since that has changed and the deluge slowed, good soundtracks are harder to come by. "The Hunger Games" is one of the better one and hits more than it doesn't.




     


This entry was originally posted at http://www.dreamwidth.org/12345.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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I am joining the Kindle age with this new Collection: Brutality! It's a pun on that it's the totality of my work and the correct pronunciation of my last name, Brough,  Gor for it, Kindle readers. It's better than 50 Shades of Grey.

Click on the image for more info.


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"The Rise of the Protocoholics, or Your Protocols are Getting in my Peanut Butter"

http://www.leatherati.com/leatherati_issues/2012/03/the-rise-of-protocoholics-or-your-protocols-are-getting-in-my-peanut-butter.html
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Saturday AM, I hopped bright and early into my car with three boxes of books for the annual Rainbow Book Fair, which Daniel Kitchens has been doing a great job of running these past few years. It's always an enjoyable outing, and - like last year - David Stein and I split costs on a table. As lucj would have it, the vendor next to us failed to show, so we expanded our space.




Perfect Bound Press is David's company, I list mine as Black Leather Bookshelf. There were an awful lot of folks there this year, including this year's "get," Samuel R Delaney, Sci-Fi and kinky writer. (You think I'm kidding? Read "Hogg" someday.) he has a new novel about Rural Gay America out, which I picked up and had autographed.



Another author friend was there, Christopher Trevor.



As per usual, lots of friends arrived to say hello and pick up some books. My buddy Colonel Al propped in to show off his workout improved figure.


All in all, a good day. I think that David and I sold enough to have made some profits, but I was ready to head for home. I'm psyched to catch the premier of "MadMen" later this week (it's on the DVR waiting for me).

Have a Great week, all.


     



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Soundtrack to a Novel
4 Out Of 5 Stars

James Lee Stanley was so enamored of Tom Robbins' novel "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues" that he created an album based on the individual characters. However, the man was hampered by the fact that a big screen adaptation, starring Uma Thurman, was being released to theaters with a major label soundtrack featuring the music of KD Lang. Stanley had a secret weapon in his pocket, and that was Robbins himself. Robbins co-wrote the title track to the lonesome, harmonica driven title song. While Lang's movie soundtrack moved from the rodeo to the electric disco, Stanley's felt like a trek across the prairie.




James' CD also sounds like it should accompany the book. Where the movie soundtrack played like an accompaniment to the visuals, songs like "Racing The Moon" or "Open Your Eyes" made more a theater of the mind as you recall the book. Even the cover of "I Only Have Eyes For You" feels properly placed. James Lee Stanley may not have been the the music on the silver screen, but it ultimately is his version/vision of "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues" that has the musical staying power.


   



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I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their kind words and generosity as I deal with Sophie Cat's illness. She is eating better since the first shot of steroids, but the Vet did confirm a diagnosis of Lymphoma. I am bracing myself for the inevitable.

In what is FINALLY some good news. Monday I will start a new job as an administrative assistant at a 5 Doctor medical clinic (IE: taking Appointments, checking insurance, doing filing, etc). This week would have been one year since getting laid off (and breaking my wrist, as some of you may recall). 

So again, thanks to all of you. If any of you plan on attending MAL this coming weekend, please look for me and my stack of books in the vendor mall.
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"What if the enemy can't be shocked and awed?"
4 Out Of 5 Stars

This review is from: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War (Mass Market Paperback) Author Max Brooks almost pulls off a pretty neat trick in "World War Z." Borrowing liberally from George Romero and Studs Terkel, he casts himslef as the intrepid journalist traveling the globe in an effort to get first person histories from survivors of the great Zombie War that almost wipes out the human race. He sits down with the Chinese Doctor who was there when "patient zero" was discovered to the CIA agent that came to the realization to late that what the US thought was just crackdowns on Chinese dissidents was really cover-ups of the spreading plague. There's more than a little political allegory involved, with everyone from the president of the USA's Middle Eastern Policy to the state of relations in Iran, India and Pakistan.

Since most of the "interviews" are brief, the book keeps a good pace. Brooks wisely separates the book into segments; the beginning, the battles, the aftermath. The only, minor, flaw is that some of the interviews bleed together, as if Brooks forgot that all the characters might have different voices. This doesn't happen very often, but it is noticeable as the book goes on. However, "World War Z" is an inventive, novel take on the whole Zombie Horror genre as well as a darn good read.

 

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I got mentioned on Cracked.com! (Or at least my book does.)
http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-7-hardest-people-to-shop-for-holiday-gift-guide_p2/
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Micheal E Uslan: The Capeless Crusader
4 Out Of 5 Stars

"The Boy Who Loved Batman" is the almost unbelievable story about a Jewish Kid from Asbury Park who was so in love with comic books that he made it a single-minded goal to be a part of that magical world. By the time he was a teen, he had cajoled his way into the homes of artists and authors like Bill Finger (renowned artist) and Otto Binder (creator of The Marvel Family). By the time he enters college, he brazenly proposes that there be a college course on Comic Books and clinches the deal by comparing the origins of Superman to the biblical tale of Moses.

Soon after, Stan Lee comes knocking and before you know it, Michael is headed for DC comics. This young, purpose driven man is one step closer to being the Batman Writer he has always dreamed of, and "The Boy Who Loved Batman" is an enjoyable book into the love-affair Michael and his hero have carried from the day he first picked up a comic book. But what he doesn't realize is that his dream, to bring a dark, non-campy version of Batman to the screen is going to be a long and difficult slog, through the world of professional rejection, family tensions, and endless search for ways to keep his dreams headed forward.

Fortunately, Ulsan is one driven man. "Batman" was built on the blood of my knuckles" he comments at one stage, after 10 years of development hell stall his dream just as he thinks he's on the brink of achieving it. This may be the books only slow-point, as Ulsan makes choices to keep himself in the running (anyone remember the syndicated animated TV series 'Dinosaucers'?) until his expanding team finally locks down to Peter Guber, Tim Burton, Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. Ulsan not only has his dream come true, but beyond his greatest expectations. He then becomes invloved in all the Batman movies since (including the coming 2012 Dark Knight Rises) and writing both graphic Batman Novels and some surprisingly non-Batman titles.

He also hints at "disappointments" but is too kind to dish any dirt. (My guesses are at the "Batman and Robin" movie, given a quote about if a studio exec says you need two heroes and two villains, all they really want you to do is make an infomercial for merchandising.) However, Ulsan writes about many important aspects about comic history - there's even a Comic Book 'Museum' at Indiana University that bears his name - and the wheeling/dealing of Hollywood with such enthusiasm that it's really easy to be entertained throughout "The Boy Who Loved Batman," and that his unflagging enthusiasm for his dream allowed it to become real.








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I just heard that Apple founder and frontman Steve Jobs has passed away. I felt a lump in my throat come and go as the news was broadcast, as Apple has been involved with so many years in my life. When I first started working in publishing, the main room was a set of Macs, all rigged up with Pagemaker, along with a slightly more powerful Mac for the graphics. Every week, for three years, we turned out a Radio/Broadcast musical tipsheet on that room full of Apple computers.

When I decided to start my own magazines, I bought an Apple PowerPC. I remember not buying the new One Gigabyte version, thinking "who needs a gigabyte?" That computer lasted me from 1996 until just a few years ago. All the Rubber Rebel and Vulcan America magazines were composed on Apples. And the revolution of scanning...wow. No more huge darkrooms with cameras the size of refrigerators. It meant that I could take the pictures for my own magazines, without having to depend totally on studios and models. All the stories I wrote for my first two books (and much of Skin Tight) were written on an Apple.

So much of my creative life has been devised on machines that Steve Jobs helped invent and, more importantly, design. A recent Newsweek article profiled him, describing him alternately as brilliant and driven, but difficult and autocratically demanding. The chatter on TV behind me as I type is how Jobs The Visionary democratized the computing world. All I know is that he made a huge impact on mine.
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Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?: A Rock 'n' Roll Memoir
Last Child, Just a Punk on The Street (C+)
3 Out of 5 Stars

Steven Tyler and Joe Perry are the great American rock pairing. Aerosmith may be America's only Great Rock Band. (Sorry, Motley, Kiss.) They had one of the great rise and falls and redemption stories from the 70's to the present time. As Aerosmith's whirling dervish of a frontman, Tyler is a motormouth whose narcissistic personality is outsized but never outsourced, and "Does The Noise In My Head Bother You" is a book that hits the trilogy of Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll at a breakneck pace. Tyler dictates his story to Rolling Stone editor David Dalton in a manic yet entertaining way.

Tyler is a classic frontman; self absorbed, thrill seeking and utterly unable to stand on one place for more than a moment. His book reflects this, from the fact that he was crashing the New York club scenes as a wasted 15 year old to the comment that he probably blew 20 million dollars on drugs. "I snorted my plane, I snorted my house, I snorted my Porsche," he recounts at one point. Like Keith Richards in "Life," Tyler makes no apologies nor excuses for the amount of self-abuse he put his body/brain through, even going into glorious details about what getting high often felt like to him. But he also understands that what he did to himself and his family was pretty horrific, and tries to keep it all in perspective. Disturbingly, he spends some time talking about Amy Winehouse, comparing their addictions and creativity.

His other family, and frankly, the only one he seems to be able to keep together, is Aerosmith. His love/hate relationship with Perry in particular gets plenty of airtime throughout "Does The Noise in My Head Bother You." From the opening comment about Perry being "the creep to my a--hole," it's their creative friction that feeds Aerosmith's energy. (And as anyone who remembers the albums "Rock and a Hard Place" or Perry's solo "Let The Music Do The Talking" can tell you, these two men do need to feed off each other.) That friction also leads to the usual brotherly clashing, leading to two of the books more memorable Aerosmith splits and Tyler's notorious Sturgis stage fall.

No matter what Aerosmith does, though, this book is all about the singer. Tyler even calls is LSD, or "Lead Singer Disease." Tyler is giving till it hurts here, and that means not only hurts him, but anyone he comes into passage with. There are some sexual exploits here that are cringe-worthy, and Tyler excuses his voracious sexism as being part of the job. There's more than a little of the Charlie Sheen Shield of Invincibility around Tyler, which often covers his braggadocio with charm when the going gets a little ugly. Tyler had outlasted his bad boy band imagery to become one of those characters as the Peter Pan in him becomes lovable (which is what made him so much fun on American Idol, which oddly gets next to no coverage).

What keeps "Does The Noise In My Head Bother You Done" from being as utterly cool as its author is a screamingly bad lack of editing. Dates are messed up, as are song titles, picture captions and other facts. While Tyler himself leaps and bounds, at times, from topic to topic without a lot of linear thought, a decent editor could have cleaned up some of this. There are moments of repetitive rambling (especially when it comes to Tyler's thoughts on women and drugs) that could have been excised without any loss to the factual or philosophical content. And there's also periods of time just gone from the history, like the pairing with Run-DMC or the lost years between losing their Columbia contract, reforming and touring without a label, and then recording "Done With Mirrors" for Geffen. In fact, the Geffen period in the book starts with the recording of "Permanent Vacation," which Tyler tellingly mentions was the first time Aerosmith recorded an album as a sober band.

Sobriety is a rare feature in "Does The Noise in My Head." Tyler pinball pings from Rehab to Rehab, including a pretty nasty swipe at Dr Drew and "Celebrity Rehab" shows, kind of forgetting about the wake he's left behind. You do get the feeling he has regrets for some of it (saved mostly for some of his ex-wives, who should be noted, Tyler tends to make indistinguishable from each other, and his kids). At the same time, he has lead the fantasy life so many of us wished for, and the book makes very plain he regrets none of that. Out of or "Back In The Saddle," Tyler is a fascinating and endearing guy, and his book is a very entertaining Rock and Roll read.


 


Life  Walk This Way: The Autobiography of Aerosmith Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the Top 


O, Yeah! Ultimate Aerosmith Hits Aerosmith's Greatest Hits Big Ones Permanent Vacation


Updates

Jun. 29th, 2011 05:33 pm
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I am remiss. It has been about three months since my last letter to you and I apologize for that. It isn’t like there’s nothing to talk about, but I have a very difficult time getting motivated to communicate with anyone. So it’s not just you I’ve been laying low from, it’s everybody. It’s been almost six months since I’ve been laid off and I am finally getting my first job interview this week. To sell cars at the local Ford Dealership. Sheeesh.

While I have been doing my best to fend off the depression of sitting home all day and playing with the cat (when she wants to, anyway), I have been trying to find ways out of the current dilemma. Pennsylvania offers older unemployed types the opportunity to apply for grants towards retraining. They courses must be approved by Career Link (the division of PA Unemployment that offers the program) and you have to take multiple tests to qualify.

The tests are NOT easy. I felt like I was retaking my college SAT’s from Senior High School. It’s alarming how much you forget in 30 years of non-use. There were geometry problems that I was dumbstruck by. Fortunately, you’re given take-home sample tests to give you an inkling of what you’re in for when the official tests are given. Let’s face it; it’s been a long time since I even thought about how one determines the volume of a sphere (which was one of the questions).

From what my advisor tells me, I’ve passed the tests. Next up is being interviewed by the State Official who gives out the ultimate money. This is also a tricky thing, because this grant program is a one-time-only deal. If you get the grant, take the course but don’t pass, you don’t get a second shot at the money. While I am looking at taking a Computer Network Administration course, I have to be prepared to study hard, because I won’t get a second bite at this particular apple. Joel tries to be helpful, but he is beginning to fray at the edges. It’s difficult for him to be patient, and he has a tendency to argue loudly if he thinks circumstances are not what he believes they should be.

In other news, we took another jaunt to California. (Earlier Picture Here.) Joel has decided that, since I have no schedule conflicts, he can just plan trips whenever he wants. The trip was to Northern CA to a camp out run by the 15 Association, a group similar to Delta or Inferno. While there, I started one of my long-wished for projects; a biography of a former NYC Motorcycle Cop and Leatherman. It’s been a dream project of mine ever since having met the man a few years ago at IML.

In other family news: My Dad is still recovering nicely. However, a cousin on his side of the family has been stricken with MRSA, and nearly lost his life to it. As it is, he lost his leg and has been in a variety of hospitals, moving from facility to facility since late April. A slight benefit of being out of work has been that I’ve taken time to drive to wherever his current treatment location is for visits. It takes over 90 minutes to the nearest of the hospitals he’s been in, so these are trips I plan the day around. He obviously appreciates the visits, as we tend to talk for hours on each occasion. And I don't think I've ever posted a shot of the old man here before, so here's my Father.

 

PS – I figured it’s been awhile since I sent a Sophie Cat Picture

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Rex Mundi Volume 1: The Guardian Of The Temple (v. 1)Who's the king of the whole wide world?
4 Out Of 5 Stars

A friend of mine with a great comic store in SF (Hello, [livejournal.com profile] daddycoug at Whatever!) recommended Rex Mundi to me after we chatted about my love of older comics like Doc Savage and the earlier Batman stories. he certainly pegged me correctly, as Rex Mundi Vol 1 hooked me instantly. Writer Arvid Nelson concocted a search for the Holy Grail unlike one you've heard before, and artist Eric J created a rich and beautifully drawn alternate world.

In this world, France is the dominant power in Europe. In the USA, the Civil War ended in a draw, even if slave ships are not allowed in European Waters. Most importantly, Catholicism has an iron clad grip on how things are determines, and magic/sorcery has its own guild. The Inquisition is the highest law in the land, and their ruthless efficiency makes any sort of investigations difficult. In this world operates one Dr Julius Sauniere, a physician who seems to have taken the role of doctor to the downtrodden. When an old friend and priest tells Dr Sauniere that a mythical scroll that no-one short of the Pope knows about may have been stolen, and that a wicked form of sorcery may have been the culprit, the good Dr is drawn into the mystery.

Before you can say Indiana Jones, the Dr is being launched into a series of murders, political intrigue, and the very dangerous attention of the Inquisitor Guild. Dr Sauniere plays like a cross between Jones and The DaVinci Code (which, incidentally, was published after the first volume of Rex Mundi), with the added twist of the world operating in the 1930's but often reading like modern times. The story is similar to most of these kinds of religious mysteries, but the artwork is sublime. There's a lot of detail in every drawing, especially the historic features of Paris. I am now eager to start moving through the rest of the series.

One caveat that was very disappointing: the book's cover slipped from the spine on the first read. Poor quality manufacturing.




Rex Mundi Volume 3: The Lost Kings (v. 3)  Rex Mundi Volume 2: The River Underground (v. 2) Rex Mundi #7 (Volume 1) Rex Mundi #8 (Volume 1)

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