I’ll say this anyway, but does anyone really give a shit whether you climbed Mount Everest or not? So many people have done it with the help of modern technology and a lot of money, that it’s hardly the hill anyone needs to die on anymore.
John Krakauer’s, “Into Thin Air” is a great book, but casts a pretty negative light on those who chose, or can afford to ascend the top of that mountain.
How big a deal can it really be these days? We know it can be done. It’s like people who run tons of marathons. Once you run one, everyone pretty much believes you can run 2, 3 or a 100.
My favorite tragedy was Steven Fossett. He was the guy who kept trying to go around the world in a hot air balloon by himself. He eventually did it, but it wasn’t like Phileas Fogg in a wicker basket. He had this super high tech gondola that looked like a lunar capsule attached to a gigantic balloon. When you saw it, you’d think well of course he go circumnavigate the globe in that!
Sadly, Fossett died in a plane crash in the Sierra Nevada mountains and they couldn’t find his body for months. When he died, I remember someone saying, “at least he died doing what he loved.” Which technically isn’t true. He loved flying, crashing is what killed him.
We took a trip down to Carpinteria for the Memorial Day weekend. It’s a small town between Ventura and Santa Barbara. The odd thing is I will always remember the name of this town for Kai’s Power Tools, a set of Photoshop plug-ins that were popular in the early 90s. The company that made KPT, was based in Carpinteria.
Kai Power Tools let you do some psychedelic effects like Mandelbrots and Fractals with a funky realtime user interface that encouraged experimentation. The problem with these plug-ins was you had to be the first person to use them. Otherwise, they were way to recognizable. Also, they made everything you did look an album cover for Yes.
Back in the late 90s, I was at MacWorld industry party in San Francisco. I think it was hosted by Corel or Adobe. I was with my buddy Raji Krishneswami (I just love his name). We had just arrived and on our way in, we passed Kai Krause, the “Kai” inventor of the power tools of his namesake, who was with comedian Charles Fleischer. I recognized both of them and said, “Hey Kai”, and turned to Fleischer and said, “Welcome Back Kotter, right?”
Neither of them seemed to appreciate the reference, but at least I remembered who they were. Most people there didn’t seem to notice either one of them.
Last night we saw The Lemonheads at Slim’s in San Francisco. Tommy Stinson opened doing a solo acoustic act. I tried taking pictures, but they turned out horribly, so the best I can do are these shots of posters that are hanging at the DNA Lounge down the street.
The first act was a trio called the Restless Age. They’re from upstate New York and do a lot of session work. They’re like an updated version of The Band. They had a very early 80s sound about them, think Marshall Crenshaw doing Yacht Rock.
Tommy Stinson put a personable set. He was chatty with the audience, telling us about 11 year old daughter. This was the first time I’ve seen him as a solo act. I’ve seen him a couple times with The Replacements and Bash N’ Pop.
The last time I saw The Lemonheads, they were just “Lemonheads” and it was at Treto’s Uptown in Champaign around 1988 or ’89 around the same time I saw Dinosaur Jr. in their original line up. Coincidentally, I saw the latter a couple years ago at the Regency Theater. So I’ve been digging some GenX Fossils a lot lately.
Evan Dando sounded great, despite looking a little fried. It was great to see a rock star again, and not some clear eyed just happy to be famous newbie up there singing. I don’t think he was clean, but he also wasn’t incoherent.
1993’s “Come on Feel The Lemonheads” still holds up as a decent power pop album. I bought a copy of it in the cutout section in 1995, and still give it a listen a couple times a year. I was hoping to hear some stuff from it, and they did about 5 or 6 songs from it. So I left happy.