About the Author
There’s this great bit in Le Petit Prince where the narrator is talking about how grownups never focus on the important stuff, basically drawing a distinction between the dry facts of the matter (“That house cost one hundred thousand francs!”) and the really important stuff (“There are flowers in the windows and birds on the roof!”). You should probably just go look it up, because Antoine de Saint-Exupéry says it way better than I can. And if you haven’t read the book already, go do that, then come back here.
Anyway, with that in mind, there’s a couple of categories of stuff to say here.
First, the “one hundred thousand francs” stuff: I grew up on the frozen Arctic tundra of Wisconsin. Now I live in Dallas. Like the official bio says, I got a couple engineering degrees, because I thought I’d be an engineer when I grew up. Turns out Lennon was right, though—life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. I’m 5’10”, or at least that’s what it says on my driver’s license. I look like this, sort of:
Now, the important stuff:
For years, I thought my favorite color was green, but it turns out that all that time it was really red.
On good days, I feel like this:
Or maybe this:
My favorite book is Catch-22, by Joseph Heller. For me, nothing else comes close in terms of scope, style, and impact. Nothing so fundamentally absurd should be capable of packing such a heavy emotional punch, but it does.
A handful of other books I think are cool include:
- The Red Tree, by Caitlin Kiernan, which perfectly captures a sense of creeping otherwordly dread. I finished reading this book on an airplane, and I still wanted to get up and turn on all the lights.
- Savages, by Don Winslow. A nasty book without the fairy-tale ending of the movie, but brilliant in execution, and he plays with language in a way you can’t usually get away with in this type of novel.
- House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski, which is not something one reads so much as wanders around in for awhile. I’ve read parts of it dozens of times, but only finished it once, as that seems entirely beside the point.
There are hundreds of others, of course, but these provide a neat cross-section of what flips my switch.
My favorite guitarists are Neil Young, Michael Kelsey, Billy Corgan, Slash, and Joe Satriani. If you can find the common musical thread there, I’d love to hear it. My own playing has been compared to Randy Rhoads, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Ruyter Suys, David Gilmour, and a bunch of other bullshit that similarly has no relation to my actual influences or playing style. People are crazy.
My all-time favorite music artists/groups are Neil Young, Ani DiFranco, Alice Cooper, Frank Zappa, Jethro Tull, and Tom Waits. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Regina Spektor (“Samson” lays me out every time), My Chemical Romance (“Cancer” does likewise), and Public Enemy. I’ve also developed an unhealthy fixation on symphonic metal from Scandinavia. Delain and Nightwish are in constant rotation these days.
My wonderful wife makes my world go round. My ridiculous dog helps.
Here’s the ridiculous dog, or perhaps a half-drowned rat: