We got us a Convoy

Through some strange confluence of the forces of the Universe, great Western movie director, Sam Peckinpah directed the movie Convoy, based on the late 70s song, and starring Kris Kristofferson and Ernest Borgnine. While on the surface this seems like a cheap rip-off of Smokey and Bandit, which came out the year before, this is actually an inverted western where the rogue anti-hero is the good guy and the sheriff is the bad guy. Even though they drive trucks, rather than ride horses, this movie is filled with standard Peckinpah slow-motion sequences and extreme close-ups to heighten the tension.

As many movies made in the 70s, there are social issues that underlie the story. This is not a great movie, but like a car wreck, you just can’t look away.

Late Night Coffee

I finished up what I was doing on my computer, turned it off and went into the kitchen to make the coffee (on a timer) before going to bed. We were out of coffee, so I had to run to the store. It’s only a 5 minute drive, but what a pain. I wasn’t sure if I would find a squirrel in the car, in the grocery store, or in the coffee pot (just kidding).

Car Trouble: A Dramatization

I am getting ready to leave for work, and everyone else had gone. I open the garage and carry my briefcase out to the car. I put my briefcase in the back seat and leave the car door open. I have a few more things to carry out, and after I put them in, I shut the back door.

I get in the car, crank the key and put the car in reverse. I begin backing out of the driveway and I hear a clicking noise. I haven’t turned the music on yet, but I can’t really tell where it is coming from. The noise gets louder and faster. I haven’t left the driveway yet, so the change in sound can’t be related to the speed of the car.

I plug my ipod in and begin searching for a song. I can’t really do anything about the clicking sound this morning, so I just put that in the back of my mind. I pick a song by Dinosaur Jr with loud thrashing guitars. This seems like a good way to wake up, since I haven’t had enough coffee yet. While I am thinking of it, I pick up my travel mug to take a sip of coffee.

All of a sudden the clicking sound has become a screeching sound, barely audible over the music, but there is a flash of gray fur coming at me. Whatever it is, scratches my face, scratches my arm and makes me spill my coffee all over my lap. I scream and slam on the brakes. My legs are burning, my face is bleeding and I have no idea what happened.

I open the door to climb out and twist my ankle. I fall down into the road, leaving the door open. Immediately a squirrel runs out of the car and scampers up a tree. I realize that I never turned my car off and it begins to roll down the street. I try to get up, but I can’t put any weight on my ankle. I watch my car roll into a tree in a neighbor’s yard.

I take out my cell phone, but I forgot to charge it last night so the battery is dead. I set the phone down, close my eyes and wait.

Disclaimer: Do not try this at home. Stunt drivers on closed track. No animals were harmed in the making of this story.

A Modest Wilco Proposal

I received the following email from Wilco about their forthcoming album. It is an interesting approach to community and to reminding everyone of the rules of this particular conversation.

By now, you know that next week is the official release date of Wilco’s 7th album (or 9th depending on how you count). Hence the slightly serious tone of this note. Tuesday, to be precise, marks the US release of Sky Blue Sky on Nonesuch Records. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to the on-demand stream, by all means click here and take it for a spin. We’re pretty sure you’ll enjoy the ride.

But once you’ve done that we hope you’ll take a moment to reflect (see, I told you this was serious) on how this dynamic has worked over the years — the dynamic between us and you. We (and this “we” means the band, first and foremost) expend a lot of time, energy and other resources trying to make this something you are not just a witness to, but a participant in and we genuinely hope you can feel that.

We’ve been asked many times if we’d consider changing the way we do things, usually by people who are convinced we’d be more successful if we did. And either out of stubbornness or something else, we keep refusing. Instead, we just do what we do and somehow it all works. We continue to make lots of music available free to all in the road case, continue to allow taping/photos at shows, and basically just try to keep the things we do charge for of a quality that make you feel like you got a bargain. You know, mutual respect and all that. We like the way it works… a lot. We really do believe in trying to keep as much of it as free and open as is humanly possible. That seems pretty obvious… but somehow it remains a slight novelty in the modern day music business. So much so that people continually mention it in their stories when they write or speak about the band or the somewhat sad state of the music business.

Anyway, what we’re getting at here is that right now we need you to participate in a way that is part of what has made this nice little story work. We’re actually asking you to please go out next week and do the right thing for Wilco. That is, vote with your feet and prove the band’s faith well-placed and buy the record. It’s available from Tuesday at all kinds of retailers everywhere. Ask for it by name.

Okay, enough campaign speeches. You get the message. And we trust that you’ll act on it as you always have.