All This Rain! We dedicate this Reading Rainbow Episode to Colorado

Reading Rainbow, everybody! Voiced by James Earl Jones, Bringing The Rain To Kapiti Plain.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBDqPOd-eXI]

Stay safe, stay dry. Don’t shoot any arrows with eagle feathers into any clouds. We’re getting plenty of moisture now.

I think Pearl Jam must’ve watched one of our old videos…

Well, not really… but there are some similarities between the new Pearl Jam video for “Mind Your Manners” on their upcoming Lightning Bolt release, and this old video of us playing “Final Ride of the Ghost King” at the Skylark a few years back. It’s probably our “artiest” video, if you’ll permit me to make up a word to describe it.

Here are the videos for you to compare for yourselves:

“Final Ride of the Ghost King” – SFoM

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaZbu5OZE-c]

We played that night with File 13, a band that’s still kickin’ around on the underground. Special thanks to Dave for letting me play his bass that night.

“Mind Your Manners” – Pearl Jam

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWQYYavheUA]

As you can see, we both felt our songs were about the natural and manmade destruction of the world. And we both like to rock out.

Stories about Doomsday always start like this…

According, to an article on space.com, the Sun has had itself a little ol’ accident (massive solar storm). We were hit by the light energy already yesterday, but expect the particles and matter to hit us about 5 am Denver time, tomorrow, March 8. It’s going to be a strange night… prepare yourselves.

See how different types of solar flares stack up in this SPACE.com infographic.
Source: SPACE.com: All about our solar system, outer space and exploration

If I’m not mistaken, this is how Night of the Living Dead started…

“…but I didn’t inhale.”

I’m riding the bus to meet up with my lady and check out the Gogol Bordello, System Of A Down show at Comfort Dental Amphitheatre. It’s raining, but I’ve seen some good shows in the rain (Pearl Jam in phoenix, October of 2000, for instance).

There was a man on the 16 down Colfax into Denver. A grizzled and bearded old man. He was just sitting there quietly on this crowded bus, and then he started talking, to no one in particular. To the best of my recollection, he said:

“I only took one hit of marijuana in my life. But I didn’t inhale. That made all the difference. They should put elevator music on the bus so we could hear The Doors. Break on through to the other side! Yeah…I only took one hit of marijuana in my life, bit I didn’t inhale.”

Then he started mumbling to himself, and he seemed amused. He would smile, and laugh and talk about his one hit of marijuana. Moral of the story: don’t do drugs.

Beneath the Extreme SuperMoon – SFoM Live at Bushwackers Saloon, Denver- March 19, 9 pm

Saturday, March 19, 2011: a date which will always be remembered…as the beginning of the End of Days .

What it's going to be like on March 19

There’s a full moon that night, but it’s also a full moon at perigee (when the moon is closest to the planet in its orbit). What’s special about this particular lunar perigee is that it will be the closest the moon has come to this spaceship we call Earth in 18 years.

The moon affects the ocean tides. When the moon is full, the planet experiences spring tides – the highest tides. Since the moon is on the opposite side of the planet from the Sun, the gravity of the Sun pulls the Earth one way and the moon pulls the Earth the other. The Earth gets pointy, like a football, and the water of the oceans is prone to these stresses.

The Earth’s plates are subject to tides as well, as they float atop the magma that comprises the mantle. The pressure on the Earth’s crust at the bottom of the oceans goes through stresses from increasing and decreasing water pressure caused by the heavier-than-usual tidal activity.

Since the moon will be much closer than usual, a mere 221,567 miles from here, the force of gravity between it and the Earth will also be increased, since gravity is based on the product of the masses of two objects divided by the radius of their centers of gravity squared. This means we can expect increased tidal activity in both the oceans and the land masses.

As the Earth experiences these forces, and the continental plates shift, and the oceans rise and fall, it’s easy to see why astrologer Richard Nolle might predict earthquakes and volcanoes.

There is one other force of nature that will be at work the night of March 19…That force is SFoM. We’ll be playing one of Denver’s favorite dive bars – Bushwackers Saloon – and we’ll FIGHT BACK against the forces of the “Extreme SuperMoon,” and make one final stand for Earth! The battle begins at 9 pm with newcomers Amish Combat, and the evening winds down with our friends C4x.

We hope to see you there… your planet needs you…

Chili Of The Grave: A Recipe

There was a charity chili cook-off at my day job today. It’s kind of a funny story how I got involved: I was walking through the office, and a woman asks me if I’m going to make chili. I didn’t know about the cook-off, so I was like, “Uh… no…”

Later, I went to a meeting, and my boss said, “Oh! Matt can make chili!” I got that strange turny-stomach feeling, as if some kind of prophesy were playing out right before me. I had never made chili before, and these people were talking about me making it.

Well, I learned about the cook-off, and I got kind of excited, because I have a crock pot, but it just sits there and gets dusty, and I have to clean it every so often. Aristotle would say that it is unhappy because it’s not performing the task it was made to perform: cooking things really slowly.

Thursday night came around, and I boogied over to the grocery store and bought raw materials as opposed to the microwaveable stuff I usually pack into my shopping cart. On the way home, Black Sabbath’sChildren Of The Grave” came on the shuffle, and my chili’s name came to me: Chili Of The Grave.

I made my chili, and almost used a habanero pepper a lady gave to me (I thought it was an Anaheim pepper)… I brought my chili in this morning, and I WON THE EFFING CONTEST!! It was the most labor-intensive cooking project I had ever undertaken, not to mention the first time I ever made chili. With this chili, I took top place in a field of 12 or 13. I won a kick-ass apron equipped with a tethered bottle opener and a beer holder.

So, loyal readers, I decided I couldn’t keep my wondrous chili a secret, and I have decided to share my recipe here with you, right now. This is a sweet, seafood based chili. Get a pen ready… or just use your printer… or save a tree and read it off your computer screen…

Chili Of The Grave

Chili Of The Grave

Ingredients:

  • One 12 oz. can of tomato paste
  • One 12 oz. can of diced peeled tomatoes
  • One 15 oz. can of pinto beans
  • One 15 oz. can of black beans
  • 20 oz. of raw, peeled, de-veined and de-turded shrimp
  • One Anaheim pepper, cored and diced
  • Two jalapeños, cored and diced
  • One half of a white onion, diced
  • Three garlic cloves, chopped
  • One cup of brown sugar
  • One cup of apple cider vinegar
  • Two tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Three tablespoons of chili powder
  • Two tablespoons of cumin
  • One tablespoon of oregano
  • Three bay leaves
  • A teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • A Tablespoon of salt
  • A 99 cent bottle of Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • Love

Directions:
First, wash your damn hands. Use soap too. LISTEN TO ME! This is important. Washing your hands is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infectious disease.

Are your hands washed? Good. OK, empty the shrimp into a mixing bowl, and then dump the whole bottle of hot sauce on them. Cover it with some plastic wrap, and shake it up, and then set it aside. We’ll revisit the shrimp later.

I soaked a paper towel with some vegetable oil and rubbed it on the inside of the crock to make it easier to clean later. This strategy seemed to have worked.

Next, drain out the cans of beans. I did this by partially opening the can on two sides and then setting it on the edge of the sink. I didn’t want any of that bean liquid in my chili.

Dump the tomato paste, and diced tomatoes in the crock. Then dump the vinegar, the brown sugar, the cocoa… just dump everything in there. The beans too. Don’t forget them. However, listen to this next part, because it’s important.

Don’t dump the shrimp in yet! It’s still marinating in that hot sauce. Use this time to chop things, like peppers, garlic and onions. Be careful! You don’t want to chop your finger and end up in the hospital with half-made chili sitting on your bloody counter.

When chopping the onion, you’ll probably start to cry. This is normal. It’s a very sad thing, chopping onions. I find it’s best to periodically drop to your knees, and throw your arms to the sky and scream out, “WHYYYYY!!! huuuuhhhhhh-WHYYYYYYY!!!” Because that’s how men cry. Dump all your chopped and diced things in the crock. Stir it with a wooden spoon. Throw the three bay leaves in the crock. I left them in there, and then I got yelled at because evidently they can kill people. Make sure to take them out before you serve the chili.

Now it’s time to add the shrimp. Don’t just dump them in there, because you’ll dump all the hot sauce. You can do this if you want, but I didn’t, and this recipe, mind you, is how I won an award. Stir it all up, and turn the crock pot on low. Let it cook for like eight hours. I stirred it a couple times in that period.

Serve it over Fritos, and top it with cheddar cheese, sour cream and some chopped green onions. That’s what I did. Other people just ate it. Do what you want. Once it’s in your bowl, it’s your chili anyway. Not sure how many servings it made, but Jesus could probably stretch it to 2,000 like he did with the loaves and fish.

Bad Coffee in the Middle of the Ozarks

As far as settings are concerned, this might be the best place I have ever sat to write something. I’m sitting in a room of some giant house with a scenic overlook of Table Rock Lake on the Missouri/Arkansas border. It’s the kind of scenery with which I could get a lot of writing work done, if I were a professional writer. I drove all day yesterday with a man I never met just to get here.

But I’m not going to write about the trip, which was long, or about meeting some guy for the first time. I want to tell you about my coffee this morning. I am an early riser, and I strongly prefer to have caffeine in the morning. Usually for me, a Mountain Dew or a cup of tea will suffice, but not this crisp autumn morning in the Ozarks; today I need coffee.

I am not familiar with this place I’m staying at all. I don’t even know any of the people here. They have been nice to me, but they are all strangers. The guy here I know best I literally met 24 hours and 39 minutes ago. Being offered the run of a downstairs kitchen and instructed to make myself at home, I plugged in the coffeemaker and scoured the kitchen for all other necessary implements and ingredients for coffee making.

I found what I needed, put an arbitrary number of scoops in the filter, knowing full-well that odds are I’ll make it either too strong or too weak, given that every coffeemaker is as unique and special as a snowflake, and away I brew.

Christ, this coffee smells awful! Probably the crud that stains the top of the decanter heating up… or it could be that this coffee I found in this unlabeled vacuum container has seen more than its share of presidential administrations. Or maybe my nose and smell receptors are adjusting to this fresh mountain air…I hope so anyway.

Shit! All they have in here is Splenda! Looks like I’m going to drink this rank-smelling coffee black…black as death. But as it turns out, I am a master of coffee makers, and I brewed it to the correct strength. Still… this will not be a memorable cup of coffee.

So here I sit in Eagle Rock, Missouri, overlooking Table Rock Lake, and drinking really bad coffee. I can’t remember the last time I saw a body of water this large; Table Rock Lake has more coastline than any other lake in the United States. It’s true, look it up!

It’s nice to be out of Federal Heights for a while.