Saturday, October 25, 2008

R.E.M. & ME.

REM Box Set
Originally uploaded by jtpuck
Two years ago I was finishing my book at Portfolio Center. My favorite project was a dream packaging assignment I added during my 8th quarter; a 5-disc R.E.M. box set. It turned out really great, especially with some hand screenprinting action from Lonny & Larry. I always meant to send a copy to the band; but for some reason never did.

Cut to October 2008. I used some design award cash to purchase tickets to the R.E.M. show at Nokia Theatre in Dallas. My first concert in 5 years, which also was an R.E.M. show in The Woodlands, so I figured now was as good a time as any. So last week, I popped a set in the mail, 2-day delivery to the band; actually the Fan Club address was the only option I had. Of course, I had all kinds of fantasies in my head. Maybe I'd get a phone call from the band? Maybe a set of backstage passes would be waiting for me at will call, although my tickets were under my co-worker's name & we printed them out at the office? Who knows, maybe Michael Stipe would have brought the package on set and said how cool he thought it was and maybe asked me to request a song for them to perform.

Well, the show was last night, and we had great seats. First row, just left-of-center, mezzanine, the Southwest Airlines Flight deck. If you ever go to Nokia, these are the seats you want, especially if you can only afford the lowest ticket price point. No, my CD package design did not make an appearance, but the show was still great.

The guys still know how to rock and Stipe seems to be having as much fun as ever these days. He wasn't hiding behind sunglasses or heavy eye make-up and had chatted more with the audience than I've ever seen from one of their LIVE performances. He even threw back a few quips to hecklers & adoring fans in the lower sections. They had an excellent setlist that touched all but 2 studio albums and was pretty heavy in protest songs, which he mentioned had been compiled by lead guitarist, Peter Buck.

Great surprises included "These Days", "Exhuming McCarthy" complete with tape recorded McCarthy speech, "7 Chinese Bros.", and an acoustic performance of "Let Me In", a song originally recorded as an electric-shredding guitar homage to Kurt Cobain. Absolutely amazing, and must be released somewhere, sometime soon. Check out some audience recordings on YouTube.

I do want to thank the band for adding Dallas to this last leg of the tour, and I hope they get to see the box set; my confirmation said it was delivered. |#remdallas|

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I made a joke the other day that my blog is turning into a monthly update of goings-on & observations and here I am posting a note after two months. Bad blogger, Jason. Bad, blogger. I would say I deserve a time-out, but frankly, being away from here for so long is a time-out in itself.

So, just to catch you up on a few things. I've added a profile on Facebook. This is where most of my online time has been used. I can chat with friends, post videos, pics, notes, etc... pretty quickly and follow others as well. It's been a lot of fun and I've caught up with quite a few old, old friends. If you haven't already, look me up.

Secondly, work has been i-n-s-a-n-e. A couple new clients, a couple new jobs, a whole lot of new challenges. When you've been developing brands for law firms for a while, it's easy to get scared & very excited, when a plastic surgeon from the L.A. area comes knocking at your door. Yeah, no kidding. We finished a logo and are working on a website, identity, and an announcement of their new office. All of which will be live by the end of the year. Also running through a few Holiday cards for some of our clients. That's pretty challenging considering you have to stay politically correct with words, meaning, & imagery. Sorry Santa.

With Paul Jerde, our Creative Director, on medical-leave while recovering from his accident, I've had the pleasure of working with our company's old head honcho: Willie Baronet. I started at MB just after he stepped away from daily activities and missed the opportunity of working with him. Going one-on-one with him during these challenging times has been amazing, inspiring, and very cool. He's had quite a life, and is still living it on his own terms, with great stories, unique experiences, and a down-to-earth approach that is commendable. He's currently working on a Masters in Art & Technology at UT-Dallas, and has a blog of his own where he publishes his own creative works & observations.

Let's see, umm, Lyndsey had a benign tumor removed from her palm, Ian had strep throat, and then we found out, the hard way, that he is allergic to amoxicilin. He started to have what looked like mosquito bites on his legs. There were a lot of mosquitos outside, so we thought nothing of it. Then one day, there were a hundred mosquito bits all over his body, neck, and face, and I know for a fact he didn't sleep outside that night. Sure enough, they weren't bites, but a classic case of a medicinal reaction. He enjoyed his oatmeal baths and calomine lotion rubs, but still couldn't quite keep himself from scratching. "It itches, mommy, daddy," was something we heard, and felt, very often. Thankfully, he's back to his old self again.

On a sadder note, a few weeks ago, George W. Lemons passed away. He was Lyndsey's last living grandfather; by marriage, mine as well, and Ian called him 'Paw-Paw.' He was a well-respected family man that always put others before himself and had a quiet sense of strength that no one ever challenged. He was a Mac user and always vacuumed on Thursdays. His days in the service helped develop his amazing ability to organize. You've never seen a garage setup like his. I loved him very much and will miss his presence during the holidays this year.