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Compendium of Conversation: The Overdue 2nd Edition

Posted on 09 April 2010 by Tim

Welcome to the 2nd Edition of the Compendium of Conversation!

PS3 Game Controller Instead of a blog carnival, the Compendium will now be a blog interview roundup. However, you can still submit links to your interviews! After poking around the web, these are some of the interviews I’ve found interesting and fun. I hope you enjoy them too.

Video Games


  • Movie fans will enjoy this interview with Larry Cohen over at Horror Society.




  • NewsReal Blog interviews John Kiriakou, author of The Reluctant Spy, about Current Threats to American and the CIA.

Image by DeclanTM

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The Compendium of Coversation First Edition

Posted on 01 March 2010 by Tim

Welcome to the first edition of the Compendium of Conversation! The Compendium is to highlight blog interviews from a variety of topics.

Out of dozens of submissions these were the only three that were actual interviews. Apparently there was some confusion about the content criteria. But I’m very grateful for the three who submitted interviews. I look forward to featuring more blogs in the future!

Please submit your interview here for the next edition!

Tiffany Colter from Writing Career Coach interviews author Jennifer AlLee about her latest book The Pastor’s Wife.

Ella Press from The Clockwork Monkey chats with Australian author Chrissie Michaels about her new YA novel, In Lonnie’s Shadow.

An interview with media composer James Semple, a talented composer and experienced tabletop roleplaying gamer, the man who brought you music for the games ‘Trail of Cthulhu’ and ‘The Esoterrorists’ is featured on Farsight Blogger, written by Jonathan Hicks. Interestingly, Jonathan Hicks wrote a book titled Those Dark Places and dialogue for an official Battlestar Galactica game. Jonathan also runs Farsight Games for tabletop role-playing games.

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Northwest Rockers: Hookah Stew

Posted on 08 February 2010 by Tim

Three guys blaze energetic rock in the Northwest like no other. They are known as Hookah Stew and they will light you up with their fun, party-like live shows and albums!

Their magnetism pulls at you, even through a pair of ear buds. And fans often wear their awesome looking Mountain Dew-inspired Hookah Stew t-shirts!

Their current single, Rollergirl, is a loving look at roller derby ladies and their sexy demeanor. Not surprisingly, this track has been getting some well deserved airtime on West Coast radio stations. If you haven’t heard it yet, visit their MySpace page and enjoy!

Here’s a bit of the lyrics… (See the music video below!)

Queen of the Derby
the pride of her league
skull and crossbones
raking on her right sleeve
all the boys wanna know what she’s about
but they’re too scared to ask
’cause they might get takin’ out

Look for a new full length album from Hookah Stew in the Spring of 2010.

Formed back in 1993 by Adrian “Ace” Johnson and Johnny Young, they later added Mikey Masters as their drummer after a two year break.

Picked it back up in 2006, and have been doin’ it since,” says Johnny.

With strong musical influences in their lives the three knew pretty early that music was a passion. Johnny wrote his first song at the age of 5 and after getting on stage for the first time, it was clear that performing was for him.

The trio tours constantly, performing all over the country. In a brief chat with Young, he told me this story…

Crazy was 2000 on tour, we stayed at the same hotel as the Backstreet Boys. They were pretty big at the time, and there were at least 1000 fans out front and in the lobby trying to get an autograph, but the boys weren’t coming out to oblige their fans.

When we pulled up with our guitars in hand, all these autograph starved girls rushed towards us asking us if we would sign something for them!

It was a rockstar moment right out of history.

They hadn’t a clue who we were, but they weren’t leaving empty handed. haha!

Thanks Backstreet for letting us steal a little thunder.

RollerGirl by HookahStew

HOOKAH STEW | MySpace Music Videos

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Watch Scary Movies with Dollar Bin Horror

Posted on 05 February 2010 by Tim

Have you ever seen Night Train to Terror or Jaws of Satan? If you have, you’re among good company at Dollar Bin Horror. If not, you may want to catch up! ‘Cause Dollar Bin Horror is “The Blog for Horror Fans on a Budget“!

Rhonny Reaper is the author of Dollar Bin Horror a blog devoted to low-budget horror films. She features a wide variety of horror film reviews and a she recently wrote a great recap of the best horror movies of 2009. Rhonny has been featured on the Zombie Grrlz Podcast and has received a number of awards for her review writing.

I came across Rhonny when she entered (and won) a free 2010 My Zombie Pinup Wall Calendar giveaway contest I held in December. I checked out her blog and thought it was a great horror movie review blog. So…here we are!

Interview with Rhonny Reaper

Lets get some history, when did you start to really get into horror films? What was the first one you remember watching?

Well the first time I ever watched horror was when I was 4. My parents got cable and I became enthralled by Tales From the Crypt. I really got into horror, though, when I was 14 and saw the first SAW film. It got me, hook line and sinker. The first full film I ever saw though was Killer Klowns from Outer Space and I still love that movie!

What is it about horror films that you like? (blood, gore, fear, etc.)

I love it all! I love being scared and I love some quality gore. I like the feeling you get after a big scare, your heart pounding out your chest, the hairs on your neck standing on end, the repulsive feeling you get from a bloody scene…it’s like a roller coaster without the $50 entrance fee!

What is it about horror films, especially cheap ones, that you enjoy?

I love all types of horror, but the cheap ones are kinda inspirational for me. I’m broke as hell and to see a really good and really low budget movie gives me the hope that I could be making something like that one day. Also the gore and fear in horror movies is like an adrenaline rush for me, kinda like why people love roller coasters or driving fast!

In your opinion, what makes a horror movie good?

A good horror film starts with a good story. The scariest films are the ones that you feel could really happen, that make you watch your back when you turn down the street. Also, the visual aspect has to be appealing. A film with a unintentionally horrible looking setting ever does well. And the acting has to be believable. If the character isn’t really scared, why the hell should I be?

Yeah, I respect well made low-budget films too. Have you heard of or seen the $70 zombie movie – Colin? What did you think of Paranormal Activity?

I just recently heard of it. I would love to review it and have sent an email to the producer to see if that’s possible. I liked Paranormal Activity but I thought it was over hyped, which actually kind of ruin the experience for me.

When did you begin blogging? Is Dollar Bin Horror your first site?

I started my blog around 4 months ago. I had a horror review MySpace page but MySpace got all up in my ass, so I said screw you and left the site all together. I feel having my own blog gives me the freedom to get my opinion of horror out there with restrictions.

DBH is only 4 months old? Wow! How much traffic are you getting at this point?

At this point, I’m not quite sure. I have a counter at the bottom of my page and it says I’ve had over 7,000 hits and I’m thankful for every single one of them.

For a new visitor to your blog, what 2-3 posts would recommend?

New visitors definitely check out the Spotlights because the people in them are some wonderful underground horror folk who are deserving of some recognition, and also the film reviews cause they show you don’t have to break the bank to see a good movie (Unless it’s bad, then you get to read me rip them a new one, and that’s always fun!)

DBH Around The Web:

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Portland Scat-man Cody Weathers Plays With Heart

Posted on 30 January 2010 by Tim

One hardly hears about scat these days. For me, I’ve only seen scat performed in movies. Honestly, I didn’t even know people still performed it. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised to hear Cody Weathers, Portland’s scat-man.

Cody grew up in Denver and moved to Portland for college. He began performing about 20 years ago as a drummer but “was forced to become a passably-competent rhythm guitarist out of the necessity of accompanying myself solo.

I was really curious how someone comes to the genre and apparently, Cody was drawn to scat by his music teacher who introduced him to a wide variety of styles. Here’s what Cody said about it, “I had a really great music teacher in high school – voracious listener, one of those people who just passionately introduces you to things with the kind of outright fervor that disarms the baseline resistance to change of even the laziest bum (read: me).

I was the drummer for his jazz choir, and he used to lend me these tapes of Al Jarreau, Clark Terry, Bobby McFerrin, Ella Fitzgerald, et al. As a budding singer, I loved the not only the fertile melodic aspects of their soloing, but also the phonetic creativity of their peculiar syllabaries. I monkeyed around with it back then, either as a novelty or else in the pre-lyrical stage of songwriting as a melodic placeholder; but when I switched to being primarily a solo acoustic performer, that’s when it seemed like the natural tool for me to stretch songs or provide the melodic relief normally reserved for guitar solos. So curiosity followed by necessity, then finally embracing it as a part of my musical identity,” says Cody.

Hard rock sensibilities fused with acoustic upbringing and jazz acumen operating in a truly independent consonant harmonic system. [from CodyWeathers.com]

As a one man band, there can’t be too much conflict or drama. But do you ever get lonely and collaborate with others?

Sure; frequently as a player, occasionally as a writer. While I love the control and the challenge of playing everything in the studio, I have missed the camaraderie I used to enjoy playing with Flip Nasty back in Denver. In fact, I recently put out some feelers and invited two phenomenal new players to join my live shows (bassist Tim Krajcar and percussionist Evan Whitacre as The Men Your Mama Warned You About). They’re very flexible, like-minded improvisatory players, and having their two extra sets of fresh ideas in the mix each night has been a great boon to the variability I want to achieve from show to show. I never thought I’d be willing to relinquish playing the drums or arranging the bass, but their talents have sold me on probably recording my next album as a band and stepping back out of the complete auteurship I’ve hitherto embraced.

Are you working on a new album? If so, what is it titled and when can we expect to hear it?

I just finished two separate side projects, and I’m working on compiling a new live album as we speak. First, I collaborated with my lyricist friend, Cat Mayhugh on the second of our Sunhouse Branch albums, Cinema, a prog-rock song cycle exclusively in odd- or mixed-meter inspired by the films of Werner Herzog. That album is available completely free, both to stream and to download.

Second, I completed a separate, power-pop/hard rock solo album, Häårdvârk, under the band name UFO Catcher. It’s been mixed, and should be duplicated and up on CDBaby in the next few months. A bunch of preview tracks are up on MySpace in the meantime. I had selected a bunch of live acoustic solo tracks to release as a free album, but then I started playing with Tim & Evan, and the tracks we were getting were –frankly– a lot more interesting, so I think I’ll be retooling that album for a Spring release under Cody Weathers & The Men your Mama Warned You About. Still probably free. Check back to CodyWeathers.com for more information and for some new live videos of the kind of stuff we’ll be including.

Where have you toured and performed?

Anywhere coffee and muffins are sold throughout the West and Midwest. In my earlier years, I had greater range to my travels, but these days, with a family and a mortgage, I stick pretty close to home. With the new band, I think you’ll probably see us ranging out as much as we can manage up and down the I-5 corridor, and perhaps Central and Coastal Oregon. We’ll also look to branch more into full-band venues.

What’s the craziest thing that has happened at a show?

That’s tough – my folks are so polite and well-behaved ordinarily. Once, playing a show in Houston, my set got delayed, and delayed, and delayed while the prior act methodically shot her infinitesimal portion of a 30-second national TV commercial (“new music you’ll find at Major Retailer X”). The director – who may have been Iggy Pop (you can’t tell me otherwise)– ultimately took almost three hours of footage, including a lot of disconcertingly-phony pickup shots of rock-and-roll posing and crowd shots of the bewildered, bored followers of the act in question, now forced (and not too kindly) to method-act excitement from some earlier show they’d enjoyed. I’ve seen the resulting TV spot, and it’s literally 2-4 seconds of montage which must’ve cost in excess of $100,000 to obtain.

But then, when we finally went on, I think her audience was so tired of getting yelled at, and so grateful just to have someone playing a comprehensible “show” for them instead of the piecemeal herky-jerky performance that is a music video shoot, that they immediately embraced our set as if we were the buzz-laden sensation they’d come to hear. It was awesome. And those unpredictable gigs where the audience is really in and the music is really on are the tantalizing pure joy that makes up for all the other struggle and apathy of trying to ignore my otherwise obvious artistic unimportance.

You can find Cody on Facebook and MySpace.

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Listen For The Renegade Minstrels

Posted on 25 January 2010 by Tim

The Renegade Minstrels are a new blended form of blues music with a hint of swing swagger. Listening to Frontier Blues, their latest album, is like the soundtrack for a movie set at a country fair. Good ‘ole fashioned Americana!

Original music is their hallmark. Which is great because The Minstrels are quite different from the slightly twangy southern blues. This five-man band finds a “wide spectrum of blues-inflected music compelling: all the way from field hollers to sophisticated jazz…While all five of us strive to forge something that sounds startling in its originality, we have an abiding respect for all that’s come before.

From a mandolin to guitar, drums to trombone, the Renegades layer their pieces with a more earthy quality. The lyrics are not quite up to par with the instrumentation and they sit a bit high in the mix, occasionally overpowering the rest of the music. Overall, the music is top notch homegrown Northwest folk music.

The band formed up back in 2003 with Joe Seamons leading the way and quickly adding members. The Minstrels clearly have a good chemistry though because when it comes to developing their music “the whole band works together to arrive at effective arrangements for the songs.

I always ask for input from each musician about which songs they’d like to solo on, and where they think their solo would fit best into the contour of a particular song. In creating the chords and melody, all I’m doing is crafting a structure that I believe the band can use as a springboard to surprise and delight people. After that, I focus on delivering the lyrics in a clear and compelling manner while supporting and emphasizing what my fellow musicians are doing with my guitar and harmonica playing,” said Joe.

Summer 2010 should see the first major music tour for the Renegade Minstrels. They get a lot of stage time here in Portland, Oregon but I’m sure heading out will lead to some interesting stories and fodder for more music!

The Band: Joe Seamons – lead vocals, guitar, harmonica. Jon Ramm-Gramenz – trombone. Austin Moore – mandolin. Luke Dennis – bass. Willy Gibbs – bass. Forrest Carter – drums.

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Inspiration Point by The Morning Birds

Posted on 21 January 2010 by Tim

Self-described as alternative, experimental rock, The Morning Birds surprise with a mellow acoustic sound that sets a relaxed mood. When I listen to Inspiration Point, I can imagine myself sitting in an underground lounge enjoying some Crown Royal and chatting with my sweetheart while the band plays.

Despite only being a year old, The Morning Birds have great chemistry on the album. The vocalists, Sam and Jen, compliment each other well and their real world chemistry carries over into the music too. The two “met about a year prior at a mutual friends b-day party and began dating.

But things didn’t start out easy. A little drama played into the creation of The Morning Birds. Sam was working on a solo album “New Dawn”, which Jenn augmented with some writing and music practice. The couple “decided to go out on an east coast tour, under Samuel Markus & the Only Ones” and work on new material. On their return trip they got into a car accident!

Instead of moving to the mountains as planned, [we] had to hole up in Jenn’s home town, Torrance, to get back on [our] feet,” they recall.

While in Torrance, Jenn introduced Sam to Eric who is a drummer. “After playing with Eric a couple times, it magically came together, and [we] decided to form a new band, The Morning Birds!

The band has traveled all over the United States and in Canada as well. They’re primarily based out of Los Angeles and have performed at The House of Blues on Sunset, Molly Molones, and the Hotel Cafe.

The Morning Birds have a unique style that is hard to categorize, which is one of their strongest features. I like the exclusive blend of tones and layered vocals they use.

When asked about their influences they told me, “Many things have influenced our style. We try not to be influenced by other music, but our past interests in folk, hip hop, classic rock, and classical definitely come through!

As far as lyrical content, their inspiration is life experiences and their spiritual connection. “We have recently moved out to the woods, for seclusion and to be influenced by the rhythms of nature, to finish recording our second album, “The Quickening” – which should be out by April this next year [2010].

Inspiration Point is a great debut album, even for a trio of experienced musicians. It’s one of those few albums you can listen to straight through without any songs grating on your patience. I really enjoyed listening to The Morning Birds!

Enjoy their music? Follow them on Twitter here!

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Personal Finance Blog Interviews

Posted on 16 January 2010 by Tim

As you’ve probably noticed, I am a fan of personal finance blogs and podcasts. I find them interesting and motivating and the personal finance community is very supportive and down-to-earth.

Although I like to visit a variety of blogs individually, if you don’t have the time or interest I recommend checking out a few of the personal finance related blog carnivals. These are basically weekly collections of really good blog posts. I like the Carnival of Personal Finance, the Carnival of Debt Reduction and the Festival of Frugality.

Do you have personal finance, investing or money saving questions? If so, comment below and I’ll help you find answers!

I have been lucky enough to have interviewed many of the most popular blogs in this niche including:

I plan to continue interviewing personal finance bloggers. But I also want to drill down and hit on some specific topics. If you have suggestions for what you’d like to learn more about please comment below.

I also wanted to say thank you to all these bloggers for writing amazing articles and (of course) for talking with me!

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Acoustic Artist Jeremy Tuell Strums Nice Tunes

Posted on 15 January 2010 by Tim

I’ve been trying to cover artists and musicians from my area – the Portland, Oregon metro, including Vancouver, Washington. When I put out a message on Craigslist asking for names of great bands I received a flood of responses. One of the better musicians I was directed to is Jeremy Tuell.

Jeremy began playing music in the school orchestra in 5th grade. However, these days you’ll see Jeremy working the strings of a guitar rather than a cello. Jeremy switched when he transferred school as “a Sophomore and my new school didn’t have an orchestra program. Playing guitar was simply more convenient.”

Jeremy is inspired to write about “love, struggles, ambitions, ideas, regrets, [and] pretty much anything I am passionate about at the time.” Tuell performs with drummer Ryne Freed and the two have been on stage at Tomfest Pop Culture and the Bluenote Cafe.

“I was 15 when I first performed at Washougal High School’s Bluenote Cafe, infront of over 200 people,” says Tuell, who recently produced 3-tracks which are available to listen to on MySpace.

Of the three, my favorite is Dreamer, one of the more upbeat tracks. I love the energy and the lyrics are catchy but still meaningful.

Jeremy’s voice sounds a bit underdeveloped, lacking the crispness and range of a more seasoned vocalist. However, he has a great sound overall one that should endear him to female fans.

If you would like to hear Jeremy Tuell live, Jeremy and Ryne will be performing at the Hawthorne Theater, in Portland, Oregon on March 4, 2010.

You can follow Jeremy on Twitter – @JeremyTuell.

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