2011: Already too busy

January 14th, 2011

Seems like I just got my land legs back, and already I have a lot going on. To sum up a few things that are happening:

1. Yes, I am doing a song for Portal 2, and no it’s not quite finished yet. But while the success of Still Alive is an impossible thing to live up to, I’m pretty happy with how this new one is turning out. I can tell you that the game itself is also going to be great, regardless of how badly I screw up the song. Look for more news on all of that soon.

2. The new album is back in my sights, after the cruise stole all the attention for a few weeks. I’ve got a few more songs to write and record, but already there are 11 great tracks that I’m extremely excited about. You’ve heard a few of them at shows or maybe caught the performances on YouTube, and to my relief and delight you’ve given me a lot of positive feedback. Thank you. I guess you just haven’t heard the bad ones yet though (sigh).

3. Touring! Yes, I am playing shows again. I’m putting together a larger mass email and post and everything, but in the near term I have San Francisco, LA and Denver next week, Pittsburgh and Baltimore and Philadelphia the week after, and then Seattle, Vancouver and Portland in February. Some of these will be with the band, others will be standard acoustic shows with Paul and Storm. Check my show calendar for details.

4. The next cruise: as difficult as it is for me to plan ahead, I think it would be smart to start thinking about the next JoCo Cruise Crazy. This last one went so well, we’d be nuts to never do it again. I’d like to get some feedback from everyone though, just to see how this one went for you if you were there, and what things might most entice you to join us on the next one if you weren’t. If you have a moment, please take the poll here.

More news as it happens…

An Open Letter to the Sea Monkeys

January 10th, 2011

That was amazing. Don’t believe me?

Somewhere in between when we decided to do this and when it actually happened, I started to get a little freaked out. It felt like maybe this time I had gone too far, asked for too much. What were we thinking setting up a thing like this? We talked a bunch of our professional entertainer friends into giving up a week of their time, and then suddenly people were plunking down large sums of money to attend, and the whole thing was a big unknown. Would it be fun? Would the ship lose power and need to be towed back to port while we all suffered from gastrointestinal distress? Would I be stabbed by a crazy fan? (yes, no and no). But the main source of my anxiety was wanting everyone to have a good time, and that anxiety disappeared the moment we were all together. That’s all because of you guys. I’ve said it before, and I need to say it again here: I have the greatest fans in the world.

For me the strongest illustration of your awesomeness was the JoCo Karaoke nights. Person after person got up there to sing their favorite song in front of me and everyone else. Some of them were great, some of them were, let’s just say, “not great,” but every single person without exception was strongly supported and loudly cheered. I’m pretty sure the worst singers got the biggest response.

That inclusiveness and enthusiasm covered everything like delicious buttercream frosting. The Paul F. Tompkins mustache formal was a ridiculous idea that everyone embraced wholeheartedly in a way that made me absolutely giddy. The gaming room was stuffed full whenever I saw it, and stayed active until the early morning hours. The swing dancing, the iPhone handbell concert, the Fancy Pants Parade – all the little unofficial things that came directly from you guys made the whole thing special in a way that I did not anticipate.

Of course all of the performers were wonderful, as I knew they would be. I was delighted to watch some of you hear and see a few of them for the first time, but it was even more exciting to watch them meet YOU. Everyone felt welcomed and loved, and I was not surprised, because that’s how you make me feel all the time no matter how much I suck (witness: you loudly applauded the very worst performance of The Presidents I have ever done). It’s a great pleasure to have such complete trust in an audience, and it makes me very happy to put some of my favorite performers and you in the same place together.

So thank you for everything. I hope you had as wonderful a time as I did. Too much to say. In no particular order:

Paul F. Tompkins: I hope you will not take offense to the various ways we joked about your absence on the ship, we were only trying to make ourselves feel better about missing out on your company and talent. His website is paulftompkins.com, his twitter is @PFTomkins, his podcast is pft.libsyn.com.

Paul and Storm: Thank you for all your hard work and anxiety sharing, I could not have done this without you. Their website is paulandstorm.com, their twitter is @PaulandStorm, their podcast is paulandstorm.com/archives/category/podcast.

John Hodgman: Thank you for your mustache, which is growing on me even more than it is growing on you. His website is areasofmyexpertise.com, his twitter is @Hodgman, his podcast is maximumfun.org/shows/judge-john-hodgman.

Wil Wheaton: You are an inspiration, and I hope you don’t take offense, but the main reason I’m glad you were there is that I finally got to meet the famous Nolan and Ryan. His website is wilwheaton.typepad.com, his twitter is @WilW.

Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy: You are as warm and fun as you are talented, I’m a bigger fanboy than would make you comfortable if you knew. Their website is rifftrax.com, their twitters are @kwmurphy and @BillCorbett.

Molly Lewis: You continue to kick ass in a way that makes the rest of us kind of hate you a little, in a good way. Her website is sweetafton23.com, her twitter is @Molly23, her YouTube channel is youtube.com/user/sweetafton23.

Mike Phirman: See above. You killed, as I suspected you might. His website is mikephirman.com, his twitter is @phirm, his amazing album is music.mikephirman.com and you should please give him money for it.

Stepto: Thank you for stepping in at the last minute and thanks for protecting us all from douchebags. His website is stepto.com, his twitter is @Stepto, his book is stepto.com/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=641.

John Roderick: And you thought you didn’t belong there. Thanks for letting us do Commander with you. His band is called “The Long Winters” (which I think I failed to mention even ONCE), their website is thelongwinters.com, his twitter is @johnroderick, and there is plenty more where that came from.

Peter Sagal: Doing that quiz show with you reminded me that I am not quick-witted enough to ever do what you do – you have a superpower. His website is petersagal.com, his twitter is @petersagal.

David Rees: Your enthusiasm is infectious, your talents are vast and difficult to describe, and your pencils are very sharp. His website is mnftiu.cc, his twitter is @letsgetshort, his many projects are to numerous for me to link to here but all wonderful.

Liz: I am speechless, and can only croak out “Thank you.” Her twitter is @Dammit_Liz, her skillz are mad.

Finally, I just want to link here to the winners of the video contest, which for technical reasons could not be shown onboard as planned. Thanks to everyone for spending time on this, your videos were all great.

The winner:

The runners up:

ENOUGH! Thank you one and all, I hope to do this again, and I’ll let everyone know as soon as I know where and when and how.

The Cruise is Real

December 14th, 2010

I think I’m just coming to this realization – hundreds of people are all getting ready to get on a giant boat January 2nd for some fun in the sunblock on a crazy little thing called JoCo Cruise Crazy. There have been a lot of swirling details to figure out, but it’s all starting to come together (and just in time because, uh, it’s only 19 days away). It’s going to be REALLY GREAT. I’m also just now realizing that it probably means there will soon be pictures of me in my bathing suit floating around the internet. Hooray?

In case you don’t follow the JoCo Cruise Crazy blog, which you really should because David Rees has hijacked it and made it sing, we’ve just posted the official schedule of events. There’s a big concert/show every evening, a couple of morning events on the days we’re at sea, and a few blocks of time in rooms dedicated to gaming and playing Rock Band. We’re also still working on a few semi official hangout situations, places and times to be determined. Rest assured though, we’re trying to leave space to enjoy the cruise itself, which means we’re trying hard not to schedule anything to interfere with enjoying the days we are in a port (at port? On Port? Au Port?).

Are you too lazy to click on links? OK then.

Now if you will excuse me, I have to go lose 20 pounds.

Aw, You Guys

December 1st, 2010

I’m 40 years old today. It seems unlikely that this could have happened, but apparently the passage of time also applies to me. It’s a big number, and I know this particular birthday is notorious for making people feel old and freaked out, but I actually feel pretty good. I try never to forget how lucky I am – I’ve got a family I love, a career and a body of work I’m proud of, and in general my life includes a lot of very good stuff. A number like 40 is such a small part of the picture it’s barely worth talking about. Of course it doesn’t hurt that you folks are STILL here paying attention to me. I continue to be thankful for that.

It seems to have become a tradition for a few fans to get together and make me a birthday present every year, and it always flatters and amazes me. I know you are listening to the music because I can see you buy it, and I can hear you singing along at shows, but to actually watch the stuff that I put out there echo off of you and come back to me in this way is just remarkable. Thank you.

OK. Now, who wants to give me a colonoscopy?

The Season of Giving

November 22nd, 2010

Uh-oh, he’s blogging, he must want something.

No no! Ha ha, it’s funny you would think that. Very funny. I only wanted to remind you that the holiday season is upon us, the time of year when you buy things to give to other people. “Gifts” they are called. Just in case you are stuck for ideas, may I recommend a few options? Having nothing to do with me of course, these are just things I think a lot of people would REALLY LOVE to have:

Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti

This is the only place you can get the newest released Jonathan Coulton song “The Princess Who Saved Herself” and some of your $$$ will go to the Haitian People’s Support Project. Even aside from that, it’s a terrific collection of family music. Also available at Amazon.

Jonathan Coulton USB Thumb Drive

If you don’t care about Haiti or helping people or families, you can always purchase the Jonathan Coulton USB Thumb Drive. It’s got all the music I’ve ever released in high quality mp3 format (except not the above-mentioned princess song, and not the DVD stuff), plus artwork, plus source tracks for everything on JoCo Looks Back. You can even buy a pre-autographed version through Topatoco.

Jonathan Coulton Tshirts

There’s a mess o’ nice ones over at Topatoco.com, including a couple that I never have with me at shows, and so to the Jonathan Coulton fan on your holiday gift-giving list, they may be new and fantastically special. (OK, that last one is through CafePress, which we all know makes kind of terrible shirts. I mostly include it so the table is even. But still!)

First of May Laika
Code Monkey Re Your Brains
Skullcrusher Mountain JoCo Like You

Really I am just trying to help you. I’m a helpful guy.