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Going through the monthly blues today for some reason. Seeing pictures like these, though, make me realize that things will be fine. When I look at pictures of Nebula and galactic collisions, I get a strange feeling that's a combination of feeling slightly insignificant in the overall scheme of things, yet lucky to be alive at the same time. We humans are unique creatures, so I'm in hopes that we don't destroy ourselves.

Tomorrow, some people will give May baskets, and some people will riot.

April has been kicking my ass, so I doubt I'll be sad upon it ending in two days. Like a trooper, though, May should be just as busy, with more garden work, the continuing of the music project, and hopefully more writing. Speaking of more writing, I finally got around to putting up my (long-winded as usual) trip journal for the quick show jaunt this last weekend. I've had complaints in the past that I simply write too much and include too many mundane details, but part of the reason I write the journals is so that I can remember things myself. Not that remembering some guy popping balloons at a busy Perkins will mean anything to me in the future, but I like to include little bits like that anyway.

So yeah, I've been busy. Yesterday, I took quite a bit of a break from the whole computer thing and just got outside and worked in the yard with TG. We planted a whole load of stuff and I started putting a nice little brick border down around the garden area. As of now, we've got a blueberry bush, strawberries, chives, oregano, garlic, and onions planted (along with non-edibles like a couple burning bushes, poppies, tulips, gladiolas, and sunflowers), with potatoes, onions, green beans and more to come this weekend. The ground was super muddy from the recent rains and it was nice to go outside for once and get all dirty while making the yard look better at the same time.

Back already from the quick jaunt to Iowa for the concert and I'm glad I still have a day to get my things together before heading back into work. Although I'm not completely beat down and tired, I am feeling the effects of driving over 8 hours in the course of 2 days time and eating food that is quite a bit less healthy than what my body is used to. In the next couple days, I'll be putting up a slightly more in-depth trip-journal/show review, but the short word on things is that I had a lot of fun. Until then, I'll leave you with a picture from the show (Explosions In The Sky was playing at this point) and promise that more is to come.

Explosions In The Sky

Finished up everything that I wanted to this week (including new music reviews), so I'm ready to head out for a day. Off to see some bands (see Tuesday's entry) and have a good old time hopefully. Writeup and pictures coming soon, I promise.

If I could take a pill that would somehow allow me to feel healthy and rested on only 1 hour of sleep a night, I would be highly tempted to take it simply because there are so many things that I want to do right now and don't seem to have to the time to get them all done. I want to work on music more, I want to read more, and I want to write more. I want to have time to cook fancy meals more than a couple nights a week and I want to get serious about planting a garden. If I didn't have a full-time job, I could probably fit a majority of that all in, but then I wouldn't be able to pay the bills. Anyone know any wealthy institutions and/or benefactors who want to put me on a brain trust? Yeah, I didn't think so...

This Friday night (the 26th), I will be attending the Fridge/Explosions In The Sky/Cerberus Shoal concert at Grinnell College. If you happen to read this site and are going to that show yourself, find me and punch me in the arm (not too hard, I'm fragile) or something and say hello. At this point in the week, I'm super excited to go, but I have to finish up about 20 things before I can.

Four signs that it's a Monday in my world:

  1. You hit the snooze button on your alarm 6 times
  2. Even after doing the above, you still feel beaten-down upon finally getting up.
  3. While at work, you realize that your underwear is on backwards.
  4. Even after discovering the above, you make no effort to change it.

Fortunately, things got better as the day progressed.

I went ahead and dropped for that keyboard that I was talking about yesterday. I was looking to get something that would be good for both studio use, as well as something that would be useful (and sturdy) enough in the future for playing live. After researching the thing for quite some time, decided to go with the Alesis QS-6, which has a soundbank of tons of classic synths and organs. Not only that, but it's expandable for adding basically infinite sounds and it has midi capabilities and other cool features. It's the first real 'toy' I've bought myself since the digital camera about a year ago, and I'm very stoked about playing with it.

I've been writing quite a bit lately, and today I finished up another short piece. I haven't written this much in a long time, and it feels pretty good again. Although I haven't broken out with anything awe-inspiring (obviously, have I ever?), I'm pretty satisfied with the quality and overall voices of the pieces lately.

After sleeping in a bit today, I got up and dug up the majority of the area that TG and I want to use for gardening in our back yard. It's an area that's roughly 10x40 feet, so my shoulders and arms got a workout with the shovel. Even though it was cold out, I worked up a bit of a sweat and was running around in a t-shirt and jeans. Just after lunch, my parents brought in the tiller, and I ran the area over 3 different times while it started to rain. Got the dirt nice and soft, so it's ready to go whenever we get the chance to get outside and get rolling on it.

Tonight was filled with music again, Aaron came over and took a track we'd been working on to Another Level (aka it's starting to sound really damn good). Having lots of fun with the music now, and since playing the trumpet made my insides hurt (too many surgeries and too much scar tissue to get inflammed), I think I'm going to have to purchase myself a keyboard.

I can't believe it took me this long to actually watch Citizen Kane. I'd never seen the the movie all the way through, but I'm glad that I finally sat down and watched it. Although I tend to balk on things that the masses have identified as 'brilliant,' I'm going to have to agree on this one. Welles was a force in the movie, and it was indeed very, very far ahead of its time in terms of camera angles, cinematography, camera tricks (like deep focus, etc) and even the non-linear storytelling structure. I was so engrossed by the movie itself that I sat up until almost 2 in the morning looking through all the suplimental materials on 2-DVD set. The documentary (which also has some good information on the classic War Of The Worlds that Welles orchestrated) on the second disc was particularly great, showing how Charles Foster Kane was a thinly-veiled account of the life-story (and somewhat bizarre fortunes) of William Randolph Hearst. The ensuing battle over the movie pretty much wrecked both men from there out. Welles was a 24-year old wunderkid when he started the movie, given complete control (something only Stanley Kubrick and very few others have received) over the film, but after all the attacks from 75 year-old Hearts' media empire, there wasn't much left for him to do. Even his version of Touch Of Evil was picked apart by the studio, only to be restored to Welles' original wishes 13 years after his death with the help of a 58 page letter he wrote the studio.

Some of the most interesting things to me were the short clips of interviews with Welles from 1982, when he was much older and wiser. He realized he'd made mistakes and suffered for it, and it was almost sad to hear him talking about trying to fund projects for the nearly 50 years after Kane. One quote stuck out in particular, and that was, "It's been about 2% movie making, and about 98% hustling. That's no way to spend a life." Although there was sadness in the realization of what Rosebud was, hearing that quote spoken by the old, rather downtrodden looking Welles had even more resonance (he died 3 years later).

Finished Brief Interviews With Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace this evening, and although I enjoyed it for the most part, it again felt rather hit-or-miss as a whole. After reading two collections of his short stories now (the other was The Girl With Curious Hair), I can pretty much tell after the opening paragraph whether I'm going to like the short story in question. I tend to like his more stripped-down and conversational writing much more than his rather obtuse, intricate detail stories (which I find myself having to practically drag myself through). For that reason, I doubt I'll tackle his novel Infinite Jest, as I've already had about 5 different friends tell me the same thing about it (that they've tried to read it a couple times, but couldn't get through it). At any rate, he has another book of nonfiction (A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again) that I've heard is amazing, so I'll probably check that out sometime soon.

In site news, I finally got a new Lesion Legion story today, and new new music reviews are up (along with a contest tomorrow).

No pictures in this section for awhile, but I found a nice flower in the backyard today that needed to be photographed.

I mean, would you look at the stamen and pistils on that thing? Hott!

Just got home from a 15-hour shift at work. Yes, you read that correctly, I went in at 8 this morning and just got home at 11p.m. The second half of my day was actually spent working font assist for a University baseball game. I'd never done this before, and while I don't particularly enjoy watching baseball, I have to admit that doing the job I did made it pretty darn exciting. Basically, I kept track of all stats, including players, counts, etc, and fed them to a co-worker who created the graphics that went up on the television screen.

In addition to the job at hand, the weather again played an unruley hand and gusts shook the truck we were sitting in before a huge storm rolled in during the closing minutes of the game and dumped a bunch of rain and even some hail onto everything. On top of that, the game was actually pretty close, and a clutch hit at the very end broke a tie and tempers flared. Read about it here. Alas, now it's time for sleep.

I remember a couple years ago when it snowed right around this day in the year, but today it was 90 degrees. On top of that, the wind was blowing 30 miles per hour from the south, which means I had to ride directly into it on the whole way home from work on my bike. Sadly, it made for some soggy bottom action. Do I talk about the weather too much? Perhaps, but Nebraska confounds quite often in that department, so it's usually with wonderment (sometimes negative) that I speak of it.

Worked outside for many hours today, cleaning up the yard, planting different things and generally trying to make the place look a little better. Sunny and 80 degrees, it was a perfect day to get outside and enjoy things. I may have gotten a bit of sun, but no burn.

Aaron and I worked on the music tonight and banged out an entire track in one session. Damn skippy! Sorry to keep teasing, but someday things will be available, I promise.

Donnie Darko is such a strange movie that I'm going to have a hard time explaining it i a short time, so I won't. Instead, I'll tell you that it combines a touch of just about every genre to create something wholly original and interesting at the same time. Time travel, the end of the world, teen angst, and a revisitation of the 80's are all included, and the end will have you thinking about it a bit afterwards, unlike most movies you forget on the walk to your car (or in the few steps to your television to shut it off after watching). Funny, sad, and thrilling at various times, I was glued to my seat/couch.

Also today, I had a music buying extravaganza. So much stuff that I'll be busy for at least the next week trying to plow through it all.

Watched No Man's Land tonight with TG and Aaron and it was really quite good. As you may know, it won the best foreign picture Academy Award this year (instead of Amelie, which I know had a lot of people upset), and after having seen both I don't really think I can say that I liked one better than the other. The main reason for this is that they're two completely different films in tone. One is lighter and more whimsical, while one takes on the absurdities and rather harsh realities of war (despite the somewhat misleading trailer). Both great films in a year in which probably 3 of my top 10 favorites (released in 2001) were foreign (throw Amores Perros in there as well).

Also, Jon Whitney (the main man behind has a HUGE CD collection.

Rented Sexy Beast tonight and I liked it quite a bit, despite it being quite a bit different in tone than I thought it would be. By the trailers and what little I'd heard, I thought that it would be a slight bit more on the darker comedy side of things, but despite a few moments of humor, it was pretty straight. Ray Winstone played the whipped dog part well and Kingsley was ruthless in his role. I can see why he was nominated for an Academy award, but I can also see why he didn't win, since his Don Logan was such an absolute, despicable bastard. The kooky dream sequences were nice in their absurdity, especially the closing scene.

I went into the grocery store tonight after work to pick up a few things, and the cashier and bagger kids said that they liked my shirt, which I realized at the last moment was one that I had made for my site some time ago. I couldn't quite tell if they were being sarcastic or not, since they were doing that giggly sort of laugh that high-schoolers do, and I've been out of high-school so long that my senses aren't quite as finely tuned as they used to be in detecting those sorts of things. At any rate, I told them it was for my website, which drew even more strange looks, and admitted that I was indeed a big nerd.

Then, I booked out of there with my garbanzo beans, spinach, and cauliflower.

Fridge is a group that released my favorite album of last year (Happiness). I am tenatively planning on seeing them in a couple weeks time in concert, which is hugely exciting to me. Today, I noticed that they have a (yet unreleased) full-length track available for download on their website. It's called "Surface Noise And Electric Piano" and in keeping with their aformentioned album, it's quite lovely. Also on the Fridge tip, I got my brand-spankin' new copy of their 2CD reissue of Eph +++ today in the mail. Fridge-tastic!

A busy weekend made even busier with the time change (damn that lost hour!). I finally got off my butt and finished a roll of film, so the photography section is filled up with some brand-new shots. I've also been feeling a little bit more inspired in the writing department lately (mainly because I've been reading some short stories that seem to have a very defined character voice, which I want to emulate more in my writing), so I banged out a new short story this afternoon and posted it. It's completely different than almost anything else that I've written, and I'm pretty happy with how it came out. I do warn you that there's quite a bit of profanity in it, so if you're offended by those sorts of things, cover your ears. If you have any particular comments on it, drop me a line.

I ran across this (via Beth) the other day and forgot to post it at the time. Not for the weak-stomached, it's a message board in which nurses have recounted their most gross encounters at the hospital. Seriously, do not read it if you've just eaten or are about ready to. I have an entirely new respect now for those in the health industry.

I had the music review contest today, and it was over and done with even faster than I thought possible. After uploading, it was approximately 4 minutes until I had three entries with the correct answer. The funny thing is that each person picked a different CD, so I didn't have to ask anyone what their second choice would be. It all worked out nicely, and everyone who won seemed genuinely enthused.

I left work one hour early in the afternoon and the bike ride home was absolutely lovely. After cleaning up the house for awhile, TG and I decided that we should order some takeout Indian food for dinner. Just before we were ready to leave, I looked out the front door and saw the three legged cat (which we affectionately named "tripod") we'd seen our first night moving in to the place. I went outside and sat on the ground, coaxing him with nice words to see if he would come over, and he hesitantly came into our yard and let us pet him.

petting tripod

He's obviously a house cat, since he has tags, and I imagine that since the weather is finally starting to get a little nicer, his owners let him outside once in awhile to run around the neighborhood. Surprisingly, he gets around pretty darn well, and as one would imagine, he's very, very cautious when it comes to crossing the street.

now I'm just a three legged cat

Once again, I've reached sort of a little milestone with the music reviews section. I just posted my 750th review tonight, and to celebrate I'm having a little contest on the site tomorrow in which I'm giving away music and shirts. The last time I gave away stuff, it took quite awhile for people to answer the questions to win stuff, but since that time the readership of the site has gone up a great deal and hopefully people are more interested now. At any rate, I'm happy. Hopefully I can keep up the pace and have a 1000th review celebration in just over a year. Damn.

I realized tonight that somehow the settings on my camera had gotten changed, so I'm going to have a batch of pictures that are either over or underexposed. I got things fixed for the last 10 shots on the roll, but the first three-fifths will be an interesting arrangement of accidents. I haven't been doing much photography this year yet, mainly because I've been busy in other areas, but I'm going to try to start fitting more of it in again, as it's something that I really enjoy doing.

I keep making excuses, which I'm bad at. I need to quit that and just get my shit together. At least I wrote something tonight (no matter how bad it is).

I always end up feeling like a bit of a lazy ass when I take a nap after work, but tonight it was needed. I could feel my body running down pretty hard, and since it was just a Tuesday night, I decided I could afford a break.

Now, I'm back up and feeling pretty darn good. Hopefully I can keep this train rolling until at least midnight, because there are things just waiting to be done and words just waiting to be written.

This year was the first one in awhile that I didn't do anything with my site for April Fools Day. In the past, I'd done different silly things nearly every year, but I just didn't feel like it this year. In fact, I didn't pull a prank the entire day, which isn't that big of a deal either. Maybe I'm turning into a cranky old curmudgeon who doesn't know how to have any fun, but mainly I think it's because I've been too busy lately to spend time thinking about it specifically.

The weather today was beautiful, though, and it seems to be a joke that mother nature is pulling. The temperature reached nearly 70 degrees, and I broke a slight sweat riding my bike home from work. Tomorrow, it's supposed to be in the mid 40's again for a high, and not get a whole lot warmer again for the rest of the week.

Finally, I've finished 2 books in the past 2 days. The first was The Girl With Curious Hair by David Foster Wallace, and the other was Genius by James Gleick. The Foster Wallace was hit-and-miss (with more on the side of hit) for me. Some stories were amazing, and I laughed aloud at several points, which is rare for me. At other times, I was genuinely moved, which is also rare. On ocassion, though, his prose simply bogged me down and I was rendered helpless by the unending details. The Richard Feynman biography Genius was another solid book from Gleick, and a good portrait of a man who was anything but conventional, yet achieved a great deal.

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