As it turns out, there are going to be quite a few excellent music shows coming through the area in the next couple months. This Friday, it looks like I'll be hitting the road with the rest of the group that I'm in to see Four Tet and the Super Furry Animals (if you live in Lawrence, Kansas and read this site, come say 'hello' to me if you see me), then in just over a month (and just a couple days after my birthday), I'll be headed to Lawrence again with a big group of people to see Sigur Ros. The last three months of this year are going to be packed with musical adventures of all sorts it seems, including what is hopefully a release by our band and some live dates as well. My head may be spinning from the sheer amount of things that are going to be packed in, but I suppose that's a good thing, right?
The last day of the three-day weekend and I again packed it full of activities. Slept in for the first time this weekend, then did the usual morning "Grateful Bread" cinnamon roll. From there out, I did some research, put together some work for an as-of-yet top-secret project I'm working on (which will probably never pan out, but I have to try), went rollerblading, and cooked up a huge batch of indian food. TG arrived home safely from her Colorado trip and we exchanged stories and chilled for the evening, but I managed to squeeze in a couple more things. Need more sleep before launching into the next week and the beginning of the new month.
After getting my requisite amount of sleep for the evening (once again stayed up longer than I had planned on), I kicked it around the house for a bit, taking my time eating breakfast and waiting around to see if any mail arrived. Just about the time I was thinking I should get out and do something, Ryan called and needed help moving. He and Teri were back from Italy (where they saw all the wonders of the world as well as Gwyneth Paltrow). Ended up spending a good portion of the day hoofing furniture and everything else to the new house, and while he and Teri still have a load of things to unpack, we got them pretty much out of there old place. After that, came home and worked on surprise, surprise. I probably sound like a broken record (but goddamn it's nice to feel productive), but tomorrow I will jump the groove and go rollerblading, although lifting boxes and running about for 6 hours was a pretty decent workout.
I promise myself I'd keep this short, because I don't want to stay up until 2 in the morning again. I know I said just a couple days ago that I wouldn't talk about the music anymore, but the focus this weekend is on it. Yesterday's brief entry was brought to you after a late night of working on it with Aaron, and we did nearly the exact same thing tonight. A track that we had originally nicknamed, "boring" has blossomed into something quite nice, and we're naming and reworking and kicking around cover designs, etc, etc. Since we'd been recording with a crapola microphone since the day we started (which would probably suprise most who heard what we've done to date), I decided to make the leap and get a nicer, workhorse mic today for an upgrade. Although we haven't officially tested the frequency range yet, I'm thinking it will take us up a notch. Mark my words, sound samples for download within the next 3 weeks.
In addition to the above, I did the recycling, went to the post office, and generally tried to run around outside in the awesome weather as much as possible today. When I was driving, the sunroof was open, and I made excuses to myself to walk to the store two different times. The rest of the weekend is supposed to continue the trend, so I'll have to hit the bike trail when the fuskers game is on so I have it all to myself.
This week's just beginning.
For some reason or another, I was feeling a bit sluggish about writing music reviews this week. Although I check my stats and they tell me that more and more people are coming to the site all the time, I sometimes get a bit insecure about whether people even respect my opinion. It's not that I'm trying to compete with the bigger review sites out there that review music within similar genres, but I at least hope that a couple people out there find my opinion valuable and can look past my somewhat shoddy writing. As if I somehow broadcast my feelings out of my head, I ended up getting a couple emails from random readers in the past couple days telling me to keep up the work, and while it didn't move me into gloating status, it's always nice to receive kind words from people reading what I put a lot of time into every week.
As I sit and type this, I'm a bit anxious knowing that the weekend is looming and I've set things up so I can be ultra-productive. Since I have some of vacation time that I need to burn before the end of the year, I decided to take Friday off from work, and while I could spend all weekend crying my eyes out because TG is heading west to visit some friends, I've decided that I'm going to devote as much time as I possibly can to reading, writing, and working on music. The music thing is what I want to put the most time into, as it's starting to get closer and closer to crunch time, and designs for CDs, websites, and finishing up the actual production itself needs to be done. A prime 7 hours of sleep each night, a couple distracting quick trips to music stores, and the rest of the time spent churning my brain is what I have planned starting tomorrow after work. Rawk.
Looking through some old photo folders on my hard drive tonight, I found this image that I'd manipulated awhile back. The original image is one that I took when in the Dom Kirche in Köln, Germany back in 1996. I don't know what I was trying to do with all the mirror images and whatnot, perhaps something vaguely Giger. At any rate, I thought it looked neat and decided to resucitate it.
Over the course of the past couple days, the weather has made one of those dramatic shifts from one season into another. Temperatures have fallen roughly 20 degrees all around, and suddenly we seem to be in the midst of my favorite quarter of the year. Fall is when the temperature suits my body the most, and it's when I can finally break out all my most comfortable clothing and not worry about sweating profusely. The windows can be left open until early in the evening and the house stays cool enough all day, so that air conditioning is a worry of the past. Even the scents have changed, into something more clean and crisp (despite the imminent decay signaled by fall), and once it freezes in the near future, I'll be even happier (as for now, the allergies still have me a bit congested). Bring on the sweater weather, I say.
Until something else significant happens with the musical project, I'm going to stop mentioning it in this journal. It's not that I don't like making chronicle of little steps and breakthroughs, but I've noticed that after reading through the archives, it seems like there's a lot of work being done with (so far) nothing to offer the public. Basically, we keep working on the music and keep making changes, and it's in the latter stages of development at this point, but if we want to get things done and out the door by the end of the year there's going to still have to be a lot of work done in the next couple months. It's something that can be accomplished, though, and I think that once we sit down and start cracking, things will come together. Until that time, just know that we're doing our best to make things sound really good (and they do already). We're just nitpicky fellows, which is OK, right?
Went rollerblading for the first time in 3 weeks today, and instead of easing into things, I dropped right back into my old routine of a 15 mile trip. The weather was about 20 degrees cooler than the last time I'd been out, and although my lungs weren't quite ready for the colder air, my body welcomed it and I was able to burn right through the trip in near record time. Glad to know I hadn't slipped too much.
The garden is getting close to reaching the end of its days (with the impending freeze), but that didn't stop me from picking almost 2 pounds of green beans tonight, as well as 3 more acorn squash. I'm going to try to transplant the hot pepper plant inside over the winter if I can, though, as it provides some nice color, and spicey food is always nice, although remembering to wash your hands before touching your face (after handling them) is a must.
Sick for part of the day, but ended up bouncing back from it and feeling near-decent for the remainder. Not a whole lot to speak of, as the evening was spent getting things done. One of my tasks for the evening was fixing an accordian (stuck key), and surprised myself by managing to do it without much problem. There was something about taking it apart (not completely, mind you) that really appealed to me, and once I figured out what the problem was and gently corrected it, it felt kind of nice. I don't know a whole lot about playing music, but I really enjoy taking things apart and trying to fix them. Every once in awhile, I think that a more artisan type of work would make me the happiest. There's something about making books, fixing instruments, and creating things with my hands that isn't quite matched by simply clicking a mouse and staring at a computer screen.
Oh, but back to the accordian. Although I've played (which probably isn't the right word for most, given my inability) many instruments, there's something about it that makes it feel more lifelike than almost anything else. Perhaps it's because you hold it so close to your body when playing, it sort of feels like an extension of it, breathing and making a wide variety of beautiful (or not) sounds. For awhile, I simply sat down on the couch and fingered different notes, letting the bellows fall open slowly as I rested my head on top of it. Yay for sound and music.
This week has been frantic (probably reflected by my rather incoherent ramblings). It feels like today should have been Friday, but there's still one more day to go. My goal for the weekend is simple. I want to sleep in just once, but of course I've got to get quite a few things done as well. Nothing much else to say tonight, so you get a picture of green peppers...
Head is spinning this week and I'm trying to keep it facing the right direction. The tube in the monitor of my home computer is about to die, as the screen is shimmeying and shaking every few minutes like a slightly less harsh degaussing. It makes my already tired eyes wish they could convince my brain to go ahead and buy a new one already (a monitor, not a brain). Soon, the final death throe will come, and I'll have to make a decision of whether to go smaller, lighter, and more expensive (mmm...LCD) or once again larger and cheaper, but bulky as a mutherchunker (CRT in the house). Time to shut this shite down and read.
I'll be the first one to admit that I'm not a highly-intelligent person. Granted, I've read quite a few books and did pretty well when I was in school, but I'd much rather consider myself an eager learner than someone who knows it all. I went through a phase in college where I let me ego get the best of me, but soon upon graduating I was quickly launched back into a more modest place, living in the real world on my entirely my own footing for the first time. In the past couple years (and even before that), I've been on sort of an insatiable quest for knowledge about just about as many things as I can think of. I've tried to read books about a huge variety of subjects and retain the knowledge from each as best I could, and I've taken up numerous new hobbies that I've tried to get as good as possible at. In doing all of this, I've realized that although I am fairly knowledgeable about some things, there are just about an infinite number of subjects that I know very little to nothing about. It's this sort of knowledge that keeps me grounded, and has even helped me in keeping a better relation with the rest of humanity. The above sounds like things that maybe most people simply do without thinking, I've noticed it in little places too, such as instead of feeling thankful that I don't have to work in a car garage, I humble myself knowing that I have no idea how to do the repairs that I pay to have done.
Likewise, I know that I used to talk a lot more shite about people than I do now. In college, it was virtually a pastime at some points, ripping on how people dressed or talked, or even how people looked. Although I still occasionally make a sweeping generalization that pokes fun at an overall stereotype (driving through sorority row in town, it's hard to not let something like, 'so like, I was totally at the mall today...'), I've tried to stop making fun of other people for the large part. Again, I think a majority of those old statements were based on sort of a shield of arrogance that I'd built up, which was slowly torn down (in good ways) over time. In more ways than one, I realized that I was fallible, and it again helped me to put things in perspective.
Reading back through the above, I realize it comes across as a lot of rambling, and my intention isn't to be preachy. There have been many times recently, though, that I've been reminded at how petty and cruel people can be and have absolutely no motives behind their actions. Although I shouldn't let it get to me, it's been digging at me more than usual lately, and I just wanted to reflect on it a bit. I'm just an average fellow, but I want to believe in humanity even while there are so many things chipping away at it on all sides. There are people far more powerful making decisions that put the entire human race in danger, so the least we can do is try to be nice to each other.
When I was 12, I got an alarm clock for my birthday that also doubled as a radio. It was a fairly cheapo unit, but it lasted for literally over 15 years, finally breaking sometime just earlier this year before I moved. To replace it, I bought another fairly cheapo clock, thinking that they were all the same, but this new unit flickered once in awhile and gave me some slight problems until it finally broke for good this weekend. It lasted just about half a year, and while I didn't spend that much money on it, I was still a little upset with the shoddy quality and short lifespan (feeling like an old fart, I think I even muttered the phrase, "they don't make them like they used to."). Of course, I'd thrown out all the packaging and whatever else had come with it, so I was resigned to wrap the cord around it and deposit it in the garbage. Risking getting in trouble at our respective jobs, TG and I woke up at just about the exact time as normal, even without a clock, but I went out and got one after work today anyway, just to make sure that no oversleeping happens. The moral of the story is that Westclock sucks, as TG had one that broke after only 1 month of owning it as well.
TG and I had a rather domestic day filled with cleaning and getting things done after the whirlwind that was this last week and the beginning part of the weekend. It was a nice day outside, so we left nearly every window open that we could and the house feels fresh and revitalized now, and we cleaned just about everywhere that we could. As the evening was beginning, I cooked up a big batch of lasagna and some garlic bread with parmesan cheese, then topped that tasty dinner off with a bowl of ice cream. Currently sitting in food bliss and trying to finish some things before ramping up to another busy week.
Oh, and if you're still paying attention (hopefully) to news in regards to our little band project (still un-named, despite coming up with a tenative one months ago), Aaron has another great story up about how different people have reacted to hearing it. Me, I've played it for a couple people as well, and the responses have been fairly positive. It's not a promise, but I think we'll have something up on the web within the month for downloading, then a release by the end of the year (fingers crossed) and maybe some live action as well.
Went to the wedding of friends Ryan Dee and Terry Langan last evening, and it was a great time. A very elegant wedding and a fun reception. I put a bunch of pictures from the reception on another page (to keep this one loading fairly quickly), so if you want to see them, just click on the picture (which is a wacky blurry picture I like that TG took at the reception) below...
I'd meant to see it when it came out in the theatres, but it never showed around here, but tonight I was at the DVD rental place and was surprised to find that The Salton Sea was already available. I'd heard both good and bad things about it, and after viewing it could see both sides of the argument. Overall, I thought it was a pretty enjoyable film with an excellent performance from Val Kilmer (who I really enjoy as an actor, and wish he'd take slightly better films to be in) and Peter Sarsgaard (who's been excellent in every film I've seen him in, despite playing some real bastards). Anyway, it's a bit messy in spots, and seems to be one of those films with lots of 'quirky' characters simply to try to distract you from the sagging parts of the story, but the ending tied things up nicely, even though it was a bit Hollywood. Vincent D'Onofrio was also quite excellent in his role (and seems to be another actor that could fill out meatier rolls in better films). Despite all my whining above, I came away fairly satisfied with it. 7 out of 10.
I had a good Friday the 13th, but 13 is my lucky number (or rather the one I claim if someone asks me, as I'm not really a superstitious person).
I don't think I can express how much I hate spam mail. Since I started my site several years back, I created different aliases for people to email me from (based on what section they were in). Over time, those emails have been harvested by different groups and I've had to build up a list of email addresses that I no longer let through because they've been hit so hard. Through my main email account (which would be a lot harder to change, since it's the one that nearly everyone communicates to me through, I still get 3 or more crap emails a day, and things seem to be increasing at a fairly dramatic pace. I may have to buy some filtering software, as it could get pretty sick.
In other news, the crazy busy week continues, but I still managed to write some new reviews. As a friend of mine so eloquently stated awhile back, "I'm going to sleep the hell out of Saturday morning." Indeed.
I didn't turn the radio on once today. I didn't watch any television (which is normal anyway), and I didn't read any stories on any of the major websites about what happened a year ago and what's happened since then. Instead, I looked through archives of personal sites on the web and had a couple one-on-one conversations with people that I know about what they remember and their feelings. There's information and stories everywhere you turn, but so many of them feel slightly tainted in that they have other goals (higher ratings, political clout) behind them other than the actual rememberence. I don't need heartwrenching background music and a news anchor to tell me how to feel, so when it becomes impossible to filter anything (as it was today), I find it's easiest just to distill it down to individuals and their stories, because in the end it's about people anyway.
This week is absolutely insane. I have something nearly every night after work, and a wedding this weekend (Ryan (a fellow bandmember) and Teri). Even though I've been getting about the usual amount of sleep each night, I still feel like I'm running a bit behind already, but maybe I am staying up later than normal. Looking through my journal, I noticed that I haven't finished a book in quite awhile, and that's partially due to not reading quite as much as I was about 2 months ago, and partially attributed to the fact that I currently have started 7 books and am varying degrees through all of them (including about one-fourth done with an 800 pager). Eventually, I'll knock them all down, but until then I've got more hot garden pictures for you.
I know it's been awhile, but it's time for another garden update. Tonight when I got home from work, I went down to the garden and finally harvested all the green beans that I'd been eyeing for just over a week now. It turns out, there were even more than I had suspected, and I ended up picking well over a pound. In addition to that, I found a couple green peppers, a few hot peppers, and even two squash that were nicely sized too. After I got everything prepared, I made an mild Indian stew with much of the fresh things that came out tasting quite good. TG gets to pose with the bounty, as she's much more cute than I am.
Mouser stopped through town on his cross-country journey today, and it was good to see him. The last time I saw him, it was back in 2000 for the New Mexico trip, so it had been a good deal of time. At any rate, he stopped by for a couple hours, and I showed him the place and we went out for breakfast and had a good chat. Fun to see him again, and as usual the inside jokes were flying at high velocity (which left me explaining numerous references to TG).
Also, worked on music again a little bit today (which went a lot better than last evening) and tonight as usual. Aaron (who has a cool story regarding our musical project up on his site) and I started yet another new track. Those who read this site and make music themselves probably know as well as we do that the hard part isn't starting a song, but finishing it and making it sound really good in the process. It's true that there are tracks which practically write themselves, but the majority of the time it's not quite so simple.
A partial list of things done today
- took in car for oil change
- did recycling
- went to music store (didn't find anything I wanted)
- bought a sweet aluminum laptop case on ebay
took a nap
- went to a little party
- worked (rather unsuccessfully) on some music.
Tonight, TG and I went out for some tasty Thai food at the place near our house, then decided to rent a DVD and just chill out for the evening. For some reason or another, we decided on Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back. I guess I'd heard it was funny somewhere or the other, and we were both in the mood for something silly after a long string of serious movies, so we decided to go with it. Getting to the point, the movie was pretty horrible. I know the whole point of the movie was to make fun of people who get on the internet and slag movies, but I've seen other Kevin Smith films and actually found them much much more consistent. Scene after scene in this film just left me wincing with unfunny dialogue and painful "cheeky" or "in" references that were supposed to be clever I guess. Don't get me wrong, there were a couple points that I genuinely chuckled a bit, but there were so many unfunny and/or painful moments (cameo appearences do not a movie make) that it nearly wiped everything that was decent about the film (not much) from my memory. I'd give it maybe a 1.5 or 1.75 out of 10. Maybe I would have liked it better if I was a 14 year old boy, but somehow I doubt it. I guess it's not my turn to pick the movie next time.
Oh, and for all you Boards Of Canada fans out there, Warp Records announced that November 25th is the date for the groups elusive Twoism re-release. Sweetness!
Saw the doctor today for a weird body issue and it turned out to be much less severe than I'd worked myself up for. Since I've had so many odd problems with my body (keloid formation, cyst in my neck, 2 hernia operations, 5 eye operations, etc), I formed all the worst-case scenarios in my head beforehand, and even couldn't get to sleep until really late one night because I had so many different things playing out in my head. As mentioned, though, it really isn't any big deal, and isn't really anything I feel like discussing here. I guess I inherited the constant-worrier gene from my Grandma...
More action than words this week. That doesn't really mean that I have a ton to show for it, but alas I've been keeping myself quite busy. Piling up little actions behind-the-scenes, which is fine by me. Since I've got nothing else to say today, I guess it's time to break out the old kitty photos...
TG and I did a good bit of gardening for the first time in a long while tonight. After coming to the hard realization that the corn stalks were going to produce nothing but smut, they were unceremoniously chopped down and the roots were pulled up to make room for some other things. I dug up a couple potatoes, just to see if anything was going on with them and was surprised to find a few that were more than 2 inches in diameter. TG pruned back the tomato plants, which had all gotten a bit out-of-control, and I transplanted a green pepper plant so it would get more light (and transplated the long-suffering brocolli plant to a place where it will hopefully kickstart itself again). Also managed to do a bit of weeding, as well as finally planting all the smaller things we'd started in pots on the patio. Hopefully we can squeeze a good month of growing and vegetables out before we get our first freeze and everything starts retreating for the year. I know that before it happens, I'll be tempted to uproot some plants and bring them inside to the keep them going over the winter, but it will probably be rather futile, as we don't have the room or window space needed for light (if only we had a greenhouse).
Cleaned the house a little bit today, then went to the garden and found literally almost a half-pound of green beans that were ready to pick. Took them inside and prepped everything else, then made a big batch of curried vegetables and brown rice with peanut butter-banana sauce. The spices had me in my usual blissful state after a full bowlfull. After that, worked on the music with the entire group for a good chunk of the evening and we sort of banged out another shorter track for the disc. Chugging right along...
Also, today I opened back up The Photo Trust Project. I mentioned it a couple weeks back, but a reader of the site was inspired enough to launch her own camera and sent it to me. I included it on the site as Episode 11 in hopes that people would get a kick out of it (as I did) and maybe it would inspire some movement among the current M.I.A. cameras. Probably not, but it's worth a try.
Slept in, indeed. Read the paper like a usual Sunday morning, then met with the fam for a lunch at the rather gross Applebee's (where TG and I ordered two of the only things on the menu without meat and still felt a little ookey in the stomach after eating there from the amount of grease on the food). Had a rather lazy afternoon dinking about, then worked on music with Aaron tonight. Finished up another track and polished another, then mixed down most of the tracks that we're thinking will be included on the release and the total time of the thing is just a smidge under 40 minutes. Slowly but surely, things are coming together... Looking forward to another day off from work.