I haven't written in awhile, but as usual things have been busy around here. I just finished putting down the final coat of clear polyeurethane on the guest bedroom floor today, so that room is getting nearer completion. Need to do some more painting and some touchup in the closet, then it will be ready to roll.
One thing that I haven't mentioned yet here is that I changed jobs. I have a policy of not talking about much of anything work-related on my site, but I can say that after just about 6.5 years with Nebraska Educational Telecommunications, I decided that I needed a bit of change. My new job is with the University of Nebraska doing website design, so the actual jump in what I'm working on isn't a mighty leap. My first week there just concluded Friday and I'm excited about learning some new things and taking on some different responsibilities. At the new job, I've made the jump to working on an Apple computer for the first time in many moons. The first computer that I bought for myself was actually an Apple Performa 450, but that was way back in the day before computers even really came with CD drives (aka ancient). Now, I'm working on a souped-up G5 with loads of RAM and OS X and I have to say that it's a tribute to Apple that the actual working environment hasn't really changed that much overall. I'm a big fan of some of the slick new functions of the recent Apple OS. To be honest, the hardest transition to make comes down to one little key on the keyboard. I'm so used to shortcut keys on my PC that are operated with the CTRL key that the Function key on the Apple has forced me to adopt two different mindsets (one for home and one for work). As I've been known to say before, though, '... it's all good.'
In the process of running some errands today, I noticed that a local hardware store was having a whopping 75 percent off all their plants. After snooping around, I picked out three very nice spirea bushes (in 2-quart containers) which ended up costing me a grand total of five dollars and fifty cents. Knowing a freeze was possible this evening, I rushed right home and planted them in the front bed alongside some other plants that were similar but that'd we'd paid far much more money. It probably shouldn't have been one of my more excited points of the day, but I think maybe it was. Oh yeah, that and the takeout order of delicious Indian food that TG and I split when she got home from her thrifting adventure.
Scatterbrained is what you get when I don't update for days and my hands are already starting to dry and crack from the changes in the weather. This is the time of the year when I want to talk politics with almost everyone I run into. 4 years ago, I probably would have, yet I've found myself picking my discussions much more carefully this year. My mind swings back and forth from being positive about everything to absolutely and convincingly angry, but another thing I've learned is to keep an even demeanor about it all. In a couple weeks from tonight, I'll probably be a wreck.
This past week has been one filled with the rock and roll. As I mentioned last month (yes, it's been awhile since I updated), Marianas had a show as part of the Lincoln Calling music festival. It was a week ago on Saturday night and we played with one band from Lawrence (Ad Astra Per Aspera) and one band from Ames (Envy Corps). Although there were a few small glitches that always seem to pop up during our shows, I felt like it was one of the better sets we'd played in awhile. We actually planned it out to have all the songs blend together from start to finish and it made for less talk and more rock. The recording didn't come out so hot (I was testing a new microphone and it obviously wasn't meant to be used without a pre-amp for loud stuff), but we will play again someday I promise. As the familiar refrain goes, now it's time to work on new stuff. Lastly, speaking of new stuff, guitarist/singer/theremin-man Ryan Dee put together a brand-new super-sweet Flash website for the band, so if you haven't checked out our site in the past week, you should definitely look again.
The second show of the week was Statistics and The Prids the evening following our show and I was expecting more from Statistics. Although I didn't give their record a grand rating, I thought there were some good things going on, but all of it was pretty much stripped away for the live setting. Instead of including any electronics, the group played as a power-pop trio and it didn't interest me too much. There were some hooks, but it was all quiet/loud, quiet/loud, no in-between. The Prids had some super wicked songs in their set that sounded like an update of Joy Division, but I wasn't completely blown-away. Regardless, it was a nice step-up from the earlier band and it capped off the evening with much more unique sounds (which is exactly what I needed).
On Monday night, I travelled to Omaha with some friends to see Mouse On Mars expecting to see something interesting but was completely blown away by what was easily the best show I'd seen this year and possibly the best of the past couple (vaulting into my top 5 of all-time). Following The Junior Boys and Ratatat (both decent, but not great), Mouse On Mars took the stage as a trio with Andi Toma on bass/tones, Jan St. Werner on electronics and Dodo Nkishi on drums/vocals. To put it into simple terms would be to say it was freaking mindblowing at times. Individual drum pieces (and vocals) of Nkishi were all patched into the huge bank of electronics that St. Werner was controlling and on top of running various squishy electronic sounds, he was filtering things in real time while Toma layed down some odd basslines and Nkishi blew minds on the drums. It was the most synced-up outstanding job I've ever seen a band do pulling off the mixture of organic instrumentation and electronics and the intricacies kicked my ass. I was dancing and basically constantly saying "holy shit" as they played. Again, in simple terms it sounded like what futuremusic is supposed to sound like. If you get the chance, GO SEE THEM! If they could capture their live-show essence on record, they'd probably be sitting on the top of my list for the year.
Lastly (and not really least), TG and I and just about everyone else in Lincoln went to see The Pixies last night and it was a total blast. I guess it would be easy to call it a cash-in tour, but it seemed like everyone in the group was having a complete blast playing and they were tight as hell. It was like a greatest-hits parade as they rolled out song after classic song and people sung along and pumped their arms. The mix was a smidge off at times, but that can probably be blamed on the acoustics of the setting as much as anything. Although I've never been as big of a fan of the group as some people, I came out of the show a much bigger one than before and will definitely be carting Surfer Rosa and Doolittle to work this week for my listening enjoyment.