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Ah, the week and weekend is zooming along, but HAHA! no work tommorrow. Averaged 1.5 events each day over the course of the past 3 days, and now I have a couple days off with nothing to do but finish a bit (2 items) of holiday shopping and clear my head a little bit before the whirlwind of activity that will be this week and next weekend. So far, everything has been a blast and things in general have been going well.

A couple little music-related things that have made me happy and smile. First off, a small local record store picked Onward+Upward as their release of the year. As a group who's had spotty success in terms of connecting on a local basis, it's a good thing, to be sure. Another cool thing is that only 2 days after posting my readers lists for 2003 in the music review section, I've already gotten 36 different entries from 12 different countries. Sweet!

Oh, and it's been awhile since I posted a puppy picture, so I thought I'd drop this gem of Zoey and Elsa playing. They do a whole "play bite" thing (because they know they're not supposed to bite), and in this picture Zoey was just showing how tough she was.

Let Me Tell You Something...

Tomorrow is my last day of work this year. I hoarded my vacation days away thinking that a long bit of time off would be good for me and I'm really looking forward to getting work on the house done and hopefully some more tracks started for both Marianas and an unspecified solo and/or collaborative project for the future. Things in general are humming along at a good clip and going well. Although I won't be working, the next couple weeks are absolutely packed full of activities, including the holidays and my brothers wedding. Hopefully there will be some sleep in there as well.

Although we've been recording basement jams for some time now in hopes that we can cull bits out and turn them into songs, we had a practice tonight where we recorded some pieces that I really actually think will turn into something excellent. Of course, it's too soon to tell, but I have a good feeling about this one. It made me smile and it was even a bit celebratory. Also speaking of music, I posted my year-end blowout over in the music review section. 6 new reviews along with both a list of my favorite albums of the year and a readers list. I think I'll take a week off now...

There has already been much debate among our band circle about the year-end list regarding music, but Aaron G (aka Jackie T) went ahead and pulled the trigger before all of us with his nicely-designed year-end list. Lots of stuff that will make my list, and very nice to look at with side-scrolling fun. Speaking of Marianas, we just posted a live track from our recent Knickerbockers show over on our downloads page and we're up to number freaking 4 when you do a simple google search for 'marianas.' Hot damn! We're also going to be doing a year-end show of our favorite stuff in the near future on KZUM 89.3 and we're working on another somewhat top-secret project as a surprise...

The first real snow of the year arrived yesterday, and it looks like it's actually going to stick around for awhile due to cold temperatures (tonight the low is 5 degrees fahrenheit). I think we got about 6 inches where I live, although it was somewhat difficult to tell because we also had a lot of wind and some drifting. It was the first time the puppies had seen so much snow and they actually seemed to like it pretty well. We tried to get some pictures of them, but they didn't want to hold still for us very much, instead running around through it with wild abandon and eating mouthfulls of it whenever they felt like it. Out of the 12 or so pictures we took, these two are about the best of the bunch...

Zoey jumping and Elsa preparing to

Wow, I guess it really has been almost a week since I updated the site. As with many recent past weeks, this one has been absolutely crazy. Marianas played a show on Thursday evening and the rest of the week was taken up with either preparing for that or other general life things. I put some new reviews up Friday, but if you check that sort of thing out, you probably already knew that.

Speaking of the music review section, last Friday I had a contest that was sponsored by Warp Records. Not only was that a little surreal (mainly because I've been such a huge fan of Warp Records basically for the entirety of their existence), but it was also one of the first contests on my site where I actually felt overwhelmed. I'd run several contests in the past, and it seems like while there was some interest, it wasn't quite what I wanted it to be. In the past, I'd run trivia questions in which the right answer would win a CD of choice, and sometimes in the past it would take an hour for me to get a right answer (with questions that really weren't too difficult). Last Friday, the format was much the same, but the number of entries that I got surprised me. I pay close attention to the stats and traffic regarding my site, but I guess it took a contest like this to make me realize how many more people read the site than they did even a year ago. With each question I posted, I had between 5-10 answers in the first 20 seconds of posting it. The winners of the 6 CDs were from 4 different countries (United States, Canada, Denmark, Norway), and the entries were even more widely varied than that. Sometimes I get a little bit apathetic about writing reviews, but then something nice like that happens and makes me want to keep chugging along.

On Friday night, TG went out with some friends of hers and I had a night at home with the puppies just taking it easy. I decided that I would rent a movie that I knew she would have no interest in ever watching, so I picked up (ta da!) Star Wars Episode 2: Attack Of The Clones. The reason I hadn't seen the film up to this point was that I'd heard simply how bad it was, and after seeing the first episode simply couldn't bring myself to put myself through it all again. Friday night I was feeling particularly goofy, though, and decided it would be a good idea. Basically, it was like watching actors walk around in a big, fancy cartoon. Although there were definitely some cool sequences and design ideas, there was so much absolutely ludicrous crap that I found myself talking to the screen Mystery Science Theater 3000 style. There were lots of neat-looking character, vehicle, and even architechtural designs, but the whole thing was such a huge waste of time that I know I'll find myself caring even less about the third installment. Surprisngly enough, I don't feel bad about such a large piece of my childhood (I was a HUGE Star Wars fan as a kid) being shat upon with these new movies. Apparently, the people involved with the films have moved forward with different motives behind their films (like selling toys), but I've moved onto different things in life as well. I still have an Ewok stuffed toy somewhere, as well as some old action figures still sealed in their original packages, but they're hidden away with the comics and other memories of another time.

Well, December is here and that means the unveiling of the track that I did for Muted Tones hits the web. I was approached by Josh in roughly June of this year. He'd read some of my reviews, as well as other parts of the site and knew that I was into creating music both as a part of a band and on my own, so he asked me to contribute. I took one look at the site and said that I would. The section that I created the track for is only one part of a much larger site (Tense Forms), which is chock full of interesting media ideas. Coming up with a 10-minute track seemed a bit daunting, but I figured that I had 5 months to complete it.

As November rolled around, I realized that I hadn't started my track yet despite having had it in the back of my head for a long time. Several nights in a row I sat down and started different things, only to discard them because they weren't working out. Just as I was getting ready to panic and wonder whether I could actually pull it off, I had a breakthrough. After I got past that point, everything else just seemed to fall into place from there and I literally worked out the rest of the track as I heard it play out in my head.

I'll be the first to admit that it's not perfect, and maybe not even up your alley. If you're an artist who works on music or painting or whatever else you know that there's always something else you could do given the time, but I'm happy with how this piece turned out and most of all had a blast creating it. If you have a decent connection (after all, it is 10Mb), go check it out and I hope that you enjoy it as well.

Who am I kidding? I know nobody reads this thing anymore other than to see new puppy pictures. Fortunately, I can deliver...

Elsa And Zoey: Ripsnorters extraordinaire

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