8.31.2008


K-W Memories

1984 and the first few months of the next year I spent working at K-W Manufacturing. It was like a factory job, at least that’s how I would describe it. I would take all these round quartz crystals and place them on machines that ground them down to certain thicknesses, which would cause them to emit radio frequencies---the thinner the crystal, the higher the frequency (and the greater chance that many would be broken during the beveling process).

It was a typical day job. I showed up at 7:00, drank copious amounts of coffee and worked for 8 hours until 3:00 with a half hour for lunch. I was never much of a morning person. I had a routine, every single morning before I did anything else I would go to the bathroom sink, splash myself with icy water and sing to myself, “Cold water in the face/brings you back to this awful place.” A lyric from “The Magnificent Seven” by the Clash. I repeated it like a mantra and, sure enough, it seemed to bring me around. At least until I got to work and started in on the free coffee.

There were only about 10, maybe 15 people working in the section of the plant where I was stationed. I got to know all of them as well as you’d want to get to know your co-workers. There was a lot of down time spent waiting for crystals to be ground to a certain pitch and sometimes we would stand around doing crossword puzzles, giving out the clues with everyone trying to answer them.

The guy who sat next to me was named Brad. Most of the time I worked there he and I got along just fine. There was a point where we began to hate each other, but I couldn’t tell you why or if there even WAS a reason other than just being sick and tired of such close proximity on a daily basis.

He started bringing books to work and he’d read them in between checking his work. I thought, aha! What a great idea! I read “The Catcher In The Rye” while on the job. I read a lot of books there, actually, until the head supervisor decided he didn’t like the looks of it. He laid down the law and out literary pursuits were stifled.

Brad found a girlfriend and they got engaged. Her name was Beth and she was a very attractive woman…you know what I’m going to say, don’t you?…much hotter than he deserved. I’d been married for a couple of years so he was always wanting to talk about that. Somehow, some way, I couldn’t tell you why if I tried, the conversation steered itself to a dare. I told him I would make a cassette tape recording of my wife and I fooling around in bed if her would do the same with Beth. Then we would swap tapes.

I am almost positive that I did not expect him to take the whole thing seriously. But, lo and behold, the next day he showed up with a tape and gave it to me. I was surprised, to say the least, but I was also very curious to hear it. I mean, Beth was a real looker.

The recording was well made. You didn’t have to see what was going on…in fact, the pictures in your head would be preferable because then you wouldn’t have to see Brad’s dog-ugly face. I don’t know if it pissed him off that I never reciprocated by giving him a tape of one of my own whoopee sessions with the wife. But surely he didn’t think I was being serious about any of it, and if he decided to actually follow through on his part then that’s all of his own accord.

But, as I said, I don’t think he got too awful mad…he and Beth accepted a dinner invitation from us. We had never invited anyone over for anything like that before, so it was all new to us. Barbara made manicotti and we’d bought a bottle of wine. I had also picked up a bottle of rum along with pina colada and strawberry dacquiri mixes.

The night went well, I thought, although it turned a little weird late into it…I say “weird”…it wasn’t really “odd”, it was just unexpected and we didn’t know how to react.

The alcohol had already started it’s work, I suppose. I don’t remember exactly what we were doing most of the night, but I certainly recall when Brad and Beth started making out right in front of us. They got into a lip-lock, held onto each other like drowning sailors and lowered themselves to the floor as if they were in a hotel room of their own. Barbara and I were unsure what we should do, so we decided to make out ourselves. We didn’t make it to the floor, though. God knows what would have happened if we’d wound up down there with them? Young love.

I have no memory of them leaving. The next thing I can recall is kneeling in front of the bowl puking out enough rum to make me swear the stuff off for the rest of my life (which I have had no problem doing). I was swooning. It was one of very few times I have ever been really and truly sloshed. I was so sick I couldn’t go to sleep. I left the bed and went into the living room to watch some TV. I thought the distraction might keep my mind off of just how wasted I was. I wasn’t having any luck until my channel surfing landed me on USA Network’s “Night Flight”. The Grateful Dead were performing. It was the acoustic concert from the Fillmore that was released on the “Reckoning” album. I lay there and watched that concert and let the music calm me. Next thing you know I’m feeling good enough to fall asleep. Ever since then I have been a true Dead Head.

There was another guy I worked with, I think his name was Jeff. He wasn’t one of the smartest guys I’ve ever known. We didn’t talk too much. There was one time, however, when I accompanied him to the bank to cash our paychecks. I think I’d already cashed mine, though, because I’m almost certain I didn’t make any transactions that afternoon. We were in his van, stopped at the drive-through. When they sent back the money envelopes there were three instead of two (Jeff and a friend of his had both cashed checks). He handed me the third envelope. I’m sure he thought it was mine. Nothing was said about it.

I peeked into it…and there was THREE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY FIVE DOLLARS !!!

Now, if that were to happen today I would, without hesitation, point out the accident to the bank folks and return the money. But it just wasn’t that way back then. I wound up spending it all on phonograph records and a hanging lamp. Yep, that’s a lot of records, cuz’ that lamp couldn’t have cost any more than twenty bucks.

The only other thing I remember about the job at K-W was the foreman, a weasly hermit named Alan. He had a reputation for being a strange individual, and he would often speak of the acid trip that was so bad that it made him give up drugs altogether. He turned to God in the guise of Herbert W. Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God. He was always going on about how the Roman Catholic Church was the Beast of the Revelation. He had tracts from Armstrong’s ministry which purported the same and much more drivel (a lot of Sabbath and Old Testament Festival resurrection). He proselytized so hard for that cult it was ridiculous. His main method of evangelism was to try and make other denominations look foolish, like they were all bogus (as I’ve since learned is the practice of more than one orthodox Christian sects). I was a Methodist, and he was constantly insulting me about it. His bullshit spiel was one of the main reasons I walked off the job one hot afternoon in March, 1985.

The job I worked prior to K-W was at the ice plant. I froze my ass off there. If memory serves, my duties were to chop ice from a huge block, put it in a grinder then bag it when it was done. That sounds about like what I did there, but I could be wrong. It wasn’t a very memorable employment.

Then after I left K-W I joined the Navy. I didn’t think I could find work anywhere. My wife was pregnant and it became very obvious that drastic measures were in order. Thus I found myself in Orlando, Florida, not knowing what the hell I was doing there. I should have known it would never work. I am the exact opposite of the kind of person who can make it in the military.

8.30.2008

I finally got the laptop connected to the internet via the router. I would explain the whole gory details but I'm emberassed because it was something I should have figured out when we set up the network. At any rate, I'm up and running so you'll probably see more posts. Not necessarilly "quality" posts, but posts nonetheless.

If you've checked in the last few days you will no doubt remember that I bought a coconut. I don't usually buy coconuts. I don't even know if I LIKE fresh coconut. Every few years I think I just have to have one, perhaps to remind myself whether or not I enjoy them.

I cracked that coconut open last night and it smelled so nasty. I don't know if I got a bad one or what. If not I think I'll make it a point to make a mental note of how nasty it was so that in the future I won't waste my money.

The reason I'm thinking it might be a bad one (besides the smell) is because there appeared to be some kind of bruising on parts of the meat and when it was extricated I saw what looked like mold on the inner shell. I could be wrong...maybe that's what all coconuts look like when they're opened. Even so, it doesn't matter. The only way I'll eat coconut ever again is if I get stranded on Gilligan's Island.

"Hello, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Sarah Palin. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce my grandfather..."

8.29.2008

Yet another MySpace questionnaire. I had so much fun doing the one from a couple of days ago I thought I would waste a little more time and do another.

Enjoy and learn.

Pick a word that begins with the first letter of your last name?
.....Crap

Your ex shows up randomly at your house, what do you say?
....."I'm sorry, who did you say you were? I don't recognize you."

Have you ever caught anything on fire?
.....When I was a kid I burned a bunch of Black Sabbath records in a desperate attempt to make myself feel like I was doing God a favour . What a dolt. At least they were available on CD by the time I was able to replace them.


Is there anyone that you care more about than yourself?
.....Carrot Top......NO! Just kidding! I hate Carrot Top.

How many bedrooms are in your house?
.....Well, there were three but we converted one into an office, so I guess the answer to the question is THREE BEDROOMS, one of which houses a computer and shelves of books instead of a bed.

How many times have you been to the ER?
.....I have never been to the equestrian races.

Is your (MySpace) profile private? Why/why not?
.....Of course it's not private. What fun would that be? I was around here before there were such things as "private profiles". As for WHY my profile is NOT private...I don't think I'm stupid enough to put anything out there that's going to mandate a private profile. Not to say that people who have private profiles are stupid or gullible, I just don't see the need for it. I WANT people to see my profile. I put a lot of work into it. I like the way it looks and I don't mind sharing what little there is anyone could get to know about me through it (very little). I guess it all depends on why people are here...


Do you drink soda?
.....Once, in a blindfolded test, I asked a friend to drink from two different cups. One was full of Mountain Dew. The other contained about 6 ounces of my urine. He could not tell the difference.

Have you ever been on an airplane?
.....A couple of times. Airplanes are cool, but helicopters are better (not joking there..they used to give helicopter rides in Branson and I went on one of those...now that's fun, flitting through the sky with only a glass bubble between you and gravity's pull).


Marriage in your future?
.....Yes. I don't doubt that someday my son will get married.

Is McDonald's disgusting?
.....I have only recently stopped eating at McDonalds, after getting some gristly meat on a few double cheeseburgers. I don't know if it's always been that way and I just didn't notice it...or if the situation is a recent one, but it all boils down to the same conclusion...I ain't eatin' there no more.

Do you like your life?
.....I like it better than the alternative (at least for now).


Do you have trust issues?
.....There's no thing as a trust "issue". If you've got a "trust issue" that's the same thing as saying you're a "realist".


In the past 24 hours have you been under the influence?
.....Unfortunately not. I ran out a couple of days ago. (hardy har har, right?)

How has this past week been for you?
.....It's made me older.

Who are you disappointed in right now?
.....I really don't think I'm in any position to be disappointed with ANYBODY right now. Maybe Jerry Springer.


Do tattoos and piercings excite you?
.....I don't have either, so how would I know? ;)

Is there a reason for your myspace song?
.....I don't have a MySpace song, I have a Project Playlist music player stuffed to the brim with Sigur Ros songs. The reason? Because as far as I'm concerned they are the best band of all time.

Do you hate the last girl/guy you were talking to?
......Hate is a strong word and should be reserved for something a lot more despicable than any girl or guy I might have been talking to. If you're going to hate, at least store it up for those who deserve it (bin Laden, Al Queda, the Taliban, Carrot Top).


What are you listening to?
.....Nothing right now. Just a moment ago I heard my own laughter when I wrote the thing about hating Carrot Top. Before that I was listening to Sun Kil Moon's "April", which I played through twice.


How good is Coca-Cola?
.....It's pretty good but it was a lot better when they used cocaine instead of caffeine.

Will you be in a relationship 4 months from now?
.....Not if I can help it.

Last thing you ate?
.....I ate a chicken fried steak dinner w/french fries, corn, cole slaw and a slice of Texas toast. I didn't really care all that much for it. I don't generally eat chicken fried steak but I decided to do something different. I wish I hadn't now. In fact, in retrospect, I think I would have rather eaten a dog turd than chicken fried steak. Maybe tomorrow.

Have you ever thrown up from drinking?
.....Only from drinking alcoholic beverages. Of course I have. I remember one time I drank a six pack of Michelob Extra Dark, a couple of small bottles of Kahlua and a shot or three of Jack Daniels. Oh, man. The trail of vomit that spanned the distance between my bed and the bathroom had a stench that was almost as disgusting as the hue of the carpet stain after it was cleaned up. Then there was the time I got so drunk I fell down on the grass, couldn't get up, puked and fell asleep in it. And my wife will never forget the night I came home after drinking too many pints of Guiness...but I will spare you the details.

Toilet papered someones house?
.....I don't recollect doing that. I broke a few windows when I was younger. I felt that toilet papering a house was for light-weights. Just pick up a rock from the ground and throw it...cheaper than a roll of toilet paper.

Have you ever had a crush on your siblings friend?
.....You know, I don't remember him having any girlfriends until he got married. He might have had...I just don't remember. But wait...you just said "friend", right? In that case, he used to run with some tough guys and I seriously considered having a crush on one of them. I probably would have done it, too, if I hadn't remembered what a flaming heterosexual I am...

Whats the longest amount of time you've been on an airplane?
.....Long enough to wish that those teensy-weensy bottles of booze the serve were a LOT bigger.


Have you ever been out of your country?
.....Pissed off a few beggars just across the border from El Paso to Juarez. Mexico may well be a wonderful place, but this particular section of Juarez was awful. I was there with a friend who was the photographer for the school newspaper. He had his camera strapped around his neck. This Mexican dude comes up to him and starts saying "Donkey? Donkey show?" He said he had transportation to take us there. We were still wet behind the ears and had no idea what a "donkey show" was. It was explained to us later and I realized that the guy saw my friend's camera and thought he might be interested in taking pictures of the event. When I learned the meaning of "donkey show" I was disgusted and shocked. I'd never even considered that such vile things happened on this planet. When my friend found out what the guy meant by "donkey show" he loaded his camera with film and headed back south...okay, that last sentence was bullshit. But I swear the rest is true.

What's the best wedding you've been to?
.....No.

Do you have a Honda, Toyota or Nissan?
.....No sir, I don't. I have owned a Toyota and it was the ugliest car on the road, but let me tell you it was a work horse that could not be stopped. The wife christened it "sea biscuit" for reasons unknown to me.

What time did you wake up this morning?
.....About 2 hours before I wanted to.

When was the last time you were really sick?
.....It's been several months, but I remember it as if it were yesterday. Spaghetti noodles spurting out of the nose? Oh no, you don't forget that.


Does it matter to you if your bf/gf smokes cigs?
.....Yes, it does.


Last person you texted?
.....I don't "text". I know how to use a telephone.

Do you prefer to take showers at night or in the morning?
.....As I contemplate an answer to this question I was struck with a revelation from the Supreme Being, who spoke to me, as He usually does, by divinely arranging the letters in my alphabet soup. This time the pasta read: 'WHAT THE HELL DOES IT MATTER? WHO GIVES A FLYING FUCK? WHY ARE YOU CONTEMPLATING AN ANSWER FOR THIS QUESTION? ARE YOU REALLY SO BORED? WHY DON'T YOU TURN OFF THE COMPUTER AND GO TAKE A SHOWER. YOU STINK. SERIOUSLY, DUDE, YOU REEK."

Have you ever been to New York?
.....I've seen enough Woody Allen movies and listened to enough of Lou Reed's music that I feel as if I've been there.


Have you ever been to Florida?
.....My 6 months in Florida may as well have been spent in Juarez, miserable as they were.

Do you have a friend of the opposite sex you can talk to?
.....Do dolphins count?


Myspace or Facebook?
.....MySpace, because I just don't care enough to start over from scratch with all this social networking crap. I probably wouldn't be at MySpace if Friendster had caught on. I don't know if Facebook is going to last or if it's just trendy and hip to be a member there. Either way I doubt if I'll switch unless everybody I know here abdicates to Facebook. That's what happened with Friendster...everybody left and came here...

Has 2008 been good so far?
.....All in all I think 2008 has been pretty good. Yeah...it's been very good. 2007 was a little bit better. Finding my daughter on MySpace kind of put that year over the top, but it's not unreasonable to hope that 2008 will at least be as good as last year was. None of it is up to me, though.


When is your next road trip?
.....Probably the next time Sigur Ros play a concert within a couple of hundred miles from my home.


What color are your eyes?
.....It's weird, but I couldn't even tell you. Seriously, I'd have to ask someone to look at them and tell me.

What color is your hair?
.....Brown with a tiny bit of red mixed in...and a lot of grey. I don't mind my hair turning grey as long as it doesn't just grow in a straight line across my head. I wouldn't want to be called "skunk" by some of the more cruel members of our small community.

What would you rather be doing?
.....Negotiating with a Genie about my third wish.

"You are the music while the music lasts..."
T.S. Eliot

From the very beginning of my "music career" I have recorded rehearsals. I have tons of practice sessions on cassette tapes that I have stashed away. Songs being worked out, all the chit-chat between songs, in glorious lo-fi (ie. recorded on a cheap portable tape deck).

I picked out a few today that were some of the oldest in the lot. The Country Silver Band...the Situation...the Deep Fork River Band... I've got stuff on these tapes that I don't even remember. These particular ones were at least 25 years old.

Listening to them I could barely recognize myself. I wasn't paying attention to the music, although it was impossible not to notice what a bad singer I was at the time. I attribute that to a severe lack of self-confidence. I picked these ancient recordings because I wanted to hear the conversations between the songs. I thought it would be interesting to hear the things we talked about so long ago.

It was cool, but I really felt sorry for the guy who sounded a bit like me. He must have been really insecure. You can hear how uncomfortable he is in a social setting. But then, on the other hand, his passion for the music he was making is almost palpable. He knew he had a long, long way to go before he could legitimately call himself a real musician, but it certainly doesn't sound like he cares. He's having too much fun, he's caught up in possibilities. His dreaming has only just begun.

My dreaming is over now. Not that I'm lamenting. It was a pretty good dream, for what it was. It's been a long time since I woke up from that dream. In the years since I have come to appreciate the wisdom of those who tried to tell me I was dreaming in the first place. I followed it anyway.

I'm not disappointed in any of the music projects I've been involved with over the years (okay, maybe one or two bands were worth forgetting). I've had a lot of good times and met a lot of great people. Practically everyone of my friends are musicians as well who I got to know through one of those various music projects I spoke of.

But here I am, 46 years old, and it's not hard to realize that I would have been much better off had I not wanted to make music my full time job. I don't know if that makes me a failure, but if it does I imagine I'm only one of a very, very large group. I don't think it's anything to be ashamed of. I mean, at least we tried, right?

I guess I'm thinking on all of this because my 13 year old son is already talking about a career in music. He's a lot smarter than I was, though. He understands that he needs to go to college and get a degree...not like his dad, who didn't want to wait (or work) for that. But even with a music degree there's not much one can do with it around here (another reason why I didn't bother). He would like to be a band director (just like his dad did), so if he follows that path he'll be majoring in education and minoring in music.

And that would be fine, but I think he is capable of so much more. His grasp of mathematics is incredible and he makes excellent grades in science. Hell, he makes good grades in all of his classes (and, yes, I guess it is a little premature for me to be thinking about his college education...). I'm just like my dad was...I would have him do something that would make it possible for him to enjoy the kind of prosperity that just isn't possible with a music diploma. Just like my dad wanted me to, I want him to make music his second job and not get too caught up in the dream. Not that I would take that away from him...

But that's still a few years away. He may well change his mind about the whole thing (though I didn't). I guess it just surprises me that, I hope he does. I hope that he never loses his love for music, performance, composition...I just hope he will keep it in perspective. Whatever he chooses, though, I will be supportive. I really do believe he can be whatever he wants and that he can be prosperous doing it. Even if he decides to follow in my footsteps I have no doubt that he'll take control of the dream and wield it to his advantage.

As for me, I'm just glad I've matured considerably from that dork I hear in the tapes I've been listening to.


Which is not to say that I don't enjoy doing the Bambo Syndicate stuff. The difference is that the Bambo project has only one goal: fun. You know, if I'd had that attitude about every musical endeavor I've ever been involved with over the years I don't doubt that I would have been more successful. Ambition, at least to me, is the mortal enemy of art. I guess what I mean to say is that if you're going to dream you should at least be happy with the dream itself, not how it turns out.

8.28.2008

I bought myself a coconut a couple of days ago. I buy one every few years to see if I like them or not. I'm forgetful that way. So, not having a whole lot of experience in cracking them open I turned to the Internet for some practical help. I found this instructional video on YouTube and I wanted to share it with you. Not that you've got a coconut lying around and you don't know how to get it open...not that it's such a complicated procedure...for all I know, you may hate coconuts. No matter...you'll still enjoy this clip. Just wait until the lady in the video makes the cracking strike and the water drains into the bowl. The audience gets so excited when that happens you'd think someone had just given birth. A bit of an over-reaction, to be sure. I don't know if it's the actual halving of the nut that wows them to such an ecstatic degree or if it's the sight of all that juice that explodes from within it's hard container into the cruel world where it will share one of two fates: it will be swallowed by a man or a woman who appreciates it, or it will be washed down the drain with all the other fluids deemed, for whatever reason, to be worthless. Anyway, it's only about a minute long, so enjoy.

8.27.2008


been a long time since I filled out one of these...

Would you like to put last night on repeat, and live it forever?
.....In the sense that by doing so I am guaranteed immortality, why wouldn't I? But I suppose we're talking about things that we did or saw or ate or watched...Of course not. What kind of boring existence that would be, even if last night was the best night of your life. If you lived last night on repeat you'll never find out if there were better ones in store.

Can you successfully blow up and tie a balloon?
.....It depends on your definition of "successfully".

What was your last purchase?
.....I bought about 40 bucks worth of groceries about 3 hours ago. Got me a coconut!


Does anyone like you?
.....I don't think so.


Have you made anyone laugh while they were crying lately?
.....No, but I made someone cry while they were laughing. I snuck up on my brother and smacked his head with a 2 by 4 while he was watching "Chappelle's Show".



Are you easily amused?
.....The things that amuse me are easily amusing The things that don't amuse me are difficultly amusing. It is true, however, that there are few things which I find amusing these days.


Do you sleep on your side, stomach, or back?
.....On my side, always, unless maybe I turn over on my back while I'm sound asleep and never know it.



Have you ever liked somebody and never told them?
.....The numbers are staggering.



What did you do Saturday?
.....I went to OKC to pay a visit on a friend and drove back the richer for it. I probably watched some telly, since we got the whole Dish thing worked out and have a few HDTV channels



Do you trust all of your friends?
.....not a damn one of 'em.


Morning or night person?
.....Evening



Would you rather have love or money?
.....I get 'em both or I ain't takin' neither.


Do you have a best friend that knows you inside and out?
....."knows me inside"??? Uh, I'd have to say the answer to that question is "no"



Last person you watched movies with?
.....The wife and the son, if we're talking abut the last thing I watched in a theater. As for DVD viewings, the only one who'll watch 'em with me is the wife. I generally prefer to watch movies by myself.


Today did you hug a person you have feelings for?
.....Not today. I might hug one of 'em before the night's done, but then again I might not. I won't think twice on it, though.


Do you hide your emotions?
.....What emotions? No but seriously...what emotions? Okay, okay, I'll stop messing with your mind. Most folks do hide at least some of their more vulnerable emotions. Nothing wrong with that, in fact it's probably necessary for survival in this age. But do I hide MY emotions?...What emotions? No, really, what I meant to say was..."what emotions"? I've hidden them from myself.




Do you prefer to take showers at night or in the morning?
.....I take showers at any time of the day or night. I sniff my arm pit and if it has a rank odor to it I will hop in the shower for a scrubbin'. But if I don't smell nothin' I'll put it off until I DO smell something. On "light sweating days" I have been known to avoid showering for several weeks. Once I broke my own rule and avoided showers altogether during the hottest part of the year. I stank so bad. Then I decided to take a shower. It was at 2:45 in the morning.



If you could either float on the moon, or snorkel in the ocean, which?
.....I've already floated on the moon (wink wink nudge nudge) so you'd think I'd rather snorkel the depths of the mighy seas, right? No, matey, there ye be wrong. Floatin' on the moon, that's where it's at, baby. I'll take any opportunity that comes along to float on the moon again. What's so big about the ocean, anyway? Don't these people realize that the moon is in SPACE, for crying out loud. No pesky exotic tropical fish to obscure the view.


Do you think you'll be married in 5 years?
.....Not if the wife has her way.

Third text in your inbox say? from who?
.....Sorry, I am not going to expend the time and energy necessary to minimize my Notepad, click to my inbox and hunt the third message there. Why should I when the chances are 99% that it will say "Re: Hey!". As for who it's from...that's something I WOULD have to check in my inbox...but I'm not-a-gonna do it. Take that.


Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?
.....I'm sure it was the wife.


Where is your phone?
.....We've got one of those extra headset models. One of them is in the living room and the other is about 3 feet southeast of my right shoulder, sitting on a stereo that we use for the computer. I'm glad you asked.

Do you need to say anything to anyone?
.....I need to tell the gentleman behind the counter at the local liquor store that I would like a free bottle of Jim Beam Rye whiskey. I guess I should also tell him I've got a gun.


What were you doing at 7am?
.....Saying goodbye to a few porn starlets, stepping through the stargate that divides the sleeping and dreaming from wakefulness.



What do you think of your number 3 on your top friends?
.....I think he's a lying, cheating, manipulative bastard of a friend. He's never thought of me as a "friend". All I've ever been to him is trustworthy and helpful and yet he exploits every available opportunity to bring me down. He wants me to beg, but I'll never grovel at that womanizer's feet. I won't dirty the knees of my jeans by kneeling on the sad piece of dirt he stands upon. He's number 3 for a reason. It's because I only have THREE friends. I only keep him on the list because it makes me feel better knowing there's more than two but less than four. His list is even shorter than mine...by 2, actually. That's right. The guy has only ONE friend, and it's ME, so that makes it even more useless, 'cause I ain't much of a friend. But this guy, ole numero trio, he makes me look like a saint in comparison to his high jinks and shenanigans. He is vain and childish. He takes too long in the bathroom. He snores. He doesn't gather up his clothes on the floor next to the bed and leaves all our toys scattered about everywhere. He drinks ice milk and lets it dribble down his chin. He does this at a flea market. He walks around with there milk trails flowing down from his lips to this jaw. It looks a lot like what Alice Cooper used to do with mascara. If for no other reason than this, I put up with him I feel a great sympathy for the mentally challenged. But he's a son-of-a-bitch, make no bones about it...

Can you legally drink?
......Yeah, but you know, drinking was a lot more fun BEFORE I was allowed to.


When is the last time you saw your mom?
.....I'd be too embarrassed to tell you.



Do you believe in karma?
.....I guess I do. I try not to think about it. To contemplate such a lofty concept is a fool's game.


Do you prefer shoes, socks, or bare feet?
.....if I'm walking on broken glass I prefer shoes. Or if the pavement is hot enough to fry an egg on I definitely prefer shoes. Otherwise you'll rarely see me with shoes or socks on my feet. Does that turn you on?


What was the last thing you drank?
.....A can of Pepsi


Do you know how to play poker?
.....I know the game but I'm not familiar with the betting and the strategies and so forth and so on. Some folks have said I have a "Poker face", so maybe I should start playing poker. I've already got the look for it, I'm handicapped!



Have you ever been in an ambulance?
.....I don't believe I have and I do not want to be seeing the inside of one for a good, long time (ie. eternity).


Do you hold grudges?
.....Not for too long.


Do you sing obnoxiously in the car?
.....I used to do that a lot but not so much anymore. The CD player is out in the Saturn. The radio in the Grand Prix hasn't got much OOMPH to it, and I usually only listen to classical when I'm driving. I never sang obnoxiously in the car. My singing was excellent. You would have thought that Ozzy Osbourne was in the front seat of the car with me just a-wailin' his guts out, "Goin' off the rail on a crazy train"...but look closer, sailors. I'm the only one in me car. All that singin' you heard a minute ago, that was all me own." I had a lot of "co-pilots": Joe Strummer, Richard Butler, Mick Jagger,


Have you ever kissed someone that has smoked before?
.....Ashamed to say it, but yes, I have.


Who were you with last night?
.....My family and the dog.


When was the last time you had butterflies in your stomach?
.....I think I would have known if I had butterflies in my stomach. Does that come swallowing caterpillars?



Are you watching TV?
.....No, I am filling out this questionnaire.


If so, what are you watching?
.....I'm not. I'm watching letters form words in the Stylus font, size 16, as my fingers punch buttons with corresponding letters on them. I'm seeing a bright, eye-melting white light that is the background of a NotePad document. I see little else, as there is nothing in my peripheral vision that warrants any attention that might be paid to it.



How late did you stay up last night?
.....I guess it was a little after midnight. I was falling in and out of sleep for about an hour listening to opera, then I finally decided I might as well hit the sack. With some degree of will power I was able to rise from the ass-sunken bottom cushion of the ancient recliner where I'd been nestled in for the last two hours. Through the dark I felt my way to the master bedroom where my wife was lying, clutching stolen covers and breathing steadily. I performed my nightly toillette, ingested my dope and had no problem drifting off into the land of dreams and visions. And so it is on an almost nightly basis.

Music Video of the Week: David Bowie

Back again, after a brief hiatus, once again here is your Music Video of the Week. As usual I take the opportunity to remind you that the video of the week and the music from the Sigur Ros jukebox may not mesh well, so you need to pause it.


"Ashes to Ashes"

David Bowie

more praise for the Bambo Syndicate's hit song "Take You to Hell"

I got another review for "Take You to Hell"...

Interesting intro, I always like the lo-fi chatter background if its applied tastefully, and it is here nice job.

Great build up, very smooth.
Good bass, a little quiet.

Great mood, Im lousy at describing mood directly, so I have to go with vague metaphor through description of what I see. For you guys its a walk down a busy, but not overly crowded street, where you can make out snippets of persons lives and days as you walk past. Its kind of soothing really.

Well mixed, no real comments there, sorry guys.

Same with who you sound like, you sound like yourselves! Which in this case, is a very good thing.

Keep up the great work!

Note: Reviewed by: kelmorian from Santa Cruz, California. The song is credited to a fictional band called the Bambo Syndicate, and that is why he refers to "me" as "you guys". It's all fine and good for me.

8.26.2008


Scanned a few photographs, thought I would post a few here.






This photo at the bottom goes down as evidence that I have done some flat out goofy things in my day. I can't even begin to imagine what possessed me not only to do that, but to want a picture taken of it.

As for the others...the top one is a shot of my dad cooking something on what today would be called an arcane grill. And that's me hovering over him. I like this picture because it was taken during a time when my hair was just all grown out and funky. And I wore these dorky black plastic glasses...check the high water pants.

The next one is from October 1997. It was a little home made get-up I wore during a Halloween gig that year. I actually wore those pants around the house!

The following three make up a tryptich that have to be seen together to be appreciated. We used to hang them up in a row on our refrigerator door.

And then there's that bottom one of the demented, retarded goofball.

Had a few song load errors on the ole Sigur Ros jukebox. I've fixed 'em up for the most part, although we did lose the acoustic version of "Vaka". :(
MAARTS:
JAC- my apologies for the late reply, had my mind cluttered with so many promises...just got around to listen to your track...I like ambiance a lot but would love a bit more melody in it- I know it's very much en lieu with Autechre but I'm a nut for a good tune. The backing soundeffects are pretty effective though.

ME:
Yeah, I like a good melody, too, but the thing is, it's very difficult to work true melodies into a song made on the Acid music studio program. It's loop-based, so must of what I can do is manipulate loops and arrange them in an order that pleases me. Plus, I have the option of using several effects on each track separately. What I like to do is find a sound (maybe myself singing a high note, for example), then pitch shift and chop it up until it's not recognizable as what it actually is. Then I'll do the same thing with other sounds, layering the ones I like and deleting the ones I don't. Maybe a couple of recognizable words or sound thrown in the mix. What I usually get is a very rich, deep soundscape in which the listener can discern several different things going on at once, but they're all very obscured.

I can blame the Acid program if I want for all it's loop-based restrictions, but truth be told you can use a microphone ( how else would I have recorded the foundational sounds in the ambient stuff?). However our mic is not really studio quality. It's a good little mic for a computer or a PlayStation game (which, in fact, is what my son uses it for). But it leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to doing this.

If I knew anything whatsoever about MIDI I could probably do a lot more, as well. But probably not. Right now I'm sort of in a Throbbing Gristle/Autechre/Skinny Puppy mode. One of the best ones I've done lately, "Take You To Hell" is a good example. There's a sound and beat that could have come straight from "Incunambula" or "Amber", then I've dropped in several portions of a rather fiery sermon given by a strict protestant minister (I got it off of a free sermon mp3 site). I take his words, jumble them up until they've lost most of the context they originally had. I mix them all up, pan the from channel to channel as my whim dictates. Towards the end I've chopped off a line where the preacher says, "You don't need God to be right because you're all right." All this after he's already shouted about you being down in the darkness of hell forevermore. I make him say stuff that he, as an orthodox Calvanist would NEVER say, simply by casting the admonitions he directs as "sinners" and making them universal.

Anyway, I found that idea interesting, and I think it stands well, as it is, without melody. Or even a key change in this instance (key changes are a pain in the ass when you've confined yourself to loop programming).

A couple of ongoing projects---I'm doing a song that is basically a combination of Ravi Shankar, playing a raga on the sitar, with ornamentation by Anonymous 4 singing Gregorian chants by Hildegard Von Bingen. It's been on the backburner because I'm not real sure what else I want to put in there. It' not "cluttered" at this point but I fear it will be once I try to embellish it further.

The other track I've been working on is an experiment in which I've chopped up various small snatches of Jonsi's lyrics from the last album then dropped them into a backing track that sounds absolutely nothing like what Sigur Ros would do. I think this one is going to turn out very well when it's done. I can't work on it for too long at a time because some of the lyrics get stuck in my head and they drive me crazy. I have step away from the whole project until they subside. It's going to need quite a bit more work, though. The hard thing is finding vocal samples that either fit the key already or can be pitched to fit without a discernible difference to the casual listener. I've got a beautiful sample from "Festival" that stretches that ethereal voice to the length where I've been able to cut it, make a loop out of it, paste it repeatedly and then pitch shift where I need to and WALLAH! I've got a chord structure made out of padding that's made from Jonsi's voice and nothing more.

Maybe I'll do some work on that one today. It's daunting, though, because I have so many ideas already and new ones seem to pop up every time I get one down. I knew when I went into it that the song was going to take a lot of effort and would be a long term project .

Sorry I got carried away...hope I didn't bore you.

Bookmark that Bambo page, because I put stuff on there fairly regularly.

8.25.2008

Doing a little song reviewing at Garageband this morning. I think I only need 8 or 9 and I can enter another song. I'm wanting to get some feedback on "4 Grey Walls" so I'll probably upload that one. Then again, I'd like to do the same with "His Heart Was Black". I'm pretty sure it'll be "4 Grey Walls", though. I would like to know if anyone hears the Autechre influence. I think it's very prominent.

But I didn't come here to talk about my own stuff...I just wanted to share this review I wrote for a song called "Falling Through an Imaginary Sky" by Kovitz. A review I entitled:

"a strange dream"

INCOMING!!!

Oh,. sorry. I thought I was on the set of M*A*S*H and the copters were bringing down a load of casualties. Then, all of a sudden, there was a subtle shift in the air, a shuffling of frequencies and I found myself testing for a role on "Babylon 5". I'm not hired, so I walk into an opium den and ordered a couple of bowls. There's this Genesis tribute band doing a soundcheck. Just a few of their own songs they couldn't do during a show. But apparently a lot of the Genesis style rubbed off on them.

Then I woke up and this song had been playing, through my headphones, in repeat mode, from the time I passed out (app. 1:00 am) until I was rudely awakened, 6 hours later.

8.24.2008


NEW BAMBO TRACK

Lots of creative energy flowing here in the ole office. I've got a new Bambo Syndicate song for everyone. Just a little piece of head trippery for those in the mood. Just took a few hours to whip up, I'm kinda fond of it me already. With the rest of the family gone to school or work I'll be free to produce several more. Who knows, I may throw 12-15 of them together, call it a CD and try to sell it online, like with CD Baby or something like that. I don't know that I have 12-15 that I'd want to see on such a collection. But I think this one might make the cut...


8.23.2008

This is absolutely the best music I've heard since hanging out at Garageband.com. No CDs or downloads available and one can only wonder why not. So as far as I know this and the MySpace page are the only places you can hear these songs. Trust me on this one, especially if you like the Durutti Column and ethereal guitar stylings.





8.22.2008

We got some carry-out pizza from Ken's yesterday. There was a dead fly beneath a slice of pepperoni.

I shit you not.


A new Sigur Ros music video has just been released for “inní mér syngur vitleysingur”. An "OFFICIAL one at that. It's on their MySpace page right now.

I hate to admit it but I don't care for the video at all. Don't get me wrong...I LOVE the song. It's one of my favorites on an album that has several songs that will go down on my all-time favorite list.

But the video is one of those jobs where the studio version of the song is drafted on to performance footage. This technique which, as far as I know, began with Bruce Springsteen's clip for "Born in the USA", is obviously an attempt to bypass any and every performance detail in order to take advantage of what's been accomplished in the studio.

Sometimes the synchronization works fine...you can't tell Georgi and Orri's playing isn't exactly the same as what you're hearing. But the effect is ruined by the obvious inability of the editors to get a good lock on Jonsi's lip movements and then it becomes apparent that this is no performance video. Which is really too bad. I can attest that these guys play “inní mér syngur vitleysingur” in concert almost as good as the record. So why not just the performance? It bopggles the mind. I mean, there at the end (the build-up section) they either don't show Jonsi or his facial features are obscured by a bright green stage light that shines just behind his head.

The best thing about it (other than just seeing the guys on a stage) is how you can almost catch a glimpse of Kjartan'd waxed mustache. He wears it well!

This new video notwithstanding, I would really like it if Sigur Ros record company could pull together a few performances and package it with all their other incredible videos (one of the things that disappointed me about the “inní mér syngur vitleysingur” clip was how the band was FINALLY in the video, and yet that was ruined by the audio-sync technique). Their "Reverb" show would be included, as well as the more recent show they did at the MOMA. I think I've seen at least one full concert chopped and uploaded onto YouTube, that would be good to have on DVD. I've pretty much watched all the performances on the "Heima" special features disc so many times that I'm ready for something different (although I must say that they bear the test or repeated listening, I only wish there were more of the "traditional rock show" stuff. I like what they're doing with acoustic instruments throughout that disc, but I want more concert settings).
Big fun at the Garageband.com site. It's not steady enjoyment but sometimes it gets interesting. Like when people don't like the review you've made on their song. Most folks see the futility there is in messaging a reviewer to complain (whimper) about something you might have written about their track. But then there are others who have an exceeding amount of free time on their hands and feel it necessary to point out anything that doesn't positively glow in the discussion of their music.

With that and nothing more, I present, for your pleasure, the following exchange which took place this morning.




" Lots of headroom in the opening passages. A piano picks up on an absolutely beautiful melody. The two chord structure gets tedious, insomuch as there are no dynamics used whatsoever. The backing music is just that--music that serves little purpose other than to give the soloist a frame of reference, very little more. I think this song could have really stood out were it not for the utilitarian sense of the music itself (as opposed to the melodies, which are consistently good and the afore mentioned head space.

I did like it...I just thought it had more potential."

BMODE'S ORIGINAL MESSAGE:

"Excellent feedback thank u, your right on the money. Since I got into ambient music, I've been trying to "dumb down" my music as it's just ambience and ambience is usually hypnotic and repetitive. Your review makes me what to do some tracks over. It's tough to please everyone aint' it? Thanks for your time and solid feedback. Bmode"

BMODE'S FOLLOW-UP MESSAGE:

"Hold on now...I just listened to your project and I gotta say I'm seriously disappointed! When I read your review, I thought cool, here's someone who knows what there talking about, but hell no with those tracks. I'm sorry, but that project is not very good at all. At least my song had progression and melodies instead of loops and sample thrown together! My lord! Good luck, I mean that seriously. Bmode."

Ouch... What happened to the bit about "It's tough to please everyone aint' it?"

MY RESPONSE (and hopefully the end of the matter):

" I'm sorry that our opinions concerning your song clashed. It's not as if I ragged it mercilessly.

If you don't care for the Bambo Syndicate's work that's all fine and good. It's not made out of a desire to accomplish anything more than a smile on my face and the satisfaction that comes when a rare soul or two actually enjoy it. Their meant to be aural collages, ambient in the same manner as Brian Eno's original ambient records. I get a lot of inspiration from Aphex Twin's ambient material and I can't help but infuse the sonics with their quirky sense of "rhythm". Skinny Puppy, Throbbing Gristle and Karlheinz Stockhausen, it's all channeled through the Bambo Syndicate's art. If you can't hear and appreciate that in the mucic, well I wouldn't expect you to like it.

I left you constructive criticism...just because you don't care for some songs I did doesn't give you the right to tell me I don't know what I'm talking about. I have been listening to and developing an appreciation for all genres of music for almost 40 years and have been active in the live music scene since 1980. My knowledge of a couple of styles is encyclopedic.

But I suppose there's no pleasing anyone who is as defensive as you apparently are. I mean, first you send me a message thanking me for a great review, then you come back on and basically contest that very same review simply because you didn't "get" my songs? You're disappointed??? What, you're disappointed that someone had a few nice things top say about your song? And if that's not enough you find a way to slag my songs in the bargain (I don't know if you read my reviews but appatently there ARE people who understand and enjoy Bambo).

I see you've done fairly well with "Find Yourself". Congratulations on it's success. I hope you'll forgive me for not caring much for it.

If it makes any difference, Harley Riggs just read this message and he said, "Fuckin' A, JAC old boy. Someone has finally read you like a book. Now where did you hide that hypodermic? Give it back! Give it back!!! Waaah! Waaah!".

jac

8.20.2008

I know, I know, I know...I didn't get around to choosing a Music Video of the Week today. Giving it a hiatus until next Wednesday.

Instead, I have something I'm quite proud of to share with you all. It's one of the better ambient excursions I've done. I am going to have to write a few more reviews so I can get this one into the contest. I can't wait to see what other people might think of it.

And you...



I've got a new composition on Garageband. It's called "Variations on Untitled 2". The style is what I call "old school ambient". Shades of Eno. But there is some definite Autechre influence. It's best heard through headphones and if you enjoy partaking, then by all means partake, the easier it will be to pull you into it's vortex, through the "eye of the hurricane" or the eye of a needle or an eye for an I...

Before I get carried away, here's the link:


Somehow this movie slipped past me. I'd seen it at the video store numerous times but I don't guess I ever looked at the description on the back of the box.

I had a little cash to blow over the weekend and I was looking for something to watch that I hadn't seen before. I read the back of the box and was surprised to find that the subject of the film was none other than the legendary actor from "the Golden Age of Porn", the unmistakable John C. Holmes. More specific, Holmes involvement in the murders of four of his friends, which was brought about as retaliation for a botched robbery that was set up by...you guessed it...Holmes, himself.

I read about the Wonderland Avenue murders a long time ago, back when John Holmes was still alive (before 1988). The article, in Hustler magazine, may not have been one of the most reliable sources on such serious subjects, but I had a pretty good feeling this story was dead-on factually accurate.

Not that I was ever a fan of Johnny Wadd, but had I been I would have apostatized around that time. Everyone knew what a liar and a cheater he was. Everyone knew that he travelled overseas to work in porn films when he could no longer work in the States due to his status of HIV positive. He, himself, knew that he could very well by transmitting the disease to the other actors he worked with. All he cared about, and apparently all he EVER cared about in his life was getting whatever was in it for him. Be it drugs, money, sex, acceptance, status...et. al.

So when Val Kilmer tries to play him up for a little sympathy it's an uphill battle. He channels Holmes fairly well, but he tries too hard to get the audience to like a man that, from all accounts, was extremely unlikeable,

Decent movie, but the best is on the Special Features disc. Here you will find a full length (no pun intended) documentary on Holmes. Entitled "WADD" it traces Holmes history from pre-porn days throughout his illustrious career and then to the downhill slide that culminated in his death of AIDS related complications. Deep insight is provided here not only by his associates and former co-stars but by his ex-wife (?) and his mistress as well. It is worth watching just to hear Sharon Mitchell say something along the lines of what a generous, gentle, polite man he was, then in the same moment listen to Juliet (Aunt Peg) Anderson say he was the rudest, most inconsiderate bastard she ever worked with (paraphrasing those sentiments, as I do not have the means to obtain actual quotes. Just trust me on this).

And let me tell you this...those porn girls ain't gettin' no younger. Speaking of Sharon Mitchell...whenever she was on screen the name on the bottom corner said "Miss Sharon Mitchell"...MISS??? None of the other gals felt it necessary to reveal their marital status. Mitchell has always been an acquired taste...Sometimes you would get in the mood for the rare butch heterosexual woman. Sharon was the one. She bore a VERY faint resemblance to Princess Diana. Here, on "Wadd", she puts her two cents worth in at the altar of "good John" and you can't help but wonder how many bottles of Maybelline she must have gone through covering up whatever it is she felt obliged to cover up.

Al Goldstein. What a sleaze ball. I'm sorry, that sounds harsh, but this guy rubs me wrong in so many ways, from his turd green cigar to the way it feels like he's some kind of authority of all things pornographic. He's got an opinion on Johnny, you know that's for sure. In this fascinating documentary he is given yet another soapbox to stand on so he can try to prove he's still relevant to the bottom-feeding, dope monster porn star scene, with his squirrely little rag he calls "Screw" and that just about says it all, don't you think?

It guess it probably says a lot about me that I recognize so many of the commentators. Or if not the commentators, at least the girls in all the movie clips that are sprinkled liberally throughout the movie. "That's Ginger Lynn...there's Amber Lynn", I'm thinking. "Is that Seka? I didn't know he did a scene with Veronica Hart!" I find myself fascinated by the idea that there were girls who very much wanted to work with him while there were almost as many who were afraid of being penetrated by such a massive penis. That you can sometimes tell which is which in the movies: the willing ones all have the nicely relaxed look of radiance that associates them with orgasm after orgasm. The less eager bunch could be spotted by expressions of pain, sometimes slight, sometimes so dreadfully prolonged.

Alas, this is the kind of babble that generally arises when the subject of the "Golden Age" is brought up. All to say that "Wadd" is one of the great documentaries of all time. Wow. Isn't that a little hyperbolic?
I grabbed this book out of the el cheapo section of close-outs at Borders a few weeks ago. I think it was $3.99. Looked very interesting, what with the annotations and the complete set of lyrics of a band that I have, more or less, been quite fond of the last 25 years. It was worth that much for the song words alone.

It had better be! The annotations in this book are so vague that you have to wonder if the writer got stoned, got lost in the library and got bogged down with references that he thought, in his less-than-cogent state, were applicable to the various songs. One liners of throw away songs like "Pride of Cucamonga" get tied in, somehow, with poetry by Peterson and two long paragraphs explaining that Muskrat Flats is NOT a real location (necessary, of course, to shed light on the line "Running hard out of Muskrat Flats." "Truckin'" is explained over the course of 4 pages, peppered with flashing green light, keystone star power in William Burroghs, a partial list of other projects using the "Long Strange Trip" buzz phrase, lyrics from a 1932 song by Al Dubin & Harry Warren (I suppose "Shuffle Off To Buffalo" sounds enough like a snatch of this song that it must mean something and deserves to be in this book, right?). Is this the Grateful Dead's "Truckin'" we're talking about here? One and the same? All this time I was thinking it was just some song to listen to while driving down the highway stoned to the bone.

There are notes that follow each "annotation", usually about when the band first did the song and whether or not it remains in the repertoire. Sometimes a comment from a band member (or Hunter or Barlow) can be found in this section.

So the lyrics themselves and the (rather short-ish) notes are what help "The Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics" (by David Dodd) worth spending 4 bucks on. It also makes for interesting toilet stool reading.

8.19.2008

first reviews in on "O Jimmy Boy"

Even as I entered "O Jimmy Boy" into Garageband's contest, I wasn't too sure what to expect when the reviews would start coming in. I may have explained this before, but I don't enter these songs with any hopes of winning some contest. But I do like having my songs reviewed. It means that there are at least a few people out there who have listened to your song close enough to be able to offer an opinion about it.

But "O Jimmy Boy"...The first review I received didn't have much of interest to say:

This song reminds me of the 80's...some movie about highschool or dancing. Very upbeat stuff. Interesting break at 2:25 but the instrumental break after that til about 3:28 is long-winded. Like the radio sounding hiphop stuff to the end though. Song never builds though. It winds down without really going anywhere. You have good parts, ideas, instrumentation just sounds like more writing structure is needed.

The next review had little good to say, either, and perhaps was just a tad bit cruel:

A percussion rock beat with keyboards randomly smashed into the track. The bass pops in and out above the percussion track.
The song is 80 ish retro Talking Heads tempo and tone.

The percussion track is beat mapped up in tempo then then the brake displays no instruemental solo effort.

It's becoming cumbersome and boring to listen to. add something to it. Even the sound of a dish washer set the rinse cycle would sooth my tympanic membrane.

It's fading out with a volume fade. Thank you Jimi, I will say 10 Hail Mary's for what I am Thinking right now. But it only involves a little duct tape.
try taking a pringles potato chip can and cutting a hole in the bottom, duct tape the can to the mic, then start duct taping the mic to the left hand. This will help stimulate vocal expression and the fight or flight mechanism of oratory projection.

This was exactly why I shouldn't have put "O Jimmy Boy" in the running. But it's not the first time I've had one of my Acid projects compared to the Talking Heads. I can't help but think of it as a compliment, even if I don't think I sound too much like them at all. Maybe JUST a little.

The dude is obviously trying to channel some great dead rock critic muse. He didn't like the song. I think that point was established in the first words of his less-than-nice missive. I would not doubt that he has never heard an "experimental rock" song in his life. His understanding of "experimental" ends at the point where a space-invaders mini-Moog blips in the middle of a song that Joe Satriani could have played (if his hands were cold and numb or if he had sprained his left wrist). "Blip" it shouts and the whole feel of the song sways to a different emotion for 8 bars before swerving back into it's original groove. That freaks him out and he points the finger and cries out "Experimental!"

But enough...the man's entitled to his opinions. I just don't care for them and I'd rather his be as flattering as the ones set forth in the third review I got for "O Jimmy Boy":

The intro of this song is interesting with its upbeat drums and different noises in the background but it seems just a little long. I would shorten it by about ten seconds. The backing music is based around the bass riff and the drum beat. The singer has this off the cuff delivery style that really gets the attention of the listener. I'm not sure what Jimmy Boy has but he shouldn't give it away! Maybe he needs to sell it! The instrumental breakdown is a nice change of pace as the machine gun drumming sets up the rest of the song. This is a quirky little number that uses different noises to give it a psychedelic feel with the singer doing a little scatting here and there. The false ending and fade out is tricky- I almost thought the song was over. This is a song for smoking a big fat spliff, kicking back and enjoying the sounds. This song was well put together and it is obvious to this listener that some thought went into the song before committing sounds to tape. Just to keep all the noises and sounds straight is an accomplishment. As for the mood, I would have to say it is just quirky with no definable direction as far as mood goes. I enjoyed this song a lot and thought the vocals fit the rest of the song perfectly. He doesn't have the voice of Pavorotti but it doesn't matter. His style of singing the tongue in cheek lyrics and the tone of his voice combine for a pleasant listening experience. It's a fun little ditty that one could spend hours trying to dissect the lyrics to find a hidden meaning. Well put together and it's got a cool little beat as well. Nice experimental track that reminds me of Primus in many ways.

Now THAT'S what I'm talking about. This guy GETS IT, although I must say I think he's quite off the mark with that Primus comparison, though to be honest, maybe not. I suppose it may well have that feel but I dislike Primus so much that I don't want to admit to it.

Judge for yourself:


8.18.2008



I had this brilliant idea yesterday for an Acid Studio project. I would open a Sigur Ros song into a track then sing over it multiple times, accenting something different every time so that when I pulled the SR track out the results would sound very little like their core. I probably dubbed at least seven voices.

Insomuch as the results sounded almost nothing like the Sigur Ros song, I succeeded.

Insomuch as creating a piece of art that is enjoyable to listen to, I failed.

In other words, I spent a lot of time working on a song that showed traits of "sucking" early on in the mixing stage. Which is disappointing in a way, but then again, I had a lot of fun doing it, so it wasn't TOO big a waste of time.

I won't try it again.

8.15.2008

Last night I sank back into a pretty serious bout of depression…the first one I’ve had since we moved into the house. I wish there were something I could blame for it. It would be nice to say “it’s because of THIS or “it’s because of THAT”. Even though there may be “triggers” that set it off, it’s not because of any of those, either. It just comes when it wants to and goes when it’s decides it’s time to go. Almost like it has a mind of it’s own.

It has manifested itself this go ‘round by an overall irritableness, an excess of thoughts vying for attention in my mind and the sneaking suspicion that I have no idea what “love” is. Total foolishness and cheap armchair nihilism. I know better. But like I said, this demon of depression has a mind of it’s own and it uses thoughts to convince me of things I know are not true. It makes me FEEL they aren’t true, though I know full well they are.

I doubt that makes much sense…It’s kind of hard to describe, and actually it seems to have let up some today. I decided last night that if the thoughts started flowing hard and heavy today that I would just get a book and lose myself in it. It would seem obvious that reading would be an effective cure for uncontrollable thoughts, but when I get depressed I don’t want to do ANYTHING. That’s something practically everyone knows about depression, that you lose interest in or cannot find pleasure in things that have always interested or entertained you. I know that a good book is a good temporary fix, but I have to MAKE myself pick one up and read it. Usually I can get into it after that point.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said for what has always been my greatest passion: music. I feel like I’m completely burned out on music. I’ll turn on the XM and try to find something interesting to me. Of all the music channels on XM you’d think I would find something to amuse or stimulate myself with…but no. All the joy that might be found in it gets swallowed up by depression.

I hesitate to write things like this, because I know that it won’t last for too long. I say I know, but that’s at a very deep level, like an anchor deep within my spirit that keeps me from abandoning all hope. On a more surface level, though, I fear that the bout I’m dealing with at the time is the one that’s going to haunt me till my dying day.

Moreover, it seems as if the depression is the price that must be paid to keep from becoming manic again. Mania is to be avoided at all costs, I’ll concede that point. I believe that my medication does a good job in regulating that, in keeping me from swinging up towards that state. But I don’t think my drugs do anything about the downward spiral. I don’t think it is wise, at this point, to attempt to add an anti-depressant into my potpourri of medication. If for no other reason than that I don’t want to mess up a good thing, ie the stuff I’m on now. So, as I say, I have to deal with this mess. I have my ways of temporarily staving the worst of it off. They are only temporary, though. Still…

8.13.2008

...a sneak peek at a work in progress...

The last time Harley Riggs saw his ex-wife she was partying it up in some low-rent slumlord’s apartment, her fat ass hugged by a pair of cheap Faded Glory jeans and a dirty Tom Petty shirt hanging from her chunky shoulders. She was kneeling in front of an old glass coffee table with a straw in her nose. The cocaine her host had procured was cheap, low-grade blow, cut with whatever it is that stingy dealers use to maximize profits. She seemed to be enjoying it enough. Harley knew, as well as he knew his own telephone number, that she couldn’t have cared less about the quality of the drug, as long as it kept flowing throughout the night until the glorious moment arrived when she would suddenly pass out in the middle of whatever it was she happened to be doing at the time.

Her name was Betty. She married Riggs in 1982 on a dare. Her father, in a fit of anger over the possible engagement of his only daughter to man like Harley Riggs had dared her to do it.

“I dare ya,” he said. “Over my dead body, you’ll see. Truth or dare, my little princess. You haven’t been truthful with me. Don’t think I don’t know this. You aren’t half as clever as you think you are, but I think you’re smart enough to know a loser like Harley Riggs when you see one. So I dare you, sweetheart. I dare you to marry that no account scumbag.”

So she did.

Her father made good on his promise, too. He died of a heart attack the day before the nuptials. Betty was upset at the turn of events, but she had resolved not to let her mourning put a damper on the wedding plans. Her mother, a brow-beaten slave to her husband’s every whim, was not entirely displeased with this uncanny attitude of her daughter’s. She sincerely debated the pros and cons of attending her old man’s funeral herself. “If there’s one thing I can’t stand,” she said, “it’s a pack of bozos telling lies about what a great guy he was after he’s kicked it…those same liars who, only a week before, were calling him every name in the book and wishing him smooth passage into hell.”

All this notwithstanding, Harley Riggs was not concerned with it. If you had asked him at the time whether any of it mattered to him, he would have said no. If you asked him today if any of the drama surrounding his first wedding had left an impression on him, positive or negative, he would fix you with a stare that would express infinitely more than mere words could convey.

I don’t suppose it matters, either, insomuch as we began this missive with the day Riggs saw his ex-wife snorting a line at a biker party.

He had other things on his mind that evening, and he damn sure wasn’t at the party because she was there. He sure as hell didn’t know she’d be there. It was a total surprise to him, and not a pleasant one, at that. Yet his eyes were drawn to the spectacle. Greasy, tattooed love boys and grimy hog riders surrounded her. Each and every one of them exhorted her to inhale more and more of the coke. “Free” would not be the right word to use in describing the narcotic, but she wasn’t paying for it with cash.

“Whoopee!” yelped one of the spectators. He was wearing a tattered Hell’s Angels jacket he had picked up at a Salvation Army store for a quarter. It stunk, but not as bad as he did, so it all evened itself out. “You better rock steady, gal! You better rock steady and keep on a-rockin’ until the music is over. Until we turn out the lights, little bitch. I want to see you freak out, I’m GONNA see you freak out, so keep rockin’ steady!”

She had no idea what the fuck he was talking about, but if “rocking steady” meant snorting more and more dope, then she imagined she would do his bidding. “Rock steady, Joe!” she managed to blurt as she straightened up from the table. White snot, only lightly tinged with crimson, dripped from both of her nostrils.

Harley was disgusted by what he saw, but he wasn’t surprised. In all the years he’d known her he’d seen her do a lot of excessive and disgusting things. This was nothing out of the ordinary. He stifled a yawn and tried to remember exactly what the reason for his presence here was.
3:00 pm...I have just lost the third game in a row of Mahjongg. This particular stack is called "Mahjongg High and Low" and it is part of the 2002 Games program I have installed on my laptop. The 2002 Games feature was just one of 8 or 9 on a disc that, collectively, was supposed to feature 1500 games. That's a lot of games. Of course, when you get it installed you find that most of them are minor (and I do mean MINOR) variations on a couple of hundred. Which is still quite a few games, but trust me, not all of them are entirely worthy of being called "games". There's another CD I've seen called that's supposed to have 3000 games on it. It's probably a good thing I saved my money and bought the 1500.

But, nevertheless, the ten bucks I spent on the disc was well worth it for the Mahjongg stacks alone. There are over 60 variations to choose from (though a couple of them don't seem to want to work on my computer...still...). The tiles look pretty cool. I like 'em at least as much as the ones in Mahjongg Titans (the Mahjongg game that came pre-loaded on the Vaio).

So, as I was saying...the Mahjongg High and Low has kicked my ass about 15 times since yesterday afternoon when I began my campaign to beat it at all costs. I cannot rest easy until I have triumphed. Here I go again...

3:23 pm...I just got whipped again. Not only that, it seems my luck has taken a turn for the worse on an even grander scale. As I breezed through the initial matches I noticed that the air conditioner seemed to be going off and then turning itself back on. I temporarily suspended game play and paid closer attention to it. Sure enough, it would come on and blow for a minute or two then shut down. After this happened a few times I decided to turn it off hoping that maybe all it needed was some down time (it has been rather warm and the thing hasn't had too many opportunities to rest lately).

But it came back on...then off...then on...then off again. I called a friend who has a lot of expreience in the heating and air conditioning field. I told him what it was doing and he gave me his opinion as to what it might be. Of course, it's all over my head.

Serendipitously our landlord was doing something next door so I walked over there and informed him of the problem. He looked at the unit for a minute, felt the pipes, all that. I told him what was going on, how the fan had not been blowing the last time I checked. He told me to go inside and turn it on, so I did. When I went back out, lo and behold, the fan was running again. I was perplexed, to say the least. He said that from what he could see just on the outside (the unit itself) there shouldn't be any problem. I said I hoped so and apologized for bothering him in the middle of some work he was obviously doing (though I guess I had no need to do that...it's his job).

I called my friend back and told him what had happened. He was of the firm opinion that there was definitely cause to be concerned about the air conditioner, in particular the compressor motor fan. He said it would run fine for awhile then the motor would overheat and we'd be in the same old cycle again until it was replaced. I do trust him and I believe he knows what he's talking about...but by the same token I hope it was something else, that it's erratic behaviour was some quirk that perhaps fixed itself...Not that I live in a fantasy world in regards to these kinds of things...or maybe I do...

Now, while the batterie in this laptop still has some juice in it, I'm off to try to defeat High and Low yet again.

4:24 pm...Curses! Foiled again! I'm beginning to wonder if this "High and Low" pile is the Mahjongg equivalent of a "Challenger" level crossword puzzle. It has passed the point of frustration, but I am determined to crack it's Oriental code.

More importantly, however...the air conditioner seems to be working again. Knock on wood, cross your fingers and whatever else needs to be done. I probably shouldn't have brought it up. Know what I mean?

And now, another chance to achieve Mahjongg greatness...

4:33...DAMN IT!!! I have yet to achieve the aforementioned Mahjongg greatness...Yet, I am not deterred.

4:47 pm...YIPEE!!!! HOORAY!!!! I have entered into the gates of victory! The banner of conquest flies upon my mast! Yes, it is true! After at least 15 tries I have won!

When I entered my name into the "high scores" I noted that this was, in fact, not the first time I have gotten the better hand over "Mahjonng High and Low". I had forgotten. Yet it was still worth celebrating because my the amount of time it took me to win was about three minutes less than the last go-round.

Music Video of the Week: After the Fire

Step one: off with the Sigur Ros jukebox. Step two: a click on the button the activates the video so kindly supplied by YouTube. Step three: sit back, relax, let the images amuse you and the music consume you. Step four: turn the Sigur Ros jukebox back on when video is done.

"Der Kommissar"
After the Fire

EXTRA EXTRA. READ ALL ABOUT IT: Bambo compared to Porcupine Tree

I got a review yesterday at Garageband.com about my song "Take You to Hell" (recorded under the nom de plune of the Bambo Syndicate). All of the reviews I've received for that track have been positive, but this one:

I like the mix and the mood. The voices seemed to be placed in the appropriate speakers and they are not too loud.
Mood is interesting. The music seems to be a juxtaposition of the voices. So, it feels ironic.
Not sure who you sound like. Maybe Porcupine Tree.

Did you get that? PORCUPINE TREE!!!!!!

Wow. I've been a fan of theirs for 5 or 6 years now! What a compliment.

Haven't heard it yet? Well, it's no sweat off my back to provide the link again:


8.12.2008


No, "Van Wilder" is not the kind of movie I typically watch. I try to avoid crass and crude humor. There was a time, many years ago, when that kind of stuff left me in stitches. For instance, I once boasted of seeing "National Lampoon's Animal House" no less than 4 times (this was before I was even old enough to get into an R-rated movie...I did it, though). I still think of it as a great movie, but yeah, it's childish.

And so is "National Lampoon's Van Wilder" (childish, that is...I don't know that I'd call it "great"). But you know what? I've been wanting to see it since it came out just because of that "National Lampoon" endorsement. Sure, NatLamp has lent their name to some total crap since the success of the first "Vacation" movie. Still, I'd heard much about how VW was some sort of return to form. Nevertheless, I avoided it, because there are so many GOOD movies out there for me to waste my time on such juvenalia.

But are there? I'm not so sure anymore. I'm in the mood right now to just let a movie's job be to entertain me. I don't want to have my thoughts provoked right now and I don't really care how low the humor is. When it comes to motion pictures it would appear that I have become quite the old "fuddy duddy". Time to pretend I'm a young 'un, as far as taste for movies goes.

That being the case, I actually enjoyed "Van Wilder". Miracles never cease. I've even rented the sequal.

Hoo-ha.

8.11.2008

My latest Acid studio production is sort of a mash-up of featuring Sigur Ros songs. I say "sort of" because I'm not combining musical passages but sampling bits and pieces and layering them into a whole new song. So far I've used little snatches of "Gobbledegook", "Festival", "Guitardjamm" and the second track on the new album (which I still cannot pronounce the name of). It's going to be a long term project so I couldn't even give an estimate as to when I will be done. I suppose I'll post it on Garageband just to have a link for people to hear it. I'm not sure what their policy is on compositions using copious amounts of sampling, even when said sampling takes the elements out of context to the point where, at times, even a fan would not recognize their origins.

8.10.2008


Our WAN DSL connection is still down and that's why I don't have internet on my laptop. It's a testament to my status as a computer newbie that I wasn't sure there was a network adapter built into my VAIO. I should have known that because I was using the router signal from a neighbor's house before we moved. I still don't understand why I got that and why I can't get that with the router I have. The only thing I can think of...well, hell, why make myself look like a bigger dolt than I am? All I know is that it is impossible to install a network adapter in my computer and I can only guess that it's because there's already an adapter in there. The WAN has been down for over a week now. I don't know what kind of progress they're making in getting it back up and I'm tired of calling them. Our network is set up properly, I'm 95% positive of that, but as far as internet goes I am out of luck for now.

Not that it really matters. I'm not involved in a whole lot of internet stuff, other than this blog. It doesn't count, though, because there's no real give-and-take of opinions and ideas here. They're all mine, which is just fine as far as that goes. But I enjoy communicating with folks out there in cyberspace. I get a couple of good hits a day on this blog (the hardcore blogger scoffs at such low figures, but I am not in it for attention). I'm happy about it, and if the trend continues I'll get a few more folks looking in at specific articles (my post about the creepiest songs of all time gets a lot of attention).

But the point is that most folks who come to this blog don't leave comments. I've had a few, yes, but not enough to where I'm satisfied with this medium being one of "communication". What I need to do is get involved in some internet communities. I think I've already mentioned, in an earlier post, that RS.comCastaways, where I've been hanging out for the past few years, has been skidding to a halt, as it were, for some time now. Used to be you could post something on any board and at least one person would check it out. No more. These days even the most popular boards see relatively little action (by 'little action' I mean to say that there are times when no one responds to a post within more than 24 hours). Not being critical of the Castaways board or the members of the community. But all too often it seems as though it has run it's course. I blame the "current events" board for the drop-off in active members. Not to say that such a forum should not exist within the parameters of the overall message boards, but it seems like most all of the animosity between people there has been sparked on that board. I suppose it's one thing to have a heated argument about music...it's a whole 'nother to embark upon political debates...though it must be said that it is, in the case of the Castaways, not necessarily the debates themselves that cause division more so than it is the inability of a good portion of the participants to keep from succumbing to the level of personal insults. It's as if the typical response to an unresolvable disagreement is a diatribe that has nothing to do with the topic being discussed, but a profanity laced attack upon the characteristics of a perceived enemy. You just don't see that on the music-oriented boards...or the movie board...or really ANY board for that matter...I don't say that low grade flame wars don't sometimes flare up on other boards...it would be hypocritical to say that, seeing as how I have initiated a couple myself...but only a fool would not see those for what they are: short-lived harmless pulling of chains, usually between people who either like each other or at least have no issues between them. It's a different story over at Current Events. Some of these folks take it way too personally.

Of course there is always the possibility that the in-fighting on that topic is considered, by some who participate, no more harmful than the "For Entertainment Only" and short-lived flame wars. It may well be exactly that. The difference is: people leave. People up and leave and don't come back to the boards. Almost every time someone jumps ship it's because of some row that started on the current events board. Or it's because they've just gotten sick and tired of someone or another whose incessant attacks and/or insults have become intolerable. Sometimes I feel like there are posters whose hidden purpose is not to engage in communication but to see how many people they can drive off of the boards, sort of like dignified trolls. Even if they don't see it that way it doesn't matter because that's the effect they have.

But so it goes. Stagnation is the inevitable result of any and every thing. I don't think my beloved Castaways community has come to that point, but all signs definitely suggest that it is not far away unless folks there can adopt the Rodney King approach. We're a rather insulated bunch...we haven't welcomed a "new member" is a long time (only trolls seem to show up, and you have to hand it to the admin there who shoot 'em down before they have a chance to wreak havoc). We've all "known" each other since the glory days of the Rolling Stone.com's message boards.

The best thing that could happen to the Castaways would be the return of a good lot of posters who have left (been run off). This is truly a case of numbers mattering. Not only numbers, but the dynamics would undergo a healthy boost with the return of even a few exiles. But numbers would be a good start. And maybe a campaign to have posters bring in good friends who might also add to the afore mentioned dynamic.

But I don't know. I seem to have veered from my original topic...I decided mid-way that I would re-post this at Castaways and that notion sort of took over. The thing is, I need to check out some other avenues of expression to bide my time until Castaways regains some momentum (as I hope it will). The Sigur Ros message boards at their site are interesting, but the fan base is so huge that you really can't get to know anyone there. MySpace, for me, has become basically a means with which I communicate with my daughter and little else. I check into GarageBand every day to see if I've got any reviews for my songs there (and sometimes I get in the mood to review others songs)...but that's really about it. Net surfing is fun and there are times when I really love it. But there are just as many times, these days, when I find it boring (probably a good thing, I would imagine).

But enough whining.