4.30.2006

Sunday Observations

I think I need to get a new hose for my CPAP...I'm having some major gas in the mornings. But that's not really why I'm writing.

Today was a good day.

I got up...had some crunchy cereal and started mowing. Went through the front pretty quickly. The back was more of a mine field...poop...debris. The usual stuff.

Also picked up a boundary mic....and some 100 cal snack packs from Big Lots (24 packs for $4-that's practically 1/2 price).

And then it was time for some grillin' :-)

Chillin' on the deck. Cold beer in hand. Venison and corn roasting on the grill. It was good stuff. Perfect way to cap off the weekend.

And...to top it all of this weekend, there was a Miami Vice Marathon on TVLand. Kickass!

All in all a great weekend!!

DM to the Rescue

People are people so why should it be that you and I should get along so awfully?


It's a fair question, I suppose.
I don't know any illegal immigrants personally. Which is probably what makes it easier for me to think that they are causing all these problems with my "way of life."

But are they?

What are the major problems in my life right now (and are they really that major...really?)?
  • High gas prices (because I drive 12 miles round trip to work every day...and I hate spending $30, every 2 weeks to fill up).
  • A backyard that needs serious landscaping (attributed to my own laziness last fall).
  • Not being where I want to be in my filmmaking career (attributed to just slacking).
  • Owing money to the gubbment (I love tax season).
  • Bills.
So...as far as I can tell, none of these problems can be attributed to illegal immigration. So how do I really feel about it and why?

F*** if I know.

To be honest, I really don't have much of an opinion on it. There is no direct impact from this situation in my life that I can see right now.

But...apparently it's a big enough problem to protest. People want to build a wall to keep the 'illegals' out (or is it to keep us in?)

I know, I know what I posted the other day about it. You don't have to remind me...I wrote it. But I honestly don't think I care at the moment about it.

I have the same feelings about the issue of illegal immigration that I do about most politics. Which is a decided feeling of "I don't really care." When an illegal immigrant comes to my front door and wants to move in my house and take food off of my table and the government lets him without giving me a say in it, then I suppose I'll care.

But here's the thing....that's not happening. And I don't see it happening anytime soon.

And Bush is not Hitler. He's just a stupid man in an unfortunate position of power (or at the very least a smart man doing stupid things in plain sight of the world).

Have I gone soft? No. I just don't really care. I mean, I thought I did. And then I read some posts by people who actually had a vested interest in this and I got to thinking that my ranting was just a bit of bullshite. When push comes to shove, though, it doesn't really bother me.

My biggest daily worry right now is whether or not I'm going to have enough flex points to eat the fudgesicle during this week's episode of House.

So on that note, I know it's past lent and all, but I think I'll give up politics for lent next year (And just get a head start on it now).

peace out.

4.28.2006

Duh

I am the most retarded guitar player ever.

As you may or may not know (or care) I recently got my very first electric guitar back. It's a Sam As(s)h Stratocaster knockoff. I paid something like $90 for it like 8 years ago or something like that.

And I always kind of hated it. Well, that's not entirely true. I thought it was freakin' awesome for the first month or so that I had it. Until Vic saw it. And told me about the tremelo systems on cheap guitars (and that's why my strings were breaking so easily). So...that was the end of my love for 'Ole Blue. After that a bunch of little shit just started bugging me about it. The fret buzz...the way the strings were WAY high off the frets near the bridge and practically touching the frets at the nut.

If you've ever seen a Stratocaster (you probably have), it has these things at the bridge move up or back and are controlled by a screw. I just thought they were cool or had something to do with the cheap tremelo system. Little did I know they actually served a purpose.

So, I recorded Jen last night and the way the guitar was acting bugged me (had nothing to do with the person playing it :-). It bugged me because I know that on some of the tapes I went through recently, I was playing 'Ole Blue. And it didn't sound half bad. So...what's the dealio?

I picked up The Guitar Handbook (the single BEST book about guitars if you have to just buy one book--my copy is 24 years old and still relevant today). And sure enough, I flipped right to the page that explained those little screwy things at the bridge. Apparently they affect something called Intonation. So...I followed their test and set the intonation on the guitar. And damned if it didn't sound just a little bit better.

Now about the low strings near the nut. Huh, on the page opposite of the intonation stuff there was my answer--the truss rod. Apparently how that's set affects something called the action of the strings (how high off the neck they are). A few turns of the truss rod (so THAT's what that allen-wrench was for) and voila-strings off the neck.

Damn. It actually plays a little bit better now! It's actually a little easier to play...more fluid. I still miss my SamAs(s)h Epiphone Les Paul, but at least now 'Ole Blue has a little more of a fighting chance. And I'll get used to playing a stratocaster-esque guitar. Which for $90 doesn't sound too bad coming through the VOX amp. It may be a decent little guitar after all.

4.27.2006

Jen Takes on A-Ha

*Original Rant about "United93" removed to give more props to my daughter and the kick ass job she did on her first recording (this year).*


In other news tonight...Jenyfer came over to record a track. At first I thought it was going to be an original, but it turns out she wanted to record "Take On Me." So...cool. I think it came out pretty well. She played all of the instruments (short of the drum machine). We would up doing 4 tracks of guitar and 5 tracks of keyboards (the keys didn't make it to the final mix, but I'm seriously thinking of remixing it again and making them work, too). So, here it is, without further ado.

Jen's cover of Take On Me

Speaking of Keys...I'd like to give props to Sony for using the Keys-O in their latest commercial for their digital camera. If you ever wondered what my main instrument of choice was in the first iteration of Devilcake...just check out that commercial and you'll see it. It would be even cooler if she were playing Chameleon, but you can't always get what you want.

Except for now.

Now I want to sleep. And I'm gonna get me some of that.

later.

4.26.2006

The Thrift End of the Ocean

Well, loyal reader(s) here's the moment you've been waiting for.
(dramatic pause)














Oh yeah. It's time for the THRIFT STORE REPORT.

Before I get too far into it, I have to tell you something funny that happened. Have you ever been in a store and someone thought you worked there, so they started asking you questions? This was kind of like that.

I was back by the computer stuff (surprise surprise) and some guy comes up to me.
"'Scuse me, do you know anything about computers, man?"

And this is what I was looking like (I came straight from work):



















In case you can't tell, there's a camera on my hip....AND a crackberry-esque Phone/PDA thing (I'm on call this week). And I had a cell phone in my back pocket (which I'm hoping the dude couldn't see).
So...what is this? Geek-profiling? Why me? OK, OK...so I know a little about computers. He was just asking about whether an HP monitor would go with a Compaq desktop. I didn't have the inclination to tell the man that Compaq was purchased by HP several years ago so they really were the same company. It just seemed like too much work quite a bit more information than he was looking for, so I just said "sure."

Alrighty, now back to the show.

I'd like to start off with a thrift store first for me (I didn't know there could actually be anymore firsts, but the O-Thrift-S continues to surprise and amaze me).















Yes. A pool table. A freakin' big boy smokey bowling alley pool table. And for only a mere $500. What a steal. Of course you can't tell what kind of shape the slate is in. It's very likely that it's been played hard. Alright, so dreams of going on ESPN and whuppin' that asian chick in the pool tourneys would have to wait.


On to the toys...



















I'm sure someone out there will know what Anime series this is from. I'm assuming it's anime because..well...if it's not then some toymaker somewhere is punishing all of us for his bad acid trip.


















XZibit...pimp my toy!! I can't imagine anyone actually wanting to buy a broken toy. But I've been wrong before.

















OK. Here's the thing...there is only one Family Feud. And it's got Richard Dawson. Not the dude from Home Improvement or whatever knob is hosting it now. So, needless to say I'm not a big fan of The New Family Feud. And really....the game hasn't changed that much. Survey Says.....buy the old school game with the cooler cover.

















My favorite all time show on VH1 is Pop Up Video. No questions. It's the best series they've ever had (although I am a bit partial to the Weird Al and Milli Vanilli Behind the Music episodes). So, um...yeah, we picked up the game.

All in all, the toys tonight were not what I had hoped. I think we're on the decline, but it's going to take a few more trips to figure out what's going on with the toys.

So, I'll jump over to the clothes. And I have to say-it's a lot easier to find pants in 42/30 and 44/30 than it is in 46/30, 48/30. I didn't go all the way through the regular t-shirts (I'll do a special t-shirt episode soon). But I couldn't let it go without this little gem.















Trust me. If you are wearing this shirt, I can assure you...no one will be jealous of you. And those aren't babes. They're dudes.


This is what it would look like if they made Garanimals for adults.


















Somewhere out there there's a little kid who's wondering where the shirt he got Daddy for Father's Day went to. And a Dad that's happy it's lost.































OK. Is it really necessary to put the word "BIG" after the 4X? I mean, if you don't know by now that FOUR EXTRA LARGE is huge...then you have no business buying clothes.





















This was my second favorite find of the night. OK. I mean of the clothes. This looks straight out of the 80's. How could I pass on this? It's One Size Fits All. How can you go wrong?
















And I don't EVER want anyone to say that I don't buy American. This shirt came home with me. A shirt from the streets,yo.

South Central, LA no less.























OK. Here's what I don't understand. Why the hell do they make a size MEDIUM Hawaiian shirt?? I'm sorry, but you aren't going to find very many people on the islands that could wear a size medium. Those polynesians are some big (4X/BIG) dudes. And so am I. And it's just not fair that there's no cool big dude shirts, dammit.


We'll round out the clothes segment of today's show with this little gem.




















Judging from the picture, I'd say it's from the pre-Celebrity/Pop days. I mean, Chris Kirkpatrick still has his "I Want it That Way" dreadlocks. Ok, OK. I may have taken my daughter to an *NSync concert. And I may have known the words to just as many songs as she did. Don't you judge me!! Regardless, this came home with us. No...not for me (it didn't fit)...Nancy's now it's proud owner.

So after the clothes search was over (and I had the kickass short sleeved ghetto hoodie), I headed back to my favorite (ok, 2nd favorite) area of the store...the isle of creepy ass ceramics!
















I could tell right away this was going to be an extra special ceramics trip...anything thing starts off with the doe-eyed-big-headed-pouty-boy with his hands between his legs is bound to go well. I didn't get a very good shot of the pharaohs, but in looking back, I'm wondering what the hell they were actually for? They were too small to be bookends or candleholders. And they had no holes, so salt and pepper shakers weren't an option. It's a mystery-it's the riddle of the Sphinxter!
















Um..I'm not Catholic or anything, so forgive my ignorance on this one...but is the nativity story different in a catholic bible? I didn't think there were pots and pans or a brick hearth in the manger. And is that a loaf of bread she' s holding? OK, I'm not theologian, but I'm pretty sure the Son of God was an actual person...not a loaf of bread.
















This is quite possibly the scariest cake-topper ever. Generally you want your cake topper to be flattering, fun, a happy thing to commemorate your happy day. Apparently this was from the Dawn of the Dead cake-topper series.
















There was a plethora of weird owl figurines, but that wasn't what caught my eye. It was the chick in the crazy leopard trim coat. One would be inclined to think that she was singing...or yodeling. But there are no songbooks to be found (not that there are a ton of yodeling song books anyway). Regardless, I just really can't think of a good reason that this belongs in anyone's home.





















In his later years, Morris the Cat took odd jobs. Sitting for sculptures, that kind of thing, but he just couldn't seem to recapture the glory days when he was the 9-Lives cha cha cha cat.


















Precious Moments my ass. These things are just creepy. And you can't tell from the pic, but that hole is just big enough for a shot glass. And I have no idea where the soap sculpture bumble bee zebra came from. That's just wrong.
















Cats like balls. Except this possessed cat. What the hell is it with creepy cat figurines?? It's just wrong.
















I could be wrong, but shouldn't a statue commemorating a 'sport' show the best aspect of that sport (although, is bareback riding really a sport?-You make the call)? Not some guy getting thrown from the horse! That'd be like the Heisman trophy dude fumbling the ball.




















WESTSIIIIIIIDE in the Hizzous!!






















EASTSIIIDE! Bethlehem represent, yo!


And now we head from our Lord over to some other fine goodies that caught my eye. Here's where things take a random turn (right now, nowhere else in this post).
















This is the kind of matress thingy I always wanted as a kid. I would have put my StarWars blanket on it and been one happy nerdy kid. Now, that I'm older and wiser (and have grown out of my nerdy ways), I realize that it would have been a big mistake to cross-pollenate StarWars with the Space1999 meets Flash Gordon motifs. It just wouldn't have worked out. It might have scarred me for life.
















Tired of having to walk all the way across the house to use the bathroom? CrapperCo has the answer! With CrapperCo's new Walking CanCane, you can just take a dump anywhere. No more pesky lines for public toilets, any where you need to walk, you can take a crap. Privacy curtain also available. Call now, Operators are standing by!

















Um. Can't I just get some Stainless Steel utensils? Spellcheck is for sissys!

















Where old Sega Genesis systems go to die.

















For all your busted leg needs...





"Son, sit down. you're starting to freak me out."

"Can't you hear'em, Pa? The aliens...they're calling out to me"































For all your skank-ho cosmetic needs. Chip resistant, totally tacky, and dries fast in the night air.

















Um. I would think that maybe Mormon Women already have enough drama what with keeping all their schedules straight and whatnot. I'm not sure they need to be dramatized any more than they already are.

















The quintessential 80's music collection. Complete with a Cassingle!!

















Oh yeah? Well my God knows that you all need a freakin' stylist! Go tell that on the mountain, beyotch! (props go to Nancy for the stylist joke).























The closest thing to gay porn that you'll find at the thrift store.























OK. This one's a little embarrassing. From a distance, I was wondering what the heck Martin Sheen was doing on the cover of the Rolling Stone (look at it fast, from the corner of your eye-you'll see it).

















*80's Flashback Alert!!* Remember when everything was "Le "something? Ahh. Good times, good times.























Dude. This was the FIND.
It's the original pilot episode for Knight Rider (only the badassiest cool talking car show of the 80's). Hasselhoff is a freakin' Genius!! And you can best believe that this little gem came home with me. I'm such a geek (duh) that I may just transfer that over to digital so I can watch it upstairs (where I have refused to hook a VCR up to the good TV).



















We don't need no stickin' organ donors list, Mommy. I got you an inflatable heart!!

















On the surface, 10 cents is a pretty good price for a notebook. And this one has all kinds of cool pages. The only bummer?



















Apparently someone's group counseling notes were left in there! And may I just say, what a screwed up group it is!























Just how did Pooh get his Honey? Read the classic tale of how a bear of little brain rose to the top of the pimpdaddyhood of the 100 Acre Wood. "B****h betta have my Honey!"

















It is a well known practice in retail to put the impulse buy items by the checkout registers.

Which does nothing to explain why these hideous pottery barn rejects where there!!











And with that indelible image of tackiness americana etched in your brain, I leave to you consume the springtime beverage of your choosing. Stayed tuned for the upcoming T-Shirt spectacular!


-Todd

4.25.2006

From the WTF Department

I apologize in advance for the randomness of this post. I'm kind of all over the place on this one emotionally and all that.

So...first off, I want to say...look for a new thriftstore post tomorrow.


Secondly...I'd like to say that I'm thinking of getting in to the Sticker business. Here's my sticker. Want one?














I plan on making some or finding someone to make some. More for gag gifts for my friends.
But I got so sick of seeing the W'04 ones. And who knows..maybe someone already has one of these.


*UPDATE*...Looks like they're already selling these over at CafePress. Oh well.


Alright...now to the downer side of things (back away now, if you want).

A teen at church last weekend killed himself (at least that's the preliminary ruling) at a church retreat. He was 18, involved in the contemporary worship band, had been accepted to college...was well liked and involved in many church groups.

So...what the hell? Suicide? I guess some part of me is more comfortable in thinking there was foul play involved than that this young man would just kill himself outright on the day of his 18th birthday.

I'm not going to sit here and BS you and say that the thought of self-offing has never crossed my mind. It has. And yes, mainly when I was a teen. But that was 20 years ago....and the thought now is just like "hell no! You're gonna have to drag me kicking and screaming out of this world, bitches-I gots too much to do! Too many movies to make!"

It just makes me sad. The point of being a teenager is to live through being a teenager. Yes it sucks. It's supposed to suck. It's a time of weird, awkward growth. The true joy of being a teenager is being able to look back on being a teenager 20 years down the road and wondering how you got so worked up over the things you did.

The thought that things are so bad, that there's no one you can turn to, that death seems to be the only solution is foreign to me now. That part of my brain that could ever identify with it is no longer with me (thankfully).

And the other thing about it is, it truly is the single most selfish act someone could ever commit. It's the last-F-You. And it doesn't help. It doesn't solve anything. And it doesn't answer any questions.

It only leaves one....why?

I'm sorry for his family's loss.

4.22.2006

Well, Heck

I don't agree with the President on a lot of things. At least I'm assuming I don't. In truth, for 6 years now it's hard to tell what the hell the prez is thinking.

And I'm OK with that. Part of the great thing about this country is that it's my choice to think that Bush is dropping the ball on a lot of things.

And then he goes and does this.

He goes head to head with the RIAA (who happen to be the one group I despise more than lobbyists).

Thanks, Gizmodo for giving me something that I can agree on with the president. Thanks a freakin' lot. I don't care-I'm still not a Bush fan. But at least now, with him in the ring, hopefully something will be done to stop the RIAA's foolish tirade on online music/files.

Maybe this second term won't be a total wash after all.

4.20.2006

Holy Scalding Hydro-Flow Batman!

So...we moved in to our new (to us) house last July. And one thing that's always been troublesome is the fact that when you turn on the hot water, if you're not careful..in just a few seconds, it's scalding. No, seriously. I can make the instant oatmeal with just the hot water coming out of the tap

This made the shower situation awkward, too. It took a fine, precise touch to gently tap the thing in place to get the water that was hot enough to not shrivel anything but not too hot to burn off flesh.

Tonight in an unprecedented fit of handyman aplomb, I decided to investigate. I had been inside a hot water tank before (ok, witnessed someone change the temperature on one at my friends house) and it required a screwdriver, a flashlight, a fair amount of cursing, and another screwdriver (of the beverage variety). Fortunately for me, our was not that difficult (although I could use a tastey beverage right about now). There was a box on the outside with a knob. The box said Energy Saver. At 11 O'Clock was the word HOT. At 2 O'Clock was the word WARMER and the arrow indicating which direction to turn the knob was going from 11 to 2. The point of the knob, however, was at 7 O'Clock. WAY the hell past HOT and into FLESH EATING (only there wasn't enough room for that, so they didn't put anything there).

I put it somewhere around 12 O'Clock and went upstairs to proclaim my manliness to my wife. We tested it. She turned on the faucet of the kitchen sink...full bore on the HOT side....and waited.
10 seconds later it was starting to get warm. Ahh...success. No more boiling water from our spigot. And if that box is accurate, it will save me energy, too. One can only hope that translates into some kind of financial gain.

Alas

The thrift store jaunt was not meant to be last night. I wound up staying here working on MCSA stuff until about 9. This stuff's gonna kick my ass if I'm not careful. I mean, I know it's for certification and all that, but damn. It's quite a bit more involved than I thought. Well, actually that's not entirely true. It's pretty much AS involved as I thought it was going to be. But for some reason I thought it would flow a little better for me. I just need to buckle down and focus more.
 
Oh...and uh, Friday is Hawaiian Shirt Day. So, feel free to where your hawaiian shirts with uh jeans if you want to.
 
Also, next Wedsnesday is 1/2 price day at the thrift store. So...I'm anticipating the mother of all thrift posts (because I'm just crazy enough to go at lunch AND dinner times) :-)
 
 
 

4.18.2006

F*** This

Here's the thing. I'm sick of these bullshit immigration protests.

I've started this post three times already and there just isn't any good way to articulate it without coming off as a racist pig. And maybe I am.

If it means that I want what's best for me and my family and what's best for America in general, then I guess I am.

But here's the difference. I don't blame the immigrants. If I was in some shitty dire circumstance, or I knew where I could go to feed my family. I'd be there in heartbeat knee deep clown car style trying to cross the border somewhere

What I'm really sick of though is having to feel like I have to apologize for wanting what's best for me and my family.

And if you want to get right down to it....It's not just issues with illegal immigration. It's a lot of things. Most of them stemming from the fact that our government is letting us down. Has been for quite some time.

I am not a democrat and I am not a republican. I don't vote along party lines. I am an American. It's about damn time that started to mean something again.

But it doesn't now does it? Being an American citizen is starting to mean less and less. Sure, it means that the world at large pretty much hates us. And yet, people still want to come here.

The problem is the government stopped being about the people a long time ago.

Now it's about big business.

The major problems with our government can be summed up in one word: Lobbyists.

If you don't know, lobbyists are people that work for big businesses and corporations and they basically try their damnedest to influence the policies and bills that get put before congress. And you know what? Usually they succeed. You think it's any coincidence that Dell gets a big fat tax break for shipping their tech support over to India? Or that Toyota gets incentives for factories built in Mexico?

You're not voting for political ideals anymore. You're voting for which companies you want to have the most influence on congress for the next 4 years.

Unfortunately there is only one solution I can think of...a Constitutional Convention.

Now, it's been a long time since high school Civics class, but if I remember correctly... it's damn near impossible thing to make happen. Because it requires people to give a damn. To swim against the status quo. To stop watching a television show about reality and really start living.

And that's just a lot of work, isn't it? I mean, phhhew. Who knew it was going to be like this? Having to work to bring about change? F**k that. Pass me the clicker.

So...enough of my pissing and moaning.

Here's where I stand. I'm a citizen of the greatest f**king country on the planet. And I won't feel shame for that. And I won't feel shame for wanting it to be better than it is. For wanting our government to start caring about the people again.

Afterall, it was a system of government that was founded on the main principle of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Not just the people with enough money to get elected.

But...what the heck do I know? I'm just an Average Joe...trying to be a Survivor. Trying to make ends meet in the Real World. I'm not trying to be America's Next Top Model and I'm certainly no American Idol. But it would be nice to have something be Unan1mous for a change and be able to tell Congress that it's a Deal or No Deal.

Mind passing the Nachos? Dawn of the Dead's about to start...

























*OK. Tomorrow looks like the regular posts of thrift store oddities will come back. Glad you all stuck with me this far (assuming you did, that is).

Excision, Incision

1998 had to be a weird time for me. Did I know in the back of my head that things were coming to an end with L-? Probably.

So, I've been going through all these cassette tapes, some 4-track, some 2. Some decent. Some shite. I'm finding out a few things about myself along the way that I don't think I realized it at the time.

First thing...I'm in no position to critique my works for at least 3 years after I've completed it. I can remember some of these recordings and just flat out giving myself holy hell because I couldn't make it sound on tape like what I was hearing in my head. But 3 or 4 (or 7 or 8) years later, it's not so bad. I can listen to them and realize that yes-I may not be technically proficient at vocals, guitar or keys...but there was something there. Some little nibblet of what I was trying to expel to the universe at large.

Like this song. It's a demo I stumbled upon (meaning I didn't do anything but bare minimum guitars and vocals). It's called "You Might Think" and here's the thing-I don't hate my vocals on it (which are traditionally the bane of my existence). I think there's a couple reasons why I'm OK with how they sound. First being, I'm sure I had a beer or two (the guitar playing corroborates this theory), and the second is-I'm just singing on pure emotion for me. I don't think I meant for anyone else to really hear that song. It was just one of those that I had to get on to tape. Something that was just gnawing at me to come out.

Somehow I think those are the things that come out the best, the ones that know when it's time. The ones that aren't forced.

Yes, I realize it could be complete and utter BS. But it's my BS. And I'm sharing it with you (don't you feel special).

"You Might Think (Demo)" circa Winter 1998

4.16.2006

More o' Todd's Musical History...

OK. So I know I haven't been to the thrift store lately and I know it's bugging some of you (including me). But fear not, I've found comedy gold somewhere else today.

Oh, and speaking of today, Happy Easter. Jesus is back, hide the eggs!

But no...I've been going through my old audio tapes and trying to see if there's anything worth archiving off of them and ripping to MP3. For the most part, the answer's a big fat no.

Then tonight something really weird happened. I came across a song that I have absolutely no recollection of. It's not dated, so I don't know when I recorded it. And the tape wasn't labeled, so I'm even guessing at the name of the song. At first I thought it might have been 2nd Floor stuff, but I quickly ruled that out because (A)the singing's not that great (so it's not Darrin), and (B)it's the only song on the tape (which is almost unheard of in 2ndFloor-land). So, it's me I guess. I suppose I could track down the lyrics and try to date this thing, but I'd really rather not.

And now for your amusement (there are some very basic gaffs on this thing, so bear with me), I give you Swirling.

Now, lest you think I duped you, I'll take you back about 8 years to the very first song Darrin and I ever recorded. How do I know? Simple, the tape is labeled "Darrin/Todd-Untitled Darrin&Todd (UTD#1)" Later I renamed this "Autumn" without really running it by Darrin. Tonight I give it to you remastered. I actually like it better than the version that came out on subsequent 2nd Floor recordings. I dunno, it just sounds cleaner to me. Maybe it's because I'm better at using Cool Edit (still have a hard time calling it Adobe Audition).

Darrin/Todd-Untitled Darrin&Todd (UTD#1)

Hopefully that will help wash the taste of "Swirling"out of your brain.

And please come back soon...I promise I'll try to hit the thriftstore this week.

-T

4.14.2006

Bands That Never Got Out of the Basement (Part 2 In An Ongoing Series)

Mocking Karma (formed sometime in 2000, abandoned sometime in 2001)

Originally conceived in a drunken haze at one of the BuddhaJams as a power-rock trio (think Rush, only less Canadian), MK's original members were Bill, me, and Darrin. A few people floated in and out (Lisa, Heather, Vic, Ian) in the year that it lived.

Bill was pretty darn good at crafting weird guitar shite to go around my lyrics (with the exception of JAFO, where he filled in and noodled with expert aplomb).

Mocking Karma was one of only a few bands where I felt like I could just let go and not really worry about what I sounded like (the others being the original Devilcake (back in the 90's), the buddhajams, and 2nd Floor). I just went all out with no real regard as to whether or not it sounded good or sounded like clrap (it usually wound up sounding good for the most part). It's an interesting lesson-just do it and have fun. Everything else usually falls into place. If you have fun with it, the extra time to practice won't matter-it'll be worth it.

So...yeah. Why'd it die, you ask? Stupidity. Plain and simple. Someone in the band was convinced that someone else in the band was getting rather intimate with the same person. Not quite the Yoko syndrome...but nonetheless an illustration of how p**** can make you do stupid sh*t.

Do I miss jamming with MK? Sure. I mean, I don't lay awake at night strumming my guitar longing for the year 2000 again, but yeah, it was fun. There was no pressure. I enjoyed myself. I think Bill and Darrin did too. Could I pick it up tomorrow and start it all over? Probably not. Too much time has passed and I'm at a different place now. Music is really more of a secondary focus for me. The guitar and keys are something to noodle on while a video project is rendering. Not to mention Darrin's got a family on the way and I haven't spoken to Bill in 5 years. Someday, somewhere down the road, our paths may cross. Maybe for a 25 year reunion BuddhJam...who knows?

For now I leave you with a few tunes

http://www.twistedzen.com/media/MK_JAFO.mp3
http://www.twistedzen.com/media/MK_Stalked.mp3
http://www.twistedzen.com/media/MK_Watchtower_to_Funk_98.mp3

They are from a recorder that was left in the room (so the quality is definitely lo-fi). All songs were a collective effort, so I can't take credit for anything but my 1/3rd. The rest of the props go to Darrin and Bill.

4.13.2006

Multilingual Madness/Locura Multilingüe/Folie Multilingue

So, due to a series of unfortunate events (the main one being that I didn't bother checking the underwear drawer last night), I wound up going commando this morning.

For a bit.

It's been about 10 years and I didn't want my re-introduction to the freeballin' to be a day when I had to work (let alone a day I was wearing jeans), so I made a pit stop to my local Kroger store for some undies (yeah, I didn't know they sold underewear either).

And that's when I saw them. The brilliantly white Fruit of the Looms. Ye Olde Tighty Whities. And there were 3 descriptions of what was in the package. Along with a little drawing of a pair of briefs. .

Now here's the thing. I know that companies are trying to accomodate the influx of immigrants (legal or not) to this country (although one of the languages was French, and I don't see to many Canadians trying to slip across the border), but c'mon. It's getting ridiculous. First of all, if you don't know what's in the package based on the clear packaging and the ambigously gay man on the front in nothing but underwear, then maybe you shouldn't be buying it.

I took 8 years of french in my jr.high/highschool/college days (back when the french weren't evil enemies of the state). I'm not about to try to learn Spanish. And to be honest, I shouldn't have to if I don't want to. It's retarded when I walk in to a McDonalds or Taco Bell and have to talk slooooower and LOUDER to order a freakin' Big Mac because the person behind the counter speaks english as a second language. I'm in America. I'm going to order my artery clogging McDeath meal in my native tongue.

Yes it's mean. Yes it may be racist (or at the least a bit xenophobic), but dammit, we're in America. English has been the national language since..oh I don't know....when the settlers arrived from ENGLAND!!!

It really bothers me when so much effort (and money and time) is just pissed away trying to make sure we accomodate all those in our country that don't speak English. I'm not sure when this trend started. Growing up there wasn't even a hint of this madness. I had friends of Spanish decent, friends of Ukranian decent, friends of Greek decent. All of them spoke English. Now, in their homes, I know that many of them spoke their native language in order to keep traditions and all that and I'm all for that. Every now and then I'll slip into my native tongue-Redneckistanian and get the urge to put the car up on blocks and a warshin' machine on the front porch.

But somewhere in the late 90's, early Oh-Oh's all that changed. It may have been when the government granted the first huge wave of illegal aliens amnesty. Some politicians somewhere got it in their head that if they bent over backwards to accomodate all of the illegal immigrants in their districts they might get votes (nevermind the fact that non-citizens can't vote--yet). I don't know. But I do know it's damn annoying.

I guess what's frustrating is...I don't believe for a moment that all of the people that claim ignorance of English actually ARE unable to speak English.

It may be a symptom of being an arrogant American, but if you are in this country...speak the f***ing language, mmmkay? Seriously. That goes for any country you visit. It's just polite. And if you move to another country...I don't care who the f**k you are...you should learn the native tongue.

This has gotten so out of hand that there is a bill before the Ohio Congress now to make English the official state language. Um...What the hell else would the language be?? That we even have to waste money proposing an official state language for Ohio is just retarded. Seriously. We are smack in the middle of the eastern MidWest. We border no other nationalities (not counting Indiana)...so why would our state official language be anything but English??

I look at it like this. I have a house. One day I wake up and somebody's snuck into my house. And they need to use the restroom. So I show them to the restroom. And they tell me, "No. In my country, we defecate on the living room floor" and then they proceed to take a dump on my carpet. And then they get mad at me when I get bent out of shape.

I just get very frustrated when I think of all the shit that our politicians are wasting money on.

I also want to make it very clear. My ire is aimed toward the situation with illegal immigrants. If you're over here, trying your damnedest to become an American citizen or you have the proper papers and whatnot..hoorah. Good for you. If, however, you're bringing your in labor-about-to-pop-a-baby-any-second wife across the border so she has her kid on American soil (instantly making the kid a citizen and granting the parents amnesty for 18 years), then yeah-up yours. It's called trying to weasel around the system and it's taking money and resources away from people who've already been in the country and have nothing (Appalachia anyone?).

And I can hear you now.."But Todd, America is the great melting pot. What makes America great is that anyone can come here and get a piece of the American Dream"

And I agree. It's a melting pot. All kinds of cultures come in...get blended around and come out as Americans. Trying to get a piece of the American dream. See a pattern here? In a melting pot, things melt and blend together. The best and worst getting blended into something unique and new.

I'm wondering how long it's going to take until Middle America wakes up and decides enough is enough. It's coming. I can feel it. People are getting fed up. Americans are getting fed up feeling like their wants and needs have to take a back seat to people who aren't even citizens in this country.

You know, in hiney-sight, maybe I should have just gone commando today.




Así pues, debido a una serie de los acontecimientos desafortunados (el principal que era ese no incomodé el comprobar del cajón de la ropa interior ayer por la noche), I hiera encima de comando que va esta mañana. Para un pedacito. Se es cerca de 10 años y no quisiera mi reintroducción al freeballin ' fuera un día en que tuve que trabajar (deje solamente un día que usaba los pantalones vaqueros), así que hice que un hoyo para a mi almacén local de Kroger para algunos undies (sí, no sabía vendieron underewear tampoco). Y ése es cuando los vi. La fruta brillante blanca de los telares. Ye Olde Tighty Whities. Y había 3 descripciones de cuál estaba en el paquete. Junto con un pequeño dibujo de un par del escrito. Ahora aquí está la cosa. Sé que las compañías estoy intentando acomodar la afluencia de los inmigrantes (legales o no) a este país (aunque una de las idiomas era francesa, y no veo a muchos canadienses que intentan deslizarse a través de la frontera), solamente c'mon. Está consiguiendo ridículo. Primero de todos, si usted no sabe cuál está en el paquete basado en el claro que empaqueta y el hombre ambigously gay en el frente en nada solamente ropa interior, entonces usted no debe comprarla quizá. Tomé a 8 años de francés en mis días de jr.high/highschool/college (traseros cuando los franceses no eran enemigos malvados del estado). No estoy a punto de intentar aprender español. Y para ser honesto, no debo tuve que si no deseo a. Se retarda cuando camino adentro a un McDonalds o a un taco Bell y tengo que hablar el slooooower y MÁS RUIDOSO para pedir mac grande de un freakin ' porque la persona detrás del contador habla inglés como segunda lengua. Estoy en América. Voy a pedir mi arteria que estorba la comida de McDeath en mi lengua materna. Es sí malo. Sí puede ser racist (o en el menos un pedacito xenófobo), pero dammit, estamos en América. ¡El inglés ha sido la lengua nacional since..oh que no sé que....when los colonos llegó de INGLATERRA!!! Realmente me incomoda cuando tanto el esfuerzo (y el dinero y el tiempo) es apenas lejos el intentar pissed cerciorarse de nosotros acomodan todo el los en nuestro país que no hablen inglés. No soy seguro cuando esta tendencia comenzó. El crecimiento para arriba allí no era uniforme una indirecta de esta locura. Tenía amigos de decente español, amigos de decente ucraniano, amigos de decente griego. Todos hablaron inglés. Ahora, en sus hogares, sé que muchos de ellos rayo su lengua materna para guardar tradiciones y todo el eso y yo son todos para eso. Cada ahora y después me deslizaré en mi lengu!eta-Redneckistanian nativa y conseguiré el impulso de poner el coche para arriba en bloques y máquina de un warshin la ' en el pórche de entrada. Pero en alguna parte en los últimos años 90, Oh-Oh-Oh's tempranos todos los que cambiaron. Pudo haber sido cuando el gobierno concedió la primera onda enorme de la amnistía ilegal de los extranjeros. Algunos políticos en alguna parte lo consiguieron en su cabeza que si se doblaron encima al revés para acomodar a todos los inmigrantes ilegales en sus districtos ellos pudo conseguir los votos (nevermind el hecho de que los non-citizens no pueden votar -- todavía). No sé. Pero sé que es molestia maldita. Conjeturo que qué está frustrando soy... no creo por un momento que toda la gente que demanda la ignorancia del inglés realmente NO PUEDA hablar inglés. ¿Puede ser un síntoma de ser un americano arrogante, pero si usted está en este país... habla la lengua f***ing, mmmkay? Seriamente. Eso va para cualquier país que usted visite. Es apenas cortés. Y si usted me mueve a otro país... no cuide quién debe aprender el f**k que usted es... usted la lengua materna. Éste ha conseguido tan de la mano que ahora haya una cuenta antes del congreso de Ohio para hacer inglés la lengua oficial del estado. ¿Um... cuáles el infierno la lengua sería?? Que incluso tenemos que perder el dinero que propone una lengua oficial del estado para Ohio apenas se retarda. Seriamente. Somos tortazo en el centro del Cercano oeste del este. ¿No confinamos ninguna otra nacionalidad (que no cuenta Indiana)... tan porqué nuestra lengua oficial de estado sería todo menos inglés?? La miro tengo gusto de esto. Tengo una casa. Un día despierto y alguien snuck en mi casa. Y necesitan utilizar el restroom. Los demuestro tan al restroom. Y me dicen, "no. En mi país, defecamos en el piso vivo del sitio "y entonces proceden a tomar una descarga en mi alfombra. Y entonces consiguen enojados en mí cuando consigo doblado fuera de forma. Apenas consigo muy frustrado cuando pienso en toda la mierda que nuestros políticos están perdiendo el dinero encendido. También deseo hacerlo muy claro. Mi ira está dirigido hacia la situación con los inmigrantes ilegales. Si usted está aquí, intentando sus ma's damnedest sentir bien un ciudadano o le americano tienen los papeles y el whatnot..hoorah apropiados. Bueno para usted. Si, sin embargo, usted está trayendo a su adentro trabajar-sobre-a-hacer estallar-uno-bebe'-cualquier-segunda esposa a través de la frontera así que ella tiene su cabrito en suelo americano (la fabricación el cabrito de un ciudadano y conceder inmediatamente a los padres amnistían por 18 años), entonces yeah-up el tuyo. Se llama el intentar a la comadreja alrededor del sistema y está tomando el dinero y recursos lejos del who've de la gente ya estado en el país y no tiene nada (Appalachia cualquier persona?). Y puedo oírle now.."But Todd, América soy el gran pote que derrite. Qué hace América grande es que cualquier persona puede venir aquí y conseguir un pedazo del sueño americano " Y convengo. Es un pote que derrite. Todas las clases de culturas vienen en... consiguen mezcladas alrededor y salen como americanos. El intentar conseguir un pedazo del sueño americano. ¿Vea un patrón aquí? En un pote que derrite, las cosas derriten y mezclan juntas. El conseguir mejor y peor mezclado en algo único y nuevo. Me estoy preguntando cuánto tiempo va a tomar hasta que América media despierta y decide que bastante es bastante. Está viniendo. Puedo sentirlo. La gente está consiguiendo a fed para arriba. Los americanos están consiguiendo a fed encima de la sensación como su desean y las necesidades tienen que llevar un asiento trasero la gente que no es ciudadanos uniformes en este país. Usted sabe, en hiney-avista, quizá yo debe tener apenas comando ido hoy.



Ainsi, en raison d'une série d'événements malheureux (les principaux étant ces je n'ai pas pris la peine de vérifier le tiroir de sous-vêtements la nuit passée), I enroulez vers le haut du commando allant ce matin. Pour un peu. Il est été environ 10 ans et je n'ai pas voulu que ma réintroduction au freeballin 'fût un jour où j'ai dû travailler (encore moins un jour je portais des jeans), ainsi j'ai fait un puits s'arrêter à mon magasin local de Kroger pour un certain dessous (ouais, je n'ai pas su ils ont vendu underewear non plus). Et c'est quand je les ai vus. Le fruit brillamment blanc des manches. Ye Olde Tighty Whities. Et il y avait 3 descriptions de ce qui était dans le paquet. Avec un petit schéma d'une paire de dossier. Voici maintenant la chose. Je sais que des compagnies essaye d'adapter à l'afflux des immigrés (légaux ou pas) à ce pays (bien qu'une des langues était française, et je ne vois pas à beaucoup de Canadiens essayant de glisser à travers la frontière), mais c'mon. Il devient ridicule. Tout d'abord, si vous ne savez pas ce qui est dans le paquet basé sur l'espace libre empaquetant et l'homme ambigously gai sur l'avant dans rien mais des sous-vêtements, alors peut-être vous ne devriez pas les acheter. J'ai pris 8 ans du français en mes jours de jr.high/highschool/college (arrières quand les Français n'étaient pas les ennemis mauvais de l'état). Je ne suis pas sur le point d'essayer d'apprendre l'espagnol. Et pour être honnête, je ne devrais pas dois si je ne veux pas à. Il est retardé quand je marche dedans à un McDonalds ou à un taco Bell et dois parler le slooooower et PLUS FORT grand imper pour commander freakin 'parce que la personne derrière le compteur parle anglais comme deuxième langue. Je suis en Amérique. Je vais commander mon artère obstruant le repas de McDeath dans ma langue maternelle. Oui c'est moyen. Oui il peut être raciste (ou au moindre un peu xénophobique), mais dammit, nous sommes en Amérique. L'anglais a été la langue nationale since..oh que je ne sais pas.... quand les colons sont arrivés d'ANGLETERRE ! ! ! Il me tracasse vraiment quand tellement l'effort (et l'argent et le temps) est juste loin essai pissé de s'assurer nous adaptent tout à ceux dans notre pays qui ne parlent pas anglais. Je ne suis pas sûr quand cette tendance a commencé. Grandir là n'était pas même un conseil de cette folie. J'ai eu les amis de décent espagnol, les amis de décent ukrénien, amis de décent grec. Tous ont parlé anglais. Maintenant, dans leurs maisons, je sais que bon nombre d'entre elles rai leur langue maternelle afin de garder des traditions et tout cela et moi suis toutes pour cela. Chaque maintenant et alors je glisserai dans mon langue-Redneckistanian indigène et obtiendrai le recommander de mettre la voiture vers le haut sur les blocs et machine d'un warshin la 'sur le porche plan. Mais quelque part vers la fin des années 90, les OH-OH tôt tous qui ont changé. Il a pu avoir été quand le gouvernement a accordé la première vague énorme de l'amnistie illégale d'étrangers. Quelques politiciens quelque part l'ont obtenu dans leur tête qui s'ils se pliaient plus de vers l'arrière pour adapter à tous les immigrés illégaux dans leurs zones ils pourrait obtenir des voix (nevermind le fait que les non-citoyens ne peuvent pas voter -- encore). Je ne sais pas. Mais je sais qu'elle est fichu gêner. Je devine que ce qui frustre est... je ne crois pas pendant un moment que tout le peuple qui réclament l'ignorance de l'anglais réellement NE POUVEZ PAS parler anglais. Ce peut être un symptôme d'être un Américain arrogant, mais si vous êtes dans ce pays... parle la langue f***ing, mmmkay ? Sérieusement. Cela va pour n'importe quel pays que vous visitez. Il est simplement poli. Et si vous me déplacez à un autre pays... ne vous inquiétez pas qui le f**k que vous êtes... vous devrait apprendre la langue maternelle. Ceci a obtenu ainsi hors de toute réflexion qu'il y a une facture devant le congrès de l'Ohio maintenant pour faire à l'anglais la langue officielle d'état. UM... diable autrement la langue serait ? ? Que nous même devons gaspiller l'argent proposant une langue officielle d'état pour l'Ohio est juste retardé. Sérieusement. Nous sommes claquons au milieu du Midwest oriental. Nous n'encadrons aucune autre nationalité (ne comptant pas Indiana)... ainsi pourquoi notre langue officielle d'état serait quelque chose mais l'anglais ? ? Je la regarde aime ceci. J'ai une maison. Un jour je me réveille et quelqu'un snuck dans ma maison. Et ils doivent employer la toilette. Ainsi je les montre à la toilette. Et ils m'indiquent, "non. Dans mon pays, nous déféquons sur le plancher vivant de pièce "et alors ils procèdent prendre une décharge sur mon tapis. Et alors ils deviennent fous à moi quand je deviens coudé hors de la forme. J'obtiens juste très frustré quand je pense à toute la merde que nos politiciens gaspillent l'argent dessus. Je veux également expliquer très. Ma colère est visée vers la situation avec les immigrés illégaux. Si vous êtes ici, essayant vos damnedest de aller bien à un citoyen ou à vous américain ont les papiers et la chose appropriés. Bon pour vous. Si, cependant, vous apportez votre dedans travailler-au sujet-à-sauter-un-bébé-tout-deuxième épouse à travers la frontière ainsi elle a son gosse sur le sol américain (immédiatement la fabrication le gosse d'un citoyen et l'octroi des parents amnistient pendant 18 années), puis yeah-up vôtre. Il s'appelle essai à la belette autour du système et il prend l'argent et des ressources loin du who've de personnes déjà été dans le pays et n'a rien (Appalachia n'importe qui ?). Et je peux vous entendre now.."But Todd, Amérique est le grand creuset. Ce qui fait l'Amérique grande est que n'importe qui peut venir ici et obtenir un morceau du rêve américain " Et je conviens. C'est un creuset. Toutes sortes de cultures viennent dans... obtiennent mélangées autour et sortent comme Américains. Essai d'obtenir un morceau du rêve américain. Voir le modèle ici ? Dans un creuset, les choses fondent et se mélangent ensemble. Meilleur et plus mauvais obtenir mélangé dans quelque chose de unique et nouveau. Je me demande combien de temps il va prendre jusqu'à ce que l'Amérique moyenne se réveille et décide qu'asse'est assez. Il vient. Je peux le sentir. Les gens obtiennent le Fédéral vers le haut. Les Américains obtiennent le Fédéral vers le haut de se sentir comme le leur veut et les besoins doivent prendre une banquette arrière aux gens qui ne sont pas les citoyens égaux dans ce pays. Vous savez, dans hiney-apercevez, peut-être je devriez avoir juste le commando allé aujourd'hui.

4.12.2006

So...all said and done there were probably 50-60 hours put into the video for Tommy's Basketball team from start to finish. All on my dime. I didn't think there would be a video this year (and I was disappointed in past years. There are so many teams that there's really never enough of your kid in the video). So I took matters in to my own hands and made the video for The Earthquake (Tommy's team). I sent them out a couple weeks back and hadn't heard really from anyone on the team how they like them. I mean, I'm happy with how they came out and I'm proud of the video, but feedback is always nice (and for me, instant feedback is better :-)

And then I got this in the mail today:




















As for the time in making the video? It was totally worth it.

Customer Service is Not Dead

So..my boss sends me to Chipotle to pick up lunch for the training class. I had called ahead to make sure it was OK to use his card.

Got there. It was $46.50. And I whipped out the boss's Discover card with a gleam of "I'm so cool"....and the dude was like..."um...we don't take Discover."

This could have turned real ugly.

But the manager came over...(he was the one I talked to on the phone)...and said..."what's your company do?" Software I replied. He said "Tell your boss I need a new computer." And he comp'd and sent me on my way.


Word.

Free food is awesome. Getting free food in such a scenario is awesomer!

Juxtaposition

Found out some unsettling news about my parent's business/company. There's legal action pending so I won't really go in to any detail on it. Suffice to say, it's f***ed up. And it also serves to illustrate to me how small and self-serving some people can actually be.
 
It's strange to me. For my whole life, my parents have been there for me to lean on. When I failed algebra in 7th grade, when I shoplifted a pair batteries the day after my 16th birthday and got busted by store security....when I joined a fraternity my freshman year...when I nearly flunked out of college my freshman year (yes, there was a correlation there, hence the reason I was NOT in a fraternity my second semester of college)...when I dropped out of school to get married....when my daughter was born...when I had open heart surgery...when I got divorced...when I got remarried...when we got a house.
 
They've always been there. Supporting me. Silently letting me steer my own ship, with a gentle nudge on the rudder when it seemed as though I might veer off course. And now it's them who have had the wind knocked out of their sails. The problems that are happening will affect my whole family. My brother also works at the family business, so it will affect him too.
 
I've always been the anomaly in my family. The 'thinks too much and sits in his room writing poetry all the time' one. It's probably for this reason that I never actually went to work at the family business. And looking at that now, it's probably the one thing that has allowed me to have an objective view of the situation and its inevitable conclusion. And I'm guessing it's going to be the thing that allows me to help them along in the next few months (which have the potential of being incredibly shitty for my parents).
 
It's just weird a bit. To be their support...a shoulder for them to lean on.
 
It's just got me really thinking about things. About how the last place I want to be right now is on the receiving of the shitstorm. And how I know that my parents never dreamed something like this could happen to them. And how I don't want to be 20 years down the road realizing that I spent the past 20 years letting my dreams slip slowly by. That I didn't spend every spare waking moment fighting to make my dreams come true.
 
It's amazing to me how the universe (or God, or Allah or your chosen deity of choice) sends the wakeup calls to us in our lives.  I guess what's more amazing to me is how many times we hit the snooze button.

4.10.2006

Ribbon-y Goodness

Had my weekly weigh-in this morning. Down to 276. That's 10 down from when I started 2 weeks ago.

10lbs in 2 weeks. I'm pretty jazzed about that. It's fairly comparable to what I lost on Atkins without the crazy eat meat and only meat all the time (actually, I'm lower now than when I was doing Atkins). Don't get me wrong, I LOVED eating bacon all the time. It was the other bullshit I could do without (scraping toppings off of pizza...no bread...no potatoes....I ask you, what the hell good is meat without potatoes???).

So, yeah, watching my "points" in the weight watcher fashion has really been working out. I'm finding that the weekends are my tough times. Which makes sense, really. I hadn't been eating my oatmeal for breakfast on the weekends, so that automatically throws the day off kilter. But I got some this weekend, so that should be good.

I figure that as long as I stay the course and continue the downward trend, that any loss will be good loss. :-)

I'm already at my lowest weight since before my heart surgery (9 years ago).

Nancy said that if I was going to the meetings, I'd get a ribbon for losing my first 10lbs. So...yay! :-)

10 down, 90 to go. :-)

4.09.2006

My Brain Hasn't Hurt This Much in Years

I gotta say....I'm fried.

First the fun stuff.
I got the laptop from our cool friends in Cali. All they asked in exchange was that I put it to good use. I said I would (and I'm on it now). I also told them they'd definitely be getting some space on the credits of my next big movie. So, here we are, chlling, watching Hogan Knows Best and updating ye ole Blog.

And my brain is just pretty much on auto-pilot right now.
I'm taking this course for work...to get my MCSA certification. And it's supposedly one of the toughest Microsoft courses out there right now. This week I've been working on User Accounts, Group Policies...all that shite. And I'm fried.

I logged in to class to work on some labs tonight, but I have a feeling I'm going to wind up re-doing them this week just for practice sake.

I haven't really been in study mode quite like this since college. I had to ramp up a bit for the I3 Boot Camp (telephony stuff), but this is just different. It's not that it really hard per se, it's just very, very detailed and in-depth. There's really a lot to this shit.

In other news this weekend, I finished a video for my brother. It's my nephew and his friend at a talent show doing a sort of deuling drums kind of thing. The DVD came out very cool. I'll probably put it in a windows media format so I can stream it from the site. I'm sure that Justin and his friends would dig that.

I've also been going through the old tapes from the old bands and listening to them. There really was some good shtuff there. I don't think I realized at the time how cool it was playing with some of those people. I'll probably post some of them soon (I've gotten a tiny bit better at mixing down tracks and some of them actually sound a LOT better than I remembered).

Actually, why wait? Here's a couple instrumentals from Napoleon's Sister (from 98-99 when I worked at Abbott Foods). It's me on rythym guitar, Terry Williams (my then-boss) on lead guitar, Tim Shay (a friend of Terry's) on bass, and Darrin on drums (on A-Groove), and a drum machine on Back to Djibouti.

Back to Djibouti
The A-Groove

In the next few days, I'll probably be throwing a few more obscure trax from the A.T.Skaggs participatory back-catalog.

Apologies for the disjointedness of this post. And for it's abrupt endi

4.06.2006

Jam On My Funk Soul Brother

What a roller coaster.
Life, I mean.

**DANGER**Self-absorbed introspection posting ahead.

I'm not going to waste any space on this blog talking about work. Work's what happens when I'm not busy living my dreams.

I was cleaning out the garage tonight (afterall I had to make room for my bike and my car :-) since I took the bike off of the wind trainer (because stupidly I thought it was actually warming up. Silly boy.)).

So...as I was doing that I came across a box labeled "Music Archives" (or something like that).
Inside were all of the video tapes from the Buddha Jams, the cassettes from Kid Chill, Napoleon's Sister, LTD, Mocking Karma, FIZZ, 2nd Floor, the Hoot-n-Annies. All there in one box of weird jacked up memories.

I thought I would feel some sort of angsty, "gee i want to do that again" kind of feeling when I started listening to the tapes.

And some of it I do want to do (or continue to do). And I figured out which part. The part where I play with others and we just play for the sake of playing. Making music just to make it. I can't explain it without turning into a weird John Hughes cry for help kind of thing.

I always hated my singing voice. A fact that carried through in a lot of the tapes I listened to. And they were the tapes where I was trying to impress someone else. And believe me...when that happens it sucks. But when it's the 2nd Floor stuff with Darrin...I love it. We have good harmonies, I don't even think about singing. It just happens. Same way with Mocking Karma stuff. And the Buddha Jams.

And then I found a tape of me playing at an open mic night. Just me. My guitar. A mic. And a bar full of people (some friends, some complete strangers). And I sang. And I played. And in that moment I realized that I may not have the greatest singing voice...but I like what I do have (that only took 30+ years). It got the point of the songs across. It was a weird epiphany. And I'm thankful that it was recorded ( I think I probably took my tape recorder so I could prove to myself later that I really don't have anything to prove).

I haven't listened to the video tapes yet*. That will come soon. I know there's a lot of little magic moments on those tapes. The kind of moments you can only have when you have a dozen or so people all drinking, having fun, singing, playing...from all different demographics (we had hippies, thugs, stoners, listless wanderers, programmers, tech support....seriously)...all kinds of people. The Buddha Jams were legendary. They happened every weekend that Jen was with her mom (or least it seemed like that for a while). I opened up the apartment (and my heart. Shut up. It does not sound corny) and the magic just kind of happened independent of any one of us. tape was rolling and it was in the background so after a while people forgot we were recording. And that's when the cool shit happened.

There were many moments of reckless abandon. I think that's when you find out the most about yourself (and others)...in the moments when they're not really thinking about what they're doing. I love that feeling. And the challenge for me now will be to see what that looks like visually and try to capture that on film.

That's about all I got. I kinda just ran out of steam on this post. There's way more shit than this floating around my head right now and I just can't really articulate it. So I'm not going to try right now.

I think I'm gonna head to bed. Before I'm stalked by buddha.

But before I go, I'll leave you with a silly little blast from the past:
It's a Kid Chill jam I like to call Groovetastic
And before you say it...yes I'm perfectly aware how goofy it is. That was mostly the point. :-)

Peace.


****EDIT**** There seemed to be a glitch when it saved the link to the song last night (this morning). So, it should be working now. Sorry for the inconvenience.



*OK. The VCR thing. If you want to record a lot of shit in one long stretch, set up all your gear (4 track, mixer, whatever), and then from that gear go into the audio inputs on a hi-fi VCR. Set it to EP. And you now have 6 hours of 1/4" tape for your audio. No need to worry about switching tapes every 3o or 60 minutes. It works out very well. Granted, it's pretty much for archival purposes. And now the studio's set up that way again. :-)

Hmmm. A Moral Dilemna or No?

I'm wondering something. Just tell me straight up. How do you feel about sites/blogs that have the little sidebar of 'relative content' based ads?

Here's why I'm wondering.
You can make money from those things and it's free to sign up.

And sure, $25/month may not seem like much, but hey-that's a pizza or a few lean cuisine meals.

And it's Google. I like Google. I don't think they are the evil empire that some have made them out to be.

But I guess it's just one of those things that I might try for a while.

This site is the only one I can put it on (you can't put it on sites that have links to content that could be contrued as copyright violation-no links to media, mp3's that kind of thing).

So I figure what the hell.
If it starts to feel weird, I'll back it out and pretend it never happened. :-)

4.04.2006

Since You Asked

I need to preface this by saying there are only a handful of vegetable that I truly like...carrots, potatoes, corn, green beans, peas (sometimes), onions. I can eat others...but there are some I will not eat under any circumstances (now, if it's that or starve, then I'm sure I could get over it, but I've never been in that situation so it's all speculation).

That being said...a lot of what's good for you to eat on Weight Watchers are certain kinds of veggies. There are even some "free" ones that you can mix with other foods so you have more to eat.

A friend of mine at work also doesn't like veggies (likes them even less than I do) started doing weight watchers along with his wife. His wife is actually doing the program (meetings, etc) and he was doing it to support her (he wasn't going to meetings, just keeping track of his 'points'). In 3 weeks time he lost 18lbs. That was pretty much all I needed.

My wife did it, met her lifetime goal and lost nearly 90lbs in a years time. So, I know it works. But she likes veggies. However, seeing it work for Chuck (who hates veggies), gave me hope. Those things combined with the fact that my doctor told me I needed to get on some kind of diet regimen or I was in danger of being morbidly obese (and she specifically mentioned weight watchers) all served to be the proverbial kick in the hiney.

It's actually quite simple. And it's working for me. I lost 6 lbs last week. It's just a matter of consciously tracking what you eat. And making good food choices (and if you stick to lean cuisine stuff or similar products, the choices are actually kind of easy). The points really serve as a simple indicator of whether or not you're eating the right kinds of foods. It's pretty good. And there's "flex" points that you can use in addition to your daily points, so you never really feel like you're depriving yourself of anything.

I'm not going to go into all the details of what a point is, or how many you get a day...google 'weight watchers points' and you'll get more than you ever wanted to know about it.

But I do know that it seems to be working for me. And it's actually quite a bit easier to maintain than when I was on Atkins.

6lbs down....90lbs to go.

U SüK



(pronounced 'yew soooooek')

This weekend really kicked ass the way a weekend should. It was the type of weekend a red leather clad lead singer of loverboy would work for, so to speak.

Friday night was cool. Darrin came over and we hit the Pizza Buffet. I had some flex points left that I took full advantage of. I ate less than I normally do and still felt like I ate too much.

Oh...let me back up. Last Monday I started doing the Weight Watchers points system. I didn't officially join, I just keep track of my points using all the materials that Nancy got when she went through. I weighed in last Monday at 186. This Monday I weighed in at 180. So, it's definitely working. And it's pretty easy to do. A lot easier than I originally thought. There's a kick ass spreadsheet that I've been using to keep track of my points (if you want it, just lemme know).

So, yeah. Pizza buffet, flex points. From there we hit Iggle and got Full Auto (drive, shoot) and NBA LIVE (drive to the hoop, shoot) for XBox 360 and it was back to casa de todd for a good old fashioned game night. I have to be honest, I've never been a huge fan of basketball games (this is the first one for a platform system that I've played since the Atari2600). But this game was something else. It was like being in the freakin' game. The graphics were amazing. The gameplay was straightforward and it was just fun. Darrin and I played in co-op mode and still got our asses handed to us by the Miami Heat and LA Lakers. But it was a lot of fun.

From there we switched gears to Full Auto. Basically you're driving a car that has machine guns and other weapons of badass destruction (mines, missles, fun shit like that). And pretty much the whole game environment is destructible. It's like a weird twisted step-sister of Carmageddeon. Which of course makes it bad ass.

So that was Friday.

Saturday's kind of still a blur for me. I know I went in and worked a little on my microsoft labs....came home....futzed around...ate pizza (again) for dinner and racked out sometime later that night. But that's all I got for Saturday.

Sunday (sunday...sunday), though. That was the day, yo. Me and a few guys from work got together at one of the guy's house and just jammed. There were 3 accoustics, my roland, tim's parlor Grand piano and a mic. There's some raw, disjointed video of the morning and about 3 hours of audio on mini-disc, most of which isn't really ready for consumption. But it was fun. There was no real pressure. No lofty expectations set. We decided if it ever did progress to being a "band" we would call ourselves "You Suck." That way, when the audience started telling us that we sucked (and they would), we could just take it in stride. I later changed the spelling to be more rock and roll, beeyotches. Did I mention it was a very fun morning? Well it was.

Sunday afternoon/evening was spent re-cabling the studio and making some minor adjustments. Things are now in place so that all the instruments can be played simultaneously (but not by me)...2 mics are hooked in. The 4-track has resumed its spot in the chain (I got a wild hair to start mastering some of these old MK and 2ndFloor tapes)...the turntable and reel to reel are both jacked in as well. Basically everythings in place now.

It was a good weekend.

It was one of those weekends that was so good that Monday just sucked. For the simple fact that it was not the weekend.

So, yeah. That's all I got. How things been with you?

Shakubuku Part Two: Eclectic Booglaloo

I posted on the book of face recently that I felt out of sorts. The gist of it being I couldn't decide if I was hungry, horny, or on the...