Monday, December 18, 2006

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

itinerary - updated 12/18/2006

12/8: Thomas Dolby, Houston - GREAT show. Watched him from the front of the stage, about eight feet away, if that.

12/11: Thomas Dolby, New Orleans - SKIPPED. The only way it could have been better than the Houston show is if he played Airwaves or I Love you, Goodbye, which he didn't.

12/16: Zappa plays Zappa, Dallas OR 12/18 New Orleans - Dallas didn't happen, of course, and New Orleans was sold out...

1/29: Lindsay Buckingham, New Orleans

1/30: John Mayer, Baton Rouge - SOLD OUT

yep. as long as my compadres don't drop out on me, I should be pretty busy for the next month or two. here's hoping!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Oh, and uh...

My Macbook Pro rocks. That is all.

Busy week...

Wednesday night the wife and I hit New Orleans and caught My Morning Jacket at the House of Blues. I really don't know much about them, but it was a great show. On Friday, we just turned around and did it all again. This time it was Journey/Def Leppard at the New Orleans Arena. Really great show. Journey played a different set than Houston, so I got to hear more stuff this time. Pretty great. Def Leppard did the same set, but I enjoyed it a lot more this time. Sadly, I missed Foolin' and Bringin' On the Heartbreak this go around because I was waiting in line for booze, but I guess I'll live.

In other news, my hunger for old games has reestablished itself with a fervor unseen in many moons. I finally picked up Panzer Dragoon Saga and Dragon Force for Sega Saturn, which I have been after for years and years. I didn't overpay either, so I am very pleased. Tonight I scored a huge Sega extravaganza: A first generation Genesis, Sega CD, and Game Gear with a slew of games as well. The only game I still hunger for but don't own will soon be mine. Everything else after that is just lagniappe.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

More tech stuff...

Well, this is the last lap for my G3 powerbook. She's been very useful over the last year, but I am no longer satisfied with circa 2000 technology. The portable is now my primary computer, and in that capacity, I need more.

So I took the plunge. Head first.

Sometime within the next week, my shiny new Macbook Pro will arrive and I will rejoin the modern world. Huzzah!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Good ol' XP...

Well, after around 2 1/2 years of faithful service, I am reinstalling Windows XP on my primary machine. It's been so long since I had to do this that I don't even know where all my driver discs and such are anymore. I have been considering an upgrade to Media Center, and this would be a good time for that, but I'll pass for now. Why?

Because since June I have been trying to record audio on my lil Pismo, and she just hasn't been able to handle it. It took a long time for me to decide on an interface for my studio, and my choice was partly made due to Alesis's assurances that a G3 Powerbook could handle what I wanted to do. It couldn't. After some initial success, I have been able to record nothing for a frustrating four months now. Enough.

My homebuilt P4 has found a new home in my shed, as it becomes the muscle behind my studio. A clean XP install is probably unnecessary, but it feels right, if only to clean off a good four years of crud from my system drive. It handles my audio needs with aplomb, or it did before this reinstall, so my troubles should be over. That would be nice.

In the last 19 months, I have progressed from a cassette four track, which broke as soon as it's warranty expired (but it's not broken! it doesn't work. at all. but tascam tech support says it does, so i must be imagining things...) to a laptop based studio that was wholly unreliable, to my current setup which will hopefully enable me to make music again.

I'm not sure I remember what that feels like...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

disappointment tempered with material goods...

Wow. Mastodon is amazing. I may be late to this party, but I love this band. Blood Mountain is a fantastic album, and I will be picking up Leviathan next surely. Very inspiring stuff.

PT's DVD, however, kind of sucks. It plays like a very longform video, with no indication that it is actually LIVE. It's all very pretty to look at, but extremely lifeless for that reason. Musically, it's fine, but I should want to WATCH it, and I don't. It may as well be a studio recording, which is fine and dandy, but rather boring after a while. Disappointing.

Thankfully I have other things to occupy me, not least of which is volume one of
Ultimate Sandman. Delicious!

Monday, October 9, 2006

Passing the time...

I have been planning to recover my Slingerland kit for years now, at least since '99, but could never bring myself to bite the bullet and start the project. That's about to change. I picked up that five piece kit in a pawn shop a long time ago. It had a slightly marred lacquer finish then, and playing shows without bags or cases only served to damage them further. They still sound great, but I am ready for something new. Recently, I perused a variety of new drums, but never found one that sounded as good to me as these, although that Yamaha kit in Houston was spectacular. So, reconditioning these has become my preferred option. Having made the choice, I picked up a couple of smaller toms on ebay to augment the kit, and am in the process of upgrading the hardware. When I am done, this will be a fully modern kit, with that same mindblowing sound these shells provide.

The next issue is whether or not to do the job myself. There are two methods for refinishing drums, tape and glue. Tape is easier, and widely used, but I have seen two of my kits with taped finishes buckle in the Louisiana heat, so glue it is. Given my inexperience, I will rework a couple of my snare drums to get a feel for the technique first. If those go well, I will then wrap my smaller kit. After those, I feel I will be ready for the real deal.

And, it'll give me something to do that doesn't involve sitting in front of damn computer...

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

bon of a sitch!

Lindsey Buckingham released a new album today!!! And Porcupine Tree have a live DVD coming out!!! And Journey is coming to New Orleans!!! Yay!!!

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Friday, September 8, 2006

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Orange Beach

Yep. It was pretty sweet.

Back to work tomorrow, though...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Well shit...

My band broke up yesterday. We almost made it five months. I am so not happy.

Monday, June 26, 2006

new studio setup

Guitar Center was running a 15 months no interest sale this week, so I went a little crazy and finally upgraded my studio. No more cassettes, as everything now will be running through my lil G3 Pismo. I made a solemn vow to not look at another computer until one of my current three (!) dies, and thankfully, these machines are making that an easy one to keep. I did some test recording with the band yesterday, which was great until the guitarists decided they needed to be louder and completely hosed everything. One good take in two hours, with that being the off the cuff "let's see how she sounds" take at that! Ah well...

I can finally record my drums to separate tracks, and to my ears anyway, it sounds really, really good. I'm back!!!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Early in the afternoon yesterday, I found out that Billy Cobham was going to be in BR for a clinic later in the evening. I grabbed my tickets and the wife and headed on over. I didn't really know what to expect but it seemed that it would be somewhat interesting. I am not a huge fan of his most famous work (Mahavishnu Orchestra, lots and lots of 70s fusion) but he is a living legend in the drum community, so I went.

It's interesting how many faces I recognized in the crowd, even if I don't know many local musicians. BR is a small world musically, and drummers even more so it seems. There were many difficulties for Cobham on this one. Flight delayed, technical difficulties which compromised a large portion of his planned show, etc. So the show was about an hour behind before it even started. A good size crowd had shown up by then, though, probably a couple hundred people, which for a solo drum performance is not bad.

He came out and played a very musical solo to "introduce himself." It was a nice piece of music, but he was dropping sticks here and there, and admitted in his remarks after that he was exhausted. He must have been, because with the exception of two very short solos at the end of the evening, that was all the playing we got to hear. He opened the floor to questions and spoke to the audience for around 90 minutes. It was interesting, and he seemed a very nice and personable man, but I would have liked to hear him play a bit more. Especially since he seems to have evolved so far beyond his wanking 70s persona. When he played I could literally feel the pulse of his solo, no matter what he was actually playing. This pulse just seemed to move through me, and I hate that I didn't get to experience more of it.

All in all, I am glad I went (though I'm sure Lori isn't) and it was an interesting conversation with the man who has influenced countless others in his field. My favorite moment of the night was when someone asked him one of those bullshit drummer questions: what kind of heads do you use on the tops and bottoms of your drums? He started to speak and then admitted that he didn't know! He looked at his kit and read the names of them back to the audience. For the guys who get caught up in equipment and other meaningless nonsense, I thought that was a priceless lesson, and Lori laughed out loud with me at that one.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Wednesday I flew up to Chicago for the Dolby show at Martyr's. The trip to Houston was uneventful, but the trip to the windy city proves my contention yet again that God hates me. On a normal day, it is around a two hour flight, which would have left me plenty of time to meet up with my friend Jess, grab some dinner, and make the show. Fate had other plans for me, though. We were in the air for a long time. Seven hours total. Turns out we were circling O'Hare because of horrendous weather. We continued to do so until we had to divert to St. Louis to refuel. Showtime was 8pm, and a glance at my watch revealed that the best I could hope for was to miss the opener but still make the main show. Maybe. If he didn't go on until 9 pm. And I was on the ground in St. Louis. Unhappiness. Despair. Ultimately, I made it to the show about fifteen minutes after he started playing, so I missed Liepzig and, regrettably, One of Our Submarines. I also had to settle for the last half of I Live in a Suitcase, one of the two songs I came to hear. Budapest By Blimp, however, I heard in its wondrous entirety and it made the trip worthwhile. But I won't be getting on a plane again anytime soon.

The rest of the evening was more successful. Jess took me from one kick ass bar to another until around 3 AM or so. We had a great time. Needless to say, I missed my return flight at 8 AM, but managed to score a seat on a 9:15 and made my original connection back to BR. I was home a little after 1 PM, so it was a quick trip. But I'm glad I went.

Saturday, May 6, 2006

uh huh

Our last two shows have been interesting. April 28 we played a local pizza joint, Rotolo's, and I thought it was a horrible gig. Listening back to the tape, we were OK, but none of us could hear anything and the sound guys were uh, yep. Anyway, lots of people who said they were coming didn't, which turned out to be a blessing for me. Lori's brother came down and said he enjoyed it, but I really didn't think we were at 100 %, and I'm being charitable. We did make it into the paper, with a nice picture taken in my practice space, Ol' Doc Jenkins' Woodshed, so some good came of it in the end, I suppose.

Last night, May 5, Cinco de Mayo, however, was a different story altogether. We were playing a little joint called Artmosphere in downtown Lafayette which is basically a house with a bar in it. Great atmosphere and very cozy. I have a ton of family in Lafayette, and they pretty much were all there, with the exception of a cousin or two. My friend Danny was there, which was great, and we rocked the house. We were dead on, and it felt spectacular. Once again, I was in that totally relaxed state and whatever I wanted to play I played effortlessly. My hands were bleeding when it was over, which is always a good sign.

Afterwards, we walked down the street to the Blue Moon, which is some kind of hostel/bar, where a great band was playing, the Weary Boys. Great crowd there, with lots of dancing, and hootin' and hollerin'. Lori was called the hottest woman on the planet by the most weaselly looking drunk guy I've ever seen. He was barely 5 feet tall, if that, and made Steve Buscemi look great by comparison. Good times.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Rock and somesuch...

My band played their first show on March 31, my 31st birthday. We played well, for a great crowd, and a good time was had by all. It was the first time I had played drums on stage in at least five years, and my first full set in more than eight. It's interesting how different it felt. First, I was apprehensive for a variety of reasons beforehand, but when I sat down behind the kit, that all disappeared. Completely. I used to play on a mix of nerves and adrenalin, but then, I was barely in my twenties, and I hit a LOT harder then. All I felt was joy. The joy of playing original music in an instrumental band with a group of people who can really play. Our music is still in its developmental stages, so it is pretty simple at the moment, and we don't really know each other as people all that well yet, but it's fun. It's so much fun. And I made it back into live performance with no compromise. I am not playing any fucking brown eyed girl. If I had to wait eight years for that to happen, then it was well worth it.

On another note, the wife dragged me to see the Von Bondies last night. It was a free show at a reasonable hour, so there was really no way for me to say no. As it turns out, it's a good thing I went. I was blown away. Just an incredible show and the drummer didn't even have a hi hat! The turnout was poor, so I doubt they'll be back, which is a real shame, because BR needs more bands like that to come in and bring the rock. I scored Yasmine's setlist and got to shake her hand, so that was pretty cool, and she was bumping and grinding her bass about an inch from my face during the encore. No complaints.

Topic C today is the upcoming tour by Thomas Dolby. The closest he is coming to me is Chicago, but I think I am going to go. That's in May, but the dates are selling out quickly, so I'll have to decide in the next day or two. I really, really do not want to miss this.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Last month...

I managed to piece together a marginal electronic kit, so I headed out to Houston for what I hope is the first of a new era of jams with Rod. Mainly I confirmed what I had suspected for a while... those hard rubber pads are death on my wrists and knees. So I began to look in earnest for an alternative. I lucked out and found some great pads and a new drum rack at Drumbalaya, a shop in Seattle that specializes in this sort of thing. They are Yamaha RHP-80s, and I grabbed up the four they had left at a great price. They are real drums, with real heads, and they feel great. No pain at all. They are eight inches in diameter, which is a little small, but portability is a factor here, so I can make the adjustment. To replace my kick pad, I am going with a Drumtech Fat Pedal, which is basically a pedal with no beater. Extremely compact. If I like it, I'll get another for that sweet double bass action.

Which brings me to my second point. I have long hated double bass drumming. Only maybe 2% of all drummers use it creatively, and even most of those guys end up doing the generic "solo over sixteenth notes" eventually. I never saw the potential of it, other than some flash in fills, and had decided it held nothing for me. I had made my peace with it. And then I heard Porcupine Tree.

Gavin Harrison plays for them, and his work is incredibly exciting. He reminds me of Danny Carey, but seems so much more musical in his choices. I liked the band the moment I heard them, and the more I listen to them, the more I realise how much I have left to learn. So I was pleased to discover that Harrison has written two books about his approach, and released a DVD, which is on its way to me. He managed to get me excited about technique in a way I haven't felt since I was 11 and just starting to play. Bastard.

And playing... I am auditioning for an instrumental band this week. It's the first thing I've heard since I moved here 8 years ago that I feel like I will be happy playing and to which I can make an honest contribution. First audition in a year, which could lead to my first shows in eight. I hope I manage not to suck.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

and the answer is... 25%

First, my post from January 11, 2005:

"Well, I'm going to adapt a rule that Robert X. Cringely uses for his yearly predictions for my resolutions this year: I will revisit this record in a year's time, and see what percentage I accomplished. This will be the first time I have actually kept more than mental record of this stuff, so it should be interesting.

1. Complete an adventure game with Rod.

We have begun, in earnest this time, the project we first talked about at least 12 years ago. We have our game engine picked out, and we have our deadlines established. This has to be the year.

2. Complete and record at least five songs.

Last year, this began as "join a band," but in August morphed into "write and record ten songs before the end of the year." Considering I play only drums well, this was ridiculous to say the least, but I have two strong pieces that I really like, and am getting better at expressing my ideas on keyboard and guitar. Thank God for Acid Music, which lets me take the tiny snippets of my ideas and sculpt them into songs. Lyrics remain the hard part, which leads me to number 3.

3. Write.

This page is the first example of my writing I have steadily worked on in over a decade, and it is only a journal. I want to complete at least one short story that pleases me in 2005. It may not sound like much, but it would be an enormous personal achievement.

4. Draw.

In particular, ANIMATE. Where's that quote... *checks Chuck Amuck, the autobiography of Chuck Jones* Ah, yes. According to his first art instructor, we all have " hundred thousand bad drawings in you. The sooner you get rid of them, the better it will be for everyone." Upon hearing that, he notes that he was on his third hundred thousand. I am probably a quarter or so into my first, but every drawing brings me closer to being GOOD. Animation, aside from being an honest love, is a great way to bring that number up by leaps and bounds, since every second of a project involves so DAMN MANY.

Well, those are the biggies. It is pretty much the same list I always have, and none of those will increase my ability to support my family in the least. But these remain the things I am motivated to accomplish. Maybe this time I will."

And now, my update:

As it happens, I accomplished almost nothing this year outside of work. Taken in order:

1. Complete Adventure game with Rod

This fell by the wayside quickly. As so often happens, life has been in the way. This has been a big year for Rod. He's moved a couple of times, finally gotten a few certifications under his belt, and is currently pursuing dollar signs in Houston. For my part, I spent a few months trying to get a band going, started and then after six months stopped working out, changed jobs, and had some personal stuff to work through. We occasionally talk about the game in broad terms, but I think this one may be kaput.

2. Complete five songs.

Lo and behold, I did this. The songs remain in demo form, but discs have been burned and released to select compadres, and I have let these songs go. At last. It's only ten minutes of music, but it means a lot to me. Every note I play is a struggle on an unfamiliar melodic instrument, so this one... this one makes me proud.

3 & 4. Write and draw.

Nada. Nothing. I think I have actually lost interest completely. For years, these things equalled my creative impulse, but I understand now that it comes out in other ways. Sound has become what the pen used to be for me. When I sketch, it is musical in nature, to which gigabytes of hard disk space and more than a few audio tapes stand as evidence. I am coming to terms with this. It still feels strange at times, like I should be drawing, but the proof is in the work, and the work is my music.

So, what for this year? What is on the agenda for 2006? My goals are very short term and personal enough not to broadcast to the two people who might actually read this. Those who need to know already do. The situation I find myself in now is one that was not wholly unexpected, but was still surprising in a number of ways. Things are improving and with any luck, it will all end well. At this point, I can only hope.

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Happy Birthday, Maw!

My mamaw is 76 years old today. So some comparisons between then and now:

People living in the United States in 1930 could expect to live an average of 59.7 years. Today, life expectancy has risen to over 77 years.

In 1860 less than 20% of the total U.S. population lived in cities; by 1930 the urban population had swelled to more than 56%. Today, more than 75% of the U.S. population lives in urban areas.

The average asking price for a home in Washington, D.C. in 1930 was $7,146--a relatively small sum by today's standards, but it was a substantial amount in 1930. Nationwide, 47.8% of U.S. residents owned their own homes in 1930; today that figure is more than 66%.

In 1930 only 40% of households in the United States had a telephone.

Long-distance telephone service was very expensive in 1930. A 3-minute call from New York to San Francisco cost about $9.00.

Although radio was still relatively new technology in 1930, 618 broadcasting stations had been founded in the previous decade, and radio was rapidly changing everyday life in the United States. According to the 1930 census, 59% of U.S. households had radios.

1930 was the last year that the U.S. Census asked U.S. residents if they could read or write; results of the census showed that 4% could not.

In 1930 only 48,118 people lived in the desert community of Phoenix. The 2000 census showed that 1,321,045 residents lived in Phoenix, making it one of the fastest-growing cities in the country.

California had a population of 5,677,000 in 1930, and was the sixth most populous state, behind New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and Texas. By 2000, California's population had grown nearly six times larger to become the most populated state in the country, with 33,871,648 residents.

In 1930 nearly 1.8 million residents of the United States had been born in Italy, the leading country of birth among those born outside the U.S. In 2000 the leading country of birth among the foreign-born was Mexico, the native country of 7.8 million U.S. residents.

In 1930 24% of all women in the U.S. were in the workforce; by 2000 that figure had risen to 61%.