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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It actually was a dark and stormy night


Last Christmas, I was given some $100 in pre-paid American Express cards, and I've been debating for the past 6 weeks about what to do with them. I finally decided on some drum accessories that I found online, but didn't want to wait for them to ship, since I am hasty in most matters. So, I checked my favorite music shoppe (Trade Up), found they didn't have it. I would have gone to my second favorite (Portland Music), which I actually don't really like, since the service is abysmal, but they are fairly conveniently located. However, they close too early for me.

My last resort was the strip-mall chain store Guitar Center. This place is basically the Walmart of music stores. They're a huge chain, so they have decent prices, late hours, and generally apathetic, ill-informed sales staff. Plus, they pretty much always blast the most terrible music you can imagine, throughout the store. Like, screaming, pounding metal. It's really awful. So that's what I had to look forward to, while driving with little Simon out there, through the snow on the 205. The thing about strip malls in the suburbs is that, despite being monstrosities and eyesores, they can be darn tricky to find.

I found myself driving, a little panicky, with Simon griping at me from the backseat, through the snow. Very few streetlights can be found on the roads around the store I was trying to find. I drove around for a while, unsuccessfully searching, entering 3 different darkened parking lots, hoping they'd be the right one.

I finally gave up and decided to head home. But after driving for 1/2 mile back where I thought I came from, I couldn't find the freeway, and instead got stuck on some long winding road with a barrier between lanes and no turnoffs for a U-turn. At this point, I called Mo and asked her to luck up the store online. She told me the address right as I arrived at an actual intersection, with lights and everything (!). It was a pretty glorious moment, and I didn't feel so far removed from civilization, as the lights and the correct address and my car turning all arrived at the same time.

So, I finally found the store, although the windows were all blacked out, so I wasn't sure they were open. Luckily, some emo-teens were making out on the walkway, in front of the store. I wonder if that's what GC uses instead of "Open" signs now... Anyway, they were blasting some awful nu-metal. Unsurprisingly, they didn't have the items I wanted, but said they could special order them for me. Maybe I look like a guy that's never used an internet, because I could really easily order this stuff myself. We left the story, racing to get away from the Puddle of Filth or Staingled Devil Horns, or whatever it was assaulting our ears. As we were walking through the store, I promised Simon under my breath that we'd never hear music that bad at our house.

Song of the moment: How Could Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?

Monday, January 21, 2008

I'm on a vacation... from my problems!




So what are the good things I can focus on? Well, new musical ventures are underway and that's good. Further details will be made known as these stories develop. Also, I spent a good morning with my friend Luke and his wife, who live in Salem. It was good to spend some time with the man who, when Simon was still a young fetus, bought Simon the Complete Chronicles of Narnia, in a single gigantic hardback volume. There's also further exciting talk of selling La Casa del Sloop y Moz and moving to a different zip code. I'm all for it. I'm tired of my idiot white trash neighbors yelling at my friends for parking in front of their crappy house. There's also rampant speculation that we may rent an RV and take a road trip this summer. One word describes this: totally awesome.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Just to avoid confusion


My marriage is still intact. The "bomb" that dropped was my and Kazugoogoo's unceremonious firing from our band, which we've been playing with for over 2 years. On the brighter side of things, there's already a couple new musical projects in the works.

Friday, January 11, 2008

What can I say?


Since the bomb was dropped a week and a half ago, I've been going through a mix of emotions, sometimes separately, sometimes all at once. Anger, frustration, betrayal, sadness, relief, brief moments of happiness, resignation. This is not an easy cocktail of feelings to reckon with and reconcile with each other. And while I know I should look forward to sunnier days, it's hard to see past the murky present.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Music in Aught Eight


Ok, there's a lot to talk about, but not now. For now, let's put the iPod (currently holding 3851 songs) on random and see what turns up:

1. Vendiendo Alegria by Wayne Shorter. I've been trying to expand my musical taste lately, so I've copied a number of albums from genres that I don't normally listen to much. This (Alegria) is nice jazz album, featuring the exquisite drumming of Brian Blade. He's a pure joy to watch (and listen to). Anyway, this song is very nice, not too crazy, mellow jazz with sax, trumpet, piano, bass and drums. This song is perfect for a foggy morning like this one.

2. Secret Beach by Metheny Mehldau. Another jazz number, kind of a bossanova tune. I got this album (Quartet) for several reasons: a) Brad Mehldau is fond of doing nice cover tunes and is a great pianist, and b) Jeff Ballard occupies the drum throne on this album. I saw Mr. Ballard on OPB not too long ago and was blown away. Also, c) my dad's a fan of (jazz guitarist) Pat Metheny, so I knew there would be some interesting work there. The guitar solo at about 6:30 gets a little cheezy in it's tone, but that's Metheny. Also, a 9 minute song can be a bit much for some listeners, so consider this a warning.

3. Treasure by U2. An old non-album track. Upbeat, with off-key vocals from Bongo.

4. Expecting to Fly by Buffalo Springfield. A gorgeous song. I normally have a fairly low tolerance for Neil Young, but this one gets 5 stars, indubitably. Not quite sure what it's about. Jack Nitzsche produced it.

5. At last I am Born by Morrissey. New Morrissey rocks with baritone guitars. Also, dig the children's choir. "It's remarkable what you can learn once you are born." Sweet.

6. Tulsa by Rufus Wainwright. Fine chamber pop from a decent album (Release the Stars) by a great artist.

7. Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles (from the album "Love"). Did anyone else have to fight the urge to delete this album, after learning it was associated with Cirque Du Soleil? I'm glad I didn't delete it, as the remastering sounds great, but can't say I listen to it much.

8. Head On by The Jesus & Mary Chain. This is one of the first songs I remember seeing a music video for (I was 11). I knew it was cool and that my friend Mark's older brother probably knew who it was. He did & I was hooked. I remember biking to the mall to buy this tape (Automatic) and then listening to it over and over.

9. God by Smashing Pumpkins. From the single for Zero, which my mom bought me at Fred Meyer, after school on the last day of my senior year of high school. This song rocks pretty hard with plenty of screaming, wild drumming, and appropriately pissed-off lyrics.

10. Resolve by Beth Gibbons & Rustin Man. I love Portishead, but this album is a gi... Oh crap I just fell asleep while typing. That's how boring thizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...... Dang, there I go again.