Wednesday, December 31, 2008

cover me, slowly

so the trip. it was good. relaxing for the most part. the 26th and 27th were understandably and unsurprisingly a bit stressful- even a 30-minute strings set proved to be quite a bit to get together in two days. of course, i expected it. but at the end of the day we pulled it off. i think it was a success and everyone told me it sounded really good. the strings sounded quite nice and courtney and grace did an awesome job. billy always does an awesome job- so there were no surprises there. my mom kept remarking on how serious billy looks when he plays the cello. once the show was over relaxing and unwinding was really easy to do. even christmas day was more relaxing than last year was (not that that's a big surprise either). we stuck to a policy of not doing anything that we didn't feel like doing, but we still got a good amount in. going to the cashew was a lot of fun. a good mix of people. it degraded real quickly once stefanie suggested we go over to the condo to drink the sixth glass bottles. wow. i have never seen a group of people get shit-faced faster than that. i was the only one that didn't participate in the drinking of the sixth-glass since i was the one who had to drive stefanie home. that stuff truly is brutal. in a brilliant way. dad, if you're reading please keep that stuff coming- i love it.
stefanie and some dude sitting in the aisle next to us almost got into it on the plane. we were pulling out onto the tarmac to take off and this guy wouldn't stop talking on his cell phone and a flight attendant came by and said 'sir, please turn that off' and he still wouldn't so stefanie tried to tell him to get off of his cell phone as nicely as she could and he got all huffy- 'i know the flight procedure, miss' and she said something like 'well, i just thought you might not have heard them' and he got all sarcastic-like 'thanks soooo much for reminding me.' it's always fun when you have someone much older (and supposedly more mature) than you acting like a complete baby to you.
is it possible that people could just grow the fuck up for a change- everyone is so sensitive these days that you can't say 'boo' to them without them getting offended or touchy or shitty. she really wasn't being rude to this guy at all and he should've hung up his phone way back when they closed the doors and a flight attendant asked him to hang up. there's just no call for getting offended when someone says something to you about it when you ignore repeated reminders. this is something i'm beginning to just want to blame on the cell-phone culture that is beginning to infect our society. people just have no manners or consideration when they're using cell-phones. if i am at a restaurant and i absolutely have to use my phone i excuse myself from the table and go outside to take the call. it's not that big of a deal.
anyway, other than that and a really rough and scary landing (it was very wobbly) the flight home was fine. it was very fast- they made up all of the time that we'd lost in the delay.
i was a nervous wreck on the way to the airport- i'd thought that i was going to be able to get through the day without falling victim to my ridiculous pre-flight nerves, but i was proven wrong wrong wrong. wow. before the flight to kc i'd gotten my nervousness out of the way on the 23rd- of course it lasted all day. it also had to do with how horrible the weather was and the fact that i spent most of the day hearing everyone's horror stories about how no one could get out of town on a plane, train or automobile.
some shit might be about to go down at work. the owner asked me about getting certified today. it's possible that that means that he intends to fire anthony as he is the only other person who is food handling certified at work. it's one of the main reasons that he tolerates the constant lateness and saltiness with the customers- anthony is certified and that way he doesn't have to go to the trouble to have anyone else get certified. but now that i'm mr. dependable there (not a tall order, let me tell you) it might become me *shivers*.
read some more yelp reviews of the shop today. uncovered another little gem of a modern phenomena- the working stiff 'yuppie' inferiority complex relationship with 'hipsters.' it's a real paradigm folks and it needs to be addressed. read the review at the top dated 12/17/08. i normally don't give much of a shit about these because a lot of it is to be expected- people typically want organic hand-made sandwiches/coffee drinks but they want them as quickly as they get a big mac at mcdonald's because our culture is held up on a giant pillar of complete impatience and complete disregard for how long things take, but this really is too much. my favourite feature is the lecture on 'not judging a book by its cover' and then the complete admission at the end that this person doesn't even bother to take their own advice. i work at beans and bagels- i am not a fucking stoner. i smoke weed very seldomly, but by no means with any amount of regularity that would justify anyone writing me off by putting me in that drawer. i would be willing to bet the person (who wrote this review) that they probably smoke more weed than i do. i'm not a fan of the snarkiness that seems to be running amok at my place of work either, but it's not very fair to cast aspersions about everyone in the shop when you're only talking about one person (which is what a majority of these reviews do) and on top of that commit it to printed words. i guess i should be relieved at my absence amongst these reviews as it means that i haven't pissed any one of these people off enough for them to write me off on a website. but what to me is the most infuriating of all is this ridiculous paradigm showing up- why the fuck do people who consider themselves to have 'real jobs' and who have benefits and decent living-wage-allowing salaries, paid vacations, dental/vision plans, kids, life insurance, savings accounts with money in them, checking accounts that they don't have to watch like hawks and check their statements every day give two shits what someone in a fucking coffeeshop/record store/bike shop thinks of them? just look at what a huge stink some of the people on that page make about the fact that they're being served coffee by 'hipsters' make merely about the fact that they are 'hipsters.' who the fuck cares? it's a coffee shop that you spend 15 minutes of your morning in max? futhermore everyone there is paid minimum wage and our lives aren't padded with the comforts that their lives are- we don't have any of those benefits. i don't want to make this a 'selling out' debate because i've come to find that that's kind of a myth- everyone makes choices and sacrifices. being a 'hipster' working in a coffee shop/record store/bike shop what have you means that you've sacrificed these pillars of stability because you're just looking for something that you aren't going to get in an office environment. damned if i could tell you what it is because it's different for everyone so basically i don't understand why there has to be such a fucking hubbub about it from someone who's in a much-vaunted better social standing than i am. if i want to work in an environment where i can wear whatever i want then what skin is it off anyone else's teeth? is it harmful to anyone's pride? is it really such an awful thing? that's a choice i've made and have to live with AND serve people who are in a much better social standing than i am and listen to them bitch and moan about how i'm a fucking 'hipster.' where the fuck does the inferiority complex come from? what do they have to feel inferior about? i really want someone to tell me. i'm not defending how any of my co-workers treat customers because i've always felt uncomfortable when someone i'm working with gets shitty with the customers over nothing. i don't make a practise of doing that- i actually like the majority of the customers who come in. i just don't like this theme of people thumbing their noses like cowards and bitching on the internet when they really don't have anything to bitch about and i don't like being corralled in with people who i work with just because i'm there- i don't act that way and i don't appreciate being included in the catch-all write-offs.
or i guess i could just try to accept this fact and move on with my life. i'd be happy to if i didn't get weird looks every time i stop at a truck stop while i'm travelling or get randomly solicited for pot by someone who looks the part of a 'straight' and having to just laugh it off when they tell me to my face 'i know you're a stoner- you look like one. come on- i know you have some pot.' guess what- I FUCKING DON'T SO GO GET IT YOURSELF MR. HIGH AND MIGHTY JUDGEMENTAL PANTS. yay, rant over.
i got some really nice music for christmas and a few great dvd boxed sets. stefanie bought me 'microcastle' on vinyl. it came with 'weird era continued' which is nice. plus the vinyl is white and sounds like the aural equivalent of a warm down blanket. stefanie's mom gave us about 40 lps. we now have every beatles album in existence, as well. at least i think we do. we have 'magical mystery tour,' 'sgt. pepper,' the white album and the heap of early tracks. she also gave us a buffalo springfield double lp collection and the first black sabbath album. there's some dusty springfield, buddy holly, kinks and other ill shit mixed in there. nice. we were only able to manage to carry about 1/3 of it home with us though because it was pretty heavy carrying all of them on the plane.
i finally got ahold of a tasty nina nastasia bootleg that i was trying to get through those ridiculous bit torrent sites (i can't for the life of me figure that shit out- so annoying). i've only listened to a little over half of it. i have the next two days off.
i want to send out some sympathy to my co-worker emily who had to take one of her cats to be put to sleep today. i am not sure if she had to have both of them put down or just the one- but they are not very old cats. i don't even think that she's had them for a full year. after that she has to go out of town for an intense family visit.
i have to test out my new and amazing mics and preamp as well. i would like to give the harmonica mic a maiden voyage in particular. i figured out how to get it sit on a mic stand (it doesn't have a place to clip it on- but can be easily jerry-rigged). i am intending mostly to sing out of it as i am a huge fan of how jason pierce does this and i think it will prove to be a nice effect for the next record we are working on (and have already started). in fact i think i shall go to do so right now. tah for now! happy new year. my only resolution is to concentrate on decreasing my debt.

Monday, December 29, 2008

the top five of the year

at last. i finally picked my five favourite records released this year. it wasn't difficult- i just had to pick the ones i've been listening to the most. they are nearly all records that aren't getting that much love from big publications- but man these five are all unbelievable keepers.

1. spiritualized- songs in a & e (this might be my favourite spiritualized record- it's the second most played full-length record on my ipod)
2. sian alice group- 59.59 (this band and album are criminally overlooked)
3. the walkmen- you & me (this is my favourite walkmen album- hands down- the kind of record i'd always hoped they might make some day- beautiful)
4. the black angels- directions to see a ghost (i bought this on two formats)
5. portishead- third (this would be the only exception to that whole criminally overlooked thing as it's on everyone i've seen's list)

i also love deerhunter- 'microcastle' and jolie holland- 'the living and the dead.' i just had to limit it to five- thems the rules.

Friday, December 19, 2008

let it come down

it's snowing and snowing and snowing outside. it's fantastic.
i stayed up really late last night, but still woke up really early. i was here at the coffee shop before 10am. there's no one here either- all of the students have gone home for christmas. there's nothing i love more than our neighborhood when the students are gone on one of their many breaks. it's like night and day. the neighborhood becomes sleepy and quiet. beautiful.
we watched 'white christmas' last night. despite the fact that i'd seen it before i'd forgotten when all of the musical numbers were coming up. some of them pop up with absolutey no warning. i really hate that. it's one of the many things i hate about musicals. anyone who knows me has heard me wax about this for extended periods of time so i'll spare you. it's pretty much the normal reasons people dislike musicals.
today i am listening to all nick drake. i'm listening to 'bryter layter' right now which i haven't heard in years i'm realising. i never really thought much of it to be honest- i always preferred the other two- but now that i'm listening to it i am loving it and can't believe that i have cast it aside for so long. nick drake's biography is my current bathroom reading material (i keep books in there that i've already read). bathroom lit is very fascinating to me. i usually keep books in there that i've already read. it's fascinating to me how quickly i can finish a book. i don't necessarily spend extended amounts of time in there- but the regularity with which one visits the bathroom is ideal for reading books quickly. even if you only read a few pages it adds up quickly.
this might be the best blog entry i've ever done so far. ever.
i got back on the writing horse last night. it made me desperate to record again- but no! i shall stick to my recording exile. it will probably be longer than a week since i shall be home in a week. the last time i visited billy suggested that we could finish some of the stuff we didn't get to during my last visit over christmas, but i was adamant that since there was going to be an acoustic show that would be all i would burden myself or anyone else with.
i have a twitter account. i hadn't thought much of it but it has become a bit addictive. i kind of enjoy it. i'm even following two people i don't know for some reason (it just added them when i joined and i don't know how to take them off of the list) but i still read their little updates and enjoy them. it doesn't let you write long-winded updates- which is perfect for people like me- it keeps things short and to the point.
for some reason the holidays seem to coming up extremely quickly this year. it happened while i wasn't even noticing. it hasn't really hit me at all yet. it probably isn't going to hit me until christmas morning since we're getting in on christmas eve fairly late. i kind of hate that it has to be that way, but money's money and a deal's a deal.
i'm beginning to get depressed about the whole languishing in obscurity thing. i'm going to try and be strong though and not let it take hold of me. it's important to keep perspective and i'm getting better at it and i am more content with our position in the world. just the fact that the west coast tour worked out as well as it did was pretty encouraging. that is probably the first proper tour we've ever been on. plus the shows were good- the only clunker being that one in minneapolis.
i'm not looking forward to this week too much. either choice seems a bit unappetizing- either painfully slow or painfully busy and stressful. i guess i could use painfully busy and stressful at the moment. it would certainly mean i'd have more money for when we visit. i'm sort of hoping that we make some money for fun stuff when we play the show. i'm not holding my breath- but at least they will feed us. plus last time they paid us very well and the crowd was really not that big. ad astra draws a big crowd too, so hopefully that means we will be paid pretty well. the violinist seems enthusiastic about getting a bunch of people out to the show. then there will be friends and family who will most likely show up. it's nice that we're playing so early so if people aren't in the mood for the hawd koah then they can leave.
as always fingers are crossed. if we can just weather this slow period then we'll be okay. i'm sure that that's what everyone is thinking and telling themselves. over and over again. it's still going to be a fun holiday. i don't even really care what i get. i'm mostly hoping that i will get a decent income tax return (even if it is a vain and foolish hope) in january.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


the last few weeks have been a bit rough. on the upside a ridiculous amount got done. it is possible that the final mix for the 'dandelions' ep has been finished. there is one track that i might take another stab at because it's being a touch problematic, but other than that i am going to stick a fork in it and say that it's done. the tracklist has been changed a teeny bit because the christmas song for the christmas comp ended up coming out so well that i think i will add it into the ep as the final hidden track. i had wanted to put 'black is the colour of my true love's hair' as the final hidden track but the last mix i did is just a gargantuan hissy mess. i think that the original mp3 that i had of it was better... i don't really know why this is but there's just no way to make it sound listenable. as it stands now it sounds like going out with a whimper and that's definitely not what i want.
my co-workers forced me to play the ep for them through the stereo speakers and it actually sounded really fantastic. it's the ipod headphones as usual. i was happy with the way it sounded towards the end, but then i felt like no matter what i did it would never sound the way i wanted it to, so i just kind of lost hope. ironically them making me play it through the stereo renewed my faith in it. the drums even sounded really nice. they aren't perfect drum sounds, but they are at least distinctive and mine and figured out by me. if i want to push it forward it's going to be a question of getting nicer equipment- better preamps and nicer mics. that's what the release-free year is all about. and calming down my debt.
we just watched 'the dark knight' and 'batman begins.' they were the last two discs we had from netflix. we watched them in the wrong order. i loved 'the dark knight'- it was a fantastic movie- definitely the best of the batman movies. i also liked 'batman begins' quite a bit- it was probably the second best. the original one i would put at 3rd, the second one 4th and then those campy crappy ones at the bottom of the list (stefanie calls 'batman forever' the 'batman nipples' movie).
i did some mixdowns of the 'all hope is blind' tracks and i am thrilled to bits with those. they still don't have drums (i've done the drumless tracks first), but the string arrangements sound really nice. they will undoubtedly be the main feature of that record. the guitars are so gauzy that they are almost like curtains that frame the songs. the strings are so organic and fresh that they easily sit at the front of the mix. i might try a pass where they are a bit more buried, but i have a feeling that they aren't really going to work that way. during this recording-exile i'm imposing on myself for the next week i hope to get some more string parts written possibly for another megabus weekend in kc. we got about six songs done last time out of the 20 or so. the idea was to get the whole thing done in about three passes over the course of the next year as they are completed. i might try and coordinate some sessions with chris and katelyn at the same time- chris has told me he'd play better if he could play live with another string player than he would if he were just playing along to something that he isn't able to hear. this would also be a good way to keep him involved as i'm pretty sure that i want katelyn to play the violin parts on all of the album. her style is going to work perfectly for the sound i want on the album. plus if i have him playing the viola then it's going to make things easier on billy when i go home for these quick weekend sessions. it'll also make those weekend trips more fun for me- even though last time i went home for the weekend i had a really good time then even if it was very short.
speaking of which i should probably look into fares for that shit without waiting too long.
my shopping for stefanie is pretty much done. i wanted to buy her one last gift. not sure if it's going to fly though, what with all of the time off and what not. i think that tips will be getting better on the weekends if for no other reason than the simple fact that for at least a while we are going back to having three people work on saturday and sunday. this makes a lot of sense- things have tapered off considerably and i haven't left there on the weekend with more than $14 in my pocket for at least a month now. with three people it'll get back to the point where it's more worthwhile to work on the weekends. so basically once i get back it's going to be all about paying my way with my tips. it actually works out a bit better than i expected because the paycheck with all of the time off will be the one that i'm supposed to use to pay credit cards and whatnot. there should be enough on there to eke by on that and the tips from the week when i am paid for that time will be used more easily to pay for the difference. it's going to be about february before i'm going to be caught up enough to start buying tape and saving money for mastering and whatnot. after that it shouldn't be too terribly difficult to save money to press the cds. the packaging should be fairly easy to finance as it will be more spread out. so i think that a spring release is realistic (depending on how much work needs to be done to the tape machine). i am going to grab a few of the reel-to-reel tapes that i left at stefanie's parents' house that i had grabbed at the garage sale that stefanie's uncle had at the house he bought in the northeast in portland. i'm going to try a few live recordings and whatnot just to get a feel for working with the thing. i am still optimistic that we will get some money back from our taxes. this might come crashing down once the time comes, but whatever. we always do our taxes really early so even if we end up owing money then we will at least have some time to save up to pay for it. i am optimistic that it should be fine, though. if it's not then i'm going to change my exemptions to zero i think.
i'm still very excited about christmas. it's going to be very good and i'm excited about the stuff i am giving to people. i don't really care so much what i get- i am sure that i'll get plenty of the cds i wanted. even if i get two or three of them i would be over the moon. it's possible that stefanie already got me all of the ones that i really wanted anyway. i hope that i get the new deerhunter album on vinyl because i've really held out on buying that. of course if i don't get it it's no big deal since it's so readily available and so incredibly cheap. i'm just excited to go home and drink eggnog and hang out with my friends and my family. i'm also excited about the acoustic show- which dammit is going to go really well. i was real nervous about it coming together properly, but as long as the foundation is strong then it'll be fine- which it will be because stefanie have been practising for months.
on monday when it snowed i went out and did tons of filming- i filmed about 30 clips that average about 10 seconds each and one is 30 seconds. i used stefanie's sister's old digital camera that they gave to us because stefanie had her old digital camera. i'm very happy with the stuff that i ended up with. i'm not sure what else to do with all of it, but it is intended for a video for 'christmas song revisited' which was just finished and mixed down yesterday for the final time. i have to fill up the rest of the cdr and then it'll be delivered to those kids for that compilation. as mentioned before it's probably going to end up as the final hidden track on the 'dandelions' ep. i'm toying with adding something else instead of it and such, but i don't think that any of the 'down to sleep' outtakes are quite ready for that kind of treatment. i think i might go through some of it once we're back from christmas and figure out what to do with it all. i had spoken to chris about doing some recording, so i could possibly have him do some of that stuff and finish it up finally...
then there's the ubiquitous strings show. i hope that billy will still be able to do it, but i'm not holding my breath. with his new job and school and such. he's in the midst of finals week as well right now. i did figure out how to get an idea of what his schedule is- i just have to check the ku website and it has a school schedule section.
i'm running out of things to talk about now, so it's probably about time to end this entry.

Friday, December 12, 2008

watch a cure concert, dammit

i just found these and they are extraordinary! bravo to the people who have posted them!-


'pictures of you'


'a night like this'

'just like heaven'

'last dance'

'fascination street'


'charlotte sometimes'

'the walk'

'the same deep water as you'




in one fell swoop

i went out to beans and bagels and cashed my paycheck yesterday and went straight out and got i'd say about 80% of my christmas shopping done. i intend to do some shopping for stefanie today- i've almost got her done for christmas. i've ordered her something online. i'm going to go out today in the hopes of reducing the number of items i have to special order for her so as to avoid that whole 'will it/won't it?' question.
the acoustic show is fully on- i just got a confirmation email about it today from mike. it's going to be us, ad astra and two hardcore punk bands. pretty sweet right?
so things aren't quite as bad as i had thought. i am going to be working on christmas eve- i am opening and the store is supposed to close by noon. it'll be really sweet- it'll be me and my two favourite people that day- anthony and jenee. i have another opening shift on tuesday- those will both be a bit of an ordeal (i'm going to have to get up at 5:15am or so) but i figure it's the least i can do since i'm going out of town and everyone's going to be covering for my ass when i go home. a little sacrifice is definitely in order. plus i'll be completely dusted by the time i get on that plane so ideally i'll just sleep through the whole fucking thing. that'd be really nice. our flight doesn't leave until 4:40 so i'm not sure what we're going to do with that extra hour or so. it would be quicker for me to leave from work because it'd be an hour long ride as opposed to a 50 minute trip back to my apartment and then an hour and a half long ride to the airport. i don't even think there's time for that in the equation.
so i'm all good i think. for now. i'm sure something else will rear it's ugly head.
a few things from yesterday- 1) 'christmas song revisited' is done 2) the 'dandelions' ep is completed 3) unfortunately my cd-burner went on the fritz so mixing them down will be very tricky. i did a bunch of sweet sounding mixes of the new stuff that we just did with katelyn and the cd-burner had gone on the fritz at that point. it's purely a recording function mishap- it sounds fine going into there, but once it's recorded it sounds weird. it also did something really odd while it was dubbing something for stefanie- it jumped over a portion of the surface of the disc somehow while it was burning. ironically the music on the disc came out nicely. i'd be more worried about it, but i think that this is not the first time it's acted weird. one time it was doing similar things and all i did was get into the habit of turning it off in between uses (which hadn't happened for a really long time) so i think it's possible that it'll function perfectly well. i hope so anyway because i'm going to go home and do some mixdowns to the dat recorder and then mix those things down to cd. i also have a new song to demo today.
we watched 'the dark knight' last night and it was fucking awesome! loved it! i liked it a lot more than the original tim burton 'batman.' i've never seen 'batman begins' so i can't really say for sure but i'd certainly be willing to bet that 'the dark knight' is the best of the batman movies. it's about as realistic as a superhero movie could possibly ever be. what helps is that the characters aren't endowed with unexplained super powers. i'd completely forgotten that two-face was in the movie. naturally when harvey dent turned up i figured he'd be made into two-face in order to sow the seeds for a sequel.
yup, heath ledger was awesome as the joker. i'd even say that he did a better job than jack nicholson did. he was definitely a lot scarier. i was a bit skeptical when i heard it was him playing the joker, but i will eat those words.
one of my favourite moments was when they did that whole lower wacker chase sequence and they did that part where batman rushes towards him on that bat-motorcycle thing or whatever. the semi had turned over and we rewound and paused because saw an address on one of the buildings and it very prominently displayed '29 south lasalle' which is where smart resources' offices are- kind of cool. we both thought it was really cool that they pretty much seemed to have filmed the entire movie in chicago. my sister was walking around one night after work (she used to finish up there around 7 at night) and she worked on lasalle and evidently was walking around somewhere where she wasn't supposed to be and they were filming and some people walked up to her and told her that she wasn't supposed to be there because they were filming a movie and she said 'what movie?' and they told her some ridiculous decoy title and she just said 'yeah, right' and walked off. it wasn't exactly a secret when they were filming the movie what they were filming. my first day at smart resources there were trailers lined up clark street in front of some federal building. it was pretty sweet. so it was really nice to finally get to see it.
i can't believe that it's now less than two weeks until christmas. i have a feeling the next two weeks will go by like lightning and then the visit will feel like it was two days long.
i've got a nice early start going here, so hopefully that will mean that i will get some things done. we have two parties to go to tomorrow- both with some fairly precarious train rides. one is going to sam and ben's who live out near permanent records (well somewhat). the other is the aforementioned bird machine holiday party which is out in skokie. we are going to be taking the yellow line for the first time ever. i am fairly certain that that one will be a bit shorter.
i think i shall get going now and get my day started.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

diary 12.10.08

forgot to post this tracklist from a new playlist i just made-

1. underneath the stars- the cure- 4:13 dream
2. i'm only sleeping- the beatles- revolver
3. sailor- the brian jonestown massacre- bravery, repitition and noise
4. only shallow- my bloody valentine- 9.27.08 chicago, il- the aragon
5. i put a spell on you- screamin' jay hawkins
6. you're the one- sonic boom- spectrum
7. twilight at carbon lake- deerhunter- microcastle
8. no name #3- elliott smith- roman candle
9. love henry- jolie holland- the living and the dead
10. where is the love- mojave 3- ask me tomorrow
11. river man- nick drake- five leaves left
12. bird of cuzco- nina nastasia- on leaving
13. expelled from love- the raveonettes- lust, lust, lust
14. cliche- sebadoh- bubble and scrape
15. days of grace ii- sian alice group- the dusk line
16. shine a light- spiritualized®- 7.20.08 chicago, il- union park (pitchfork fest)
17. and let me drift away...- the telescopes- altered perception
18. overthrown- tom mcrae- like blood
19. blind spot- the vivian girls- i can't stay 7"
20. red moon- the walkmen- you & me
21. thursday's radiation- the warlocks- surgery

how to walk away

i just deleted an entire ridiculous entry about my financial woes. i'm not sure what to do about that stuff, but it never ceases to amaze me how events seem to cluster just as soon as i'm getting things under control. circumstances have a way of putting me back in the hole and adding a little depth in the process. i'd previously thought that the music expenses were solely to blame, but upon thinking about things i realised that before september i hadn't charged a single band-related expense in years and somehow the debt had managed to grow during that period. i'm thinking about this from the wrong point of view. a lot of it is to do with the whole cluster of van repairs and that ridiculous emergency room visit. that was about $3000 right there. even once we ran out of money on tour the grand total of charges i made on my card was $340. there's some perspective right there.
i'm just in the throes of some lovely financial depression just like everyone is at the moment. we discussed a decent idea that i'd had for a long time- we thought about trying to play a show (or shows) at some of the local colleges in order to make some money to recover some debt incurred by the band. we also discussed trying to get a college show here as a wind up for the tour so that we leave town with some money in the bank. it would also be good if we could prepay for the rental car. that way it takes a bit of the burden off. college shows are a very good way to make money it seems to me. i am going to do a massive mailing in february/march in preparation for a september east coast tour. the idea is to get about three college shows- again in the hopes of paying for all of the gas outright, paying for hotel rooms along the way (we know less people on the east coast) as well as food (which i felt like we did a fantastic job of last time- somehow we stopped for food a lot but it was never as expensive as i expected it to be) and then the desire was also to have some extra money alloted to pay whatever we were lacking for bill-paying once we got back. i think it can be done. fortunately we know what to do more now. even if it all goes wrong it's still not going to cost nearly as much as the west coast tour. also if we get college shows it tends to include a hotel room for free. since they tend to be in the afternoon we can also get a show at night if possible.
it's going to be tough to work off all of the debt, but i think it can be done dammit! a lot of what caused the depression of last night was the fact that we were going to get an igo car to drive up to skokie for the bird machine open house. after doing some research last night i discovered that the yellow line stop is actually a little under a mile from the bird machine, so as long as we get out of there before 11pm we should be able to take the yellow line back to howard. we just have to make sure to get out of there in time. that definitely takes a lot of the pressure off- we can also drink there now with this knowledge. speaking of drinking i've had to sacrifice my beer habit for a period because i just haven't been able to justify spending money on beer that i need for other things.
other than that i'm not real sure what else i have to talk about. i just discovered that i have some paypal rewards that will actually allow me to buy some tape for the tape machine. not a terrible amount, but not bad- about $50 worth of paypal coupons. i might as well use it. i already paid through the nose to get it.
nina nastasia played on tuesday night at midnight and i didn't end up going because we had people over at the apartment and i didn't really want to tear myself away. i figured everyone would be gone by 11. if that had been the case then it would've been easier to go. what's more it snowed like crazy and naturally it was a little difficult to persuade myself to get back out in the snow. i really did want to see nina nastasia but i've seen her play twice now and what's more it would've involved some pretty hardcore sleep deprivation to go. i would've had to walk from second city all the way to the north and clybourn red line stop in that blizzardy snow at about 2 in the morning or so. not too desirable.
i've missed several shows now that i meant to go to. it's not a bad season for shows really- i just can't ever seem to get off my ass to go to any shows. kind of a shame.
the next stress about the kc acoustic show- getting the run-through coordinated. i have to figure out where it's going to be held and we need to get ahold of the drums in order to do the run through. i have a sneaking suspicion that it might turn into two seperate run-throughs as i suspect that billy will have to work that day or night and that his schedule will clash with the girl who plays the violin- who unfortunately gets in on the 26th. so in that case i believe we will have to rehearse with the violist and the violinist seperately from billy. bumma. i guess it could be worse. i think i will probably try to get ahold of mike to coordinate getting ahold of the drums- bounce off some ideas as to how the sharing of these drums shall go. i almost think that it would be easier for us to rent the two drums that we will need so that we will have a bit more control over when we can use them and not step on anyone's toes as mike will probably want to do hairy belafonte practise the night before. i also know that if we had them with us when we showed up to the record bar things will go much quicker. i am a bit stressed about this. possibly more than the whole process of getting christmas gifts together. it's sort of turned into a blessing that we are only playing at this show for 30 minutes because it's put a more realistic cap on something that's this thrown together (possibly in a quite ramshackle way). so that's how it goes kids. i also have found that when i'm at home it's easier for me to get ahold of billy and mike. much easier. it's just easier to figure out when everyone is free etc. i guess i should quit worrying about it. i'm anxious about the show. i'm excited but quite nervous.

Friday, December 5, 2008

i'm on the side without the sun

stefanie and i got into an 'argument' yesterday. i wouldn't normally tell such a story here, but this one has a rather hilarious element to it (most of our fights generally do and we're both able to laugh about them later). there was the whole drama with the tape machine which didn't phase me at all- i did end up going to beans and bagels to check it out and came to the conclusion that the tape machine itself was pretty much fine- the box was quite beaten up but the people who shipped it were at least smart enough to wrap the machine in a few layers of bubble wrap- which is what you're generally supposed to do with those. so i unwrapped it and i even plugged it in and tested to see if the buttons worked. everything i tried did. of course i have no tape yet to test the recording and such, but at least the gears and the motors work. those would probably be the most expensive to repair. since i paid so little for it i am expecting to have to pay to have some things on it fixed. so that was fine. i went home to get an igo car and come back to pick it up and it would be timely enough that stefanie would be getting finished with work at the same time. bonus. we got home and stefanie had a bunch of bags and whatnot and i had that 50 lb machine to carry home. we got back into the apartment and i cancelled the remaining time on the reservation because that means that if you get the car back earlier they don't charge you for the remaining amount of time for which you had it reserved- i often overbudget knowing i'll probably get home and can release the unused time. it's a bit less of a squeeze and less stressful. we get inside and i release the remaining amount of time and we both realise that i left the cd i brought in the car, so i go out there to try and unlock it to get it out. how igo cars are unlocked is with a card and since i'd released the rest of the time it wouldn't unlock the doors when i scanned the card. so then i had to call their little hotline to try and get someone to unlock it. i get stuck in the automated menu because i don't push a button for emergencies that gets you a live person. eventually it just starts the menu over again so i then push 1 because i am tired of waiting and i didn't bundle up because i figured this wouldn't take more than a few minutes. i finally get a live person. they say they can't hear me speaking so i begin to speak very loudly and clearly and then the person hangs up on me. so now i am upset because that is a bit of a frustrating situation to be in. i go back and book time on the car for half an hour so that i will be able to unlock the car, get the cd and then hopefully cancel the rest of the reservation in order to not be charged (you have a bit of a grace period that can allow this). i am frustrated and cursing and mildly upset. i wouldn't say i'm too angry. stefanie tries to help me, i refuse her help and get huffy. she goes off to take a shower right as i am ready to calm down and then i get upset because she doesn't want to talk about it. i am meaning to apologise at this time and that would've been it. instead i got upset that she didn't want to talk so i turn to my trusty friend 'the silent treatment.'
my use of the silent treatment is something i started doing around my friend mike back about 10 years ago when we would spend a lot of time hanging out with teenagers and mike would kind of make me his clown in a lot of ways. if i was in the mood for it i'd go along with it and play the part. i was also recovering from some mondo depression so sometimes i wasn't quite in the mood to be his dancing monkey for this group of teenagers some of whom i didn't really like that much to begin with. sometimes when we'd go out and mike would start up with this dynamic and i wasn't in the mood i'd ask him repeated times to stop and try and talk about how i wasn't feeling up to it and i was depressed and blah blah blah. he would always continue anyway which would make me annoyed and upset. if he persisted despite repeated requests to lay off i turned to the silent treatment because it was the only thing that worked and i was quite good at it. i could easily go for three hours in a large group of people and not say a single word. this would be the only thing that would eventually make mike realise i really was upset. i have always taken great pride in this effective way to stick it to people who are fucking with me when i'm not in the mood. i've used it on will a time or two now as well.
so we aren't speaking to each other. i try to burn a screen, but the screen's all fucked up and i try putting on another layer on the back side. stefanie cooks dinner, but i don't feel like it's okay for me to eat any of it since we're in the midst of this 'fight' so i go out to go to do some birthday shopping for my dad that i was planning on doing today. since we're not speaking i might as well get something done. when i get home i do the dishes as well. finally i am at the computer and it has been about four or so hours without a single word. we make eye contact and finally i say something. so basically stefanie out silent-treatment-ed me. i have been bested. kind of a shame as we had the entire night and it was taken up by silent treatment. but also quite funny because now she has beaten me at my own game. yes, i can see the irony and funny side of this situation.
now i am in the coffee shop writing in this thing. i have to burn a screen later and i'm not so sure it's going to work. every time i make another screen it does something else that i am not expecting. i can't stay updated with this thing. i put too much photoemulsion on and it dripped through the bottom in several places, so now it's kind of bumpy. i added another small layer in the hopes that that would smooth it out, which was somewhat effective, but in a lot of ways not so much. it might fuck with the way that it will print. i am hoping i can finagle it, but we'll see. so that's what i have to do when i get home. kind of a concern since the lines in the film are a bit thin and i'll be using silver ink which nick has told me can be difficult to manage. we shall see. who knows- maybe it'll just ducky...
other than that i haven't got much going on. i'm still looking for places to send promo cds and such. i am just going to continue promoting 'down to sleep.' i'm not planning on sending many copies of 'dandelions' out for review since it would be so quick on the heels of the last release and being a diy-type who's just sending music to people without being solicited it's a bit of a case of overstaying your welcome. it will just make people a bit irritated, and understandably so. plus we're having such a good run of reviews i'd like to see if it will continue. it could make for a bit more of an impressive press kit. i am planning on working 'all hope is blind' in a similar way. i'm going to print up promo cds for that one as well- just 100 or so cdrs in white silk-screened arigato paks.
tomorrow is a recording session. woohoo! it is also the beginning of another week. hopefully this week will be a bit better than last week. it should be- tips should be better and i also get paid on thursday- it's the paycheck that i have to do less with so i will have some extra moneys. yay. extra moneys! i'm going to try and get all of my christmas shopping done with my earnings next week. i'm going to try and save my tips as well so that i can get some mastering tape to get the mixdown process going. the drawback of using tape is that it's quite expensive- $50 for 1 reel. i was thinking of trying to get some on ebay. people tend to sell it for cheap there and it's not that heavily sought-after. i believe that i need about four reels for mixdown- a master copy and a safety copy in case something happens to the master. then i can send magneto the tape reels and that'll be that. i'm pretty excited about it to be truthful. i'm thinking it will most likely sound a lot better. like a warm blanket in this cold, cold winter time.
i think i will end this really long entry now.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

the return

i finally have some time to write on here. what with thanksgiving weekend last weekend i was never able to steal away much hardcore sit-down time and that's generally what this blog seems to be for- to occupy my hardcore sit-down time. thanksgiving was fun. i had a good time. my parents came up from kansas city and we split the cooking duties amongst ourselves. i did the stuffing and stefanie did the cranberry sauce and made some miso gravy. lauren bought the turkey and made sweet potatoes and my parents brought up some mashed potatoes and rolls. all in all it made for a nice time.
i endured the gold coast on black friday. yikes. we also saw 'four christmases' which wasn't very good (big surprise, i know). it's not like i was expecting it to be fantastic- i went in with pretty low expectations, but nevertheless it just wasn't quite what it was trying to be. i like stupid holiday movies too- it's one of my weaknesses. there hasn't been a good one in a long time. i'd say 'just friends' is the most recent and best example of the stupid holiday movie. 'just friends' is good though. not just stupid.
as was our thanksgiving tradition we watched 'home for the holidays.' 'home for the holidays' always kicks off the holiday movie festival. from there we usually watch 'love actually' (which is a really stupid movie that's only saving grace is the fantastic ensemble cast- if 'four christmases' had been as decent as 'love actually' i would've been a bit more satisfied), 'just friends,' a few others i'm forgetting and then as it gets closer we'll probably watch 'it's a wonderful life' and 'white christmas.' i kind of wish we had 'holiday inn' on dvd- bing crosby in blackface singing a song about abraham lincoln for president's day is gloriously cringe-inducing. it's always interesting to me to watch an old movie where some of the acceptable material to put in a movie back when it was made doesn't translate so well to what's considered acceptable these days. it actually makes you realise that progress has indeed been made (even if there is still a ridiculously long way to go- which there is).
so much recording going on right now. i did some recording with another violinist named andrew who i found through craigslist and he did two parts for 'christmas song revisited' and the last part for 'glasslands.' 'christmas song...' just needs a glockenspiel part, as does 'sleep now...' and then those two tracks will be done and the 'dandelions' ep will be finished. it's pretty much entirely mixed as well- i think there might be something done to 'sleep now...' just to see if i can alleviate all of the tape hiss at the beginning of it- it's all coming from the cello tracks, but it is very bad. the original mixes are so good i don't see any reason to change them- which never happens. ever. they are even impervious to the ipod test. yes, i mix songs and then listen to them on my ipod- i've found it's the only way to tell if they are truly finished and the way that i want them to sound. if i like the way they sound through crappy earbud headphones on an ipod then they are going to sound good anywhere.
the christmas-time strings show is also coming together. i have cello, viola and violin now. i finished renotating all of the parts last night and i scanned them into the computer and converted them to pdfs and sent them out to everyone. the whereabouts of my old sheet music book are still unknown. i am a bit shattered about that. there really is only one song that had two parts that i wrote in the sheet music (i normally write it out in tab in one of my pocket notebooks) but that was the only time i did it. so those parts are kind of gone. i think i rewrote it out correctly, but i'll never be 100% certain. it was recorded and if i wanted to get real industrious i could listen to the parts on the 8-track and figure them out that way. at the moment they were better served to be rewritten for the acoustic show. i even wrote a few full arrangements for songs that don't normally have the full three-part treatment and i'm pretty excited to hear how those sound. on saturday i have a violinist named katelyn coming by our apartment to finish the parts that i did with billy back over halloween weekend. she responded to the craigslist ad after i'd already set up some recording with andrew. basically i figured i should go ahead and work with her since knowing three different string players here in town couldn't possibly be a bad thing- especially with the prospect of doing a full strings show here in town looms. i still want to get that put together for spring time or something. i suspect that billy will no longer be able to come up for that. i would pay for his gas if he would- what with gas prices being ridiculously low again. i think with his job and school he probably wouldn't be able to get the time off.
no shows on the horizon besides this small christmas time one. i think i might start trying to get something set up for us in february just to get us back into the mindset so that we don't sound rusty when we get to playing again. i am indeed hoping that we can go down for sxsw this year, although i am really not holding out much hope.
as far as how i'm doing i think i'm officially burned out at my job. familiarity breeds contempt. the timing is just about right- i get sick of every job i've ever had within a year. a lot of it's to do with how ridiculously type a my boss can be. he saw me cutting onions yesterday, didn't like the way i was doing it, showed me a different way to do it, insisted i do it that way and then as i was trying to cut the onions the way that he showed me to i cut my finger. it was a very small cut, but just the teensiest bit annoying. had i not been trying to cut them the way that he insisted i do and just done it the way that i've been doing it on my own for almost a year (i've never cut myself cutting anything there either) then it wouldn't have happened. irritating. he also now likes to complain to me about what he doesn't like about other employees- a few of whom he knows that i like. he spent a good five minutes telling me about how someone i work with insists on cutting onions with a serated bread knife just to annoy him. i kept saying 'he doesn't do that on purpose- he does it that way when you're not around.' this is sort of a holdover from when liz was working there. she spent a bit of time insisting that this same employee had left the cheese unwrapped when he'd closed purely to piss her off. when i get stuck in these kinds of conversations in my working life at this point in my life i am always reminded never to underestimate how petty and childish people can be no matter how old they are. like anyone would sit around going 'i know what i'll do to piss liz off- i'll not wrap the cheese in plastic wrap ON PURPOSE- bwahahahahahaha she'll be so mad it will be glorious!' that's just the most ridiculous thing i've ever heard in my life.
i just got some bad news- my tape machine that i ordered off of ebay arrived at beans and bagels packed really crappily- the likelihood that it works seems to be very low. i would be more upset if i had paid more money- you do get what you pay for i suppose. i'm going to see for myself how it is today. i suppose what i'm going to do is take a look at it and try to figure out what i should do. it is actually possible that i could get it fixed up- i don't know how much that would cost, but i suppose it could be worth a try. i am going to take some digital pictures of it and send it to them and then ask that they give my money back and if they want the item back they'll have to arrange for fed ex to pick it up at beans and bagels. if they don't want to do that then i guess i'll just send the pictures to ebay and figure out what to do from then- open a dispute. kind of a shame as there was this spectrum double 7" i wanted to buy up for auction right now. stefanie thinks i've been having some bad ebay luck lately. i'm not sure i agree 100%- i got a few good mics off of there. plus i only paid under $200 for this thing and it did come from a pawn shop. my hopes weren't really all that high. i knew that at the very least i would probably have to calibrate it. i dunno.
stefanie just told me on the phone and i wasn't really that upset. i think that it might be because i'm here in the coffee shop, but really the more i think about it the less of a big deal it seems to be. i know a website where i can buy revamped tape machines for reasonable prices (more than $200) that comes very highly recommended. if i still want to do the analog tape mixdowns i'll just save up my money and do it through this website. if it doesn't work out then that's most likely okay too because i still have my dat recorder that i'm perfectly happy with doing mixdowns- i like the way it sounds and it's pretty compatible with the kind of recording work i'm doing. every time i put 'down to sleep' on i am very happy with the way that it sounds and that is mainly because i mixed down to the dat recorder. i have plenty of dat tape to last me for a long time. also i realise that it's entirely possible that i could get my money back (or at least some of it) and then that i'll probably be able to keep the thing and get it fixed up. if they want it back and give me back all of my money then that would probably fine as well. i'll just save toward the goal of owning one of those tape machines and buying it from the aforementioned website. i also have the option of doing the mixdown at jim licka's- he has a really nice 2-track tape machine. i also would like to get less unglued about small things. this is a constant process and i think i'm getting better at it. the last few times i overdrew my account i didn't get as angry about it as i have in the past. i used to just get raging mad. i'd imagine most people do as well.
i could definitely use the money right now as well. it's the period of the month where i have the most expenses. when i get one of my checks i have to pay for rent, my transit card and my car insurance all within about a week so i have to pull from my tips to make it happen in time. the good thing about this arrangement though is that when my next paycheck comes i have extra money and i am able to save my tips.
anyway i should probably get going about now. i have a lot of stuff to do today- i have to burn a screen because my photo emulsion's going to go bad in a few days and i finally made the film yesterday and i got all of the sheet music sorted out last night so that i could devote some time today to getting the screen for the ep made. i am going to be able to start printing them immediately as well- i found some material at paper source that i wanted to use and it is very cheap even in small quantities- so if it looks nice i'm just going to do the printing the way that i originally wanted to and it won't be a problem to do it ahead because it isn't a massive upfront charge to meet all at once.