| Sunday May 14, 2006
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!
My Mom's life has gone through so many changes over the last 5 years that I can't begin to describe it here. There's been tragedy and triumph all over the place. I'm proud of her for hanging in there and winding up on the triumphant side. She's become stronger and more in command while having more fun in the process! I can't help but think that Mr. Vern Hoffman has something to do with it. And I thank him for that.
Mom, I'm sure you're doing something to celebrate today and I only wish that I could be there. I am thinking of you! Have a good one.
My Mother's Day started with me editing photos for Concert Shots. I haven't been shooting as many shows but I do have enough for an update now. I got almost all of them edited while I talked to my Grandmother.
And Amanda's out of town again. She had a shoot at Tybee Island. She was gone when I got up and stayed that way 'til after 8 pm. So I was stuck on my own.
After finishing the editing portion of my morning, I was trying to back up some stuff on my hard drive when I got fed up with the CD burn issues on my computer. I shouldn't be able to burn a DVD in 12 minutes while it takes 20 to burn a CD. It's idiotic and I've had enough. I decided to take it on and burned one coaster after the other while surfing the net for answers. I never could get it together before I had to leave.
Since Amanda had the car and I don't trust the truck and that Nuci's Space parking lot, I managed to get Frank to pick me up for rehearsal. We did the 3-hour version today but it didn't go nearly as well as I was hoping. We tried to work on "If You Try To Make Me Choose (You Lose)" but Frank just couldn't do it at all at first. We did it over and over until it would crash, then we'd start over. Eventually, it was passable but still a big disappointment in our execution. The one good thing I can say is that I can tell from our run-throughs that it won't sound as empty as I had thought (as a 3-piece). In fact, except for the fact that we couldn't play it (!), it did come together somewhat. We, could not, however, get together. Nothing felt right. We were playing the other songs right and yet they still felt wrong. We were not gelling today. We need more playing time! I can't say it enough. Otherwise, we're going to disimprove just in time for our big break to present itself.
So today was frustrating for me. When I got back, I began working on fixing the problem with my computer again. I burned coasters before I had a voila moment. Maybe I should try to different media! I've been using Memorex CD-R audios. Certainly that couldn't be the problem could it? I didn't have any other CD-R brand to try but it did make me stop trying to isolate the problem.
I had a nice conversation with my Mom in the evening. A little after 8, Amanda made it back and so we called her Mom, too. So the frustrating today at least had a nice ending...
Or did it?
Somehow, my remote did it again. This time it was the Brady Bunch In Hawaii! God help me!
| Saturday May 13, 2006
I need to pull things together. I'm still feeling out of sorts. I've been bouncing back and forth between re-energized and depressed lately. That's a strange combination and I don't quite know how to handle it.
I saw this today and couldn't help but share it.
Poll: Clinton outperformed Bush
(CNN) -- In a new poll comparing President Bush's job performance with that of his predecessor, a strong majority of respondents said President Clinton outperformed Bush on a host of issues.
The poll of 1,021 adult Americans was conducted May 5-7 by Opinion Research Corp. for CNN. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Respondents favored Clinton by greater than 2-to-1 margins when asked who did a better job at handling the economy (63 percent Clinton, 26 percent Bush) and solving the problems of ordinary Americans (62 percent Clinton, 25 percent Bush).
Moreover, 59 percent said Bush has done more to divide the country, while only 27 percent said Clinton had."
Nah, really? Is America finally starting to understand that it doesn't take a good husband to be a good president. Clinton was the best president of my lifetime regardless of his personal inclinations. Bush is...well...destroying the country of which I used to be a proud citizen.
Anyway - my day today was centered around nothing in particular. I wound up working my newly acquired DVD-authoring skills on the opening night of Prince's 2004 Musicology tour. I had a burn with no indexing or anything but that drives me crazy. So I re-authored this one. I should probably do it once more as this one has titles so small that you can't read 'em! I'm still learning.
After working on that for awhile, Amanda and I decided to go see a movie (that's 2 in a week!). Since we saw a preview for Art School Confidential before Thank You For Smoking last week and it looked interesting enough, we chose that! I'd read some mixed reviews of Art School Confidential but it was better than I expected. No, it wasn't perfect. Yes, it was very cynical and dark and you couldn't really feel sympathy for any of the characters (unlike Smoking) but it was a solid movie nonetheless.
Amanda rustled us up some viddles in the evening. It was strange actually having dinner at home on a weekend but hey, I hear some people don't eat more than once or twice a month!
Somehow when I was trying to relax, my remote again found it's way to TV Land. Somehow I was sucked into the Brady Bunch's first episode. I'm embarrassed to admit it but I wound up sucked in. Then the ghost town / Grand Canyon episodes came on. I couldn't, COULDN'T look away! I don't know what happened to me. Perhaps I should file a reparations claim for being a survivor of the Telecaust. Click here if you too are a victim!
It was nice comfort food for relaxing, though.
| Friday May 12, 2006
I would've never believed a year ago that the first drummer from my first real band would be back behind the kit in just a few months. From Mr. Gathers class (which also contained one Frank DeFreese) to now, I've always loved listening to you play. Thanks for all the gigs, recordings and technical help! Things are starting to look good again for the Darlings and even if you're just "sitting in", who knows where this will lead. I wonder what's next...
Have a good one!
I spent Mike's birthday feeling thoroughly exhausted. Of course, I edited all the photos and got them uploaded. I wasn't good for much else as I'm still not used to being this tired anymore. Amanda didn't even go out last night but she's still feeling a bit out of it from earlier in the week I guess. She left work early and crashed out...
In the evening, she wanted to jump into the boots. So she grabbed Alice On The Wall (click here and scroll down) out of her pile. This is one of those syncs (like Dark Side Of The Moon vs. Wizard Of Oz).To me, this wasn't nearly as good. It definitely had its moments. "The Thin Ice" through "Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 1" were great. It was also cool seeing "The Trial" sync up with Alice's trial near the end. But it wasn't enough to make this one nearly as great as Dark Side Of Oz. But it was good enough to be relaxing. And we needed that.
Thursday May 11, 2006
Art Brut comes face to face with "Emily Kane" at the 40 Watt!
Well, today was chock full 'o' stuff.
During the day, I tracked down info in the hopes of covering the Southern Comfort Music Experience next weekend. It looks like it's going to be the coolest event in Atlanta this summer. And it's FREE! Can you believe it? You get to see The Flaming Lips, Big Star, The Moaners, Family Force 5, Cowboy Mouth, etc...over 2 days and nights. Once I managed to find the publicist, it was a breeze to get cleared (to my total surprise). I'm really excited about this one. My only regret is that World Party is playing in Atlanta on Saturday night so I'll have to skip out on Cowboy Mouth's set at Centennial Park to see it. As some of you know, Griff from Cowboy Mouth is a friend of mine so I feel kind of guilty about not being able to be there for their set. But I'll try and hook up with him sometime during the day if schedules permit.
When Amanda got home, we went to get me shorn for the summer. I really had 'em chop my hair off this time. I went full on Exis style circa 1961, Hamburg, Germany. It's a little shocking to me but I don't want to have to worry about getting it cut again 'til it's cool again. I forget just how much neck I have sometimes.
At about quarter 'til 10, I headed out to the 40 Watt club. There was 'sposed to be a triple bill of Think About Life, The Robocop Kraus and (woo hoo) Art Brut. When I got inside, there were literally 6 other people there. I was flabbergasted (what a great word). When I asked Craig Leiske about it, he said they'd only sold about 72 tickets in advance. Then he said the show was "snakebit" from the start. Apparently, Think About Life got stranded in New Orleans when their bus broke down. The Robocop Kraus got there just as doors were opening and most importantly, the show fell on the day after the UGA dorms had to clear for the summer. It's amazing to me how deserted Athens becomes at this time. Still, to go to a show that's sold out most dates and finding 6 other people there is shocking.
The show started way late. About 11:15, The Robocop Kraus went on. The audience was still seated and there was a gap of about 15 feet between the band and the first person. They tried to warm 'em up but (at first), the crowd was very cold to the band. The singer even jumped off the stage and confronted them, only to be ignored. I felt bad for them. The crowd warmed to them after he announced in a thick Arnold Schwarzenegger-esque accent, "Vee arrr de Robot Kraus from Germany". Someone in the crowd yelled "Yah" in a mocking tone. The singer froze. "Why are you making fun of us? Why?" The place went silent. Then he looked super pissed. "We are from Germany so we have no sense of humor!" Then slowly, a huge smile crept across his face. From then on, they had the crowd with them. And they put on a fun, danceable show full of bleeps, bloops and beeps. I enjoyed 'em.
It was after midnight before Art Brut took the stage. By then the crowd had filled in a good bit. There were 100 or more people all gathered right 'round the stage. And as the band launched into the intro to Metallica's "Enter Sandman", the crowd was all smiles. Of course, this segued into "Formed A Band" as front man Eddie Argos sauntered out. The rest of the show was about what I expected. It was hilarious, hard to tell if it was drenched in sarcasm and rocking in a throroughly anti-rocking way. If you don't know what I mean, follow that link above and check 'em out. Their album is also one of my favorites of this year. Well, it came out in America just this week. In their native UK, it's been around for at least a year and has already launched several hit singles. If you haven't heard them, they sound like a mix between Pulp and the Sex Pistols (maybe a hint of Tykes With Guns) with the biggest Brit-geek on Earth fronting them. And it's great stuff (even if it isn't much more than a one-trick pony).
My favorite thing about the show tonight was that the lyrics are apparently still evolving to a lot of the songs. Nothing was missing but there was plenty added. My least favorite song on the record, " Rusted Guns Of Milan", became one of my favorites from hearing the additional lyrics. I hope a live version comes out of these songs. Then there were the obvious songs. "Modern Art" was surprisingly heavy and "My Little Brother" was even funnier than the disc. I was shocked at how people knew every word to "Moving To L.A." and they sang along with them all. I also noticed Barrie and Velena of the 40 Watt in the audience dancing along, which is something you don't see very often. Even Stomp & Stammer's Jeff Clark had a smile across his face. About half-way through, several guys up front started yelling "Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!". No, it wasn't a bunch of frat boys yelling for blood but fans yelling for the song "Fight". Eddie look a bit surprised and then had to apologize because they didn't know it with their new guitarist. For the rest of the show he would tease them with it. For their encore, he announced with a smile, "This one's about fighting (dramatic pause while the requesters roared)...it's about fighting capitalism as Italian terrorists!" before burning through "18,000 Lire". They never did attempt "Fight!" When a girl held up her ID to prove that she was, in fact, "Emily Kane", they played that song to her with Eddie pointing to her everytime the name came up. There was also a killer new song called "Blame The Bus" or something like that. It was a fun show. Too bad you missed it! You should check out the disc if you have any interest in Brit-pop. I won't listen to 'em as much as Editors but when I get in the mood for it, I have to hear them!
I also want to say once again how lucky I am to live in Athens, Georgia. This is probably the smallest, homiest town in the US where you can see such great bands from around the world on any given night of the week. Even if I am pretty horrified by what the US seems to be turning into, I love my little oasis in Northeast Georgia.
And speaking of which...
I apologize in advance for the semi-detached rant that you're about to receive. I know most of you who read this were with us all along. For those of you, look at this as a rallying call. For you others, look at this as yet another wake-up call.
And I quote from CNN:
"The government has been secretly collecting records of ordinary Americans' phone calls in an effort to build a database of every call made within the country, it was reported today."
Yes, that's EVERY CALL!
To all of you who voted for Bush in either good conscience or because of your fear: THIS IS WHAT YOU VOTED FOR. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE. THE INCREDIBLE DETERIORATION OF THIS ONCE GREAT COUNTRY IS DUE TO YOUR LACK OF FORESIGHT.
And now, the military guy who headed the organization that pushed and got this extreme invasion of privacy is set to become the head of the CIA - a civilian agency. And he is in the military CURRENTLY. This is unprecedented and extremely dangerous!
I'm afraid that this is slowly becoming a military dictatorship. I hope I'm being alarmist and unneccesary. Thank God for term limits. Since this change has to be slow to take, I can only hope that the dark era of Bush will end before it gets to that point. I'm sure the Bush-types are assuming that they'll be able to fool the people (or steal the election in '08 - computer glitches, anyone?) and continue this move toward facism with whoever the next "leader" would be.
Or are the Republicans simply getting so scared of the growing public realization of their failures (and the fact that they will most likely be washed out of office in November) that they're getting totally desperate?
Hmmmm....I wonder if there'll be some new amendment introduced to change the rules for '08? Luckily, I still think that's a bit far-fetched...but only a bit. It's only on the outside of reason as we speak.
STEP UP, PEOPLE! STEP UP FOR GOOD SENSE! If you're a Christian, you might want to reread your New Testament. George W. Bush absolutely DOES NOT represent you in any way. If you doubt that statement, you should go back and reread it. It's painfully obvious. Stop listening, stop taking orders, stop being subtly terrorized and bullied into making rushed, poor decisions supporting this regime. What kind of country do you want to live in and what kind of world do you want that country to be in? Let the honest answers to those questions be your guide. Is this really what you thought you were getting, Bushies? You were warned and yet the majority of you apparently chose this option. Now please, PLEASE, wise up. We're a few months away from Congressional elections. We can make a difference and start the tide to turning. It's up to you, American...at least I think it still is...
What are you going to do about it?
| Wednesday May 10, 2006
Today Frank came over and we worked up the 4th of 5 of the new songs on the last collection I gave 'em. This one's called "If You Try To Make Me Choose (You Lose)". Yes, it's another "if" song, I know it's getting confusing. But again, that's what the songs are dictating to me and I've learned not to argue with them too much. The weird thing about this one is while it sounds really simple and repetitive, it's possibly the most convuluted and difficult arrangement that we have. A lot of the parts sound similar to each other but are in totally different keys or one part of the phrase is slightly different from here to there. I love the song. It's the one that stuck in my head the most after I wrote it. Unfortunately, it may suffer a bit without backup vocals. So we'll see how it plays out as a power trio. No matter - it'll be a great CD song. Oh - and considering the relative difficulty (and the fact that the bass carries the whole tune), Frank picked it up miraculously fast. I was impressed.
Before he left, I played him some of the new World Party disc, which I know will wind up in my top ten best of 2006. By the way, you can check out my reviewof it in the Flagpole that came out today (if you haven't already caught it at Concert Shots).
| Tuesday May 9, 2006
Today was not so productive.
Amanda's not been feeling too well lately and today it came to an overload. She was supposed to go to Atlanta tonight for a class but she was so out of it by the time that she came home that I refused to let her go. Eventually she convinced me that she needed to go but I wouldn't let her drive in that condition (just in case). So I dropped everything of my own and drove her to class. I sat in the car listening to ELO's first 2 new album re-issues while she was in there. I also called my Grandmother because I knew she had a doctor's appointment. The news there was not so good either. Just as I told her I suspected, she's dealing with congestive heart failure. Basically, it's just going to get weaker and weaker. You can figure how that will go from there. It hurts to hear but it's not unexpected. She's also suffering from breathing issues brought on by 30 + years of smoking. It figures that it would only really show up after she'd finally quite smoking. The doctor said the good news in is that her lungs are only about half as damaged as they could be. But if you add that in with all of her other health problems and the stress she's under from most of her family, you don't get a good recipe. All I can do is all that I can do for her. And I'll continue to do that. And for everyone I care about.
After class, Amanda did seem a lot better. Even though I wound up having a fast food dinner and not getting work done today, I made the right decision in trying to look out for her. She might've been fine without me but I couldn't have lived with myself if I'd taken the chance and it didn't pan out.
As it is, it turned out okay.
Monday May 8, 2006
Man, I got a lot done here today. I'm so very close to having things caught up. Or at least I'm closer than I have been in a year. I'm sure something will come up to slow me back down but right now I'm a-cooking on along!
The first thing this morning, I finished up one of my experiments with DVD authoring. I was experimenting with a Faith No More concert from Europe in PAL format. It looks like I successfully transferred it to NTSC for Amercian players! Woo hoo!
I've also gotten to the point now where I ought to be able to author a decent DVD of the band at some point. But I've got to get caught up first!
For those of you who might be vaguely interested, here's my current list of rare, non-commercially released or out of print videos and audios. Some might call them "bootlegs". Heck, I might! Except I'm strict about not trading anything that's commercially available. I just started collecting in November of '05 so this is what I've managed to accumulate in only 6 months. And it's all from getting on a couple of mailing lists and offering to trade 1 for 1 or to "vine", which means someone sends it to me, then I reoffer it to the next person. I have some amazing stuff. I can't believe this music is not available. What do you think so far?
I also got that whole photo account with the Netherlands Soundcheck textbook straightened out today. I sent them the Ben E. King photo and now it's just a matter of getting the pay over here...