I think is should be fairly obvious, but I am not really posting over here any more. Not that I was the most prolific blogger out there. Actually, I am just going to start posting over at the band blog. For example, I just posted a recap of my performance at Darren and Emilie's wedding. So head over there. I also now cover the Nats, and Boxing, for DCist.
First, I want to reiterate what I said over at the band blog. Thank you all for coming out to the last few concerts. Sundays and Mondays suck, a lot, and it is great that so many of you came out to them. Fortunately, we are giving you all a break for a few months.
Also, let me add DCist to my growing blog empire. Today my first post covering the Nats went up. I hope to have at least one column a week about the Nats, and a boxing post whenever it is relevant. This is all part of my plan for global domination that involves taking on projects that don't pay me anything. At least at DCist, unlike the stupid band, I won't be losing any money.
My band managed to schedule a concert in Norfolk this Friday followed by a concert in New York on Saturday. I think this picture accurately sums up the situation.
In other exciting news, I don't have Celiac Disease, so that is good.
Gosh, it has been a while since I have been here. Between attempting to keep my band together, and a child-like ability to be fascinated by free internet flash games, I just haven't had the time to write on this site. Well that all changes today!
First, because I know that you all are fascinated by my digestive system, I recently had a blood test to determine if I have Celiac Disease. Throughout this whole medical situation I have attempted to make a series of compromises. For example, I would have preferred depression to lactose intolerance. Well now, I am really pulling for lactose intolerance, because this Celiac thing looks like even less fun. And while a lot of things have dairy, I suspect that even more things have wheat. Also, I am not really comfortable with the thought of my body attacking itself.
The owner of my restaurant recently sold the place. It has been a hard year or so for her, and I am glad that she is finally free of the restaurant. She worked harder, and had to endure more crap, than anyone should and I wish her all of the best. It was funny, one the last night, most of the staff gathered at the restaurant. As we were saying goodbye, I realized that this had become more than a job to all of us. There were plenty of hugs, and exchanging of e-mails and addresses. It felt more like the last day of school than the last day of waiting tables. This feeling is a tribute to my former owner. Everyone worked there because they loved her. So congratulations Jefa!
In a funny way, I am going to miss the restaurant. Sure I was busy all the time, but I got use to it. Last night, I came got home around 5:30, and did nothing. By 9:00 I felt like it was bed time. I am just not use to having that much time to myself on a weekday. Granted, as compared to the wheat stomach eating disease, this is a pleasant problem to have.
In more exciting news, my band is a finalist to get the last spot on the FettoFest. The competition will take place this Sunday at Growlers Pub in Gaithersburg. Those unable to attend will be able to listen to the performance on 94.7, or on The Globe's website.
And in actually exciting news. My friend Darren is getting married to the lovely Emilie in Belgium in September, so I get to go to Europe. I will be spending three days in Paris before departing to Brussels. It should be a lot of fun. For example, I think I might be staying in a castle for a few nights.
So that is it for now. I think I should be congratulated for creating a remarkably boring post out of actually interesting activities.
First, I would like to thank everyone for coming out to the Velvet Lounge last Friday. It is nice to see that you all don't hate me, and are not afraid of FRIDAY THE 13TH! So thank you again.
For those who missed the show, shame on you. Don't you know that my band is endorsed by the Atlantic? Also, I accidentally knocked my keyboard off of the stand and had to finish playing the song with it on the ground. This was bound to happen given that I violently play it with a tambourine. The problem is that I like the effect of the keyboard falling and thus this "accident" might have to happen at every concert.
It looks like I am going to start writing about sports for DCist. I will probably start covering the Nationals in August, although when I agreed to the gig it looked like the team would be historically bad rather than just mundanely bad, so I feel a little gypped. Anyway, my first post is up, and it is about Tony "The Tiger" Thompson. He is a left-handed boxer from DC, who just won a big fight to get a title shot. My hope is that I can parlay this DCist thing into free tickets to boxing matches in the area.
Speaking of historically bad, it finally happened. Congratulations to the Phillies, and the wonderful sports fans of Philadelphia. Let me wish you 10,000 more.
I really like my neighborhood a lot, and I am excited when new businesses move into it. For example, I box because there is a gym about a block from my apartment. I have started Yoga because a studio opened up within a block of my apartment as well. I am excited that Corduroy is moving nearby, and all of the other restaurants that have and will be opening up. That said, I am a little worried about this place. A bar/club/whatever that only caters to members sounds a little Smith Pointy to me. Also, looking at the application, I am pretty sure that I can't: a) gain membership, or b) afford it. This has me a little worried, and I might have to investigate more.
Come out an see us tonight at the Velvet Lounge with Lights Resolve and Black & White Jacksons. We should be going on around 11:00, I think, but don’t hold me to that. We have free copies of our EP “A Weekend Affair” to hand out, but you do have to pay to get in.
For those of you who can’t make it out tonight, or who want to bankrupt us with shipping costs, you can order a copy of the EP here.
First, in the "Things I Don't Want To Do at 9:00 am After a Bachelor Party" category, let me add "smell items in the company refrigerator to determine what is giving the office the unique aroma of dead rotting animals." Fortunately, I prepared for work today by not reaching the level of debauchery appropriate for the event last night.
Second, the band is playing at the Velvet Lounge on Friday, July 13th with Lights Resolve and Black & White Jacksons. This is a concert that we would really like a good amount of people to come out to, and most of you live withing 5 blocks of the club, so it would be nice to see you all out. Besides, you are not going to let a stupid superstition scare you away, are you? The only thing that I will be able to conclude is that you are a coward if you don't come out next Friday. Or you hate me. Those are your only two options.
So, what else has happened since we last spoke?
It looks like I am lactose intolerant. I haven't had dairy in a month and I have felt a lot better. As much as I want to believe that I am just very depressed, it looks like milk is the culprit. I have learned is the dairy is in anything worth eating. I am willing to bet that your favorite food contains dairy. I go back to the doctor on Monday, and then we start "re-introducing" dairy. There are degrees of lactose intolerance, and I will have the fun job of figuring out what I can and can not eat. I guess that means drinking milk and waiting around for side effects, which should be a lot of fun.
What has been fun is the amount of foods containing dairy that both Tommy and my mother now like to offer me. I realize that I use to eat a lot of dairy, particularly cheese, and they are not use to these restrictions yet, but it is funny none the less. Typically they offer me something, like ice cream. I respond that I can't eat it, and then they have a brief confused look on their face before they remember my intolerance and then apologize. I seriously think Tommy went from never offering me ice cream, to offering it to me 3 days in a row after my diagnosis. It was pretty great.
Also, I want to strangle people at my restaurant who order American cheese on hamburgers when we have so many other worthy cheeses available.
It appears that I have entered into the "everyone you know is getting married" stage of my life. I went to a wedding party last weekend, and I have a wedding this weekend. Two weddings in September, and others that I can't attend. Given that Hugh Grant's character name in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" was Charles, I have decided to imagine that my life is a British romantic comedy. For the record, it is thoughts like these that give me hope that depression can beat out lactose intolerance as the cause of my stomach ailments.
At the party last weekend I learned that there is a beach less than 30 miles away from D.C. While I wouldn't bring my surfboard, it is a lovely spot. While I was out there I also stopped by Annapolis, which I frequently forget a) is close to D.C., and b) exists. It was nice, kinda like Old Town but slightly younger and more energetic. I say that, but you must realize that I saw about 15-20 guys in seersucker suits in the span of about 45 minutes, so only slightly younger and more energetic.
So, I was watching Jeopardy last week with the roommates, and this happened:
Tommy and I quickly decided that this was the single greatest moment in Jeopardy, and possibly TV history. Then, while searching for the clip to share with the rest of you I found this:
I guess it is not that big a deal. It is just that I wanted to believe that a huge comic book nerd had come up with a great joke rather than stealing from a TV show that I am not that big a fan of. While Family Guy has some good moments, when it is not funny it is painfully not funny.
Ordinarily I find Stereogum to be a fine blog, but today they wrote something that I must respond to. In this post they wrote:
"Actually, we spent more time with that Autobot that became a boombox, and his little cassette sidekicks that became robo-dudes and/or panthers -- and Optimus was a pretty big pussy in his fights with Megatron , wasn't he"I will ignore the fact that the author misidentifies Soundwave as an Autobot, but I will not stand idly by while someone badmouths Optimus Prime. I think that this video clip is all the argument I need.
First, I don't mean to only post when I have a concert, but that is the way it has been recently. I realize that it makes this blog look like just a tawdry marketing scheme calling into question my journalistic integrity, but let me assure that that is not the case. I use Facebook for marketing, and general internet annoying.
Tonight we are playing at Chief Ike's with First Rays and Prabir and the Substitutes. This is a good lineup, and you should come for all of it. The show starts at 9:00, and the order is First Rays, Prabir, and then us.
As an interesting side note, Adam played in a band in the 8th grade with 3/4 of First Rays. They were called Incubus long before that other band busted out the turntables. I remember them performing a tribute to Kurt Cobain at the final 8th grade school concert. I can actually remember some of the verse, and it was great. Also, I frequently play with Andrew from First Rays in church, and have been for years. I am personally hoping for a final jam at the end of the night mixing their 8th grade band with contemporary worship songs. I think that it will be a lot like this,
The beach was good. Although it was weird to be at the beach with my friends for a week and spend the whole time sober, particularly given the amount of alcohol everyone else imbibed. Let me submit this as exhibit A:
Thanks to Julian for recording this. I should note that this occurred before everyone decided that they had to finish the handle of Jim Beam to prove something to Sommer, I was too sober to determine what. I also found it funny that Matt called it Jim Bean. I think that Jim Bean would be a great title for a fairy tale. Something like Jack and the Beanstalk, but with more vomiting.
I saw the specialist, and had some tests done, and apparently there is nothing wrong with me. I have no diseases, viruses, or cancer. Normally this would be good news, and it is, except that there is something wrong with me. The specialist's two current hypotheses are either:
- The illness that I had in February changed the way I digest things and I might be lactose intolerant now. I checked on the hypochondriacs handbook WebMD and apparently this does actually happen. If this is the case the condition could either be temporary or permanent. I am currently not eating dairy for a month and then I go back to the specialist.
- My illness is the product of an anxiety disorder and/or depression.
So that is what is going on with me. As a side note, has anyone ever heard of the band Nomo? Just curious.
First, my band is playing tonight at The Red and the Black with The Chaos of Birds and The Daybreak Line. We should be going on around 10. Even if you don't like my band, come and enjoy H Street in all of its "transitional" glory.
In other exciting news, we have been asked to open for Pawns at The Velvet Lounge. As I wrote over at the band blog, this is the first time I have been in a band that has been asked to play a concert. I am use to begging for the right to play some horrible bars, and I just don't know how react. In many ways, I have already accomplished more with this band in two months than I did in 5 years with my last band. That realization makes me happy, although I do wonder what the hell I was doing for those 5 years. I would like to thank the internet for making being in a band easier. Also, I begrudgingly thank Myspace, although I am not happy about it. Now all I need is to actually be paid in some form, however small, for playing music. That would be nice.
I have decided that despite my recent misfortunes, I am going to only focus on the positives in my life. For example, I am grateful that there was nothing in my car when it was broken into on Saturday night. That will teach those thieves to break into crappy purple Dodge Neons. My stereo didn't even merit theft, how great is that! I am king of the world, albeit a ruler without a rear driver side window.
In actual good news, I am going on vacation next week. This will be my first real vacation in a while. In fact, I can't remember that last time I took a vacation. Hopefully my mysterious illness will play nice for the week.
Adam is very bored at work and made up a fake Power Point presentation for our band. Basically, it is just pictures with a brief description of all of us. For me he wrote:
Charles: Guitar, Bass, Piano, Vocals
Likes: Boxing, Smoking, Drinking, Cleaning, Complicated Stuff.
Dislikes: Too many to list. Suffice it to say, he probably doesn’t like something right now.
In other band news, we had to cancel our Sunday concert at DC9. Mothers across the region can thank us later.
Well I have had a fantastic couple of days. Where to begin?
First, it appears that I have contracted some kind of recurring disease. I won't go into detail, but I get these attacks that are fairly unpleasant and come without warning. I have been to see my doctor, twice!, and he finally got me on some medication that seems to be working. Apparently I have to take this medication for 2 months. I am not very happy about this. An unfortunate side effect is that this has made me more anti-social than normal, which is quite a feat. I wasn't even sure that was possible
When I went to get my prescription filled I learned that my insurance doesn't cover the drug in question, but they suggested a different but similar drug. I found it fascinating that my insurance, people who I have never seen, had the gall to overrule the doctor who had examined me. It is really amazing. Anyway, after a few calls back and forth between me, my doctor, and my pharmacist, we eventually all agreed on a prescription that wouldn't cost me $160 to fill. Hopefully it will also address my symptoms.
I decided that if this prescription doesn't work, my band is going to start playing Huey Lewis's "I Want a New Drug." Also, I then have to see a specialist!
In other news, while walking to work last Tuesday I got a ticket for entering an intersection after the signal had changed. The walk signal had changed to the flashing hand right right before I entered the crosswalk. Does anyone know why I should pay this ticket? I pay parking tickets so as not to get booted, but what are the repercussions for not paying this? Lead shoes? (Note, I think my ability to keep up my sense of humor despite these trials is admirable.)
I also got to play a concert while sick on Tuesday. Which is really not a lot of fun. The upside was that I left right after we got off stage, and thus didn't have to move any equipment.
Also, a speaker has blown in my car, thus reducing all music to a muddy distorted mess. Just in time for the drive down to the beach! I would really like to get this fixed, but I really can't afford it. Music is pretty much the only thing that keeps me (relatively) sane.
This problem is exacerbated because I have to drive back to the D.C. area to play a concert on Tuesday, May 29th. Apparently we "won" the show at T.T. Reynolds that I was sick for, and now play in the local music finals on that Tuesday. So I will be driving back to D.C. on Tuesday, and then back to the beach on Wednesday. Then I have to be in Baltimore for a gig on June 2nd. This will be a lot of driving with broken speakers. Maybe there is a good chop shop near my apartment where I can purchase "used" car speakers.
In real good news. I thought the Arcade Fire were really good on Friday. I had the "benefit" of never seeing them before, and thus nothing to compare them to, but I enjoyed it a lot. Also, Michel Richard's Central is a really good restaurant. It isn't even that expensive, well compared to Citronelle at least.
So that has been my week. The main problem is that I should avoid alcohol due to my medical condition. I have decided that avoid = "no whiskey, and slightly fewer beers." Of course, this has removed a my major coping mechanism, thus enhancing each of these problems. Sobriety is a curse unto itself, and almost too much to bear given the my other circumstances.
Tonight my band plays its first road gig. Whenever I think of playing out of DC, I always think of this Tenacious D episode. We are playing at the Brass Monkey Saloon, and here is the information. We are going on late, like 12:30 or so.
I learned in my last band that I should always wear earplugs. They are mostly great, but I have noticed a recent problem. We have been practicing a fair amount, and thus I have been wearing earplugs a fair amount. The problem is that they are messing with my earwax. Currently my right ear feels slightly blocked. It will eventually go away, but it is irritating none the less.
One of the problems with the Nationals is their lack of history. Actually, more to the point, the problem is that we don't know which history we want to adopt. When the team moved to Washington, there were discussions about which records we would celebrate and hold on to. Which Senator's records would we use, the ones that became the Rangers or the Twins or both? And what about the Expo's records? It is confusing.
That is why I see the Nationals as starting a new history, which is one of the things that makes the team exciting. Also, that would be the one benefit of a historically bad season. It would give the team character, and something to talk about years down the road. We could all say, "I was there when."
In many ways I envy a team like the Philadelphia Phillies. They have a long and storied history, and their fans should be proud of it. For example, this site is fantastic. I am seriously thinking about trying to make it up to Philly for the Phillies unprecedented 10,000 loss. Think how exciting that would be. No other professional sports franchise, in any sport mind you, has ever lost 10,000 games. Just the thought of the Phillies losing 10,000 games makes me giddy.
So congratulations Philadelphia! I should also mention that Philly is the city with 4 professional sports teams that has gone the longest without a championship. Truly you are the losingest losers to ever lose.
I intended to write this yesterday, but stupid work got in the way. Also, I was hella tired. Anyway, I want to thank everyone for coming out to see our debut on Wednesday. It went a lot better than I could have expected, although I am not the most optimistic person in the world so take that with a grain of salt.
I also want to thank everyone who linked to us. It was really unexpected. Personally, I was going to wait until we had played a few concerts before I demanded links. In fact, the bandwidth for our album was all used up and Tommy had to come up with some new hosting. I like to think of it as having been Yglesiased.
For a little behind the scenes information. I usually sing on more songs, but Aaron plugged in a short guitar chord, and I couldn't both play the guitar and sing at the same time. That is something we are going to have to work on. Also, the last song was so long because that is what a starting band does when they don't have enough material to fill out a set list. I hope to shorten it in the future.
Thanks to Tommy for the picture.
Just a friendly reminder, but tonight is my band's first concert at the Velvet Lounge. We are playing with Tenley from American University. We should be going on around 9:00 and I think that tickets are $6.00. This could all be completely wrong; I am always wary of trusting information given to me by Aaron. You all should come out. Yes You! I have also put a new version of Cultured Capital with real drums up on our blog.
What I find shocking is that all of sudden my band is playing a lot of concerts. We have seven concerts in the next 2 months. I went from not being in a band at all to being in a very busy band awfully quick.
For my friends who have never known anyone in a band before, this means that you are going to hear a lot of whining from me. You can ask Tommy, who has been to the Grog and Tankard more times then any man not convicted of a crime should. Trust me, I feel bad about begging people to come to concerts, but this is life in a band.
The truth is that it is important that some of our concerts are well attended, and others, ahem, can fall by the wayside. To that end, I promise only to bug you all when it is important. While I would love for you all to come to every concert, I am much more realistic.
Just so you all know, if I ever get the chance to stand on the same stage as Bruce Springsteen while he was playing "Rosalita" I would look exactly like Craig Finn from the Hold Steady in this video.
Assuming that I didn't pass out first.
Of course, this is the definitive live "Rosalita" live performance. I dare anyone to watch that and tell me that Bruce is not a genuine rock god. If I can have just one song from my concert on April 11th end like this one does, then this whole learning to play the guitar thing will be totally worth it.
I am not sure if our drummer, Spencer, wanted to re-record some of the drums on the new album because he wanted the music to reflect us as a band more, or because he hated my fake drumming, but on Wednesday we went to his house and recorded some real drum parts. We have the first new song, Strike Up The Band, up over at The City Veins' blog. You should go over and have a listen.
In other news, I installed this plugin and so far I think it works great. If you are thinking about hosting music on your Wordpress blog, you should definitely check it out.
And I am not referring to the score.
Opening day was good. The Nats lost, but if that surprised you then you are in for a long season. What is funny is that the team, or at least the ownership, know how bad things could get for this team. For example:
When I arrived at my seat, there was a video preview of the new stadium, including descriptions of various luxury boxes and seating arrangements. This was combined with the graphics of construction girders that adorned all of the images on the scoreboard. The announcer welcomed us to the last opening day at RFK stadium. Not one pitch had been thrown yet, and we were already encouraged to look forward to next year.
The guess the year trivia question was, "In what year did 'Major League' come out?" I am going to let the IMDB plot description speak for itself:
"The new owner of the Cleveland Indians puts together a purposely horrible team so they'll lose and she can move the team."Hmm....
Finally, the slogan for this season is "Pledge Your Allegiance." One will earn their fan stripes every time they show up at the ballpark this year.
Actually, I don't think the season will be all that bad this year. Expectations have been lowered to the point where this team can, and probably will, trip over them.
I have spent the last few days trying to set up the band's blog. This is what I have so far. I need to design a header and change the color scheme, but overall I am happy. The problem is that I have a few things that I would like to do that I can't seem to find any plugins or widgets for. Note, this is a Wordpress 2.1.2 blog.
First, I would like to be able to select an author's name and go to all of the posts by that author. I have seen this done, but I can't seem to figure it out. It would also be nice to have the author's names appear on the sidebar with the same clickable functionality.
Also, I would like a section in the sidebar that lists our upcoming concerts. It would be nice if you could click on them and go to more information, be it a post about them or whatever. I have tried this, but I can't seem to make it work. Any help would be much appreciated.
Also, feel free to let me know if you have any other ideas for band blog functionality.
We are less than one week from Opening Day, otherwise known as the greatest day of the whole year. Admittedly, the prospects for the Nationals are not great. Sports writers can't seem to decide if the Nationals will lose a laughable number of games, a historic number of games, or somewhere in between. My current favorite prediction comes from King Kaufman's Sports Daily. His prediction for the finishing order for the NL East is:
"Philadelphia, Atlanta (wild card), New York, Florida, Grand Canyon, Marianas Trench, Washington"So why go to the ballpark this year?
The first, and most important reason, is that this is a year to get your Fan cred. When the Nationals start winning, and people start showing up to the stadium with new baseball hats you will be able to scoff at them and say, "I was there in 2007."
If you go with me, you can watch me try to keep up with all of the runs scored and pitching changes in my scorebook. I imagine that things could get pretty hectic around RFK this year, and the 2007 season could be the greatest test of my scorekeeping abilities for years to come.
Also, there is a certain poetry to the dejected baseball fan watching the other team bat around. In fact, baseball fans are better at yelling at/hating/cursing the team they love than any other sports fans.
Finally, a day at a baseball game is better than just about anything else.
But you should be prepared. This season
I am please to announce that my band, The City Veins, has its first concert on Wednesday, April 11th at the Velvet Lounge. I will give you more details as they become available. But you all have to come, and these are the reasons:
- Most of you live within 6 blocks of the Velvet Lounge
- Most of you have never seen me perform live
- Most of you don't have real jobs that you have to wake up for on Thursday
This whole voting rights thing has made me so angry that I can barely contain myself. Never mind that we are fighting for legislation that will still leave us short of full representation, but the way that the Republicans derailed the bill only highlights why it is so necessary. The fact that people who we didn't vote for can change our gun laws proves why we need someone on the Hill that represents us.
I am pretty sure that I am going to take off of work to participate in this, and you should too.
I really like DCist's answer to Representative Charles Boustany. I am still figuring out what issue I want to bring up with my new Representative. I wish that we could go farther. I am envisioning a day when all DC residents don't work. I would imagine there are enough residents working on the Hill, as Waiters, Cab Drivers, Metro Operators, Security Guards, etc. to make life markedly more difficult for the congressmen who domineer over us.
In related news, D.C.'s own These United States are the Thursday session over at Daytrotter and you should go give a listen. It seems to me that D.C. is starting to develop a pretty good, non-Dischord, music scene. It is nice to see.
Finally, due to Catherine's prodding, and boredom at work, I now have a Facebook profile. You should go over an be my friend. Full disclosure, I mainly plan on using it to harass people to come to my concerts.
UPDATE: Apparently it was Congressman Louie Gohmert that brilliantly opined:
"I would submit to you that Washington, D.C. is also the only city in the entire country that every Senator and every Member of Congress has a vested interest in seeing that it works properly, that water works, sewer works, and no other city in America has that."I for one have noticed a fair number of potholes around that I am sure that Louie wants to hear about.
Also, I forgot to add that Matt is not welcome in my apartment if he is packing.
On of the unfortunate side effects of being in a band is that you have to use MySpace. I have accepted that we have to have a profile and that I will have to use the site fairly regularly, but I still hate it. It is just so very ugly, both visually and functionally.
That said, it is apparently important that we have lots of friends on MySpace. I can't imagine that people booking concerts pay that much attention to the number of MySpace friends you have. For example, can I get a gig at DC9 if we have 200 friends, but not if we have 150? I have been out of the band thing for a while, so maybe this is the case.
Anyway, if you have a MySpace account please become my friend. Note, Adam messed up something, so our first MySpace account, http://www.myspace.com/thecityveins, is not our account. We are currently using, http://www.myspace.com/cityveins.
I think that every person should see this video of Greg Paulus flopping last night. It is fantastic.
In other NCAA news, my bracket is still intact. I have historically done pretty well in NCAA pools. My philosophy is that you have to dare to be great, and not be afraid of looking really stupid. I always pick a few teams that probably are not going to go far, but have a respectable chance of doing so. I like this strategy because, if one does well then I make up a lot of points where other people are not. I don't even try to believe that I can pick everything right, I just try to get lucky with one or two teams. For example, this year my whole bracket depends on Oregon and Louisville. If they do well, then I will probably win, if not (which is likely) then I look like an idiot.
Now that I am in a band, I have to design a band website. It has been a while since I have done a band website, and a lot has changed on the internet since then. So I wanted to ask all of you wonderful Web 2.0 people: "what do you like in a band website?" What features must we have, and what horrible mistakes have you seen on websites? For example, I know that long flash intros that are required every time you visit the website are bad. Do we think that a blog is a good idea for a band, keeping in mind that Adam will be one of the people writing for it? Please, leave any ideas you have in comments. Thanks
Also, you will notice that I have left a permanent link to download our album on the sidebar. Again, feel free to pass it around, or link to it, or whatever.
The album, "A Weekend Affair" by The City Veins, is finished, click here to download it. The album is zipped up, which I don't think should be a problem for most people, but you may need to download a program to unzip it. Feel free to share it, burn it, trade it, post links to it, or whatever. All that I ask is that if by the grace of God you manage to actually make any money with it, please give me some.
We called the album "A Weekend Affair" because the whole thing was recorded, and mostly written, over the course of a single weekend. Overall, I must say that I am surprised at how happy I am with the whole thing. Don't get me wrong, I still hate everything, but I always hate everything I record. Given that we decided to record the album on a lark, and that we hadn't really written or arranged anything, things could have been a lot worse. There are a few things that I would change if I had more time, but not many.
The only other thing that I want to add is to explain that I intentionally put very little time between songs. I wanted the experience of listening to the album to be like the experience of recording it. We just moved quickly from one song to the next without any time really to reflect on what we had done, and I think that I mostly captured that feeling with the sequencing of the songs.
In other news, it looks like we might actually become a real band. Hopefully I will have news of a show in the D.C. area by the end of the week, or early next week. While we don't have a "drummer" yet, or remember how to "play the songs," we are reasonably confident that we can get our act together in time. Hell, we recorded an album without any real preparation, how bad can a concert be? Assuming that it isn't at the Grog anyway.
So this hasn't been a great week. Not a bad "get me a fifth of scotch" week, but a week filled with a series of minor annoyances that added up. I had a bunch of things I planned on accomplishing this week, and managed to complete none of them. It was irritating, and I am glad that the week is over.
The one bright spot was a package that I received from Donors Choose. Donors Choose is a non-profit organization that collects proposals for materials or programs from public school teachers and then asks for donations on their website to fund the proposals. You can read more about the organization here. You can search for proposals by area of the country, subject, and/or price range. One can also fully or partially fund a proposal. The non-profit use to go by the name Means for Dreams.
I came across the site a few months ago during my internet travels. I liked the idea behind it, and found that a Kindergarten teacher at a school near me had put in a proposal for a laminating machine so that her teaching materials would last longer. I decided to fund this proposal, put in my credit card information, and then didn't think much else about it.
Well a few days ago, I got a package in the mail with a lovely handwritten thank you note from the teacher, thank you cards from the students, and pictures of the students. I also got this poster.
It just makes me smile.
So let me encourage you to wander over and check out the site. We hear a lot of negative things about the state of public schools, particularly in here in the District, and this website is certainly not going to solve the big problems that our schools are facing. But if their are still teachers who still care enough to write proposals and go through the vetting process that the non-profit uses, and enough people who stumble across the site and help out with whatever they can, then maybe there is some hope.
An Attorney from my office wanted to go to a hearing this morning. In order to ensure that he got in, he sent me early to get a place in line for him. Early, as in 2 1/2 hours before the the hearing started early. I must admit though, the experience was kind of amazing.
I don't think that many people are aware of this, but here in Washington we have professional line sitters. There is a whole group of people who are hired by lobbyists, law firms, and the like to wait in line so that they can get into hearings. I learned that most of them sleep outside of the House and Senate Office Buildings in order to get good spots. The result is that they have large bags to hold their stuff, and lots of ratty sweaters and layers on. Frankly, they look slightly homeless.
I managed to be the second person in line for my hearing, but another hearing in the same hall had about 14 line sitters already waiting at 7:30. The guy at the front of that line spent about an hour snoring loudly, leaving me to wonder just how long he had been there. I don't blame him, the Rayburn has some lovely leather couches for people to wait on. The guy in front of me seemed to be in charge of some of the line sitters. He was frequently on his cellphone and got up a lot to check on people throughout the building to make sure that all the necessary spots were saved.
He also told me about a very popular hearing last summer that a lot his clients wanted to go to. Apparently one of his competitors started the line for it 3 weeks before the hearing started, so he and his team had to spend 3 straight weeks in line. I am not sure exactly how this works, how can one group can stand in a line and declare that this is the line for the hearing in a few weeks? What stopped my fellow line sitter from standing somewhere else and declaring that the line? He spoke of this line with the same pride that someone has when they talk about marathons they have completed. He also got a lot of overtime for those weeks, which he was also happy about.
I did notice that the woman who was setting up my hearing frequently asked the guy which line was for which hearing, and how many people were waiting. I guess the House staff relies on the line sitters to keep the order.
This brings me to my next observation. Line sitters are very nice to each other. Once you are in line, you have saved that spot. People are free to get up and go to the bathroom, or get breakfast, or sub people in, once the spot has been saved. They all seem to know each other, and are very talkative. I talked with another professional line sitter about Sodoku solving strategies, and another offered me some of her popcorn and told me that she was worried about the potatoes that she planted earlier this week.
As the morning went on suits filled out the line and replaced the line sitters, and "Who do you work for?" replaced opinions on the Wizards and recent movies. The Rayburn was restored to its staid conservative self. Frankly, I liked it better at 7:30 in the morning.
"Lyle Preslar, former guitarist for Minor Threat, is one of them."The "them" in question are A&R men for major record labels. Can this be true? Can a former member of Minor Threat, and Dischord, really be out there lurking in the shadows of the bar, luring bands into the clutches of major record labels? They told me the devil would be attractive, but this attractive?
I was being serious when I said that mastering this album is all that I can thin of right now. I thought that I would pass along this interesting little nugget I found while reading this article. The quote comes from a section about mastering for vinyl.
"As the record gets closer to the end, the tone arm hits the groove at more of an angle (except with linear-tracking turntables), causing what's called inner groove distortion. As a result, song orders often used to be created with the softest songs coming at the end of an album's side, so that the inner grooves would be less subject to distortion."Despite the fact that no one uses vinyl anymore except for punk bands and Djs, I still think that the general feel and pacing of rock albums is based on the album being presented on vinyl. For example, I think that the best albums come in at about 45 minutes or so. Also, I like albums that feel like they have two distinct sides. While I take it for granted that most albums end on a slow song, it is interesting to see an explanation for where this phenomena came from.
The album for the RPM project is mostly done at this point. Everything is recorded and mixed which is great. The problem is that I have now reached the mastering stage. While I know how to play music, and have a fair knowledge on recording and mixing, mastering is a process about which I am mostly ignorant.
When my old band mastered our last cd, I realized that a lot of things go into making an album that I wasn't even aware of. Like, track sequencing for example. In all of my planning I never considered how much time to put between songs, and yet I found myself faced with that very question while paying $150 an hour for the privilege. It turns out that I like the Frank Zappa method whereby you extend the tempo of the previous song into the silence that precedes the next song and have the next song start on beat one after a certain number of measures. It can't explain it very well, but I think it is subtle and cool when pulled off correctly.
Mastering is also suppose to normalize volumes and eq to make the record sound cohesive. The goal is also to get the album as loud as commercial releases without sacrificing dynamics, whilst filling out the sound and clearing up the mix, blah blah blah. I know what is suppose to happen, but I just don't know how to do it.
The result is that I am spending my time reading up on limiters, compressors, multi-band eqs, and all sorts of things that I don't really care about. It is slowly driving me insane. The whole album is pretty much on constant repeat in my head and I just want to be done. So far we have put about 50 hours of work into this little project, and I have reached the point where I hate all of the music, the sight of my bedroom, and Aaron and Adam. But I always end every recording project exhausted and filled with hate for the whole process and result.
Here is a link to the myspace site that Adam set up for us. Feel free to wander over and give some of the songs a listen. Also, feel free to let me know what you think. It is unlikely that you can hate any of the songs more than me at this point, so any criticism is welcome.
I grew up in, and still attend, a lovely liberal Methodist church. The kind of church where people show up, participate in services and serve on committees and for the most part leave each other alone. This is a sensibility I also got from my family. We don't believe in "sharing" or "testifying" or talking about our faith. It is just not something my family, going back generations, does. We feel that our religion is no one else's business, and conversely that other people should keep their religion to themselves.
I think that is why I find Ash Wednesday so distasteful. People with ash crosses on their head strikes me as gauche and self-important. It just screams, "Look how religious I am," which again, I find distasteful.
I also happen to dislike Lent in general. I think that this question for Tom Sietsma's chat today illustrates why.
"Anonymous: Hi Tom! Can you please remind all the chefs out there reading that it's now Lent, and that they will therefore have big runs on the fish and meatless entrees on their menus on Fridays? It's never fun to go out at 7:30 on a Friday and have them already out of those!"The thinking is that when you are not ordering the steak on Friday you are remembering the sacrifice that Jesus went through to save you from sin. When some one gives up Coke for Lent the hope is that they will similarly remember Jesus's sacrifice each time they go to the fridge, you know "Spiritually prepare for Easter."
Also, part of the reason why Lent is forty days, note that Sundays don't count in Lent thus we are 47 days from Easter, is because Jesus spent forty days in the Wilderness being tempted by Satan before beginning his ministry. So I guess the equation is roughly: not eating chocolate = Jesus in the desert.
Again, if find a little to much self-importance occurring during this religious season. It starts with crosses on foreheads and ends with fancy hats and sun dresses, and it is all showy. Again, it just rubs me the wrong way.
But what really gets me, and why I quoted the question above, is that the fasting and the cross only make sense if Lent is treated like a serious time of spiritual preparation for the holiest day in the Christian religion, if it were treated like Ramadan for example. It doesn't work if you want to make sure that Citronelle has something exquisite for you to eat when you go out on Friday night. I guess the hope is that one finds Jesus in their attempts to get around what are suppose to be his rules. I also don't mean to single that anonymous person out, I think that this line of thinking is widespread.
In the end, I am a person who has uttered the phrase "God damned church" more times than I can count, many occurring in the building itself. So I might not be the best person to opine on religious theory and sentiments, but if you left me alone I probably wouldn't have.
The album is mostly finished at this point. After recording all weekend I am in no position to judge it. My head is just kind of music mush right now, with choruses from one song mixing with guitar tracks from another. It looks like it will take about an hour of recording time for every minute of music on the album. And that is basically sprinting through these songs. Honestly, I can't even remember half of the music. Songs were being written while others were being recorded. The whole weekend is kind of a blur.
I will try to get some music up tomorrow, and the whole thing will be available to download once it is finished.
I added a link to Daytrotter in my sidebar. Mainly because they claim that they might give me a free t-shirt if they see it. But also because I think that it is a cool website. They have two touring bands a week come into their studio to record a few songs, which they then post for free on the site. They also have nice illustrations for all of their bands and articles. It is definitely worth a visit.
UPDATE: Let me also recommend Take Away Shows from Blogotheque. It is a similar kinda of idea. Except it is videos of bands in Paris. I am currently enjoying this performance of I'm From Barcelona's "We're From Barcelona."
As I wrote about a month ago, I am not very optimistic about the Redskins future. The one thing that gives me solace is that you won't see Jason Campbell end up on YouTube singing "Don't Stop Believing" with Mr. Belding and an 80's Hair Metal Cover Band.
Taken from Deadspin, which you really should be reading if you are not.
A couple of quick things.
First, I posted a link to a song that I have been working on and have apparently used up my download limit for the week. While I doubt that this is because thousands upon thousands of people are eagerly awaiting my next project, it does look like I might need a better way to host these things in the future. Does anyone know of a better way to post mp3s on blogs? The only caveat is that it has to be free.
Also, I would like to thank whoever is responsible for the mystery valentines that are going around for including me. I have to agree with the Pygs, I have not been a good enough blogger to deserve it. So I thank you, unless you are planning to kill us all. I have been picturing a scenario where you kill each of us using a method from the Disney movies. For example, the valentine I received features Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I kinda believe that you are going to kill me by throwing me off of a castle. Frankly, there are worse ways to go.
There seems to be a lot of talk about what is wrong with the music industry. Sales are down, bands are being dumped, and things just generally look gray. Some point to downloading, others to DRM. Well I am here to tell definitively what is wrong with the music industry, and why it can never recover.
Our story starts with the fact that the wretched song "Lips of an Angel" by Hinder was recorded and released. Note, I refuse to link to either the song or the artist. The song manages to combine the worst of Grunge, Power Ballads, and Hair Metal into an unholy Chimera of vomit inducing schlock. At least the band has brought back the sexism of the late 80s.
In the next chapter, "Lips of an Angel" goes on to become one of the best selling singles of the year, and the album "Extreme Behavior" is the 10th best selling album of 2006 with an astonishing 1.82 million albums sold. Given the state of the music industry, it is only reasonable to expect more of this crap to be released in the next year, further alienating individuals whose ears actually work from major labels and radio stations. This will send the industry into a death spin from which it can never recover. Truth be told, I was hoping that James Blunt would win a lot of Grammys to help speed up this process, but alas.
And finally, in the epilogue, Jack Ingram has now foisted "Lips of an Angel" upon country audiences everywhere. What is truly remarkable is that Mr. Ingram's version of the song manages to be worse. Who would have thought? Now it has become obvious that the recording industry has no new ideas and is creatively bankrupt. Some evil executive could have slipped Hinder through with some clever subterfuge, but the rerecording of the song illustrates the industry's acceptance and celebration of it.
In other news KEXP managed to play both My Bloody Valentine and Love is All in the same set while I was writing this, so maybe there is hope after all.
As I said yesterday, I am working on an album for the RPM Challenge. I thought I would post a version of a song that we are working on. The song has a working title of Conversation. It is more of an intro to the album than a full song.
A couple of quick notes:
- The song is not mixed at all. It has some light reverb and compression on it, but that is it.
- The song is not edited at all. That is why you hear amp noise and Aaron talking.
- There are still more parts that are going to be added, namely drums.
So where have I been? Well, I am recording an album for this thing, and working on finishing another one that I have been planning for a year or so.
Also, I have been exceedingly sick for the past week. The problem is that I was so sick that I became gun shy; anytime I started to not feel normal I took it as a sign to get back home and lay on the sofa. For example, while I was out with Catherine on Saturday, I started to feel tired and slightly out of it, so I went home. I have a feeling that had I not been recently sick I would have just downed a Redbull and moved on, but the fear of reawakening the sick gods was overpowering.
Also, a lot of my free internet time has gone to playing this.
Finally, I just really have not felt like writing anything.
So as I ease back in, let me point you to this highlight from a recent Marc Fisher post. Apparently, Virginia legislators shelved this bill that would have made open containers of alcohol illegal in a car. Little did I know that passengers can legally drink in car, it just seems so illegal that I never questioned it. Personally, I love that the legislators shelved this law mainly because the proposed penalty was a $25 fine. I guess the wise people in the Virginia house feel that the punishment is too great. I don't know, if I were stuck in traffic near Reston I would willingly pay $25 just to drink my way through it. Just think of it as a cover charge.
I had a similar experience when I was taking the written exam for my drivers license. I got the following question wrong:
Who is required by law to wear a seat belt in the state of Virginia?I foolishly answered c when b was correct. You got to hand it to Virginia for disabusing me of any notions of required increased safety right when I was learning how to drive.
a) No one
b) The front seat passengers only
c) All passengers
I was going to make my triumphant return to blogging with a brilliant take-down of the Grammys, but I can't top David Marchese from Salon:
"It makes sense that the Grammy's -- so soulless and bland -- are headed by a man who saw Elvis on tv and thought: "I want to be a record executive."
This is one of the hardest things that I have ever written. It has taken a lot of introspection, but I realized that I must admit the truth. The Redskins are no longer the great, proud franchise that I grew up with. This isn't because they finished at a vomit inducing 5-11 in a year when competence would have made playoffs, but because the team appears to be so horribly run that one has little hope of improvement.
I am basing this conclusion mostly on two articles. The first is by Tom Friend and tries to explain why the defense went from being great to the becoming the goat in Sports Center highlights. The second is by Jason LaCanfora, and explains the organizational problems with the Redskins. I won't summarize both, but they are good reads assuming there are not any hand guns nearby.
The problem is that Snyder, Cerrato, and Gibbs have tried to win through free agency and over spending for players. This hasn't worked, and what is worse they have traded almost all of their draft picks and alienated the players. On top of this, the group refuses to accept that they have been running the team poorly and exhibit no serious effort to change. Everyone seems to think that they need a competent general manager, and just as many people believe that they are not going to get one.
It is almost as if Dan Synder was watching Peter Angelos and thinking, "Wow, destroying a once great team looks like a lot of fun." Orioles fans at least have hope because attendance is down and at some point Angelos will sell the team. The deal with MLB regarding the Nationals and the league making up the difference between the sale price and the set value in the negotiation will assure that. Snyder has actually topped Angelos because he has:
- Run a proud franchise poorly,
- Abused the fans with ticket prices, parking prices, and inconvenient stadium,
- Consistently fielded a disappointing team with no hope of improvement,
- Made a lot of money!
I still love the Redskins, and will still get upset at every loss, but this season has taken something out of me. Maybe expectations were too high, but the Giants are the only NFC East team to finish the season with the quarterback they started with, and Eli Manning is the worst of the bunch, so I don't think pre-season predictions were too out of line.
Fortunately we have Agent Zero. Seriously, the Wizards are really exciting this year, and Gilbert is a legitimate superstar. I can't tell you how much I wish I had an Arenas Express card. Also, the Caps are suppose to be exciting this year, and trending upwards. They might not win a whole lot, but they are young, fast, and apparently they like to fight. The Nationals might lose just about every game next year, but at least it looks like they know how to run a baseball team so we can dream about the future.
The Redskins are not the only game in town anymore. While it hasn't happened yet, if the team continues it's current performance, Danny is going to feel it in his wallet. Fortunately, that might be the only thing that he will listen to, and might be the only hope that we have.