Sunday, March 30, 2008

Weird Art of The Day

Okay, I know what you're thinking.

But my creation of this monstrosity was partially inspired by this piece by our Mr. Osebold:


[Ten thousand screens turn on. An electrical buzzing blare. The buzz creates MAN.]

MAN: Egad. I'm naked.

[MAN goes shopping for clothes. He runs into OILTANKER MANAGEMENT, ten
men talking as one.]

OILTANKER MANAGEMENT: We were created from the dust of decrepit metal and the ashes of burning bodies.

MAN: Great.

[From the footsteps of MAN springs POOR PEOPLE. From the earwax of MAN springs VIOLET THE SECRETARY. From the excrement of MAN springs MAN'S BROTHER. OILTANKER MANAGEMENT and VIOLET THE SECRETARY have a son named ACHILLES. MAN'S BROTHER eats POOR PEOPLE, but MAN just makes more poor people and brothers. ACHILLES and VIOLET THE SECRETARY have quadruplets named THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCOLYPSE. VIOLET THE SECRETARY throws up.]

MAN: I need a bigger house.

[From the sacrifices of unwilling POOR PEOPLE and a few brothers, OILTANKER MANAGEMENT constructs a building for MAN. It pokes through the clouds and punctures the sky. BUILDING and SKY have a son named DEITY WITH HUMAN BITS AND A GOAT HEAD. VIOLET THE SECRETARY asks for a raise and is sacrificed to the COFFEE MAKER on the 23rd floor of BUILDING. Happy hour starts. The band plays. No one is watching the horizon.]

ICE AGE: Heh heh.


So, um, there you go.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Matthew Echert

Here are my favorite Matthew Echert birthday songs, not in order:

"High Price on Our Heads," Circle Jerks
"Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Theme," Vince Guaraldi
"Don't Give Up," Peter Gabriel
"8 Ball (Remix)," N.W.A.
"Apache," Incredible Bongo Band
"Water No Get Enemy," Fela Kuti
"Happy Birthday," by the Happy Birthdays

The rest of the band (except Rob) is sorry that we couldn't go to your birthday party. We had to take care of the baby.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


1.) What is your age group?

a.) 0-1
b.) 1-2
c.) 2-36
d.) 36-100
e.) dead

2.) When confronted with tragedy, what is your first reaction?

a.) cry
b.) indifference, check movie times, re-arrange spice rack, etc.
c.) call loved ones
d.) depends: what are you selling?

3.) Are you a leader?

a.) no, I could never be a leader, no, I'm...just not one of those...I wish that
c.) leaders are frauds; anarchy forever
d.) erm?
e.) poot

4.) If you could smooch any Hollywood celeb, like, who would you...y'know, SMOOCH?

a.) Jude Law
b.) Jessica Tandy
c.) Danny Glover's sweater
d.) Helexor 2000, the dying robot
e.) I ha' no li's, I los' dem in a fire

5.) Pick a number between 1 and another number.

a.) 1
b.) 79
c.) I am naked right now
d.) can I get a ride home?
e.) Helexor 2000 has died

6.) What is cuter: a cute kitten or a cute pan of grease?

a.) what the hell did that guy mean by "ITHACA"?
b.) look it up on wikipedia
c.) yeah, but what does it mean?
d.) I think it has to do with Odysseus or something
e.) I'll take the pan of grease

7.) What did you learn today?

a.) about the ongoing tragedy in Bhopal
b.) my life is a shantytown populated by rats
c.) Helexor 2000 died
d.) gas will probably hit $4/gallon (regular) in the U.S. by summer
e.) I'll take the cute kitten, but can I borrow the pan?

8.) Seriously.

a.) ...seriously what?...
b.) wait, I change my answer to "cry"
c.) I am on the internet
d.) happy birthday, Sandra Day O'Connor!
e.) ...c'mon, seriously what?...

9.) Why?

b.) it's because of big people (and I'm not prejudiced)
c.) I can't believe Helexor 2000 is dead...and I change my answer to "call loved ones"
d.) this is what I'm talking about: all the billboards, the coffeeholders, the youtube videos, the do-it-yourself cleaning fluids, it's all part of a functional construct set up to maintain order. We're not trapped, like some would say, unless we're voluntarily trapped. It's not your choice to be born, but it is your choice to stay where you are. You can no more be trapped into the media circus than you can be trapped in a meadow with 'society' -- scuze me, "society" -- just down the hill awaiting your patronage, but you can stay on that hill, you can count the blades of grass until you're 79 years old and educated only by the whispering wind -- which, by the way, lies like a perfumed mynx -- and when you come down, you won't know how to function at all because society -- scuze me, SOCIETY -- has moved on, and we have shaped it, right down to the lonely corners that you call your own, and if there's going to be any change--
e.) chocolate is my favorite

10.) Any parting words?

a.) a rose in the briar is a pool of fire
b.) that is such a lie, Jake, STOP TALKING
c.) *sigh*...change my answer to "indifference"
d.) kegger at the old mill tonite [sic]!
e.) I love you very much

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dreams do come true

Presenting a picture of a bass clarinet drawn by Lindy West! (not to scale).

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Chocolate Volcano and other mindjams

This comes from the inimitable Matthew Echert:

I had this dream last night in which you and I were writing an "Awesome" musical. It was so vivid that I actually, in my dream, consciously made the decision to wake up so that I could remind myself to remember the dream and send you an email to tell you about it.

The story took place on a fictitious island in the Mediterranean somewhere off the coast of Italy. (I'm going to switch to present-tense for the rest because that's far less annoying to write and to read.) This is a poor, rural, island. It is idyllic and peaceful, and very beautiful, though not in a way that attracts a lot of visitors. The people there don't have a lot, but they live simply and are relatively happy even though they don't realize it because, of course, when idyllic and peaceful are the norm you get used to it and little things start to seem like big things because there are no actual big things to worry about... and so forth. So life is good in its simplicity, or at least Pretty Ok.

Until: One day there is a cataclysmic seismic (literally) shift in the sea just off the coast of the little island, and up pops a massive, angry, Mt. Vesuvius-sized volcano, but instead of fire and ash, the new volcano spews Really Very Excellent Chocolate That Not Only Tastes Good But Is Also Good For You (And Also Cures Or Palliates Many Common Ailments). There are avalanches of chocolate-covered malt balls. Sometimes it rains chocolate milk. Mass public ebullience. Cultural renaissance. The supply of Really Very Excellent Chocolate seems to be endless. And it's so Very Excellent that it actually causes a shift in the global economy. It disrupts existing supply chains and makes this island a worldwide destination, as well as a financial, scientific/medical, cultural, and touristic center. Like, there's New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, this place. But overnight. Of course, a few people try to hang on to the old, idyllic pace, but they're completely bowled over by the wave of new enthusiasm and vigor. Most of them leave or retreat to the hills.

Then, of course, things start to go wrong. There's more at stake and more people in the same small space, so there's more crime. Infrastructure starts to be overwhelmed. The government of unworldly locals quickly becomes corrupt and ineffective. And finally, lo and behold, the Chocolate Volcano just stops. Dries up.

It's a story about how things that are idyllic and small can disintegrate under a withering spotlight. It's a story about learning to recognize the things that you should appreciate *because* they are simple and slow. It's a story about taking advantage of fortuitous opportunities wisely when they arise. It's a story about how unchecked greed can poison even the best and purest of things in the world. It's also a story about how really good chocolate is. We had also composed part of a song in my dream, which the band was rehearsing. I wish I could remember anything at all about it. David Nixon was singing.

My most recent "Awesome" dream involved us creating of a traveling contraption. Components: 40 crates with eggcrate cushioning, 40 volunteers wearing gorilla masks, and a small dog that resembled Dogbert. Without the use of any connective parts, the 40 gorilla-masked volunteers sitting on the 40 crates, arranged in the correct pattern, would hover above the ground. The Dogbert creature would then pull the mysteriously-light-as-a-feather contraption at the speed of a slowly-loading Pole Position. The beauty of this machine is that it could pass through other cars like a ghost. I think this dream was inspired by 2 things: (1) Being sick, and (2) David Nixon's Escher-esque image of The "Awesome" Cycle.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Our Patron Saint of Banjo Players

Watch over us, Saint Kirk;
That we may pick with accuracy,
That our fingers fly with the speed of a hummingbird
and find their mark as the loosed arrow finds the target;
that we might wield the 9-pound hammer in your name, always.

(Oh and, uh,  you keep up the good work too, St. Frank.)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Just dropped off Carlos Santana

Just dropped off Carlos Santana at the Paramount.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

"Awesome" Live on KEXP tonight at 8pm!

Listen with your ears! or 90.3 on your FM dialtone.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Exam Time!

As I am blogging this, the students of my Music & Philosophy course are taking their final exam. Here you can see the first page of it, where they are required to label the parts of the banjo. How many parts can YOU label? (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

Also as a part of the exam, I played a song and the students had to write a review of it. The song I chose? "Old Pervert" from The Soft Boys' 1980 album Underwater Moonlight.

The rest of the exam had boring questions like How does Eduard Hanslick expand on his characterization of music as "tonally moving forms" (and on Kant's characterization of music as "just a beautiful play of sensations)?

Oh look, the first person just finished, with an hour and a half to spare. Hmm....


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Where, exactly, IS hell?

Bored and tired, I find myself at googlemaps. Instead of typing in a specific address, I wanted to see if it knew where certain landmarks were: The White House? Yep, it knows. Grand Canyon? Yep, it knows. Then I typed in "Hell". It turns out that Hell is in the Pinckney State Recreation Area in Putnam Michigan. Whoa.

Heaven? Loveland Ohio, just outside of Cincinnati. (But if you're looking for God, he's in Hungary.)

Lucifer is hanging out south of Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. But Beelzebub (in case you thought they were the same) is in northwestern New Mexico. And the Lord of the Flies is just outside of Atlanta.

Nirvana is in Cherry Valley Michigan (not far from Hell, actually.) But Buddha is in Lawrence County Indiana.

Looking for Death? His current address is "The Parsonage Carlecotes, Dunford Bridge, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S36, UK" (about 50 mi. from Liverpool.)

Looking for "The One"? He/she is in Japan.

My Place of Birth turned out to be the Southern Nevada Women's Correctional Facility. (Um, Mom? Something you wanna tell me?)

The Next Sex Scandal will take place at "Custodian of Records" in Canoga Park, CA. (Other places popped up too, but that was the first one.)

When I typed in "where the rapture starts", it came up with a bunch of different locations, all in Los Angeles.

Looking for The Answers? Try Toronto.

The Truth is in Gulf Shores Alabama.

If you're wondering where my problems are, they're in 9 different locations all in western Europe. My solutions? Greenly, Colorado.

Nobody is between Macon and Savannah, Georgia.

Absolutely Nothing is at 220 N. Meridian Street in Indianapolis, IN.

Okay, back to work.

Just in case... need something to look at while listening to our field recording. The below image was in my mind's (third) eye (blind) throughout the improvisation, if memory serves. (It usually doesn't.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Field Recordings in the Cistern

Here's 10 minutes worth of us messing around down deep in that cistern. There's no light, no electricity, no heat. Just a giant room that used to hold 2 million gallons of water and now is known as one of the places with the longest reverb. So put on a good pair of headphones and enjoy.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cistern Christern

We Enter the Space.

We Document.

We Emerge, and There Is An Americabird Circling Overhead.

Someday, you will be able to listen to the record of our actions performed within this hole below Fort Warden.

You cubig to da sho dunnite?

I god a hedkold so I won be sigig or togging much.
Bud das okay, zins I jus playig bays mossly.
You shud ztil gum ad zee us play eddyway. 

Alzo, brig me sum Sudfed? Udderwize I my drowd in flem.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

egg nachos!

Yes, that lemon ginger moose was amazing, but what David didn't tell you was the culinary miracle that occurred a few minutes before dessert was served. After an amazing visit to Taco Island, there came the idea to make nachos using the remainder of the taco island ingredients. When confronted with a lack of extra cheese, I hit on the idea of using the leftover eggs that we had saved from breakfast. Already cooked with some scallion and dill, the eggs were the perfect thing to top the nachos as sort of a cheese substitute. Sort of like migas, sort of like a breakfast burrito... egg nachos for everyone!

Lemon Ginger Mousse

Shortly I (or someone) will post about our fantastic weekend at the Artist Retreat up in Port Townsend (where I went to High School). But in the meantime, here's the recipe for the amazing desert that my mom made for all of us on Saturday:

Lemon-Ginger Mousse

4 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 or 2 T. ginger juice (buy or press your own)
2 cups heavy cream

1. Whisk eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and ginger in a medium, heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until smooth, about 4 minutes. Raise heat to medium: cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 7 to 9 minutes. Pour into to a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on surface, and refrigerate until cold, about 1 to 2 hours.
2. Whip cream until soft peaks form; fold whipped cream into lemon mixture. Cover, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes (up to 2 days). Spoon into bowls.

Makes enough for about 8.