Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Home improvements

This past weekend we stripped wallpaper from our kitchen walls. Whoever made wallpaper adhesive should burn in hell. Why the heck does it have to be so tough to remove? On TV, they saturate it with fabric softener and it peels off like skin from a banana. For us, we ended up shredding it with our fingernails.

Well, not really.

We used a chisel-like scraper to get most of it off. But much of it was left to picking and picking. Quite a pain. Then we painted. 2 coats. But, luckily, it was only 2 walls so it didn't take too long.

Come Tuesday, we had an appointment with some flooring people. After Marci met with her, we ended up committing to two bathrooms (both had carpet; with 2 toddlers, ICK!), the hallway, kitchen and entry floors.

Wednesday (today), two guys started work. That was at 10:00am or so. Right now, it's 9:22pm and they're still here. Me and the kids are holed up downstairs in the basement. Riley is asleep and Haley is goofing off, trying to sleep. I have to take a dump, but our bathrooms upstairs are out of order and I don't want to leave Haley by herself with a sleeping Riley.

So I wait.

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How about Hurricane Katrina. Holy shit. I read about a woman who moved from Florida to N.O. to escape hurricanes. Whoops.

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Music. What's going on? Got the new Juliana Hatfield CD in the mail. Not bad. Rocks a bit more than her previous outing, In Exile Deo, which is not a bad thing. Musically for me, nothing is going on right now. My band is on a break as Sean on drums is on a road trip. He'll be back in time for our gig next Wednesday, though. In Tacoma on the 7th? Come on down to Jazzbones!

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Man. The dust from the floor work is KILLING me. Sneezy and stuffy. Not fun. Kids are finally asleep, though, and in 20 minutes, I'll get to see who is eliminated from Rock Star:INXS!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Monday at the Rendezvous

Well, it wasn't quite the Seattle debut we'd hoped for, but, at the
very least, we got our foot in the door.

We played pretty well, I thought. The Rendezvous, for those that
don't know, is an OLD bar that happens to have a theater attached to
it. Apparently there's some historical significance to the theater
(called the Jewelbox, as it's pretty small) as they used to play
movies and shows in it way back when. These days they play movies
and shows and have rock bands.

We got to go first as Chris and Sean made the 40+ mile trek up from
Tacoma, the City of Destiny! In all, I thought we played better than
we did in Los Angeles. The songs seemed to flow better and I don't
think there was as much pressure. Sadly, there were only 7 people
there to witness the greatness of last night (8 if you count Jeff,
the sound guy).

Matt, the guy who gave us the show, seemed to be pretty impressed
with us (or at least he was impressed that we played for Michael
Keaton in L.A.). Hopefully this gig springboards us to some other
cool gigs. Apparently Matt picks 4 bands from his New Music Monday
gigs and gives them a Thursday showcase once a month at Neumo's.
Now, that would be HOT.

Here's hoping word starts getting out about our little band and
people start coming to see us.

You can't keep a good band down!!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Tonight at the Rendezvous

We'll see what happens.

I've sent out the email bombs.

I've posted on message boards.

I've made some phone calls.

We'll see if people finally come out to see me play.

"But wait!" you say. It's a band and there's no "me" in band.

You're right. It's a selfish thing for me to say, but I think I'm entitled. Why? Because it seems that everytime I play out, no matter how many people I might invite, hardly anyone ever comes out.

Boo hoo, right?

Now, given, tonight is a Monday and we don't go on until 10:30 or so, but, C'MON PEOPLE! It's one night out of your week. We'll be done by 11:00 or so and you'll be in your comfy bed by 12, no later than you usually go to bed.

I've wondered why when I invite people, they don't show, yet when my fellow bandmates invite people, they come by the droves. What gives? Am I a bad person? Do people not like me? Is there some underlying issue that I don't know about?

It's kind of aggravating.

Anyway, I hope some people come out tonight. It'd be a nice change...

Friday, August 12, 2005

War of the Freakin' Worlds

I decided to go to the movies tonight. Since Marci, Riley and Haley are out of town for a few more nights, I thought I'd go paint the town red. Got myself a pizza and a movie. Did you know it's $9-freakin'-.25 to see a movie in this town? Sheesh.

Anyway, I really enjoyed it. Here are some thoughts I had about this movie. There are some spoilers, so read with caution...

Pros (in no particular order):

-EFX! Loved em. The *poof* of the people was great.
-When Ray first gets the van onto the highway and that long sweeping camera shot. From one side to the other, weaving through traffic. The continuity blew my mind. It was kind of like the first shot of him in the crane. A long, helicopter type shot, then circle around, then, wham! Right up on him. Amazing.
-When Ray exits the basement and sees the red devastation.
-the "I have to go to the bathroom" scene. Loved Robby's reaction to the armed forces/conversation with Ray.
-The ferry scene. Insane. What was real and what was CGI?
-And more.

Cons (in no particular order):

-The end. I actually wasn't expecting the end when it ended. I thought it would continue. Silly me.
-The fact that I couldn't hear what Ray said about the birds at the end. I initially thought it was sunlight that killed the baddies.
-Not much else.

I really liked it. Hell, I almost cried when Ray let Robby go to battle. I must be emotional cause my wife and kids are out of town and I miss 'em dearly.

In other news, I watched Harold and Kumar go to White Castle the other night. Dumb at times, but it was my kind of dumb. I haven't laughed like that in a long time. Highly recommended.

My band is playing a gig on Monday. I sent about 180 emails out yesterday, all with the note that if they wanted off the list, to tell me. So far, so good. No removals yet. I hate doing that kind of stuff. I figure the last thing people want is more junk mail. Hopefully, though, they at least take a listen to our music before hitting the delete key.

Boy, being a bachelor ain't what it used to be. Sitting around, watching TV, putting off chores and surfin' the net isn't as exciting as I remember. Give me a wife and 2 kids anytime.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Uh, nevermind the double-chin...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Stuff about music

On the way home tonight, Rockin' the Paradise by Styx came on my mp3 player. I got to thinking how much I loved Styx when I was younger which got me to thinking about the music I've loved/enjoyed throughout my life. Here's a timeline of my musical tastes throught the years. Share yours.

The first record I ever bought:


Cornerstone by Styx

My dad belonged to Columbia house or something and that was one of the 12 records we got for a penny. Why did I choose it? I liked the cover. I think I was about 8 at the time.

As I got older (think 10-12) I was TOTALLY into top-40 music. The funny thing was, top-40 music then was kind of cool. I remember taping Van Halen's Hot For Teacher off the local radio station's top-10 show. Ghostbusters, the song, was popular then, too. So popular, that a local radio station made a lame ass, Seahawk-themed parody of it called Raider-busters (the Seahawks and Raiders were big AFC West rivals in 1984).

In middle school, I really got into Bryan Adams and Huey Lewis and the News (especially with their BttF exposure).



and



I loved those tapes.

...

As I got older, I discovered Rock Music. No more top-40 stuff, though it did take me years to figure out what I liked. In high school I got exposed to bands like the Police, Steve Miller Band, Replacements, Rush (!), Queensryche, among others. At the time, I was about a year or so into playing bass. I'd heard Tom Sawyer before (about 5 years prior), but never "got" it. Back then, I remember a friend of mine requesting to hear Tom Sawyer and Queen's Another One Bites The Dust on the radio. But I digress.

For some reason I became OBSESSED with Rush. I started with Hold Your Fire, definitely not their finest effort, but my first real exposure to Rush.



I also started getting into classic rock (WTF??). I joined a Columbia House club and got stuff by the Doobie Brothers, Steve Miller Band, Boston and SRV. At the same time, I was delving into some hair rock. Stuff by Tesla and White Lion, Van Halen, Winger, Mr. Big (my first concert was Mr. Big opening for Winger at the Paramount in Seattle). And let's not forget the guitar gods, Satriani and Steve Vai. I also discovered a bass god named Stu Hamm (had him sign a CD even).

Even with all that music, I would gravitate towards Rush. I remember getting their seminal live recording, Exit... Stage Left



and wearing out the << and >> buttons on my tape player to learn bass parts to the solo section in Freewill and La Villa Strangiato.

...

In college I started getting into chick singers. Tori Amos, Juliana Hatfield (!!), Aimee Mann (!!), Jennifer Trynin, the Sundays, stuff like that. Don't really know why, other than reading an article in Tower Records' rag (forget the name) and they had a blurb about Juliana's first solo record, Hey Babe.



I got that CD and really dug it. Here was a chick playing bass and singing in a voice that I just loved. And the songs weren't bad either. (Incidentally, Jules' new CD Made in China was released yesterday. Normally, I buy on first day for her, but in this case, ordered directly from her site to get her some $$$ lovin.)

College also exposed me to the Seattle Scene (tm). Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Temple of the Dog (!!), Nirvana. I had Ten before PJ blew up. It didn't do much for me at the time. But it grew on me and pretty soon, I had a PJ woody. Not on a Rush level, but I really liked them, especially the whole Eddie V. thing. Loved him on the MTV specials too. What passion! Of the other bands, I think my favorites were Soundgarden and AiC. Didn't really care for Nirvana much.

I did a little experimentation with uber-proggers Dream Theater for a bit in college. Their Images and Words CD



really hooked me in for a long time. Something about all those notes and that guy who sings like a girl struck a chord with me. :)

...

When I got out of college I played in some bands (and continue to do so). As to what I was listening to, I can't really say (actually, the Tea Party and Helmet come to mind...). I continued my love affair with all things Hatfield and Mann, as well as Rush. In fact, I think it's safe to say that through the years, those 3 artists are what I've listened to the most. Then, in the winter of 2003-4, I was hit upside the face with this:



A song called Time Is Running Out by a little English band called Muse. First I thought the song was by Incubus as there was some falsetto singing and, at the time, Incubus had a song with falsetto in it. As I heard TIRO more and more, I finally caught the name of the band (Muse) and off I went. I bought their first CD, Showbiz, then Absolution, when it was released state-side. Then, through eBay, imported Origin of Symmetry, as well as their DVD release Hullaballoo, even going as far as to buy a region-free player to play it.

So in addition to my Rush, Aimee, Jules fascination, you can add Muse to the mix.

...

These days, I'm trying to listen to a lot of stuff. I've recently gotten into Coldplay (X&Y is fantastic!), the Donnas, Keane, Weezer (!!!!!!), the Darkness, Audioslave (Out of Exile is great!), Starsailor, Matthew Sweet.

Here's something someone once told me:

Without ears, there would be no music.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

IPO recap

So IPO came and went for us on Thursday. I drove up from Irvine to Los Angeles with Alison (my sister-in-law) and Judy (her mother-in-law). Unfortunately, Marci had to stay at home with the kids since she's already seen me play. Judy hadn't, and by that virtue, won the trip to LA with me.

51 miles is what Google maps said, so off we went. Prior to the gig, me, Chris and Sean had discussed what to wear and what not to wear. My thing (and anyone else in music's thing) is to look cool without looking like you're trying to look cool. All I brought down to SoCal were a pair of jeans and a ringer T with my friend's band Upwell on it. So Rock! And I topped it off with some "vintage" adidas sneakers. When we got to Hollywood, I tracked Sean down. He wore a Radiohead shirt and jeans. And when we saw Chris finally, he had on a t-shirt and jeans. Woo hoo. I guess we looked casual.

Anyway, at the Knitting Factory Alterknit Lounge (basically a small room with a stage on one end and a bar on the other), we saw a few bands play. First band I saw was the Bentleys (most of the bands that night had "The" in front of their name). They were 4 dudes, three of whom were wearing button-down shirts with skinny ties and their hair swept forward like there was a fan blowing them from behind. So trendy! They played indie pop/rock. It was pretty boring. Ali, Judy and I left and walked onto Hollywood Blvd and took some pictures.

Later, we came back to the lounge and a band called Last Day Lost was playing. They were from Vancouver, BC and consisted of 2 women (sisters, I'm pretty sure) and 2 dudes. One of the sisters played lead guitar and sang, while the other played bass. What was unique (or grating, depending on your disposition) was that the girl guitarist was trying WAY TOO HARD to rock. She was bouncing around, moshing almost, doing a hoedown like Ashlee Simpson did on SNL, all while trying to play her leads. Kind of distracting. Her sister on bass was much more subdued, but I think it was to keep the two midgets from fighting underneath her halter top. In other words, she was trying very hard to keep from drawing attention to herself and failing miserably.

After LDL came a band from NYC called The Orion Experience. Before playing the IPO, I tried to find a website for TOE and couldn't. I was expecting a rock band. The name sounded heavy to me. Imagine my surprise when a short guy (in a tie, no less) who looked just like Marshall from Alias took the stage. He had another guy on guitar, a women on keys and percussion and two big black guys on bass and drums backing him. They played a few songs and were great. It was rock, but singer/songwriter style. Very pro and you could tell they'd been around the block a few times (whereas the other two bands hadn't).

We played after TOE and before we went on, we were quite surprised to see many many people coming in the door. Plus, lots of kids came streaming in. As in 10 and under. They all packed in the front and sat on the floor. It was pretty funny. We set up pretty quickly and got going. We started off with Sean's song, Feel. Immediately after starting, two things were very apparent. First off, Sean started the song about 2 clicks too slow. Secondly, my bass on stage was WAY TOO LOUD! They had an Ampeg SVT and a 4x10 cab and I had the gain way too high. Luckily there are a vew breaks in Feel and I was able to turn down a bit.

For the set, we decided to really plow through songs and keep talking to a bare minimum. We ended up playing 7 songs in about 20 minutes and, as far as I can tell, people were pretty entertained. The room was filled and we had a great time. Sadly, there was no record contract offered as we walked off stage. :(

As we milled about after our performance, someone told me that Michael Keaton was in the crowd. I looked around, and, sure enough, there he was, right by the bar. Apparently, the band playing after us (another "The" band), The Hatch (terrible name!!), had Mr. Keaton's son playing keyboards and singing. All the kids (and their parents) were there to see that band, not because of Mr. Keaton's son, but because of their guitarist, who worked for some camp or something.

As it was, we lucked out tremendously as when we played was when the Hatch was supposed to play. So we got a ton of people for our show. Sadly, after the Hatch played (think Maroon 5 clone) everyone left so the last band (get ready for this), The Prix, got to play to a few people.

Overall, I had a great time. It was fun to be up there, in Hollywood, playing for a bunch of kids and a movie star. Having Judy and Ali in the mix made it more fun as well. I just wish we had another gig or two booked while we were down here. Maybe next time, I guess.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Sunny day in SoCal

Today we packed into Judy's (our host in CA) Yukon (a nice ride, btw), and headed back to the airport to pick up our rental. We stuffed everything in and ran some errands, one of which was finding myself a pair of sunglasses. Apparently I left my sunglasses on the plane last night. I couldn't find any I liked (I guess I'm a sunglasses snob) and figured for the amount of $$ I paid for them, I should at least call the airline and see if they found 'em. Rats.

Anyway, in the afternoon we headed to the Old Man, a beach a little south of San Clemente down I-5, or as they say down here, the I-5. Why's it called the Old Man? Apparently because the waves are so nice and steady, that anyone from the young to old can and will surf there.

We met my brother-in-law, sister-in-law and their brood, plus a friend, there and wiggled our toes in the sand. It's kind of nice to be able to walk around on a beach barefoot and not have to worry about large, rough pebbles or stinky-ass goose poop. Nope. Just soft, white sand.

We ended up watching Todd (b-i-l) and Alison (s-i-l) surf a bit. Not necessarily something I'd ever want to do (me and oceans don't mix), but very fun to watch. We had some sub sandwiches on the beach and topped the afternoon off with s'mores! Sadly, being raised Chinese, s'mores are something I never really did as a kid. Luckily, though, it wasn't too tough to do.

So tomorrow's the IPO gig. It's been a long time coming. When the Lunds first got in touch with me, the IPO was one of the first things they mentioned. We ended up basing our trip to CA around the gig. I have some people coming to the show, which should make it fun. It'll be Judy and Alison, my friend Aaron and some of his friends from LA, I think, as well as some of Johnny Low's acquaintances. Not sure what kind of turn out there will be otherwise, but at least my people will represent. I'll be sure to put up a recap tomorrow or Friday.

Peace out.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Traveling sucks

I'm typing this from our friend's kitchen in Irvine, CA. My family and I are down here because my band is playing a gig on Thursday at the legendary (?) Knitting Factory.

We spent the 3 hours before leaving for Sea Tac frantically packing. Both kids were crazy. Excited for the trip and not taking naps excited. Good times. But, we got to the airport in plenty of time. I was a bit nervous because I was bringing my bass with me, but, long story short, I wasn't asked about it at all. Carried it on, stuffed it into an overhead compartment (fit perfectly), watched some yahoo shove his suitcase on top of it (expected), and carried it off when we landed.

We originally purchased 3 tickets (me, Marci and Haley. Riley would lap ride). At the ticket counter we asked if we could get an extra seat and they said it would be fine. So in this 737 (2 aisles, 3 seats each, total 6 seats across), we'd get the last row of seats, occupy 4 and have 2 free. They said it was no problem.

So we get on the plane first (small children rule!) and head to our seats. We get nice and comfy, get the car seat strapped in and wait. Pretty soon we see people coming down, eyeing their tickets, eyeing the seat numbers, eyeing me and saying, "I think that's my seat."

Great.

After a few minutes, we ended up having 2 other men in our row. Lucky for us, though, the flight attendants saw what was happening and made things good for us. We ended up hogging one side of the aisle and having the aisle seat on the other side. One poor dude ended on the window side of the other aisle, but he was cool about it.

As luck would have it, directly in front of where Riley sat in his car seat was this 2 year old girl who KEPT POKING HER HEAD OVER THE BACK OF THE SEAT AND STARING AT ME/RILEY/WHOMEVER WAS OVER THERE. I HATE THAT SHIT!!! Plus, to make it worse, she had snot running all down her nose. So I have this little standing, snotty brat staring at us and her dad was doing nothing about it.

Ok, he was sleeping. But I digress.

I would make eye contact with this girl and point at her to sit down. She kept looking at me and then averting her eyes. That's right. I'll kick your ass! Little by little, though, she got more and more bold and started reaching over for my son. Then Haley's hair. She was just all over. Not even the flight attendants told her to sit.

Anyway, when all was said and done, we all got here in one piece. Everyone's a bit tired, but they're all asleep now. Looking forward to what tomorrow brings.