Monday, December 04, 2006

Let's blog!

Holiday time. So Xmas is 20 days from now. In the past week, I've learned of 2 people I know that died.

Well, "know" may be too strong a word, but I did know them. One was a woman I knew from work. She signed for stuff when I delivered. We made tiny talk (not even enough for small talk). I heard she died and remembered she was pregnant. I guess she had the baby on a Monday, then went back to the hospital a week later for something and ended up dying there. So she had a week to spend with her new baby boy and then, poof, she was gone. Sad.

The other person that died was our across the cul-de-sac neighbor. An elderly couple lived there and it turns out that both were suffering from Alzheimer's and were both in a nursing home. Evidently the woman fell and hit her head and died shortly thereafter. Sad.

Happy holidays!!

In other news, we have some gigs coming up. Saturday, next Friday, then on the 30th and one in January, on the 5th. This weekend's gig is a fund raiser for a school in Tacoma that can't afford band instruments. Without instruments, there is no band. So, without instruments, the kids can't even choose to have band. Which sucks. It'll be an eclectic show for sure; there's all sorts of music to be had. I think we'll be the heaviest band there.

Next week's gig is at a place I've never played, the Skylark in Seattle. Should be cool as many of my new church mates (that's right! I'm going to church now! Look out!) plan on coming out. Also, following us is a local indie songstress. She has lots of cred and hopefully she likes us and makes us her pet project (half-serious).

I watched Super Size Me last night and, as a result, have not drank any sodas today. Usually I'm good for one or two, but after watching that movie, I may change a few things. We'll see. You know, set a good example for the kids and stuff.

I heard from a friend tonight who was in a bad way. This person had gotten into some sort of trouble and may have ended a relationship because of it. That's all I can say about that and my thoughts are with that person.

The family and I are heading to DC in 15 days. 15 days! Crap! I gotta do some shopping and buckle down for the no-fun flight w/kids. Grr.

And now, it's time for bed. Peace.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

It's happening again

Every once in a while, I get a hankering for something I want. Usually it's a "toy" of some sort: mp3 player, video game, book, DVD, etc. Last time, in September, it was a new bass. I pined for one for a few weeks, then, boom! Sold a bass, waited, found the bass I wanted, and took the plunge.

Now, I'm getting another hankering. It's for something that, if I wait until Tuesday the 7th, will be readily available in stores, but, since today's the 2nd, it's not. And, of course, I'm seeing on the web that people are finding it. In fact, I've already checked my local Target, and, much to my chagrin, nada. What I and geeks all around the country have their undies in a bunch over is this:



Guitar Hero II, baby!

The first one came with the junior SG style controller. For this one, I'll just need the game itself as a second controller is unnecessary. The trouble with that is, you can't play multiplayer with just one guitar. So don't play multiplayer, right?

No.

Because in multiplayer, one person plays rhythm guitar while the other plays bass! This is intriguing to me for obvious reasons.

So what do I do? Get the full version with guitar for $70 or so, just to have multiplayer? I could, but the trouble is that I have no one to play with! None of my friends are gamers, really. Marci has actually played GH and enjoyed it. I could possibly teach/coerce/bribe her to try GHII just so I could play bass.

Or, I could get the game only, without controller, and play bass in a real band, like I do already. That is quite fun, but what's lacking is the song selection. I love my band, but, alas, we don't play YYZ, or Carry On Wayward Son, or Surrender, or Shout at the Devil. See? I'd get my cover fix and gaming fix, all in one fell swoop.

Anyway, at this point in time, I'm probably not going to find the game anywhere before the release date. Doesn't mean I'm not gonna hit Best Buy later today, though. And, I guess I could always grab an extra guitar a bit later down the road.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Interesting, part 3

I got an email from Google Adsense today saying they turned me down for using their service.

Evidently the previous two posts here are against their rules of telling people to click on their ads. I posted them innocently enough; I guess the mere suggestion of giving generously to the ad was enough of a red flag for them. Oh well.

I'm sure I'l really miss the added income...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Interesting, part 2

So the first ad I saw after the previous post is to help donate $$$ to hurricane victims. Give generously.

Also, in case anyone cares, I started yet another blog over at a Yahoo! site. I figured I'd try the Yahoo! front-end as the Blogger.com thing is kind of a PITA. The link to the other site is http://360.yahoo.com/gwonchang and it's the bomb.

It's no So Yummy, but we'll see what happens. Thanks for playing.

This should be interesting

I just signed up with Google Adsense so I can retire at 34.

Seriously, though, I clicked "Sign Up" just to see what would happen. Apparently there will be some "content-related" advertising on this blog somewhere, though how anything can relate to anything I write is beyond me.

Also, if you click on said ads, you will help me become a millionaire. So, thank you.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

MUSE Recap

So MUSE basically came into Seattle and KICKED EVERYONE'S ASSES! That was a fantastic show, but I have a few nits to pick.

1. As expected, everyone in front of me on the floor was at least 2 to 3 inches taller. There were moments during the opening band's set where I could only see the drummer's forehead! That sucked. Luckily, as it was general admission, we were able to move about the floor. We went back about 20 feet from where we were and got better sight, but the sound was pretty lousy. Which brings up nit #2.

2. The sound at the Paramount, to my ears, was crappy. WAY WAY WAY too much bass. And this is from a bassist! It was just muddy and overpowering. Even standing 10 feet in front of the sound guy did nothing to make the band sound better. It wasn't until we moved to the back corner of the room, to a semi-balcony-ish area, did the sound get better. In fact, I even took out my plugs to hear the sound unfiltered. It sounded great. For a few songs. Then, evidently, the sound guy pumped the bass again and we all went scrambling for the earplugs.

I guess that's it as far as nits go. So how was the show?

Pretty damn good.

Matt was stage left with his cool-ass, cock-eyed mic stand; Dom sat behind a clear Plexiglass(?) Tama kit on risers; Chris stood stage right, sans bass rig, as he evidently was going direct. And between Dom and Chris was a mysterious 4th member who played keyboards with his back to the crowd for much of the evening.

They opened with Take a Bow, off of the new record, Black Holes and Revelations. It's not my favorite song, but, as with most of MUSE's non-rocking tunes, hearing them live gives them much needed energy.

Did someone say energy?

They hit it out of the park with the second song, Hysteria, from their third (and arguably most popular and successful) release Absolution. As cool as the main riff is on CD, live, it's something to behold. This song is FULL ON ENERGY and the crowd went nuts.

I don't recall the actual song list, but know they played the epic Butterflies and Hurricanes (also from Absolution) early in the evening. If someone who had never heard a MUSE song asked me to play a MUSE song, this would be the song I'd play. Great dynamics, frenetic guitar, dramatic builds, and amazing pianowork in the breakdown. Some may think it's over the top, but to me, it's art. There! I said it!

Another amazing moment was in the song Invincible off of BH&R. It's a slow build, with a march-like drum beat, arpeggiated guitar, quarter-notes on the bass. The first 2/3rds of the song are actually a little boring. Then they get to the little bass breakdown, which leads to the guitar solo.

Now, on CD, it's a cool little solo. Lots of shrieks and squeals and hammer-ons. Live? Get out of here. It was f*cking amazing. Matt's going on, doing two-hand tapping on the neck. From where we stood, I could see clearly what he was doing (or as clear as things get from the back of the auditorium), and it made my hair stand on end. It was so intense and inspired, I was blown away. Just amazing.

MUSE went through the night and busted out (in no particular order) Apocalypse Please, Muscle Museum, Stockholm Syndrome, Feeling Good, Knights of Cydonia(!!!), New Born, Plug In Baby, Time Is Running Out, Supermassive Black Hole, Starlight, Map of the Problematique, Bliss, and the aforementioned songs. I think I got 'em all.

Just a great show. I am so glad they came here; originally they were stopping at Portland.

If you ever get the chance to see MUSE, GO SEE THEM. They do not disappoint.

The sign on my chest reads,

MUSE
WARNING
Strobe Lights
will be in use.
 Posted by Picasa

My dates for the evening,  Posted by Picasa

Matt's in front of his cab doing what he does. The band did a few short instrumentals to segue between songs. Posted by Picasa

Decent close up of Dom, Chris and the Mystery 4th member of MUSE. Posted by Picasa

Lens flare anyone? Posted by Picasa

If you've never seen MUSE and you love music, GO SEE THEM. You'll be hard pressed to find another musician like Matt Bellamy anywhere. Posted by Picasa

Dom and Chris. These guys are so great at what they do! Posted by Picasa

Yet another. Posted by Picasa

This might be the best of the bunch. Posted by Picasa

Another decent one. Posted by Picasa

If you look past the heads, you can actually see Matt in focus!! Posted by Picasa

Now this one's not bad. These were taken from the floor of the Paramount. Posted by Picasa

Blurry Matt Bellamy. I must've taken 80 pictures and these are the best. :( Posted by Picasa

Hey everyone, it's MUSE! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

MUSE TONIGHT!!

I am seeing my current favorite band tonight. That band is:



I found out about MUSE in early 2004. I heard a song on the radio with this wild falsetto singer and thought for a moment it was Incubus. They had a song on the radio at the time that I thought featured falsetto singing. I remember the song having this awesome build section in it, a "flying brick", as it were, that led to a killer chorus. And, did I mention the totally fuzzed out bass?

As I heard the song a few more times, I learned it was actually a band called MUSE from England. Quick! Off to the Internet!

I did some research and found out that MUSE was a little power trio (those of you who know me may know that my other favorite band is the little power trio from Toronto, Canada). The song I'd heard was called Time is Running Out and it just kicked my ass.

Fast forward to May of 04 and I was lucky enough to see MUSE play Neumo's on Capitol Hill. As it usually is at GA shows for me, everyone standing between me and the band must've been 6' or more. As I stand at a towering 5'7", it was an issue. Luckily, the stage was pretty high, so I could see ok.

I just remember being BLOWN away by how stupendous MUSE was. Matt Bellamy, the singer/guitarist/keyboardist, is a freakin' genius. He had a keyboard hooked up to these lights that would change to whatever notes he'd play. Beautiful. Just a great show, even if there was a little technical difficulty here and there.

Right now I'm listening to MUSE be interviewed by a local DJ and it's quite distracting.

I'll bring a camera tonight and have a full report later.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

What is new?

Not sure. As you can see on my previous post, I'm selling a P bass. As of now, it's sold, tentatively. I have cash in hand, but the buyer is trying it out at practice tonight and, provided he likes it, will keep it. But if not, we'll cancel the deal tomorrow. I'm crossing my fingers. Hopefully he likes it and then I can fund a purchase of a bass I've had my eye on for a bit. If I'm successful, I'll post about it here.

I'm going to see MUSE next Wednesday. I can't wait. I saw them last time they came through here, in May of 04. They played Neumo's on Capital Hill, which is a cool club. They had some technical difficulties, though. I seem to remember the bass cutting in and out in spots. This time through, they're playing the Paramount. Hopefully things go better this time.

I've turned into a bit of a Craigslist junkie. I have two bookmarks. One searching Bass under Musical Instruments. Just like to keep an eye on what's out there. The other is searching for Audi 90 coupe under Cars & Trucks.

There was this BEAUTIFUL 1990 Audi 90 CQ (Coupe quattro) for sale a few weeks ago. $3800 or something. Pearl white, Borbet wheels, lowered, exquisite. Basically this car in white with sweeter wheels (I actually saved pictures of it at work):



Anyway, I considered it for a split second. Marci even said if I sold the GTI I bought in May, it could be a go. But then reality set in and I figured selling a car with 37k to buy a car with 198k on it wouldn't be terribly bright. So I didn't. But it didn't matter. The car was off Craigslist in a day or so, sold to some lucky dude.

Went up to Victoria, BC, for our 6th wedding anniversary a few weekends ago. I booked a trip on the Clipper, which is a catamaran that travels at about 35 knots. It took us about 2 hours to get there, which beats driving ANY DAY OF THE WEEK!

We were supposed to show up about an hour before the 8:00am departure. We ended up getting to the terminal at 7:45 and basically ran onto the boat. No worries, right? Not quite.

Unbeknownst to me, the Clipper is set up like a passenger plane on the water. There are airplane style seats throughout the cabin. I was thinking it'd be like a ferry, with plenty of room and seats and hang out areas. Well, getting there as late as we did, there were only a handful of seats around, none together. So, to celebrate our 6th anniversary, Marci sat by two ladies from So. Cal. and I sat a few rows in front of her.

I got to this row of three seats, with a man on one side and a woman on the other. I asked if the middle seat was taken, was told it wasn't, and made my way in. As the boat backed out of dock, the woman said something about the nearby cruise ship. I figured she was making small talk and ignored her. A few minutes later, she said something else and then I realized that this man and woman were actually husband and wife.

WTF???

I also realized that I'd be stuck between this couple for the next two hours. I was pissed! I mean, if Marci and I were on opposite ends of an aisle and someone asked if the middle seat was taken, you bet I'd move or Marci would move. But these idiots just passed food back and forth, talked back and forth and generally made me miserable.

So why didn't I ask to move or switch? I don't know. I'm kind of a puss about that kind of stuff. I figured I'd just sulk and pout and generally look pissed to let them know how stupid the whole situation was.

At least the rest of the trip was nice. Saw flowers. Used a 2 person Jacuzzi (niiice!). Had some Canadian maple syrup. It was a beautiful time. We need to get out more.

And, rather than continue this epic post, I'll stop now, then write about a book I've been reading.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Pictures of Bass on Craigslist, $299









You are looking at a 89 or 90 Japanese made Fender P bass. I bought it on eBay a few years ago. It's served me well as a 2nd or 3rd bass, but it's time to make room for a new (used) bass.

I have installed a Badass II bridge for that super sustain. I've also had the bass set up at Mike Lull's GuitarWorks (though that was a few years ago).

The previous owner had the bass painted a dark purple. It almost looks black, but it's purple.

Sorry for the lousy focus. No tripod and macro settings don't mix! S/N (as it's unreadable on the picture) is I (or 1) 020649. I'm guessing it's I as Fender's website has something that would make that make sense (see below)

SERIAL NUMBERS CIRCA
JV+ 5 DIGITS 1982-1984
SQ + 5 DIGITS 1983-1984
E + 6 DIGITS 1984-1987
A + 6 DIGITS 1985-1986
B + 6 DIGITS 1985-1986
C + 6 DIGITS 1985-1986
F + 6 DIGITS 1986-1987
G + 6 DIGITS 1987-1988
H + 6 DIGITS 1988-1989
I + 6 DIGITS 1989-1990
J + 6 DIGITS 1989-1990
K + 6 DIGITS 1990-1991
L + 6 DIGITS 1991-1992
M + 6 DIGITS 1992-1993
N + 6 DIGITS 1993-1994
O + 6 DIGITS 1993-1994
P + 6 DIGITS 1993-1994
Q + 6 DIGITS 1993-1994
S + 6 DIGITS 1994-1995
T + 6 DIGITS 1994-1995
U + 6 DIGITS 1995-1996
N + 5 DIGITS 1995-1996
V + 6 DIGITS 1996-1997


I'm throwing in a Fender gig bag, purple Ernie Ball strap and the original bridge. I'm asking $299 or best offer, as they say.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

And the winner is...

A few weeks ago, I played in Tacoma with the Lunds at an outdoor arts and crafts fair. They had four stage pieces arranged into a 15' x 15' or so stage, with a four post canopy overhead. A PA rounded things out and there you go. Given the circumstances (about 80-85, sunny), we were thankful for having that stage.

Fast forward to Saturday. I showed up at Qwest Field (ok, the parking lot) at 10:45 as requested. I soon found out that we were "way early" and that they weren't ready for us yet. I wasn't sure what to expect stage-wise. I was fully prepared to see a stage like what we used in Tacoma. I was pleasantly surprised to see this as I came around the corner.



Pardon the crappy phone pic. You can't really see the size of the stage, but it was pretty freaking big. They had some Saturn cars parked all about as the event was sponsored by them. They had free water and soft drinks for the bands and crews. It was pretty well put together.

Altogether, there were five bands. We drew fourth. Before we started, we figured that was the cherry spot as that put us on about 4:00pm. An added bonus was that the Red Sox were in town next door at Safeco and they had a 1:00 start. Baseball goes 3 hrs or so, so that meant we'd have a ton of walk up traffic at 4.

Well, as it turns out, the event started an hour later than anticipated, so unfortunately, we didn't get the mega walk up. But I'll get to that later.

First up was a band called the Fiasco. Three guys. Two on acoustic guitar, one guy on djembe drum and percussion. Going in, I was a bit confused as I figured an acoustic act wouldn't do so hot opening for Bon Jovi. Once they started playing, I still thought that, but they were great. Their lead guitarist played his acoustic like an electric and overall, was probably the best guitarist at the show. They kicked things off with a bang and set the bar high. Plus, they had not only the most people for their set, but definitely the hottest women.

Up next was a heavy rock band called Trepan. Apparently it's pronounced TREH-pen, but they were ok with TREE-pen or treh-PAN or even Tree Porn. We spent some time talking to their guitarist Eric and lead singer (didn't catch his name). It turns out that their drummer entered them in this contest then had to go out of town this week. Then they found out that they had made it to the final 5. Their drummer was still out of town and wouldn't make it back until after the show so they found a friend to fill in. They basically had a three hour rehearsal and 6 songs for this gig. Overall, they did ok. It was really loud, lots of screaming and not much else. Had they played better, they still wouldn't have won as it was not Bon Jovi-ish or complementary at all, but they were nice guys to us.

Third up was Peepshow, my pick to win the competition. They looked the part, from the bald drummer with the cowboy hat to the guitar player with the faux-hawk. I was surprised to see 6 dudes on stage. 3 guitars! Who needs 3 guitars anymore?? Anyway, they played very well though their music didn't do a whole lot for me. Album-oriented rock, definitely. Not terribly boring, but nothing terribly special about it either. But, they've been around for awhile and definitely had their thing down. They also had the benefit of the walk up from the M's game. They got to play to 100 people or so at any given time. Not so for the next band.

We (Static Radio) played fourth. Like I mentioned, by the time we got on stage, we were about 4 hours into the event and the only people still there were either bands or people who happened to come by. As it was, we had maybe 10-15 people there, 3 of which were my family, and they only made it for the last 4 songs.

We played ok. I went for style over substance. Because the stage was so freakin large (note to self: invest in some 20' cables for these kinds of shows. Short cables and big stages are LAME!), I had plenty of room to boogie, so I did. Luckily, Emilio's songs are quite basic (one song does the 1-4-5 (think Louie, Louie) progression for the ENTIRE SONG) and gave me room to do so. I'm not sure how everyone else did. I couldn't hear Rob, the lead guitar. About all I could hear was Emilio as his amp was aimed right at my ear. I just went up and had a good time.

Finally was a chick named Trish Shallest. She got up and did some rockin' tunes (think Ann Wilson from Heart). Then her and her guitarist did some awful acoustic number for some reason. Luckily, they followed it up with some more rockin' tunes. Bon Jovi opener material? Nah. Don't think so.

Shortly after the last set, then announced the winner of the Bon Jovi opening slot to be, surprise, surprise...

Peepshow.

For a second there, just before the band was announced, I was excited. I mean, we had a 1 in 5 chance of playing for 15,000+ people. How cool would that have been? As it turns out, Peepshow definitely deserved the gig. Their experience, look, sound and overall package will mix perfectly with the BJ crew. And, they were nice dudes as well.

So that was my big rock experience for the summer. I have 2 more gigs in August and both are at clubs. We'll draw more than we did at Qwest, but we'll be on tiny stages, just like before.

Ah, the life of a rock star.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Surprise, surprise!

I rehearsed with the guys today. There actually was a rhythm guitarist as well; I thought it was gonna be a trio.

Anyway, we all piled into the drummer's rehearsal studio, a Shurgard storage space, and set up. Lucky for us the temperature hadn't hit the 90s yet like it will tomorrow and the space was actually kinda cool. That changed after we finished setting up.

I had dusted off Emilio's CD last night and worked on some of his tunes. Luckily the songs are pretty easy. I didn't have a hard time with them. I mentioned in the previous blog that I was concerned about a certain drummer. Well, we ended up getting him, so I had to make the best of it.

As it turns out, Chris' drumming was quite good. I'm not a fan of his particular style of playing (lots of jazz type stuff), but overall, he did fine. Rather than be picky and stuck up about it, I decided just to play and enjoy myself.

We knocked out 8 songs for a 30-35 minute set. I'm a little concerned about the between song moments as both Emilio and Chris seem to not want to start the songs without making sure it's ok with the other. I did mention to E that he needed to just start the songs and be the rock star. Chris is quite mellow and, in fact, I think he wants E to be more in charge as well.

Later on, Rob, the rhythm guitar, showed up. He really added some fullness to the band. Plus, it helped that the three of them used to play these songs way back when. We ran through the set once or twice with Rob and it felt pretty good. I'm singing some backs on a few songs and everything sounded pleasant.

I looked on the radio station website tonight and saw that the other 4 bands have been posted. One is a chick singer/songwriter with a 'tude. I thought it was gonna be kind of wimpy, but she has a few rocking tracks (think Garbage). There's another band that's a three piece acoustic thing. Can they open for Bon Jovi?? The other two bands are more guitar-oriented rock. One of them, Peepshow, has been around the Seattle scene for a few years. They should be quite tight and I'd consider them the favorites at this point.

Details have been few and far between at this point. I don't know how the bands will be judged. On one person's site, she put that audience participation is a factor. If that's the case, we'll need to do some serious pimping.

Anyway, we're gonna hook up for a few more runs tomorrow, then the big show on Saturday. Let's see what happens...

**UPDATE**

Just heard from Emilio. I guess we play 4th out of 5 bands. That's pretty cool, but we can't count on people staying to hear us play so we'll have to bring our own people. Also, the Mariners will be playing at Safeco across the street. That game starts at 1:00 and it's against the BoSox, so it'll be quite busy down there. But, if we go 4th, that puts us on at about 4-5 or so, and the ball game will get out around then, which could mean a ton of walk up traffic... Hmm.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

An interesting development

An old ex-bandmate of mine called tonight. Asked me if I'd play with him at Qwest Field (home to the SuperBowl XL losing Seahawks) this Saturday. Apparently he won a contest in which his "band" (currently just him) plays with four other bands and if his band wins, he and the band go to Boston next Friday to open for Bon Jovi.

That's all well and good, but there are a few things that make me scratch my head/nervous/on the fence/whatever.

1. I haven't played with him for 2 years.

Last time I played with him was at an outdoor festival. It went pretty well, I suppose. Since then, I've been in two gigging bands and he's been building a career. Just recently he's decided to get back in the scene and is looking to put a band together.

2. I've heard of some of the bands in other cities and they are great.

I think some of these bands are a bit rockin' and I'm afraid my pal's material is a little less than. It's kind of singer-songwriter-y. Good music, but needs a producer kind of stuff. I'd be playing songs that he recorded 3-4 years ago, and basically playing them as he recorded them. We wouldn't have time to embellish or change arrangements this late in the game. We'd have to really bring it so we don't look like chumps up there.

3. Spontaneity may be lacking as these are songs that I have to think about to play.

I'm bummed that I didn't know about this contest earlier. It'd be a blast to play it with my current band. The fact that my current band has been gigging and has some history would make taking the stage much easier. With my ex-bandmate, going on stage would really require concentrating on not screwing up the songs rather than just going up and playing.

4. He doesn't have a drummer lined up yet.

I've called two drummers; both have commitments they can't cancel. He's got a drummer, but hasn't heard from him yet. The last gig I played with this guy, he had a drummer who was probably the Lamest Drummer Ever. Should've been playing coffee houses. I HOPE he doesn't get this guy. The other guy is currently in a heavy rock band so it should be adequate (provided he can do it *crosses fingers*).

So I've told him that I'd do it. I have no idea who else is playing (apparently they'll be posted tomorrow), if they'll have a backline, how long the sets will be, etc. I do know it goes on at 2:00pm on Saturday in or around Qwest Field. I know it won't be a train wreck; I just hope it'll be a good show.

Wish me luck.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Garage Sale Grinch

A few years ago, just before Riley was born, we had a garage sale. Marci was pregnant and we spent a week getting ready and prepping for the weekend. Come the weekend, it was pretty slow. Not a lot of action. At lunch, I headed for Subway and noticed some of our signs were missing. I figured wind knocked 'em down or something.

A few weeks after that, we had a second sale, this time combined with some friends up the street. We put an ad in the paper and made more signs and attached them to utility poles and stop signs. This time we had lots of people (more from the ad than anything else). Once again, I headed out for lunch and coming down the hill, I saw this old man taking our signs off the stop sign. I stomped on it.

"Excuse me!"

No response.

"SIR. Excuse me! Those are our signs!"

He continued walking to his car, signs in hand. He got in his car, but not before I blocked it in with mine. I approached his window and asked him what was up, but before he could answer, I put a cap in his ass.

Actually, he came out and started going on about how utility poles and stop signs aren't public property, therefore no private signs should be on them. I told him he was ruining peoples' weekends and really being an a-hole. He had a stack of signs on his front seat. He claimed he was a volunteer for the city and for each sign he turned in, a fine was sent out to the sign creator.

He finally did give me back my signs and we parted ways, but not before I memorized his license plate (662-RVD).

I called the city a few days later and relayed my story, especially about the part of him being a city "volunteer". Turns out, we didn't have any volunteers in my neighborhood, so the city guy was quite concerned about it. He ran the guy's plate to be sure about names and stuff. He even got the police involved a few days later as the guy taking our signs was taking property that wasn't his. Apparently I could've pressed charges, but I decided not to.

So today, in preparation for our garage sale tomorrow, Marci and her 8.5 month pregnant friend Erin went around the 'hood putting up signs. One hour later I get a call saying that of the 7 or 8 signs they put up, 6 are gone. Boy were they pissed. I was pretty upset too. Trouble is, we don't know who's doing it this time, if it's the same old man or someone else (we live in a neighborhood populated with oldsters, most of which are cool, but some of which are PRICKS).

Anyway, I made up more signs tonight and will put them up at 7:30 or so tomorrow morning. I also made up notes attached to each sign basically telling the culprit to back off and that we'll remove them by the end of the day. I guess we'll see what happens. Hopefully I'll catch him in the act again...

WWJBD?? What would Jack Bauer do???

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Office and some ramblings...

I'd never watched this show before. I didn't get the humor involved (I'm talking about the NBC Office). Apparently it's something called "cringe" humor. The type of humor where the viewer is left a bit uncomfortable (or in The Office's case, sometimes very uncomfortable). That being said, I caught a few minutes of an episode a few weeks ago.

Fast forward a few weeks to today and I'm happy to say that I am HOOKED on this show. I haven't laughed so hard at TV in a long time. I found myself all the episodes on the web and have been watching 2-3 at a time. I'm such a geek.

We're prepping for a garage sale this weekend. One of Marci's friends is coming over to help us. Should be profitable. Well, as profitable as a garage sale can actually be, since we're taking a loss on almost everything we sell...

My brother bought a device that allows you to copy all videos directly to DVD. I've had my video camera hooked up to it for about a week now and have copied over about 20 videos. I still have about 20 or so to go. What a cool little toy. What I used to do was dump my video into the computer and edit. Most vids I shot were music related so it was about 40-60 minutes worth of music. Edit out the talking and crap and add some titles and chapter stops. Done. Now it's just raw footage from tape to disc.

In doing the copying, I've been watching a lot of performances from my current band (Lund Bros.), to previous bands (Starchief and Ethyl), and even a band I was in 7 years ago (While Away).

Well, needless to say, there are some ghastly videos there. Neil Peart once compared early recordings he did with Rush to drawings a kindergartener might do. They're inspired, but a mess. Well, I must concur. Many of my early videos with each band (save Starchief, since that band was essentially Ethyl lite) were a bit rough. With While Away, my brother shot us playing our first show with our new singer. She was someone we found after months and months of auditions. I wish I'd kept a journal about those auditions; I'd be a best-selling author today.

Anyway, this girl had no band experience. She'd sung in some choirs in high school and college and wanted to branch out. She was quite cool, and easy on the eyes, and we all got along famously. She learned some of our songs and eventually we booked a show at the legendary (sort of) Central in Pioneer Square.

I watched bits and pieces of this video the other night. I just couldn't bear to watch any more. I remember at the time thinking how good we were. Tight. Musical. Vital. We couldn't be any further from those things. Call it first gig jitters or just plain suckiness, but we were bad. Loose and all over the place, visually uncohesive. Just awkward. Add that the singer had had one too many rum and Cokes and, well, let's just say at one point in a song, she took a complete header off the stage. Luckily she landed on a table, or she would've taken a 2-3 foot freefall. To her credit, she picked herself back up and finished the song, but not before audibly bonking the mic off of her front teeth as she raised the mic stand. Ouch.

Sadly, my brother (filming that night) was in the middle of panning away from her *just* as she fell off the stage. You see her topple forward, then you see me pulling her back up. Quite the spectacle.

Welp, it's off to do some laundry. Peace.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Update

Let's see.

What's new?

Well, I've been in jury duty for the past 2 weeks. 10 days to be specific. I'll spare you the gory details (a civil case involving millions of dollars). I was the 14th juror.

But wait! you say. Aren't juries made of 12 jurors? Correct! I and another guy were alternates. And after 10 days of testimonies, guess what? We were excused today! On the one hand, that means I can get back to my normal routine. The bad news is that I was away for 10 days for nothing other than an insurance policy for the other jurors. Kind of a waste of time if you look at it like that.

It was cool, though. Got to spend a bunch of time in downtown Seattle. That was fun. Usually when I'm downtown it's either driving through or hitting one destination and nothing more. The past 2 weeks I was able to walk around, see stuff, eat out and see friends. Got a little taste of being a "city boy". Rode the bus. Good times. Tomorrow, it's back to work and drama. Ugh.

Lund Bros. opened for a major label band a week or so ago. We opened for a band called MxPx, out of Bremerton. They're a punk/pop band. Apparently they were a huge influence for bands like Green Day and the like. Or so I've heard. Anyway, that was a fun show in that there were about 100 or so kids there on a Monday night. Nothing became of it, but it was nice to play for some people for a change. Next up? A street fair in Tacoma. Be still my beating heart!!!

In other news, I'm listening to the new Muse CD, Black Holes and Revelations. I stumbled upon Muse in 2004. I heard their song Time Is Running Out before their record Absolution was released in the US. I picked up their debut, Showbiz, and fell in love with them. Insane guitars, drums and bass; wild, melodic, harmonic vocals; incredible songwriting and musicianship.

This new CD is more of the same, but to me, there isn't a standout "hit" like TIRO or Hysteria or Butterflies & Hurricanes. There are good tracks, but I guess I need more time to digest them.

I guess that'll do for now...

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Big show on Friday

A few months ago, we played a gig in Tacoma at a place called the Java Jive. I posted about it somewhere back then. A woman in the crowd really loved what we did and said she'd try to hook us up with some gigs. Turns out, her name is Bon and she plays drums for an old Seattle/Tacoma band called Girl Trouble.

Earlier this year, Von contacted us and offered us an opening slot at a club in Ballard called the Sunset Tavern. It's kind of a hole-in-the-wall, but it's a credible hole-in-the-wall in that anyone who's anyone goes to that club. We played and had a great show. Many people enjoyed what we did, but, as usual, we were unable to parlay that into anything bigger or better.

Our next gig was on a Wednesday at the good ol' Rendezvous, where we played to about 10-15 people for free. Sorta lame, but we there's always the "at least we played out" defense to fall back on.

This Friday, we're playing with GT again, this time opening for them and a band called Head at the fabulous Crocodile Cafe. The Croc is my favorite place to play in Seattle. They have a big stage, killer sound and a great room in which to watch bands perform. In fact, I saw Damone there a few weeks ago. Great show.

But, I digress.

So I've been calling/emailing/myspacing all my friends about this show. Course, I do that for every show, but for this show, it's quite important. I just need bodies to show. Doesn't matter how long you stay, but it matters that you're there when we play. I'm feeling that it's gonna be a good night overall, in that GT and Head will bring many many people. But if they bring say, 100 people, and we draw only 20 at the beginning, well, though we did 120 total (good), Lund Bros. only had 20, and that's bad.

I must admit that I'm a bit nervous. Of all the people I actually talked to, everyone was a "I'll try to make it." Not once did I get a "I'll be there."

Shit. I don't know. I had my boy JLow make posters (killer ones, I might add) and took them to the Croc last week. I drove by today and didn't see one up. :( But, GT had posters made (killer ones, I might add) and they were up, so that's good.

So for the one or two hardcore readers of this lonely blog, if you're in Seattle on Friday, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE come down to the Croc and check out my band. Cover is only $4 and we really need your suppport. Having a good showing this Friday can lead to better gigs and more exposure.

But, I'll try not to get my hopes up too much; the realization after the gig that only 0-1 people showed up for me is depressing enough.


Johnny's poster


Girl Trouble's poster

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The more things change...

Marci and I have been looking around the past few weeks at yet more cars. This time, however, it's for me. Our Odyssey van lease is up at the end of July and I'll be turning it in for hopefully something... less van-like.

I have only a few criteria for what will replace the Ody. Firstly, it needs to be able to hold my band gear. One thing the GTI did for me was swallow 2 cabs, pedals and amp. Plus, I could keep the stuff covered up and no one would even know it was there. Second, we're working with a budget of 15k. I need to be at or below 15k. Third, mileage needed to be decent. That van takes regular unleaded, but these days (my neighborhood Chevron is at $3.22/gallon! For regular!) it cost upwards of $50 to fill that sucker up. And I'm lucky to break 300 miles on a tank. With the GTI, I'd get 340-360 easy.

So my first choice was the Mazda3 hatchback. Ever since I've seen them, I've really liked them. Trouble is, they start at 17k new. There's plenty of used ones, but they are hot and hold their value well. Most used ones start at about 16k or so. Nevertheless, we went up to Lynnwood to try one out. I actually drove an entry level Mazda 3 sedan as that was in our budget (started at 13k). It was an auto, with pretty much no options. Drove ok, but was boring. Unfortunately I was being quite picky about things. Even though we could afford that, it just didn't do anything for me.

I started searching Craigslist, as well as all sorts of online auto sites. I actually found an S4, Imola, with 33k on the odometer, going for $17500. I freaked out. Couldn't believe it. Called the guy on Saturday night with the intent of going out Sunday to drive it. Turns out, it was a salvaged title car. It had been in an accident and was considered totaled. As great as it was for him, I was in no position to take a chance on a car like that. Factor in the premium gas and lousy mileage, as well as higher insurance rates, well, forget it.

So the week went by with Marci and I scouring the web every night. Since the Mazda3s were out of the question, I started checking out old Protege5s as well as some of the "tuner" cars, like the Mazdaspeed Protege and the Protege MP3.

I found a nice little MSP (Mazdaspeed Protege) on eBay. The guy didn't sell it on the auction, but was willing to move it privately with me. He wanted $13500 for it, but the trouble was, the car is in Illinois. 2000 miles away. Add in T&L, as well as transport/travel fees, we're well over $15k. Nevertheless, I actually found one in Kirkland so I went up to drive it last night.

That car was immaculate. Spicy orange (do a Google search) in color, nary a ding or scratch on it. Insides were incredibly clean. Engine was spotless. Mileage was excellent (26k on a 2003). Unfortunately, the hood was carbon-fiber. Bright orange already screams, "LOOK AT ME!" Putting a CF hood on it makes it worse. But, I drove it anyway. 170 horsepower, super tight suspension, a spring-loaded clutch and a stubby short-shifter. Lots of fun to drive, but as there were only 2500 or so made, it's a rare car. They wanted $17500 for it. I just wanted to see if I liked it or not. I did, but, as I got back in the Jetta to come home, I realized how unrefined the MSP was. I guess I'm gettin' old as I just couldn't see myself driving that little car around. Plus, it wouldn't hold my gear. Pass.

Today we went out and had lunch (at the Old Country Buffet, no less). Afterwards, drove down Auto Row in Bellevue. We stopped at one dealership as they had a couple GTIs on the used lot. One was black, an 05, but had something like 40k on the odometer! In one year! There was a grey one as well, an 04? High miles too and a little gaudy on the inside. But, being back in a GTI was comfortable. It made me realize just how much I missed my old car.

We went down the road to the Audi dealership. SO many beautiful cars. S4 here, S8 there, S6 Avant over thataway. All good. I'd stopped in there a few weeks ago to test drive an A3 with the DSG transmission. Very cool car, but it's in the 30k range. I made a contact there and kept him in mind as I showed up today. I remembered he had 2 GTIs there and thought I'd take a look.

One of the GTIs was Reflex Silver and the other was blue (forget the name). The silver one was stock (but for the radio). The blue one had these ugly chrome 5 spoke rims on it. However, the blue one was going for 1k less than the silver (14900 vs 15900 or so). My contact, Stan, came out and we ended up taking the silver one for a spin.

The GTI was a 02 model, which was a year "younger" than my 01. 35000 or so on the odometer and pretty much spotless inside and out. We drove it out of the lot and immediately I knew there were some upgrades under the hood. Most noticible was the huge sucking (no pun intended) sound: the previous owner put in a cold air intake. Actually, I think that may have been the only upgrade. The engine of the 02 vs the 01 actually has 30 more horsepower (180 vs 150). My old 01 was chipped, so it was a little speedier than a regular one, but this 02 felt stronger overall. Unfortunately, the previous owner didn't modify the suspension. The 02 is stock and looks like a mini 4x4 (a common problem with all VWs). My 01 had lowering springs and though it rode a bit rougher, it looked much cooler.

Anyway, as I got back from the ride, I checked the car out. No curb rash, one little ding in the hood (from a stone, probably) and a tiny scuff just behind the driver's door. As far as wear and tear goes, nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, I think it was in better shape than I'd expect an 02 to be.

I told Stan that unless we could do 15k out the door, we'd have no deal. He came at me with $17625. I basically said no way. That unless it was 15k, we'd have to go. He then countered with $15900 and I said sorry. After a little more dickering, he came with $15200. This gave me something to think about. We're right there, I thought. The $200 I actually thought of as $150 as I had a $50 check in my pocket from our last gig. I took into consideration the fact that the car was in really really good shape. Plus, if I bought it, I'd get free carwashes any time I wanted. So I had two thoughts. One: just buy the car. Two: don't buy it, stick to my guns.

So guess what I did?

I'll put up pictures tomorrow!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Good or bad Karma?

I've had a Rio Karma mp3 player for almost 2 years now. I bought one in 6/04 with a 2 year warranty. It's been good for me for most of the time. Sure, the headphone jack frizzles but for the most part, I play it in the car via its dock and RCA outs. Every once in a while I get a HDD lock up and have to reset or do a hard shut down.

I've been perusing some alternatives, mainly flash based players. The Karma is a 20gb player, but I'm starting to wonder if I really need 20 gigs. The flash players I've been scoping are 4 gigs, but for the same price as the Rio.

My warranty gets me a replacement unit (but CompUSA no longer carries the Rios) or equivalent or, I think, a store credit. The 4gb one I want (Samsung YP-Z5) CompUSA doesn't sell. And I don't want an iPod. So what I did tonight is format my Rio and will reload some music and see how it goes.

If worse comes to worse and I keep it past the warranty period, there are lots of aftermarket upgrades out there (larger or replacement hard drives being what I'd look into).

It's funny. I packed up all the Karma's accessories tonight and was all ready to take 'er in tomorrow, but now I'm having cold feet. I'll give it a shot with the reformat and transfer of music. Cross your fingers!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

It's been such a long time....

I think I should be going.

Actually, I'm here and going nowhere. I had no idea that 1.5 months had passed since my last post. So what's new? Well, my parents aren't buying that house in the previous posts. That's good.

Haley just had her 4th birthday. She had a party at a local paint-your-own-ceramics place. Apparently she's Little Miss Popular as all 20 of the kids she invited showed up. She got a million presents, including a bike, a Leapster and a ton of Strawberry Shortcake stuff. I'm looking forward to when Riley gets older so he gets some cool ass toys like Hot Wheels and video games. :)

For my birthday a few weeks ago I got Guitar Hero for the PS2. What a blast! For those not in the know, you get an SG style controller:



You also get a game disc containing some killer tunes, including Killer Queen, Iron Man, Crossroads, Texas Flood, Take Me Out, among others. The point of the game is to "play" your guitar to the songs, both rhythmically and by "note" on the frets of the guitar. You start with easy songs like I Love Rock and Roll and work your way to expert songs like Bark at the Moon.

I've been playing this game non-stop since getting it 2 weeks ago. Heck, if Marci will play it too, you know it must be good. She actually got some groove on and rocked out. It was quite the moment.... sniff...

I'm also counting the days until I can turn the van in on our lease. Though I probably could turn it in as it's paid off now. So, that leads me to the next question. What do I replace it with?

I could continue to drive our company car, a beat up, 93 Ford Escort wagon with horrid yellow decals all over it. The upside? No car payments. The downside? Hard to be a pimp in that ride.

I'm thinking about the new GTI, though I'm not a big fan of the "culture" of the kids interested in it. Or maybe I'm just gettin old? Another car I'm keeping my eye on is the Audi A3. Like a GTI for grown-ups, kind of. And I test drove an American car just before we bought the Jetta. It was a Chevrolet HHR. Kind of like a manlier version of the PT Cruiser. Pretty cool car, but wasn't completely sold on the styling of the front end.

In other news, we've closed Migun, the massage bed store, as it was costing us too much to keep it open. It's a good move, business-wise, though my dad is very reluctant to do so. He's a stubborn ol' dude. He needs to ride off into the sunset now.

Anyone out there know how to fix a lawnmower???

Monday, March 06, 2006

Last one

  Posted by Picasa

Here's one more of the view. I didn't frame it all that well, but you get the idea.

Picture post

 

Mom and the kids at a house that Mom and Dad may or may not buy. In Marysville. View to die for. Posted by Picasa