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last few copies of _Tonight I'll Forget the English Language_ at Deathbomb Arc [10 Mar 2013|01:03pm]
For those of you who are interested in getting your hands on a physical copy of Tonight I'll Forget the English Language, notable for its lengthy multiple-use song titles, sampler abuse, and weird prayerish rainstormy Dream Attic dream coda, please make your way to the Deathbomb Arc Clearance Sale, where you can purchase that fine Spirit Duplicator album, along with a copy of Gang Wizard's atypical hi-fi masterpiece God-Time-Man Universal Continuum Calibration Disc, for pittances.  Other intriguing stuff as well.  You may want to hurry.

Not much to report here.  It's that time of the year when the days at my job are basically just looking at the same long thing over and over again in 16 different languages.  This year it's easier, thank goodness, due to some forethought.

The music I've been making has been in keeping with that feeling.  Long repetitive prayerish Casiotone 1000p arpeggiator rambles with live drums by yours truly (I'm back at it!), deep bass, and some sort of solo instrument on top.  More coming, and hopefully an album.  I may need to release several albums all at once in the near future - this one, the dreamy delay-guitar stuff I did at the Lents market a while back, and, if I'm feeling brave, a double-album of a couple Spirit Duplicator KBOO sessions at their most unhinged.  As always, you may or may not be kept posted, but if you're curious, ask.

And for the record:  I prefer double spaces after sentences.  While this is a result of my typewriter-based education, I now stand by this as an aesthetic choice.
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it's been a rough 72 hours [07 Feb 2013|10:58pm]
We watched a certain televised sporting event with my brother last Sunday and Sarah and Lukey.  All of us who were there and who had not previously caught the mnyororovirus caught it - me, Joanie, A.  Yikes!  So Tuesday morning at 3 a.m. until Tuesday afternoon around 1 p.m. was one of the rougher 10-hour stretches of my adult life.  I hung out in the bathroom reading bad science fiction, with Joanie in another one of our sumptuous three bathrooms having slightly different but no less unpleasant adventures.  Pretty horrible, but at least it passed by quickly, I guess.

I'd brought my bike in to the amazing Meticon on Friday to fix a shifter lever that had popped off.  Whereas dudes at the not-at-all-bad bike shop near my work had basically thrown in the towel and said "you're screwed, no way to affix this downtube shifter to an aluminum frame with the tools in a normal bike shop", the dudes at Meticon had looked a little closer and noticed that it was just a pair of rivets. They are the best and I recommend them. So they fixed my shifter and I was on my way to work this afternoon, 48 hours after the passing of my symptoms thank heavens, and it was shifting amazingly smoothly.  I went up that weird secret hill behind the Wal-Mart effortlessly; what had previously been a chore was now a pleasure...

...So what happens on my way to work?  At the blind corner where the I-205 Multi-Use Path opens out onto Burnside St, there's some dude going a million miles an hour around the corner, taking it a little tight because some construction company had left a lot of crap in the path.  So naturally, out of the three or four cyclists I'd seen all day on the path, I collide with one of them.  I'm fine - I've become much more adept at knowing how to fall off my bike without rebreaking my elbow - but my front wheel appears to be hosed, my chain is knocked off, and I have to drag my bike to work and stare at translation jobs after having hit my (helmeted thank goodness) head (not too hard thank goodness).  We'll see if Meticon can work another miracle.

That said, the half-hour where I rode my bike to work was pretty amazing.  And the moment that I went vaulting over my handlebars was, also, in retrospect, pretty amazing - I felt like that moment lasted a half-hour, with my mind calculating rotational velocities, prioritizing where to fall.  And the fact that I emerged without a scratch on my body - not even a scratch on my beloved favorite thrift-store wool shirt?  Amazing!

Speaking of amazing and brief: Bobbie Gentry's "Casket Vignette", full of surprises even after many many listens over many years.
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the maiden voyage of the Hot Apparatus [27 Jan 2013|12:06pm]
Another Ross party last night!  As always, it was crazy, there was dancing, I stayed up until 2 something, I got in enough social activity for an entire 6-month period.  Head still a little abuzz.

The Spirit Duplicator solo set featured the lovely Joanie on bucket drum, and she was great.  I played two songs from http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Spirit_Duplicator/Eternal_Youth_and_Obscurity/ and two songs by the great Dick Feller.  I'd picked up a copy of Dick Feller Wrote... at the Deseret thrift a month ago or so and gotten obsessed with its mixture of novelty numbers and really well-crafted songs, soI thought I'd give it a whirl.  Well, I broke a string a couple notes into "Any Old Wind That Blows" and totally messed that up, but the version of "Daisy Hill" I did on my grandpa's old tenor banjo went pretty well.  It felt good to do an 8-minute song that was all just lyrics.

And then oh Hot Apparatus.  This crazed pop group's first group.  I was psyched to be playing bass, which is really the only instrument I feel comfortable with on stage - that and the Language Master, if you consider that an instrument.  Hit after hit.  I was smiling the entire time, sweating a lot, cramped in a small corner of Ross's living room among the enormous expanse of all six bandmembers' (!) instruments.  It was a good time.

This morning I couldn't really sleep, so I woke up and read science fiction on the couch.  When Joanie woke up and got in the shower, I had a sudden urge to put A Taste of DNA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gA-R62agx0 on the stereo.  Joanie came down and started dancing to "New New" and we danced together.  Oh how in love I felt.
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We're gonna have a - NERD PARTY tonite!!!!!!! [29 Dec 2012|10:47pm]

WARNING: HEAVY, SEEMINGLY INCOMPETENT, ENDLESS NERD ACTION FOLLOWS - AVERT EYES IF THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE

Recently I picked up an old Imagewriter II dot-matrix printer off Kreggslizzt, because, you know, bad ideas.  The guy I bought it from also had bad ideas - in his case, a dream that somehow involved him selling customized dot-matrix Print Shop (R) banners on various Internet sites.  "No-one's doing that - could be a business idea."  I'm not sure that anyone would pay, you know, actual money for that service, and I'm certain that the collection of various old computers that he had going would not have resulted in him arriving at that dream - but I do admire people who actually consider monetizing their bad ideas.  I just pour mine out onto cassettes and give them away.

So dude's motley combo of old iMac and Imagewriter II wasn't going to work, at least not without some sort of expensive widget to hook up the IW to a USB port... I have older computers, I thought, so: to the nerdery!

Attempt #1: Purchase DIN8 serial cable to connect Macintosh Classic (the computer I bought going into college in 1991!) to the IW.  Should be easy, right?  Well, of course I never installed an Imagewriter II driver on that computer back in college - I had the superior Stylewriter inkjet printer.  But wait, I think I have a copy of the system floppy disks in the garage, right?.  Stack request!  I spent an evening looking, didn't find anything related to what I wanted, though of course I found a lot of other mysterious objects that lead to other pursuits.  That's how that sort of thing always works.

Well, I wasn't going to be thwarted so easily.  So I found an image of the System 6.0.7 system disks online, bought a USB floppy drive, and did everything in my power to write them onto a floppy disk that my old computer could read.  Should be easy on a Linux computer, right?  dd if=something of=something.  Or so the Internet told me.  But oh my cranky old 21-year-old computer didn't want to accept the disks made this way.

Look for my System 9.1 CD so I can unearth the old eMac and boot it up in System 9.1 so I could write a system 6.0.7 floppy for my Mac Classic.  At this point, things are getting seriously out of hand, and of course I can't find my System 9.1 CD.  I ask Joel at work if he can find his disc, but to no luck - all he can find are Stone Age versions of old design software.  Bah!

HIT SNOOZE BAR ON DREAM ATTEMPT #1 TO AVOID INSANITY

Attempt #2:
Purchase cable for connecting IW to Apple //c (which my awesome parents bought for me upon moving to Oregon in 1986 and which capably took the place of a social life for many years thereafter).  Find my old copy of "The Print Shop."  Draw a picture of a football player falling off a cliff.  Choose "Tech" font, and why not add 3-D excess to text.  Hit "Print," watch psychedelic light show - oh wait, it's actually working.  That was easy.

"Is there any way you can increase the kerning on these 3-D letters?" Joanie asks.  I am so glad that she is using the word "kerning" and I'm completely in love with her.  Of course there isn't.  But who cares?

NERD SUCCESS!  IT'S 10:30 P.M. ON A SATURDAY NIGHT AND I'M PRINTING ALBUM COVERS ON A 26-YEAR-OLD COMPUTER.
Prototype album cover follows.  Real version (on green-and-white-bar paper no less) will be available at show Friday 1/4/12 at Milepost 5 - details to follow.

proto cover

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NaSoAlMo 2012 - complete! [03 Dec 2012|10:27pm]
So I'm breaking the silence here to say that I had a really great time recording NaSoAlMo 2012.  The album will be called _Eternal Youth and Obscurity_ and will be mixed down and distributable at some point soon.  It's guitar lunacy and more guitar lunacy.  I like it a lot.  More comments once it's actually ready.

I want to incorporate some dot-matricisms into the album cover art - I picked up an Imagewriter II - and as a result have been tearing apart the garage looking for the parts necessary to make my old Mac Classic communicate with said Imagewriter.  Oh, garage search mania!  How crazy I get!  I wasn't able to find the system disks that I'd need, but fortunately, the internet is kind of amazing. Now all I need is a blank disk that works and the will to hook up my old system with a disk drive.

One thing that I found in my search was a minidisc entitled "Handheld recordings Jan. 2004" that turns out to be a proto-version of _Spirit Duplicator_ the album.  But instead of the basement-Language-Master-symphonic approach, it's all tremulous endless guitar and vocals.  That plus a lot of interesting drony instrumentals with Chris P.  Very interesting - may need to do something with it at some point.
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and with the ring of the bell, the 2012 garage sale season is open [05 Mar 2012|06:13am]
Joanie and I were walking back from a certain specialty grocery store in our neighborhood when we saw a hand-lettered garage-sale sign.  It looked to be on our way back home.  As we approached, we saw another sign.  Girl's handwriting, no address, mysterious arrows pointing in what looked like several different directions, a heart.  "Probably a C- sale, but let's check it out," I said.

Walked back to several tables full of ceramic tchotchkes - you know, the usual C- business - but then the true weirdness started coming out.  One - no, two tubs full of mostly unworn 70s athletic socks, all the stripes you can imagine.  A tub that seemed to be mostly full of Brut.  Weird geometric scarves and bright-orange handkerchiefs.  Probably about 50 clocks.  Even some of the tchotchkes were really weird - the ceramic frogs (typical fare) all appeared to be lying on their back, the better to expose their very human-looking genitalia. Of course!

"Yeah, we've been renting this space from this guy, but then he died, so we're selling off his stuff for his family," said the mom-figure.

"Weren't you at our garage sale last year?" asked the daughter.  "Yeah, that's right - you bought a computer monitor for $5.  It was for your girlfriend who was in school," she (correctly) noted.  Whoa, crazy.  "How'd that work out for you?"

"It was great for a couple weeks before it stopped working."

"Well, we'll give you a great deal on everything today."

Endless weird sunglasses.  Apparently unworn novelty beer shirts.  The loudest old Jantzen swim trunks ever.  I expected to see novelty-beer-shirt fanciers roll up in Jettas or on bikes with short handlebars - but no, this was Clackamas, pure Clackamas.

Did the whole experience end up with a hug and everyone saying "you're awesome" and us carrying a bucket full of amazing things home?  It did.  First A+ sale of the year?  It was.
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a quick note on rock-paper-scissors [06 Feb 2012|08:28pm]
Joanie always beats me at rock-paper-scissors - she knows me too well and I'm easy to read - but tonight, because I did not want to make a salad, she intentionally lost and made the salad. I would not have believed that it was possible to throw a rock-paper-scissors match.

I'm healing well enough from the bike injury I inflicted on myself back on 12/12.  I'd written something about it and then apparently never posted it?  Oh well.  SE 72nd & Fir (south of Flavel) - not suitable for bike riding.  Go around.  Broken elbows are no fun, though I'm doing better...

Super Duplicator show with Alison Dr. Something/Chris Calvert/Sir Cloister Maximus III went well - video evidence at:
http://vimeo.com/35907853

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other excursions [27 Nov 2011|06:21pm]
It's one of those weekends where the right record found me in the right thrift store.  Joanie and I were out checking out the nearby thrift stores on the Avenue of the Roses and happened upon a thoroughly nasty musty-smelling copy of John Fahey's _The Great San Bernardino Birthday Party and Other Excursions_ at the Mormon thrift, so I've been listening to it to ward off the pitter-patter of a pretty depressing weather experience.  The title track is even more fantastic than ever.  I was listening to side 1 while washing and chopping potatoes, yams, and onions.  The oven was preheating, and it beeped its shrill hello at exactly the spot in _Knott's Berry Farm Molly_ where the music stops for a second before the tape starts playing backwards.  It was beautiful.

I'm working on another album, but it's going slowly.  I need to do a lot of garage organizing and I need to figure out how to play things very quietly so as not to disturb Joanie's homework, of which there is plenty this quarter.  I'll make it work.  I have grand plans and bad ideas stored up in piles in my mind.
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Hello NaSoAlMo [01 Nov 2011|10:15pm]
It's November 1st and it's time for National Solo Album Month!  I've got the garage studio kind of sort of set up.  After three years in the cottage, it is nice to have a garage space for music again.  Of course, Joanie is in the middle of her final and most difficult quarter of college, so I may need to figure out a way to make this an acoustic album (despite my having bought a very nice guitar amplifier from Eric).  We'll see how the constraints of time, volume, and frosty temperatures work themselves out.  I've got some song ideas in mind.

I bought a bicycle off Craigslist.  When I went over to the other end of Milwaukie to check it out, I saw a bunch of people smoking and drinking Smrnf Ice on the porch in front of a magnificent river vista.  Somehow it came out over the course of the conversation that I did music stuff, so the  lady selling me the bike showed me all sorts of incredible audiovisual clutter throughout the place.  I may never see a wall of Commodore monitors again - even in my own house.  Multiple unicycles, pedestrian fatalities, code enforcement, endless sliders and knobs, monitors, Disney on Ice, and the whole thing ended up with a hug.  Wow.  I took the bike into wonderful wonderful Meticon, and while this thing has its quirks in abundance and needed a hell of a lot of work, when I rode it home, I felt like a superhero in the Milwaukie night.  So fast, so smooth.

Eric and I are releasing the newest Activity Universal (note the absence of the word "Associates") album Flee on cassette, so I'm in full-on dubbing mode.  I played it in my car driving the aforementioned bike up to Meticon, and I swear I had like three people honking at me, so transcendent was the Activity Universal driving experience.  Note to self: Do not listen to this album while driving - save it for dishwashing and other household chores.  I need to get cracking on making the cover art (J-card!) and, hopefully, an accompanying comic.

Other than that, I continue biking to work, doing work, looking at other languages all day long.  I like how my Spanish continues to improve, to the point where I feel like I need to start practicing speaking it again.  I need to read more Spanish literature - I read it in translation and think "this has to be better in the original and I'm near the point where I can take it in without too too many visits to the old dictionary."  Plans!

I made my own sauerkraut and it is delicious.  I don't know why I waited so long to start fermenting things.

I must say: having my own little den and keeping it usable (for doing embarrassing things like watching televised sporting events and playing videogames) is 100% wonderful.  What a ridiculous luxury.

I'll post NaSoAlMo updates here in case anyone checks this site anymore.
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Tape Mountain updates at some point in the near future for certain [07 Aug 2011|12:50pm]
Joanie is taking a Dreamweaver course and we're working on updating/unifying/simplifying/repurposing the Tape Mountain website.  It will be pulled kicking and screaming into the early 21st century, weird appendices and cul-de-sacs and ells brought up to code and streamlined.  I like how it looks already.

Dan Hack and I taught another mimeograph workshop yesterday at the Portland Zine Symposium.  As always, great to play off the energy of young zinesters and rekindle my love for mimeography, even in incredibly sweltering indoor heat in a tiny room with about twenty people mimeographing furiously..  As Dan noted, "we keep getting older, but the kids always stay the same age."  Levels of gray hair were compared, drawings of typewriters and Pokemon purchased, etc.  As always, James Yeary and Nate Orton's "My Day" zines are a particular treat to pick up.  I left the event with a Multistamp-generated temporary tattoos on each upper arm and a lot of ink under my fingernails.  A great day.

The Awl's Hüsker Dü listicle without commentary has rekindled my high-school/early-college Husker fixation, and a lot of contemporaneous SST records have come off the cinderblock shelves as well.  It was pretty great to sit on the sofa with Joanie this morning and listen to side two of the Meat Puppets' Up on the Sun... that whole album still holds up so, so well.  It's weird to hear some of these records on my pretty high-quality garage-sale turntable instead of the relatively lousy turntables of my youth, with their worn needles.  The skips are still worn into my head, but apparently my fancy new Technics is able to stay on the correct track, stay focused throughout the first verse of "Bed of Nails" where Bob sings about building a wall to lean on, roof above his mind, instead of building a wall above his mind as he did back in my frantic youth when the needle on my mental turntable kept scrambling for shortcuts.
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several weeks' worth of fascinating life story [20 Mar 2011|11:05am]
THREE WEEKS AGO SATURDAY: I buy a lawnmower and one of those springloaded vegetable choppers at a thrift store. This is not newsworthy? Wait until the next paragraph!

THREE WEEKS AGO SUNDAY: I attempt to reassemble the vegetable chopper after cleaning it and accidentally chop the underside of my right middle finger. This leads to a late night in the Providence Milwaukie emergency room. Everyone is nice and they take care of the bleeding effectively, though if you ever have a chance to avoid having Novocaine shot into your fingers as part of a "digital block" procedure, please do so - it still makes me cringe to think about it. I must have suffered some nerve damage, since my fingertip is still numb weeks later, though I think it's getting better.

FRIDAY EVENING: I come home from work super-exhausted as a result of incredible amounts of work. Ugh! I lay in Joanie's lap and scan around limited-basic cable offerings. For some reason I end up on Telemundo. They're playing a pretty racy evening soap opera and, for some reason, I turn on the closed-captioning and interpret the entire riveting story of bed-hopping, loveless marriage, and taquitos for Joanie. I'm impressed that my Spanish has gotten to the point where I only miss a few words!

SATURDAY: It's Joanie's spring break, so we decide to take a long weekend. We'd thought we'd get out of town to someplace where there isn't rain, but we'd basically have to drive to California, so we end up playing tourist in Portland. We get all-day TriMet passes and walk all around the Pearl District and inner Northwest, visit the 3D museum (conveniently located across the street from my horrible ex-employer), take the same 15 bus that I used to take home from said employer (evocative!) and then end up drinking nice beers at the Hair of the Dog tasting room and The Lion's Eye. It's always nice to remember that I do actually live in this city that people seem to like, and that things have changed a bit in the swankier parts of town since, say, 1994.

The house is shaping up pretty well, and I think we'll probably finally have some sort of housewarming thing next weekend. I've got a rumpus room set up upstairs for videogames and old office equipment, and sections of the garage set aside for recording equipment and a treadmill. So far, my quality of life has improved substantially. Perhaps I'll feel differently when summer comes around, and I'll miss being able to walk up and down Foster and to the park and to the various garage sales in town. But for now, this has been a pretty good house to spend the winter in.
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Report from the new house [16 Jan 2011|11:01am]
So we are now somewhere in Portland or Milwaukie or Happy Valley or Oak Grove or Northwest Boise. Someplace in unincorporated Clackamas County. The rain is coming down hard on the very nice skylight over the stairs.

We now have internet at the house. The last week has seen us doing a lot of cleaning, organizing, and book-reading. There's still a lot of all three of those to do.

Things that I love about this house:
(1) I can jump around in front of the turntable without making it skip. I tested the limits last night to Atole's "Strike Zone" 7", and if you're looking for a record to jump up and down to in order to see if your turntable skips when you jump up and down, this is the record for that purpose. At the previous house, if I thought about the gentlest caress of the wind, the needle would skip like crazy. You couldn't walk in the kitchen without the turntable going berserk. Bad joists there. Here, good joists.
(2) So much space! In the old place, we were crammed together and in close proximity at all times - I couldn't put away dishes or walk too loudly in the morning before Joanie woke up. Now I can even listen to soft videos on the laptop. It is very nice for us, since I seem to require about two hours less sleep per day than she does.
(3) A dishwasher. Oh how I'd missed that.
(4) A garage for storing bikes rather than a shed whose hinges always fall off. Plus storing other stuff, recording, walking on a treadmill when it's raining, etc.

Things I love about this neighborhood:
(1) For not having any sidewalks, this neighborhood is really walkable. It's five minutes to walk to Trader Joe's, Fred Meyer, Home Depot, sporting goods stores, a couple good thrift stores, electronics stores other stuff. No coffee shops, interesting bars, or restaurants that I would want to eat at (one taco cart notwithstanding), but that will just save me money and sodium intake, I hope. Krispy Kreme is also within this range, but I don't think that's an option for me.
(2) Everything seems a little wild. Nothing is figured out. The interaction of Clackamas County and Portland where you can't quite tell if your neighbors have matching "Where's the Birth Certificate?" bumper stickers on their Geos and monster trucks or if they're people who will walk to the nearby Iglesia Adventista del Septimo Dia.
(3) My bike commute is excellent now. A couple minutes and I'm on the bike path that takes me almost all the way to work. And now that I've significantly upgraded my favorite bike (with good brakes and wheels that are the correct size, lighter weight, and not prone to instant spoke-breaking) it's going to be even nicer.

So initial feelings are optimistic, obviously. I'll let you know when the initial shine wears off.
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oh Foster Road [07 Dec 2010|09:24pm]
It's dawning on me that I'll be moving in a month. Various Portlandy couples have stopped by to see our current house - the one couple with dreads and headscarf, the other couple with nosering and sporty jackets. The new face of Foster Road!

The new face of Foster Road: There is now a "movement studio" whose name contains the root "Soma" (Sanskrit) followed by the suffix "-phile" (Greek). My work here as a foot soldier of gentrification is done!

I'm listening to the new T.S. Brooks album on a certain site whose name rhymes with "rye grace". As always, Sean's off to another place, never stopping in one place for too long. The presence of singers who are not Mr. Brooks is a little offputting, as is the radical reimagining of at least one song that dates back to the days when I played drums in dude's band, but I imagine once the shock wears off I'll deal with it. Or perhaps not? Of course it's good stuff. As always, it makes me want to record an album, but then everything does that these days.

Yesterday I went over to the new place for the home inspection. It's solid except for the gas leak in the crawlspace. I'm pursued by gas leaks (insert fart joke here).

The new neighborhood: so still. No sidewalks yet. A gun club within five blocks (NRA membership required). The voting precinct went for Kitzhaber, though just barely. Everything draped in that gray-green Oregon December feeling. Mysterious streets to explore. Eventual garage sales. I'll ride down every street within a few miles eventually come garage sale season.

Empty rooms. I'll fill them.
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no no nasoalmo [22 Nov 2010|07:50am]
So November may come and go without any sort of NaSoAlMo project from me for the first time in several years. Any number of reasons why that's the case:

1) Small house, Joanie trying very hard to catch up on homework - she fell behind back when everything was going down with my dad
2) We are actually doing something about the house issue - we're working on buying a place - more information when things look like they're certain

I think once things get a little bit settled, I'll have to mix down a few things:
1) long-overdue Gang Wizard album from Portland sessions in said small house
2) solo Lents International Farmers Market cloud guitar sessions
3) crazed KBOO sessions from a couple years ago - "Final Guest" and "Geographic Tongue"

But that will all happen eventually.

I rehabilitated my brother's old laptop ("rehabilitated" meaning "installing a relatively lightweight Linux distribution") and am typing on it as we speak.

I swear I will be less boring soon enough, but for now it's all mortgage paperwork and blood pressure medication. Ugh!
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set this day in amber [24 Oct 2010|01:35am]
1. I gave blood. The phlebotomist asked what I was doing later - I said playing board games, and we went off on a tangent about Dominion and Puerto Rico. Later I let her know that I had not received any blood transfusions in the UK or had sexual contact for pay, even once. Then she botched the left arm's vein, so I got to rock matching red bandages on both arms for the rest of the day.

2. We went to Title Wave, where I found a used copy of Robert Wyatt's _Rock Bottom_ for 75 cents, plus all sorts of other great stuff. That place is the best.

3. I played said board games at Dr. Something's fantastic new apartment. One of her neighbors looked in glazed-eyedly from the courtyard while we were playing Dominion. He stared for a while and said, "you guys playing games?" We said "yes." He paused for a long time. "Demons!" Pause. "Parker Brothers!"

4. Then we went to karaoke. Lots of folks joined us - Jordan and Sarah, Anna, Chris, Jan. Jordan nailed a version of "Long Gone Lonesome Blues" in honor of our dad*, and I sang "I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive" to keep the theme going. There was a contest later - I sang "Life During Wartime" - and I won! I can add that to my resume: KARAOKE CHAMPION.

November is coming up pretty soon and I'm looking forward to making another album. Trying to think if I should buy one of those digital-recording doohickies (for convenience's sake) or whether I should just set up the four-track in the bathroom...
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Activity Universal Associates at LENTS INTERNATIONAL FARMERS MARKET this Sunday (7/11) [08 Jul 2010|10:56pm]
Eric and I are playing a set this Sunday at the eternally scrappy and wonderful Lents International Farmers Market. We should play from roughly 11 to 1. We'll be aiming for background music, but we'll see how close we come.

Uh, what have I been up to? I've been carrying a lot of things on my bicycle. Things carried home in the last week or so
* Large Marantz receiver - on the rack without any bungee cords
* Two guitars (actual electronics repairs performed for the first time in a long long time) - on back
* Two large tomato plants - in bag

Perhaps this will be the summer of ridiculous bike challenges?

EPIC GARAGE-SALE UPDATE: Sarah and Michael's garage sale joins the Hall of Legendary Garage Sales. I only ended up getting a ton of cables, a computer (Michael's cast-off server from six or so years ago - now the fastest computer I have in the house, running the new Ubuntu no less, from which I type this!), a fashionable and very warm Russian wool coat for Joanie, various musical doodads, books, zines, minidiscs, etc., but the highlight has to be the perfect suit. It is skinny, brown-with-goldenrod-plaid, and it fit me absolutely perfectly. So perfectly that I wore it to the Grocery Outlet after I left their place. It was a serious Sisterhood of the Traveling Vintage Suits moment. And what's more, I even passed up the mellophone, the upright bass, the weird fretless guitars. Epic, epic, epic.
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Show alert and a non-show-alert post [25 Jun 2010|08:04am]
Okay, obligatory show alert: I'm playing a solo show at Ross Beach's place this Saturday 6/26. I play last at 11:30. Email me if you don't have the address and want to go. There are a couple Activity Universal Associates shows coming up in July - one on KBOO the night of July 5th and one at the Lents International Farmers' Market on July 11th. More info to come.

My bike mechanics (the fine folks at Meticon on Foster) finally figured out a mystery about my dear bicycle. I was wondering why I couldn't put real fenders on the thing, or even heavy-duty tires. It turns out that while the wheels on the bike are 27-inch, the frame is set up to accept 700s. Aha! I love how every garage sale bike comes with some sort of amazing mystery. While they were figuring out said mystery, I rode to work on my backup bikes, and there's just something about the afterschool-special feeling of my horrible garage-sale Huffy...

Also, Joanie is riding her bike to PCC Southeast Center now. Pretty exciting!
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on Midwestern unflappability [09 Jun 2010|08:14am]
I'm going to talk about politics for a second!

The recent spate of ass-kickery on the part of our beloved leader of the free world makes me a little sad. I admit that, were I in a situation like his, I'd probably respond with an air of Midwestern unflappability as well, and I can imagine a situation in which people would prod me. "Don't you feel angry about anything?" Actually, I'm kind of flashing back to what, twelve years ago? during a period of love anguish, and I think back then, my response was, well, Midwestern unflappability. In a lot of ways, the pain of acting out of character is worse than the pain of no-one understanding why you aren't overturning tables. The whole thing reminds me a bit of how much we missed by not electing Walter Mondale in 1984.

Now I'm going to talk about something that is not politics!

ACTIVITY UNIVERSAL ASSOCIATES
AT THE ST. JOHN'S FARMERS MARKET
SATURDAY 6/12/10
11:45ish
There will be toddlers dancing, or at least I hope so.
Link to guerrilla footage of last year's event:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50MJGKzBl0k&NR=1

I left the Portland area for the first time in ages on Saturday when my brother invited us out for a spontaneous sunny-day trip to the beach. It was kind of wild being outside of TriMet range for a little while. I think the plan might be to take a little trip early next week. Someday I may have to update my vehicle so I can actually go over hills in an automobile. And to bring things full circle: I got the blue egg car about twelve years ago, it, too, being Midwestern (Canadian) and also a little unflappable; feed it problems, feed it hills, and it soldiers on wheezingly, without breakdowns.
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let's see if anyone notices [16 May 2010|11:11pm]
As you may have noticed, I've come to realize that I love privacy, sweet sweet privacy. If I don't post on this or on that other site, I assume that everyone assumes I'm continuing to do fantastic things, you know, reading Shakespeare while skydiving, etc.

I have been reading Shakespeare, but definitely not skydiving.

I took a long weekend and had brunch with Joanie a few blocks from where we used to live, back in town. Everyone seems a lot younger and more heavily tattooed. The prices have gone up at the breakfast spot.

I walked from said breakfast spot back to my home on a perfect Friday afternoon. I was looking to write songs about Tualatin Summer for a cassingle of the same name. As I walked along Foster Rd., a song came together about a certain unmatchable crawfish-eating feat at the 1970 Tualatin Crawfish Festival. It worked.

I recorded that song, plus another song called "Tualatin Summer" (to add to the one that I'd already recorded) and then did a version of Dr. Something's song "Schrodinger's Quarantine." I only got about half the lyrics wrong.

Saturday morning: I dubbed cassettes like crazy (on the dubbing deck I'd finally broken down and bought Friday morning at a pawnshop - I'd been hoping to find some super thrift/garage-sale score, but no luck - as you know, it's impossible to find the item you need the same day in the second-hand market, unless that item is a vampire novel or a Ray Conniff record. So I bought the fancy pro-audio tape deck from the pawnshop. It makes humming noises as I print the covers.

Saturday evening: head to Mississippi Pizza. Ah, old Mississippi Pizza, site of so many questionable and ill-attended shows in my earlier years. Dr. Something and I do a set of bad jokes and retrofit our songs so they fit with the story arc of subvillains in their Tualatin underground bunker, fighting bravely against the WES rail station that has mysteriously appeared in their bunker... Anyway, it involved reanimating mastodons. It was great.

I played the cassingle in my car. It sounded tinny and perfect. If you'd like a copy of the cassingle, let me know.
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Speechless Brothers mighty rebirth [20 Dec 2009|09:37am]
Aaron had his 30th birthday party last night, so we turned on the Speechless Brothers machine again. I was in no shape to be playing a show, as I was sick and, well, redact redact, but anyway, Aaron only turns 30 once, and Speechless Brothers play only once every two years or so, so it was time. Even though we hadn't practiced in a couple months (and probably not for a year before that?), it sounded pretty good. I sneaked "Careless Whisper" into the first song at Aaron's request. Jordan and I had a debate over whether said song was a Wham! song or a George Michael solo song, but since I didn't have Ned's number on me, we had to check Wikipedia on Jordan's phone (aka "queasy-net"). So much less interesting than calling Ned from a stairwell about "Easy Lover." It turns out we were both right, sort of.

I really enjoyed the Sustentacula set that happened afterwards, though I wasn't sure what to expect. I wouldn't have guessed that I would enjoy dance-pop when I was in no mood for dancing, with basement ceiling a few mere inches above my head, but I really did, and I was pretty blown away by Ryan's ability to play drums along with laptop beats.

The parade that followed? It was a delight to see my old electric bike pulling a 9-foot dragon float. I felt a little sheepish making noise in the street at a late hour, but there aren't really that many opportunities in a man's life to join a birthday parade with an electric bike pulling a 9-foot dragon float. There are probably more of said opportunities in this particular city than in any other place I've lived, I suppose.

After yesterday's herculean party and going-out-to-do-things efforts, I'm more than content to stay at home and be completely dull today. Ah, sweet dull life.
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