last few copies of _Tonight I'll Forget the English Language_ at Deathbomb Arc

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.

it's been a rough 72 hours

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.

the maiden voyage of the Hot Apparatus

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 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 on the stereo.  Joanie came down and started dancing to "New New" and we danced together.  Oh how in love I felt.

We're gonna have a - NERD PARTY tonite!!!!!!!


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!


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?

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


NaSoAlMo 2012 - complete!

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.

and with the ring of the bell, the 2012 garage sale season is open

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.

a quick note on rock-paper-scissors

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:


other excursions

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.

Hello NaSoAlMo

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.

Tape Mountain updates at some point in the near future for certain

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.