the trouble with music

Cat eyes, 2009/03/31 

The trouble with music is that music necessitates sharing, almost as if some inherent feature in it contains an altruism prompt. Of course I do not mean to equivocate selflessness and musicians which might seem to be the case. Music is independent of its escape route. Just like water will find a path through the surface of most any material – eventually – music seems to find the path out.

While this may not seem problematic, and it may well not be for some, it has become a gnawing battle between conflicting emotions for me. Not typically an especially extroverted person, letting music escape from me to a wider audience has been like staring into an abyss, both mesmerizing and terrifying. Yet, nevertheless, with a great deal of encouragement and support from friends, I untethered some music from my soul to let it whirl about at the Fox and Goose last night and tickle the cilia of a few eardrums.

My legs were trembling and there was a brief moment during the last song when I thought I would not remain in the upright primate position. I think I looked up once, briefly, realized my glasses were on, removed them, set them on the table in front of me and never again removed my fixed gaze from the neck of my guitar until I finished. Not exactly a dynamic performer. Yet to set billions of air molecules to dance in that one particular choreography that only those notes from the guitar could direct in that way at that moment was exhilarating.

I had queried several seasoned musicians for insight about performance dread (they call it anxiety) and tried to make use of it. In the end I’m not sure what happened. Compulsively pacing while waiting for the lottery to learn when in the queue of players my slot was destined, the tickets were drawn. Ticket after ticket after ticket until finally mine. Dead last.

In the end it may have been good old fashioned guilt that pushed me through my fog of physiological petrification. Ten innocent people who had come to show support on a Monday night until about as late in the night as one can get before the night technically becomes morning could not be denied. But I feel as though it was by making myself small that I survived the battle of conflicting emotions, the big booming canons of a pounding heart, the raging voice of the martyred mistress of guilt, and the ephemeral guile of music.

Thanks to all of you music lovers and all those friends who helped me jump off the deep end.

what’s developing…

raison detre, 2009/03/29 

a new place to live

maintain a safe distance…

Mr. Kent planned to attend a job fair soon, but said he did not completely mind living outdoors.
“We got veterans out here; we got people with heart, proud to be who they are,” Mr. Kent said. “Regardless of living situations, it doesn’t change the heart. There’s some good people out here, really good people.”

But the danger after dark is real. Ms. Smith, who lost an eye after being shot in the face years ago, said she had seen two people killed in New Jack City, prompting her to move to Taco Flats and try to quit drugs. Her companion, Willie Mac, 53, a self-described youth minister, said he was “waiting on her to get herself right with the Lord.”

Ms. Smith said her dream was simple: “To get out of here, get off the street, have our own home.”

3:05 A.M.

byronius, 2009/03/28 

Something is supposed to be dreaming. But then Max arrived, and we all know how that goes.

Sunrise for Max?


Max, 2009/03/26 

Stolen from a commenter at HuffPo who stole it from Wonkette. Aint the internet grand?


Obama”s supporters: Yes.

Wingnuts: Surely you cannot DENY now that he uses a TelePrompTer!??? Admit it! Admit he uses a telEprOmpter!

Obama supporters: Of course he does.

Wingnuts: Do YOU DENY IT?

Obama supporters: No. Why?


Obama supporters: Um, not a clue. What?

Wingnuts: …..(crickets)……..


obama art

raison detre, 2009/03/24 

click here

Calvin explains business

Max, 2009/03/23 

Calvin & Hobbes lemonade stand

An epiphany


An interesting thought process occurred this weekend. Going into it I was very anxious about the Mars project, starting to get a little stressed out over project managing the weekend session coming up and whether it should be Friday or Saturday night. I was also buzzing with excitement over the next song in the suite, Travelers, and enjoying the process of working out the parts. On top of this, I was hopeful of- at long last- getting a working studio off the ground, an effort made essential by the need to work on these songs constructively. Reed’s successful use of a Tascam US122 direct box as a crucial component of his system, along with the realization that I have the exact same hardware available along with the accompanying Cubase software, made me think I might finally get it to work.

Friday night I dove in and tried to get it to work and failed yet again. No matter what I did playing with the configurations of device setup, etc. I was unable to get a single note to emerge from either my bass or my Keystation midi controller via the computer. In desperation I called Senrab and left a message asking him for help- then went to watch Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man (awesome). Senrab called back close to midnight and had me up and running within an hour. Finally some success- but still a lot of anxiety. Were we planning on a Friday or Saturday session? Unresolved. Would I have Travelers in some form ready to present to the rest of the band? Still pretty unlikely with the late start on being able to use my “studio.”

I finally reached Byronius by phone and had a bit a bit of a reality check when I started talking about my ideas for Travelers. It turns out he and Blaze (the drummer) were not used to anything like this pace of plowing ahead with new material. They both were accustomed to spending months on each song. This made me think a bit. At first my reaction was to think that, that’s easy for them- they’ve got a studio and in a way the music is an ongoing way of life. What’s the rush? Whereas for me, it feels like there is a great sense of urgency. I had to ask myself why.

The answer came to me this morning. This creative cycle is most unusual for me. I’ve been in stasis for a decade and a half. The flip in my thinking that enabled me to break out of the deadlock is still poorly understood. As a result, I tend to think of it as a momentary miracle- liable to vanish in an instant. That’s why I feel the need to strike while the iron is hot and get this material down while I can. I’m now thinking this is a mistake. Taking a cue from the travails of the economy, I realize it’s bubble mentality, and seeing it as a bubble reinforces the likelihood that it will act as one. Byronius and other artistic individuals I know- like my wife- don’t think this way. They take creativity as a given and accept that it will always be there to some extent, waxing and waning in intensity perhaps, but never gone forever.

As I re-think what has given rise to this recent burst of creativity, it’s not as mysterious as first appears. A contemplative routine involving exercise and great views of a wonderful environment near my home combined with a reduction in overall life stress, combined with a catalyst- something to trigger the process- results in production of God knows what- but it’s something. My catalyst is now something of a mantra. Throw yourself over the cliff, metaphorically speaking. Screw the fear of embarrassment. It works so far, and there’s no reason to think it shouldn’t continue working. The result is real. Something is Dreaming and Round, rough and raw as they are, are now real songs I’ll be improving, performing, and enjoying for a long time. Hopefully, there will be many more to come. There’s no reason to rush. Let it flow.

Google Mars.

byronius, 2009/03/20 

Did you know that if you go to Google Mars, and download the update, you can explore Mars in 3-D just like in Google Earth?

Seriously. That’s frickin’ ultra. I didn’t know that.

Excellent! I wonder if you can copy images?

I’m goin’ in.

Update: This explains how to use it.

You can choose Earth, Sky (!! HOLY SHIT !!), or Mars. Mars is only hi-res in certain places, but I understand this is due to improve, and much raw image data is available.

Update Two: You can copy any image in the window, at a pretty big size. Here’s the slopes of Olympus Mons:

This is incredible. Not the whole planet, but certain places — you can see the grains of Martian sand. OMG.

Click for full-size.

And another, quickly:

Click for larger.



Max, 2009/03/19 

(follows Round)

Far from the star of our home world we rest
in this ice world we wait for new land
Long ago sent into exile we sailed ‘cross the void
past the end of all worlds
Deep space is quiet and restful and cold…
hardened ‘gainst radiation we sleep

Something comes slowly and makes itself known-
a slippery slope to a new star
Now it gets stronger and faster we move-
away from our neighbors far far away
A new journey finds us speed fast on our way-
the light getting brighter- the cold fades

Here comes great light and heat, a furnace,
a fiery demon, to char and destroy
How will our epochal journey now end,
in oblivion, blackened, cold, and dead?
Or will something catch us and help us
to live and grow… on a nurturing world?

Only a few must survive…

Bringing the secrets of life…

One world grows larger…

Profit Prisons.



The end result of the GOP’s desire to fully privatize the prison industry.

I’m reminded of the two Pennsylvania judges that sentenced thousands of innocent juveniles to be incarcerated in for-profit facilities they owned stock in.

Hey, free enterprise, right? Bow down.

Next up: Using Other Words For Child Slavery So As Not To Stir Up The Liberals.

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