Monday, October 01, 2007

Summer Breeze, Makes Me Feel Fine

Blowin' through the jasmine in my mind.
(guitar lick)

Yes, although it is not technically summer, I am definitely in that mode. I spoke last week about all of the things that I wanted to do now that I "have my life back" and I am pleased to say that everything is cute and funny.

One week ago today, I went to Iowa City to play a show with the Rapidudes. It was a highly anticipated event because I knew that I would (a) get to see the guys from Raccoo-oo-oon before they departed for tour, and (b) be given a sizable kombucha mushroom.

(a). Last August, I recorded Raccoo-oo-oon for about four days here in Bloomington, doing about two days of tracking at Russian Recording, and then another two days of mixing, seeing Snakes on a Plane on opening night, reading my grandfather's autobiography, and eating here in town. These guys are all very nice and cool to hang out with, so it was a real treat to get to record a band that I both liked as people and musicians, and I am really happy that they are doing well, going on cool UK/euro tours, and generally getting famous for making weird music. We recorded about two hours worth of music, and I wasn't entirely clear on what was going to what releases, so I just kind of gave them their stuff and figured they knew what was going on. Fast forward to last week, I meet up with them in Iowa City and they have a whole stack of releases to give to me that came from the session we did. There was their album "Behold Secret Kingdom" in two formats, the vinyl on the cool Los Angeles label Not Not Fun, and the CD on the dashing Swedish label Release the Bats. Stuff looked good (and sounded pretty alright too, I guess). I am credited as playing bass and guitar on a couple of songs, and let me tell you, the guitar solo that I played on that one song is pretty blazin'. Hot Lixx instructional video style.


As if one LP wasn't enough to come out in one month, there was another, entitled "Mythos Folkways vol. 3," released on the adventurous Brooklyn label Woodsist. Everyone who sees it in my room seems to like the cover, which was done by Shawn from the band. Apparently I play on this record as well, although I don't really remember exactly what it is, since I never burned a CD of this stuff for my car. Kevin Clarke, if you are reading this, please return my record player.

mythos III

There was also a 7" that had come out on the sexy Arizona label Gilgongo. Haven't listened to it yet. See above. Anyway, having all this cool stuff come out has made me excited about doing recording again. Perhaps my dreams of being the next Rick Ocasek (looks included) are not completely shattered.


Then they gave me a bunch of other stuff, like tapes and zines that they made. Such creative and interesting fellows, it is always fun to hang out with them, especially when they make it feel like Christmas. We went out to a couple of art shows, ate art show foods, and hanged out at Shawn and his cool and nice girlfriend Sarah's house.


(b). Iowa City rock promoter and interesting fellow Jason Brizzi said that he would give me a kombucha mushroom, and he certainly delivered the goods (in a large Smucker's jar). As if that wasn't enough, he had all of this other hippie food in the trunk of his car, and he was like "Hey do you want something else, like what about some bee pollen?" and I thought to myself, "Yes, I think I would like some bee pollen" although I really had no idea what the stuff does. I just had this vague impression that it is hard to get, and that it was good for something about health maybe. So he hands me this little container, like the containers with the lids that they give you the salsa in at La Bamba or Laughing Planet. I am trying to eat this bee pollen, but it's like, you know, basically just pollen, and it is making my mouth really dry. So I decided I was going to save the rest for later, and put the cap on the container and put the container in my jacket pocket where my keys were. You can probably see where this is going. At some point during the evening, the cap feel off, and bee pollen got all over my pocket, and now there is a strange yellow powdery residue stuck to a bunch of my keys. It's not bad at all though, because it actually makes for an excellent story that I enjoy telling to people. Something about a bee pollen accident as a by-product of kombucha mushroom acquisition makes people interested, I guess.

So that was my trip to Iowa. A good way to start the end of school and the beginning of what could possibly be the best summer of my entire life. (I mean, I'm not counting on it, but it could be, right?) I came home to a ragin' karaoke party in my living room, which at its most surreal featured Hector and his very young (like 10 years old, maybe) sister singing "Like a Virgin." Andrew Restrepo's Steely Dan rendition really got the house jumpin'. In an attempt to not make this seem like one of those blogs that people write to convince others and themselves that their life seems awesome, I will leave it at that. It was fun.

Karestrepoke Karestrepoke

"When are we going camping?"
Not only is this the punchline to a fascinating joke that I heard in junior high,* this is a real question that I am asking real people. I am ready, and the weather is only going to get grosser from here on out.

So I have been working about 20 hours a week at the journal, and I must say that 20 hours a weeks a pretty pleasant amount of time to work a job. It's not exhausting, it feels just right. I can feel like a legitimate, productive human being while also having enough time to hang out with friends, play games, record music, maybe watch some movies, and be creative. 20 hours a week feels pretty right, I would say. The last time I felt this balanced was when I was delivering sandwiches at Jimmy John's in the summer of 2001. Although it was kind of a long time ago, it was a similar vibe.

My new interest for tinkering is in this thing that I got in the mail. <--Wow, that is an awkward sentence!


It's called an Arduino, and it is cheap, Italian, open-source, small, cute, pretty easy to use, and a lot of fun. You can interface it with Max/MSP, PD, or even Flash, and it lets you hook up a variety of wild and weird things to your computer so that physical environments can control the computer, or the computer can control physical environments (...paging Gerg Dixon!). I hope to soon join the army of nerds who are posting videos of their retarded Arduino inventions on YouTube, so I will keep you posted on that. I am working on something "really cool" right now, and it involves a helmet, a guitar, and Max/MSP, so I am sure you are all excited, aren't you? Once again, I am cursed with an interest in too many things.

*email me if you don't know what I am talking about. It's funny.

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