Friday, November 11, 2011

Anybody home?

Wow, its been a while. Long enough for Google to revamp the whole thing. Seems pretty streamlined. Whatever. I had a plan. The plan was to do my time in the trenches and move on at the first opportunity. To be fair, I did get that started, applied for a couple of positions. So far, duds. Oh, not complete duds, but still no upgrades. I pretty much aced the first position interview, but the position was put on ice for budgetary reasons. Not that they don't need the people doing the work, its just that they have screwed up so many times that they ran out of budget for the fiscal year, so all non-moneymaking position hiring have been put on the back-burner. The second, well, I wasn't really expecting to get it, and I didn't. But the feedback was that the interest was there, but they went for a more senior colleague. Totally expected. Which pretty much means that I sort of aced it. Better luck next round I guess. But the plan goes forward, with a couple of initiatives to work on, and stepping up my game. Finance is a WONDERFUL thing. Well, we'll see how wonderful when they give me my end-of-the-year bonus. And money is what it's about. I make the best salary I've ever earned. Yet I'm still regularly broke. Mind you, shopping for toys has something to do with it. And vet bills. And credit. That evil, evil credit. But if it wasn't for credit, many a things wouldn't have happened. I wouldn't be living where I do now, for one thing, and I wouldn't have gotten the job I have now. I'm still broke, but my fur children are alive and well. Wait, did I just manage to write a blog post?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tabula Rasa

Wow. How can the weekend end any worse than it has. It seemed pretty ordinary, mundane even. But this... wow.

My writing is all gone. All my documents are gone. Missing. Nowhere in sight.

There is the possibility that its just a computer bug; but even my backups are missing. My lead theory is that when I reordered the archives I screwed up and deleted the folder by accident. Its possible. Unlikely, but possible.

Its all gone.

Well, not much else to do now but... start from scratch.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On the plus side

I am not a summer man. Due to some genetic configuration, I generate quite a bit of body heat (I have been referred to as a furnace by bed mates) and am quite comfortable in the colds of winter. When you raise the ambient temperature above the twenties I start looking for the shade, and when heatwaves strike, I'm a pretty miserable man. That I live in a part of the world that tends towards the humid as a general rule only makes matter worse. All that to say that I pretty much require air conditioning in the summer.

We already have one small unit, but given the layout of any apartment that has more than one room, a single unit does not suffice. While setting one in the bedroom allows for comfortable night, and general comfort for the rats, the rest of the apartment will quickly turn into a sauna. SO we were considering getting our hands on a second unit for the main area. We had a deal for a large unit, near new, ready to be delivered for an affordable price. All is well, right?
All we would have had to do is bring i up four flights of stairs; easy!

Well, it turns out that it became unnecessary, as one fully functional (so far) unit was abandoned by one of the tenants who was moving out. Just a bit of tuning and its set up and operational, at a rather lower cost. Awesome.

Living in apartment buildings is a great thing for a scavenger like me. Oh sure, I like buying new stuff, but why buy new if there's free stuff that still works, just sitting there? I have saved quite a bit of cash over the years by sifting through alleys, thrift and pawn shops for little abandoned treasures. A large portion of mu furniture was salvaged and modified over the years, satisfying the thrifty man in me.

Don't left the door hit you on the way out!
And then I got fed up with mismatched bookshelves and coffee tables, so when we moved to the new place I dumped a lot of that junk and moved on to new, if low quality (hello IKEA) furniture which served my purposes better. It does have its advantages to own matching dining chairs for instance.

But I cant help it, as a walk the streets I still keep an eye out for orphan items and garbage heaps. Its sort of built in, you know? So yesterday, another tenant abandoned a coffee machine. Not one of those filter coffee machines, a freaking espresso/cappuccino machine. Of course I have learned to not expect too much out of found items, there might be a good reason why it was abandoned... but this little guy works. Seems to work just fine too. Just a bit of cleaning, and there we are, fully functional expresso machine.

Some other items become something of a quest for the Holy Grail, in my case a specific ice cream flavor from a specific maker. I went through many a grocery store and specialty shop, and no luck. I checked their website, just to see if maybe they stopped making it, but no, its still available. The problem has more to do with the little jackasses ordering the flavors. They tend to be unimaginative and stick to the stuff that everybody expects to find. Today I decide to check one grocery store where I thought that I might at least get some of the others I had discovered since then; lo and behold, my freaking ice cream is there, waiting for me.
These guys, but not that flavor. I'm a cherry cheesecake man!

Fuck yeah.

And. Because there is an and. The luck (or synchronicities?) continue. I had set my mind to a particular name for  a project I had been keeping on the back burner. I had checked before and nobody was using that name, so I was keeping it under wrap so that no one would find out I wanted to use it and jump the gun. When I finally got around to make use of it, goddamnit there were three existing bands/projects/business that were using it. That dumped something of a sandbag on my drive and I had resigned myself to assign some of that work to another project name, since that it wasn't being used anyways.

Even Mark Wahlberg agrees that its a weird happenstance.
Then, as I was watching Max Paine (shut up) while keeping an eye on the rats wandering around, something settled on my inner eye and ear, and I liked the sound and image of it. It fitted perfectly. I checked and... nobody was using it. So I set it up and its now mine.

Its a bloody four-in-four. Its awesome.

Maybe I should get to writing non-blog stuff, just to see what happens. Weirder things sure have. If a truck couldn't stop me, just slow me down, then all I have left to do is get on it and get'er done.

Texas is good for something after all.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The long and lonely road out of the wilderness

I've been making music on and off for over twenty years. Okay, not all of it was music; some of it would more accurately be described as sound manipulation, but then again, it does describe quite a bit of my musical output.

At some point I had collaborators, even a band, tho never garage, even tho we had thought about it.  It eventually burned out, but the run was nice. It ended with the most public contact with my work. Afterwards, some noodling and doodling, even that collaborative work ended, going nowhere fast. So I entered the wilderness of recording some riffs and beats, going nowhere.

While wandering the wilderness, I thought that I could just come up with my own publishing label, especially in those days of the net, where DIY was even more king than today. It didn't get anywhere, and I ended up with some material being released through a micro label, the now defunct Bone Structure. That period had its up-and-downs, but I got to put out one particular project I had been rather proud of, a full album of my work under Chapelle Nitrique, PIGGI.

At the time Myspace was still going strong, so I tried to use it to get the word and interest out, but I'm a terrible marketer and fairly proud man, so it went nowhere. Back in the deep wilderness I went. It got quite a bit darker, as while I certainly had quite a bit of instruments and tools, I just couldn't get myself to create anything. I had long periods of time when I could have done new work, but the inspirational drive was missing.

As I've ranted on about before, I thought that more toys were needed. I wasn't completely off on that one, but I was actually gunning for the wrong ones. It took some going, but eventually I hit the right item, and the inspirational drive suddenly came back from vacation abroad, so the work began anew,

And then some.

After a few years of wasting hours of computer time on online games, I now spend hours working on new material. And I do mean new material, not a rehashing of old licks and familiar tunes. Its a great time, but its a little overwhelming. I went from zero to one-hundred-twenty in a short span of time. When I have time to think my own thoughts I end up thinking about the new tracks and what work needs to be done to them.

The label has finally begun being build. The projects are getting defined. Websites are under construction and I'm starting to emerge. It took some time. Even if I don't hit some sort of commercial success (tho it'd be nice) I am still satisfied that I'm going to be heard again.

Friday, June 3, 2011

What's in a name?

First, let me start with a story: I grew up with cats, and except for exceptional circumstances, I have had little time of my existence that I have not shared with feline companions. When I struck out on my own, I was in chaotic circumstances and it took a few years for me to adopt. When my faithful companion had to be put down due to extremely difficult circumstances (10% chances of survival are not good odds) I parted with the beasts... for a short while.

I did adopt again, and then things got out of control; being in low-income jobs, spaying a female is a pretty tough thing to do, so I ended up with a slut that would get pregers as soon as it was possible. I ended up with several litters (which totally got me over the cuteness of kittens) and when I had to part with them because of tough choices, I had to get rid of some adorable and loving toms who wanted nothing more than to be loved.

Throughout all this, I have named every one of them, and never have I ever repeated or reused a name. To me, it feels wrong to do so, a sort of sacrilege and insult to the original bearer. This came to me as I was musing over getting an orange tabby again and whether I would name him after one of his loving predecessors.

It turns out that associating a name with an individual, a place, a thing is a pretty powerful thing,. something that should be done carefully, after some serious thought has been put into it, so that you don't end up with something ridiculous, or out of some sort of ironic joke. Its rarely funny for long.

When I was settling with the idea of creating my own label, or publisher, call it what you will, it took some work. Turns out that pretty much every name that I thought would be good and obscure enough that nobody would have thought of had in fact been thought of and used by somebody else. Thanks Google for messing up with my delusions.

As I was researching about setting up my own website, it was highly recommended that I don't mess around too much researching that particular name, as there are what you could call web speculators, that scoured the search engine results and buy up domain names so that if the prospective user wanted to get it, they'd have to buy it off of them at a premium. I wanted to avoid that, and so I made up my own and registered it.

I am a man of multiple outputs. I like to do play with roles and masks, so my musical output requires me to create different identities, each having their own personalities, appealing to both different crowds (or small gathering of shady loners) and different aspects of myself. Most of these aspects got their names early on and those identities got parked on Myspace; because let's be honest, after Facebook hit critical mass (right about the time Murdoch bought Myspace), it went right the hell down the drain. But it wasn't about making those name household memes, it was about keeping a presence on the web so that others couldn't use them.

All but one. There was one identity that wasn't parked, because until recently, it didn't have a voice. By the time it found itself a voice, it was too late and I could not use it without encountering some possible conflicts, not exactly something I want to bother with. I also wanted to avoid the whole "geographic tag" so that two bands could use the same name without getting confused (even if only one will ever make it far enough to be remembered, like Chameleons UK.)

So I am now in search for a particular identity. Its galling, as it now has a voice, but no name. You cant be too clever or quirky, or you'll just turn into one of those hated hipsters. The very fact that those... creatures are allowed to touch keyboards... well, maybe it'll make good pawnshop hunting in a year or two.

You've got to look at the bright side of live, or you'll turn into an emo drama queen, who in their own special way, were just as bad as hipsters.

Just... better looking. Sometimes.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Out of the gates

My first complete piece in years, a special theme for my friend Madame Cagliastro, got its premiere this week on her radio show, Ritual Darkness. You can listen to the episode here; you can also follow through and listen to the other episodes that she's done and witness for yourself what it means not only live by your credo, but make a living off of it, with no shame, exploitation nor apology.

This goes to show that there still are good things in America, even if the Rapture comes.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spring floods

Spring has always been a wet event when I was growing up; living right next to a river brings certain things into perspective, like just how bad things can get. This year, the flood is pretty bad, as its making evening news. Americans may think its normal for places along the Mississippi, and there are always certain spots where the damage is more extensive than in others, so seeing it on the news didn't mean much to me.

Then I asked my family if the situation as reported was really that bad, or was it just slow news week and no juicy scandals were out and about to distract the masses. It was (and still is) much worse than I thought. It wasn't just a few isolated spots that got swamped, it was the whole freaking region. While flooding is expected in the more peripheral zones, this time the water has risen in the heart of the town in places that never flood. Its bad enough that evacuation was necessary.

The wet shit has hit the fan indeed, and was making sure that everyone got a generous helping.

But this is not the spring flood I want to talk about. I have been struggling for a few years now to get some tracks together, make anything that got from A to B with some sort of aural sense and have been hitting the auditory blank page at pretty much every attempt. Of sure, there's several recordings of varied guitar noodlings, some very basic riffs recorded for later use, but nothing is turning up on that front so far.

The last complete tracks I had made date back to my work being published by the microlabel Bone Structure. Some of the material released in the compilation were actually dug out from the archives, but there were a couple of tracks that were new material, and there was a certain amount of new noise work that got done (including a pretty cool atmospheric track in collaboration with Beta Cloud.) But for one reason or another, the muse buggered off and nothing worth mentioning had come out for long stretches.

I had projects, work I had wanted to put out, but just couldn't get past the apparently massive creative hurdles. Its amazing really just how may obstacles you can put in your own way when some difficulties arise and you create problems instead of creating solutions.

It becomes a time of "if only'; a quest for that silver bullet that will make things work, that will magically solve the problem.

And then you clue in that the problem is that you're just not getting the job done.

The floodgate has been pried open and the tracks are happening. Its sort of shocking how fast they happen, after such a long time of drought. Its come to the point where I have to tell myself to stop working and head to bed, or I'd sleep three hours a night so that I could spend more time in the studio. One thing that helped, the crowbar that did the heavy work is that I ignored the defeatist mind and kept on working when difficulty arose. No "I'll work on it later", or "fuck it it wont work" and dropping the project into oblivion (and a cluttered graveyard it is indeed.)

I have spent a weekend of night and pushed one project to completion, a gift for my dear friend, Madame Cagliastro. I had offered her a theme song for her radio show some time ago, and finally pushed the stone off to the top of the hill and let it roll at the feet of the spiteful gods. I have delivered on my promise and the piece will premiere this Friday on her show.

I'm excited, as this is the most public showing of my work since  Bone Structure. And its not shying me either, as I spend more time and creative juices building new works, which I deem mostly practice tracks, but which get me doing, instead of whining and pining for that thing that used to be.

Sometimes you need a hit to the head to get the right perspective; sometimes you need a kick in the ass. Whatever gets the creative juices flooding.

I'm back, baby. Let the games begin.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

If you build it

I have something of an affliction: I am both an artist and a craftsman, which presents some interesting challenges. For one thing, I keep coming up with projects for builds I could do; on the other, I don't necessarily know how I'll do it.

Its a problem compounded by my data hoarding tendencies, so its very possible that, somewhere, I have the instructions for doing these particular projects, if I can only remember where the damned thing is.

Did I mention that I am not the most organized person (few... collectors are) and given the fairly wide fields of interest and a curious mind, I am somewhat subject to what could be called procrastination?

Actually, the problem is prioritizing. Many of the projects are not necessarily that long to implement, its that I always com up with different thing that should/could be done RIGHT NOW that getting anything started is a project unto itself... and the vicious circle completes its round.

Rambling intro, but now, the story. About twelve years ago (roughly) I decided that I could get a little more serious about making music and, to that end, I should get some sort of instruments. Also, some band mates. Getting people to join a band isn't that hard (good/reliable is an entirely different deal), but getting instruments is a bigger bitch when you are on minimum wage. SO you start scrounging. One of my splurges at the time was a good old Korg Poly 800, a synth that I like a lot, but which pretty much gave up working, probably after falling on the floor too many times. The other "find" was an electric guitar I found in a thrift store for $20.

At the time, I was flabbergasted, I mean how often do you find electric guitars (or any non-toy instruments) for that price, ever? It was a good deal I though. But there was a pretty good reason why it was there, at that price. The Ibanez (my first electric!) had a split neck, so not all that much in demand. I cant say that the whammy bar was any better, but there's ways around that.

So the neck got replaced (not by a proper replacement, just one that fitted) and we used it as badly as we could. Eventually I got my hands on several other guitars and the Ibanez was put away and nearly forgotten. Out of sigh, out of mind, right?

More or less. It has remained on the back burner, as a source for whatever parts that I could use for another project (I never did get around to build the ATG) but as a hoarder... er collector, I have more ideas than results, so it mostly ends up as boxes of parts, never getting used.

On my way back from work one day, I picked up a seemingly fine Gibson Epiphone Flying V body casually dumped into the trash. I picked it up, with the idea that I'd rebuild that bad boy at some point using, why not, the parts of the pretty listless Ibanez! The idea was there, and both relics laid buried in the closet.

The idea was still simmering on the back burner; anyone who knows me is aware of my leaning towards slow foods and long simmering, and that also applies to some of my less edible projects. The Flying V will get rebuilt, a crazy Frankenstein of a beast, but there's not much of the Ibanez that I'll salvage out of it.

See, it turns out that the Ibanez is probably the crappiest guitar I have. Even the entry level no-name strings I have have better electronics and sound that that sad, sad beast. I might salvage the pickups, but that's pretty much it.

As for the V, I seem to have to go and buy the parts, bit by bit, that I'll need. It'll still be a monster, it might well be not-so playable, but it'll be a monstrous beauty. If I have to eat less snacks, I will build it, and it'll be a unique baby indeed.

Don't mess with the man who collects old junk; even he doesn't what what he'll hit you with!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Movie Review: Valhalla Rising

How often have you picked up a movie based on the cover, or seen a movie based on the poser, only to be struck with a case of "what the fuck was that" as the credits roll? Sure some of those movies turn out to be brilliant mindfucks, and some turn out to be at the very least entertaining, but many of them just turn out to be very sour brews indeed. This movie certainly belongs to the second category.

I mean, lets start with the above, it seems pretty gritty to me (especially if its been placed right next to Centurion). This looks like a movie that will make a Saturday night of light and bloody viewing, right?

And the synopsis: "1000 AD, for years, One Eye, a mute warrior of supernatural strength, has been held prisoner by the Norse chieftain Barde. Aided by Are, a boy slave, One Eye slays his captor and together he and Are escape, beginning a journey into the heart of darkness. On their flight, One Eye and Are board a Viking vessel, but the ship is soon engulfed by an endless fog that clears only as the crew sights an unknown land. As the new world reveals its secrets and the Vikings confront their terrible and bloody fate, One Eye discovers his true self"

Vikings, slavery, escapes, new world, terrible and bloody fate... sounds like proper Saturday night entertainment, no?

Well, no, not entertaining, unless that the first movie that comes to mind if I say "Western" is Dead Man. Dont get me wrong, Jim Jarmusch did a beautiful job with that film, but lets be honest and admit that John Wayne, Sergio Leone and even Young Guns came way ahead on the list.

This is the kind of movie only a hipster or art house fanatic would love: its slow, the dialogues are "deep" and the action is so sparse that someone picking his nose looks like ultraviolence. But seriously, the acting is terrible, the plotting non-existent; its a waste of celluloid. This is the kind of movie a writer would put out if he thought himself too smart for more regular fare; in fact this is exactly what happened, making a "different spin" kind of junk heap, full of pointless shots and silent scenes.

That this movie get compared to Herzog's Aguirre, The Wrath Of God, or to Alexandro Jodorowsky just shows how much he'd want to be cool, or talented. At best this might have made a decent short film, a good twenty-thirty minutes of existential gore, but no, its just drawn out boredom. You keep expecting that at some point something will happen, but at best somebody does something hare brained and gets killed. In the reviews I've browsed there's the constant mention of the brutality and violence in the film; its the most interesting parts of the movie, its would have benefited from quite a bit more of it. It makes the whole thing a lot less tedious.

Another recurring theme is how you shouldn't expect video game action, and that this is a more intelligent sort of movie... no, its just a very boring, ill crafted, empty take on spiritual journey. Not surprisingly, this movie seems backed up by the IFC, a channel I stopped watching a few years back when they kept playing incredibly pretentious films that bored me to tears. This is not a smart spiritual journey into the heart of the human soul, its ninety-three minutes of nothingness, sprinkled with some pseudo-existential monologue (not really any dialogue to speak of), but mostly long shots of barren terrain, most likely because it cost nothing and required no technical skills to achieve.

If that movie has a positive, then it'd be the soundtrack. Very atmospheric, alien, brooding, this said more than any character did at any time in his sad flick. Unfortunately, its not good enough to waste your time with this piece of junk, watch Dead Man, or any other Jim Jarmusch film instead. See, the sad thing is that Dead Man, the film that Refn is ripping off in this sad piece, is far superior, because the script, the acting, the directing, everything is better really, and it was done on nearly the same budget.

Done waste your time with this film, its really a bad marketing job that will put you to sleep.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Prove your worth

With new technologies and the intertubes, everybody and their grandma seems to think that they can be stars by grabbing a cellphone and shooting their antics and putting it out on Youtube. Sure, you'll get a chance to get stranger's responses, and with a bit of luck, you might go viral, at which point you'll have stopped being relevant.

Now if you want to know the gritty behind the scenes of film making, check out the blog for Conversion, the film that Kate MacDonald wrote (and acted in!) and Dominic Marceau directed... and financed out of their own damn pocket. It turns out that it takes more that a few fancy megapixels and some snazzy Apple app to make a movie a reality.
This is not about Google Maps

So buckle up and read it, ya crazy kids!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

If the water's frothing, its probably rapids

I haven't really ever had a smooth sailing life. There's always all sorts of things in your way, some intentional, others circumstantial, that pose a hazard to the path of your lifeboat, as it were.

Now enough with the cute imagery and on with the concrete.

Since my summer vacation, there's been all sorts of things happening: not getting paid, losing jobs, waiting for the powers that be to help, nasty neighborhoods, asswad neighbors, rough financial situations, medical conditions, deaths, adoptions, and the wonderful lifestyle experiment called "getting by."

I'm not so much talking about excuses for things not getting done, but the consequences of making choices. If I make the choice of improving my existence, then its likely that something's gonna give somewhere. Some of those choice may well impact others, some very close indeed, in a negative way, for a variety of reasons. We all have our own weight to bear.

After some due considerations, we've decided that we were adopting a rescue cat, which turned out to be two, which also turned out to be adults, because fuck babies. Now, due to our mindset, we went for "trouble cases", specifically we adopted a pair that came from a hoarder ceisure. Cats in who come from that sorts of environments have certain issues and may be somewhat problematic on the socialization side of things.

And thus our first weekend with the new tenants began. The girl is a sweetheart, a cute little thing barely over four pounds ( and yet she's the eldest of our felines) with a respiratory problem that will stay with her all of her life. The boy, while somewhat skinny for a Persian, is of much stronger built and only recently spayed, which is problematic when introduced into an existing dynamic of two large males.

Fur flew. The Maine Coon, is not happy about the new pensioners and is quite vocal about his distaste. He also refuses to deal with them at this point, requiring a certain level of supervision and isolation. This situation, combined with some fairly tight financial woes prevents us from having something of a social life for a while. My return to customer service, putting me in constant contact with the general public all day does not encourage me to interact even more when I'm off work, and my partner's recent unemployment has the added benefit of making a tight financial regimen necessary.

To our friend's woe.

I haven't had to sail such precarious water for so long, it takes some getting used to, and with any luck a few good nights of sleep. It does allow us to catch up a little with our mounting pile of movies that were acquired but not yet previewed.

There is a price for everything, and responsibility requires some sacrifices. I can only count myself lucky that we have cats and not children; we'll never have to deal with having to drive them to soccer practice.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Coming soon to a browser near you

There are events that may not leave much of a mark; verbal abuse has very little visible impact for instance. And then there are events that, by all logic, should leave terrible marks. Being hit in the head with a truck door would, by all order of logic, leave a lasting impression on the receiver. It would certainly be hard to think that it couldn't

And yet, besides the obvious scars, I have little aftereffects of that event. Well, little physical traces anyways. There are consequences, just not the kind that most people expect.

For instance, there was no sudden interest in religion, renewed belief in God, or spiritual discovery. I did not succumb to some sort of massive life questioning where my path is reset and a new direction is taken, one possibly more aligned with people's expectations.

There was certainly an renewal in spiritual pursuit, just like there was a renewed dedication of artistic endeavour, and certainly a new understanding of what had to be done for my goals to be achieved. It had dawned on me just how much time got wasted, some of it due to external circumstances, some of it due to self-limitation.

In my artistic pursuits, I have decided a while back that I should control my destiny as much as possible; while the concept of self-publishing or micro labels is certainly not new, or financially rewarding, I figured that if I was going to do this, I should do my utmost to do it on my own, to be the captain and pilot of my own ship.

Or tank

I took the step of registering a domain name a year ago, with the optic of getting a website up and running withing a few months; as per many of my projects, it has not come to pass yet. Now that I have reached the renewal time, it became obvious that if I made the choice to continue, then I should make damn sure that something should come out of it, good or bad.

The endgame is to bring the project to its conclusion, not just give it a shot and give up halfway through. I have spent far too much time on the abstract, while not doing any of the actual work. That the first sketch will be bad and amateurish, I fully expect; I now have to welcome it, so that I can learn and grow from this experience and develop new skills or understanding.

I have the will, I have a direction. Now, I just have to grab a machete and hack my way.

Onward and forward.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The best time to get insomnia

Its now the second night in a row where I cant get to sleep. No particular worry, no particular stress plaguing me, just perhaps a bit of eagerness to get things done, especially writing.

Not the fiction kind, unfortunately but the blog posting kind, particularly of my food blog Hungry, Smart And Poor. Sure, its a long simmering project from back in my days working for a cable company when I was tempted to dwell into getting a cable access show, teaching those cash-strapped and untutored to cook home food on a budget.

Sure, there are shows like that, like Rachel Ray's but I'm not a fan. There are also Home Ec classes, but they leave a lot to be desired, and I cant say that moms have been teaching their kids to do it, especially on a budget. To me its such a basic need that there are things that should be taught to anyone leaving the family nest so that they can survive without starving.

Anyways, here I am, hunkered down on my laptop at an uncomfortable position (on purpose, as I would waste even more time of all kinds of distracting trivia otherwise), trying to think and plan on the next few entries. It is keeping my mind busy and distracted from the other big project, as the apartment needs cleaning and organizing. And I am randomly skipping to organizing the grocery budget for this week, while maximizing what stuff I already have.

As I deal with such mental workouts I am brought to be thankful that I am not a family man. I can barely deal getting my own life together I cant conceive being responsible for a bunch of toddlers. I don't see the reward in that, I really don't. Its just not part of my emotional and mental makeup I guess. Several years of working in customer service probably aren't helping.

I can barely stop myself from moving around furniture and putting some nails in the walls at four in the morning, so I have my own issues to deal with. I have too many projects on the back burner, its probably not healthy for my sanity, but that's me, I have to have all those options available for those days when I really feel like I have to get things done.

Like sleep. I guess its one of those projects that just took the back burner tonight.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sadness and sorrow

After his cage mate died of lung problems, our boy Errol got into a depression, being left all alone without a buddy to cuddle with. In no time, he also developed lung problems, going into a round of antibiotics. He looked like he had recovered, but unfortunately for rats, they all carry some lung issue; they are a sort of time bomb for the poor buggers.

We had been looking forward to finding him a new mate, a nice friend he could cuddle with once more. We had one prospect lined up, but before we could get in touch with her current keeper, he fell ill again. The treatment did not help, and as his state was deteriorating, we needed to visit the vet once more.

It turned out to be the last. Given that he was not responding to the treatment, the recommendation was euthanasia. There was just no bringing him back, he was suffering so much. After a quiet and tearful time for the last goodbye, he was first sedated, then his pain was taken away permanently. He died peacefully, and is now resting with his cage mate, while we await the cremation arrangements.

He was with us for such a brief time, but he was such a loverboy. He enjoyed company and all he wanted was to cuddle up and snuggle.

Dear Errol, our fine boy, you will be missed.
Errol 2010-2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

If at first you fail...

In my exercises in creation I follow Robert Rodriguez's advice about film making: if you want to make movies, then grab a camera and start shooting. Push yourself to film any and all scripts that come to mind, as the early ones are going to suck, so better get them out of the way now, so that you can move on to the good stuff.

Now, while its a sensible advice, its easier said than done when you're have several outlets for your creative spirit and you have multiple (and tempting) sources of distraction.

Fortunately, I seem to be getting a handle on thing, of sorts.  I have been focusing a bit more on the music aspect, even if I am not going as full bore as I'd want (or fantasize.) I have been writing the food blog, which allows me to regularly spend some time writing and dealing with my other main creative outlet, cookery.

I may not be getting the results I am pining for: the recordings are nowhere near something I could call songs, more like rough riffs that might lead somewhere; the writing is non-fiction, which isn't bad per se, but I do want to write fiction again, so getting the blog going on a regular basis might get me to eventually scribble some made up bits and so on.

I had been holding myself back, by using circumstances to put sand in the gears, but really, I was just using whatever was at hand to distract me from my goals. I certainly cannot use work anymore, as I am more and more comfortable in the new environment, which is also a constant learning experience, so this will also serve me later. The gains are more than material. I am learning things that will let me properly showcase myself and get the attention that is required for my endeavours to succeed.

I once wanted to join the air force;


while I stayed away from the stuffy structure, I have kept a love of uniforms,


and bomber pinups.

Oh, and the motto " Aim High."

Onward and upwards.

Friday, January 7, 2011

When in doubt

Just say fuck it.

Making music happen was something that seemed to come naturally not that long ago. Given a couple of hours, a method of recording and a bit of an opportunity to make some noise, I could crank out a track or two.

Even before that, when I had a band going, we could crank out two or three tracks in a session, with lyrics and all.

Nowadays, its something of a miracle if I can get a sixteen step beat going enough to make me want to preserve it. I fell into the trap of super technology. It seems that as of the moment I moved from a taped-together hodge-podged desktop to a netbook, the creative drive took a hit. I felt like I couldn't run this program or that and that was what was causing the rut.

Then I went and upgraded to a laptop that packs some serious power, got my hands on some serious software that should, according to mythology, allow me to build whatever track I want, and I'm completely trapped by the seemingly endless possibilities, ending up pretty much incapable to getting nothing done. That I have the bastards connected to the internet only compounds the problem, as I have a constant access to distracting material, like say Facebook.

Having shit to do, and too many toys to do it, I had to revert back to the olden days; I unpacked a basic electric guitar (because I can plug it in the boards and play nearly noiselessly at two AM) and got half a dozen basic tracks down.

Oh, its very crude stuff, probably off-beat and so forth, but its still more stuff than I've been able to commit to memory since the material I've done for Bone Structure... and that was a while ago. I can probably get a couple of songs out of those recordings, maybe three, of while one will not be too bad and I can get others to listen to them.

It could happen. It has to happen. When I make commitments, I sort of feel the need to pull through now, especially to friends. Especially to myself. I have projects that are just gathering dust, for no other reason than maniacal procrastination.

Too many things to do. Too many things "demanding" attention. I have to make myself filter them out. I have to decide what the filters will be.

I have to get my mind back.

Everything else? Just fuck it.