Friday, March 31, 2006

Good times... with a bloody thumb

The high of my day may in fact have been being bitten by a ferret.

I could explain this... but I don't feel like it.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Anyone know what this means?

I've been running into this error message a lot. It's always when I go back to edit a post. Very annoying since I can't see anything I'm doing now that is different from what I've always done for about 20 blog entries or so. Here is what it says:

"Your HTML cannot be accepted: Tag is not closed: "

Any ideas?

Bugger Off!

The below (now with somewhat less sand in the text if you follow) was written around 1:30 last night.

I was just about to get to sleep when this damn bobcat decided to go around the house screaming its head off. I got up and made sure all the cats were in. Sucker just wouldn't shut up though. I need sleep. I have lots of stuff due tomorrow or today or what ever you want to call it. So I'm sleepy pissed, which isn't the most intelligent form of pissed. I go outside with a modest whacking stick (I think it was the sign post from one of the past campaigns Amber and/or Waldo worked on. Anyway, I told it to bogger off and it did.

Then as I started to type the above the S.O.B. came back! I go back out and see that it's three yards from my dog which is sleeping like the dead. It's a BIG bobcat. We exchange words. I keep the flashlight in its eyes. It backs off. Buster (by dog) is still asleep. He's a good old watch dog like that.

Then while typing the above I hear a dog barking. I go to check it out , thinking Buster finally woke up and was picking a fight with a bobcat almost as big as him. But it's someone else's dog. Big sucker from the sound of it. Probably from the horse farm. They have their lights on. It chases the cat off our land. I think I can finally get some sleep. Buster sure is.

And what is up with all these owls tonight? Sounds like a 1930's horror movie in the woods. All we need is the chemical fog.

Alright, back to bed for me.


High Rotation:

Brian Wilson - Smile

Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral

The Stooges - Fun House

Monday, March 27, 2006

Chicken soup for the... *cough!* *hack!* *wheeze!* ...yeah.

Doc says I got the bronchitis eh? Well... let's see what this horrible coughing can do up against my mad ninja chicken soup cooking skills!

Round 1.

Cory Capron's TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA SWAMP ALIEN CHICKEN SOUP!

1 pot (the utensil!)

1 SPOON (but not TOO big)

1 leftover chicken breast (that was grilled in "Italian Seasoning" by my mom two days ago) cut up into chunky bits.

1 can chicken broth

2/3 can water

1 small can sliced mushrooms

1 handful noodles

2 eggs

2 tbsp peanut oil

Fish sauce to taste

3 dashes red pepper

2 dashes black pepper

Garlic to taste

FIRE!!!

And probably something else I forgot.


The battle... begins...

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Modern Slang?

So I was over at bookofjoe.com reading and commenting on this, when I got to thinking...

How much new slang has there been since 1997?

Sure, Snoop Dog has practically invented his own laguage at this point, but much of that goes back to 93's Doggystyle and even more so in 96's Tha Doggfather.

Also various websites have inside jokes and catch phrases in their discussion boards. Ain't it Cool News and Metafilter come to mind.

I can think of a few selective ones, but as far as things people actually use on a day to day basis I'm running a little slim. Is it simply that online culture is so large now that to look for slang outside of it is to try and look outside of culture? I don't think it's gone that far yet. Everyone in America does not have a computer, and it's traditionally been the people that don't who come up with street slang. Still, I'd like to open it up for discussion if anyone is interested. What's some common slang that you use? Do you know where you got it from? What do you think about the whole web culture thing? Drop a comment or a link to your own blog entry on this.

We live in a society that's in war time. There are lots of political tensions. These are usually the times when art is most active and energized... thus... as people get to talking they usually start saying things that stick. What have you heard?

Friday, March 24, 2006

"Awww... no goth kids to scare?": Tim and I on The Downtown Mall

Spent yesterday hanging out with Tim from 2:20 till somewhere around 8:ish or so. We decided that, since I've been holed up in my house so much of late (with zee writing and zee being sick and zee whining on mi blog about zee writing and zee being sick) and that he's been out of town so long, the best way to spend the late afternoon would be to do our traditional "walk about" on and around the Downtown Mall.

Sadly this adventure would lack its normal chaotic energy on my part. My prior day had ended somewhere around 2:00 AM and this one had begun at 7:00. The time between crawling out of bed and meeting Tim around 2:20 had been filled by collage classes and returned papers with disheartening grades. (Actually only Math was so, but oh was it so!) In between Math and Spanish was a lengthy conversation with Anna about life, the universe and everything, (ok, we really focused more around The Long Dark Tea Time Of The Soul, but both god and piranha were brought up without mention of The White Stripes) which is usually the manner of conversation I have with Tim. So Tim was really getting more of the sloppy seconds of my wit. I normally go home of Thursdays and take a nap on the couch with my sister's dog Annie. Fortunately, Tim was running on fully charged batteries from sleeping in, so at least one of us was prime to keep this eccentric cheese wagon afloat. Point of fact, the man had more batteries on him then Chow Yun-Fat has pistols, but not even that seemed capable of getting his camera to work.

So there we were, wandering the streets, a totally drained poet and a programmer with a dead camera.

There was much relating of the current events in our lives. Wooster... Piedmont... a little life, the universe and everything. We stopped by the old Michie building to visit LEC and Ernie. There was the eating of dumplings and pizza and a bet that I lost in my own favor. Tim chased a squirrel or two. I made it through a whole day without writing anything.

Mostly we just wandered the back alleys and looked at the mix of beautiful dilapidation and urban flora growing through cracks and crevices. In the long running mock rivalry between the Renaissance school and LEC, I must concede that they at least have a cooler backdoor to their building. Speaking of back doors, we found perhaps the most beautiful in alley on the way back from Vinegar Hill Theater. It was a plywood door where the initial vertical layer had worn through along its wavy wood pattern to the inner horizontal layer. Perhaps alternative galleries and exhibitions with roots in found art are not fading from popularity so much in this town as failing to compete with the ones that naturally permeate from the crumbling brickwork.

I was less enthusiastic with some of are wandering than Tim I'm afraid. I took me a while to figure out why though. It wasn't so much a fear of going down a back alley. I'm 6'2 and capable enough of defending myself if that were even a concern. What it was I finally realized was more a since of being an outsider. I used to be downtown 5 days a week for six years. The last two years I've been downtown maybe 30 times. A lot has changed. It just doesn't feel like my playground anymore. I felt like a stranger on someone's lawn, examining the crack in their birdbath. A weird feeling, I know. Especially in the face of someone who has been at Wooster and seen Downtown much, much less than I have. Still, I really did enjoy the scenes, and Tim's right: the best part is when you come out of the alley somewhere far off your mental map. There's a nice portal feeling to it.

We also (and chronology completely escapes me on all of this by the way) watched the construction next to the amphitheater (notably the huge drill that was putting 14 to 20 foot poles into the ground) listened to the train, and visited the Glass Building around this block of time. At the glass building I saw a newspaper with a front-page article on the Basque ceasefire. I'd never seen Basque face wear before. Much like there language, it's very striking.

Somewhere in all of this, after hitting up The Old Hardwear Store, we took a breather at the Mudhouse. He got a hot chocolate and I got a mocha. As the caffeine started to shut down my system we discussed how transgender would not really exist had the 60s feminist movement really worked. It was an interesting conversation. As I look back on it now, in a less tired state of mind, it would perhaps be better fit in another entry where it could be better explored.

As the sky darkened we walked back to the Michie building to meet his dad. He was taking a Tai Chi class. I noticed a large flat-screen television in the studio, which I can only hope is used for the ancient art of "Tai Vi." Actually, Jeff's class sounds pretty cool. I'm hoping to check it out sometime this summer as a possibility. I need to get back into martial arts of some form. All this geek'ng and blogg'n's getting me pretty flabby.

Visited Tim's place briefly. (Hope you get well soon Patti!) Played with his dogs and rat. Then we went our ways.

Oh, and no he did not stink of the durian. :)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

No Snow

Ok... so it didn't snow... but Tim's in town!

He claims the stench of rotten durian has left him... but I'm not sure I'm buying it.

Either way... those poor mallrat goth kids won't know what hit them.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Trying to snow

Just took the garbage out. It is really trying to snow. There was an icy glaze over the dumpster cover with little bits of sleet like sea/pretzel salt scattered. All the leaves had this nice low hiss. It would have been much more useful for me if the snow hit today (Tuesday) but here's hoping for a little fun tomorrow. Just as long as it isn't ice and melts by the afternoon so that I don't have to go to work (I'm a grounds keeper) before collage.

A moment of calm

After much stress and feeling sick I'm happy to sit down at last without a ton to do. I'm feeling a lot better on the sick front as well. Mild headache, but nothing big.

Finally shaved my crazy writer's beard from the weekend's bed sick writing of the poem for Eastern Thinking class. You can always tell when I've been writing. I look like hell slept in a ditch. I just forget to take care of myself. It's kind of fun.

I once did sleep in a ditch. It was actually nice. Although discovering the next morning that a 6'3 naked man had almost tripped over me while running through the night was not so nice. I made a note to myself to avoid unnecessary ditch sleeping in the future. So far, I've kept to it.

Got on a Bob Dylan kick again. I think Black Diamond Bay and Changing of the Guards must be his two most underrated songs on major releases. The first from his album Desire, which is arguably the last album of his 70s prime. The second is the opening of its follow up: Street Legal. Street Legal is an album that is hurt by the fact that it shows the first hints of the experimentation that would lead (technically Street Legal followed, but not by release dates) to At Budokan, the only album Dylan has recorded that actually pissed me off. There have been some I didn't like or felt were really weak, but At Budokan is just the biggest, grandest, most ambitious middle finger to the ears you could ask for. I can't sit through it all in one go. It's like he's trying to piss on his best songs. There is one exception though. He does do a pretty good reggae version of Don't Think Twice, It's Alright. But yeah, Street Legal is guilty by association. It's by no means as solid as Desire. On the activist side of things, No Time To Think lacks the focus and cause of Hurricane, and features some really annoying horns in the place of Dylan's trademark harmonica. The sax worked for Changing of the Guards, but it really should have been left there and as a solo on Senor (Tales of Yankee Power). Lyrically it is quite good though. Where the album is strong, it's really strong. Senor would go on to be a Grateful Dead standard, and "Where Are You Tonight?" is fantastic.

I'm kind of on a roll of seeing really good movies on the weekends. The weekend before last was The Constant Gardener, and this one was Good Night, and Good Luck. Highly recommend both. Can't wait to see what this one will bring.

High Rotation:

Iggy and the Stooges - Raw Power

Leonard Cohen - Songs of Love and Hate

Black Sabbath - Paranoid

Joni Mitchell - For the Roses

Bob Dylan - Desire

Bob Dylan - Street Legal

Bob Dylan and The Band - Planet Waves

Monday, March 20, 2006

I love Vermont

Sure, having blood from the land of maple syrup, Ben and Jerry's, and damn good grilled cheese sandwiches, might make me hairier than a twelve-step program for furies, but things like this allow me to forgive that fact.

The maple syrup, Ben and Jerry's and damn good grillied cheese also tend to help.


High Rotation:

Neil Young - After the Gold Rush

Leonard Cohen - The Future

Neil Young - Live Rust

David Bowie - Honky Dory

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Tragic Irony

Working on my Zen paper, I came across something pretty interesting. Though I'm quite rusty these days, William Mulholland and the various water scandals in California's coming of age have interested me for years. From the documentary series Cadillac Desert to the film China Town, it's just one of those things that sucks me in. I mean, how could any Woody Guthrie fan not have some interest in California? It's just an amazing place in history.

Notably... the St. Francis Dam disaster that killed over 400 people.

Now... I really don't have a clue which Saint Francis the dam was named after. But I can't help but find Saint Francis of Assisi morbidly appropriate. Among other things... he's the patron saint of the environment. Granted, he's not the patron saint of ecology or tree hugging, and shouldn't be confused as such, nor as someone who was vengeful, the little I've read about him still seems fitting in a roundabout sort of way.

High Rotation:

Sly & The Family Stone - Greatist Hits

The Velvet Underground and Nico - selftitled

Bob Dylan - Love and Theft

Charlie Parker and Miles Davis - Archive Recording

Leonard Cohen - Songs of Leonard Cohen (really got to love the names he comes up with for his albums!)

Patti Smith - Horses

T-Rex - Electric Warrior

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Lauren Hoffman's new music video is up! (and more bedsick homework ramblings!)

Just came across Lauren Hoffman's new music video. It's great. Has a very old school 90s style to it. I haven't watched Mtv in years, but I'm sure they probably don't make 'em like this anymore, and that's a shame. I want to go jump on the bed now... but being ill and almost 200lbs... I'm thinking that's a bad idea. Oh well...

Check it out!

Woke up today with pulled muscles in my chest and back from coughing the night away. Spent most of the day holed upstairs, working on my Eastern Thinking paper about Zen. Actually it's looking to be more of a poem at this point. That's the great thing about philosophy classes, with the right professor, you never have to write a single essay. I hate essays. I see their benefits, but as a whole they're just not favored means of expression. I'll happily crank out 2000+ words in almost any other medium in place of a two page essay. I'm just weird like that. Anyway, it's not the worst of fates. I've got a nice view of the goldfish in the pond below. Kinda set the mood and all. ZEN...

There is a Bowie-eyed cat moaning at the door.

That... on the other hand... does not set the mood.


High Rotation:

Wilco - A Ghost Is Born

Patti Smith - Radio Ethiopia

B.R.M.C. - Howl

Joni Mitchell - The Hissing of Summer Lawns

Brian Eno - Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)

Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

And at the moment...

Sonic Youth - Dirty


Oh yeah... got my ticket to the April 23 Wilco concert ! Did you?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Sick films for a sick-day

(Ok, I'm a little less out of it now... so I did a bit of editing, but the vocab is still pretty broken record. It's interesting when you write something while you are tired or sick and then come back to it later. I guess I just really like the words gleeful and debasment. I'd take away my Pixies listening privileges for a week, but I haven't listened to Doolittle in about a month. Oh well, light headed guy ranting about a a bunch of his films he watched over a few months. If your going to ramble on like a one legged dog at flee circus, might as well be about something no very important)

So I'm sick as a dog and stuck at home for the day with lots of homework to get out of the way. Normally I don't talk much about film on this blog. I figure the cinephile in me gets vented out in enough places that it doesn't need to show its geeky head up here, but seeing as this is related to school I figured what the heck.

I've decided not to do my original project for Eastern Thinking class, which was a report on Buddhist filmmaker Takashi Miike. There are two big reasons, one: I never got hold of a copy of the book Agitator: The Cinema of Takashi Miike, and two: I really got tired of the project. Basically the man made 49 films and 3 TV shows in 11 years, and I tried to watch as many of them as I could hunt down before I got close to the deadline, then write up how he incorporates various Buddhist principles into his creative process and approach to filmmaking. I got through 11 and a half films and about 1/6 of a miniseries.

Miike is an interesting cat. He's in his early 40s but dresses like a cross between a New York gangster and a yakuza (Japanese mafia). He once explained in an interview that his look is due to the popularity among youths in Japan to attack old men.

His work is completely unpredictable. He's like a cross between Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, David Cronenberg, Baz Luhrmann and John Waters. He can make films that are the most morally debased, vile and disturbing things ever imagined, and then turn around and make a wonderful children's film with less trouble than it takes most people to change t-shirts. I don't like all his films, some I hate, but the ones I do like tend to be with a pretty enthusiastic love. He's not for everyone though. In fact, of the people that I know actually read this blog, I would not recommend any of these except Sabu and The Bird People in China. Many of them have sick horrible content, but for someone who is interested in film as much as I am, there is something very interesting about what Miike is doing. Agitator is a perfect title for a book about Miike. He's stirring shit up and making cinephiles think about a lot of things.

Anyway, figured I'd dump the list of ones I saw here with a few "brief" thoughts (it's hard to sum up a reaction to Miike film... unless you just type "WTF!" twenty times bold 40 pt. font.) on each I saw. If you watch one of these I don't want to hear you come crying to me about how it scarred you for life. I've warned you. Many of these films bothered me!

Audition

One of the best horror films to come out in 2000 from anywhere! This is one of those horror movies I whip out when I come across someone who thinks nothing can disturb them. Easily one of the best horror movies I've seen since Frailty. Like most movies on this list though, I would not recommend it to many people. When you look at some of the other horror movies that it has inspired (notably Saw and Hostel) the gore is not too terrible. Where Audition triumphs is in character development. The first half of the movie is a romance, with a few very disturbing shots mixed in - that you somehow forget about as you become immersed. The second half of the film takes these characters that you have developed feelings for beyond typical horror movie cleaver fodder, and goes at them with ABSOLUTLY NO MERCY. This is Misery, Fatal Attraction, "Play Misty for Me" and every other movie that ever made men afraid to date women rolled into one... with razor wire. I could write a book about this film. It's the reason I took interest in Miike.

Gozu

Miike has many times said that two of his favorite American directors are David Lynch and David Cronenberg. These also happen to be two of my favorite directors. On that same twisted level that puts Blue Velvet in my top ten favorite films list... I love this movie. It's got more Freudian surrealist craziness then even Freud could probably handle! For people who like Lynch and Cronenberg this film is a must. For those that don't know what I'm talking about, this film should be avoided like some strange pill that a wild-eyed guy at a basement party offers you.

Ichi the Killer

Along with Audition this was how most Americans were introduced to Miike. Basically the most unbridled (ok there were a few bridals... but they weren't used in a very bridled kind of way!) romp into debased violence one could imagine. The idea was to make a film so violent that to edit it would only make it more disturbing. It's an interesting social experiment (like most of his films) that aims to mess with its audience. There was at least one scene I had to take a break from. At many parts the film seems pretty cool, but then it just goes too far, and it does it with complete consciousness.

The Bird People in China

Took me a while to get back into watching Miike after Ichi. Fortunately this film is a complete change of gears. It's one of the most beautiful films I've ever seen. It's about a businessman and a yakuza that travel deep into the jungles of China to survey a village that's been cut off from society that has a valuable emerald vein that they plan to mine. As they spend time in the tranquil village they have to come to terms with the fact that what they plan to do will destroy it. It's a very slow film, but with scenery this beautiful, who cares. I'd put it up there with films like At Play in the Fields of the Lord. There's also a great road trip element... and people learning how to fly! As in... without airplanes!

One Missed Call

Miike throws his hat into the now way too over saturated market of J-horror ghosts films like Ringu, Dark Water and Ju-on (The Grudge). His contribution is flawed, a tad slow, but filled with a handful of really great moments. Anyone who can't get enough of that genre should see it. The ending is a decent return to form and the "I'm all alone" scene is pretty startling.

Izo

The soul of a brutally executed samurai wanders through space and time as a vengeful force of pure irrationality bent on destroying all existence. He sees reality as a scam put on by false gods, swindlers who bring froth oppression and suffering with their imaginary laws and order. As Izo rages on killing anyone who stands in his way, from the ghosts of those he killed in his past life, the gods themselves, to even his own mother, he strips away more and more of his humanity and becomes a demon.

Expressing an eternity of conflict on film is not an easy thing to do. It gets very repetitive and depressing. The philosophies are extremely nihilistic, yet interesting. Similar to Lost Highway and Waking Life in some respects, it is a wonderful introduction for the states to Japanese folksinger Kazuki Tomokawa who plays a kind of balladeer. Another meaty film to analyze to the moon and back.

Visitor Q

Satire or not, I can't recommend this film to anyone. It looks at the breakdown of the family unit in Japan and explores the cultures obsession with reality television. Right up there with Ichi, it's a gleeful romp through pure an utter debasement. Another film I had to shut off a couple times. This puppy puts John Waters to shame.

Dead or Alive

There's a lot of people that Audition was trying to make some very feminist statements. Miike's work dances a fine line between strong often very maternal women and misogyny. This gets even more blurry when you take into account that many of his films look at characters who are by nature misogynist (like yakuza and other degenerates). This was not a good follow up choice for Visitor Q. There are some extremely cruel people in this that do some very sick things that got in the way of my enjoying the bigger scope of the picture. Although I did enjoy how the ending so blatantly sticks its tongue out at the audience. It doesn't quite give you the finger, but it is truly in the spirit of someone that makes so many movies that they can just mess with their fans from time to time without really pissing them off.

Deadly Outlaw: Rekka

Another V-Cinema (straight to video) over the top gangster film. I like this one because it's more action than debasement. There's a cartoonist glee to it. The terrible acting is pretty funny but the woman that plays the lead's mother is surprisingly good. I haven't recognized her in other films but I hope that someone has given her more work. People that like impossibly huge guns will love this.

The Happiness of the Katakuris

I... love... this... film.

Ok... it's a musical about a family that open up a bed and breakfast out in the sticks that seems to be cursed because every ever so rare customer they get winds up dead by dawn. Determined not to doom their business, they burry the bodies in the woods. The film is so over the top and twistedly upbeat... I mean... there is a musical number with zombies... and anytime there is a scene that is a little too much for the budget, they just switch over to old school Mtv-style claymation! Everyone who is in love with cracked-out movies should see this. It's amazing that this is the same director that made Audition. Perhaps the best part of it all would have to be the making of footage of Miike acting out the zany dance steps for the actors. PURE GOLD.

Sabu

Miike makes a completely straight period peace drama about a man wrongfully sent to an island prison and his friends back home. Very moving and quite impressive. I really liked it. proof that Miike can do whatever he wants. Definitely worth checking out if you'd like to see a period film set in Japan where samurai ARE NOT cutting each other's arms off every 20 minutes or less.

Shinjuku Triad Society

The first in his Black Society Trilogy, I've yet to finish it. It was his first major film, but I'm just worn out when it comes to these ultra-violence high exploitation rides. The film is about a (Chinese?) mafia's human organ black market. The whole theme of the film is how humans are exploited every day on all levels from sexually to... well... the organ donner black market. What I saw of it was shocking, moving, and at times really, really disturbing. But I'm tired. I have a strong stomach, but this whole ride has been a bit of sensory overload. I'd like to give the film another chance later... but god... I need a break!

MPD Psycho (episodes 1 & 2 of 6)

Thought I'd give him one more try. This was a made for TV miniseries from 1999 I think. It's bad. I'm not sure if I only saw the first episode or both, but it was too low budget and the concept was way too absurd for me to stay interested in for five more rounds. The first serial killer was interesting though and I can't help but wonder if Robert Rodriguez came across this when working on Sin City.



So yeah, I just need a break from it all. Maybe a little Wallace and Gromit, or something nice like that. I'm not sure I'll bother with much more of his earlier stuff but I'm really interested in where he's heading. I think since I started watching him he's already made two films and directed an episode of Masters of Horror.

But yeah, I think I'm going to go curl up in bed with me Irish tea and copy of Lost in Translation or Before Sunrise and make the best of being too sick to do anything really fun.

Oh, and Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

High Wind and High Rotation.

School has returned.

Today was wonderfully windy up at Piedmont.

After classes I went to Plan 9 and bought The Hissing Of Summer Lawns by Joni Mitchell and Raw Power by Iggy Pop and The Stooges. Though I think it can be dangerously misleading, you really can get a lot of insight into someone's state of mind from what kind of music they are feeling like listening to at a time. Right now I want a smooth intelligent woman with deep complicated lyrics that sometimes give Dylan a run for his money... and a hyper raunchy self-destructive rocker who can't keep his pants on.

Ok... maybe that shouldn't be looked too deeply into... yeah.

After a bit more enjoying of the weather at home. I opened some windows and took a nap with Joni on. I didn't sleep well last night and I needed it. Woke up a few minutes ago and put on Iggy. Raw Power is one of those albums I've been meaning to get for years. It's really giving me some nice nostalgia. High school camping trips driving through wooded areas with The Damned's first album blaring. At band practice, you could turn any high-speed train wreck of a jam into a decent cover of 1970 or TV Eye.

Memories...

Other music that has been in high rotation recently:

Nine Inch Nails - With Teeth

B.R.M.C. - Howl

The Cure - Bloodflowers

The Arcade Fire - Funeral

Love and Rockets - Sweet F.A.

White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan

Rufus Wainwright - Poses

Paul Curreri - Spirit of the Staircase

Nirvana - Nevermind

Frank Black - Honeycomb



Holy Crap! Wilco is coming to town! I have a feeling this week is going to very quickly find me broke.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Treehugger's Ball report

It was a blast.

Got to see Zap and Ernie and Martha and Eric and Liam and Casey and Ruth and Ashley and Lydia and Annalise and Brent ("Forest Defender!") and Stratton and, and, and...

I had this plan that I was going to comeback and pretend to be a hardcore Republican and rant about how this whole Virgil Goode fiasco is just a liberal conspiracy against Jesus... but I was too excited to keep a straight face. So many people I haven't seen in so long... it was great. There was a really good turn out. Perhaps one of the most successful LEC fundraisers in a long time.

Highlights:

Chocolate Buffet!

$6 for as much chocolate heaven as you can put on a plate (within some sort of crazy reason). I got a big plate thinking I was splitting it with some friends... nope. They left me hanging. So... much... chocolate... in my belly...

Zap!

Haven't seen Zap McConnell in about a year. Told her to keep me posted with what she's up to with her art. Hopefully she will.

Liam!

I've been meaning to sit down and talk with Liam for a while. Eric, Garth, him and me spent most of the time hanging outside in the courtyard talking about horror movies. Seems he's taken a big interest in makeup effects, possibly to the extent of a career. It also looks like we might finally see him do some serious solo work with music. Which is perhaps the best news of the night for me. No disrespect intended towards present or former bands, I mean as much as I love playing with him, I'm including myself in this. Liam has always had something great in him that needs to be fully realized: his blues. He's an amazing artist with the skill to play with the heavy weights but the patience to back up a friend on a simple folk ballad. I liked Bottleneck and haven't gotten a chance to hear his current band yet, but I'm sure they are great. I'm not knocking anyone here, but I really feel he's needed to do this for himself for a long time even if only for a little while. So I hope this happens. He's got my support in any way I can give it.

Ernie!

I'm holding his Phil Ochs CDs hostage. My demands are simple: Lunch on me, give me an update on life the universe and everything. Not too unreasonable in my opinion.

Annalise!

Talking with Annalise a while back she was in a pretty bad writers block and thinking of quitting. So I made a proposition: I write you a couple songs - lust lyrics - and you put the music to them. Well, she recorded one of them and put it on a CD with two of her own new songs. I'm not sure if my plan worked but I'm glad she's back at it and really liked her take on the song I wrote. It was fun trying to write something with someone else in mind whose style is different from my own. I hope to do more of this kind of thing down the road. Was really great having the members of Side Effects together in one room.

The Band!

The first band I wasn't around much for. They seemed pretty cool to me though. The second band rocked the house. I asked Ernie who they were and I think he said Third Party. Bunch of older guys, at least one was a LEC student's parent. That's pretty cool. Real funky mix of good grooves and flashes of Steve Earl rock. Someone said they sounded like a grooved out Dead Kennedys, which I thought was interesting. Anyway, great time. Good band for this kind of party.

Eric!

Been a while since I've seen Eric. Good times. When it all died down we went to his car and listened to Buckethead's (new?) album where he makes his guitar talk followed my much needed introduction to DJ Shadow. I've heard of this guy for years from people and never gotten around to hearing his stuff. DAMN! Introducing DJ Shadow might be the first CD I run out and buy now... and with the backlog I've got... that's saying a lot.

So many more! But I'm getting tired and most of the rest are passing faces and personal conversations. So I think that's the bulk. If not than too bad because my fingers are tired and I've got to go get ready for my big history test tomorrow.

Adios spring break... you were pretty good to me.

(Pssst! Tim! How's that?)

Moderation is the key to... knowing people actually read this crap.

Hey...

When it comes to running a blog, I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

If you have given me feedback in the past and found it hasn't shown up and that you haven't heard back from me... well... there's a reason for that. It seems (I'm guessing in the wee small hours of the night... (no not the Sinatra album that gets people to sleep with you!)) I set up my blog so that I moderate feedback. In other words, it puts everything in a folder for me to approve, only I didn't know it existed. I'm not sure why I did this, but that's why I've not gotten back with people and your posts don't show up on the page.

I'm making an effort to go back and reply to everyone now. I should be done but if I missed you just give me a holler at this one and I'll sort it out.

Sorry again! I'm still a little new at this!

P.S. I'm going to keep moderation on... only now I'm going to MODERATE. Looking through a few E-mails somepeople might actually want to reply privately. There's always e-mail I guess... BUT I LIKE MY POWER OVER YOU! MWAHAHAHA... ok I'm done.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

ADD advice

So I came accross this blog entry and replied. After I was done I found it was pretty long and maybe worth sharing here as well. Just some tips for fellow people with ADD.

... hmmm...

If that link dosn't work here's what I wrote:

***

I've got a pretty bad ADD too. You might have me beat but then again you seem to be giving it a lot of attention. ;)

A lot of doctors suggest caffeine, which I have mixed feelings about. Caffeine tends to induce very ADD like symptoms in normal people and I find it can help as much as it can hurt with myself. I think there might really be something to it, but it's all a matter of getting the proportions right.

Omega 3 has become a popular solution since it's been shown that people with ADD (and various other ailments) tend to have Omega 3 fatty acid deficiencies. I've tried them and at a time thought they helped a little. However I never got on a good steady routine. Most pills come from fish oil, which is also good for cholesterol. The best sources in descending order are hemp, flax, and fish oil.

What I tend to find most effective is chamomile tea. I've heard of a tablet form, but with tea you get both the effect from breathing it and consuming it. The chemistry of people with ADD tends to be strange and at times the opposite of "normal people." For example, valerian leaves me wired. A few years ago I took some to help me get to sleep and by the time the sun had come up had written three songs. Chamomile knocks most people out. For people like me with ADD, it tends to make the brain function more streamline. I often drink it in place of coffee. It's like a good pair of earplugs, in that it doesn't muffle your hearing as much as filter out the ambient. Of all the things I've tried this and vigorous exorcize tend to work best. Also the occasional complete submission to ADD is often relieving. Take a break 3-minute break every 15 or so minutes when you can from projects. For some people multitasking is the blessing of ADD, the trick is getting any of the twelve things you try to do at the same time done.

The most effective way to collect your self and focus is to pay attention to your breathing. I know it's corny but whenever I turn off the cynic and do it, it actually works.

As for listening to people when they talk to you... when you've got it bad it is pretty hard. I often find after exorcize I'm pretty calm and receptive though.

Hope this helps.

***

"I've got a pretty bad ADD too."

???

So much for becoming an English teacher.

Crawling out of my cave

Well tonight's the big Treehugger's Ball. Can't wait to see some old friends. Eric said he was going to try and make it. I haven't seen Zap in ages. It would be cool if a few PVCCers showed up too.

It will be good to get out of the house. I got four songs written over break and some Spanish homework out of the way. Also, I saw a ton of movies, which was nice. The Wallace and Gromit DVD skipped though... damn you blockbuster. I want my Bunny Vac!

I'm listening to Honeycomb. It's a great album from Frank Black and perfect for an afternoon like this.

Ok, time for me to get some sunshine.

Man is it a nice day!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

New songs and Devon playing Jammin Java tonight

Devon Sproule is playing the Jammin Java tonight! Here's the info from her.

***

Alright, folks,

Everyone said to play Jammin Java so I'm playing Jammin Java. Only thing is, I'm
playing Jammin Java TONIGHT! Yessir, that's tonight, Thursday, March 9, at the
Jammin Java in Vienna, VA. At 8:00pm, I'll be supporting the lovely Kaki King.

Here are the websites:

TICKETS: www.jamminjava.com

Kaki King: www.kakiking.com

Dev: www.devonsproule.com

Can't make it but would like to hear some music? I've just uploaded a couple new
songs to my myspace page. Just click to my website above and follow the link.

And here are another couple VA shows, if you're down in good old Virginia proper:

april 2 -- glen allen, va -- shady grove coffeehouse, w/ chuck brodsky, 6:30pm

april 7 -- charlottesville, va -- gravity lounge, w/ lauren hoffman & sarah white,
featuring spencer lathrop, drums, 8:00pm

april 13 -- harrisonburg, va -- the little grill, w/ matt curreri, 9:00pm

Hope to see y'all tonight. If you can think of a couple friends to forward this on
to, please do. I'd love to be able to return to the Jammin Java in the future. And
I cross-my-heart promise to give you more notice next time!

All the best, Y'all --
Devon

Thursday, March 9th - TONIGHT!
Devon Sproule supports Kaki King
JAMMIN JAVA (Vienna, VA)
227 E. Maple Ave, (703) 255 - 1566
jamminjava.com
8:00pm

April 2nd
Shady Grove Coffeehouse
Glen Allen, VA
w/ Chuck Brodsky

April 7th
Gravity Lounge
Charlottesville, VA
w/ Lauren Hoffman & Sarah White

April 13th
The Little Grill
Harrisonburg, VA
w/ Matt Curreri

more showdates, etc: www.devonsproule.com
www.myspace.com/devonsproule

***

Ok unloading my inbox on my blogg is not going to become a regular thing, but seeing as this is pretty short notice, I thought it would be the best way to get the word out. Hope they have a good turn out.

The new songs over at her myspace account are great! Fishing for my tongue is one of Matt's songs and a nice little taste of what all the folks that didn't make it to the V-day show missed. 1340 Chesapeake is another great track off her upcoming album. The thing that really struck me listening to it is that it kind of sounds like a Tom Waits number. That's one thing I never thought I get from Devon. It just has that attention to objects that some of his songs from the early 80's had. I never noticed it hearing the song live before, but this studio instrumentation has this kind of Rain Dogs quality with the Ribotesque guitar. Very cool. Can't wait to hear the rest of the album!

Treehugger's Ball!

Got an e-mail from Ernie with the following invitation. I went to LEC form the age of 12 to 18 and can't begin to sum up my feelings about the place other than that I love it. How many people do you know that care about their highschool two years after moving on? It's not for everyone, but it worked for me, so I'm going to try and make it out to this. If anyone reading is a former LEC student or knows any, spread the word. If not, feel free to spread it anyway. It's a fundraiser after all. I don't see any indication that this is an exclusive event.


***

The Living Education Center for Ecology and the Arts (LEC) and
Alliance for Community Choice in Transportation (ACCT)
cordially invite you to join our fun-raising at the

1st Annual
Treehuggers Ball

Saturday, March 11, 2006 7-11pm Old Michie Building 609 E. Market St.

Music will be provided by Third Party and Jim Waive and the Young Divorcees. A full size canoe from Blue Ridge Mountain Sports and a weekend ski-touring weekend at White Grass and Canaan Valley Resort in West Virginia are featured raffle items. In addition, there will be a silent auction, a "Chocolate Buffet," massages, tarot readings, a "bicycle-powered smoothie machine," romantic bicycle-carriage rides, face painting, cash bar and family fun and frivolities. Admission is $8 and $5 for students and children.

The event is designed to raise funds and draw attention to the work of LEC, a private alternative high school and ACCT, a non-profit dedicated to promoting transportation alternatives such as biking, walking, transit and carpooling.
Together we share our missions of promoting community, environmental awareness, and alternative transportation.

The Old Michie Building is located at 609 East Market Street in Downtown Charlottesville. To learn more about what we do, please visit our websites www.avenue.org/lec and www.transportationchoice.org. For more information about the Treehugger's Ball tickets and donations, contact Alia Anderson of ACCT at 295-6554, or Ernie Reed of LEC at 971-1647.

See you there!

***

Chocolate Buffet eh? That sounds like a winner to me!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Music, slow spots and whatever else is on my mind.

Shifted down a few gears on the writting today. Mostly to look over what I have and where to go next. Made a few changes to the blog. Finally got links up to some friends and places. I'll probably add a few more later.

I've got Bob Dylan's Oh Mercy on in the background. It's flawed but still a pretty damn good album. From Ring them Bells on it's great sailing. Most of the Time is perhaps the most emotional song he's ever recorded. By that I mean his performance of it. He sounds like he's got a knot in his throat. That's very unlike most Dylan, even Blood on the Tracks stuck mostly to the words saying what he felt. Man in the Long Black Coat is my favorite on the album. What a great waltz!

Can't find my cell phone... that's not good.

Oscars came and went. Good for Altman! Can wait for the new film.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Spring break song factory

Well, I'm happy! Spring break at PVCC is here and I finally have some time to write songs without the guilt of unattended homework over my shoulder. One song's cooling, another is hot out of the oven and there are at least three more in various stages from batter to baking. Inspirational material seems to be hitting me from all directions. Between my personal life, friends, my Eastern Thinking class and that fantastic production of Hamlet at PVCC last Friday... I'm busting at the seams! And by that I mean I'm sitting quietly at the computer with this little thing on my face resembling a smile.

I'm really happy with my work right now. It's kind of funny. This is looking to be my 22nd songbook. I'm not sure I've ever written anything that cared so little about trying to appeal to some kind of demographic. These are looking to be some of the wordiest songs I've ever written. Stanzas have literally come together from opening up the dictionary, seeing a word, wondering what the hell it means, reading about it, and then falling in love with it. So in a sense a lot of this work is leaning on technology like Rhyme Zone, instead of just sitting back and working with my own vocabulary and jotting down whatever crazy thing flies by. I kind of like this way better. I'm learning as I go and I don't see any significant difference between this and the writers that bury their noses in history books to write ballads. It isn't easier by any means. I've still got to make things work in structures and find the right words to convey the right intent. I'm just trying to take in the full possibilities of the language. It's also keeping me green at this. A lot of the last thirty of so songs I've written have been some of the most melodic in structure that I've done in years. I have a feeling that will be a good thing if this new collaboration I'm trying to get together with Lucas works out. That guy plays too mean a guitar for mere three-chord compositions.

What I really find funny about all these songs I'm cranking out is that though I'm not putting any effort whatsoever towards making them commercial, a few of them sound kind of catchy to me. So they're kind of like pop songs with words like "imbue" and "constringency" in them. I'm sure that my rekindled interest in Shakespeare is not going to help matters any.

So yeah, I'm happy. Many friends that have seen me recently have been catching me at some lows lately. So I thought I'd give an update.