new location!!!!

I’ve moved to

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Adding Kids to the Fire

Not watching much television and being too busy to read the news online over the weekend I just heard of the balloon hoax. 2009 is proving the year of the parent using the child as a means of obtaining celebrity.  Why haven’t I thought of this?  Damn it I’ve missed my chance once again with only three children I could never land a reality television deal but I could perhaps launch my son into orbit and knock out the astronomy cub scouts badge requirement while I’m at it.  Or I could get a surrogate mom to carry eight babies for me because for one I can’t have any more children sans miracle and two I just got into these jeans again and pregnancy clothes just plan suck.  Better yet!  I could tie my ability to provide for my children’s standard of living by exploiting them on television.  That’s right kid the televised time out you had when you were five is paying for your therapy as we just got picked up by the rerun channel.  Can’t we just go back to the tried and true methods of obtaining celebrity? Usually the route for those lacking charisma, talent or that certain Je ne sais quoi is through sexual exploitation.   Janet Jackson, Brittney Spears and Hugh Grant I’m telling you the time is now.

Anything goes…

We are trained, educated, pressured and bribed to conform.  Our parents remind us to use our manners, teachers use red pens and employers wave a paycheck over our heads. Rules surround the individual like one of those  Snuggi’s broadcast all over television.  Cozy, yes.  Yet eventually if everyone jumps on the Snuggi bandwagon most society would look like members of the Vulcan High Council.

So I’m jumping off the wagon.  The first jump was with writing all the things I want to say out loud and the second is with beginning to perform with an improv comedy troupe.  There are no rules to improv but these which I have just made up (Okay there are some, but I dare you to find three people who say the same thing):

1. Do not censor yourself or attempt to censor anybody – Lenny Bruce and George Carlin come on in!

2. Try on different characters, new voices, walks, twitches – You can recreate yourself in each scene.

3. And as Mike Napier of the Annoyance Theater says “F&*k Your Fear!” – If a scene doesn’t work change it up, move on, don’t live in the past instead be in the moment constantly.

Can you see why I’m hooked?  I can be myself or anybody I choose to be at the moment and just run with it.  Think about everything you ever wanted to say to your boss or in a boardroom or every good alternative ending to a movie that you’ve had.  It’s been a great boost to my material for writing, surrounds me with others who are insanely creative and it allows for a three dimensional show of who I am without restriction.

Vegas Baby

Below is my brother Josh who lives in Las Vegas.  Seven years ago when I moved back home after leaving out west for four years he stayed on.  And why not?  Fishing, gambling, concerts and great weather for his toys.  It works out great for me too since I always have an inside connection.

Four years ago I made a visit to Vegas.  It was just to be a three day weekend.  I had by some weird fate gotten a three room suite at Binions for $70 a night.  It was in the downtown area and we could see the Fairmont Street experience from our room and the World Series of Poker was next week so the usual sleep atmosphere of the aged casino was alive.

We went to those local spots off the strip sang, danced and were very merry.  On the day I was to leave Josh got a phone call.  He’s a natural people person and very connected through the contacts he makes on his job.  He got off the phone and told me he just got two tickets to Depeche Mode’s concert that evening at the Hard Rock Casino.  OMG!!!!!

He’s casual about it and I’m freaking out!  I’ve loved Depeche since high school.  I tell him that if I can change my flight I want to go with him.  He was giving me a hard time and I had to remind him that he made fun of me in high school for my music, hair, clothes and car (1981 Chevy Chevette).  Begging, pleading and bribing as tickets to this show did not exist for anything less than the few grand I surely didn’t have.  Big heart that he has he gave the two tickets to myself and my friend.

So here’s to the brother that cut my hair when I was four (curls were on the floor), woke up to a hermit crab on his nose, was a bmx bandit, who patched a hole in the wall with me before dad got home, who went to Phoenix eleven years ago with only 1 large bag, who listened to Metalilica in high school and lettered in Chess, and got stung by a jellyfish.Large mouth bass

The Girl Scout Cookie Agenda

Okay so I’m a geek and I love economics.  Glad we got that out of the way because as you can tell if you’ve been reading the geek comes out fairly often.  As I sit here staring at some of the popcorn my son is trying to sell for Cub Scouts at the low price of $45 I can’t understand the Girl Scout cookie thing.  Don’t get me wrong I understand Girl Scout cookies.  They are delicious.  I freeze the thin mints and eat them with ice cream and I can kill many a box of Samoa’s so I know these are the Cadillac of cookies. What doesn’t make sense to me is that with the law of supply and demand when an object, say a Do Si Do, is scarce its value goes up.  So if all of a sudden one day there were no Ford Focus’s in the world the hail damaged on with a space monkey on the dash would be worth a fortune.  Why then can’t we have the cookies year round? My solution is similar to Hades marriage deal with Persephone.  Half the year the Cub Scouts sell the cookies the other half the Girl Scouts.  Everybody wins and the market stabilizes.  Girl needs some thin mints already!

Do It Everyday!

Vacuum TubeLearn something new, what in the hell did you think I was talking about?  For the last couple years I have turned into such a homebody and it really has been to my detriment.  Less time spent in the world around people and adding to my database of experiences, sights and sounds has constrained my intellectual expansion.  As an illustration going to had a lesson in science.

The Tree House is a dive and it’s perfect.  Feels a bit like the furnished basement of a friend you would have hung in school to listen to music and play pool in school.  After arriving way too early which is a habit of mine we took our drinks and wondered in the room adjacent to the pool room to listen to the duo that was setting up where there was a tree coming out of the floor and going apparently out into the fresh air above.  Taking a seat on the bench we bullshitted with the duo and when they went off I did the thing I do, take a general inventory of the room.  Thus I looked at all the band stickers plastered on the wall, chalk scribbling on the ceiling and the wear brought by years of musicians adding their own ink to the history of the venue.

On the floor was an amplifier with a panel out.  Musicians are poor I know but there was a vacuum tube looking right back at me.  Briefly, vacuum tubes are controllers of electric energy.  Think of them as the great-great-great-great grandfather to the dimming switch for your wall lights.  Before the vacuum tubes it was either on or not.  I’m no genius but damn didn’t these things go the way of the DoDo bird?  Not being sure I asked Jon if they were transistors or vacuum tubes, I could be wrong.  As an electrical engineer he knows this stuff but usually he assumes that it’s only interesting to him.  In fact his ability to patiently have conversations of this nature was always an attraction to me.

Turns out that for most applications when the transistor, a semi-conductor device used to control electricity, came on the scene the new technology was embraced by most.   Not for the audiophiles.  Sound engineers and musicians for the most part agree that the obsolete vacuum tubes are still the way to go:

Tubes Vs. Transistors, from newsletter #47 of The Absolute Sound magazine:

“… if you want to try to break across the border into something approaching realism, I still think you have to use tubes.” –Harry Pearson, editor

“…tubes are more realistic. They have more bloom; they have more light; they have more body. They do that thing I call ‘action,’ which solid-state doesn’t… tubes just eat solid-state alive.” –Jonathan Valin

“… what you almost never get out of a solid-state piece of equipment is a sense of continuousness…” –Harry Pearson

“… there is a subtle but unmistakable sense of roundedness and solidity that tubes have…” –Paul Seydor

“… [tubes] give you the sense of having much more power. A 60-watt solid-state and a 60-watt tube amp never sound equivalent in terms of power.” –Harry Pearson

“… I hear more stuff with tubes…” –Jonathan Valin

“You can tell some things from measurements … but that tells you nothing about how the amplifier communicates the music. You get that from listening.” –Robert Harley

So I learned something new.  Advances in technology will never suit all users and so what is thought of as archaic by some are heralded as exceptional.  As much as I read and watch all the science and physics programming that I can I don’t think such a living example would have been presented to me.Vacuum Tube

Beat Your Own Drum, literally

Playing at the State FairTones on a Djembe Drum

Whetstone Community Center from 2-4p today!  3924 North High Street, The Clinton-Como Drum Circle will be meeting there every other Saturday starting October 10.

No need to bring your own drums as there are plenty of drums, shakers, flutes and even a xylophone.  Learners as welcome as are those just coming to listen.  How am I involved?

Jon plays the didgeridoo.  It’s a hard instrument to fit with the local music scene but his playing is like my writing.  It’s a joyous labor.