A semi-daily chronicle of my life as a musician, a family man, and a citizen of Oregon.

Mar 31, 2007

The Low

Posting up another song from the old site. This one's called The Low. The lyrics go:

The meeting of Angels
On the 9th of July
Shifting their focus
To the baby that came here
So low
So low

The contingent of people
From phases of shame
Confused their opponents
By speaking the name
Of the low
Of the low

He is of that
That he can't control
And it spins like a rainbow
He is of that
That can't be controlled
And chaos abounds him

The fulcrum of power
On the backs of their wings
The weight of the world
It's piece to the people
Of the low
Of the low
Of the low
Of the low

Mar 30, 2007

Tha Day Before the Last Day of March

Today is officially the day before the last day of March. In fact, this is the last hour before the very last hour of the day before the last day of March. After that, no March. Only April, as far as the eye can see. Think about it.

This weekend I'm faced with a pretty big decision. I've been offered a new job opportunity that would change where I work, how I commute, who I work for, all that stuff. I'm using this weekend to make the decision, although anybody who knows me knows that I make decisions much more quickly than that. I'm usually 90% sure of a choice within 5 minutes of having it presented to me.

As I was driving from work tonight I started thinking about all of the small choices we have in life. All of the simple things we agree to or do that lead to much bigger consequences. The preferences that we have and filters we place that make us so who we are in ways that we cannot ever know.

One of the reasons I committed to keep this blog was because I'm notoriously bad at journaling or keeping my thoughts. One thing I've always been pretty good about is writing songs, though. Songs are very different, though.

For instance, the lyrics to "Accident, which I posted day before last go:

They're drawing pictures on caves
I've seen their minds
To simply be
It's not enough, not enough
And these are my few complaints
No more than patterns on caves
And lies that hurt

And some things you can't say
So you just turn your head away
Don't look it's just an accident
It's just a horrible accident

They're laying hands on the dead
But that's not the worst
It's the feeling
Of true empathy, empathy
And he is somebody's son
He's just like me
We were both
The brightest boys

And some things you can't say
So you just turn your head away
Don't look it's just an accident
It's just a horrible accident
It's just and accident
It's just a horrible, horrible accident

But I can't really look back at the song's lyrics and have that kind of distance. This is a song that I've probably sung hundreds of times. Literally, I've played it many, many times. As a result, my relationship to the song is a lot like the relationship one might have to prayers. I went to catholic church when I was a kid and so like every other catholic I learned the prayers related to the sacraments, such as the Hail Mary. Those prayers are said over and over, to the point that the meaning of the prayer mixes with the rhythm of the cadence, the associations the person praying has with the words, the experiences that have been had around it, etc. In a lot of ways singing those songs is like a meditation or transcendence. That's what it means to me to sing them.

Mar 28, 2007


Since the music site is no longer operational I'll be posting songs up here for a while. Haven't had much time to record new stuff, but here is a song called
Accident, which is a pretty good song.

Mar 26, 2007

Garden Update

Well, have I got good news for you.

You probably visited this blog today wanting to see what was going on in that crazy "Worth-Allen" household - the place so crazy it needs two names - and see what kind of whacky hijinks have ensued since last you visited.

What you didn't expect to see was a completed garden fence. Like I said, have I got news for you.

Ta Daa!

That's what you got today when you visited the blog.

I know what you're thinking... is this too good to be true? Well, it is.. but it isn't. Jen isn't a quitter. She's not a giver upper. She's not even an individual who gets phased by adversity. Quite to the contrary, each and every challenge presented to her is merely another opportunity for her to reinvent. And this garden is the epitome of reinvention.

Go ahead, check it out, feel free to kick the posts, but not too hard or you'll hurt your foot - because those posts are held in place by concrete! That's right, concrete. And the screening? I'll have you know that only the finest in plastic gardening products have been used. The screening is hand applied, strategically placed in the tradition of the finest screeners from Peru - placed in such a way that sunlight gets through and dogs stay out. One thing we don't want under any circumstances is a dog in the garden.

You may have noticed the decorative caps on top of each post. We were unsure of how to choose which fence post caps to use. To make the final determination, the finest post cap makers from each continent competed over three weeks to determine which continent was the best at making caps for fences. It may be surprising to you, the ignorant and slothful reader, but those in the know won't be surprised to learn that the winner of this presitigious contest was Antarctica. Antarctica may seem like a strange location to produce such fence capping perfection, but it turns out that the harsh conditions and receding landmass will accept nothing but the most rugged fence caps. You may have heard of the term "as sturdy as the fences in Antarctica" to refer to an indestructible item. Now you know where that comes from. The makers of our caps, Helmesh and Jim, couldn't have been prouder.

"Does the gate even work?" you ask. Well, you tell me -

Huh? Answer your question?

If not, then yes, it does work.

Oh, I could go on. The lead-based paint that protects the material from nuclear radiation, the titanium hardware. This is not my way, however. The last thing I want is for you, the lowly reader, to feel ashamed of your own modest garden fences. Better to learn that there is always someone out there with a better fence. If our self-worth is wrapped up in garden fences, we are destined to feel inadequate and ashamed.

Unless you are me. Because we really do have the best garden fence.

Mar 23, 2007

Do Jump, Hip Hop and Yoga

Brianna participates in programs available after school through SUN programs. It's been a really great thing in her life, giving her the opportunity to learn some Spanish, participate in Dance, and learn more about her body through a program called Do Jump!. Jen has also been volunteering with the SUN program by teaching Yoga.

Last night SUN had a performance night, and it was great. Prior to Jen or Brianna's classes there was a demonstration of Aikido, which is a martial art from Japan. Next was Capoeira, which is a really interesting martial art form from Brazil involving kicking and an instrument called a berimbau, which kind of looks like a bow with a gourd attached to it. Both were very interesting.

Next came Jen's class doing Yoga. They weren't able to get music going, but it doesn't make a ton of difference to the video because it didn't record sound anyhow. Here's the video of Jen's class:

I was so proud of what a great job Jen did!

Next was Brianna's Do Jump! class. This was so cute - the girl with Brianna was supposed to lay on Brianna's back so that they could make an elephant, but the poor little girl just couldn't get it figured out and Brianna kept sticking her butt up in the air - it was hilarious. Luckily the instructor jumped in there to help out.

Next was the Hip Hop Dance - where Brianna really shined. I know I'm prejudiced, but she really was the best up there. I love the effort she put into her moves.

Mar 20, 2007

Hood River

I call this picture "The day I disappeared". It reminds me about this idea I had one time for a web slide show that would have music from the songs I was writing a few years ago. The story would be of a guy who becomes progressively "blacked out". In the beginning of the story he would be a regular person but slowly his arm would be darker in the pictures, then his other arm, then his legs, then his torso, and finally his head until he was entirely a silhouette.

At the end of the story the blackness affecting him would reverse itself, but only to the degree that the rest of the world became more black. For a brief time there would be an equilibrium where he was as grey as the rest of the world had become, but eventually the world would fade and he would be become more lit, until he was left in a world where things existed, but he was only visible to himself.

But really, that's not very important.

What's important is that Jen and I took a trip to Hood River last weekend and spent the night in a Bed and Breakfast called Panorama Lodge that was great. Right when we got there we headed down to Taco Del Mar for some lunch. After that we headed to this bike & hiking trail that Linda from Panorama Lodge recommended to us.

Not being familiar with the area, we parked way ahead of where the trail started, but we saw some cool stuff once we finally got to the trail. Jen got this neat shot of the flowers next to the trail on the way to the ridge -

Once we got to the ridge of the hill we were accosted by this really stiff wind, but the view was gorgeous. There were some people about 200 yards away flying those model airplanes that have their own little engines.

That night we ate Chinese food and watched Borat at the B&B, which is a hilarious movie that is not appropriate for anyone.

The next day we woke up to this view of Mt Hood -

Later in the day we took the trail farther on where we went past a turtle pond. We got this picture of Jen - that's the Columbia River in the background. Incredible.

I'm hoping to do a lot more hiking this year. Both Jen & I talked about how the kids complain when we make them go, but I always think of that movie Rabbit Proof Fence where two Aboriginal girls walked 1500 miles back home in Australia, and I think "They can handle two or three miles."

Mar 16, 2007

What happened was...

Everyone Is Different
Originally uploaded by dave.worth.
Jen was happy - in the same kind of way that the Mona Lisa got happy. She had that look on her face that said "I have a secret" while at the same time saying "I think you're real funny looking". Andrew was rehearsing for the moment we would go into the Olive Garden. He'd been saying all night that he could suck a raisin through a straw and he knew he'd have to put forth extraordinary effort if he was going to prove himself right.

Brianna almost fell asleep.

Dave, as always, is just doing the best he can.

Mar 15, 2007


Having spent four days here, and on my fourth trip here, I feel qualified to provide my assessment of the city of Las Vegas, at least from the point of view of a business traveler and sometime fun-seeker.

Vegas Sucks.

Things I don't like about Vegas:

- No matter how spiritually developed you are as a person, one cannot spend any time in this city without feeling at least a moment of envy. There is such excess at every corner here, and the constant presentation is of such hedonism and lack of thought for consequence, it really is amazing. Las Vegas is the epitome of over-everything. I found myself thinking my second day here "It's not fair that I don't have my own limousine. I'm a good person. I make witty observations on my blog. I write good songs sometimes. Isn't that enough? What more do you want of me, oh lord?" Quickly after that I thought "Oh, yeah, that's right. I don't care about limousines. What the heck am I thinking?"

- The experience of Las Vegas is very similar to that of being picked up by your ankles and shaken by a grade-school bully trying to get all of the money out of your pockets. I have a long-standing aversion to gambling, but I set aside my prejudice last night to spend $5 on the slots. I had promised a friend at work I would spend a fiver and give her whatever winnings I got. It took me literally less than one minute to spend $5 on a nickel slot. Perhaps I should have spent 5 cents at twenty different slot machines.

I did get a free White Russian, which I drank as I stared at the slot machine and those around me. Although I did make a genuine attempt to keep an open mind I just couldn't determine what it was exactly about this activity that was fun. If you know me you may be reading this and thinking "well, Dave's just too logical to enjoy gambling". But even on an emotional level - why is this so fun for people? Cause the people I saw love it. I know that my sample set was skewed as I sat in front of a slot machine in a big Vegas casino, but there has to be something to the activity. The whole city is built on this premise.

- Las Vegas exhibits an incredible amount of waste. You would think that with one trillion, five billion, seven million, two hundred-sixty thousand hotels in Vegas (give or take) it would be a priority to give those staying in hotels some way to recycle. To be fair, it is possible that the hotels are recycling the materials once housekeeping collects it, but I doubt it. If you've been here you know what I'm talking about.

- People think the weather's nice, but they don't know what they're talking about. It's hot here all the time, or at least every time I've been here. And while it's hot in a way that makes it fun to hang out by the pool at your hotel (if you're lucky enough to be in a hotel that has a decent pool) it's also hot in the way that a Wal-Mart parking lot is hot during the summer. Hot plus suffocating. The city is all pavement & black top and the only trees are either palm trees or exacerbating the drought problem I mentioned earlier.

- People are constantly shouting - either due to excitement or assholery. I find this fact particularly disturbing. It makes me think, "You are obviously an extraordinarily lazy person. Why not show some initiative and walk over to the person that you're talking to. Is it necessary to speak to someone who is twenty yards away from you?"

- Finally, I don't like it when short Mexican women slap me in the chest with brochures for a brothel featuring pornographic imagery. I know, I know, this is a quirk of mine, but please understand that that's just how I am. I don't like that. Each time I've been to the strip this has happened. They slap you in the chest with it and then drop it, so you have no choice but to either catch the thing or let it drop and be a litterer. Not liking either of these options I'm equally likely to choose the former and the latter. Just depends on the day, but either way the experience is unpleasant.

Mar 11, 2007

Disaster, Horror, Chaos and Redemption

Yesterday we made a planning excursion to Home Depot in search of the materials to repair our heating duct problem. While we have 9" ducting under our house, apparently such a thing does not exist because the person who helped us had "never even heard of such a thing. It just goes up from 8" to 10", that's how it works". Apparently the ducting in our crawl space is truly a relic. He suggested we call some place called "Custom Ducting".

This minor irritation aside, a great calamity befell our family yesterday. Far greater. Maybell, left to her own devices in our back yard destroyed Jen's garden. That's right, the garden that I wrote about just a few days ago. Gone. Destroyed. Jen took it really well, which was difficult because she had put a lot of work into it and was really proud of what she had done.

But Jen, god bless her, is undeterred. She has vowed to be resilient and that her garden will, like the very Phoenix that grows from the ashes, rise again. As we speak she is attempting to teach the dog which part of the yard is dog-digging territory and which part of the yard might threaten her very existence if she digs it up.

I'll post picks of the new replanted garden as soon as I have them.

Mar 8, 2007

Brianna and Hammy

Brianna and Hammy
Originally uploaded by dave.worth.
Today when I came home from work the first thing I heard - before I even saw anything - was Brianna saying "I got a hamster!!!"

She was so excited she didn't know what to do. Brianna and Jen adopted Hammy, who had four other names as well, from the Oregon Humane Society. This is the third pet that we've gotten from there.

This brings the total pet count to one dog (obnoxious), one cat (mafioso), a second cat (royalty), one fish (beautiful) and one hamster (yet to be determined, possibly OCD).

It was just great to see how excited Brianna was. We figure Andrew has a lizard coming to him. We're gonna have a jungle soon - and never be able to take vacations.

Anyone interested in house-sitting this summer?

Mar 7, 2007

Andrew's School Play

Andrew's school play was tonight. It was great, all about the history of Oregon. It was really special for him because he had the part of Clark (from Lewis & Clark). Not only did he have a chance to sing a solo, but he got to explore the Columbia River with Sacagewa. He did such a great job, we are really proud of him. As you can tell, he is a natural actor of the method school. To get this level of coldness he spent days outside playing basketball...

Andrew did a great job singing. He's really talented and has a natural ear for music.

Most exciting for Andrew? - He got to bring his toy gun to school. He called it a musket, which I suppose it was in this context.

I've got to include this because it's just classic Andrew. All of the drawings around this one say things like "Oregon's State Drink is Milk" and "Oregon's State Dance is the Square Dance".

Of course, Andrew takes it to a new level. Always.

Jen's Garden

Jen's Garden
Originally uploaded by dave.worth.
Jen planted a new garden yesterday. It's mostly vegetables - we've got some carrots, lettuce, onions, cucumbers - all that good stuff. I can't wait to eat the salads this summer. Check out the temporary fence Jen put up too - pretty slick with bamboo and yard twine. I'm so proud of her!

Mar 5, 2007

Being tired and game manufacturing

Today I was very tired all day. If I were being honest I would say that initially when I woke up the shock of the waking event was sufficient for me to not recognize my tiredness, a condition that was prolonged by my consumption of coffee and then a Snickers bar. In the case of my honest divulgance (new word) I would further continue that my chemical assault on tiredness began to run into trouble around early afternoon, coinciding with the realization that if I were ever to hope to stop this state of being tired I would need to halt my constant consumption of chemicals in order to sleep tonight.

But since I'm not being honest I'll say that my mind was like a thick fog for the entire day, entirely restricting my ability to do any work. At all.

In my absence of productive energy I fooled others into thinking that I was working by seeking out coworkers and asking them about the things that they work on. Since people are uncomfortable with this question they either fake a hernia or find ways to steer the topic of conversation towards their personal lives, at which point I'm home free. Eventually people have to pee and will leave my desk. If I'm at their desk I stay until I have to pee.

This is how I avoid work when I'm tired but don't want to waste vacation days sleeping.

Towards the end of the day I challenged myself to either delete, file, or ask for more information about items in my work email inbox. This is not different from what I do when I'm not tired, though.

Hopefully tonight I'll sleep better.

A few days ago my friend and I had a talk about the people who manufacture games. Board games and that kind of stuff, not so much whiffle ball games or things that require physical activity to enjoy. Also, nothing that requires a computer or video console. Maybe a diagram would help.

I was imagining the life of the box engineer, whose job it was to package the games that were developed by the game designers. More specifically, in my imaginary game manufacturing concern, the box engineer needs to package the components of the game-piece engineer. The two need to work closely together as a team. They probably have "team days" where they learn how to better appreciate each others flaws.

I don't know whether the title of "game-piece engineer" is what they call it in the game manufacturing industry, but that's what I call it. If I ever meet a game-piece engineer and he or she says that the actual title of the position is game-figure engineer I'll still call them a game-piece engineer no matter how many times they correct me or how snotty they get about it. I don't care about stuff like that.

I imagine that there are probably a lot of conflicts between the box engineer and game-figure engineer. At the beginning of the month the box engineer gets some ridiculous game set that he's supposed to magically fit in a 9 and 1/2" by 11" box, three inches deep. Because that's the size of box we're getting from China right now.


You can bet that they don't pay him or her enough to put up with the kind of crap he or she deals with. And god forbid the game-figure engineer should make the tiniest change to the game pieces to make life easier on the box engineer. But that's just the way it is. You need to know your place when you're in the game industry.

People don't buy games for the boxes, they buy the game for the game play. Unless people buy the game because it has a really cool box, but in that case the game usually sucks.

Maybe the best day of a box engineers' life is when he or she gets a real crap game to box up because then the suits don't even care. They just let you do whatever you want cause it's a crap game to begin with and the suits know that from the test marketing results.

All of a sudden the box engineer has a lot more options. Reliefs of dragons on the box? Cool. Cool decals with sayings like "Too Legit!" and skulls and stuff? Yeah, that's fine, whatever. Whatever helps us sell the 1,500 copies of this crap game that we're under contract to unload.

Mar 4, 2007

A Day at the Park

So today we went to Mt Tabor park, which is across town from our house and somewhat famous because it has a huge reservoir there. A few years ago, right after 9/11 the city of Portland wanted to cover it over with a cap, but that was very unpopular because so many people enjoy the reservoir for recreation. As you can see, Jen was so moved that she used the zip line. It was quite a site.

In fact, Andrew had to join in as well. Good thing he had those rock-star fingerless gloves on. He also wears them when he plays guitar, or eats breakfast, or brushes his teeth, or whenever he does anything. I'm afraid of the bacteria that may be growing within them.

I've been retired from the world of merry-go-round for some time now, but I'm pleased to announce to my eager fans that my long hiatus is now over. I even pulled out the "lay on the bars" trick that you may have read about in USA Today and Newsweek.

Although I have temporarily returned to the limelight, I am now training my protege. Brianna, the merry-go-round queen of the future, likes for the merry-go-round to go *really* slow. And she likes to be on it by herself.

We all have to start somewhere. :)

For those of you who are maybe a little less technically savvy just wanted to let you know that you can click on the pictures and go to them on flickr, where you can also click on "all sizes" if you want to see big versions. Neat!

Mar 3, 2007

Jen & Andrew

Jen & Andrew
Originally uploaded by dave.worth.
This is Jen and Andrew visiting her friends Donny, Craig, and Nichole.


Originally uploaded by dave.worth.
Hey there- here's my first upload of the camera mom sent. Thanks, mom! Sharing!