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

Dec 31, 2007

Myspace: Saturday Night Live

Another reason why my kids will never have the internet in their rooms...

Dec 29, 2007

Portland Ground

I found a cool new blog called Portland Ground that has awesome pictures of my favorite city.  It's really neat to see all of the beautiful pictures of the places I spend time at.  The guy who takes the pictures is really talented.

Dec 27, 2007

Meetings about meetings

This is a few weeks old, but it's so spot on I had to post it up.  The jargon is absolutely perfect. 

The current thing at work is "two-fers" where supposedly you do one easy thing that fixes two hard problems.  The assumption is that all the hard problems I'm dealing with every day are actually only hard because I make them that way. The message is that I should focus on doing things that are easy and have immense rewards compared to the amount of effort put in.

So I'm going to quit and go on unemployment.

Dec 23, 2007


Brushing up on my GIMP skills, I came up with drawing of Andrew yesterday & today.

Dec 22, 2007


Inspired by Presentation Zen thought I'd post up a little moment of peace as we all go through our last minute preparations for Christmas. Remember, if it isn't fun and doesn't help to build good memories, it's not the point.


Dec 20, 2007

Christmas Tree

This was a few days ago, but in the spirit of the season I want to share some Christmas cheer!  Here are some photos of us putting up our tree.  For once in our lives Jen and I are both ready for Christmas days before the actual event... this is a rare moment indeed.

and the finished product:

Dec 18, 2007

Simpsons Picture

This is a great different take on my very, very favorite television show. Love it.

The Simpsonzu by *spacecoyote on deviantART

Dec 16, 2007

Spoon at the Crystal Ballroom


                                          Photo credit:Squid Vicious 

Last night I went with a few friends to see Spoon at the Crystal Ballroom w/ the Shaky Hands.  Believe it or not this is the first real show (ie concert you have to buy tickets to at an actual venue) I've been to since I moved to Oregon, so I'm excited about getting back into the flow of that again - this is definitely something I missed a lot.

I'm not too familiar with the Shaky hands, but they seemed to be pretty good and put on an energetic show.  They'll warrant follow-up.  Unfortunately, they had the classic opening-act problem of having to set up in front of Spoon's equipment and it seemed like they didn't benefit from the house PA which made them kind of hard to hear from the upper balcony where I was.  

Spoon's set was amazing.  They mostly stuck to tracks off of Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga and Gimme Fiction.  There were about four songs I wasn't familiar with and based on the lack of programmed lighting choreography, I'm thinking they might be new songs being road-tested.  Standouts from the show were the opening "Don't Make Me a Target", "Cherry Bomb", "The Ghost of You Lingers" (with amazing sound work by whoever they have running the boards), and "My Mathematical Mind".  I was glad that they pulled out a classic from Girls Can Tell "Anything You Want".

The one complaint I would have about the night was that Spoon only played one encore, and I was hoping they would play a lot more.

Dec 12, 2007

Oh My God, Whatever, Etc.

Here's me on guitar and singing one of my favorite Ryan Adams songs, Oh My God, Whatever, Etc.  Andrew's on harmony vocals and Brianna's on hand claps - her specialty.

Oh My God, Whatever, Etc.

Dec 11, 2007

AZA Interview

We again plumb the depths with this hard-hitting interview.  We cover the topics that are important to _you_.  Very special thanks to our sponser, da-da-da-da DA.

Interview with AZA

Dec 10, 2007

Portland - Officially Scarf Crazy

Since I take trimet in to work every morning, the cold weather has me taking reasonable precautions.  I've been wearing a cashmere scarf that was a gift from my boss (best boss ever) and a warm Carhart hat along with my lined North Face jacket.

Sometimes when you're on the train you have time to think.  Tonight was one of those nights and I did an observational survey of the train to notice the remarkable penetration of scarves in the winter clothing market among train commuters.  It's incredible.  All kinds of different scarves are represented - striped ones a la Harry Potter, Fuzzy girly scarves, orange scarves matching the orange jackets they were paired with, funky argyle, hipster Portland indie.

I noticed that there were as many men wearing scarves on the bus as women, which for whatever reason I was surprised by.  It's interesting the different ways that men wear scarves.There's the once-around forward over-jacket:

Then there's the once-around forward under jacket (my personal preference)

There's the let it hang:

There's the once-around double-back:

And finally, there's always the front & back:

flickr sources:


Dec 9, 2007

Exclusive Interview - Brianna

Here's an exclusive interview between myself and my daughter Brianna.  Andrew provides commercial breaks.

Brianna Interview

Dec 8, 2007

Andy Summers' One Train Later


Yesterday I finished reading Andy Summers' memoir, One Train Later.  Of course, Andy Summers is the very talented guitar player from the Police.  I was really excited about reading this, and apparently I wasn't the only one because I know the book made it to paperback.  Based on the tone and style of writing, the book was obviously written with a ghost writer, which is probably just as well but definitely something to be aware of before reading.  The wording is often too flowery and esoteric for its context, which can actually detract from the experience at times.

The book goes into a lot of depth about Andy Summers' life from the time he was born up until he joined the Police.  This section of the book is surprisingly enjoyable as he was more accomplished a guitarist than I had known, playing in many bands, including the popular Animals.  I was also surprised to find out how involved he was in the "peace and love" movement of 1960's Britain. 

As a guitarist myself, I had a great appreciation of how fantastic a guitarist he was already.  The first section of the book doesn't disappoint, exploring his influences, great discipline within his craft, and education in music.  Thanks to the book I explored some of his classical and bassa nova recordings and was quite impressed with his ability.  Andy Summers is a person who takes music very seriously.

Unfortunately once he joins the police the book takes on a "This happened, then that happened" statement of experiences and facts that often lack an arc and climax.  If you are looking for insight into the dynamics between Andy, Sting, and Stewart this is not the book for you.  In his writing Andy Summers is very disciplined about sharing only his most general feelings about the band.  I was pretty disappointed in this section of the book, hoping for a more insightful analysis of events, similar to the recent Beatles biography by Bob Spitz.  It seems that Andy Summers has chosen to take a more political tact, which I'm sure is good for his ongoing relationships with his ex-bandmates.  Perhaps the role this book will play for Police enthusiasts will be as source material in future works by rock historians.

I am very interested in eastern religion and Buddhism in particular, and Andy Summers touches on this topic frequently.  His sincerity of belief is obvious, and repeats throughout the book to show how reasonable and kind  a person he truly is.

The book features an intro by The Edge of U2 fame, which is basically worthless and probably exists solely to enhance the book's sales. 

Although this is not a book that will change lives or provide special insight, it was very enjoyable and would interest even those not particularly fond of the Police.

Dec 6, 2007

These Girls

More recordings from the home front.  This is me singing and playing "These Girls" by Ryan Adams with Andrew on Maracas and Brianna on hand-claps.

These Girls

Dec 5, 2007

Sock Monkey

The second of our recordings - Andrew laying down some smooth rhymes while he accompanies himself on the guitar.  It's the sock monkey rap, people!


Dec 4, 2007

Brianna's Story

I have a little bit of a home recording setup at the house and a couple of weeks ago the kids and I took advantage of it to make some recordings.  This is the first recording, a deeply touching story told by my daughter, Brianna.


Dec 3, 2007

Lullaby Radiohead

I was surfing around the amazon.com mp3 store yesterday when I stumbled across this gem - Rockabye Baby!  Lullaby Renditions of Radiohead.

At first I thought this was a pretty stupid idea, but I started to think about when Brianna was a little baby and I had to listen to that Baby Mozart crapolla every night when I was half-asleep.  That stuff would drive me crazy.  I would really much prefer to spend those hours in the wee morning listening to a version of something I like.  And everybody knows I like Radiohead A LOT.

They also have lullaby album versions of:

  • Led Zeppelin
  • Pink Floyd
  • Nirvana
  • The Cure
  • The Beatles

Guess I'm in that age bracket now...

Dec 2, 2007

Potty Humor

About a month ago signs showed up at my work, hung directly above the urinals:

Bathroom Sign

That huge amount of text to the left contains heartfelt pleas aimed at the users of the urinal.  The sign entreats the reader to:

  • Tell someone if there is a problem with the cleanliness of the facility
  • Try to pee in such a way as to not pee on the floor.
  • Throw paper towels in the trash (not on the floor when you use them to open the door)
  • Wash your hands after you go to the bathroom

Apparently the scope of this problem is considerable, because this information campaign includes each of the bathrooms within the 17 stories of the company's first office building as well as the 6 story building I work in.

Now, the very existence of this sign might cause one's mind to race with suppositions, but the more fascinating subject is the reaction of the assumed introverted, uncoordinated, (both in the context of urine and paper aim), filthy-handed users of the restroom to the sign.

My personal reaction to signs telling me something any idiot should already know is usually not very favorable.  At first glance, I placed the sign firmly in this category.  Signs like this strike me as an act of aggression against the many by an enraged individual.  Being a fairly accomplished urinator (5 time champion - Denver High School Regionals) and not in the practice of using paper towels to open doors, I knew that I was an innocent victim of the glossed-over venom this sign contained.

While I can certainly appreciate how frustrating it must be to be delegated the responsibility of doing for someone else what they *should* know to do for themselves, realistically this sign will not influence the outcome one way or another.  People who pee on the floor know that they're peeing on the floor.  Whatever breaker that should have tripped to keep them from doing that has obviously shorted out, and will not be repaired by a reminder.  Failing 24-hour restroom surveillance followed by frequent inspection I don't see this changing very much.

Some agreed with me and responded with their own display of misplaced aggression.  A couple weeks after the signs went up they were turned upside down and re-hung.  An individual on the other side of the debate countered by arranging all of the signs in a flower-petal pattern over the urinal that we all know has as much chance of being the impetus for the situation as any.  Not to be outdone, someone hung all of the signs on the left wall of each urinal, so that in order to read the sign while relieving one's self a gentlemen would almost certainly displease its author.  As almost a sign of truce each of the signs appeared in its original place and position.

Just as I had suspected I have not perceived an increase of cleanliness in the bathrooms at my work since the signs arrived.