Monthly Archives: March 2009

Behold the Sound

Ladies and Gents, it is with great pleasure that I announce the overdue release of Anal0g.org’s Wires 6 compilation, featuring a track by yours truly. Go there and download the album now before the bytes run out (if you don’t know how to save a zip file and play the mp3s inside, get your daughter to do it for you).

I say overdue because the compilation is, for the first time ever, 5 months late. There were certain confounding factors that all added up to the major delay. The last call for submissions was Halloween of last year. Some of us barely got our tracks in under the wire; however, most of the artists didn’t turn in their stuff until well after the deadline, which delayed the production schedule.

The tracks were then handed off to a volunteer member of the anal0g.org crew who had the skill and equipment to properly master everything for volume, punch, and presence. Well, he took his time. And our time. And everybody else’s time. But finally he finished everything and sent the polished tracks back to be packaged and presented.

I got the message yesterday that the compilation was finished and posted and I’ve been listening as much as possible. So far, I’m really digging the music. Some inventive stuff on here; the future of electronic music, I think. Give it a spin and give a shout.

Surprise!

Two weeks ago, I slipped a disc in my back while I was seated. Been nursing it back to health and getting better. This morning, while getting ready for work, I pulled a muscle and slipped the disc again.

Worst birthday ever.

Motion of the Ocean: to the Sea, to the Salt, to the Sinuses.

I was out sick for two days last week; came down with some sinus respiratory thing that’d been plaguing me for the past month. Remnants of the girl cooties I picked up. It settled down two weeks ago, but then a few shots of alcohol threw the bacterial balance off and it got worse over the next few days. Saw the doc Tuesday, got the amoxycillin. Doc recommended something non-antihistamine to help with the symptoms. I was like, “what, you mean like one of those Neti pots?” “Exactly.” So tonight, I bought one.

Now I hate my doctor.

Sure, I can breathe through my nose now. Mostly. I could do that before. But now there’s a slightly burning sensation…and the permanent taste of salt, baking soda, and snot in my mouth and throat. Gag. I think it would’ve been better had I shaken up a carbonated water bottle and jammed it up my nose. Sure, I know it’s my first time to the dance and with practice I can develop the technique, but I had absolutely no grace about it. The stuff that ran down the back of my throat collected in my mouth and came out as salty drool. It’s like I devolved back to my infant form. Absolutely no grace, absolutely no class.

Given that I paid twelve bucks for this damn thing, I may as well finish out the 30 packets of “dry solution mix” provided with it. I can’t believe they’re selling this, but people are buying it…and swearing by it. My coworker got one when he was out sick; swears by it. Doc swears by it. It seems to be the In Thing now. And all the white people go “it’s from Finland/Holland/Scandanavia, so it’s got to be good! Let’s dose up, blow out, and then go to Ikea!”

Me? I can’t swear by it. I’ll just stand next to it…and swear.

Home By Nowhere

South By Southwest (SXSW) is back in town this week, and once again I’m just not feeling up for it. Fact of the matter is that I never do. It comes to town every year during UT’s spring break; it’s loaded with tons of really cool stuff and…I just can’t make myself care. And that bothers me.

I come from a very, very small city. People there look forward to the Quandrangle Festival and the Four-States Fair and Rodeo. It’s something big, and it’s something to look forward to as a break in the monotony of factory life and sleepy suburbs. I moved here almost a decade ago to have access to and look forward to bigger things. But somewhere during that timespan, I stopped caring. When, during my life, did I do a violent 180° and cease to be a joiner? When did I become anti-joiner? When did I become the stoic mysanthrope marching to the beat of his own drum? I lost my sense of community. Maybe I burned out during my Jesus years. I dunno. But I know that I hate all things Big and all things Festival and all things Event. Why? Why?

I do admit that participating in stuff this big yields a great expense, not just monetary expense (SXSW wristbands are ~$130usd), but it’s the huge expense on time, energy, mental attention. And for what? To see a bunch of bands. I’m a music fan…always have been, and I fucking love to see the bands I like play live shows; even in a crowded auditorium, it’s an intimate affair, and the capacity of the room gives me confirmation that I’m not alone in liking who I like. But the foundation of my decision process is completely unlinked from this understanding.

When it comes to it, I picture having to drive downtown, hunt for parking, and walk 5 blocks to the venue, stand in line, pay a high cover, buy a drink at festival prices, and cram into the festival crowd for a bad view of the stage. Somewhere on the fatigued walk back to my car, I’ll get hit up for spare change at least once. It’s a likely outcome, it is, but it’s the only outcome I visualize when I’m trying to decide whether to engage in the process of going to the show, festival or not.

On the surface, that seems to be the answer to my abhorrence of going out. But underneath it all, something deeper is happening. I hate people. I hate crowds. I mean, I like being anonymous, but I don’t want to be alone. Does that make sense? It’s a bigger town, and there’s a high chance that I’ll never cross paths with someone who knows me from any of my regular haunts (God forbid someone I know shows up and sees me having a good time–the horror!). That’s comforting. But it also means I’m on my own for trying to be a joiner in a scene. You can’t just walk up and say hey to people hanging out at a show; it’s just creepy. So where’s the payoff? Where’s the big reward in going to see a band and enjoying the fuck out of the show if there’s no one I know to recount the experience?

It’s a huge expense on me to go to any of the shows during SXSW; even the free, non-festival shows that are all over the place typically require throwing myself into the fray. I’m a non-joiner. I stopped wanting the company of others. And so, on the final balance sheet, the costs outweigh the returns. Therefore, I don’t go, regardless of how fucking badly I want to see these bands.

This is what happens every year: SXSW wristbands and badges go on sale without any of my attention. Since I seldom read the Austin Chronicle (founder of the festival), it flies under my radar. Once I’m reminded that SXSW is coming up, I yawn and feign disinterest. And it begins, and I finally grab a Chronicle to see who’s playing, and that list soon becomes a list of who I want to see and in the span of hours turns into a list of bands I should’ve seen. For instance, here’s a list of bands playing this year that I really, really would like to see, but won’t:

  • Ulrich Schnauss, electronic musician from Germany who I’ve recently started adoring
  • Peter Murphy – yes, THAT Peter Murphy – played tonight
  • Tori Amos, playing right now (I guarantee that nobody without a SXSW badge is getting in)
  • Meat Puppets are clearing the stage now
  • Echo and the Bunnymen
  • Deadmau5, an electronic dance duo
  • Tricky, tomorrow night
  • Devo shortly thereafter
  • Dinosaur Jr
  • I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness (I like this local band)
  • The Crystal Method

This list is of pretty-much the only bands I care to see out of the 5 pages of fine-print listings. I know SXSW is all about the smaller bands and the unsigned acts. I get that. But I can’t justify running around between venues to listen to unsigned showcases. I just can’t. I know, I know, every single band has a Myspace profile with their music…fuck that nonsense. Spending all that time researching these bands in order to plan my schedule just adds to the cost. There’s no easy way to sift this pile of rocks, and in the end I have to rely on chance. The last time I went to see an unsigned band that I actually knew, I had the chance to hear a few bands that I ended up really, really liking. That’s a huge payoff. But it’s pure serendipity; it’s pure luck, pure chance.

Serendipity. I stopped listening to Serendipity shortly before she stopped talking to me. I think what happened is that somewhere during my first 6 months here I fell in with a crowd of non-joiners who pissed and moaned about the ills and evils of 6th Street and festivals and whatnot. Generally, they trampled on and killed every flowering desire growing in me to get out and live in the face of chance. Their voices became the din that drowned out the voice of Serendipity until all I could hear is static. They spoke out, and I listened, and I internalized and slowly, root by root, I died. I can point the finger, but I’d be lying if I didn’t point it at myself, and that’s a hard truth to swallow. I listened, and I let them influence my life into a cold stasis. I overheard, and it became the fulcrum by which I weigh the balance of costs and returns.

That’s been years ago; I don’t hang out with those people anymore. Most of them I don’t talk to, some of them I refuse to acknowledge, and a handful of them I still respect but see once in a blue moon. Their sphere of influence is completely dissolved, but I still bear the damage in myself. Some day, I’ll wake up. Some day, my root will wake up and take to the soil. Some day, the flowers will return.

Instant Car-ma

Someone backed into my car with their bike rack. Yeah. I can’t curse the guy, really, because he actually left me a note with his number. “Dear sir, or madam, I backed into your car…”

When I pulled into the lot and parked behind him along the edge of the lot, I left plenty of space. Maybe he forgot about his rack. I dunno. When I left the lot and headed towards home, I found the note flapping under my wiper blade. Pulled off at the next light and grabbed it. He said he didn’t see any damage, and in my rush to get back into the car, I didn’t either. But later, I gave my car a thorough going-over and found the damage. His rack, or something on it, cracked the plastic lens on my left headlight and the force fractured the silver reflector inside; there are pieces floating loose. I took pictures. I’ll need a new headlamp assembly.

But I called the guy and he offered up his insurance information. I really don’t want to stick it to him because at least he was bold enough to leave a note and, quite honestly, I’ve done some shitty things car-wise myself, so I guess it could be karmic payback (carmic?). We’ve traded info, and I thanked him for his boldness in admitting fault. You’d never find that kind of behavior anywhere.

Here’s hoping for a speedy resolution.