Moving on Out

Other Minds’ Newest Board Member

Last Tuesday, I was elected to the board of Otherminds. I was asked to speak about myself and had no idea of what to say. I knew that I would have to, but when asked, my mind went blank. Things that I could have mentioned and didn’t were numerous. Despite being in the presence of the founder of the Just Intonation Network, I did not mention my membership nor my work on the Java Just Intionation Calculator. Nor did I talk intellgiently about the music I write. But I did talk about the history of the tuba and related brass instruments. I guess Charles must have said good things about me. anyway, it’s clear that I’m going to have to write a spiel and memorize it. I’ll need to have different versions of it depending on how long I need to speak.
Afterwards, Carl Stone showed up and he, Charles and Jim Newman were going to go out to dinner. Christi and I were waiting around to go to dinner with Mitch, so we all ended up going together to a Tapas place at 16th and Guerro where Carl Stone’s cousin’s husband is the head chef. This translated into free desserts. Charles once again impressed upon me the need to write down witty things that people say and to keep a diary so later when someone asks about what composers that I’ve met (because they are wirtting the difinite biography of witty things said by a particular famous composer), I’ll be able to regale them with facinating stories about going to restaurants after board meetings. With that in mind, it was a delightful evening. Carl Stone is very charming. I had met him once before at Charles’ Christimas or New Years party and he remembered me from then. He’s been teaching in Japan. He was talking about how terrible meetings there were, but as he cannot read or write Japanese, most of it went over his head and he spent his time in meetings by responding to email. He said they spent over an hour on one occasion discussing the locations of ashtrays around one of the buildings.
The food was great and sufficient vegan-ized things were available. It was nice to get a last visit with Mitch. after dinner, I hopped on Bart to go stay at Polly’s house. “Naiomi” also arrived. (Name changed for reasons that will become clearer as the story progesses.)

she said, “let’s go to Vegas, man

The next morning, we got the rental van and drove it back to Polly’s house. Actually, Naomi drove it. We weren’t in a hurry, but she drove as if we were. She was a terrifying driver. I swear she alomst rolled the van. Well, I dunno how hard something has to pull to the side before it actually rolls, but it was the most sideways force I’ve yet experienced. “Oh, it doesn’t corner well.” she said. As she was driving in the fast lane down the freeway at highspeeds, she was about five feet behind the car in front of her. “Oh it doesn’t break well.” she said. We got mightily lost, but finally arrived to load the gear and set off for Vegas, and, thankfully, Polly drove the whole way.
It was my first time seeing the Mojave desert. It’s got big basins surrounded by hills. Really big, crater-like basins. And darn, is it hot! It’s hot all the way to Vegas. Really darn hot. We got to the Vegas strip just as the sun was setting. In case you have never been there (and this was my first time), It’s not nearly as glamorous as the movies make it to be. At least the end I was on was not as glamorous. I think “glamorous” means “a lot of lightbulbs.” We were staying at the Rivera Hotel. The bellhop cmae to help us with our gear and started dropping everything. Polly made a wild grab and caught her mixer as it tumbled towards the pavement. We clustered nervously around the lacsidasical belhop, on the ready in case he dropped anything else. After he left, I anxiously called Christi and asked her to repack all the boxes of dishes that I had just packed. Polly came and introduced me to Robert Dick. We chatted for a few minutes and then they went to catch up. Naiomi and I decided to go to Circus Circus. I know of this casino because of the movie Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas. In the movie, the lead charecter takes acid and then sits at a Merry-go-round themed bar while surrealist, scary clowns lurk menacingly. We found the rotating, merry go round bar, but there was nothing menacing about any part of the casino. It was crawling with children who were excitedly playing midway games. I was slightly disappointed. Vegas seems to be like american culture concentrate. Add water and you get a strip mall. they did have a short free show have fantastically talented jump rope acrobats. Naiomi dumped several quarters into the slot machines. She won all of the first several games that she played. Then she wanted to buy stuff, so we went to several gift shops. Then I was tired, so I went to bed, but we stayed up talking far later than I anticipated.
Naiomi and I slept late the next morning, although Polly got up when the clock radio, set by the previous occupant, went off at 7:00. Christi called and said that I could have Tiffany’s Bjork ticket if I could get back in time. Bjork was playing on Friday night in San Francisco. I hadn’t bought my own ticket because I was supossed to drive the van home that day and didn’t think I could make it in time and didn’t think I could make it in time. But the offer was tempting, so I approached Naomi and asked if she would be willing to leave early and drop me and my gear off in Berkeley and take the van and Polly’s gear south by heself. (Polly was planning on staying for the rest of the convention to network with flutists and try to get gigs based on our show.) As Naiomi lives in the city, I figured she would have an easy time getting back via BART. She became very excited and called someone to find out if there will still tickets to Bjork available, so she could go to the show too. She wondered if we could leave extra early. I said that 8:00 would be a good time to set out and added that I thought we could come back faster if we went throught Yosemite rather than Bakersfield. I called Christi and found out that Bakersfield really was the fastest route. Naiomi wanted to leave earlier, maybe 6:00 AM, maybe right after the show and we could drive all night? I said no, since I was anticipating staying upp all night friday night packing. I need as much sleep as I can while in Vegas. I could sleep while she drove? No, I can’t sleep in cars. She was getting agitated, wanting to leave earlier and perhaps drive as fast as possible. I was becoming increasingly concerned about becoming a traffic fatality statistic, since her driving was irratic when she wasn’t in a hurry. I told Polly about Naiomi’s driving. We had been planning on adding my name to the rental car contract anyway (they would only allow two drivers when we got the car, and I won at rock paper scissors), so we looked up the location of the closest office for our rental agency. It was only a mile and a half down the strip, so we had the very bright idea of walking. It was 3:00 in the afternoon and the heat seemed to be at least 105 F, perhaps higher. I was dying by the time we got to the parking lot to get the paperwork, but I’m on a mission to combat my whinyness and did not contest the plan to walk. Clearly, it seems, there are times when being whiny is essential.
We walked more than a mile and a half in 45 minutes in the scortching midday heat. Only mad dogs, englishmen and stupid tourists… There are vending machines on the strip that sell water for a dollar a bottle. It’s a racket. They could charge $10 a bottle. We stopped at drug store on the way and I bought cold chocolate almond milk (vegan food in vegas? arg! I was hungry hungry. All I could find for lunch was “chinese” food: boiled cabbage in sauce). We got to the car office and collapsed. We rode the bus back to the hotel. I felt like I might loose all my almond milk. We were all dizzy and sick. I stuck my head in the bathtub and ran cold water on it and then conked out for a nap and then woke and drank a lot of water. Naiomi went out, while I napped and put a lot of money into slot machines and other games of chance. She came back later and was feeling extremely ill. She was trying to “win back” the $50 she lost on her previous Vegas trip. At some point, we had a conversation about how gaming is regulated. She was surprised to hear that the amount of money the casino gets to keep and has to give away in prizes is set by state law. The odds are titled in the favor of casinos, it is not random. The slots by the door really do win more often. Seriously.
Finally, after we had all recovered, it was time for our sound check. Will, Polly’s brother, was running our sound for us. He’s an actor and is perfectly and completely charming. The hotel’s sound guy did not understand how we were going to set up. I talked to him for several minutes but was unable to convey any meaning. Will explained that it was ok and started running cables. He set things up in the only way that the sound guy said would work. The drums were way too low in the monitors. I had several ideas about how they could be raised, but this was the only was it would work. We played a few songs and souldn’t hear the drums when suddenly Will had an idea about how to raise the drum level. Later, Will told me that he knew how to have a seperate monitor mix all along, but there’s a certain way that union sound guys must be approached about sound. First, they must be befriended. Polly’s idea of using her brother for sound was perfectly brilliant.
We hung around waiting for our time to go on, while Naiomi pushed me to consider leaving earlier to get the Bjork show and I became pretty certain that a traffic accident was in my future. Naiomi had a pink mohawk, which strangers would comment on. Of course, making comments to strangers about their hair is rude, even if it’s as benign as telling her that she should spike it up instead of letting it lie flat. She had confessed to me that she wanted to punch people who made comments. In my past, I had a blue mohawk and when I had it, many, many peple commented on it. People would regularly tell me to spike it up or ask how it got to be blue and generally wanted to ask questions about it. Such is life when one has a mohawk. Naiomi just got angry. She also became extremely angry when the elevator stopped for someone on the way down and the guy got on a different elevator that also stopped. “That asshole stopped our elevator and didn’t even get on it, he got on that other one first.” I suggested that it might not be his fault and perhaps it was the fault of the hotel for summoning multiple elevators on a single button push. “You think so?” she asked, quite seriously and still angry at the hapless elevator traveller.
anyway, while we were waiting to go on, the opnening act was becoming alarmed since it was time for him to go on and his bassist had not yet arrived. since folks at home keep telling me what a great bassist I am, I told the guy that I could fill in, especially if he had charts that I could read. Thank goodness that his bassist arrived. That guy was one of the finest bassists that I’ve ever heard. He was playing a five string Carvin bass with a fantastic tone. Since the band had never played togteher before, the flutist would play the bassline to him once at the start of the song and the bassist would play it perfectly, as funky as you’ve ever heard, occassionaly making appropriate and highly funky fills. In nearly every song, he also improvised extremely textured and intricate bass solos. In one of them, we was simultaneously playing an improvised bassline and tapping out a solo on the high strings. It was synchopated and perfectly in time. That is what a great bassist can do. And that guy was just another Vegas bassist, once of hundreds if not thousands of bassist in this country who make a living just playing gigs as needed or as a studio musician. The world is crawling with highly proficient, professional and completely musical bassists, of which I am not one. Not that I don’t appreciate compliments. I must not beleive my own hype.
So I spent the whole first act comparing myself to the amazing bassist and consequently, when I got on stage, I was terrified of screwing up. I normally get stage fright. My heart beats fast. My palms sweat. I act foolishly before I go on. When I play with Tennis Roberts, I calm down as soon as it becomes clear that a train wreck is not going to destory us. However, Polly had a much larger audience and I psyched myself out more than usual. I thought I must have looked terrified through the first several songs. It didn’t help that Naiomi was playing guitar very tentatively and came in late several times. She ended one song many bars too early and, of course, the drum track kept going. I felt like we were in danger of slipping from the beat. Normally, it is the repsoncibility of the bassist to keep the beat together (so says Bass Player Magazine), but it is doubly so when the drum are pre-set. Anyway, as a consequence of being highly fearful, I was also highly focussed. I knew exactly where I was in every song and exactly where the beat was to a degree that I don’t normally in practice. I realized that I was playing very solidly. I was on FIRE! And as I became confident, the break came and Polly did some solo pieces without backup and I got nervous all over again and was definitely not on fire during the second half. As the show went on, I felt like my playing was getting weaker, but it was getting later and later. We didn’t start until almost midnight, so by the time I was on the wrong beat on the last song, there were only five people in the audience. If I’m going to screw up, I’m going to do so as confidently as possible in front of only a few people. I tried to look as if the one was not ususally on the one.
afterwards, the few remaining folks, who were all friends of Polly’s talked to us and when I said that I had been pretty much terrified the entire time and been off-beat on the last song, they said that I looked “cool as a cucumber” and that it had all sounded very solid. And it was easy to tell at the start of the show that the audience was loving it (at the end of the show it was very late and everyone had gone to bed). Several people were chair dancing. There was cheering when Polly announced that she was going to play a Dead Can Dance cover. Polly was definitely on fire. She had a great stage presence throughout. The folks watching soaked up every naunce and would go anywhere that Polly lead them. she was completely fabulous.
Polly’s mother, Polly, Robert Dick, Naiomi and I went to get beers afterwards. Robert is extremely friendly and it was very nice to get to talk to him. He told me to say to Ron Kuivilla and Alvin Lucier from him. Polly’s mother is also very charming. She was extremely proud of Polly’s performance. She is really sweet. Finally, we went to go to sleep. At 3:00 AM, I was sleeping sitting up, leaning over my gear, waiting for my turn to use the bathroom. Polly went back out to do more partying and just Naiomi and I were left in the hotel room. She was setting the alarm to off earlier than our agreed-upon time. I said, “Naiomi, there’s no way I’m going to be able to get up before 8:00 tommorrow morning. I’ve got too much stuff to do this weekend. I’m moving and stuff. I’m really sorry, but this is why I didn’t buy my own ticket to the concert.” I then passed out as I said “goodnight.”
Naiomi did not say anything. She did not turn out the light. As far as I know, she didn’t move. I felt tingling at the back of my neck and finally turned to look at her. she was glaring at me with narrowed eyes and a bitter rage. She said that she wanted to leave at our agreed-upon time. I had been thinking about our schedule and had realized that there was no way we could get to an 7:00 PM concert in San Francisco if we left Vegas at 8:30 AM. There was likely to be traffic at both ends and we had to unload the gear in Berkeley and Burlingame and then return the van to the San Jose airport. I could clearly picture the trip. I would be driving, refusing to give up the drivers seat while Naiomi angrily urged me to go faster and constantly offering to drive and finally demanding that she should drive, which I could not let her do or I would end up rolled over on the side of the road. I could also picture the return trip if we left later. It would be exactly the same except she would be bitter towards me from the start. Maybe we would ride in silence the entire way. I was already counting the hours until I never had to see her again and it looked the last hours were going to be very long. So I declined leaving at the earlier time and said goodnight again and fell back asleep.
The light still did not go out. I was exhausted. The day had not been relaxing. I had heat stroke and then I had been in the grips of stage fright for more than an hour long show. It was a whole lot later than I normally go to sleep. Maybe a minute later, maybe and hour, maybe a second (certainly after I had again faded from consciousness), she yelled, “I just don’t see why we can’t leave now and you can sleep in the car!” It’s hard sleeping when one is convinced that one is about to be horribly maimed in a car wreck, even if one is already completely exhausted. And regardless, I’ve never been able to sleep in a car. (This conversation, btw, is recorded here very near verbatim)
“Naiomi, we’re not dating. Please don’t wake me up to yell at me. I can’t sleep in cars. goodnight.”
“Why can’t you?”
“Alas, I’ve never been able to. Perhaps it is an as yet untreatable physiological condition. goodnight.”
“I’ve always wanted to see Bjork and I might never again get a chnce to see her in my whole life!”
“It’s highly probable that she will survive this tour and decide to emabrk upon another one during which time you would likely be presented with an oppotrunity to see her.” I gave up on the ending goodnights as a good night was seeming to be an increasingly remote possibility.
“She’s a huge influence of mine . . .” she started into a speech which I don’t recall (and probably tuned out at the time) about how it was imperative that she go to see Bjork.
I pointed out that she had not known about the concert until I had told her about it. She argued further, hoping to wear me down rather than convince me, I think, since she was too threatening to be convicing.
“This is not my problem. Parhaps you can take a cab.” I was not going to give up.
“You can’t take a cab to the City from here, but You could fly!” she exclaimed, siezing upon a possible solution.
I considered it. Travelling seperately had never looked so attractive. I would get back much earlier, have time to do more packing, get to see the concert, etc. But how would I get my gear back? And moving expenses alone were going to hit my credit card pretty hard. And I was not going to give up. “Alas, it’s not in my budget. Perhaps you could fly”
“Well, it’s not in my budget either!” she yelled quite angrily. I think that around then she stomped out.
I lay in bed with wide open eyes and my heart racing from tremendous amounts of adrenaline. Her bitter rage plus dregs of stage fright anxiety made for a very powerful fight or flight responce. I began imagining the things that she was plotting to do to get revenge. “Fly!” my instincts ordered. But where could I go? The casinos would be open all night, but to be in there, I would have to be awake, and this entire conflict revolved around whether or not I was willing to stay awake all night. I still needed to get whatever sleep that I could if I was going to be prepared for the mvoers coming on Saturday. Tracking down Polly also seemed like a bad idea. She had her cell phone, but I doubted that she wanted to hear about squabbling in her rythm section. And due to her boy craziness and the late hour, I figured that I would probably not see her again until morning. Anyway, I was being unreasonable. Naiomi wouldn’t strike out in revenge. True, she had said she wanted to assualt someone for stopping our elevator, but . . . uh . . .. I was in the grips of creeping paranoia.
A while later she came back in. I feigned sleep, but knew extactly where she was at every moment. She started digging through a drawer. I looked up. “What are you up to?” I asked.
“I’m going to see about getting a flight,” she said holding her cell phone. She no longer looked murderous, but merely the kind of very annoyed that I had expected from trying to change our plans.
This was a wonderful idea! “Continental has a hub here. you can get up to 70% off last minute flights from them,” I told her. She brightened and returned to her normal state and thanked me genuinely and gratefully and left again to make calls.
And I lay in bed wide awake, still considering revenge schemes she might launch upon me. She came back in later and started packing up stuff. I pretended to be alseep. What if she was stealing all my stuff? My run-away paranoia promted. That would be ok, I reasoned and stayed still. she came back two or three more times, waking me one of them to ask where the rental van keys were. Still paranoid, way beyond reason as she had completely calmed down and was acting normally and anyway had never threatened me, I wondered if she might be planning on taking the rental van. That would also be ok. Finally, around 5:00 AM, she left a perfectly friendly note to Polly and I explained that she had all her stuff and wishing us good trips home.
5:00 AM, coincidentally, is about the time that people start waking up to take showers. The pipes started making loud pipe noises, which I could not identify. I had not yet slept. I wondered if one of the flute convention attendees was fighting insomnia by practicing long tones on a newly purchased bass flute. I wondered if Naiomi had somehow sabotaged the bathroom. I wondered if I was a big loser for getting in a giant argument defending my desire to sleep, only to have it result in my getting no sleep whatsoever.
Polly came back around 7:00 and started quizically looking around for Naiomi. I sat up and explained what had happened. “She’s fired.” Polly said. I said that Polly shouldn’t fire her on my account, sicne I was quitting anyway. Polly said, “As far as I’m concerned, she abandoned her band mates to have to deal with all the gear by themselves.”
I’ve never been so happy to drive alone through the boring, miserable desert. And I never have to see Naiomi again.

My life


So the two bands I’m in have been in high-intensity rehersal mode. Tennis Roberts was gearing up for it’s first public gig and Polly’s flute band is preparing to go play in Vegas next week. So TR practiced on Wednesday and then played on Thursday. We didn’t do as much publicity as we should have. A woman who likes ED came and another woman who I used to play in a band with and her friend and these two guys that nobody knew. That was our entire audience. The two guys were in the back yelling “Slayer!” whenever ED played, cuz they were mocking his heavy distortion. They were making “satan” heavy metal hand getures. “Rock on!” they yelled. We were mocked by our sole “stranger” audience members. Christi was also there running sound and Polly was our opening act.
One of the two guys looked really familiar, so I wanted to talk to him after Polly said she didn’t know him, but he and his friend left before our set was over. Christi later identified him as Amy X Neuburg’s husband. Maybe he remebers meeting me at the Other Minds festival? Maybe he just saw us listed on the Transbay Calendar?
Yeah, so it would have taken 35 people to break even and as we fell a bit short of that, we owed the club some money. the people working there liked us though and said next time we could just split the door 50/50 so we wouldn’t owe them if we had attendance. It turns out that another Matthew Sperry memorial concert was being held at the same time, featuring Pauline Oliveros. And then at the last minute, Tom Waits decided to play. So all the New Music types, except those two guys, were prolly across town watching Tom Waits.
Since I’m about to move, that was probably Tennis Roberts’ last gig as a quartet, unless we suddenly get a call in the next couple of days. The band wants to stay together as a trio. They’re concerned about rehersal space, but Mitch’s bathroom is more than big enough to fit a trio. Instead of being a “garage band . . ..” Also, a bathroom would give experience playing in echo-y noisy enviroments and high humidity. If we rehersed in the bathroom, we’d have been better prepared for being on the tiny stage at 21 Grand.
In other news, the Fender Rhodes works now. I tuned it tonight.


So I’m putting things in boxes and stuff. I just faxed a lease application to CT. Tommorrow, I’ll overnight the rent and deposit. I’m a bit concerned about signing away a lot of money and two years on a place that I’ve never seen. The lease agreement is insanely restrictive. Don’t sneeze in the hallway. Well, not really, but close. I’m probably not allowed to modify the heater to run on biodiesel, but as it’s not specifically outlawed (unlike, say, shaking rugs out of windows), I’m sure it’s fine.
Tiffany moved out today. Her spot is empty. She’s gone forever. sniff. It’s very very empty seeming downstairs with everything packed out and Tiffany gone. It’s lonely.

125 People

Approximately 125 people will come over to my house tomorrow. Actually, today. That’s a lot of people. We failed to get a band or even a string quartet, but we did get food, wine, beer, soda pop and chairs. Nothing to listen to, but something to sit on. I’m kind of chagrined at the lack of live music. We have a todo list for tomorrow:

  • get chairs
  • flowers
  • ice
  • put tuba in storage
  • pick up food
  • buy a nice shirt
  • get grandpa from the airport
  • pick up the keg
  • clean out ice bucket
  • get ice
  • clean catbox
  • close closet doors
  • mail rent check to CT

I can’t understand why the divorce rate is so high. It’s time for bed.

Born on the Fourth of July


My cat, Roz, was born on the fourth of July. Christi says that the cat is six years old. Where have all those years gone? It seems like yesterday that she escaped from the carboard box I brought her home in, to under the seat of my truck. I think I had to take the seat out of my truck to retrieve her. Or maybe this story grows with the telling. But somehow, I had the idea that the cat would be a cat for Christi and not for me. When I got home, she disabused me and thus the cat was mine. I don’t know what practical effects this has had, except that ourn cats are listed seperately at the vet and that I’m expected to take Roz with me to Connecticut, but not right away.


So Thursday was flute band practice. We spent a couple of hours trying out an acoustic guitarist who revealed at the end of his audition that he couldn’t make the gig. If you know an acoustic guitarist, or better yet, you are an acoustic guitarist, I’ve got a gig for you!


And speaking of gigs, on Friday, we drove to the fourth of July party that Tennis Roberts was booked to play at. The original word was that it was in Santa Cruz and that there would be a large, permitted fireworks display. Then it was revealed that the party was near Gilroy, but a lot of Santa Cruz people would be there. So Mitch, Ed, Christi, Tiffany and I drove and drove and drove and got lost and got unlost and finally met up with Chand. when we showed up, everyone there was wearing black wifebeaters (note to my grown up relatives: this is a type of tank top shirt) covered with white images of bones, skulls and bats (mammals, not baseball). The men had shaved heads and tatoo “sleeves” up their arms and were muscular. The women also had tatoos, but fewer of them and were not so muscular. Many of the shirts said, “South Bay Hardcore.”
Hardcore is a genre of music somewhat related to Norweigan Black Metal. It is charecterized by loudness, speed, virtuosic drumming, practically abusively fast and hard guitar strumming and sometimes also bass strumming. The guitar chords are typically dissonant and may include notes like the 6th. I know this because somebody in my History of Music Past 1850 class did a report on hardcore. I can’t remember a darn thing about what constitutes a reciciative or what the fuge form looks like, but hardcore I got. Anyway, hardcore lyrics are usually angry and often mysogonistic and the followers like to be tough all the time. It’s very hardcore.
Tennis Roberts is not hardcore. We’re wusses. Ack hardcore fans! They’re going to hate us! They’re going to assault us! So we started drinking beer and the organizer started hosing down the hillside of dry grass, in between his eucalyptus groves, so that fires would not start from his fireworks. The first band began to set up. Fortunately, it turned out that all the hardcore people were in the band, Sad Boy Sinister. They started playing as it was getting dark and people at the party started setting off explosions. I put in my earplugs, more for the bombs than the band and was happy that I didn’t bring Xena, since she would have run all the way to Hollister. The band was ok. The singer explained that they were back together after a breakup, which made sence cuz some of their songs were kind of rough. During one song, he stopped the band and said, “I f—ed up, let’s start over.” So the band started the song over again and the singer sang it exactly the same way the second time and then said at the end “I f–ed it up again.” Most of there songs contained the word “bitch.” One of them was titled “The Bitches are Getting Me Down,” apparently complaining about their girlfriends who were sitting up front cheering enthusiastically. Another song had the refrain, “Die bitch, die!” Around that time, somebody launched a firework up over the crowd, but not towards the wet hillside. It landed in the Eucalyptus trees that were next to the long driveway and started a fire. It looked to be about campfire size. A large number of people got up and started running around, trying to figure out what to do because the hose was way too short to reach the fire. I asked Christi, “How do you put out a fire with a shovel?” She became very alarmed (how many people really know how to put out forest fires?) and ran towards the fire. I was looking for a shovel, but couldn’t find one because someone had already grabbed all of them and dragged them to the fire. It was extinguished. The band on stage was confused, “What’s going on?” they asked, and then, “Should we stop or keep playing?” The sound guy told them to keep playing and they did, but apoligizing because the next song in there set was entitiled “Now it’s Time for You to Die.”
Later it was overheard that “had permits for fireworks” meant that the sherrif’s wife was at the party and thus the sherrif wasn’t going to arrest us. Also, apparently, there was a seperate party going on down in the strip mine bellow where folks were watching our fireworks.
So our band was on next. During the setup, there was a massive explosion up on the grassy hill. Apparently whoever had brought the fireworks decided that launching them up into the air might be dangerous, so he had ignited them pointed at the ground. Fortunately, that was the last of them, I think. This was our first gig with amentiies like monitor speakers. Hearing your sound at high volume coming at you is way different than practicing in a basement. The levels were screwy, not because the sound guy wasn’t great, but because we weren’t sure what to tell him. Next time, I think I’ll ask for the monitors to have same mix as the audience hears. I mean, it’s not like there are acoustics dums sounds that we could rely on. It was nice to hear Ed turned up to high volume. Whenever we would play loud dissonant angry things, the hardcore folks would cheer. Halfway through our set, half the audience got up and left. It turned out that they were in the next band. Just about everyone at the party was in a band or came with a band. But it was cool
the soundguy played in the third band. I started making up for my relative sobriety. But, we wanted to go home because it was late and long drive, but we stayed to hear several songs, since we may split a future engagement at 21 Grand with them. They played some coveres and some original tunes. Their songs had some intense, complicated parts that must have taken a lot of practice. They were pretty good.


finally got to bed around 3:00 AM. Chand called at 9:30, very chipper, saying, “Hi! I just got home! I could totally do the gas station gig!” So I got out of bed at 9:30 and started trying to call Yakayo Biofuels. There is a new biodiesel buy-at-the-pump gas station open in Fairfax. Yakayo sais they were going to have some sort of party (originally a bbq, but changed for obvious reasons) at the gas station on the opening day to celebrate, but they didn’t get very much advance notice and put out a call at the last possible second for music, in the form of a stereo and some summertime tunes. I had volunteered the band to play, but the Chand said he couldn’t do it, but now he could, so I was awake and on the phone. When I finally reached everyone that I needed to reach, the gas station guy said that nobody had shown up so far, so we probably shouldn’t bother. But I was already awake. bleah. So we drove down to palo alto. Christi explained that she was unable to hear through her left ear.
We picked up Mitch and went to starving Musician. Ever since Peter told me that professional bassist don’t play out of combo amps, I’ve been feeling sheepish about my bass amp. The bassists in the other two bands had large, much more powerful looking bass rigs. Mine was too little and didn’t sound good. So I tried out bass heads and speaker cabinets, finally settling on a peavy 160 watt head and and 300 watt cabinet. The cabinet gives me room to grow… There were two identical cabinets, both the same brand and both 300 watt. they sounded the same. I wanted to get the bigger one, but Christi said it would be too hard to move, and she one. Size does matter, though, you know.
Bought more stuff in the south bay. Then went to dinner with my dad at a vegitarian restaurant in Palo Alto, named after the place in ancient Greece where the philosphers used to gather and discuss, uh.. philosophy.” our waiter helpfullly explained in quiet yet enthusiastic tones. The food was ok, but not great. Christi and my dad report that the non vegan dishes were very very good. You’d think that a veggie restaurant would have more than one vegan thing on the menu. But it was ok. My dad seemed to be doing ok. Apparently, he never wrote any haiku, which is too bad.


Got home late. And then up the next morning again to go watch a soccer match at Mitch’s house. Christi still can’t hear though her left ear and her throat is sore. But she wants to go out anyway, so we do. I have no idea who won the soccer matches. We brought paper and crayons so folks could draw drawing which will be the inserts to go with CDs that we’re going to sell one off. We have many drawings now. And we learned that Chand fell asleep right after calling me on Saturday and slept for the rest of the day.
Juraj was making apricot dumplings. They seemed pretty complicated. The dough was made out of taters and wheat flour and soft, german cheese and eggs and other things. then it had to be rolled out and then stuffed with apricots that had been halved, stuffed with a sugar cube abd some things. The whole thing had to be sealed, water-tight and then boiled until it floated. He made a ton of these things, switching to strawberries when he ran out of apricots. I didn’t try one cuz they weren’t vegan, but everyone who had one said they were really good. Juraj explained that he wouldn’t normally make so many of them, but there were a lot of people over. For some reason, people responded to this by making fun of him and calling him gay for the rest of the day. Euphamistically, of course. Apparently cooking desserts for your friends isn’t masculine enough? I don’t understand het boys at all.
Then many of us went for food, then I offered Mitch unwanted advice, put my foot in my mouth and made him feel bad. Ooops. So I stole my DX7 back and went home. This morning, Christi awoke with a full-scale cold, which explains her hearing problems and stuff. She’s in bed right now, a place she normally avoid when she’s sick. She’d rather run around until she gets pnemonia, than sit still for a minute to get over a minor cold.

Well well well

during flute band rehersal yesterday, I went to the underage labor cafe and I talked to the owner about labor laws. He told me that the twelve year old only works for a few hours on saturday only, but showed up on Sunday asking to work another day and that he checked with the Employment Development Department before hiring her and there’s no problem with a getting a kid to do a few light tasks (delivering food, making smoothies, pouring ice tea) for a few hours a week. So this is apparently a lot like my plant watering job that I had at the same age.
I’ve know been exposed to every single flute song. All I need to do is learn to play them perfectly, and all is very well. I have three that are in the needs-much-more practice pile and three that are very new. This should be very doable.
Other deadlines are fast approaching. July 1st is the deadline to submit a tape to Sonic Circuits. I want to write a new song for it, but if I don’t get moving, I’m not going to. I don’t think I’ve written any tape music in 2003. It’s pathetic.
July 1st is also the deadline to do tape editting for OtherMinds’ web radio launch. Of course, I haven’t started. I’m inspired by Christi’s ability to do great editting at the last second, even though I should not be. when I was inspiried by her ability to do great homework assignments at the last second, my undergraduate advisor told me “You’re no Christi Denton.”
Speaking of the flute band, our guitarist is missing. We may need a new one. Five songs on acoustic guitar. Practice for around one afternoon a week. And a gig in Vegas in August that pays. Free trip to Vegas! woo!
Some of you have things that I’ve lent you. Books. Music keyboards. My trumpet. (why do I not know where my trumpet went? ack!) Lord knows what else I may have lent out. Please bring things back.
Also, I have many things of yours. I’m storing musical instruments that belong to many different people. I can continue to store them over the next two years, but if you suddenly decide one thursday afternoon that you need back your double-belled sarousaphone, coordinating it’s release would require an introduction via email to my housesitter. Just a thought.
I called some real estate agents today and left messages. The student housing person who would talk to me about finding a place is out today, so I have to call again tomorrow. I need to find a place soon and start packing very soon (which is why I need things back…). I need to put my things in a truck less than one month from now and drive my dog across the country. Big change is creeping very, alarmingly rapidly. If I don’t do something soon, I’ll have to live in the moving van… Oh and I just got thru to an agent! yay! The very expensive places in Middletown could be up to $800. Which is about twice what I would like to spend, but I feel optomistic. Anyway, when I go out to look at places, I’ll get an idea of what a dollar will get you.
So everything is going well well well. This morning, I realized that if the overly optomistic oncologist had been correct in his six-months-to-a-year prognosis, my mom would be dying now. I don’t think my marriage or any of my friendships could have survived it.
Speaking of marriage. Christi and I are going to elope. We’ll come back and have a very big party. You will all be invited. And then we will enter into many years of highly annoying litigation around every aspect of our government duties and obligations surrounding everything from paying taxes to god-knows-what. When I think of the legal stuff, I become alarmed, so I think that I will not think about it. Or maybe I will talk to a lawyer. or not. As my grandpa used to say, “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

Weekend Update

There have been various improvements made to JJiCalc. I could tell you what they were, but I’d have to go look at CVS logs. Christi says that I’ve been very forgetful lately. This is true. She wants me to go see a doctor. Hrm. Forgetfulness = sign of brain tumor. Has my personality changed? Yes, she says I’m nicer. She says that it’s probably just that I’m distracted by other things. I have very sharp, clear memories of things from several months ago, but yesterday is fuzzier. Polly, of flute band fame, says that memory is linked to emotional engagement. So since I don’t care as strongly about small things as I used to, I’m not remembering them. Maybe I should carry a ntoebook.
The big news around here is that Ellen said yes and will be house sitting starting in October. Christi is apparently planning on staying around here until October, something she says that she told me a while ago. So I will be going by myself out ot the big, scary, new east coast and grad school. How can I be co-dependant when I’m alone. I need to remember to write my address on my person someplaxce everyday so that I’ll be able to find my own way home.
Christi’s dad was in town yesterday, catching defenseless abalone. He gutted three of them in my front yard. The dog was very happy about the proximity of abalone innards, but was ultimately disappointed. Ken is coming back next weekend. He apparently doesn’t approve of Christi’s new tatoo.
While he was here, we went to the Berkeley farmer’s market, where he purchased soap made out of the kind of tree that he just wrote an Enviromental Impact Statement about. He says that the soap is not impacting the tree population and the tree is not endangered. While he and Christi relaxed in the shade, Tiffany and I wandered over to the next block where the psychic faire was going on. We got our auras healed. Afetrwards, I asked the person waiving her arms around if my aura had been badly in need of healing and she said that she hadn’t read it. How do you heal something without looking at it? Anyway, apparently my aura now only contains my energy and nobody else’s. What if you want somebody else’s energy? My aura could do with some energy that can keep track of things better. Tiffany and I told Christi and her daad that we signed up for aura healing classes, but neither beleived us. And then Ken went home.
Gay marriage is apparently legal in Canada, even for Amerikans. Christi and I will be heading there very soon to tie the knot. It’s very exciting. Details will be forthcoming. (I know, you all knew it was legal a few weeks ago, but I forgot…)
I’ve been listening to Polly’s (of flute band fame) three songs over and over. It’s probably why I can’t remember anything. It’s getting tangled in lyrics. Gay marriage is legal no longer rosy fingered dawn.. anyway, it’s helping my ability to play the songs. and remember them. i’m not good at multitasking. i can memorize the songs, or i can be able to find my own way home, but apparently i can’t do both.
I had Tennis Roberts rehersal today. I burned some three song demos and gave ’em to Chand cuz Chand has friends in the music biz. Hopefully, we’ll get some gigs out of this.
And today was fathers day, so Christi and I headed down to Cupertino and had dinner with my dad, my uncle and my brother. I didn’t know what to get my dad, so I got him a small statue of Chairman Mao. I think he likes it, but I’m not sure. He clearly thinks that Mao was a bad guy and is talking about collecting statues of other bad guys like Stalin. Hopefully a joke. My dad says that Donald Rumsfeld talks in haiku. All his short statements break into haiku format. I’m skeptical.
Although many other things may or may not have happened around here, I have nothing else to report that I can recall. If I don’t get better about recalling things, I might make an excellent republican candidate for high public office. Or not. tomorrow is Christi’s birthday. She’s turning 27, but apparently has been telling people that she’s turning 29. Not on purpose. (I’m not the only confused person in my household. Maybe we have ergot poisoning… A witch! A witch!) and I’m starting working on cleaning up the Lattice feature in JJiCalc. I don’t get it at all. I think I might know what a tuning lattice is, but how the program deduces them, maps them, deals with them, etc, I don’t get at all. All I can tell is that it’s mostly illegible and it doesn’t play notes. I think a lattice might be a two dimensional representation of an N-dimension array. This is not a problem that I had ever given thought to before. Maybe I need to read a math book about graphing hypercubes. Anyway, I’m at a point where I should probably go put up a web page and recruit other programmers to come fix these problems that I don’t understand.

One Year Ago Today

Celeste’s new plan to drive herself insane and make herself miserable

One year ago Monday, my mom finally scheduled my brithday party. My birthday was, of course, in February, but she kept wanting to schedule a party, but forgetting to do it. Every monday, I would call and ask about it, and she would tell me she’d forgotten or someone couldn’t make it and it would get put off until the next Monday. This went from February to June. So I would talk to her at least once a week. She told me a few times that she thought she was getting alzheimers. I had just read an article about it, and so told her that it rarely hit people her age. Ususally it got folks older or younger. When I came down, I brought her a saint candle or a prayer card, I think a card, since she’s been out of sorts and I wanted to do something helpful. She didn’t know quite what to make of it, which was strange.
One year ago today, I went to the Esperanto Concersation group with Joel. Maybe it was a year ago next week. It was at the tail end of the Elna convention, so nobody else was there, except Joel who had left the Kunveno early, just in case someone wandered into the Conversation group. afterwards, I went ot the main branch of the Berkeley library and checked out a book by Dr. Zamenhof, which I never read. Several weeks later, Christi’s cousin took it back for me. I never went in to pay those fines.
Or maybe one year ago today was the day that I called my mom and asked if her new medication was helping and she said it was, but seemed confused. Or maybe one year ago today was the day that her doctor gave her physical and said that whatever he problem was, it seemed to be in her head somehow and so started changing around her antidepressant medication. Or maybe it was the day that I finally bought plane tickets to portland for my 4th of July trip up there – the trip I came home from early. Or maybe if I keep thinking about this I can make myself insane.
sometimes, it feels like if you think hard enough about the past that you can change it. But this is false. You cannot change the past. You cannot change the past. You cannot change the past. Hell, you can’t even change the future.
I had band practice today. We have some new songs. Polly is starting to panic about the Vegas gig. I like saying “the Vegas gig.” For example, “oh yeah, I gotta do some practicing for the Vegas gig.” or “Oh yeah, maybe I’ll see Robert dyck at the Vegas gig.” (the last one especially impresses christi.) It’s important to start “the vegas gig” sentences casually, with an “oh yeah,” to show how sauve and chill one is about having a Vegas gig. “Oh yeah, a gig is a gig, you know, like the Vegas gig I got coming up.” “Oh yeah, we’re doing some songs about military aircraft for the Vegas gig, but I’m not really into, you know, warfare or empire or US military supremacy and neocolonialism or anything.”
Where was I? Oh yeah, I’m listening to the three new songs over and over and over and over agin to prepare for the Vegas gig, so I can be solid on the bass lines. Over and over and over again. I can feel stark weather coming . . .. I spent all day yesterday trying to get the JJiCalc to write files. Today, I’m going to get it to read them, all while listening to the same three songs over and over again and it will not drive me insane. Or if it does drive me insane, it will be ok, because it’s distracting the hell out of me and distraction is good. Being driven to distraction is good.

More Gigs, Tatoos, etc

Thursday, Peter, the guitarist in the flute band, called to say that we couldn’t use his SO’s SUV after all. So Friday morning, I rushed out to get an oil change for the pickup truck and then we loaded all our equipment into the back and the three of us squished in and drove all the way to Eugene. We bonded. Talked about all sorts of things. I drove the whole way.
On the way up, I had shared Christi’s shark story. When Christi’s grandpa was a boy, his family drove to Florida and he caught a shark. He was so prous of this accomplishment, that the family was persauded to tie the shark to the roof of the car and drive back to California. Persumably, they planned to get the shark mounted or something. But it was summer and someplace right in the middle of the country, the smell of rotting shark became unbarable and the shark body was dumped in a stream. This story intrigues me. What happened then? Did someone find the hark? Were children henceforth disallowed from swimming in the stream?
Polly got excited about Black Butte, a small cinder cone next to Mount Shasta. There will be a song about this soon, I think. We got to Eugene and met Polly’s friend KC, with whom we were to stay. He explained that he just purchased a rental property and took us over there, where he stocked the fridge and said we could stay. Nifty. Then he took us to dinner at a good Thai place and give us an advance on the door for the Saturday gig.
KC and Peter stayed up talking into the night, while Polly and I slept. I woke up the next morning around 8:00, which is early for me, and went walking with Polly, trying to find the venue. We walked a long time and finally, I got some breakfast and she asked where we were going. We had passed it and so doubled back. And founf the bookstore Foolscap Books, our venue for the evening. It’s next door to KC’s new age shop. It was still too early for either place to be open, so we crossed the street to a Just Desserts-style bakery. Half of the things they sold were vegan. They had vegan muffins, vegan german chocolate cake, vegan parfait, vegan ecclairs, vegan cheese cake tortes, vegan everythign you could think of. The clouds parted overhead and angels sang and blew trumpets. I got a pumkin muffin. It was the best muffin I’ve ever encountered, vegan or non vegan. It was awesome.
finally, the bookstore opned up and we looked around and saw the PA. Peter finally woke up and came to look at the PA too. then KC’s shop opned, so we looked at that. Peter was full of questions about everything. The shop co-owner showed him all the ritual knives and explaine dhteir meanings and showed us a replica of the Sting prop from Lord of The Rings. Apparently, some neo-pagans want to rituals with short swords pictured in movies. The shop people showed us some stuff about cleansing rituals and a huge, heavy, shap sword that was for sale. Then Peter and I went with KC to Guitar Center while Polly went out to lunch with her friends from Portland.
I Peter needed strings. I just wanted to see if I could get a sales-tax free minidisc. No dice. I realized that I forgot my instrument cable, so I purchased one. Then we left so that Peter could string his acoustic guitar. We went back to our house and he unwound the lowest string and pulled it out of the groove in the nut. The nut broke. (The nut is the grooved piece of bone or plastic at the top of the neck that holds the strings over the finger board (and frets).) He and KC went back to guitar center to buy a new nut. I stayed behind and stared at charts, trying to memorize them better until I fell asleep in the living room. Polly returned and I told her about the nut and she looked highly alarmed. She had been getting progressively more nervouse about the gig through the day. So she went to meditate. Peter came back and started trying to pry the old nut out of the guitar. He spent maybe an hour. It wasn’t budging, so he and I went to a pro-level repair shop with his wounded guitar and the new nut.
The repair guy took out a tool and had the old nut out in two seconds. He looked at the new nut and declared that it wouldn’t fit. He went to a box of old nits and started fishing around for one that would fit and explained that he was doing Peter a favor, since they never fit, you always had to make a new one for the guitar. Nut sizes vary from brand to brand, from model to model and even from individual guitar to individual guitar. Apparently guitars have not yet experienced the industrial revolution innovation of interchangable parts. The repair guy said that he needed to make a new nut. It was approaching 5:00, the shop didn’t rent guitars and we didn’t know anyone to borrow one from. The repair guy had no leads on rentals. doom. the repair guy took pity and kept looking through his nut box until he found one that kind of fit. It was too short. He super-glued some stuff to it, shimming it up until it was almost tall enough. It was still too shot and too wide, but it was playable. Peter promised to send some repair work his way and we went back to the house.
I was trying to remember how to play one of the songs and it wasn’t coming to me. Polly was more mellow from meditating, but I was getting to be highly concerned. We wet up some speakers and did a run though. It was ok, so I felt better. I think we prolly all felt better. We loaded our gear into the truck and went ot the bookstore and set up. I was hungry, so while everyone else was sound checking, I went next door to get vegan tacos. Eugene is more vegan-friendly than Berkeley, I think. the Mexican place was selling big, one kilogram bags of Mate, just like the one Tiffany bought me several weeks ago. But they didn’t sell individual cups. I was still nervous. I knew mate would help. Should I buy a kilogram?
I went back Mate-less to sound check. We finished checking ten minutes after it was suppossed to start. The place was desolately empty. The openning act, a poet, was on her cell phone, calling up her friends, trying to get them come listen to her poetry. The organizers decided to wait half an hour in case more people showed up. A couple did.
The poet was awesome. I forget her name. She mostly talked about scoring chicks.
Then we were on. It went mostly without incident. I got off in the set list and had a refrain of panic where I didn’t know what song we were playing, but managed to get back on track. Polly introduced Peter and I. She said that I was a mills alum and that Peter had many other projects. We played songs. Polly did some solo stuff. By the time we finished, there were three audience members: Polly’s two freinds and one stranger. I made a resolution a few weeks ago to go to at least one concert a week. I’ve been falling behind on it, but I think I need to renew that resolution. People need audiences. The bookstore owner was apparently pissed to have made $8 on the show.
The sound guy, Sleeve, was excited that I went to Mills because he’s into noise music. Cool, a contact in Eugene. We broke down and went over to the dessert place and then went to a bar with just is three and KC’s neice, who was into Peter. After one round of drinks, we went back to our house and slept. It was around 1:00.
I woke up at 7:30 the next morning. I heard Peter and Polly talking to each other. Peter is not a morning person. I sprung out of bed, since it must be time to leave. It was 7:30. Peter crawled back to sleep, but I was up, so I had breakfast at a greasy spoon with Polly’s Portland friends. The woman was a wesleyan alum. She gave me her email address. She’s going to try to get her frat (it’s a co-ed frat) to host us in September at Wesleyan, so we could play a gig (or a few) after I left. Pretty cool. She gave me her email address She seems nifty.
And so we went back to pack up. While we were putting things in the truck, a barefoot guy with a banjo was walking down the street. I said I loved the banjo and he played a song for us and then went on. Eugene is a weird place. We left a nice note for KC and piled into the pickup truck and drove and drove and drove. It was much warmer on the trip down. we passed a thermometer that said it was 91 degrees F. No airconditioning. No radio. No room to move. We talked less on the way down.
Peter suggested we get off the freeway and drive though historic Dunsmuir, because he was curious and it would be a nice change of scene. We drove past the muffler man from Zippy the Pinhead. The one that Zippy goes to have talks with. There he was larger than life! My bandmates were not as excited as I was.
Finally, we got back to the bay area. We came over a crest and saw the twinkling of lights below and cool breeze washed over the car. Home! The only place with decent weather outside of the Mediterranean. We dropped off Peter at his home in Richmond with his stuff. Then went to Berkeley, where Polly dumped her stuff into her car. And there was christi, who I had been pining for all weekend. I told he that I saw the Muffler man. She said, “Really?? That’s awesome!” I definitely married the right woman. She had a cold and I was exhuasted, so we went to bed.
I slept past noon. Got up, ate some food, check my mountain of email, then went over to Precision to get a tatoo of a bass clef on my arm. It took around two hours. It’s black and blue and shaded. Now I look like a real bass player. It matched a tatoos of a peace symbol, that Christi got on her arm in the same spot, during my absence. Peace through music. Or something. I came back for Tennis Roberts rehersal. We waited around for Ed to show up and then called him and went for Pizza. We called him back after Pizza and he said he was too tired to practice, so we played as a trio for maybe an hour. the mics were still set up from flute back practice, so I tried singing and playing bass for a while. “New tatoo. Black and blue.” Not good at making up words on the fly and really not good at multitasking singing and playing at the same time, but I think I could get it with practice.
Tiffany came home and was tired, so we quit playing. Everyone left. Christi and Tiffany went to bed. I posted in my blog. I was instructed by the tatoo artist to take a hot shower, so I will go do that now. Then bed.

Tuning, Bass, Gigs, etc

Since last I typed . . .

I digitized that tape of Tennis Roberts first gig. There’s about 40 minutes of music, but on most of it, the guitars are inaudible. Apparently, the guitar players are shy. Anyway, I’m hoping to be able to pull out more guitar by EQing up the mid range and high end. And then maybe mix in a bit of reverb throughout to hide any artifacts. Maybe this will make it sound worse. I dunno. I tried recording our last practice, with the idea of getting a better demo tape, but mitch saw ProTools running and was inspired to start shouting/sining “happy elves” for several minutes.
I called Tammy about her fretless bass after the gig, because it’s such a great bass. Tammy called back and gave the bass to me. Not sold. Gave. Wow. She said that she wasn’t using it and I was, and so I should have it.
Several weeks ago, I lent a Moog Taurus II “brain” to Zeppie, since I wasn’t using it and I thought he might dig it. He called me back and asked to buy it and I didn’t get back to him. I had been thinking that I could sell it to him and use the cash for a fretless bass (since they’re worth about the same). But I don’t need to buy a bass now and I wasn’t using the Moog and he is, so I think that I’m karmatically obligated to pass the economic benefits of Tammy’s generosity along. I like the idea of musical instruments being traded around in an extra-capitalists, semi-anarchist system of use-based ownership.
I spent a few days trying to figure out why the Java Just Intonation Calculator didn’t make sounds, before I figured out that the answe is to ctrl-click it (equal to a right button mouse click). Unfortunately, this were days actively spent going through the code and futzing with it. So, throwing good time after bad, I added a piano keyboard interface to the program. It’s beta software, released in May of 2000, but folks I suspect were college students. I’m thinking of taking over the project, since they seem to have abandoned it, as it is pretty buggy and has . . . um . . . unusual design principles employed in it. All the heavy lifting is done, I would just do a little redesign and fix problems with layout, GUI, sound, file IO, and object oriented-ness. In the mean time, if you want a GUI piano keyboard add-on, send me email.
Christi wants me to take up the standup bass. She’s inspired by the bassist in Glass Beads and wants me to be equally hip and talented. I suggested that I should just get more tatoos to more closley resemble a professional bassist, but she insisted, so I’m making inquiries into renting a doublebass. Best Music rents them, but with a three month minimum, and I’ll be leaving in two. Forrest’s Music says that the instument is complicated and I’ll want a real symphony-type teacher, not just cheesy lessons in the back of a music store. Perhaps this will all come together this summer.
Speaking of tatoos, Christi says that I should not get an anarchist symbol tatooed on my arm. Nor should I get a small portrait of Che. I didn’t ask about a hammer and sickle. A peace sign is ok, as is a bass clef. These aren’t ultimatiums, but Christi is wiser than I am about body modification. If it were not for her wisdom, I might have gone ahead with plans for a Tazmanian Devil tatoo, that I wanted when I was young and foolish. I would have had to pay royalties for the image to AOL Time Warner. But are Che protraits just a passing fad or a leftist symbol that will stand the test of time?
Jerry Brown’s warehouse is for sale. I think I will try to get a tour of it.
I had practice today with the flute band. Tomorrow, I’m going to 100% memorize everything. And tommorrow is a recption or concert or something for Chen Yi that I failed to RSVP for, but will try to buy tickets for anyway. If that doesn’t work, there’s a protest against Clear Channel in front of thier building at the same time, which I could play tuba at. So my todo list is: get Chen Yi tix, memorize bass parts, find double bass, get tatoos, (maybe) get haircut, write Ratio class for the JJICalc.
Friday, the flute band travels to Eugene for a gig. My first with them. And it’s the first time that I’ve been paid to perform music not composed by me since 1994.
There’s not much else going on around here. Christi’s foot is still broken. The dog is scared of the dark and doesn’t want to go outside at night. Christi is reading a bio of Virginia Woolf. I just read Terrorism and War by Howard Zinn and am currently reading a book of shoirt stories by Phillip K Dick and a nonfiction called Trotskyism After Trotsky. Sometimes I stumble through the Just Intonation Primer and I’ve ordered a book on Smalltalk from Powells, as I continue to try to figure out SuperCollider, the music programming language of choice at Wesleyan. My strategy of late has been to install SuperCollider on computers that other people use, in the hope that those people will start programming in it and share information with me. I put it on Christi’s laptop and the imac that Tiffany uses, but have had no luck so far. Tonight, I tried putting it on Mitch’s computer, but there is a syntax error in some file, so it won’t compile. Alas. Goodnight.

First Gig

So Tennis Roberts had it’s first gig last night. We were originally scheduled to play for one half hour at 9:00. But then Jennifer, the client, was talking to the Fez Tones, the band after us, about what time they would start. they had been scheduled for 9:00 and didn’t want to start later than that, Jennifer explained on the phone. Could we play at midnight instead?
This being a graduation party, there was a risk that everyone would leave before midnight, but we agreed to the move, deciding that it meant that we were headlining. Yeah, that’s the ticket. So we hauled our stuff over at 6:00 and then went to get dinner and came back around 8:00 or 9:00 and started drinking beer. I was wearing a blue glitter shirt, silver pants and a fedora. How often do you get to wear silver pants? Ususally Christi won’t let me out of the house with them on. I have to wear them at least 5 more times before they pay for themselves. Anyway, around 11:00, GI Jen showed up with her new girlfriend, who seems to be very nice. Apparently, she’s a Libretarian. We talked about that before she arrived. Mitch says that libretarians are just confused anarchists.
At midnight, the Fez Tones played an encore and then started packing it in. we started setting up our stuff, and they were surprised. “Whoah! There’s a third band??” So they announced that we would be on shortly. We set up and started playing to the 10 or 15 people still at the party. Christi was trying to convince Gi Jen and Nicole, her sweetie, to yell out silly song names and suiggest that we play them. They weren’t going for it, because, apparently, it sounded as if we actually had written songs to play and weren’t just making it up as went along. But they shouted out some rediculous name, like “The Haggis Resistance” and we said ok and exhaustedly played something. It was dern late.
Very soon, though, the only people left were our entourage + Micheal, the guy who works at the cafe and the clean up crew. So we serenaded the clean up crew for an hour and then packed it in when Ian, who is graduating and hence the reason for the party, announced that he was going to bed.
I think we’re the ultimate band to play at a party, since there are no acoustic elements, we can play at any volume. Need something about the level of your stero? We can do that. Need ear-splittingly loud music for a final going-awa-y piss off the damn neighbors party? We can do that.
No rehersal today, which is good, because Friday I played bass for 4 or 5 hours with the flute band, and thursday was Tennis Roberts rehersal and wednesday was four or five hours with the flute band and my back is really starting to get tweaked. I got a lifting belt yesterday so the sousaphone won’t screw up my lower back. Anyway, today is a no bass or tuba day. I’m just going to relax, edit the recordings from last night’s gig and study Just Intontation and maybe try some song writing with solresol. sicne I slept till noon and it’s too late to go to the beach.

Musically Inclined

Well, yesterday was mother’s day, a day I had been actively dreading since October. It wasn’t actually that bad. I guess I worked it all out in the pre-dread. Unlike my birthday, where I didn’t expect to feel miserable around at all, and yet I did. It was horrible, despite cool people and cool events. Anyway, the next date on the dread calendar is June 21st, when my mom would turn 66, but will not. Christi is playing that night at the Chapel of the chimes concert. Yes, the one you’ve heard of. Yes, the huge, big deal. Yes, it’s in a mausoleum. I’m estatic for Christi, but still full of dread.
Perhaps keeping busy is what made Mother’s Day ok. I had band practice for about five hours with Tennis Roberts. Our songs are now ending ok. Chand has taken to mixing his electronic drum sounds (he plays an electronic kit) with a vocoder to other source sounds. It sounds very industrial and awesome with pink noise. With other source files, I’m not so sure about it. We’re a sort of a tonal band and it’s hard to play along with a tape where you don’t know the tones, especially if the tones are from a random sample and hold thing, so they’re not in any particular temperment. Which would be the tones on the mp3s that I made that Chand is using. Anyway, it doesn’t matter that much, since I don’t play in any particular temperment anyway. The open notes are in tune, but the rest is not.
I’m sort of getting into tuning right now. Ellen Fullman has a piece called “Harmonic Cross Sweep” on her album Change of Direction. The piece blows my mind. Go listen to the mp3. It’s just intoned microtonal coolness. So I started reading Harry Partch, since he wrote about Just Intonation and influenced everyone just intoned these days. But he can’t stop ranting. In his book Genesis of a Music, he complains about how cello players are so anal they won’t even let you take an awl to their finger board. It takes him a long time to explain the tuning thing, so I joined the Just Intonation Network and I’m reading their primer text on tunings. It’s a much easier read than Partch and is very informative. But really, the biggest influence on my thoughts about tuning was Kendon.
The last time I played bass guitar in a band before this one, it was called Trap Door Spirder Woman or the Kraft Ebbings or somehting. We never played outside of Kendon’s basement, except to play in my basement. Kendon had this guitar where the nech was cracked. It was nearly broken in two. He was always tuning it in between ever song. I kind of got into the sound of him tuning. It was very cool. It should have been a song. And he always had to tune because after the first three chords, everything was different, since the guitar neck wasn’t rigid. The situation made Kendon unhappy. He was saving up for a new guitar. But it was awesome. It was so completely out of tune screwed up bad that it was great. Really, equal temperment is all out of tune. This broken guitar was just the next step on a broken tuning. But it was beautifully broken.
So with Tennis Roberts, I started playing Tammy’s fretless bass with the thought that I could be out of tune all the time. I could put notes in between the notes. I could put four steps where three belong. I could be always completely, sharply off. It’s awesome.