Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dusting off the old identity.

Wow. So, somewhere in the last two years, I went from student teaching in a middle school in middle Tennessee, to working IT for a Biotech startup on an island on the West coast. The other day, I helped somebody book 24hrs with a particle accelerator. Now I work with the smartest people I have ever known, and they're all really friendly, down to earth people.

We bought a house. We mostly renovated the house. Made more money than we have ever had thought of. Spring has come, and we should be feeling really good.
But it's never that easy for us. Through a series of stupid and only partially random events, we're going to take a humongous pay cut next year- but only for a year.

So now, we get to go back to broke. At first I was afraid, I was terrified.

Then, music started to creep back into my focus. I'm slowly starting to recognize my career as a distraction from music- not the other way around. As soon as I faced the reality that I was going to have to hustle again, I got a little less fat and happy, and a little more musical. Maybe this will be a good year for me musically, since it's obviously going to be a total disaster financially. They prescribe people with ADHD stimulants- maybe pressure has the same paradoxical effect on me.

I really need a reminder that the "stuff" I pursue is too often at the expense of my identity and my commitments. That old saw about trading in one's passion and ideals for gold? That's the one.
So now it's late night, and even the dog is asleep. I can see the distant lights of the other side of town across the water from my studio window. I've got a glass of whiskey and a Spinners 45 in my headphones. I can no longer buy my way out of trouble- I work a temp job in the worst job market since my grandma was born.
I'm gonna have to think sharper and more aggressively than ever before- and better than about 100% of the millions of other people in my position. It's in these moments of personal crises that I reach clarity.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Putting My Life Back Together

Sorry I haven't been blogging lately. I've been busy.
After I made it mostly out of the hell that an improperly implemented rehabilitation loan can bring to your life, I got started on the house. We have a great, very social northwestern neighborhood in West Bremerton- we love it. Even though it's a really small town.
We've painted all but the bathrooms and a dining nook. The work never ends, but we're to the point now that there's just a lot of unfinished projects- not a filthy disgusting house. Most of our things are out of boxes now...but the studio is only just now starting to look like a studio. It's a nice big room with a view of the Olympic Mountains. I got a nice old library desk to go in it, and the floors are a well worn white oak that we waxed and buffed to a shine. We painted the walls a really comfortable bright seafoam/teal sort of color with crisp white trim. Feels good. I quit my second job for tax reasons, and I'm really enjoying having a normal life.
I got a puppy. His name is Frink. He's half brindle french bulldog and half haggard puppy mill pug. And half stupid.
I bought a Korg Nanopad and I'm loving the FPC's ability to quickly make things happen with samples.
I'm still in my writer's block rut, but I'm confident I'll work my way out of it. I am really looking forward to getting the studio space all cleaned up and organized. I'm planning on building a guitar rack on the wall even...pumped!
In the mean time, I'm having a blast going through the record collection and sitting by a fire, while I try not to sweat the writers block that comes from never, ever having any time alone to work on music. Music is, all in all, a pretty trivial thing- you know?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Blog About my Home Renovation Project

Victoria and I now have a blog detailing our home renovation project this summer. We thought it might be a fun way to keep a journal detailing what we're doing, as well as keep our friends and families up to date with the project. We are closing on the home around July ish, and super excited about the project. The new blog is at:

I've also added a Twitter widget to the side bar of this blog, so that I can at least keep some micro-blogs going here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I Made It!

I just came out of the most nasty, gray winter ever. We're starting to ease into our spring pattern of weather- rainy mornings and sunny afternoons. Wildflowers are sprouting and the moss is greening up. My attitude and my feelings about music, and everything else, have changed so dramatically in one year.
I feel like I shook off the 7 years of poverty and anxiety pretty quickly. It's been a huge positive change for me to move from some place that didn't like me, that took active measures to keep me out, into a place where I'm wanted. I spent 7 years begging bumbling PhDs to permit me to sacrifice more money on their altar. Begging $9/hr jobs to allow me to leave my trailer for an extra water break. I did all that only to find that teaching was the most abusive profession on earth. Abuse from administrators, abuse from students, politicians, parents... Faculty who refused to recommend me because I'm not religious, administrators who sent mispelled emails in all caps- it was a nightmare. Now when I go to a meeting at work, I'm among friends. I work with people who keep me on my toes, and to whom my skeptical and critical nature is an enormous asset.
I'm still getting my head around just how different my life got in 1 year.
Before 2007 I had never even been West of the Mississippi, I made one trip to PDX. I had never seen mountains in North America, let alone all of the things I saw in a one week trip across the country: prairie dogs, antelope, sagebrush, nazi biker gangs, the rainforest, coyotes, seals, bald eagles, gigantic water beetles, salmon(they actually jump), himalayan blackberry brambles the line my roads now like strip malls used to. All the modern furniture and electronics I could never find in Nashville is popping up left and right around me. In short, Seattle is exactly what my adolescent fantasy of Seattle hoped for. I had almost convinced myself that every place was as miserable for me as Nashville.
My situation now is far from perfect, but when I look back at the dystopia I left, this is heaven. If I could, I would take a gigantic skil saw and cut the southeast off of the US and let it sink into the ocean. I can't even stand to hear the accent on TV sometimes. The only thing I miss is the immigrant population that I enjoyed the benefit of, and the sunshine. It's impossible to find anything in the way of a Seattle equivalent of Nolensville Road here. I miss my international markets.
I was in the wrong place. Sometimes I meet some poor lost southerner wandering around the northwest, and most of them are so unhappy here.
So now that the dust has settled, I need to keep an eye on craigslist for some of the great 60s japanese guitars that go for peanuts out here, and decide what kind of music I'll make when I live in a place where I can breathe, and where there's no pressure, and maybe even an audience.

Stupid song I made to test out the totally amazing acoustic guitar that my Dad was nice enough to lend me.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I Missed Nashville for a Minute There

And then this happened:

Oh wait, no, that was what I liked about Nashville. That and the fact that everything is really cheap. This was what slapped me in the face and reminded me why I ran from the south screaming and vowing never to return:
The English Only Resolution.

That's right, Nashville just ran a special election to consider whether or not they should stop translating government documents or providing services to people who don't speak English. They went out of their way, $280,000 out of their way, just to hold an election to decide how many people are ignorant jerks. And guess what? That number looks to be around 40%.

I'm happy to have a new president and a new congress. I hope that the era of hateful politics toward gays, atheists, and immigrants is over. I hope that America has learned its lesson after letting those people sit in power. I hope that this means that the rational, logical side of America has finally edged out the Nashvillians of our country. I hope now those Nashvillians get a taste of the persecution they've been spewing forth for decades.
Now that I've been out of the Southeast for over 6 months I'm realizing that the various instances of hate and persecution that were perpetrated by the south- from the civil war to their persecution of immigrants, is all part of one large, long pattern. It's a pattern of campaigns to limit the freedoms of any and all citizens. And it's a pattern of hateful behavior that so much of the country deserves punishment for- and yet shows no remorse, rather pride.
I'm proud of the Northwest for not wasting their lives on campaigning to persecute a particular group. It's amazing what you could do with all that time, Southeast.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Awesome Tapes From Africa Mix


I've been taking some of my christmas break from work(s) to dig around mp3 blogs. One of my favorite, recent finds has been "Awesome Tapes From Africa" a blog of found cassettes audio from, you guessed it, Africa. I am pretty sure that the writer doesn't live in Africa, since I've seen a ton of these kinds of tapes at my Afro-Caribbean markets in Nashville over the years.
I've really been missing the immigrant culture I used to experience in Nashville. The Kitsap Peninsula is absolutely one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, but it's a bit of a monoculture. Ok, it's a complete monoculture. What's really killing me is the lack of good food. There's some great food across the water in Pike Place, but you can be almost sure you'll receive the worst service in the universe. I think what I miss the most of about the immigrant restaurants and markets I went to in the Nashville area was how nice everybody was- they appreciated my business, they remembered me when I came back, they asked me what I was going to do with a food I bought, or I asked them what they recommended. Sometimes when I do business in Seattle I get the impression that the server or seller thinks that I should feel honored to get to do business with them.

Since my wife and I have all summer off, and our lease is up in June, we're thinking about spending the summer renting something cheap in downtown Portland and just putting our stuff in storage for the summer. Everything in the Kitsap area is for rent, so finding a space when we get back is not a worry. Our current property managers are absolutely negligent and ineffective, so our lease won't be renewed anyways. We're hoping maybe we can grab some kind of summer work or volunteer work in town and meet a few people who might help us land jobs in Portland sooner than just throwing applications around.

I have high hopes for 2009.