Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Time to take stock. First, sports: In baseball, the A's officially suck. In football, everybody's writing the Packers off this year and giving the Vikings a whopping #4 in the power rankings? When will these people ever learn that they're bound to disappoint so long as Tice remains their head coach? Not that I'm complaining. They got away with one in last year's playoffs. But since everyone's touting what a great offseason they've had, let's not forget Tice's little gambling problem. I'm not convinced Detroit is the team to beat in the North yet, either, because I think Joey Harrington is a total and complete douche.

Politics? I think the Republicans actually won when they stooped down in the gutter, threatening the "nuclear option." Time will tell, but they got what they wanted, didn't they? Owen's in, and we'll see who else. In the long run, we're dead, to paraphrase Keynes.

Work? I am now one of the remaining two employees from the original 17 of my former company before it was bought out by our current CEO. It's funny, I know more about the business we're in than he does. I wonder, at what point will he realize that he's about to lose a lot of money that will never come back? So long as I keep getting my paychecks, I guess I can't complain too much even if I'm dying on the vine in this stuffy office.

Music? Since Beulah disbanded I hadn't been doing much until the last couple of months, starting with a trumpet session up in Seattle for Death Cab for Cutie. I also did a bit for Abbey, former Beulah keyboard player, who brought over his 8-track to a barbecue recently. I also did a similar thing for Jay Underwood, former Beulah intern, for a record of his under the moniker: The Light Footwork. I'm digging that record, a good first effort, though I can smell, feel and taste the protools a mile away. Last week I did another trumpet session for Dave Gleason's Wasted Days, a part that resembled a little of that mariachi feel from Cash's "Ring of Fire." I've also agreed to produce and help engineer a record by a band called "The Bye Bye Blackbird," consisting of former members of my good pal Yuji Oniki's band back when he lived six blocks away. He now lives in Woodstock, NY.

So I guess that means I'm coming out of my musical slumber, if slowly and tentatively. I think I'll always find trumpet work, as I have a good feel and I'm quick and to the point. I doubt I'll get a lot of guitar work. They're a dime a dozen and my guitar playing, though rock solid rhythmically, is nothing special. Miles is working on some songs and he's coming along. He says he'll be sending something along sooner or later. I'm also going to travel south to borrow the old 16 track I recorded Beulah's second record, "When Your Heartstrings Break," with.

The book is coming along, I'm finished with draft three. I'm now also beginning to put together my website, where I'll likely be selling that book directly, unless someone latches onto it. I figure a simple paypal account ought to do it. I can design the printing myself with a little practice in Quark, methinks. Then it's just a question of finding someone to print it for relatively cheap in low volume. I'm not sure if that options exists or not, but I'll cross that bridge when I get past draft six.

The Beulah DVD has a release date: August 2nd, almost a year to the day after our final show in New York last year.

And finally, I've asked Eli, our old bass player, who's still in New York until 6/1, to form a one-off gig band to play some of my songs based on C# tuned acoustic guitar. The idea is to have avant garde players swirling around in dissonance while I do my fairly understated and straightforward acoustic shtick. Easier said than done? We'll see. I'll also likely record if the gig goes well. This is down the road a piece, probably this fall at the earliest. I'm thinking the Hemlock (though they don't know it yet). And if I do record something, I'll probably just directly sell that one at a time from my site, as yet to be named. Oh, and launch a record label: 1099 Records. It's the truth!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Bin Laden's winning the war. Think about it. He wanted a holy war and, in a sense, he's getting one. Since September 11th, all signs point to more division. America is no longer looked to for leadership, culturally or literally. Countries we used to be allied with are now looking for other avenues of support, or are asserting their own, separate identity. Even Canada, fer Chrissakes! Don't even get me started about Vatican City.

I'm thinking back, now, to an entry in David Byrne's journal, on April 16th, when I first started reading it. He talked about how the U.S. Government may be shutting itself off from foreign avenues of influence, making it harder for international performers to come into the states, etc. He also spoke about a lack of new books from other cultures being translated to English and being sold in the U.S.

"Part of the backwash, or blowback as the CIA calls it, of globalization is that cultures and regions around the world have rediscovered their own cultural resources. Rather than simply seeing themselves as a market for American goods they see America as a market for their goods, services and culture. It goes both ways. So, while the US might not be interested — there isn’t a true reciprocity — the self-image of many nations has changed. Music charts in most countries are no longer dominated by U.S. or English language product, much or which was force-fed and is no longer seen as relevant, and likewise the book lists around the world are no longer dominated by translations of English language writers — there is a more equitable balance… though this balance is not reflected in the U.S. Rome still believes that it makes and the rest of the world should simply buy and consume."

I would take this idea a step further and say that it is exactly what Bin Laden has been intending. Not that I blame this on him, but that we're collectively reacting in exactly the wrong way. We should be working together and looking for things we share with other countries, not trying to elbow our way around and try to convince the rest of the world that our version of democracy, our version of capitalism and the culture/entertainment that goes along with that, is something that would create a peaceful world. We cannot expect a peaceful world when we throw out the expectation that, in order to do business with us, you need to be like us.

I haven't really articulated this as clearly as I would like, but I'll continue to refine my thinking as the days, weeks and months pass. The point is this: since 9/11, the world has splintered. Folks are building walls around their houses and are, in a sense, afraid to go out and talk to the neighbors.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Where to start? JT "The Brick" has put it out there that he thinks Bonds is faking the knee surgery and that the real reason is that he's sitting out the year in the hope that the steriods thing will blow over. I thought I heard that in a commercial. Maybe I'm getting it wrong. Anyway, if true, that theory has been given some good, factual plausibility today with this article in the Chronicle. I especially like this bit:

"In more than 30 pages of documents obtained by The Chronicle from the medical board, Ting is accused of repeated negligence, including prescribing 'dangerous drugs and controlled substances to friends and acquaintances, particularly athletes, for whom he kept no medical records or for whom the medical records were fictitious, inadequate or inaccurate.'"

More later...