Friday, April 29, 2005


Saw some good live music last night. It really couldn't have been any better for me. It was an inexpensive show ($8!) at a good venue (the Duck Room below Blueberry Hill in the Loop) that wasn't too crowded (I estimated about 80 people) and it sounded great.

I special ordered the Aqualung import Still Life about 10 months ago after hearing them online during John in the Morning's show on KEXP in Seattle. I could not figure out why they weren't the biggest thing around. I guess it just takes time. They are very accessible sounding. Not usually a good thing for me, but I like their sound. Their song "Brighter than Sunshine" was a key element in our wedding video and was the song that they closed the show with. Hopefully as the weather gets nicer more people will be going on tour and coming through our lovely city of Saint Louis, Missouri. One can hope.

Monday, April 25, 2005


Rehab: I had a meltdown Sunday. I won't go into what prompted it, but I can tell you that it was a full on pity party with a lack of self esteem heaped on top. Jen was gone all day Sunday so that allowed it to fester until it was good and ready. You see I've stalled on my rehab project. I've run out of steam at the same time that I'm waiting for my carpenter to start framing. He's on another job that doesn't have a clear end date. All of my other contractors are lined up but most of the bids are higher than I anticipated so I've reached the point where I'm both behind schedule and over budget. Aaaaahhhhh!

I've heard many people say that they feel like imposters at their career, but I really have very little experience and am in over my head. I stay cool and calm until I clearly am in trouble. That moment hit me yesterday. In the midst of my meltdown I called my carpenter and was going to tell him that I needed to find another who could start right away. He's a great carpenter but framing isn't his specialty and I was worried that he didn't want to do it and didn't want to tell me. He's more of a finish and trim guy. Luckily he wasn't there when I called.

He called me back this afternoon, giving me time to come to my senses, and I explained the situation to him. He was great. Thanks Steve! He talked me through the whole thing. Then we went to the lumber yard and bought the materials to start framing. He's coming in the morning with a couple of guys to get things rolling. I'm meeting with my banker tomorrow and was really worried about him seeing the place behind schedule. If things go as planned all should be hunky dory.

I don't think my meltdown was a waste of time, but I would really like to be able to channel that energy into my everyday worklife. Luckily Jen has seen me freak out like that once before and knew not to pay too much attention to it. Apparently it's just something I do now when I'm about half way through a project and I seem to lack the energy to see it to completion. Also I do believe that the baby coming has added an additional layer of stress that I had not before experienced. It's always something.

Television: I've stopped watching and caring about who the next American Idol will be. The only person that was at all interesting to me was Nadia and she was booted off. I really don't care about any of the other contestents. Bo Bice is just a southern rock cover band singer. Anthony Federov is still there? Scott Savol? Who the hell is voting for that guy? Most people I know think it's a stupid show anyway, but I do believe Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard and Fantasia are talented singers. They were the best on their seasons and America picked them against all odds. I also think bad producing and management has sunk their careers. They are being made to sound like everyone else out there and that is the wrong decision. Fantasia is the next Aretha Franklin and they produce her like she's Tweet or some other songstress of the moment. Give her some challenging material and let her career build over time. They'd be giving her Kennedy Center honors in 40 years if they did that. Instead they'll be giving her Pine Sol commercials in a year.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Gig Posters

One of my first gig poster acquisitions.

Pixies poster from The Small Stakes.

Iron & Wine from Jay Ryan.

I collect rock posters or concert posters or gig posters or whatever you want to call them. I have a pretty small collection of about 8 or 9, but I am a big fan of the genre. There is a tremendous amount of creativity going on in this area right now. The book Art of Modern Rock explains the movement and identifies most of the key players. I really like Aesthetic Apparatus, Jay Ryan at the Bird Machine, The Heads of State, Little Jacket, and many others. One of the things that I really like is that there isn't one industry town that you need to be in to be a player in the industry. Chicago, Austin, Seattle, LA are as likely to have artists designing posters for shows as are Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, Louisville and Madison. There really is no one place that a poster designer needs to go to and artists from all of these places can do excellent quality work. The internet with it's ability to promote and sell posters from anywhere in the world has created a level playing field. If you do good work people will find you and buy your stuff!

Two things are holding back my collection. 1) Framing posters can be expensive. 2) I can't get myself to buy a poster for a band I don't like. There are people creating great looking posters, but if I can't say that I have at one time liked the band I can't have it hanging in my house. These are good things though. They'll keep my collection from getting out of hand.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Sweeping Generalizations

When I first met my wife she grilled me pretty good. She wanted to make sure that I was worth her time and effort. Thank goodness I passed her test. One thing that she would correct me for doing early on was making sweeping generalizations, repeating hearsay and stereotyping. Even if it was a positive thing. Example: "Women are really good at listening." She would tell me that there were all kinds of women and that some were good at listening and some weren't. She's right. At the time I wasn't sure if she was just being confrontational with me or not. Now that we know each other better those kinds of things don't come up in our conversations.

I do see these kinds of things coming up everyday though. I see them on television "news" programs and on the internet on different forums and blogs. One thing that I think we really need to get back to is talking about what we know to be true as individuals. I once was having a discussion with a Republican and he justified his own racism by saying that they are preaching hatred of white people in black, inner city churches. I stopped him right there and asked him when the last time he stepped foot in a black, inner city church was? Of course I knew the answer was never and that brought the discussion back to what we each knew and not what someone heard from someone to be true.

It's kind of like the way urban legends spread. It's always a friend of a friend (foaf) that was bit by a spider and burst out with a million baby spiders. It's never someone you know directly. Nowadays people on tv are speculating and then other people hearing it repeat the speculation as if it were news. "I heard on tv the other day that Hillary Clinton hates veterans!"

If we could just cut down on the speculation, sweeping generalizations and stereotypes I think we could make a huge dent in the rhetoric and bring this country together again. We all have more in common than you would learn from the idiotic tv pundits. But that statement would be a sweeping generalization and my wife would not approve.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Deposit Law

Moving to Missouri from Michigan three and a half years ago didn't seem like that big of a change. The weather is noticeably more mild here, but a lot of things seemed familiar. The street signs are similar (green and white and the same font, not true of other states). The terrain is rolling and not too flat or too hilly just like Michigan. Both States begin with an "M"! Town names are pretty normal, unlike Pennsylvania where they have some interesting ones. One difference I noticed is that Missourians throw away their bottles and cans. In Michigan we've had a deposit law since the mid 70's and nobody throws away a bottle or can.

In case you are unfamiliar with deposit laws it's like this...You pay an extra 10 cents on each carbonated bottle and can (soda and beer, not sports drinks, teas and water yet) and when you return the bottles and cans to the store you get your 10 cents back. The amount varies by State but I can tell you that 10 cents is enough incentive to return the bottle/can. And the big surprise is that everybody does it. It's not just environmentally friendly treehuggers. It's made very convenient to get your cash back. All of the grocery stores have reverse vending machines. You drop your bottles and cans in the machine and it spits out a receipt. You take the receipt up to the cashier and they give you cash. There were many times in college that the cash saved our lives (read: became pizza and beer money). It added up quick in those days.

Curbside recycling is inadequate at best and I don't see people lining up at the recycling centers to return their cans. From what I understand the bottling companies incur more cost because of recycling and claim they have to pass it along to consumers which I guess they assume will hurt their sales. I've contacted Anheuser Busch and Sen. Jim Talent and received amazingly similar responses. Both responded that they are in favor of recycling but neglected to answer my specific question about deposit laws. It appears to be another in a long line of examples of Republicans siding with big business rather than the American people.

Friday, April 08, 2005

When do you know it all?

Do you ever feel like you know just enough to know that you don't know enough? I feel like that with just about everything in my life. I was doing some research about silk screened rock posters at today. They have this forum that a lot of really talented artists are on all day long. I just sat back and watched them rip less knowledgable people apart for no reason other than to entertain themselves. I'm not sure if it's because it's over the internet and therefore impersonal or if they just lack tact. I knew enough to know that I shouldn't be posting any questions over there.

Music is the same way with me. People who don't know anything about contemporary music may mistake me for someone who is knowledgeable. I know enough to know that there are people much more knowledgeable and in those circles I am just setting myself up for embarrassment by talking about music. For example who's Channel 3? I've never been a punk rocker but I thought I knew most of the influential bands. Now I learn about this 80's punk rock band Channel 3 that seems to be influencing everyone from Beck to Queens of the Stone Age. Every time I turn around it's something else.

Rehabbing is the same. Just when I start to feel comfortable someone comes along and makes me feel pathetic because I didn't realize there was a whole other level of complexity.

It must be satisfying being an expert at one thing. Knowing that there isn't anybody in the world who can tell you something you don't already know on a given subject. On the other hand those people are probably really boring to be around. So let's R-a-w-k!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Headlines

I haven't posted in awhile. I was thinking that I didn't have anything to post but it turns out I have too many topics. I think I'll try and hit the highlights and get it all out of my system at one time:
Terry Schaivo - Tragic. (FYI: Remove my tube. Let it be written, so let it be done.)
The Pope - Quite a run that guy had.
Bush - How about creating a culture of peace? If the facts are in doubt don't go to war.
NCAA Final Four - New rule: Don't criticize the city if you don't live in it.
Baby - Ultrasound performed. Everything is looking good!
Rehab - Tuckpointers are still evasive, but I've got some contractors lined up. Final plans are in. I've got a shopping list for the lumberyard. The weather is better. All is good.
Music - Favorite song right now is "When I Go Deaf" by Low. The exploding crunchy guitars near the end remind me of early Uncle Tupelo.

OK, now that I have that out of my system I think I can move forward and blog with the rest of you.