Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hearing Obama Speak (reflecting this evening)

I can't seem to find numbers for the event this morning, but the auditorium holds 9,000, there was a gymnasium filled to capacity with overflow (us), and then a throng that listened to the speech from the lacross field outside (!!!). All this on just a few short days notice and little to no publicity. Pretty cool.

Caroline Kennedy introduced Barack, and definitely likes this man.

He spoke about so many wonderful things. Change. Change. Change. A couple of Erika and my favorites: abolishing lobbyists, specifically mentioning the gay community, abolishing national standardized testing in schools, a $4,000 per year college credit for anybody who wants it... but you have to actually work for it in your community (hey there's a thought: make people fucking contribute to society for their wellfare check instead of just handing out money!!!!), raising teacher salaries, getting out of Iraq in a way that makes sense, restoring respect to the White House, restoring credibility to the US on an international level, abolishing tax breaks for sending jobs over seas, making it illegal to end pension plans while taking humongous bonuses, and on and on and on and on.

We are very excited about this man.

The video is pretty shakey, but hey, I was being jostled by a throng...

We finally got to see Obama in person!

First he spoke to the people outside in the cold and then the people in the overflow rooms. Now he's heading to the "big" room to make his speech.

Almost!

Well... we got into the first overflow room. I guess there are still thousands of people outside.

We're watching a giant television (scoreboard) in the gym, but there's a mic set up on the floor, so hopefully we'll see a personal appearance.

Rod Smith (Denver Broncos) just spoke. and now Gary Hart is speaking.

The energy is pretty great.

Still going...

Still going...

On to block two... I don't think everybody's getting in.
videovideo of the Obama lines in Denver

Thousands of a cold awesome people waiting to hear Obama

AWESOME. This line goes around two blocks, then on to campus and up to the auditorium. Thousands upon thousands of people standing in the winter morning cold to hear Barack Obama speak.

This RULES.

Go, USA.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

IMPORTANT: Proper disposal of Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFB's)

You've probably been hearing a lot about compact fluorescent bulbs (CFB's) lately. However, I bet you haven't heard a whole lot about these little wonders requiring special disposal.

Understand: I'm not nay-saying CFB's. I think they're great. They last a lot longer and consume waaaaaaay less electricity than regular incandescent bulbs while producing the same amount of light. In fact, I've switched out every bulb in my home, including my exterior lights (well... not the bulbs in the oven or the fridge).

But like most things that are good for our planet, compact fluorescent bulbs do require a tiny bit of effort on our part.

CFB's, like those big fluorescent tubes hanging in high school cafeterias and your grandpa's wood shop, contain a small amount of mercury (about 5 milligrams in a CFB, more in a 4 foot long fluorescent tube). While CFB's are safe to use in your home, care should be taken --especially by bulb-changing babies and pregger moms (if the glass tube breaks, the mercury is released).

The EPA reports that sales of CFB's doubled in 2007 to nearly 20% of the light bulb market. That's 290 million bulbs sold in 2007. That's a boatload (quite literally) of mercury, folks. Five milligrams of mercury adds up extremely quickly to gallons of mercury as all of America switches out every bulb in their homes (20 bulbs or so per household) and begin tossing the spent bulbs in the kitchen trash.

That trash goes to a landfill, and the mercury leeches into ground water and finds its way to the oceans. You may have heard about a recent study done in NYC where sushi grade Tuna was sampled from area sushi restaurants and found to have unacceptable levels of mercury.
"Sushi from 5 of the 20 places had mercury levels so high that the Food and Drug Administration could take legal action to remove the fish from the market. The sushi was bought by The New York Times in October."

-The New York Times
Even if you don't like sushi, the fact is that CFB's contain mercury, and care should be taken in their disposal.

I was pleased to find this site, http://Earth911.org, which allows you to simply type in your zip code to find the nearest household hazardous material disposal site/service. I suggest using it to find out where you should take your spent CFB's. You don't need to run out to your hazardous waste location every time a bulb burns out; simply keep them in a small box until it's full and then make a trip (some disposal services, like ours here in Colorado, will even come to your home once a year for free).

Other suggestions from the Seattle Times:
"You can also check Earth911.org, which locates disposal options by ZIP code; call the U.S. Environmental Recycling Hotline at 877-327-8491; or contact your local waste-management agency for community guidelines. Additional information is available at Lamprecycle.org. Ikea takes back used CFLs, and other retailers are considering it."

Please let your friends and neighbors know that saving electricity is a great thing, but that they need to dispose of those bulbs properly! DIGG this post and e-mail it to your friends and family.

...

Perusing e-bay in my off time...

Sometimes I'd rather cruise E-bay for cool mid-century modern stuff than watch TV. Sometimes when doing so I come across funny and weird stuff.

For instance, a saxophone being sold by a Chinese man (in Shang Hai). Now, the saxophone itself isn't exactly hilarious, but the description is another story (my comments are in red):

Hello dear friend, I'm glad to see you here. (how nice!) Now this time I will show you an exquisite and old treasure! (the saxophone is shiny, and looks to be pretty new) I am an antique collector, I have a dream to share the old Chinese and oriental cultures
(if you look in the history books, you will find that saxophone was the first "official instrument" of ancient China) with the people in all over the world. Our online shop on eBay will offer an even greater variety of Asian articles for you (like saxphones!). This is a Superexcellent exquisite silver saxophone. It is really a rare item and worth collecting!!! Please first look the photos, Its texture is very well. Although it has had a long history, But it is in good preservation, no crack and no chip. With the perfect style, wonderful workmanship, nice design, So wonderful item. please don't miss it ! It is most valued. I got this item from countryside (aparently, a roving blue's traveler wandering the Chinese hillside), If you won this item, It will bring good luck and blessedness for you, I believe you are a standout buyer (why thank you --even though you've never met me). If you know the value of my item. Please bid my item. You will not regret!!! I have many other wonderful items on my ebay, They are from different nation that have the centuries-old culture and history, You can view my other items. please do not miss so better chance to get it. Enjoying your bidding!!!
Shipping (just shipping) for the above item is $248 (what a bargain!).


Here's another item from the above seller:




I was thinking about getting these for playing guitar (...and "Temple of Doom-ing" any punk-ass-bitch heckling from the audience).

Finally, I am wondering where this guy got a hold of an actual alethiometer ("early geomantic omen mechanism clock" as he calls it):


I wonder if it tells the truth about his listings?


...I can't help but keep thinking about the old Chinese man in Gremlins...




Oh... one last thing:

you gotta love the internets

...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Ledger dead

This really bums me out (but then again, death usually does).

NY Post article

...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Last night's gig at Meadowlark

So Meadowlark Bar may very well be the coolest bar in Denver. It's the perfect size, cozy and warm with a really nice aesthetic... kind of a hand-crafted industrial.

The stage is perfect for a solo set, but you could squeeze a 3 piece in there OK.

One entire wall is "basement-foundation" stone, and the booth areas flanking either side of the stage are lit from underneath with red lights.

There is rusted metal, stone and exposed wood everywhere.

I love it.

...but I heard Talia and Dave playing during every song. I miss those guys.

Here's a video of one of the first times Talia and I ever practiced together to let you know what I mean:

Friday, January 18, 2008

Back to the grind... (but looking forward to a show)

Alright. Back to the homestead with my girl and puppy. Skiing was awesome, but it's always good to come home. That last day was pretty brutal. The morning was nice, cold but sunny, but when that sun disappeared and it started snowing... show over. We saw -10 F on the thermometer a lot. Yowch.

So now I'm catching up on work and preparing for the show at Meadowlark Bar on Sunday night (January 20). "The Mule" from Boulder had a friend's band from NYC encounter some travel problems, so I'm filling in on the bill.


The place is really cool. Around the corner from Larimer Lounge and down some stairs to a cozy little drinking hole.

The Mule's stuff is kind of Tom Waits meets The Drive By Truckers. I'll be performing solo, and I'll probably dust off quite a few tunes from the Roundbar days.

Can't wait.

Come on out around 9pm if you're in town. Monday's MLK Day, so no school!

Meadowlark Bar
2701 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80205
Phone: (303) 293-0251


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Day three ends early.

We're leaving the mountain early today. It's colder than yesterday (-10 F most of the day), and the visibility is about zero for the falling snow.

The morning was sunny and beautiful, so still a pretty great day.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Vail: end day two

Dad's disbelief of the cold


Windmill at Belle's Camp


It was cold, but it was fantastic.
Man, I love that powder.

You give and you take.

Yeah, it's -5 F, but the powder is AWESOME. Dad doesn't like this snow as much, but I'm loving it.

Drew and Matt would be having a blast back here in these woods. Big Rock Park and Cloud 9 rule.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Vail: end of day one

Papa Ron and Gene in Vail

Man, I'm beat. It's been more than 14 years since I've been on skiis, and I've only boarded a couple times (Montana and Tahoe) since then. I'm really looking forward to getting back into this.

Vail is a pretty cool (albeit overpriced) place. I can't believe how big it is. And those back bowls are AMAZING. Everything dropping off of Headwall Ridge and The China Bowl was great. But I think one of my favorite runs in Colorado has got to be the last half of Cloud 9 along with Big Rock Park (you can kind of ski back and forth between the two). Pete's Bowl is just wicked cool. We only got to do it once toward the end of the day when they were shutting the mountain down, so I'm looking forward to returning tomorrow and seeing if I still feel the same way.

It's gonna be cold tomorrow. Today it reached about 27, but the sun was a constant. It was perfect. Tomorrow might hit 5 (yes, that's right, folks, 5 is the TOP of the predicted temp range for tomorrow). Supposedly it will be mostly overcast, but they said the same thing about today, so I've got my fingers crossed.

God, I love being on the mountain.

ps Somebody please shoot Nancy Grace and make the world a better place (it's on CNN --which I thought was a news station-- in the condo).

Question:

what are you doing today?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Amplifier, the second coming...

The release of my second full-length solo album came at a semi-inopportune time. I didn't really know it then, but it has proven true. This was not at all a bad thing as far as the rest of my life goes (every morning I wake up in a 1955 mid-century modern house on a hill in Colorado to 180 degrees of mountains --it rules!), but it did short-change any promotion, and thus attention, that the album might have otherwise received.

Amplifier was released on February 6 (one of those appropriate "new music" Tuesdays), in 2007. We did a short run, which means a much, much higher cost per album for us. In 2004, when we released the debut DB3 album ...Straight On Till Morning we did a full pressing of 1,000. Shortly thereafter, Erika and I moved to Illinois, so DB3 in its Columbus incarnation sort of dissipated. This meant no more pushing the album at shows (the best way, almost only way, for an indie band to move merchandise), and a major surplus of product. This made me really gun-shy when making decisions about what to do with pressing the next album.

Amplifier had been made completely by myself over a number of years. I had pieced everything together, written, performed and recorded everything on the album, and made all the decisions. While this allowed me to end up with an album that was almost exactly how I wanted it, it also meant there was no band, as it were, and thus not a lot of touring and shows to push the forthcoming album. I didn't want to get stuck with thousands of dollars of unsold product, so we decided to do a first run of only 100.

That summer I did end up putting together a wonderful little group of people (Gordon Kay on drums, Talia Dicker on cello, and Dave Ward on misc. percussion, backing vox, "Barbara" the accordian and those golden clapping hands). We did some shows around central Illinois, and during those few months we sold every last copy of the first run.

However, only having 100 copies meant that we had to be pretty stingy with them, as we really needed to have them to sell at all the shows. I didn't get to send them off to every indie-radio program and music blog that caught my eye, and I certainly didn't get to send them off to all my friends. This meant that the only people that really knew about the album were close friends who supported the music by buying the album and the smattering of people who had bought the album after seeing us perform live.

Enter 2008.

We are currently getting ready to do another pressing of Amplifier, this time of 1,000. The cover is a book-fold CD envelope format. The cardstock is at least 10% post-consumer waste and will be printed with 100% non-toxic, biodegradable vegetable dyes with a matte UV coating. Not only is it earth-happy, but it's a look that works really well with the "weathered-paper and burn" aesthetic of the album.

The new run will also contain a semi-hidden instrumental track that was left off the original pressing. The song is sort of a coda to "Kandahar" and an introduction to the the musical tone of the forthcoming Cats or Cars album (slated for release in the summer or fall of 2008... unless I get really ambitious and release it sooner).

This run will also allow us to send the album off to blogs and music sites for promotion, something that was not afforded by the limited number and high cost of the last run. Of course, simply "sending them off" won't garner us all the attention we need, so if you hear the album or read a review online and can do your part to comment, review, call, whatever it takes to help make Amplifier more visible... your efforts will go a long way and we really appreciate it.

The greatest tool of the indie musician is the people who listen to the music.

So hopefully now that I'm settled in to the new digs, we can get this ball rolling again. I'm setting up shows around Denver and Boulder, and I've got my eyes peeled for a cellist and a drummer. Now comes the work, the fun, of playing the music again, and getting the tunes into the heads of people all over the world.

Rock.