Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Is this a Dagger I see before me?

Hey everybody. I am busy-busy-busy as usual, but figured I would share. A great band from Buffalo is playing a huge show down here in little old Jamestown and I was lucky enough to be asked to create the poster.

FYI... for you non-local folks reading this, the venue is the "REG" (pronounced "rej").

That's all for now. Check out the Juliet Dagger on YouTube, MySpace, and their website. No time to post linkage. Apologies to the internet challenged.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Chapter Three: "How to be a Cool Dad (or Mom)"

Do this. Halloween is coming. Do you have your costume ready? I have asked my wife several times what she will be dressing up as this year. No reponses. As you get older, it's the pieces of your childhood that you can keep that will make you a cool parent.

Chloe likes Star Wars. She's not obsessed with it, but she knows who is who and likes knowing it. She is tapping my arsenal for entertainment. Last week I picked up two new DVDs. I saw the classic "Young Frankenstein" and the movie "Labyrinth" for Chloe. She was ready for "Labyrinth" and I was too. If you've never seen it, check it out. It's like a modern fairy tale... well, pretty modern anyway. There are subtle hints here and there that you are watching a movie from 1986. There's a lot of synth music in the sound track, but it does hold up as a very timeless movie. I remember seeing it back in the eighties. I don't recall it being a blockbuster then, but it's got legs and it's still running after 20 years.

So will my wife get a costume? I don't know. She's pretty uptight. Whatever. I'll be the dad that ALWAYS dressed up and I will totally love being remembered that way.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Paging Muzenews... Check this!

So I got out this violin that I have been hanging on to. I found it in a second hand shop here in Jamestown a few years ago. It's not in great shape, but I wanted to have a violin on hand should the spirit of my childhood move me to play again. Yeah. Many years of practicing have left me wanting more, I guess. I think I started playing in the fourth grade. Preppy Girl... can you verify this fact? She also took up the four squeaky stings around the same time. Mom used to set the built-in timer on our 1950's era stove to be sure we put in our 30 minutes of practice. I hated that timer but I played right up into high school when I switched to cello and then upright bass. Bass led me into electric bass and then into a couple of bands... blah blah blah...

So tonight I took the violin out of its case to have a look at the label. For those of you who may not know, there's a label inside the violin that tells you who made it. You can see it if you hold it up to a light and squint into the f-shaped holes on the body of the instrument. This label will give you a general idea of where the thing came from, etc... at least it will if it is still in there. Mine is gone.

The next thing you can do is check out the bow. Pretend you know what the hell you are talking about. This is an older bow and it's horse hair. There's some mother of pearl inlay missing from one side of the frog. The word "TOURTE" is stamped on one side of my bow. Turns out this guy developed the modern bow. He was French and is now dead. There are more details, but that's the Cliff Notes version.

The case is a wreck. Cases usually are but inside I found an old cake of rosin and the label from another. I have no idea how old either of these items are. The could be retro-designed labels from last week for all I know... but I like them. I think I will post a picture of the violin tomorrow, time permitting. Anyway... any insight y'all can throw at me, please chuck away!

By the way... despite the condition of this violin, and my rusty form, the thing sounds pretty good.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

And All the Bells were Ringing...

Are you angry? Are you frustrated? Sad? Feel all alone? Well you aren't. Lots and lots of people feel the way you do. It's a club with no meetings. Consider yourself a member! There's no rules in this organization. I would hesitate to even call it an organization. It's more like a cult. The thing about people in cults, is that they seldom realize they are in a cult. Cult is a word used by people who aren't in the organization being referred to as a cult. Maybe cult shouldn't be such a dirty word, (though it is very close in spelling to a very dirty word).

"Hey! Do you want to be in my cult?" Somehow that phrase just doesn't sound like the type of thing you say to your neighbor as you pick up dog poop or trim the bushes. It seems like people who join cults don't know they are joining cults. Again, the word cult and all the baggage that goes with it are bestowed by folks outside the cult. Are there any good cults? What about the "Cult of Personality" as described by the band Living Colour? Is that a bad cult?

Cults seem to be ill-received by the general public (not the band General Public, btw) so maybe there's a better word to descibe the unaffiliated brotherhood of the lonely. Gang? "Hey Phil, would you like to be in my Gang?" Um, no. I think gang has a little too much baggage as well. Although, I have often thought that given the opportunity to see a concert by the Cult or the Sugarhill GANG, I would have to see the GANG. I would probably go see Gang of Five too.

Gang of Five makes me think of the FOX televsion series 'Party of Five'.. or wait a second... maybe the worldwide collective of melancholy frustration could be classified as a PARTY. Um... nah. Party has too positive a ring. Asking people to join the party makes me think there's a hot tub and beers and loosened morals. Hey that sounds like the kind of thing you could interest your neighbor with, though once he realized the true nature of the "party'" it would be all over.

Are we an Order? Like the Loyal Order of Waterbuffaloes? Who needs another civic organization? There's plenty of old orders like the Lions Club, the Elks, the Moose... who needs a new order... wait... NEW ORDER. Why are the names of bands creeping into my post today?

Maybe we are a League. That sounds pretty good until you think about other leagues. There's just too much responsibility attached to being a league. Little League expects you to play ball. Justice League expects you to save the World. Major League expects you to watch Bob Uecker. I can't go for that, no. No can do.

Is it an Association? Another band name... ugh... wait a sec...

We're a Band. That's all. We don't play any music. We're just together apart everywhere all through time. Cavemen included. Whew. At least there's not a band called "The Band"... oh wait... crap...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

And the hits just keep coming...

Not great day at work. Sorry, Santa. I tried to be good. Really, really. The rest was a blur. I had to clean the Bouncy House. Bouncy Houses get smelly. They get wet and then no one cleans them and they start to smell like your Great Uncle's Cabin. That's the only way I can describe that smell. Like must and mildew had sex. Stanky.

Then you gotta let the damn bouncy house dry. I let it dry. I packed it up. It's done. Who used the bouncy house? Why was it stanky? Who cares if it gets stanky? Why does that cause me stress? How many more questions can I string together? Did you think that was the last one? Or is this? Could it be that I will go on questioning like this all night?

Nah. This is getting stanky too, and Lord knows, I'll be the one to clean it up. Rock me Amadeus!

Beavers Don't Give a Dam

Warning! Rambling Ahead!... I warned ya...

Insanity. Absolute and utter chaos. What day is this? What year? What month? Have you ever been so friggin' busy that you can't get a single thing done? Maybe that's not really true. I tend to be in a busy cycle without end. There's no time to relax and sit back and admire the amount of work that I have been churning out on a daily basis. No time to breath. No time to rest. THAT is where the feeling of emptiness comes from. Not from a lack of results. The real problem is a lack of time.

An artist friend of mine and I had a meeting this week in which he reminded me of some very important things. Hanging out at his studio, he reminded me that we (not only as artists) but as human beings possess the ability to create our own lives. It's true. I somehow over the past 2 years lost sight of this important piece of information. It is possible to say no to people but then what? I have been in a constant state of panic for most of the past year. Why? Because everything is so scheduled and regimented. I hate it. I work so much that when I lie down at night to sleep, I feel guilty. I can't sleep. I don't know the last ime I slept well.

There's been a lot of personal problems in my life that I have been "dealing" with by piling on more and more work. Dealing is in quotations because, of course, I honestly haven't been. There's an almost animalistic instinct kicking in. It's friggin' consuming me. Maybe I should get a will. I want very much to leave instructions for the following words to be left on my headstone:

"In this World, If You Can't Be Happy... Be Busy"

My 5 year old daughter said something to me the other day. It broke my heart. Screw philosophers. If you want some real truth, ask someone little. She told me that she's never been on vacation. She hasn't. She's five. That means I haven't taken a break in over 5 years. My job is a hamster wheel. I need a break.

The truth is, you have to make time. Apologies to Albert Einstein, but you can make time. I remember reading something written by one of Norman Rockwell's children once. The story was about how on Christmas morning they had to tear him away from his studio to open presents. Sad. Dam. Damn.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sign this, Old MacDonald

Thise sketches from a few posts ago are now animated. A little known fact for you: Did you know that there is no onomatopoeia in sign language? Why would there be? Anyway, having never considered this, here's Old MacDonald in simplified sign laguage as performed by 2 kangaroos.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Gartening at Night

When I was in school, it was called "Kindergarten Round Up," as if kids during the summer months had been let run free-range all summer to the point that they resembled cattle. But tonight was the modern equivalent of just that. We took Chloe to her school. It was fun.

I like Chloe. I know I have said this before, but the truth of the matter is this: You HAVE to love your children. There's nothing anywhere that says you have to like them, but I really like her. She is really cool. I can already see things in her that I know will make her a great grown-up.

Chloe saw a lot of her old friends from last year. She ran up to them, called out their names and gave them all big hugs. My wife expressed concern that not many of the kids in her class this year, were in her pre-k class last year. Chloe responded, "But now I can make a bunch of NEW friends!" Optimism. It's still out there, and I'm proud to say a little bit of it lives with me.

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