Monday, March 31, 2008

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Stub Stories #4


GZA

Last night Chris Toms and I went to see GZA perform his classic first album Liquid Swords and the El Rey Theatre. For those of you not familiar with GZA he is a member of the hip hop collective called Wu Tang Clan. Liquid Swords was GZA's debut solo album released in 1995. It is considered one of the best albums to come out of the Wu Tang Clan. 

The show was sold out. The first act got little respect from the audience. I felt bad for the skinny white kid from the Bay area. The second act, Blue Scholars from Seattle, connected more with the crowd and put on an enjoyable show. Then the wait started. It took around an hour after Blue Scholars finished before GZA came on. The crowd grew more and more restless with each strange song choice played over the PA during the break. Wu Tang chants sporadically broke out. As the break grew longer boo's greeted each new song that was played over the PA. 

GZA finally started the show and the place went nuts and the El Rey filled with the smoke of blunts. I mean, as soon as the lights went down and the music started a large cloud of pot smoke rose from the crowd. It has been a while since I had been to a hip hop show and I forgot how fun they can be. There is nothing better than the electricity of an hyped crowd. A few songs into the album Killah Priest took the stage in support of GZA. When "Shadowboxin'" started Method Man jumped on stage and the place went crazy. GZA did a tribute to Ol Dirty Bastard. I was really impressed with GZA's laid back stage presence. Nothing silly or over the top. Just doing his thing and doing it well. Wu Tang Forever.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

An Old Friend

Today I visited an old friend I like to call "The Stoop". It may have an official name that I am not aware of but that is what I have always called it. It is a peak on a hill in Griffith Park that I would hike up to and just sit, rest, and enjoy the solitude of the spot in the middle of such a large urban area with millions of people around me. There is a nice breeze, low hiker traffic, and an amazing view. 

When I moved to Los Angeles I made this hike weekly. I didn't have a lot of work so I would hike in the park a lot and I would make it up to the stoop and think about life. It was kind of my reward for making it to the top. The trail to it was a little rough so it didn't get a lot of traffic. It was my escape from the city and it was only a couple miles from my apartment. 

Over the years I got busier with work, joined a gym, and honestly got a little burned out on the hike because I had done it so many times. On May 8, 2007 a wildfire broke out in Griffith Park burning over 800 acres including my stoop. Because of this that part of the park was closed for many months in an effort to let the hills restore themselves. 

I visited the Griffith Park Observatory this month and realized that the trails were open again. Well, some of them. I would hike from the tennis courts to my stoop but today i found that way was closed. So I hiked up from the Observatory and lucky I was able to make it to my old friend, "The Stoop". 

The Stoop (top point on the peak)

approaching The Stoop

on The Stoop

views from The Stoop (I used to hike up the ridge to The Stoop)


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter


In case you were wondering why Easter occurs sometimes in March instead of April here is an explanation. 



Easter is a religious holiday that is celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, which Christians believe occurred on the third day after his crucifixion around AD 33. In the Western Church, which roughly consists of Protestants, Catholics, and Anglicans, Easter falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon that appears on or after the spring equinox (March 21). This year the full moon came on the same day as the spring equinox.

According to this timeline, Easter always falls between March 22 and
April 25. The Orthodox Eastern Church also regards Easter as a
"movable" holiday, but it does not necessarily coincide with the
celebration of the West. Although Easter can fall on the same day in
the East and West, the Eastern Church generally observes the holiday a week or more after the West.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

Mix Tape #2

Here is a mix of songs from bands I have seen or will be seeing this month plus one from next month. They are in chronological order of the shows and I'm up to Explosions In The Sky which is tonight. 

1. LESLIE AND THE LYS - Zombie Killer

2. GIL MANTERA'S PARTY DREAM - Elmo's Wish
    (seriously, go see these guys. you won't be disappointed)

3. RED FANG - Prehistoric Dog

4. BIG BUSINESS - Hands Up

5. ATLAS SOUND - Ativan

6. MINUTEMEN - The Glory Of Man 
      (I saw Mike Watt & The Missingmen not Minutemen but they did play this song and Mike Watt was in Minutemen)

7. EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY - Welcome, Ghosts

8. EVANGELICALS - Hello Jenn, I'm A Mess

9. GZA - Gold
    
10. THE AVETT BROTHERS - Pretty Girl From Cedar Lane

11. DIRTY PROJECTORS - Rise Above

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cranes


This weekend's tragic crane collapse in New York stirred up my fascination with tall construction site cranes called tower cranes. One day there is no crane, the next day it is there, and another day it is gone. I never seem to get the chance to witness the construction of a crane. How do they erect and dismantle these giant structures so quickly? I did some research and here is what I found.
The construction company pours a huge concrete slab and the crane’s base is bolted to it.
On top of the base is the “mast” (the steel tower). On top of the mast is the “slewing unit”—the gears and motor that rotate the crane. On top of the slewing unit are the operator’s cab; the “jib” (the horizontal arm that does the work); the machinery arm that contains the electronics and motors that lift the loads; and concrete counterweights.
To assemble the tower crane a mobile crane is used to erect two six metre sections of the mast and a section called a climbing frame. These rise from the base. On top of this latticed tower structure, the mobile crane places the slewing unit, the jib, machinery arm, and the counterweights.
The tower crane is on its own now. It reaches high into the sky by itself, one mast section at a time. To accomplish this, hydraulic rams (insanely strong jacks) lift up the climbing frame and everything on top. A six metre space is opened up for the crane to insert another section of mast, which is then bolted into place. This goes on and on until the tall building is finished. The crane then dismantles itself, one section at a time.
source: http://www.yesmag.ca/Questions/crane.html 


Friday, March 14, 2008

This Man Was A Huge Influence On Me


MIKE WATT

When I was around 18 or 19 I remember seeing this video on MTV's 120 Minutes for fIREHOSE's song "Riddle of The Eighties".  Little did I know how much it would affect my life.

I liked the song enough to go out and buy the album "fromohio".  Soon after that I picked up their first 2 albums "Ragin Full On" and "If'n". I learned that the bass player, Mike Watt, and the drummer, George Hurley, were previously in a band called Minutemen so I started buying their albums. I had never heard a bass so prominent and powerful in a band. Mike Watt became my hero. I saw fIREHOSE every time they came through Chapel Hill. 

Not long after buying my first fIREHOSE album I was inspired to play bass so I bought a cheap bass and amp in Jacksonville, NC and proceeded to teach myself to play bass by trying to play along with fIREHOSE and Minutemen albums. I turned my friend Chris Mann on to these bands and we started jamming in his garage which eventually led to a short lived band. After that I played in several bands for 6 or 7 years. Thank you Mike Watt for inspiring me to pick up the bass which led to many great friendships and experiences in my life. 

This past week my old friend Chris Mann was visiting and we had the good fortune to catch Mike Watt and the Missingmen last night at Safari Sam's. Here is a video I shot last night of them playing a couple covers from the great band Wire. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Garfield Minus Garfield

Garfield Minus Garfield is a website that removes all characters except John from the Garfield comic strip. It reveals the sad and lonely and somewhat psychotic side of John. See more here.



Monday, March 10, 2008

Pics From The Weekend

LESLIE AND THE LYS


Leslie and me

Me, Meg, and Chris

GIL MANTERA'S PARTY DREAM

RED FANG

BIG BUSINESS

RED FANG At Spaceland
video

At Univeral Studios with my friend Tim playing Homer

This weekend I went to 3 shows, my friend came to visit from NC, and we visited Universal Studios thanks to Tim. Leslie and The Lys put on an amazingly entertaining show at the Echoplex. Gil Mantera's Party Dream never ceases to amaze me and they did it again Saturday at the Echo. Sunday Red Fang tore it up at Spaceland. It was the greatest show I've seen them play. Good luck at SxSW. Big Business slayed in the best show I've seen them play. Good acoustics and sound system make all the difference in the world. 

For The Ladies in Wyoming


video

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I Played In A Band Named...


LYSTRA

Four years ago we recorded in our small 8x8 practice room in North Hollywood. We did the recording ourselves because no one else could fit in the room. Here is a song from that session.

Download:  Trim.mp3

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Crackers
































Have you ever wondered what it is that makes white people white other than the color of their skin? There is a blog that answers this question with an ever growing list. It is called STUFF WHITE PEOPLE LIKE. Visit the site here.

Some examples from the list:
#75.  Threatening To Move To Canada
#69.  Mos Def
#44.  Public Radio
#29.  80's Night
#10.  Wes Anderson Movies

Monday, March 3, 2008

Hey Man, Nice Shot #3


JACOB LUNOW

Last summer while visiting Chapel Hill, NC I attended a party and had the pleasure of seeing a lot of old friends I used to hang out with in Chapel Hill in the 90's. Many of these people I hadn't seen since the 90's. One friend in particular was a bit of a shock to see. 

My friend Jacob Lunow had suffered a stroke at the age of 31 which severely impaired his speech and movement. Seeing him for the first time since his stroke was a bit of a shock for me and made me realize how fragile life can be. We talked briefly and he told me he had taken up photography. We've kept in correspondence since then and shared ideas and our work with each other. He received a grant which he used to buy his first digital camera. Late last year, with his new camera, Jacob ventured on a 3 week road trip through the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, sleeping in his car and occasionally in a hotel room to upload photos and watch UNC basketball games. He has done an amazing job of capturing the beauty of nature and how, with time, it inflicts its force upon manmade things to reclaim them.
 
See Jacob's Appalachia photos here.
Visit his website here.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

March Madness

I am excited that March is here. Warmer weather, NCAA tournament, and great music. There are a bunch of great bands coming through town that I am planning to see. Here is a list of shows I will be attending. Buy a ticket and join me.

LESLIE AND THE LYS
March 7
@ The Echoplex









GIL MANTERA'S PARTY DREAM
March 8
@ The Echo











BIG BUSINESS    listen
with
RED FANG    listen 
March 9
@ Spaceland










ATLAS SOUND
March 11
@ The Echo






MIKE WATT & THE MISSINGMEN
March 13
@ Safari Sam's





EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY
March 17
@ The Wiltern




EVANGELICALS
March 19
@ Sivlerlake Lounge




GZA
March 29
@ The El Rey






THE AVETT BROTHERS
March 30
@ The El Rey