i am sitting on the starboard
of your only way
back home


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Monday, January 28, 2008

New York City: Views

Big buildings and lots of windows. Makes for a nice effect -- this is the Chrysler Building's reflection.

I realized I had a hard time getting any decent photos because I am not a human tripod, hence all the lights and glittery things in New York fuzz in most of my shots. This is the ceiling of Grand Central Station, which depicts the zodiac. The constellations are actually backwards, but it's not a mistake. The artist painted them as they would be seen from outside the constellation sphere. Weird. I had to make a stop because Mary Chapin Carpenter has a lovely song called "Grand Central Station" on Between Here and Gone.

Who's buried in Grant's Tomb? Not me!

A mix of old and new: St. Patrick's Cathedral and a bus going...somewhere.

Rockefeller Center...it was cold. I think my shivering made for a lot of crooked photos the whole trip. That's ok, though. Notice the ice skaters toppling on the left side. Hehhehhehheh.

Time's Square...just like you'd expect. People, lights, photo opportunity. I am freezing my bum off here. Happily so!

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Print THAT.

Had an interesting gig this evening, resulting in my friend DC Bloom (whose gig it was and who let me sit in on a few and sing a couple of my own) overhearing this from a listener during my set:

"Anyone who doesn't like her voice...is an ANIMAL."

Hehheh! I think that's press kit worthy.

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Guiro! Guiro! Guiro!

That's a guiro. I'm learning a little more about percussion these days. Mayhaps I hear a guiro on the EP...we did throw a little in during last night's recording session.

Let me say it made me really appreciate people who devote their lives to being the percussion and thus the backbone of a band...it's work and concentration and flow. Whew. Props, drummers!

Those are not my hands. That's a really awkward photo. I understand now why there are people who are employed to be hand models. I don't think they used one, haha.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

New York City: United Nations

Ah, the United Nations. 192 nations, to be exact. That's a lot of ground to cover. Luckily, I had a plan. A floor plan.

These tapestries, of all the former and the current Secretaries General of the U.N., were gifted to the United Nations by Iran. Thanks, Iran! I'm not really one for carpet on the walls, but the detail in these was stunning.

First stop: the Security Council Chamber. Look at that lighting rig. If they ever make a bad decision, it won't be because of low lighting. People in blue chairs can speak, people in red chairs just watch.

Ah, the General Assembly. Where they generally assemble. Weird lighting, hence weird photo. They've had to expand the desks and seating as more countries joined the U.N. It's also seated alphabetically, except they have a lottery to determine which country begins the seating order (so Afghanistan is not always in the front and Zimbabwe is not always in the back). Currently, Mexico is in the very front row.

Even Ambassadors need sustenance. There's no tax at the U.N. Coffee Shop. I like that.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Update: It's an Escopetarra!

Cesar Lopez, a musician and peace activist from Colombia, is the inventor of the escopetarra. Here's a Seattle Times article about it.

Photo taken from Oxfam.org.

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At the U.N. -- Guitars not Guns

So...while in New York City, my main sight-seeing-touristy goal was to go to the United Nations. As a history and political science nerd in college, I took many a class that covered the U.N. "Politics of Human Rights" was the main one, and I learned a lot about what the U.N. does for current situations in the world. What nerd wouldn't want to see it? So...we tried to go on Saturday but it was closed. Yes, the U.N. was closed...for us tourists, anyway. :) We went back Monday and all was well. Our tour guide was a lovely woman from Japan, and we spent a good four hours walking around the complex.

More photos of that to come, but here is my favorite piece of artwork from the tour...someone somewhere (I don't remember signs well, apparently) converts militia guns into stringed instruments. Sounds ok to me.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Goodbye NYC

Hello from JFK International Airport. Yeah, I went to New York City
for the weekend. You know, the usual! I didn't bring a laptop so I
refrained from blogging about the trip while on it. Once I am back in
Austin I will regale you with photos and tales. Plus I was having too
much fun to stop and blog! Imagine that.

Now it's back to Texas and back to work. Some good things are brewing,
I say.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Thoughts on Branding a Business

Branding a business is a hard task to undertake. You don't just take an afternoon to hammer out a name, logo, and mission statement. I mean, I suppose you could and I'm sure it's happened, but Josh and I have been passing around thoughts and ideas concerning our new project for a couple of weeks now. Well, Josh sends me things and then I think about them and make suggestions, haha. I like my life. Anyway...we'll arrive at our whole package soon, I think.

Makes me think about how musicians are a little luckier in the business-creation end of things. If you look at every album as a mini-business you are creating, there is a lot of space to change with each project. Instead of having to brand the album, you're almost expected to show up with something new every time. If McDonald's changed their sign or logo every week, customers would get confused. If a musician used the same album cover for every record, people would be confused. That's interesting to me.

Granted, a musician DOES spend a certain amount of time cultivating an image that is consistent so the art doesn't have to be...but being a bit unpredictable is allowed in these circumstances. Maybe that's why we're being very careful about finding a business name, logo, and attitude for our project that sits well for a very long time. So there's freedom in the art and not the business behind it.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Loose Change

Dan and I had a full on recording session tonight, and we got a LOT more done than I could have expected ever ever. We were hanging out, drinking coffee, oh and how about you play some bass, Jana? So far removed from my record-making neuroses that I had...fun? Wow. :)

Oh, and while I have put down vocals, guitar, banjo, and bass on this track so far...my crowning achivement is playing pocket change. Yes. Quarters in hand. Drop in other hand. Repeat for whole song. Percussion. It's pretty much blowing my budget, throwing all those quarters around...but all for the art, right? Mwahaha.

We put the track away for now and we'll listen to it in a week or so, but I am super excited for this process to keep going.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dominant 7ths

Yesterday at my guitar lesson Kevin handed me a notebook and told me to write my guitar-playing goals in it for 2008. That was cool, and while I have many scattered goals that pop up in my head at random times ("I should really learn another Zeppelin song"), listing them was challenging but fun. It didn't take long to get the juices flowing.

One of them is to understand where major, minor, and dominant 7th chords are coming from. Kevin mapped it out and small bits of light were seen, but I am still trudging through fog on that. I think in another few weeks I might begin to get it.

Another goal is to learn an instrumental piece -- to work on fingerstyle, and also just to have a song that I can play that I don't have to sing on, haha. We'll see how that evolves.

So -- interestingly enough, Kevin's got new videos up on Youtube and one of them is a way cool instrumental. There you go. Trends happen. Instrumental is the new black. Put that on a t-shirt and sell it.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Perks of Preparation

...though today I don't think I could prepare enough. Here's how it all went down:

- work le day job from 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM. Lots going on this week in my day job life...nonstop action all day. Left a little late, making me late for...

- picking up my guitar and bass (loathe to leave them in the car all day)...off to...

- a meeting to learn how to use Quickbooks because I am an ACCOUNTING FIEND (ok maybe one day I will be)

- immediately after came a bass lesson, to work on parts for the album

- followed by my songwriters' group lesson, where we started a U2 tune (be still my beating heart I love The Edge. Dan knows how to pick 'em).

Between that there was a couple of conversations with Josh about a new venture for 2008. Sorry to be vague but there's no use in announcing a venture that hasn't ventured yet. We'll launch soon enough.

BED. Wee!!

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

iPod blawg no. 3...something's a'brewing

I woke up this morning with the song I am working on stuck in my head.
That's a good thing...stickability is key.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Two Videos in a Row?

Because I can. Who's my fave world blues band?


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Thursday, January 10, 2008

All About Makin' A Record

We had a web conference last night! Little did I know Josh has supersecret devices on his computer to record things. That could come in handy if we ever meet Richard Nixon. (What? Say it ain't so!) Anyway, all about the New EP:

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Digging the Career

There's a little article on MSN Careers about the fastest growing job sectors these days...Josh sent me the link and I was curious, because I am used to the list consisting of "medical care professional" and "civil engineer" and stuff because, well...we always need those. I like not sneezing and I like driving on bridges.

I likes the bridges.

So I was surprised to see things on this list like:

agents and business managers
music directors and composers
film and video editors
public relations managers

which is kind of neat because the Sol Bourn Institute (we're working on our business plan now and it's a record label but So Much More) is all of that. Granted, we'll be an in-house kinda thing and not selling our PR skillz to major companies or anything, but it's nice to know where the trend is going.

And yes, anthropology. As the article says, they, "study the origin, cultural development and behavior of humans, while archaeologists recover artifacts to gather information about humans." Sounds like a songwriter to me!

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Sunday, January 6, 2008

How am I supposed to freelance

...and own a business if I have no discipline? I think I'm still in vacation mode, which is bad. I get some stuff done, but I'm not regimented. I think I am rebelling against regimentation. I guess the schedule has been erratic for work and class since 3 weeks ago when the Christmas-ness began, and last week was New Year's...so this week will be the first full week of everything. That will be nice. I have much to learn this year. I hope I do ok. The first 4 months will go fast.


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Um, it's Saturday?

Oh hello. I'm a little...slack with blogging this week. This post will probably reflect that, as I'm planning on scattering little pieces of slightly interesting information throughout, in hopes one of them will strike your fancy. Plus, we haven't had a list post in a while.

- I rang in the new year with Dan and porterdavis at Momo's. The p and the d (as I lamely sometimes call porterdavis in my head...and take note there is no one in the band named porter or davis...they're named after Boston subway stations they busked in)...played an awesome show. I was also pretty happy to finally see Band of Heathens play, they're pretty entertaining and great musicians to boot. Also, what up with the fur coat trend? Didn't we get over that in 1992 or something? I saw a LOT of mink coats that night.

- This iPod Touch and its ease of buying stuff from iTunes because it gets wifi...is dangerous. But fun. I was totally bummed that nothing in my CD collection was anything I wanted to listen to this week (don't you HATE that?), so I bought the Iron & Wine "Woman King EP" (the title track is killer), and then Dan alerted me to the Bob Schneider song "Flowerparts" which is pretty amazing too. If you're in need of new music, I recommend it. Dan said it's our new theme song, and I can hang with that.

- I made the new banner at the top of the blog smaller. Josh pointed out that it took up too much of "the fold", and I knew that in my heart of hearts when I made it...and it took me 3 days to get around to fixing it, but there it is. (That was a really long run-on sentence). All of you just let out a collective, "Huh." I like the b&w theme. The goal is to post colorful stuff in the blog, with a tasteful frame around it.

- Today is Artist Market Day! The weather is going to rock. Yay for January in the 70's, hehheh.

- I am reading Timothy Ferriss' book "The 4-Hour Workweek." It's intriguing. I very much am in agreeance that retirement is a lame idea, and people should take mini-retirements all throughout their lives. The thought of looking forward to retirement probably means you're not doing something ideal for you right now, meaning you should probably look into changing that. I hope I'm always doing something challenging and fulfilling and fun enough that I don't WANT to retire. I'm not good at shuffleboard.

I wonder when my first mini-retirement will be. Wait...my second. I had a good 5 months of bumming around after college, including a road trip to Seattle...and then another 4 months of job hunting when I moved to Austin. Except that didn't feel like retirement, it felt like panic. :) My next mini-retirement will be much more purposeful and thoughtful.

What would you do if you had a month to do anything?

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

nite kids (iPod blawg no. 2)

I just got home from another inspiring session with Dan. We recorded a
bit, he said with the purpose of taking the mystery out of recording.
Instead of being freaked out like usual, I just did it. He is a master! 1:19 AM. Bed.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year, New Us.

The site looks a little different, except it's exactly the same. Allow for tweakage of the new design in the next week...and yes! Black and white is the new...black and white!

Take note of the new Friends page...rather happy how that came out.

Happy New Year, kids!