Tuesday, July 31, 2012

History Lesson Pt. 2 Is Taking A Break

Well, you could probably see this one coming after the last entry:  I'm going to take a break from updating this blog for awhile - not sure how long.  I know I said this before, but didn't actually do it.  This time for sure.  There's no shortage of stuff to write about - that's the good news.  I kinda just don't feel like it/don't see the point.  I'm trying to decide if I want to kill it off.  If I do continue to update this blog, I may change the format.  I'm thinking of longer, more carefully crafted articles and fewer updates.  We'll see.

For now, enjoy the silence!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I'm Too Lazy

It's not a surprise to anyone who knows me that I'm lazy.  Here's a list of shit I'm too lazy to do right now:
  • Practice bass.  I even borrowed a pretty neat bass thinking it would get me excited about practicing.  So far, no go.  No practicing for the upcoming Creekdogs gig.  No boning up on Trowar material.  No going over the shit for the music theory lessons I just started.
  • Do a blog entry on how it makes me feel to get a credit as a "Co-Music Supervisor" on the movie "Found".
  • Do a blog entry on how this guy, though I don't necessarily disagree with many of his sentiments, will become the "hip" mouthpiece for conservatives everywhere.
  • Gear up to do some busking with my son.
  • Do a blog entry about the music of the O'Brien-Zink family vacations (to serve as a contrast for the entry on the music of Zink family vacations).
I know that doing any of these things would bring me great happiness and a sense of accomplishment.  And I will say in my defense that I have been journaling again lately.  But for now, I'll read another blog/check my fucking email again/generally continue to day dream about being some place else.  Likely, I'll be lazy until my self loathing won't take it anymore.  Then I'll finally get off my ass.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fat Friday Feature: The Byrds' Chris Hillman On "So You Want To Be A Rock N' Roll Star"

Love the serpentine, active feel of this bass line.  I also how like how Hillman periodically changes up the feel of the lick - don't have the terminology to explain it, so listen to it!

Unrelated to bass:  I think the botched backing vocals (starting around the 1:30 mark) make this song more charming.  It's a great reminder of something my brother Jim once told me:  perfect is the enemy of good.  If it sounds good, don't fuck with it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Workin' Musician

My son took it upon himself to do some busking at the end of our driveway yesterday.  He called me at work (rather, he had my wife call on his behalf) to ask if he can borrow my beloved ukulele to earn some money with it.  He only made $.25, and that was from mom.  But he's already dong something (busking that is) as a six year old that I've been threatening to do for years and haven't done.  I don't want to say I'm proud of him because that compliment is more about my feelings than the accomplishment itself.  But dammit I'm proud of him.  Look out, Bloomingtonians:  we will be busking together soon.  I can't wait!

Once More Off Topic: Hell Yes

The Iroquois Nationals hand Team USA their first lacrosse filed loss ever.  Satisfying for a number of reasons, esp. since lacrosse as a game has its roots in Native American cultures.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Happy 100th Birthday, Woody Guthrie!

I'm not sure how I let this one get by me, but today would have been the 100th birthday of one of my heroes:   Woody Guthrie.  Expect a long, gushing appreciation on him soon.  For now, enjoy one of my favorite songs of his.  (He penned the lyrics; Wilco did the music.  The words are the star of this song by a mile.)

Fat Friday Feature: Beau Sample Of The Joel Paterson Trio

This is a band you need to check out.  Joel Paterson is amazing - probably the best pedal steel player (and one of the best six string players) I can think of.  Beau Sample's warmth and precision compliment Paterson's playing perfectly.  Sample is all over You Tube, check 'em out.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Off Topic: Index Of General Prescriptions

Not Sure
Blog topics (blogs I read)
Zombies, iPad cases, steampunk, snark, grilling tips, bitching about Facebook, hipster hating
Pinhole photography, cosplay, vintage snapshots, biographies, charts, sport/stunt highlight reels, Lego projects, photography tips
“Star Wars” nerdom, highly specialized/expensive DIY projects, reviews of coffee gadgets
Food intake (mine)
Food, cheese, cereal, cookies
Horseradish, dill weed dip, homemade bread
Bourbon before bed, lemonade, red meat
TV viewing habits (mine)
PBS kids, watching shit I don’t even care about (like cooking shows), snacking in front of the tube
“Rick Steves’ Europe”, “Boardwalk Empire”, “Mad Men”, kung fu movies, nudity, shitty 80s movies
“Antiques Road Show”, documentaries, period dramas
Indianapolis Colts
Whiny fair-weather fans
Winning, sell out games, Bob Lamey
Andrew Luck
Beards, glorification of war, Christianity, flip-flops(footware), cheap 1980s sunglasses
Socialism, homosexuality, Afros, leg, union power, individual rights
Folklore, home remedies, opinionated bumper stickers
Newspaper comics
Family Circus, Hazel, Mallard Fillmore, Dilbert, Beetle Bailey, Hagar the Horrible
Dick Tracy reprints, Modesty Blaise reprints, Sally Forth, one panel cartoons
Doonesbury, Frank and Ernest, B.C., Spiderman, Brenda Starr reprints
National Public Radio/local NPR affiliate
White whine from listeners, NPR mouth, classical music programming
Nina Totenberg, Sylvia Poggioli, Yael Ksander, Afterglow, history programming, This American Life-type shows
Susan Stamberg, sounds of reporters trying food, attempts at humor, sports reporting
Reader reactions to “History Lesson Pt. 2” blog entries (projected)
Bass, Mike Watt, semicolons, dashes, fawning over Rickenbackers
Correct grammar, rational thinking, formatting, photography, song writing 101
Playlists, original songs/sounds, entries about gear, “The Rules” entries

Off Topic: Something I Got Done At Work Yesterday

One day last month, I took my lunch to walk down the street to Goodwill.  I was able to pick up a decent putter, pitching wedge and four golf balls for $5.50.  I was looking for a fun way to take "brain breaks" at work.  Putting (haven't really gotten outside to try the pitching wedge yet) is turning into small addiction; and it really has helped me clear my mind between tasks.

Yesterday, I took the nerdom higher buy making this hole for my putting challenge.  This shot is nearly impossible to make, but it can be done.  It's also designed to penalize you if you miss - the trough you see on the left kicks your ball far, far away from you.  Your miss will be obvious; your walk of shame will be long.
Truth to be told, the hole doesn't work that well.  That initial slope is waaayyy too steep.  Still, it was a fun project and its construction was a nice brain break in itself and it is $5.50 well spent, you guys.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Guns, Balloons, Thunderstorms & Other Sounds That Freak Me Out

I've done this mental exercise where I try cast my mind back as far as it will go to try and figure out when/how I came to be afraid of loud, sharp noises.  I have a very hazy recollection of the panicked struggle to break free of my grandmother's bear hug as she tried to watch from a chaise lounge the fireworks being shot over Lake Leelanau.  (The rest of my family were watching from boats on the water.)  However, this memory is so vague that I can't be sure it is even real.

Really it could be anything - the ritual Thanksgiving skeet shooting at my grandpa's farm (which I hated with an unholy passion, but always went along so that I wasn't excluded), severe thunderstorms that come to those of us who live at the end of "Tornado Alley", or maybe (likely) just a predisposition for being easily startled.  I like to tell people that perhaps I was a shell-shocked solider in a previous life.  It's bullshit, but at least it's an entertaining explanation.

It really doesn't matter where my squeamishness comes from.  The fact is I've had to deal with it my whole life.  Thunderstorms, fireworks, balloons popping, guns - anything that goes "boom", "crack", or "pop" has made me edgy and jumpy.  It's an irrational fear, but it feels like cowardice.  Whenever there's a thunderstorm, you can bet that no matter what time it is, I'm awake fretting about it.  Whenever my son or daughter brings home a balloon from a parade or party, it is me trying to hide it or keep it out of reach.  My Fourth of Julys are spent indoors, avoiding the simulated warfare exploding all around me.  Yeah I know - that's some pretty weird behavior.

But this whole fear/irrationality is also kind of funny too.  My mom told me a story from my college years.  It's a long story, but I had just finished summer break and had moved back to school for the year.  An officer from the Anderson Police Department came by for a visit.  He had come to track down some weapons that had been stolen, and I was a suspected of purchasing some of the guns.  My mom was in the basement cleaning.  She saw the police car pull into the driveway and immediately sensed trouble.  She met him at the door and had a conversation that went something like this:
Policeman:  Mrs. Zink?
Mom:  Yes - what's wrong?
Policeman:  Do you have a son named Matt?
Mom:  Yes - is he okay?
Policeman:  We have reason to believe he has purchased some stolen hand guns.  Is he home?
Mom:  Matt?
Policeman:  Yes.
Mom:  You're sure it's Matt?  Not Joe?
Policeman:  We have a man in custody who insists it's Matt.
Mom:  . . . because Matt is afraid of thunderstorms.  I don't think he'd buy a gun.*
Emasculated by my own mom. Fuck.

There was also the time I went with Quack and his buddy Billy to do some small game hunting - an outing that ended with them taking target practice at debris floating down the White River.**  I was carrying my dad's .12 gauge if I remember correctly.  I had no intention of firing it; I was more or less the gun caddy for this trip.  Joe spotted something - maybe a pheasant? - and shouted to Billy.  I heard Billy's safety click off as the barrel of his gun swept up to the sky to site the bird.  I frantically pitched the shotgun I was carrying away from my body to cover my ears.  Not only did I ruin Billy's shot (they ducked immediately when they saw me throw the gun), but Joe had to be stopped from beating the shit out of me.  Good times.

To be honest, I have made progress with all of this crap.  I still try to avoid loud, sharp sounds; but you don't find me cowering under my covers when thunder rolls over head.  I may go downstairs to check the weather radar on the computer, but I don't lose nearly as much sleep as I used to.  And I'm not as anxious during the Fourth of July as I used to be.  I'm making progress.  But I think I'll forever feel at least a little tension in the shoulders when the skies darken over head or when the sun starts to set on the fourth.

* - Mom was right.  There are a million reasons I'd never own a gun.  Hating the sound is just the tip of the iceberg.  And I don't know why the douche bag seller (the "man in custody" who  I had known from grade school who had broken into his step father's house and stolen all his guns) fingered me.  I wasn't even fucking around when he made the sale.

** - This is HIGHLY UNSAFE, kids.  Don't do this.

Fat Friday Feature: Primus's Les Claypool On "Golden Boy"

On Fridays, a great bass player/part are featured here on this blog.  Today it's Les Claypool.

You knew this was happening at some point - a FFF on Les Claypool.  In bass circles, he's one of the most written/talked about/fawned over bass players of all time.  Along with dudes like Geddy Lee and Jaco Pastorious, Les has been raised to the status of bass Deity.  I'm not deep into anything Les has done with his various bands, but I do like what I hear.  I like the percussiveness and originality of his playing the most - he's not afraid to be atonal and "weird".  He has shown on songs like "Awakening" that he can be the bass nerd that squares want him to be (that is, lots of aggressive slapping and hooking and harmonics); but he often follows his own fucked up vision for how the bass/bass part should sound.  In short, he has never really played it safe by keeping everything palatable for a wide audience - his lyric writing is the same way.  He's a happy freak, and I really admire him for that.

"Golden Boy" splits the difference between "bass wanker Les" and "happy freak Les".  Have a listen -it's a good jumping off point for going headlong into this dude's messed up sound and technique.