Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
Eight in eight songwriting challenge
This recent Friday, I was going to do an "eight in eight" songwriting challenge, during our monthly after-work drinks.
The idea is that I will write a halfway-decent pop/rock/folk song in eight minutes, using eight arbitrary words supplied by my workmates. (One word per person, I suppose.)
The resulting song must be reasonably coherent: no "nonsense rhymes" (e.g., "Ohhh, sand pickles froggy windowwww..." is not allowed).
The song will probably rhyme -- although that's not a requirement.
The song will follow a traditional verse/chorus/verse structure. However, I may stop after two verses, if I've used up all the words. ;)
Unfortunately, I woke up feeling poorly that morning. Got to work, lasted about 45 minutes, and went back home. (Got home, went to bed. Slept until 8pm. Had some toast, watched t.v. for about an hour, then went back to bed until morning.)
So: maybe next month.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
I had a really genius blog idea but then I forgot
Hm. Dangit! There was **something** I was going to blog about -- something actually interesting.
Regardless: I've been having computer problems for the last few days, so my blogging will be sparse while I figure it out. (I'm using my wife's computer -- but she (naturally enough) gets first dibs. So.)
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Apparently, you can get a lot of mileage out of just four chords.
That said: a chord sequence is easy; it's the melody line that's hard. ;)
Friday, May 27, 2011
On the way back from the bus depot to where I'd parked my car, a tall, skinny, younger guy stepped out of my way and smiled kindly, with a little sheepishness. ''I hope he has a good life'', I thought to myself.
I've noticed of late that when I cross paths with a younger person who seems nice, that I mentally wish them a good life.
Not something that I would've thought of doing when I was in my 20s. A different perspective, now.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
As a government employee, I occasionally go to training sessions. A few weeks ago I went to a two-day "diversity training" session. Interesting stuff.
While there, I met someone from another work unit who is **also** a Slushie freak. Apparently, her co-workers kid her about it, and tell her that liking Slushies is a ''kid thing''. So apparently, meeting someone in his 40s who is also a Slushie person is a good validation.
We geeked out over the aesthetics of a ''proper'' Slushie, and I introduced her to the shop downstairs in my building where I get my daily fix.
Snapshot from her cellphone (ahhh -- modern technology!).
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Cooked up a pizza for me and the rest of the family -- different sides for different palates (the kids just like plain cheese). Actually thought to go raid our little flower pots of herbs.
It was dark, used a flashlight, just snipped randomly. Turned out that one of my handfuls was mint.
Turns out that mint is actually tasty on pizza. Neat-o!
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Disabled vs handicapped
At one time I thought I'd do research within the realm of disability studies. Looks like that's not gonna happen anytime soon. But, a thought:
"Handicapped" used to be the preferred term; then it was changed to "disabled".
But if you think about the actual meanings of the word, "handicapped" is much more correct.
"Handicapped" means that have some characteristic that makes it a bit harder for you. But the expectation is that you can still achieve: you'll just have to work a bit harder than other folks. Golfing handicaps, for example.
"Disabled", on the other hand, means that something has happened that you **can't** achieve: you've been scuttled. "There's a disabled vehicle on Route five", for example.
Thus -- in my assessment -- more people with a physical thing that makes it harder for them than most other folks (e.g., not being able to stand up) are "handicapped", not "disabled".
So sez I.
Monday, May 23, 2011
According to Saturday's paper, after English, the most-spoken languages are (in descending order): Italian, Greek, Cantonese, Arabic, Vietnames, Mandarin, Spaish, Tagalog (Filipino), and German (source: Roly Sussex's "Word Limit" column in the "Etc." section of the Courier-Mail, 5/21/11, p. 25). That's an interesting profile of the recent immigration patterns of Australia.
Indigenous languages aren't included, as there's (as I recall) about 250 different language groups within Australia. And each of these has two to fifteen dialects.
On a stream-of-consciousness-related notes: Here's Dan Bern's song "New American Language." (It's related because of the lyrics "I have a dream of a New American Language // One with a little bit more Spanish...")
Catchy song; good lyrics. "Yay" for YouTube. :)
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Museums are like icebergs
The family was at the local museum a few weeks ago. On their top floor, they had a sign that said, "A museums is like an iceberg. Most of it is hidden from view." It then went on to explain that a very small percentage of their collection is ever on display: most of it is in storage.
However, when I read the line "A museum is like an iceberg," I immediately thought:
"A museum is like an iceberg: when you run into it, your ship sinks, and you die."
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Movie review of Juno
Finished watching Juno tonight. Teenage girl gets pregnant, decides to give the child up for adoption.
Very good. Amusing, though not laugh-out-loud (at least, not for me). Quirky characters, good dialog, believable situations. Also a great "here's why I love you" scene, in the vien of that When Harry Met Sally scene near the end.
Watched it on DVD over three days, and really looked forward to seeing the next installment.
Very meaningful to me, because I'm a dad, and also because back in college my girlfriend's sister gave a baby up for adoption.
Really enjoyed it -- but not the sort that I'd watch over and over again, so not gonna buy it.
Friday, May 20, 2011
Dreamed of the theatre
Last night I dreamed I was my approximate current age, but also back in college.
I was trying to attend school, plus work part-time at the Uptown Theatre (a movie theatre in Seattle that I used to work at), plus part-time as a busboy at a restaurant. Somehow, I had scheduled my first shift at both my jobs for 1:30pm, on the same day -- and now I was late for both of them. It was my first day on the job, and yet I was somehow also carrying both those jobs was interfering with my studying, and I knew that I'd have to let one of them go.
After some deliberation, I phoned the restaurant and quit, and went to the movie theatre. Although the staff was (obviously!) different than from twenty years ago (yikes!), they treated me as an elder statesman as I regaled them with stories of the old Uptown.
In retrospect, the movie theatre was a fun job. Spates of busy-ness -- the rush of customers before the movie started -- were followed by lulls where you clean up while chatting with co-workers. Even though I was working two jobs (about 60 hours a week) at the time, I was living away from home, in a band with my cousin, and generally having an enjoyable mid-20s kind of time.
I met a lot of good people at the movie theatre. No one I really kept in touch with (except my drummer, and we've faded away as well). But glad to have met them.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Around the age of 30, I had the dubious honor of giving the euology for two different people within two years: my sister, and the guy who had the office next to mine in graduate school. Hope to not have to repeat that.
Labels: my traits
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Drawing of a ship
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
For the past few weekends, I've spent a few hours either Saturday or Sunday shoveling and raking gravel, in an attempt to fill in the darned big mud puddles in front of our carport.
For the first three (or was it two?) weekends, I'd basically been doing one cubic metre per session. But two weekends ago I decided to just pay the $25 delivery fee and get four cubic metres all at once.
That's the pile that you see, there. Each stripe on the stick is 10cm (about four inches). And the can of soda is also there as a size indicator.
I've shifted about 60%-80% of it, with just a spade and a wheelbarrow. Another two sessions and I reckon it'll be all spread.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Today was a pretty swell day.
Friday night, and most of Saturday, my wife and I were grading papers for one of the classes she teaches. Or else I was wrangling the kids, while she was grading, or tallying up scores, or filling in the grade sheets.
So Sunday, we had the first family outing in yonks. (Our Saturday errands don't count.) Went to some semi-local "point" (or peninsula, or what-not), walked on the rocky beach, had a picnic lunch on the grass, and supervised the kids playing on the playground. Good stuff.
Perfect weather: cool but not cold. It's technically winter, but from a North American standpoint it's "early autumn" weather.
Then we came home, and I did some minor stuff like put the room fans in the storage shed, mow the doggie yard, and things of that nature.
A pleasant, laid-back, vaguely productive day. Good stuff.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Discovered another Aussie-ism last week:
Because the govt. department I work for is fairly new -- we were legislated into existence last October, I believe -- we've only recently received an official logo (and etcetera). We just got business cards two weeks ago.
So, I asked the P.R. person in my department if we're going to be giving away any swag at the upcoming focus groups we're hosting. To me, "swag" is free stuff that you give away to promote your organization: pens, t-shirts, baseball caps with your logo on them...
But to an Aussie, "swag" is your cowboy-style bedroll: e.g., "Once a jolly swagman..."
Saturday, May 14, 2011
My most expensive tie ever
The weekend before Mother's Day, I went to an antique mall that we used to go to, to find some gifts for The Lady. Came across this tie (see photo). Twenty bucks: the most expensive tie that I've ever bought.
Hemmed and hawed over it. Finally decided to get it, because it's paisley (I like paisley), and a **really** nice color of blue. And because I knew that I'd regret not getting it, and probably have to make a special trip back to get it.
By the way: I know that it looks like I've suspended the tie over a toilet bowl. But it's just a sink.
Speaking of ties: I'm still doing my "one tie a day at work, never repeating". Started doing this at the end of January.
As of a few days ago, I had about 40 ties left. Now that I'm not wearing ties on "casual Fridays", that's four ties a week. So, I still have ten weeks of tie-wearing before I start repeating myself.
That's a lotta ties.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
**Any** of these would be neat-o to have...
(You'll need to use decent speakers: my built-in laptop speakers don't extend to low enough frequencies -- can barely hear some of these!!!)
Fender Rhodes bass:
Have wanted one of these since about 1997...
Likewise this one -- probably stumbled across it on eBay around 1997 or 1998.
Good stuff. I'm not an actual keyboard player -- although I can do some simple four-finger riffs, as needed. But I do like synth sounds: I was raised during New Wave. ;)
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Monday, May 09, 2011
Yay! Get to keep my job!
Passed my 90 day probation.
I was 99% sure it'd go well. But, still: the whole "on probation" thing was kinda freaky. Never had that before.
Saturday, May 07, 2011
My musical buddy?
Discovered this band called "Telekensis". Actually one guy, who plays most (or all?) of the instruments.
The song "Imaginary Friend" sounds like something I might have written, both lyrically and musically:
When I was young I had imaginary friends
and boy did we have fun
One day my mother told me they were just pretend
and then I had no one
Building castles out of dirty, smelly sand
and baking in the sun
Hear the sound of the popsicle man
and we'd run, run, run, run, run, run, run...
And musically, here's how it goes:
Two things of note:
One, that when on tour, he chooses to be the drummer (most solo singer-songwriter types choose to play the guitar while singing).
And, two, that he's from Seattle. Like me!
Maybe he's my long-lost musical twin...
Thursday, May 05, 2011
One of my favorite bands
Material Issue. The song is "Valerie Loves Me" -- I have a strong, visceral reaction to the reverb-drenched vocals in this song: makes me feel like I'm in the bedroom of the shared house I lived in, in Ballard, Seattle, a million years ago.
Catchy song, too. And pretty good lyrics.
Sunday, May 01, 2011
Although **I** won't be doing it.