brain bits 2 - hedder_42

Return of linkspam

I'm sitting here doing a production run on the laser cutter at TechShop, and so have a lot of time on my hands, and so here are some of the tidbits I'm digging up.

Dogs Don't Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving

(For anyone who hasn't read "Dogs in Elk": )

Grandma's Superhero Therapy (18 photos) - My Modern Metropolis
(for more pictures:

The Great War of the Californias : Sandow Birk

Last Man in Blackface: The World of Pigmeat Markham - WFMU's Beware of the Blog

(no subject)

After agonizing over an upcoming music-theory test for days, I took the test today and discovered I might actually understand the material. We'll see next Tuesday.

After missing two classes because of my previously mentioned car trouble, I'd feared for the worst. But despite his rigid insistence on maintaining particular classroom forms -- an understandable trait in someone who teaches music minutiae -- the instructor really does want students to learn and gives them every opportunity to do so. He sat down with everyone, me included, over a set of practice questions and spent as much time as we [thought we] needed.

It's still not clear whether my car can go the distance to school and back, so my housemate has been driving me to school this week. This means that he and I share the sleep deprivation I used to suffer alone on Tuesday and Thursday mornings -- we are such decided swing/graveyard shifters. We're past the testy phase and into a sort of rhythm, though our sleep cycles haven't shifted. I go to bed at, say 2 a.m., but lie there till 3 or 3:30.

Aaand that's enough lollygagging. Now I have to whip something together for the video editing class. My current project is a documentary on Stan Freberg. He's been working since 1944, fresh out of high school at 17 years old. Do you know how deep and how varied his resume is? Thank heaven this can be a work in progress. So far it's mostly been a piece of work. I've cut and cut and cut back on my focus, and finally decided to approach his CV in bite-size chunks. Right now I'm in the "Time for Beany!" years. All hail YouTube, without which I wouldn't have known that the Cecil the Seasick Ser-Pent voice I knew as a child probably came from Irv Shoemaker. Freberg's voice in the early series is unmistakable.
balance on a wishing well - enriana

You don't miss the water till the well overflows

This last week or so has been a collection of mini-hells on wheels. Maybe roller skates. Second biggest glitch of last week was the collapse of the water heater just before the weekend. Out of nowhere the heater produced rushing, gurgling noises, and eventually nothing else. It took me a little while to find the turnoff valve, which for some reason wasn't in the spot shown in the manual, but I shut off the spigot before the garage was flooded. That's the good news.

The irritating news was that although my housemate's home warranty payments were up to date, so the cost of replacement or repair shouldn't have been a problem, the insurance company's central office had chosen the weekend to do a computer upgrade that didn't allow the adjusters access to customer files. This meant that we couldn't find someone in network to do the repairs, and the adjusters could only allocate the minimum reimbursement amount for any out-of-network contractor, an amount that wouldn't even cover materials costs for a cheap, undersized heater.

So we had to wait till Monday evening to get hot water in the house again. This isn't easy for people who dance, sweat a lot (in my housemate's case), go to the gym, and otherwise lead moderately active lives in a Mediterranean climate. We were each able to use outside showers once, but overall we stayed sticky. A few minutes ago I took my first long, hot shower in several days -- feeling clean and warm is an undersung pleasure.

Biggest glitch of the week, though, is that my car blew a head gasket. At first I thought it was just a heater hose, as did the repair shop, but the compression test told the rest of the story. I was able to drive the car for short distances before it heated up while on the way to the repair shop. The mechanic at the desk, who used to race Honda Civics like mine, says that the engine may be able to stand a bit more driving if I pay close attention to the coolant levels and pull over to top them up whenever the temperature starts to rise. I haven't given this theory a serious test yet, though, since on top of the water heater woes I was quite under the weather for most of last week. The cost of repairing the car would be nearly three times what I paid for it (yes, a very good deal on this vehicle), and I'm in no position to shell out that amount right now. So until we find out how much driving this baby can take, I'll be relying on my housemate to drop me off at school during the crucial mid-week classes. Fortunately there's only a few weeks left.

Had to drop my screenprinting studio class at the last moment because, especially with the car situation, I just can't guarantee enough in-studio hours to pass. The instructor was very understanding; next quarter I'll give it another go. The music theory class alternately delights me and kicks my ass. Freakin' triads, man.

...Would write more, but I have to catch a few hours of sleep before the (for me) unseasonably early Music Theory. TTYL.

Children of the night, what music they hope to make

So I've been reading Livejournal more lately, but it's still hard for me to make myself post. I don't feel as comfortable writing as nakedly as I did in years past, and that's the truth of it.

Perhaps writing more often and less nakedly would prove more fruitful. Here's the latest fully-clothed news, then. School continues on, and in terms of getting an actual degree there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. The courses I need to get my AA in Music Tech will be offered next spring. Did they announce this generally? No, I had to hear it completely by chance as the instructor mentioned it to another student nearby. Fine, whatever. Now I know. Next I'll check to see when they'll offer the classes I need for the Pro Tools certificate.

This quarter the class that consumes most of my attention is the Music Theory class, for better or worse. I'm learning tons of stuff that heretofore had stayed perpetually out of focus, which feels exciting. All the detail plucks my magic anxiety twanger. I have to reassure myself every few days that I jumped this far down the rabbit hole because I *like and care about music*.

The other aspect of the class that makes me jumpy is simply getting there. The class already starts early by our household's standards. The short form is, wow, are my housemate and I born to work the swing or graveyard shifts. I.e., my housemate and I are completely comfortable going to bed at 3 or 4 a.m. My housemate's body clock works on even more of a swing-shift/night-shift rhythm than mine does, and he slips back to his preferred schedule even in the face of work repercussions. My bedtime clock goes off earlier than his, at maybe 2-3 a.m.; he'll often stay up till 5 or 6 a.m. Why this matters is that we enjoy each other's company, and late is often the only time our paths will cross.

In addition to that, the parking situation, and the allergized and mildly asthmatized state of my lungs at this time of the year, means that there's only one campus parking lot that doesn't require me to hike up a steep hill to get to class. And to get a parking space there it's necessary to arrive an hour early, at 9 a.m. for a 10 a.m. class. Which means getting up at 8 a.m. or earlier. So I'm frequently dealing with sleep deprivation when I go into class -- the class sessions are 3 hours long, twice a week, by the way.

Edited to fix my embarrassing E.g./i.e slip up there. Anyway, it appears that there's one class per quarter that freaks me out, and Music Theory is the one. It's a three quarter course if one chooses to sign up for that. Next quarter the class will actually start at 9 a.m. The instructor calls roll at the minute class starts, not even waiting five minutes, no breaks for anyone, so that means arriving even earlier. I'm trying to decide whether to take the class online next quarter. If I do, I miss the solfege, sight-singing, and ear-training aspects of the class. On the other hand, I'll be awake.

gregpo2-bluetoille-wait till you hear th

(no subject)

Had a lucky day today. I was assigned a new Volunteer of Record spot in the recording studio, which was an unasked favor, since other people needed to submit resumes. The guy newly in charge of assigning VORs, someone else from the Music Tech program, noticed that I hadn't submitted a resume and checked in with me to see if I wanted to stay on the list. I did and he did. Couldn't get the absolute maximum convenient time for myself, but still something workable. EDIT: I should add that I've already been a VOR for most of a year, and that apparently other ongoing VORs didn't need to submit resumes either; in other words, we didn't need to requalify.

What else felt lucky? Oh, making all the lights, getting a lot of amusing texts, jumping back into work on a project from last quarter that's carrying over, having an especially good sandwich in the cafeteria. It just felt like a good day.

Not lucky for everyone though. Greg Giraldo, a favorite comedian of mine for several years, apparently died of an accidental drug overdose today. I first encountered him on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn (six years since that show was on, really?), in which Quinn and four other comedians talked about current events & issues, played in sketches, performed semi-impromptu short monologues, and generally attempted to be interesting, funny, and politically aware all at once. Greg Giraldo was one of the few comedians who always hit that mark. Giraldo graduated from Harvard Law School, but he only practiced law for a year before turning to comedy. Smart, smart, smart man, always articulate and informed, and *always* funny. You can develop funny monologues, you can hone your sets to a bright, sharp edge, but being naturally funny is a gift unbound to politics or maybe even intelligence. It's all in the rhythm and the timing.

I'm glad that I got to see Giraldo perform live once, at Cobb's Comedy Club in San Francisco. Afterwards he hung out in the lobby hawking his CDs -- you'd think he didn't need to do that any more, but we all know how glamorous the life of a working comedian is. He stood there covered in sweat, waiting for CD-autograph requests and compliments, both of which I could give him. Comedy's a hard profession, not much given to peace, but I hope he has some now.
andrieal - crab nebula x-rays black hole

Burn rate

Here in the TechShop hub at the end of the afternoon, after finishing my first session on the laser cutter in a couple of months. I made some relatively simple cards on luxe coppery paper in a mini-production run.

Feeling kind of relaxed for a change, now that that nasty cold is over. I'm surrounded by quiet bustle, people chatting over their projects at the worktables, the buzz and whir of machinery a room away.

Life is for the moment okay.

After-hours and during-hours linkfest

Technically I should no longer be in this building. And yet I am, thanks to the kindness of strangers who knew they'd be here for a while anyway.

Why not pile a couple of links into this text-hole, then? Starting the entry now, adding more links when I get home.

Single Ladies - The Pigs with John Williamson on Jaw Harp
An Australian (?!) country band covers the Beyonce hit.

How to Talk Like a Pirate
Best language video I've seen in a long time. Harrrr!

200-lb Octopus Cake
Don't know what the heck it is about cake design these days, but it's worth it for pictures like this.

The Party Don't Start Till I Vulcan
Ah, the joy of Star Trek remixes.

Auto-Tune the News #13, with non-gratuitous Weezer

Time shift

I dropped my housemate off at the airport a little while ago, after successfully portaging around some gigantic accident on 101 that occupied traffic on both sides of the freeway. For a week it's devil-may-care, tra-la.

This week will also be a dry run for this quarter's retuned sleeping schedule. I'm about to start the hard-core music theory class at Foothill, a 5-unit course that meets twice a week/3 hrs per meeting (standard courses are only 4 units). The course is available online, but if it's 5 units worth of work, I'm betting it'll be easier to stay on track with face time and butts in seats. In fact, most of my schedule is predicated on being there in person this quarter, and at high-traffic times, too. Going to have to arise hours earlier than usual.

With any luck this will rearrange my housemate's schedule as well, since he keeps complaining that he a) doesn't get enough sleep and b) needs to get to work earlier. We're both natural night people and we do enjoy each other's company; we tend to use the wee hours to multitask together as we roam the net, chat, and catch up on TV after he gets back from his other evening plans. What he says is that my schedule shift will help him tweak his own timing, as his boss has asked. Me, I don't know. He's set in his ways. But my own ways will have to change no matter what.

Time slice

Up late because I'm pining for the fjords.

Okay, I've never been to the fjords. Someday, though.

Have been up working on a number of things -- washing/organizing clothing to donate to the San Bruno fire evacuees, watching backed-up videos off the DVR, and desultorily straightening up. My housemate just got home from work; he's been laboring over all the things he has to finish before a business trip, and a moment ago I finished proofing his Powerpoint slides.

I'm watching the VH1 compilation of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time" -- am trying not to get too bent out of joint about the order of the selections, because these lists are always creatures of the moment and it's modern musicians voting, but The Velvet Underground rating above Chuck Berry, really? Patti Smith isn't there at *all*? These five hours of clips serve mostly to prod the memory. "Oh, yeah, I remember them. That was a great song!" "Look at Freddie Mercury work that gigantic crowd at Wembley -- Christ, they're eddying like a field of wheat." They're in the Top 20 now; everyone's a powerhouse, group placement is mere quibbling.

So how the heck are you? I do read y'all on a semi-regular basis.
  • Current Mood
    awake awake
andrieal - crab nebula x-rays black hole

A quiet afternoon

Taking a moment to post here from the recording studio at Foothill. It's a slow day -- I'm here as a "volunteer of record," vetted as someone mature and responsible enough to keep sure the studio stays in reasonably good shape, microphones aren't stolen or flung carelessly onto the ground, and so forth while people convert performances into Pro Tools sessions. The artist who was going to be recorded today didn't show up, so the student engineer cut out early, leaving me to be responsible by myself.

Muzzy-headed from allergies today. Is it preferable to have your head full of cotton wool, your mood low and somnolent, your stomach aching, and your throat froggy than to simply have your eyes streaming while you sneeze so many time that you can't stop to type? It's a tough call, though right now the sneezing almost seems preferable. If you're too logy and dragged out to think, freedom from sneezing doesn't buy you much. Thank heaven I'm not taking choir classes lately -- I'd be clearing my throat every other note. Also, without a brain I'm a shitty conversationalist, no fun to hang out with; Sudafed's all that keeps me close to normal.

But I'm doing art, taking care of business. This last Thursday in the T-shirt & garment printing class, the instructor brought in a guest teacher, a man named Mikey (missed his last name) who reportedly worked with Warhol and Basquiat. Looking at him, you could believe it. Imagine Mickey Rourke from The Wrestler as a working artist, running around a table full of students set to work using his old silkscreens, barking at them to throw on another shirt Right Now, saying "that's not the right color" and literally grabbing hunks of ink out of the container to mix on the screen with his hands. The regular instructor pinned samples of Mikey's work to the walls for us to enjoy; it's a lot of hand-cut stencils and big, throbbing images, inspirational in their huge gestures. Makes me feel a bit prissy for usually admiring fine lines and clean details in my own work. Okay, we'll see how Going Big works for me.

Friday night I went to the Billboard Liberation Front/Mission Muralismo event at the DeYoung Museum. Interesting mixture of groups there. On the one hand, the Marcus Shelby Quartet performed while slides of stencils flashed past on walls overhead. To the right, a line of tables full of traditional-style quilters, not really art quilters as such, fielding questions about their respective quilt guilds while they stitched. Away to the left, an adults/kids table where children either colored or tried cutting stencils. And in front of the auditorium where Rigo and the Billboard Liberation Front were speaking, stencil artists gave demos and spoke about their work. Here are a picture of the artist Eclair talking about her work and another of two of her stencils:

Inside the auditorium, Rigo introduced the BLF and clicked through some examples of his own work (for example, the "Extinct" mural shown below). The members of the BLF wore masks reminiscent of commedia dell'arte when they spoke, subtly blending centuries of cultural work. Nevertheless, the warmth and darkness in the auditorium nearly knocked me out. At least I've seen members of the BLF speak in the last few years, so the mini-naps didn't lose me much.

Afterwards, a trip to see Iron Man 2 with friends, which gave a chance to compare Mickey Rourke more closely to Mikey the Visiting Artist. Yep, a lot of the same demented energy. If you bleached Rourke's hair blonde and gave him wide, dark sunglasses and a Hawaiian shirt, you'd have a reasonable picture of this guy. Weird, the way all these artistic streams want to cross.

  • Current Music
    Streaming MP3s from KFJC