Archive for Music/Art

A Really Good Day

I woke up yesterday knowing there were places I needed to go and peoples I needed to see. But I really had no idea just what kind of day it would turn out to be. It had the recipe and all the fixins to be a great day but I’m no chef and sometimes when you put too many ingredients together you end up with a sticky plate of mush.

I started the day with 2 eggs and potato pancakes, mixed those with a little girlfriend and a dash of ‘who the hell is justin bieber?’ and we were off to a good start. As the breakfast slowly snaked its way through our mazey intestines we stopped off at my house to download an expansion for a  360 game while it was still on sale. We had some time to kill so while HES became engrossed in a book about making her boyfriend happy (I don’t really know what it was about, but I assume that’s what she’s readying about) I decided to play a few games on the ‘box. After a 20 minute struggle in Toy Soldiers I finally beat the level I had been stuck on for days. Woot, high fives all around. Since there were a few minute left to spare I popped in Battlefield 2 BC2 and proceeded to Rambo the other team into oblivion. This was only a taste of things to come…but more on that later.

After the brief gaming interlude we packed up our things and headed over to Kat’s house to watch the Blazer game. She cooked up more food than a nagging non-kosher Jewish mother. Non-kosher because of the pulled pork tacos and crab won-tons. Nevertheless, delicious and really there was little to no nagging. The Blazer game was incredible! If you live in Oregon and didn’t watch the game, what the hell is wrong with you? Kat gave me a whole recliner to sit in but I only needed the edge. The game kept me on my tailbone my stomach twisted. Brandon Roy came back and surprised everyone, the Blazers decided to show up and play basketball and in the end we won! High fives all around for the second time in the day.

I left Kat’s house on a happy high while I made my way to Phil’s house so I could testify. He was complaining about how he was famished since he hadn’t eaten for 45 minutes so I picked him up some Arby’s to stuff in his yapper. Andy and Liz were in his living room when I arrived so we had a nice mini-GFU reunion. Rockband was fired up and it lasted about 3 minutes before his crappy bass pedal broke on the drum set. Not to be outdone, Andy and I set out to fix it using airplane epoxy and our intuitive wit. While we let the pedal set we returned to our rockin and had to use strategy to make it through songs as the drummer would always be in the red since he missed so many bass pedal notes. After we determined the bass pedal was again ready for action we hooked it back up and tried to play Jimi Hendrix’ ‘Bold As Love’ I say try because it was only 2 minutes before Phil’s hammertoes managed to break the pedal again. My favorite Testify song was the only song left and so we finished up the night shaking the walls to Rage Against The Machine. Totally awesome, and a round of high fives for the 3rd time in the day.

I took HES home so she could get to bed before a Sunday morning shift. After dropping her off I came home and thought my super great day was coming to a close. But then I remembered that I had some cookies so I ate a bunch of those while I caught up on the news of the world and tried to decide if I wanted to watch a movie, play games, play guitar or go to bed. I decided to fire up the 360 and see if any games would pique my interest. I was bopping around the dashboard for only 3 minutes before an old college friend, we’ll call him “loobs” jumped on and invited me to Bad Company 2. I figured I’ll play for a little while and then head to bed.

We met up in the game, formed a squad and strategized to beat the other team. In this game you work together with your team against other online players to take and hold positions on the map. You can play 1 of 4 classes all with unique abilities. Assault, Medic, Engineer, Recon. Assault throws out more bullets for your team, Medic heals people and brings them back to life with defibs, Engineer has the ability to destroy or repair tanks and Recon….well recon is supposed to go out and spot where the enemy is and take out heavy armor but if you’re like most people in the game you simply put on a monkey suit and wait in the bushes to snipe a few bad guys in the process of barely helping your team. I don’t know if we were just lucky or the stars were aligned to give me the perfect Saturday but I played the greatest games I have ever played. We didn’t lose a single game, I went the entire time dying only once or twice (that is unheard of in these types of games) and each time loobs and I were at the very top of the player list. Usually our games are full of so much frustration we’re not even sure why we play. We played for 2.5 hour and during the final hour I had to pee so bad but I wasn’t willing to stop the roll we were on. Finally my fatigue and urine caught up to me and I had to quit out, but not before sending cyber-high fives to loobs and giving myself a pat on the back.

I fell into bed and as sleep quickly took over, my mind raced through the day indexing all the silly memories for a later time. I rolled onto my sleeping side and thought “Damn, what a fine day it was”.

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Les Paul 1915-2009

Today we lost a legend in the music world. When I say ‘legend’ I mean someone that without a doubt has influenced the music 99% of you listen to on daily basis. He was the Leonardo DaVinci of Music.

Les Paul died today of complications from pneumonia at White Plains Hospital in NY. I guess that’s what happens when you’re 94 years old! Way to live it out Les. So maybe you’re sitting there thinking “Who is Les Paul? I thought that was a type of guitar.” If I were sitting next to you and I would first slap you, but then I’d explain.


Les Paul was the man that INVENTED the electric guitar. Yes friends up until a day ago the man that first amplified a guitar was still alive. Not only that he invented overdubbing, delay and phasing effects, and amazingly multitrack recording. If you know anything about music you understand how huge this is.


The electric guitar is really the instrument that kicked off the 50’s Rock n’ Roll era. One could say without Les Paul there would be no Rock and/or Roll. No Elvis, no Hendrix, no Edward Van Halen, no Slash, no John Petrucci and of course no Micah. How do you think it is that so many women have always surrounded me? Electric guitar. Who do I have to thank for that? Ol’ Les.


Les Paul’s inventions didn’t take off at first, being an innovator that is often the case. In addition to being an inventor Les was also a damn good guitar player, I suppose you’d have to be if you’re the first guy to discover something. Things weren’t always easy as his right arm was crushed in a near-fatal car accident in 1948. His elbow was crushed and the doctors were unable to rebuild it so the had to pin it in one position. He instructed the to set it at an angle that would allow him to cradle the guitar. Even after a year and a half recovery Les pressed on and continued to make music.


Up until last year Les Paul was still performing near his hometown. If I live that long I hope to be able to still play the guitar. I find it interesting that Chet Atkins was the same way; playing the instrument he loved up until the very end. Probably kept both of them young! I think it says something to keep doing the things you love throughout your life..never stop.


Anyways I am sad. Especially as I sit here listening to his music. I tell myself I can’t be too sad because the man really did live a full life. I feel fortunate to have lived at the same time that such a remarkable man lived. I think I will go plug my guitar in and play a little tune for Les, tonight this one’s for you Mr. Paul. Thank you for all that you have brought to this lifetime. May you truly rest in peace.


For the rest of my friends here are a couple videos for you and a song from The Les Paul Trio.


His Official Website


Listen to his trio play Lazy River, complete with record crackles.

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The Thriller is gone

By now everyone has heard that Michael Jackson has died…unless you’re my sister (Hey Meg! Did you know that Michael Jackson died?!). It’s just crazy to me. I don’t know why but I feel shocked. He was only 50 years old and it’s just all of a sudden. I’m actually fairly surprised at how sad I feel. When I told the news to my mom I could see she was awfully shocked and sad too. Funny reaction over a guy that not only turned white, but weird in his old(er) age. But his later years are not what I remember him for.

As a kid growing up in the 80’s I was surrounded by Michael Jackson’s music, posters and dance moves. I’ll never forget the dance moves! It’s amazing to think that this guy invented the moonwalk. Before him no one was moonwalking, at least no one famous was. It’s because of Michael Jackson that I took break dancing lessons as a kid. Yes friends believe it or not, this white boy from rural Idaho took break dancing lessons. I’ll have you know that for a short time I was quite good at moonwalking and doing back spins. Those moves are hard to perform while surrounded by wheat fields but I managed quite nicely. In my youth ‘Billie Jean’ was one of my favorite songs. It had a catchy tune, a really high vocal part and back beat that just wouldn’t quit. Perfect for a country drive to go pick huckleberries. I also remember going to a garage sale of one of my mother’s co-workers at the bank. As a curious kid I was excited to look at everything, but I was especially thrilled when I noticed she had two white golfing gloves for sale. I wasn’t the least bit interested in golf, I just wanted one glove so I could wear it around like Michael. I begged my mom to buy them for me, but she didn’t think I needed them so I went home gloveless with my dreams of becoming the next MJ crushed.

Like him or not MJ had a huge impact on pop music and dance on a global scale. He made the transition from childhood star and teen idol to a full blown adult superstar. That is something that rarely happens.

In addition to MJ, this week Farrah Fawcett and Ed McMahon also died. Wow. Some big names gone. I never knew anything about FF while growing up but big Ed is ingrained in my 80’s memories nearly just as much as MJ was. If I close my eyes and listen, I can still hear his hearty laugh on the Tonight Show. And of course, who can forget Star Search?! I used to watch that show for the talent section, I thought the singing was boring even though it did help launch some stars.

So in the past month 4 big names have died (don’t forget David Carradine). Kinda nutty. Everyone dies of course, Ed was old and poor Farrah was crazy sick, but it’s the quick ones that always take you by surprise.

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Phil will not let me Testify

I don’t know why he won’t. He says to me ‘come over and we will have fun!’ so I do. But everytime I do he squelches my fun. He recently moved back into his condo, set up his 100″ projected TV screen, hooked up his xbox and said “let’s play rockband”. On a cold Wednesday night I headed out with the boys and descended upon Phil’s tiny condo. When we arrived we learned of the new rules set out by Phil and his cat Archie.

Rule #1
No having fun

Rule #2
We play 2 or 3 songs on each instrument before switching

Rule #3
Everyone sings. Yes that includes you. He doesn’t care if you can’t sing, you sing.

Rule #4 (this is the new one)
No singing ‘Testify’ by Rage Against the Machine.

I am writing this post to say I would like Rule #4 abolished. All week long I wear a suit and sit at my desk at work while I am quietly raging against the machine. So you can imagine my disappointment when I don’t get the chance to pump my fist, move my hips and march around to Tom Morelo’s (guitar player for RATM) tasty grooves during a rockband night at Phil’s. This simply has to stop. First RATM and then what’s next? El Scorcho by Weezer? There have been talks of banning that song as well and to that I say ‘Goshdarn you half-Japanese Phils’ (edited for my sister’s eyes).

This guy right here needs to Testify, it doesn’t matter if I sing that song every time I play rockband. I should be allowed. I will also say I am the guy that tries all the songs that are way out of my range so Phil can play harder drums, for that I want to Testify. It’s only fair. At least I am not like Dave who was raised on oatmeal and soundtracks and amazingly knows only 2 or 3 of the 230 songs one can choose from in the game. Nothing slows down a night of rockband like Dave stepping up to sing.

Anyways if you would like to get a chance to Testify, your opportunity is fast approaching. NEXT Saturday (31st) Phil is having a rockband party at his condo on his 100″ screen. There will be horrible singing, people looking like retards on the drums and in general a happy good time. Stop by, drink a beer and sing a few songs with us, who knows we might even get to Testify.

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Let’s Play

I had to stop by the pukey poopy house this morning (which has turned into a whole ‘nother saga) and on the way home I decided to swing by my sister’s house to see what was going on. It’s always nice to see the family, plus she usually has some sort of good food to feed me and that makes me eternally happy. Today was no exception, homemade bread and chili with cheese and sour cream, yum yum. I ate and helped her with the computer. I got her a zune gift card for her Zune but I’m ready to start buying her only vinyl albums because it also seems more trouble than it’s worth when it comes to my sister and technology. I was deep into my bowl of chili and her zune problems when my 5 year old niece began tapping my shoulder.

Niece: “Let’s play uncle.”

Me: “In a minute, I’ve got to finish this.”

Niece: “Let’s play now!”

Me: “Just let me finish this!”

She went and found some books to entertain her for all of 2 minutes before she came back over but instead of tapping me on the shoulder she climbed up on my leg and began balancing on her knees in my mid thigh. Not the most comfortable position for me. I was click-clacking away on the keyboard when she leaned over and said,

“Let’s play.”

Me: “Just let me finish!”

She got down and pranced around like little girls do. I finished up and was trying to tell my sister what she needed to do to download music to her Zune but my niece kept tapping my side, trying to grab my attention.

Niece: “Uncle! Uncle! I have to tell you something. Uncle!”

Me: (giving in) “Yes?”

She motioned me down to her level, so I bent down and she cupped her hand to my ear as she whispered “Let’s play.”

I was finally relieved from my duties as ‘Mr. Computer Fix It Guy’ by my sister so I turned to my niece and asked,

Me: “What would you like to play?”

N: “Let’s play school!”

Me: “Naw I just got out of school. Let’s play work!”

N: “I don’t know how to play that.”

Me: “Oh? It’s easy, see you pretend you’re at work and I come in to see you.”

N: “Ok…”

Me: “So, you pretend that you are a Massage Therapist and you have to go to work by rubbing my shoulders. Ok?”

N: “I don’t want to play that.”

Me: “Oh well that’s the only thing I know how to play.”

She suggested that we play doctor and I told her my idea was just like playing doctor. She was the doctor and my shoulders were the patient, but she wasn’t buying it. In the end we played doctor and the only thing I got was a whack to my knee, because apparently in a 5 year old’s mind that’s how you fix sick people.

Good times.

Oh and Happy New Year! This was supposed to be posted yesterday, but You tube was being lame so it’s a day late.

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Cabin fever

Unless you’re not from around here or you’ve been stuck under a rock you know that Portland has had one of the worst storms in recent history, which of course is awesome. Loads of snow and ice have bombarded us, effectively shutting down the city and causing everyone to ‘hole up’ and not leave their house. For me I am in heaven. As long as the lights are on and the heat is blowing I’m good to go. I’ve been alone now for 3 days with no human contact. I’ve had a few phone conversations but that’s about it. No one’s here, no one bugs me, no one expects anything of me. The day, the night is mine. I LOVE IT. Not that I don’t like people, but with nowhere to go, and nothing to do I can do anything! So I do nothing! ha. Actually I’ve cleaned loads, sold some things online, did some reading and an insane amount of guitar playing. I find it funny how many friends are going a little crazy. They’re willing to dig themselves out of the snow, struggle to put chains on their car, slip and slide down the road and all for what? For a few hours of work, or to go down to the store? What did people do 100 years ago when it snowed really bad and they lived in a tiny house out in the country? It’s interesting that no one can sit still. Kind of sad in my opinion. I like to be alone with my thoughts and sort through stuff. I used to think that solitary confinement in prison would be just allllllright. Much like this Far Side cartoon…

the guards would have to tell me to stop singing Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody for the 83rd time “GALILEO, galileo GALIlEO FIGAROOOOOOOO” I do all the parts when I sing it and it is quite spectacular. My brain is always going.

But even though I like me I suppose it is good to have some human contact from time to time. I felt myself getting pretty goofy this afternoon and making myself laugh over stupid things (more than normal). I played the guitar for a long time and kept getting more and more hyper until this came out. I was getting a little crazy and took it out on the guitar, I had to tone down my dancing for the video. Maybe I should get out.

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Prelude No.2 in Cm like you’ve never seen before. (Tony! Watch THIS)

A couple years ago I saw this guy on youtube doing the theme from Super Mario Brothers, it was impressive but I thought that’s all he did. Today I came across his channel and realized the SMB’s theme was only the beginning. This piece by Bach really takes the cake. It is especially amazing as it reminds me of the summer Tony would come to my house and bang out this piece on the piano, then he would fall asleep on the couch and leave at 2am, but that’s a different story. Anyways, I find it thrilling how different people’s minds works. Check it out

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Recipe for a hodown

Recipe for a hodown
First start with a reluctant Grandmother “oh…I don’t know if I have enough wind to play anymore” as she whips out her harmonica WOOOHEEWOOOHAA (that’s what a harmonica spelled out looks like).

Then add one brother-inlaw with sick guitar skills that would make most men cry.

Next drop in one banjo pickin’ goofball

Top it all off with the adoring fans

And you have yourself a good old fashioned country hodown.

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Metallica - A review

There was FIRE and LASERS!

What more do I need to say? I could tell you about the songs they played, old and new that rocked the house down. I might mention the 20-foot metal caskets that descended from the ceiling, tilting and twisting with the lights. I’m sure I could give you a detailed description of the the drunk guy across the aisle from me (thank God we had that divide btwn us) that almost got kicked out three times for throwing popcorn, being rowdy and fondling the large girl in front of him. To be fair he might have lost a sandwich and was trying to locate it within one of her many folds, I wasn’t sure. I could also speak about our aisle and how we officially deemed it the tiny bladder aisle, but I didn’t mind since the attractive middle-age woman that kept coming and going would always find a new way to caress my attention when she needed to get by. I know you would like to hear about the many weird people, the enormous age gap present, the strange styles and the low cut jeans on one girl that were so low there was a good 2-3 inch plumber crack peeking over the top when she was standing straight up. Phil wanted to stick his finger in the crack as we walked by, but I wouldn’t let him. You would laugh if I told you about the mousy looking guy that kept trying to sneak up to the front row, only to get kicked out time after time. After each failed attempt he would walk up three steps and start head bobbing to the music, only to have the security guard shake his head and point to the door. The man never learned his lesson until he was physically removed I could also fill you in on my theory that rock stars don’t actually drink water, they just take a big swig, swish it around and spit it out on stage. There was lots of spitting. I’m not sure, but I believe that when you’re rocking as hard as Metallica you have no time to swallow your own saliva so the only thing to do is to spit it out. Years of whiskey, beer and naked women has left their mouths rough like razor blades and so water must burn like acid, that is my theory. Lastly I could tell you about the Metallica balls that fell from the ceiling and made the crowd go crazy, I could tell you all these things and so much more, but there is not enough room. All you really need to know is, they had,


Fire so big the heat swooshed by us as it lit the air. LASERS so plentiful they looked like 3-year-olds dancing around a cake, a german chocolate cake……and a concert so rockin’ we too danced around with glee, well I danced around, Phil just nodded in silent approval.

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Don’t know the name of that song?! Tap it out!

I think I’ve seen something like this before, but here it is again. I think I’ll bookmark it this time because sometimes there are old timey songs that creep into my head, but I don’t know the names of them. But if you know the melody you can tap it out on the space bar at this nifty website and it will try and guess what the heck you’re tapping! So far it has been 4 for 4 for me. It successfully recognized:
Jingle Bells
Super Mario Brothers Theme
The Star Spangled Banner
Sunshine of your Love by Cream

So Go To THIS website and give it a go, see what you think.

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