My name's Dave. I'm working on it.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Putting the Days to Bed

Reading over last years' New Years Eve entry, I find I have little to add to it. I read somewhere that you don't have numerous new revelations in your life, so much as the same few over and over again. So what more can I say?
2007 has been a pretty shitty year, both for myself and most everyone I know. There's no need to dwell on it or go into details, but suffice to say we are all quite ready for the new year to signify some sort of change for the better. After a year like this, it can only go uphill.
The only thing I know to do tonight is welcome it by spending the evening at home, reflecting on what's gone before, and thinking about what I can do now. I'm quite over the desire to pass the midnight hour surrounded by drunken people hooting and carrying on. I'd only feel lonely staring at all the kissing couples anyway.
So I will stay home and reflect, and welcome the new year quietly.

But before I leave you to make the final preparations, here are a few songs to give the old year a proper send-off and get the new one off to a good start.

Be safe, my friends.

The Long Winters - Hindsight
PJ Harvey - You Come Through (live)
Menomena - Muscle n' Flo

Monday, December 24, 2007

Holiday Round-Up

Greetings, one and everyone.

It's almost Christmas (sorry, Dethemberween), and I wanted to say a few words. I've been feeling fairly cheerful about the holidays this year, having managed to eschew, for the most part, buying any gifts at all. Stepping away from the 1 a.m. mall rushes and the pressure of family, I'm left to appreciate the little things that usually get overlooked, like the fact that the holiday lights around my neighborhood do, indeed, look quite pretty. That there's a feeling of cheer in the air and people are, in fact, a bit friendlier to each other than normal.
So in honor of the season, I'm following my prior entry up with a few more Christmas-esque songs and other miscellany. In the way of a gift, I'm also sharing a holiday song I recorded over the last few days in my makeshift studio. If you didn't get an email from me, it is here for you to enjoy (and if you didn't, it's not because I don't love you, but because I'm very forgetful sometimes and/or don't have your email address).

Low - If You Were Born Today
Trans-Siberian Orchestra - A Mad Russian's Christmas
Doubtful Guest - A Christmas Song

On a side note, if you want to hear the full effect of my marginal recording skills, listen to it in headphones. Hooray for multi-tracking.

Happy Holidays, my friends.

much love,


Friday, December 21, 2007

Field Notes: December Update

Yes, it's that time again... lacking anything really insightful or interesting to say, I am here with a few tunes for your listening pleasure.

The Dodos - Trades & Tariffs

I happened upon this band through my friend S. We were sitting against the back wall at Dante's, surrounded by scantily clad hostesses, congregations of Titlelist-cap wearing alpha males, and free-spirited (read: wasted) bar patrons. The whole scene was smoky, fiery, and enough to make me wish for nuclear holocaust in five minutes, as Bill Hicks would say. The dregs of humanity on parade.
And then this band took the stage, and made it all worth it.

Hide & Go Hustle - Fight or Flight

Another band I was fortunate enough to be dragged to see by a friend who had my best interests at heart. The girl plays cello and the guy does guitar and loops and effects. Not only do they make beautiful music, they hand sew these cute little stuffed animals. I tried to bribe the cellist into selling me one, but she claimed it was for use in an upcoming music video. But once that's done, that little guy is mine.

Okkervil River - Listening to Otis Redding at Home During Christmas (live)

Okkervil has long been one of my favorite bands, and this song one of the sweetest (and seasonally appropriate) tunes from their first record. They recently came out with a free 'mixtape' for the holidays (you can download it here), which consists of various live covers they've done over the past two years. This reading of the song blows the original away, if you ask me. Okkervil are a mighty presence on stage, so to have a well-recorded live version of anything by them is a treat.

Lastly, a bit of seasonal silliness:

Trans-Siberian Orchestra - An Angel Came Down and O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night

Having recently discovered this band through a co-worker, I'm amazed I didn't know about them sooner. A band that combines over-the-top theatricality, classical/christmas music and heavy metal? What's not to love? It's as if Meat Loaf, Brian May, and the Original London Cast of Les Misérables got together, drank a barrel of spiked eggnog and decided to go caroling.
This is the kind of holiday music they should be blasting in Safeways and Fred Meyers throughout the land, instead of that bloodless mid-nineties shit they fall back on year after year. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: there is good holiday music out there. You just have to look for it.
And hey, I might not flee those scenes of panicky orgiastic shopping madness so quickly if I were being pummeled by riffs like these. Everyone wins.

Love through the cold air, friends...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Fifty Fifty?

To paraphrase Neil Gaiman (quoting Gene Wolfe, in turn), you never learn how to write a blog. You just learn how to write the blog you're writing. I'll trust that sooner or later what I would like to say (or mean to say?) will sort itself out.
All furniture has been relocated around my apartment, and I keep waiting for the sound of trumpets and the glowing lights to herald in some new creative age where I will know no doubt or hesitation as I bask in the connectedness of it all.
This moment is not coming, and I realize that for all of it, were someone to walk into my place this second, the change would be registered with a moments' nod and then moved past. It is different, yes. But it's no feng shui panacea either. All the art and band posters and candlelight I can muster doesn't conceal the fact that it's still my apartment, and for all my effort, might this have been just another way to kill some time?
I have written much in my journal lately about how to slow the onset of depression/stagnancy being brought on by the bleak winter sky in the morning and the cold wind throughout the day. I've struggled to articulate how one must consider, when weighing in on any particular negative obsession, the opposite, positive alternative as equally valid. All things being possible before the mind comes along to make them so, yes? And this, in turn, leads to the question of Is Reality More-or-Less Dictated By Where You Focus Your Energy? Aye.
So, the challenge then becomes (have I gone on and on about this before? I really can't recall but everything these days feels as if I've said it a few times) disciplining oneself into focusing on, if not the positive, at least on seeing both sides of all things. Hell, not choosing positive or negative at all, but standing by watching them try to force their ideologies on you like the Vorlons and the Shadows, and then simply smiling.
That said, one can always use a bit of help. A recent blog from Lady Amanda mentioned the idea of a support staff, people/things/what-have-you that help you get through the daily mill of shit and familiarity. She made the distinction - and I'll keep this brief, as you should really go read her words - between people/things supporting you and doing the work/filling the void/completing the tasks for you. You get the idea. Something that isn't coming.
But supports are nice, and oftentimes necessary.
So I treat the apartment as one more agent of support. Being socially withdrawn to start, and it being winter, my interaction with Real People is at a seasonal low. So I turn, naturally, to this here internet and the four walls around me. I'm quite enjoying both Cat and Girl and A Softer World. Have a look at them after the gap.
The hardest part of this apartment business is that for the most part, I've had to act as designer/editor/executor for the whole process. Moving things around when you're constantly second guessing the placement of it all gets tiring quick. I've been in dire need of a second perspective, and have found none.
Anyway. It's nearly over now. I'm happy with a few things about the place. Here is one:

Now I'm going to lay down and watch "Me and You and Everyone We Know." Stay warm.