Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Friendship is the best music...

According to Wikipedia, synaesthesia is "a neurologically-based condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway". In other words, letters might have colors or a date on the calendar might correspond to a place. It's a very fascinating thing to read about. Although I don't have this ability, I do have something that might be similar: every time I think of some of my friends, a song instantly pops into my head. They might be songs that this person likes, songs that remind me of things that happened with my friends, or even songs that I've heard somebody play over and over again. I can't think of the song without thinking of their version. After some consideration, I cam up with a crazy idea: Why don't I put these songs together into a music mix and let my friends figure out what song is about them? As soon as I told Brittney about the idea, she said "DO IT", so here it is!

I'm sure all of you will be able to figure out what song is about you, and some of you might be able to figure out other people's songs (especially since some of them are painfully obvious). If you're reading this and you don't see a song about you, don't feel bad. I'll think of one eventually.

1.) Elvis Costello - "Alison"
2.) Ben Folds Five - "Kate"
3.) Eagle-Eye Cherry - "Save Tonight"
4.) Pixies - "Where Is My Mind?"
5.) The Cars - "My Best Friend's Girl"
6.) Captain Beefheart - "Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles"
7.) Traveling Wilburys - "Handle With Care"
8.) Faith No More - "We Care A Lot"
9.) The Band - "I Shall Be Released"
10.) Black Eyed Peas - "I Gotta Feeling"
11.) Men Without Hats - "Safety Dance"
12.) Frank Zappa - "Disco Boy"
13.) Billy Joel - "You May Be Right"
14.) Grateful Dead - "Not Fade Away"
15.) Primus - "Too Many Puppies"
16.) Robert Palmer - "Bad Case Of Loving You"

If you want to make this list into a CD, just tell me and I'll upload the songs in a format you can easily burn.

Friday, June 3, 2011

People, let me tell you 'bout my best friends...

There are people that never meet their best friend. They go through their whole lives searching for that missing piece. There are a fortunate few that find their soulmate, the one person they can always count on to be there for them. Then there's me. Through sheer luck, I have achieved the impossible: I have FOUR best friends. I would do anything for these people, including introducing them to each other so they can see how cool the other ones are. C'mon! Let's meet my nakama! I'm going to do these introductions in chronological order.

The first day Josh and I hung out, he taught me how to play guitar and got me hooked on the Beatles. Fifteen years and thousands (millions?) of laughs later, he still remains my hetero life-mate. To this day, you KNOW I think you're cool if I introduce you to Josh. (I call this “passing the Josh test”.) We've been though a lot together over the years. We lived together for a while, which was pretty cool. I puked in his car once. We've played long games of Egyptian Ratscrew and short games of chess. (We're talking 4 MOVES short here, people. Needless to say, I don't like playing chess with him any more.) We've had heated discussions about religion or politics that quickly dissolved into giggling over random quotations from Blazing Saddles. He's fought more than his fair share of demons and has won every battle. He's a true gentleman and one hell of a bass player. He truly is awesome.

FUN FACT: I think Josh only taught me three songs on the guitar before I took the lessons into my own hands. The first song he taught me was "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles. I still have the piece of paper he wrote the chords on.

They say you never forget your first, and Betsey is no exception. We met online back in 2002, but we didn't actually meet in real life until July 4th, 2003. We watched the fireworks, then I snuck into her room and we made some fireworks of our own. She started visiting me at my parents' house after that. She took care of me one night after I had been very sick all day. I remember coming back from the bathroom, lying down on the couch, and resting my head in her lap. She said that this was the first time she realized she loved me. After a few months of having a long-distance relationship, we decided to move in together. We lived in a little camper up on the hill. We didn't have anything, but it didn't matter. We had each other. Things didn't last because we had problems with communication like most young couples do. We broke up and went six and a half years before we talked to each other again. She found me on Facebook earlier this year, and it felt like old times again, but BETTER. I even got to do something I had wanted to do all those years ago: I asked her to marry me. She said yes!

FUN FACT: In the fifteen years that Josh and I have known each other, we have only had girlfriends at the same time twice: seven years ago and the present day. Betsey was my girlfriend both times.

I remember when I first met Brittney online a few years ago. She was the stereotypical grungy 16-year-old who liked to get drunk all the time. We used to have these long-ass phone conversations about philosophy and music and stuff like that. It was like she gave me the intellectual stimulation I needed at the time. I lost contact with her for a while, and when I found her again, she was a whole new person. She cut her hair really short. (She's still cute, though!) She had given up drinking to excess and become more focused on the future. She flew through her college classes, found a place of her own, and became the smart, funny, and happy person I always knew she could be. She helps me stay positive and focused. Every time I say that I'm feeling down and discouraged, she tells me I'm a FUCKING TIGER!!! She's the only person on this list that I haven't actually met in real life. I'm trying my best to get her more integrated into the gang, and it seems to be working.

FUN FACT: Brittney actually hitchhiked from Ohio to California and back a few years ago. That automatically makes her a badass in my book. Now, if she could only get over her fear of West Virginia...

Not many friendships start with cookie dough, but my friendship with Alberta did. I put an extra scoop of it in her Frosty one day at work, and we started talking after that. We never got to the dating phase, but she was my Valentine that year. She was another friend that I lost contact with for a while. (Gotta love second chances!) Her reappearance this year indirectly got me out of a year and a half of Hell. We actually dated for a little while after this, but it didn't last. I guess she didn't feel as strongly for me as I did for her. Even though it was hard at first, we remained good friends. (We kinda had to, because we both work at the same place now.) She's had a long streak of bad luck with guys, but she's finally found a really awesome guy that will treat her right. Who, you may ask? Well, let's just say she passed the Josh test with flying colors.

FUN FACT: I'm not 100% sure about this, but I think her favorite food is mayonnaise. She eats it on everything: chicken sandwiches, chicken nuggets, fries, pizza...

Each person in my little group has something special to offer: Josh is the brains of the operation, Betsey is the motherly instinct, Brittney is the voice of reason, and Alberta is the sense of wide-eyed wonder. I'm not sure what I bring to the table. I like to think of myself as the glue, the catalyst, the one person that brings everyone together. (I might be overstating things, though.) I can only imagine the day the five of us will actually be together at the same time and place. It will be the happiest day of my life.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Better late than never!

I literally just noticed that David from Indians Baseball Cards gave me a response to my post asking for ideas for things to write about. TWO YEARS AGO.

--David said...
I'll bite - how did your profile picture come about?
March 18, 2009 8:52 PM

Here's the lovely bit of digital imagery he's talking about, in a larger version. Bask in the glory (or, um, whatever, y'know) of the best pictures to have been taken of me in... oh, pretty much ever.

Me, 8/15/08

First of all, let's go back a bit further in time. I'm gonna set the Wayback Machine to October 3, 1998. I was a senior attending Paden City High School. I was also a major band geek at the time. I had been playing drums since the 5th grade, and the marching band was a big part of my life. Here's me in my marching band uniform, because everyone knows chicks dig guys in uniform:

Photobucket

That picture was taken at a Bands Of America regional show that was held at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, WV. It was my first time on AstroTurf, which was pretty cool. I also met three really cool girls that were members of a band that came in from Pennsylvania, one of which would become my first kinda-sorta girlfriend. (I say "kinda-sorta" because I only saw her in real life twice: once at this show, and once at BOA the following year, which I won't talk about because it was probably the first time my heart had been broken.) Oh, and we did pretty good for being the smallest band there (around 40 members compared to some of the bigger bands like Centerville).

Let's fast forward a bit now, to the middle of 2008. One of the other girls finds me out of the blue on Facebook (or was it MySpace?), and we start talking again. She ends up coming down to visit me. We were sitting on the front porch at my mom's house, and we were messing around with the camera I had at the time. The sun was really bright that day, and I could barely open my eyes because of it. She went to take a picture of me and my squintiness, and I raised my eyebrow at her. She laughed and took the picture. Things kinda fell apart for us after that visit (I haven't talked to her since), but I still have that picture, as well as some good memories.

Friday, February 27, 2009

FAVORITE STORIES: The Strip Club Incident (G-Rated, I promise!)

Since I don't have anything new and exciting to write about, I thought I'd write about some of my favorite memories. Some are a little embarrassing, but that's OK. I only have two or three that I can remember now, but I'm sure I'll think of others. Here's the first one I can think of, something I like to call The Strip Club Incident.

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I don't know how well the readers of this blog know me, but some of you might be surprised to know that I've been to a strip club. I think I was about 13 or 14 at the time, and I didn't have much fun because my mom and oldest sister were there, too.

It all started when my mom, my sister Teresa and I went to the mall in Parkersburg (well, technically Vienna, but it's close enough). On the way back, my sister's van started stalling every few minutes. We'd have to park the van along the side of the road and let it cool down for a few minutes before then engine would start back up. That must've happened 4 or 5 times before the engine finally died. Fortunately we were at the top of a hill and there was a place at the bottom where we could park. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the parking lot for a strip club.

When we got there, the only person there was the owner. He was a pretty nice guy, from what I can remember. He gave us bottles of water and let us use the phone. My sister called her husband, and he came to pick us up. Before we went home, we stopped at a greenhouse in Marietta, Ohio. Since all the adults were in the cab of the truck we were riding in, I had to ride in the back of the truck. Sitting on a spare tire in the back of a truck (with a camper shell on it, fortunately) for two hours isn't very comfortable, let me tell you.

We never figured out what was wrong with the van. We went on a trip in it a couple weeks after that, and it ran fine. My sister still has it, too. It has WAY over 200,000 miles on it now.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

What Should I Post About?

I hate when this happens. When you first start a blog, the first few posts come pretty fast, but ten you hit a wall. I've hit that wall HARD. I can't think of anything to post about on either one of my blogs.

Since I don't want to abandon my blogs, I thought I'd try something a little different, at least for this one. Audience participation worked for Frank Zappa, and I want to see if it'll work for me. If there's anything any of you readers (all three of you) want to see me post about, let me know. Any funny stories you want me to share? Want to know more about the music I listen to or the books I read? Doesn't matter. I'll try my best to write about it. If writing about one of your suggestions makes me think of other posts to write, then this experiment will have been a success.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

VIRUS ALERT

There's a very serious computer virus going around. My friend Josh sent me an email about it, and I thought I'd pass it on to all 3 people that read this blog.
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First, here are articles detailing this new virus:

http://www.krdo.com/Global/story.asp?S=9722921
http://computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9126349
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28779569/

The virus goes by many names, such as Conficker or Downadup. Unfortunately, this is the HIV equivalent of a computer virus.

Here's a summary of what I found:

* If your computers are networked (not in a "workgroup" or simply sharing files, but all running from a single server), then having this virus on the network is the worst case scenario. You'll have to call an IT expert who's worked with this virus to clean up the network. [The rest of the bullet points deal with individual PC's.]
* I'll repeat the advice I gave earlier: This virus can literally be spread by any means. For example: It can lie dormant on one computer that is already MS-updated, you share a file with another computer that is not MS-updated, and now they have the virus. It will also spread via USB devices, emails, malicious websites, etc. If you have administrative access on your PC, run not just a Windows Update, but also a Microsoft Update. They've bundled them together anymore, but make sure you're doing both.
* The operating systems most at risk are unpatched Windows 2000, Windows XP SP2 and XP SP3, and Windows Server 2003.
* I stand by my advice I give all Windows users, which is to create a "limited user account" that you work with on a day-to-day basis. Windows defaults everyone to the Administrator account, which you need to install/uninstall software, configure files and apps, etc. But, by using a limited account as your default, even if you download malware, your computer doesn't have permission to automatically install it. Granted, setting up your limited account may take a few hours to customize things the way you like it, and what-not. But it's worth it in the long run.
* Call me paranoid, but I always have at least two firewalls up and running. One is in my router -- you'll have to check the specs of the particular router you use (I use D-Link). But for your PC, ZoneAlarm is highly regarded and I've used the free version for some time: http://www.zonealarm.com/security/en-us/free-upgrade-security-suite-zonealarm-firewall.htm Avira's free antivirus has done some of the best virus detection I've seen yet: http://www.download.com/Avira-AntiVir-Personal-Free-Antivirus/3000-2239_4-10322935.html?part=dl-10322935&subj=dl&tag=button&cdlPid=10986298 And SpyBot - Search and Destroy does a very thorough scan for all types of spyware: http://www.safer-networking.org/en/ownmirrors1/index.html

The best medicine for this virus is prevention. Microsoft and other antivirus companies are working on patches to detect and remove the virus, but they are way behind the curve. I feel that if you follow the advice regarding Microsoft updates, limited user accounts, firewall, antivirus, and antispyware, you're PC should not get infected. Unfortunately, as I stated previously, you could be carrying a dormant virus, which makes file sharing a risk to others who do not practice PC prevention.

There are in fact two simpler options: switch to GNU/Linux, or switch to Mac. But, if you're stuck with Micro$oft in the meantime, you don't want to be one of the millions who have already been hit by this "super" virus.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Come On Feel The Japanoise

I think it would be neat to visit Japan. Their culture fascinates me, from the samurai period to the present day. Some of my favorite people and things have come from there, as well as some of the weirdest things I've ever seen. It's no surprise that their music scene is as varied as the rest of their culture. I'm gonna focus on three of my favorite Japanese bands: Merzbow, Boredoms, and Boris.



Merzbow (Masami Akita) is one of the most respected noise artists today. The biggest reason I like him and other noise artists like him is because I know how conventional music is played and recorded (what kind of guitar was played on a certain track, what effects were added later, etc.). When I listen to Merzbow, I have no fuckin' idea how he does what he does. It's just pure raw emotion and noise, and I love it.

Good Places To Start: 1930, Door Open at 8 AM



Boredoms were started by Yamantaka Eye, who sang for the noise band Hanatarash. Their earlier stuff was totally crazy, while keeping the typical rock band lineup. (You know: guitars, bass, drums, singer.) They became popular in the early 90s, touring with such bands as Nirvana and Sonic Youth. Their newer music isn't as wild as the older stuff, but it's still really good. I dig any band that tours with three drummers (especially if this is one of them. Gotta love Yoshimi!).

Good Places To Start: Chocolate Synthesizer, Vision Creation Newsun



Boris is a drone/stoner metal band that was named after a song by the Melvins. Their early albums usually had really long, droning songs on them. For example, their first album was just one song that lasted over an hour. They started making albums with shorter songs around 2000, which is good for me and my short attention span. If you don't think Japanese girls are some of the most beautiful in the world and Yoshimi wasn't enough proof to open your eyes, maybe Wata (their guitar player) might.

Good Places To Start: Heavy Rocks, Pink