Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Power Ballad

For those of you who don't know, I'm half of the band called Spiro. I'm big into writing and playing music as those of you who know my band can hopefully tell.

With music comes a certain territory, a cache of musical styles that are bound to be repeated with every musician who attempts to write. As you develop an ear for music and an ability for a musical instrument a variety of perks eventually show up. One of those would be the learning a song by ear. While it's something I enjoy doing and feel especially proud when I figure out songs by a musician I love, it can also have a backlash effect.

Okay, there isn't really a backlash, but what I'm hinting at is that sometimes you'll be able to pick out a song that you weren't really expecting, or trying, to. The other day, I figured out Kylie Minogue's club hit "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" on the guitar.

It entranced me. I couldn't stop playing it; I couldn't stop messing around with it. Needless to say, today I recorded a version of it that somewhat resembles a gospel-funeral dirge. Not unlike the version the Flaming Lips did a few years back.

I don't know if I'm allowed to post it or not because it's copyrighted material, but if you want to hear it (it's really short, barely under 2 minutes) or are a fan of my music, I could definitely email it to you. I think that should be okay because I don't want to make any money off of it. It's just me having fun with home recording software.

So, I'm not sure whether to be ashamed or satisfied. I guess I'll let you, my friends and fans, decide.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Apolitical Bend

Let me start with this: I'm registered as undeclared. Up until the recent elections did I never care about politics, and even when I became wrapped up in the insanity of the 2004 election year, I always felt like I had a bad taste in my mouth, like I really didn't like what I was being a part of. I hate politics, not a specific party.

Andrew Jackson was our nation's seventh president and was considered one of the men that created the modern presidency. He was enigmatic, a man that appealed to the "common man" of the United States of America. He was a boisterous man prone to agitation, and was known for participating in many duels that disputed the honor of his wife. He loved battle and always had an enemy in sight, whether it be the opposing party or the Native Americans that haunted "his" frontier.

It seemed like he always had a point to prove to the majority of the U.S., particularly the aristocratic segment. He was not liked by many civilians, many of the popular poets of the day, Thoreau and Emerson, vocally disliked the man. He was often considered absurd, a redneck, and a war-monger. He was a staunch advocate of nationalism, of the awesome power of America, and firmly believed the country could do anything. Coincidentally, he is also considered the man that founded the Democratic Party.

Stay with me; I promise not to get political. I'm only making observations that have bothered me in the past few years.

Though the personality (and seemingly political) similarities between Jackson and what some would consider the advocates of the modern Republican Party (to be stereotypical: gun-toting, god-fearing, nationalistic, aggressives), many would be surprised that this guy is officially a Democrat. At some point, the sides switched. Back in Jackson's day the tree hugging Henry D. Thoreau was the quintessential Republican; a radical to some degree as well. What happened?

That is not a point I would ever like to discuss on a forum such as this. What I would like to say is that I have noticed an extremely tense relationship between the opposing parties and it worries me. When cruising the internet one day, I found this. I had to stop what I was doing. This is just uncool. I browsed the other merchandise made by and for the right-wing masses, and found even more products that proposed violence toward the other side; well, not so much violence as the inspiration for outright hate.

Is this really what people want? A "liberal" (a term I will use because it is thrown all over the place in this site) can in no way be a friend, or someone you care about? Must we really define ourselves by these lines drawn in the political sand? It seems that Republicans out-and-out hate Democrats, and would love to, apparently, kill one on sight if given the chance. Would they kill their best friend from kindergarten? Or son? Or mother? These are people for crying out loud!

So, in all fairness, I decided to check out the left-wing merchandise offered from the same company that sells the right-wing products. The most notable differences I found were that they tended to attack the President more than the Republican party, and that they relyed less on imagery and more on language and the written word. Some were even self-depricating. There seemed to be less violence associated with the left-wing merchandise, which was the main thing I was looking for. This and this were the only ones that I found that came close to a "violent act."

I don't mean to make one side look bad. As I tried to show with the historical anecdote above, 170 years ago it would have been the Democrats with the stickers saying "Imagine no Republicans," etc. I'm bothered by the fact this is happening at all. Doesn't this show that there is a problem with how we are viewing things? It's not about what party you belong to, there's always going to be someone who thinks differently, but it's about preparing for the future. In that respect, I think that both parties should be able to make a general consensus.

Having us divide ourselves seems to be doing just that. Hostilities are growing, especially when listening to the likes of Al Franken, Barack Obama, Michael Savage, or Sean Hannity. It's grown to a simple yelling match, and I wouldn't be surprised if people start fighting over stupid stuff like politics. How is this helping our country grow?

And people wonder why I spend all my time inside...

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Bad Management.

I apologize to all of you who had to register before posting to my blog. Unless you wanted to do so to begin with...in which case I'm posting for no reason.

I love Get Fuzzy. I think it's a brilliant comic strip, but I couldn't tell you why. To me, you've got to appreciate it in the same way you have to appreciate the Family Guy before you can enjoy it. I think it lies in the quirkiness of the characters, and the lengths a reader must go to before they can see the humor. You have to just accept that there is a talking cat that dwells in pessimism; that there's a talking dog that wears a watch and lives happily in his ignorance; that they're both owned by a dude that isn't bothered in the least that his pets are bipedal loudmouths that are plainly ruining his life.

It's also cool because the artist throws in some Wilco shout outs every now and then.

Speaking of musicians that I love, I've got almost a secret passion for Tom Waits. I believe he is probably the most original musician alive today, that is he's creating listenable music while being incredibly wacky and nearly unintelligible. He's just great. For some reason I could listen to him banging on plumbing pipes with a wrench for four and a half minutes and be completely entertained.

What else could I throw in here? Nah, I'm spent.

Happy St. David's Day.