Thursday, May 17, 2012

Moth Cocoons

I made this sketch on the first night of my stay at the Hyatt in Aurora, Colorado, 4/30/12.  As soon as I entered the room they gave me, about a dozen moths starting buzzing about as I turned the lights on.  Of course, I asked for another room.  But I kept thinking about the moths as I made this sketch later that evening.  How did the moths get inside the hotel room?  Moth cocoons in the ventilation system?  They say moths use celestial navigation to travel.  If so, are moths really spirits from another world?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I Like The Music But...

In Los Angeles, anyone can see a good concert just about any day of the week.  The Wiltern Theater happened to be the venue.  And I've been there sometime in the 90s to see K.D. Lang and the acoustics, the music, the audience was excellent.  Typical LA crowd.  My crowd.  Also in the 90s, I saw Creed, the rock band at the Palladium and it was a great show.  They had just released the "Human Clay" album and the audience was typical Hollywood.  That show rocked and of course, I had always liked Creed since their first album release.  I've always known about their somewhat "Christian" tendencies but had largely ignored it.  After all, lead singer Scott Stapp did a porn video with Kid Rock, right?  So why would the Christian Jihad music fans not dump the band.  Of course, I underestimated these "people".  Last night's concert opened with a Kiwi band, Like A Storm followed by a NY act, Eve To Adam.  Both openers just rocked the Wiltern as well.  In my opinion, that is.  My first clue should have been, the audience who mostly had come to see Creed didn't really welcome the two bands.  Applause was mediocre at best.  Half the seats in my section were unoccupied.  As Creed finally took the stage, everyone was going crazy of course, yelling and screaming through most of the tracks on the Human Clay CD -- which the band played from start to finish.  But as they proceeded to play their other hits (One, Torn, My Own Prison), I started noticing several people in the audience who where just standing and singing like they would in fucking church.  Disgust is too mild a word for how I felt.  Of course they could embrace any band these people feel like but my discomfort being around these "people" was borderline to the point where I actually considered walking out.  I came to see Mark Tremonti's guitar playing.  Hell, I even appreciate Stapp's soaring vocals.  However, I don't appreciate sitting in the same concert with people who do not remotely share my views on social issues (abortion, gay marriage, women's right, etc).  They say music is supposed to bring people together.  Maybe but it's really hard to me to tolerate the religious intolerance of these bastards.  I vow to never go to another Creed concert.  Ever.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Made For Geeks TV

Back when I was in college, I never would have imagined they would make a TV series like The Big Bang Theory -- about physicists and their awkward social skills.  Not only can I relate to the social ineptness and inability to read human interactions of geeks but I also get all the jokes and they are funny as hell (I do wonder if non-scientists get the jokes but they are accurate and the delivered perfectly in each scene).  All I can assume is that some real-life geeks work as consultants for the show.  Sheldon and Leonard have a combined IQ of 360 and share an apartment and of course, the cute blonde, Penny moves in just across the hall.  The rest is hysteria.  The success of BBT just makes me wonder whether geek is finally cool.  This television series is the anti-Idiocracy!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Dollar A Mile

I got the Trek in August 2011 after I started riding again in May.  From August to April, I logged 2000 miles -- which is personal accomplishment given everything else (work, kids, music, art) that's going on.  I'm very fortunate to have everything I wanted in this bike -- light, responsive and just the right gearing.  I rode up Day Creek Blvd today with some cyclist I met riding home and he asked me if I'm training for anything.  Of course, I'm not but fitness had always been a lifelong goal since I plan to ride until my last days on this planet.  I have a cycling goal on my bucket list -- that is, to ride from LA to San Diego along PCH.  So far, the fall looks like a good time to make that attempt.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Smith Center, Las Vegas

The Smith Center is one of the more interesting buildings I have had the chance to visit in the last 10 years.  The one word I would pick to describe the architecture is "timeless".  Primarily of an art deco design heritage, the Smith Center opened its first season earlier this year and I had the good fortune to see the legendary flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia last month.  Unlike the modern appeal of any of Frank O'Gehry, who ironically has a building a block away, the Smith Center is about classical lines and materials that are intended to stand the test of time.  A hundred years from now, I can only imagine how people will perceive modern architectural works but with the Smith Center, I don't really have to speculate as we all know that art deco has withstood the test of time.  Besides timeless, expensive is the other word that comes to mind.  From the chandeliers to the trash can to door handles, everything is custom and perfectly fabricated.  Another reason to visit Sin City.  The other irony in my whole experience is I was forced to find another venue where Paco was playing since his show at the Walt Disney Concert Hall (another Gehry building) was sold out.  Driven by my determination to see Paco, I knew I was willing to travel distances to any concert.  Serendipity.  A happy accident.  A discovery.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

47 Days...But Who's Counting

I took the photograph of a rainbow over the First Hawaiian Church in Kapaa during our last visit to Kauai in December 2007.  I wasn't sure I can go back anytime soon but today I'm as sure as I can be.  I finally booked our annual Hawaii trip to the Garden Isle -- June 24th through July 4th.  Yes, that's 47 days away -- 6 weekend from now!  I suppose there's comfort in the familiar so I got a room at the Pono Kai, which is walking distance to most places to eat and is only a short 8 miles from the airport in Lihue.  Hawaiian pancakes, Portuguese sausage, luau, daily ocean swim, Shrimp Station and most of all, I want to find ohana, me and my boys.  And I'm sure if I pay enough attention, I will find the spirits of a dear, old friend.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Project Hapa Strat

I got the Tom Delonge Strat in a sub-standard state but I knew it had good bones.  Love the neck, the fixed bridge and the single Seymour Duncan Invader pickup.  What I wanted was a guitar that can go from SRV-type blues to Audioslave riffs.  What I wanted was a single volume control -- not tone pots which I never use on any of my other guitars.  So I ordered some Tex-Mex single coils for the neck and middle positions to complement the Invader in the bridge position.  Then I custom ordered a pearloid pickguard from Warmoth to have the HSS cutouts but with a single volume pot hole.  Everything came together quite easily on Friday night as I soldered and routed wires.  By Saturday, my Hapa Strat was ready to plug in and play.  By Sunday, it's safe to say I can remove the protective film on the pickguard.  This surf green strat rocks!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Remember CDs??

Yeah those shiny discs from the 80s and 90s that didn't contain pops of vinyl?  So the argument is digital media is cheaper, you can buy $0.99 per song at either Amazon or iTunes.  Earlier this week on a business trip to Denver, I found this music store Second Spin on Colorado Blvd, just south of Colfax Ave.  I decided to browse and bought these 4 CDs for a combined price of $20.  These are musical giants -- Miles, Oscar Peterson and Marley -- meaning, there isn't a bad track on these album releases.  I did the simple math of adding up the total tracks and at a dollar per track (roughly), I decided that the used CDs are way cheaper (73 songs/$73 vs $20).  That's a no brainer.  So what's the first thing I did when I got home yesterday?  Ripped them into mp3s so I can carry them in my ipod.

P.S.  I have been listening to a ton of Oscar Peterson lately and I can certainly see why nobody does jazz piano better.  Nobody.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Big Sky Country

Not Big Sky as in Montana but big sky in Aurora, just east of Denver.  I've been traveling to Colorado for work for a while now with a destination of either Colorado Springs or Boulder.  I always fly into Denver but had never really stayed in Denver -- until this week.  A 3-day meeting landed me at a Hyatt House just off Tower and Pena and this is the view pretty much if I look in the eastern direction.  Denver is very built up in the north, west and south.  So where else do you build?  Signs for (relatively) affordable housing all over the place ($200K affordable, that is) but I'm not too sure about this geography.  I had seen the most spectacular (and scary at the same time) lightning storms in this area and with all this open land, I do wonder what it's like in the summertime.