Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ian is officially here.  Geeky jokes have officially been made.  Scott Pilgrim has officially been quoted WAY TOO MUCH ALREADY.

Today's song:  Here's a song by the opening band for that show we're seeing on Saturday.

Math the Band - Why Didn't You Get A Haircut

Today's thing:  Here's what I've got so far with that thing I started the other day.  I reused the second segment of it from an earlier thing I posted, but added a synth line that I've been playing around with.

TBC fuller demo

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I've been having an interesting and introspective few days.  Ian comes in tomorrow.  Things should continue to be interesting.  There's that saying about "may you have an interesting life" being a curse, but as I said in my college essay, I see it as the opposite.  I relish my life being interesting.  Can I say "interesting" more?

Today's song:  You can do a lot with Autotune.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Sings

Today's thing:  More lyrics, more of the song that I posted yesterday.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Zach's arriving in Boston Tuesday night, but staying with another mutual friend.  Ian arrives Wednesday.  Summer's drawing to a very quick close, but I'm still working on stuff.  My apartment feels strange with my roommates almost entirely moved out, but it means that I can record demos at one in the morning and not worry about waking anyone up.

Today's song:  Someone just turned me on to these guys.  Pretty raw, but pretty cool.

Death From Above 1979 - You're A Woman, I'm A Machine

Today's thing:  A good, large chunk of lyrics, plus this bassline.

TBC bassline test

Monday, August 23, 2010

Had a heck of a day.  Taught my last class, played capture the flag in the halls of MIT, saw Dustin as he made his move back into Emerson College, then hung out with him and a few other friends well into the night.

Today's song:  So, it turns out I'm going to be seeing these guys with Ian and Zach and possibly a few other friends on Saturday as a bit of a last hurrah.

Peelander-Z - So Many Mike

Today's thing:  That last class.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I feel like I should explain a little bit about what I mean when I cite "lyrics" as a day's work.  After all, I haven't actually displayed any of them, or even uploaded any songs with vocals (aside from Sorrow, which already had lyrics).  This is because, like with a lot of my work, I have a hard time finishing things.  I have an ever-growing text file full of couplets and lines, things that sound catchy and are evocative.  The thing is, all of these snippets are going un-expanded-upon.  I'm faced with the fact that while my tidbits may work well, it's hard to craft entire songs around them.

Today's song:  This is Cee-Lo Green's newest single.  It plays like Kanye's "Gold Digger," but more to-the-point, more melodic and more profane.

Cee-Lo Green - Fuck You

Today's thing:  Some more shots for my summer project, as well as lyrics, as usual.
Well, it was excellent seeing those friends again.  We had a guitar/bass jam session and explored the city.  Stayed up way too late and threw off my sleeping schedule, but that's life.

Today's song:  Lately, everyone's been talking about this - it's a Justin Bieber song, but it's been slowed down by 800%.  Now, it sounds like ambient music.

Justin Bieber - U Smile

Today's thing:  I threw this together as the intro to a possible song heavily inspired by the style of that "Love Smiles" that I linked to the other day.  For some reason, I'm thinking of making it a song to be played as a sound check, complete with lyrics like "Left mic check, 1, 2" and such.

D buzzy sound check test

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Well, the friend who I was going to see Reefer Madness with is sick and can't make it, so instead I'm just taking a walk until my other friends get out of their Red Sox game.  It's a nice night, as it usually is.  I spent a ton of time today playing bass and guitar, though my lack of a table is still throwing me off.  THIS IS EXCITING STUFF.

Today's song:  I know I've posted a lot of Beck, but here's a FANTASTIC chiptune remix of one of his songs.

Beck - Girl Remix (Bit Rate Variations in B-Flat)

Today's thing:  I recorded a new bassline and toyed with a possible guitar riff for it.
Today, I moved some stuff back home.  I'm now without a chair or table, but I have a guitar, bass and keyboard still so it's all good.  I'll try to record something new tomorrow, because jeez, I need to.  I'm also hosting a few friends from RI, as well as possibly seeing Reefer Madness for the first time, so that should be interesting.

Today's song:  Here's another one that I'd like to capture the sound/energy of in my work.

The Pillows - Sleepy Head

Today's thing:  If you guessed "lyrics," you guessed right.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I saw Scott Pilgrim for the fifth time tonight with my parents.  There were about 30 people in the theater, despite it having just been released.  It's a shame that it's not making more money, but I have to say, I'd rather have directed something that brilliant and made a disappointing amount of money than have made just another average-yet-successful blockbuster.

Today's song:  Yet another awesome song from the Scott Pilgrim soundtrack.

Blood Red Shoes - It's Getting Boring By the Sea

Today's thing:  A line or two of lyrics, an idea or two for summer project footage, dinner and a movie with my parents and a bonfire with old friends.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

With each day lived in the city, I feel more and more like the world is my oyster.  Yet, with each day closer to leaving, I feel more and more like I'm missing out on all the things I haven't gotten the opportunity to do.  Not much to write today aside from that.

Today's song:  I ran across this today, as I'd been thinking about the movie that it's from.  While watching it, it occurred to me that I want to play music this raw and energetic.

Billy Nayer Show - Love Smiles

Today's thing:  Some more lyrics.

Monday, August 16, 2010

With the end of the summer coming up, I'm forced to rethink all my goals and figure out which ones I can complete before I leave Boston.  Yikes.

Today's song:  I'm seeing these guys tomorrow.  Again, a friend has a spare ticket.

Tears for Fears - Everybody Wants to Rule the World

Today's thing:  I taught my class, as usual.  We edited the music video we shot in class last week.  Sadly, we had to use Windows Movie Maker, which is a terrible program, but we at least have a finished product.

Class Music Video 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tonight, I rode around the city on a bicycle.  It was amazing, and made me wonder why the hell I didn't bring MY bike with me this summer.

Today's song:  Someone told me I should get some The Cure, so I did.

 The Cure - Friday I'm In Love

Today's thing:  Took a couple of shots for the summer project, worked on Anime Boston costume stuff and practiced the guitar.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

So, I'm outside the movie theater after seeing Scott Pilgrim.  It's 2:30 AM or so and I'm talking to some friends when this dude comes up, tries the locked doors and asks if we work at the theater.  We say "no," and he explains that there's supposed to be a meteor shower that night, but he can't see it.

"So... why are you trying to get into the theater?"  I ask, kind of stupidly.

"Well, I'm on shrooms," he explains,"so I want to watch SOMETHING."

Which makes sense.  My friends and I nod and decide to move on.  As we leave, I say "Well, I wish you the best of luck finding something cool to watch."  The guy apparently takes it as some kind of insult.

Accusingly, he asks "You haven't ever done shrooms, have you?"

Walking away, I try to respond in as un-judging a manner as I can.  "No," I say, "But who knows what the future holds."

"YOU'LL NEVER DO SHROOMS!"  He yells after my friends and I as we round the nearest corner and proceed to crack up.

"Shit, dude, I think you made him mad..."  One of my friends says.  Sure enough, as we continue to get the hell out, the guy comes to the corner and stands there yelling after us.

"HEY!  HEY, WHAT IF I GET A SHIRT... THAT SAYS... 'HIPSTERS ARE PUSSIES,' WHAT ABOUT THAT, HUH?"

The friend keeps yelling "Hamsters?" back at him as we get further and further away.  Finally, Senor Shrooms gets fed up at our feigned confusion and walks off down another street, grumbling about hipsters and pussies as he fades off into the night.


Today's song:  Here's to you, Senor Shrooms.

The Lonely Island - Shrooms (Interlude)

Today's thing:  Played some music, wrote a few more lyrics, hope to record vocals for Stage Fright City soon, wrote a bit of unrelated script.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tonight at midnight, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World officially comes out.  Despite having seen it three times already, it looks like I'm seeing it again with some friends.  While I don't remember the last time I saw a movie even twice in theaters, I'm looking forward to seeing this a fourth time.  It's THAT good.

Like I talked about yesterday, though, I'm taking a long walk first.  My goal is to see something new today.

Today's song:  I'm a fan of Bowie and I'm in the mood for this song.

David Bowie - Sound and Vision

Today's thing:  Some more lyrics for that Stage Fright City song I'm working on.  I'm getting sort of close to finishing it up - I aim to ponder/polish it more while on my walk.
It's striking me that while I've discovered new parts of Boston and strengthened my knowledge of already-familiar locales, there are still so many areas I haven't explored, so many streets that I haven't been down.  I think I'll go for a long walk tomorrow.

Today's song:  Everyone, this is Bis.  Bis, this is everyone.  Play nice, both of you.

Bis - Statement of Intent

Today's thing:  Worked on a few lyrics, cleaned my room.  The latter isn't much of a creation, but OH MY GOD IT LOOKS SO MUCH NICER YOU HAVE NO IDEA.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The good:  I'm already planning short films to work on with my friend Ian when he visits.

The bad:  When he does, that'll mean that the summer's about a week from being over.

Today's song:  Good song!  Good video!  Nerdy complaint, though - the arrows (4) shown on the screen of the arcade game are for Dance Dance Revolution.  The arrow buttons (5) on the pad are for Pump It Up, a different dance game.

The Bird and The Bee - Love Letter to Japan

Today's thing:  More lyrics, more song-arranging.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Today, I worked on music, then walked to Guitar Center and played around with all sorts of cool stuff that I can't afford.

Today's song:  So, because the soundtrack's out today/tomorrow and I've been way too much about it within the past few weeks, here's a song from the band that the titular character from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World's band is supposed to sound like.  Yes, it's purposefully overblown.

Times New Viking - The End of All Things

Today's thing:  I worked on lyrics (slightly), recorded bass and guitar for part of one song, while rearranging a little bit of another.

Monday, August 9, 2010

It's kind of strange to realize that I only have just over three weeks until I go back to Hampshire.  Where (as most everyone has said every year) did the summer go?

Today's song:  Fun disco song, fun backyard-music-video take on it.

Patrick Hernandez - Born to Be Alive

Today's thing:  In class today, we shot footage for a music video that we'll edit next week.  Afterwards, I shot more footage for my Big Summer Project, Oh Man.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tonight was another strange and adventurous Saturday - I hung out with a friend, got recruited off the street by a bachelorette party to go to a karaoke bar, ran into some 30-something guys (again on the street) and went with them to a bar where I'm pretty sure a bet was going on to see who could wear my headphones.  To top it all off, I came home with more money than I left with.  I'd call that an all-around success.

Today's song:  It's come to my attention that I need to listen to more Beck, which probably means you need to listen to more Beck.  So here you go.

Beck - Devil's Haircut

Today's thing:  A bassline and some more lyrics.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I saw OK Go tonight in Providence - they did a free show at Waterplace Park.  It was pretty fun.  As usual, I ended up standing directly up front for most of the show.  This was the third time I'd seen them, but the first in any venue but Northampton's Pearl Street.  At the end, I snagged a setlist and a guitar pick, as well as a high-five-turned-handshake from the lead singer/guitarist, Damian Kulash.

It was an awesome experience, but it struck me afterwards that things of this nature are becoming almost routine.  That's not a bad thing by any means - it just means that my summer is living up to most of my hopes.  In the past week (in addition to the free OK Go concert), I've had a ridiculous and unexpected Saturday-night adventure with geeky strangers, two free advance screenings of Scott Pilgrim and an encounter with Michael Cera.  I've been hanging out on the streets at 2 AM with friends and been given a free bag full of McDonald's by a homeward-heading worker.  A man in a bar won a porn DVD out of a crane machine and gave it to me, then I proceeded to give it to a friend, who gave it to a drunk guy.  I played Pokemon on a fire escape.  And this is all in the last SEVEN DAYS.  Finally, I'm having a summer that's filled with adventure - adventure that revolves around getting out of my shell, going places and meeting people.

Today's song:  I was listening to this while walking down the street.  I dug the sentiment.

Blondie - 11:59

Today's thing:  Lyrics.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The other day, I happened to be in a bar with a friend and someone I'd just met.  The newcomer played Weezer's "Say It Ain't So" on the jukebox, and as we sang along, I couldn't help but remember all the times that my friends from school and I played the song in Rock Band.

Then, when mentioning this to one of said friends from school, I had the distinct hope that one day, I'd hear one of my own songs in some public place, and remember all the times my band and I practiced and tweaked the song.

Today's song:  A friend with excellent music taste just linked me to this.

The XX - Intro

Today's thing:  I came up with/recorded this (and its fantastically descriptive name) today.  Regarding the second segment of it - I think I'm learning the difference between basslines and guitar riffs.  I'm pretty psyched about that.

whum whum whum test

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Importance of Being Cera (part 2)

(NOTE:  If you haven't already, you should read Part 1 of this strange saga.)


Tonight, I saw Scott Pilgrim vs. The World for the third time.  A friend from school (Zachary Clemente, a true hero) had told me that a comic shop was giving out passes, as well as that Edgar Wright, the director, would be at this screening.  I was completely alright with seeing the movie again and I think Edgar Wright's a brilliant director, so this was a no-brainer.  I met up with a few other friends from school, and we arrived early this afternoon to get good spots in line.

As always, the movie was fantastic.  Then, there was a Q&A session afterwards with Edgar Wright and "special guests."  Said special guests turned out to be Michael Cera, Jason Schwartzman and Anna Kendrick.  They all sat on stools at the front of the theater, took questions and cracked wise.  It felt strange being in the same room as Michael Cera, given how much I've been compared to him lately.

I realized that this was probably going to be my only shot at closure.  Towards the end of the Q&A, I finally raised my hand.  I knew almost instinctively that as soon as I did, I would be called on, as I was the only one wearing one of Cera's character's shirts (a shirt that Wright had referenced earlier in the session).

And I was.

I stood up and said "This is a question for Michael, and a selfish one at that," then proceeded to explain the perceived likeness that had dogged me, asking if I could get a picture with him (either then or after the session) to resolve the thing once and for all.

He said "sure" and made a joke about me needing to kill him to really stop the problem at its root, while Wright invited me to come on the press junket in Cera's place.  Cera told me I was a handsome man, an audience member yelled that the actor was more handsome, and it became kind of clear that I wasn't getting my picture right then.

When the session got out, however, the celebs were immediately escorted out the fire exit, while the audience was ushered through the normal doors.  One of my friends (Max) and I decided to book it out of the theater and run around the back of the block to see if we could catch them leaving.  Another friend (Madeleine) rushed behind us, apologizing to everyone we'd whizzed past.  We got to the rear exit just in time to find no indication whatsoever of anyone remotely resembling myself. 

As we stood on the sidewalk, wondering what to do, a black SUV with tinted windows rolled past and stopped at the corner.  One of the promoters who'd doubled as security during the Q&A jumped out, pointed at me and beckoned.  My friends and I jogged over, and Michael Cera himself walked out from around the far side of the SUV.

"Hey," he said.  "Glad I caught you."

So I got my picture - hell, I got two.  He signed one of the wristbands that was part of my Scott Pilgrim costume (as I thanked him profusely), as well as the tickets of a few people who'd seen him and jogged over.  Before a crowd could gather, though, the promoter announced "Sorry, Michael has to go."  I thanked Cera again, high-fived him, and as quickly as he'd appeared, he left.

As we were walking away, one of the theater workers who was clearly managing the event ran into me and said that Michael had asked for my name and address, thinking he'd missed me.  I explained that I'd actually run into him but gave my info anyway, all the while thanking them for running such a fun event.

So now, I've finally met the guy everyone tells me I look like.  And you know what?  He's pretty damn nice.  Maybe I shouldn't get defensive when someone new says "Hey, you remind me of that awkward kid."  Now, I can chuckle and say "Yeah?  Maybe.  You be the judge."


Today's song:  Just click it while the story's fresh in your mind.

No More Heroes - Righteous, Triumphant, Et Cetera

Today's thing:  This was pretty much an all-day adventure.  IT COUNTS.  A LOT.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Saw Scott Pilgrim again tonight.  Will see it again Wednesday night.  Will tell you more after that.

Today's song:  Not only is the song fun, the ice skating routine done to it is pretty ridiculous.

Tom Jones - Sex Bomb

Today's thing:  Lyrics!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Today, I found one of my Gameboys, as well as Pokemon Red (one of the originals).  I made macaroni and cheese and started a new game.  What a nostalgia trip.

Today's song:  I know this is the third Anamanaguchi song I'll have linked to on this blog, but this one's another new track of theirs and I can NOT stop listening to it.

Anamanaguchi - Airbrushed

Today's thing:  I recorded vocals for that Sorrow demo.  They're not great, but I guess I did better on this than I would have done on a lot of other songs (which isn't saying much).

Sorrow demo fuller

Monday, August 2, 2010

I walked to MIT today, since it was Sunday.  The sun was shining, chiptunes were blasting and I had an overwhelming sense (just like I did when making the same walk last week) that THE WORLD WAS AWESOME.  And then I saw a robot made out of cardboard boxes on the corner.

Today's song:  Oh hey, some indie music I ran across the other day.

Hot Lava - Apple + Option + Fire

Today's thing:  My class.  I talked about psychology tricks, then we went into the main lobby and did a few flash-mob activities.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I went wandering around Boylston Street with no particular ambition or activity in mind, then heard internet catchphrases and said "oh, hey."  I was adopted into the circle of these strange internet denizens and then came home a hell of a lot less sober than I started out.  Bizarre.

Today's song:  This is already pretty good for chiptunes, then a pre-existing song kicks in.

Renard - Sinisterrrrrrrr

Today's thing:  More of that Sorrow demo, more lyrics.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I rescued a couple of books off of the curb late last night.  They're based on the Doom video games.  I can't wait to read them.

Today's song:  Honestly, while the song is catchy, the video that these people made is what really stands out.

Ninjasonik - Daylight Remix

Today's thing:  I recorded a little more of that Sorrow demo from yesterday.  Also, I wrote part of a script for a short skit.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Back to sitting here in 90-degree weather trying to be creative.  I came up with an idea for a cover, as well as a couplet or two of lyrics, but that's no surprise by now.

Today's song:  Here's the Bowie song that I was like "oh hey, we could totally do a punk-rock cover of this" about.

David Bowie - Sorrow

Today's thing:  Here's the demo.  I butcher the solo, but the rest of the song is basically the kind of vibe I want.

sorrow test

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Okay, wow.  That movie was pretty damn great.  From neat filmmaker tricks to editing to sound mixing to sight gags to memorable lines, it was... well, it was a hell of a ride.  I'd recommend it.

Today's song:  This was in the movie.  Do not confuse it with the new Katy Perry song of the same name.  One is a classic.  One is dreck.  This one isn't dreck.

T Rex - Teenage Dream

Today's thing:  I know it sounds like a cop-out, but MORE LYRICS.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tomorrow, I see Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, a movie that I've been anxiously awaiting for quite some time.  I won advance-screening passes to it yesterday.  I'm pretty jazzed.

Today's song:  This song's in a movie that I LOVE.  Some of you will know which movie I'm talking about and sigh, shaking your heads and smiling slightly.  Others of you need to see Stranger than Fiction.

Wreckless Eric - Whole Wide World

Today's thing:  And even MORE lyrics.  Not many, but some good ones.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Well, Modest Mouse was excellent.  The opening band, Morning Teleportation, was great, too.  I ran into its frontman outside after the show and told him that I thought they rocked.  He ran inside, got me a t-shirt and signed it.  Awesome stuff.

Today's song:  I guess I should post something of Modest Mouse's.

Modest Mouse - Dashboard

Today's thing:  Guess what - it's more lyrics!  Woo.

Monday, July 26, 2010

In class today, I talked about image and musicians.  It was a huge ramble on a lot of things I've talked about here - carefully-groomed images, personas, stage names, band names and so forth.  Basically, we had a big ol' conversation about music.  Fun times.

Oh, and I'm seeing Modest Mouse tomorrow because a friend has an extra ticket.  Awesome.

Today's song:  A blend of jazz and hip-hop.  This is great.

Mr. Scruff - Jazz Potato

Today's thing:  Mostly, it was teaching my class, but here - I've been toying with this, I think it has some promise.  I'll work on it more tomorrow.

WAS type demo

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The project I was talking about was a success.  I subjected myself to a real-life adventure game.  It was intended to play like the old King's Quest games - you see your character's surroundings, then you control your character by typing commands like "GO LEFT" or "PICK UP ROCK."  In order to replicate this feel, I ran the game on Facebook via my cell phone.  I'd take a picture on my phone of what was nearby, then send it to Facebook.  Everyone who was playing would see it, then comment commands on it.  My friend would then text me the most popular commands, I'd do one or more of them, then take a picture of the results and upload that.  And so on.

Said friend and I set really vague "goals" ahead of time and were amused by the creative ways that everyone went about completing them.  Over the course of the evening, I went to the 38th floor of a hotel, was given a lei by a stranger and gave a bag of chips to a homeless man.  I did plenty of other silly things along the way, of course, and somehow managed to only spend $1.60.

Anyway, it went well and was a new experience, but there are still plenty of ways we could improve the game, like using a two-man team in order to keep the constant picture-taking from clashing with the actual game actions.  We'll work on it.

Today's song:  A friend sent me this, it's pretty rad.  He got to see the DJ in person.

Kid Koala - Moon River remix

Today's thing:  That adventure game.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tomorrow, I try out a project I've been putting together.  Hopefully, I'll explain it tomorrow. 

...Hopefully.

Today's song:  Traditional Asian music with a hip-hop twist.  Awesome.

Milky Lasers - Tai Chi

Today's thing:  Here's a clip of something I started work on today.  There's more to it, but I'm most excited about this bit so far.  I just figured out to do that pitch-bendy thing so I can't wait to make more use of that.

City Noise snippet

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The good:  It's not above 80 anymore.
The bad:  It's 78.
The ugly:  I live on the third floor of a brick building with no AC.

Today's song:  Here's one of the original songs Beck did for the Scott Pilgrim soundtrack.  I really like the lyric "I'm drinking shampoo and I'm tasting my grave," because it's pretty damn Beck-like.  On the other hand, the song's supposed to be by a fictional in-movie band, so maybe it being Beck-like isn't the best of things.  Hmm.

Beck - Summertime

Today's thing:  I recorded this and worked on some lyrics for it.  I'll have to add a little more melody (I think, anyway) as well as give it more variety, both drum-wise and in general.  But I think it has promise.

Stage Fright City demo
Well, I was indeed pretty productive.  I recorded some stuff, wrote some stuff and brainstormed some stuff for a completely different project.  I also figured out some material for this coming Sunday's class.  Looking forward to working on more tomorrow.

Today's song:  So here's a great mashup.

Somebody Rock Me

Today's thing:  Though I worked on several other things, I figured I'd throw this up since I'd added a lot to it since I last demoed it.

8-Bit Rock second demo

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

 I'm gonna be insanely productive tomorrow, I can taste it.  Er, somehow.

Today's song:  You know who I miss?  Smash Mouth.  Well, their older stuff, anyway.

Smash Mouth - Diggin' Your Scene

Today's thing:  I worked on more lyrics and started recording another song.  Hopefully tomorrow I'll have enough of it together to post.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

So, I picked up the sixth and final volume of Scott Pilgrim when it was released tonight at midnight.  I just finished it, and I have to say, it was a slight disappointment.  I guess it just seemed that there were SO MANY things that had to be wrapped up and it turned into a systematic checklist of taking care of them.  Also, a lot of change happened between the fifth and sixth volumes.  Anyway, books, expectations, etc.  More music-making tomorrow.

Today's song:  I'd had this song in my head for the past few days (despite not hearing it for almost a year or so), then a friend posted lyrics to it on Facebook.

Barenaked Ladies - Bull in a China Shop

Today's thing:  A good chunk of the day was spent traveling to and from Rhode Island.  At least I figured out some of my lesson plan for this coming week's MIT class.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Note to self:  Look into making music videos for a living.  That'd be cool.

Today's song:  Man, I love The Hives.  Especially this song.

The Hives - See Through Head

Today's thing:  I taught my class.  That's totally a thing.  Also it took up most of my day.
I think I finally managed to properly prop up that futonframe today.  Also I recorded a lot of different bits of songs.  I've got my class to teach tomorrow, and by teach I mean "tell people about acting games and yell GO."

Today's song:  A few days ago, Old Spice released a TON of ads that were all personalized answers to online comments that people sent them.  Then some guy made a song by remixing clips from some of those videos.  I thought it was pretty cool.

Old Spice Remix

Today's thing:  I recorded real bass (instead of computer generated bass) parts for something I was already working on, as well as adding on an entirely new part.  Then I started two other songs.

B punkish fuller

Downgroovin' demo

175 BPM demo

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Lot of walking today; Back Bay, the South End, the North End...  But on the bright side, I did a decent amount of musicwork.  There's more to do tomorrow, too.

Today's song:  I'm really not sure why this popped into my head.  I swear.  Did I mention my grandmother reads this blog?


Electric Six - Gay Bar

Today's thing:  I added some frills to yesterday's thing, as well as more of a bassline that I recorded.  I also threw this together - it's a song Beck did for that Scott Pilgrim movie that I can't shut the hell up about.  The song's in the trailer and I figured I'd try to play it by ear.  Turns out it's pretty damn easy.

Beck - Sex Bob-omb

Thursday, July 15, 2010

On being broke

Having little to no cash makes life interesting.  I no longer use the subway, choosing instead to walk and save the buck-seventy that a T ride costs.  I eat (ramen) before leaving the apartment and I appreciate finding free samples of food far more.  Still, the city is an exciting place regardless of amount of money in my pockets.  Plus, managing to have adventures despite lack of cashflow is immensely satisfying.

I'm almost tempted to crack open that bottle of cheap wine I picked up at the beginning of the summer so I can celebrate how bohemian I am, but I can think of better things to do.  Like being sober.

Today's song:  Another neat drum 'n' bass song, as well as an excellent fan-made (I think) music video.

Venetian Snares - Szerencsétlen

Today's thing:  After almost a week of various adventures, I'm getting back into the creative groove.  Today, I started working on making something fuller out of one of the mini themes I did a little while back.  Here's what I've got so far.

Raphael theme reworked WIP
Excuse me while I continue to try to get back in the groove after those friends visiting.  Excuse me, also, while I post this far too late.

Today's song:  I ended up playing this earlier today and thinking of my first year at college.  Funny thing, that.

The Killers - When You Were Young

Today's thing:  Some sort of strange band meeting with visiting friends.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

That concert was good.  The opening acts were a little out of place - not like the headliner at all. Aside from them, though, We Are Scientists were excellent; plenty of good banter, as well as solid enthusiasm and stage presence.  As expected, it made me want to get with the whole songwriting thing.

Today's song:  I've been watching a lot of a certain trailer; thus, I've been hearing a lot of this song.

LCD Soundsystem - Big Ideas

Today's thing:  A little tiny bit of lyricwriting, plus a little bit of composing/arranging.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Okay.  After a long and busy weekend, I'mma get back to working on projects tomorrow.

...Except Hampshire friends are visiting and we're seeing that We Are Scientists concert.  But I'll do my best before they get here.  Here's hoping for productivity.

Today's song:  Here's a classic.  I've been learning the bass part for it since it's so much fun to play along to.

Cheap Trick - I Want You to Want Me

Today's thing:  You guessed it - more lyrics.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Today's class was interesting and, for the most part, excellent.  Introductions were made, the class format was explained, and a small amount of circuit bending was done.  Although not everyone stuck around for the actual putting-things-together portion, a good chunk of people witnessed the taking-things-apart bit, which seemed to be just as engaging as the actual constructive time.  We didn't get to make anything as complex as I was hoping for, but people still seemed genuinely interested in what they were doing, so that was fantastic.  Admittedly, the whole circuit-bending thing was better suited for a smaller class, but hey, now I know.  Next week, we'll be playing acting games, so that should include more people.

Today's song: Here's another mashup. This one uses 15 different songs, with the lyrics all blended together to form a different set of (cohesive!) lyrics. It's pretty impressive.

DJ Earworm - Like, OMG Baby

Today's thing:  I taught my first class, like I said.  We came up with a strange sculpture formed out of (carefully and tastefully) melted-together red fireman figures, with a working LED light, switch and all.  It now sits on my table as some sort of bizarre nightlight.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

On that MIT thing

I have to admit, I feel all braggy every time I explain "the MIT thing" to someone. The easiest way to jump into it is starting with "Well, I teach at MIT." It sounds great, but then I have to explain that it's not so much teaching as it is me running around a room of high schoolers going "I really think this is cool, let me tell you more about it, also MAN DO I THINK I'M AWESOME." It is an impressive thing, I guess, but I really just see it as a lot of fun. Saying such, in turn, though, almost makes me feel like I'm bragging even more, like I'm trying to impress with my selflessness, when sometimes it feels the opposite of selfless. I mean, it REALLY feeds my ego.

Strange hangups on talking about it aside, I'm excited about starting this summer's session today. While the class is the same theme that I usually do – a different subject every week – I've got new stuff planned. I figured I'd take advantage of all the stuff I've learned over the past year or so by passing it on. Besides, that way I'll learn more about it. I'll post about how it goes.

Today's song: This just goes to show exactly how similar pop songs can be.

Ke$ha - Tik Tok / Katy Perry - California Gurls mashup

Today's thing: More lyrical stuff, which usually ends up being a line or two here or there. I think I've said this before, but one of these days I'll manage to pull them all together.

Friday, July 9, 2010

On rock star personas

Okay, I'm FINALLY getting to this.

A week or so ago, I talked about rock stars having stage names.  Well, even more often than crazy names, they have crazy personas, these augmented, exaggerated or completely fictional versions of themselves.  This isn't just limited to rock stars, of course - pop stars have them, DJs have them and even pianist Tom Waits has one.  Again, these images vary from real to unreal, but regardless of truth, they're there.

I thought about this while remembering a pop singer I'd seen on a British talk show.  She seemed to be imitating Lady Gaga, from the silly dress to the crazy hairstyle.  Her band was carefully chosen to ALL look like Keanu Reeves.  Even her offhanded comment, "Most of my songs are about murder, actually... I'm not a psychopath, I swear!" seemed calculated to subtly shape the public's perception of her.  Why did I remember and consider all of this?  Because I'm working on doing it, too.

Lately, along with contemplating a good stage name (see last week's post on the matter), I've realized that I'm thinking about an entire look to go along with it.  After all, like I said, I need to be as over-the-top as I can with as much as I can to distract from my lack of musical complexity.  I'm planning an outfit to wear, a style of music to play and a stage demeanor.

Here's the thing, though.  I'm doing all of it for fun.  I'm not doing it because my record label thinks that I'll attract more fans if I allude certain things about myself.  I'm not doing it because it's "in" at the moment (in fact, what I'm doing is silly as hell).  Instead, I'm doing it because I like the things involved:  the list of possible names mostly borrowed from titles of old-school video games, the ridiculous shades, the musical style itself.  I'm not using any of these things ironically, like hipsters who lack the courage to step up and say that they like something uncool.  Nor am I doing it subtly; all aspects of my image are rather garish and obvious.  I'm just creating a character that I like and running with it.

Isn't that really what it's all about?  Everyone wants to be "the guy" (or girl, of course), but everyone has their own personalized opinion of what that is.  Why shouldn't we all be the artist we want to see out there?

Today's song:  These guys are going to be playing in Cambridge on Tuesday.

We Are Scientists - The Great Escape

Today's thing:  More lyrical work, woo.
Okay, okay, okay.  TOMORROW I'll have something better to write, I swear.

Today's song:  Oh man I like Metric do you guys like Metric here's some Metric

Metric - Help I'm Alive

Today's thing:  I finished up a second speakerhead.  Also I put something together for Sunday's class.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Okay, I know I said I'd write about personas today, but I've been running around trying to prepare all sorts of electronic things for this weekend.

Today's song:  Oh man it's like there's a theme or something.

Billy Idol - Hot in the City

Today's thing:  I worked on a few more speakerhead assemblies.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Remind me to write a longer post about musicians and their images tomorrow.

Today's song:  What is this I don't even

Peelander Z - S.T.E.A.K.

Today's thing:  I put together a few more lines of lyrics, thought about structures of songs-in-progress and came up with ways to beat the heat (a wet towel in the freezer?  It's better than dripping with sweat all day).

Monday, July 5, 2010

Once again, it's way too hot out.  Even writing is making me sweat.  This is no good.

Today's song:  Hurf durf

OK Go - You're So Damn Hot

Today's thing:  I planned some more of my first class over at MIT, which'll be this coming Sunday.  I also picked up some stuff for it, though it's a secret for now.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

So yeah, it's the 4th of July and I'm hearing fireworks while watching cars inch past my window, backed up to lord knows where.  Happy America.

Today's song:  I'm just looking for an easy out.

Jimi Hendrix - The Star Spangled Banner

Today's thing:  I did a hell of a rendition of Hey Ya on the piano just now, that'll have to do.
Today, I went on a self-proclaimed "Boston Adventure," a short walk of the area around Government Center.  It was organized by the Society of Spontaneity (bostonsos.org) and involved following clues given over the phone, as well as decoding cryptograms chalked around the city.  The whole thing culminated in a game of freeze tag, weirdly enough.  Hey, it was a fun way to spend the afternoon.

Now, I'm headed back to RI and spending the 4th there.  I'll watch some fireworks, drink some beer and do some laundry, then go back to Boston on the 5th.  I'd love to see Boston's celebration, but most of my friends and family will be in RI.

Today's song:  Like I said, I've been struggling with lyrics.  What I've come up with has been pretty ridiculous, messing with alliteration and in-line rhyming and all sorts of weird stuff.  I blame Barenaked Ladies being one of my early musical influences, just listen to the lyrics in this one - "...and my gastrointestinal festival's best of all, cardiovascular questions they ask you are less than the answers they give you are cancerous?"  Whoof.

Barenaked Ladies - Stomach vs. Heart

Today's thing:  I finally found some small toy keyboards.  I've been looking for them for a while now for a circuit-bending project.  I bought two, since they were six dollars apiece and I can cite them as an expense for the class I'll be teaching next weekend.  It's a necessary step in creation, at least - I also spent most of the day with relatives, so I'll take whatever productivity I can get.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

On Vuvuzelas, a second time

So, if for some reason you haven't heard, a vuvuzela is a loud plastic horn that you can usually buy at or near sporting events.  It's come into the public eye lately because of its prominence at South African World Cup matches; the instrument is a key component of their soccer (er, football) culture.  Thing is, when a large portion of an already huge crowd all blows them at once, the stadium sounds like it is filled with a giant swarm of VERY ANGRY BEES.  Since this noise is annoying as hell and impossible to ignore if you're watching the Cup, even on television, it's become a weird pop-culture thing.

Now, vuvuzelas, or at least the idea of them, are everywhere.  People are making jokes about them online.  Photoshops are cropping up, adding vuvuzela-blowers to famous pictures.  YouTube has even added a vuvuzela button, which lets you play a hellacious buzzing noise over the video you're watching.  I was at a bar the other night, watching a crowd of people play darts.  At one point, just when some guy was about to take a shot, all of his friends started going "BZZZZZZZZZZZZZ" to mess with him.  It's kind of like Kanye when he interrupted Taylor Swift, except anyone can buy their own Kanye to interrupt people with.

'Cause that's where things are about to get interesting.  With the 4th of July coming up, street vendors all over will be pushing carts full of vuvuzelas.  They always have, mind you - those long plastic horns in red and blue?  Yeah.  Those.  What makes this year different is that now they're popular, now they're a fad.  Now, people will go "oh, hey, vuvuzelas!" instead of "oh, that silly horn thing."  I'm forseeing - or forehearing - a 4th full of bees.

Maybe I'm wrong, maybe those garish horns will go largely unsold.  There's always the chance that the public will go "oh, THOSE," shudder, and turn away.  I can only hope that this is the case.

Today's song:  No real reason for this one other than the fact that I like Franz Ferdinand and their newest album (which came out early last year) didn't get as much attention as their others.

Franz Ferdinand - Lucid Dreams

Today's thing:  I did more work on that 8-bit rock song.  STILL no full lyrics yet - they're slippery buggers.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I walked from home (Mission Hill) to the North End today with a friend from RI, which was cool.  I hadn't ever seen that neighborhood before.  I'm pretty damn exhausted, though.  Whoof.

Today's song:  I mentioned Freezepop yesterday, so I re-listened to one of their albums.  Here's a song by them that I always like.

Freezepop - Plastic Stars

Today's thing:  I worked on some lyrics.  I'm accumulating a decent amount of them, but they're scattered bits of different songs... kind of like the songs themselves.  I've really got to bring them together.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

On stage names

A lot of artists I really like have stage names.  The Hives all have them (from Nicholaus Arson to Chris Dangerous), as do Electric Six (including Dick Valentine and The Colonel).  Even local synth-pop band Freezepop has lead singer Liz Excitement.  It's a good way to make the band seem more exciting, I guess, more like larger-than-life characters.  I can dig it.

Since I mentioned that I'd be trying to put together an act to do for that open mic night I found, I've started thinking about coming up with my own stage name.  It sounds silly, but I am putting together exactly what I said - an act.  My idea of a fun show pays attention to the fact that the whole thing is a performance.  As I've probably talked your ear off at one point or another, I love it when bands do interesting things when playing live, things that make the show different from just listening to an album.  Anyway, that's why I'm focusing on the showmanship of this thing, not just the music.

So, I need something that'll be unique and memorable, yet also "me" in some way.  Liz Excitement presumably brings just that to the stage, but when I think of what I'd bring, the only thing I can think of is "self-deprecation."  Not only is Jordan Self-Deprecation a bit of a mouthful, it's also a paradox; to call myself that would be to imply that I was good at self-deprecation, which would make me the opposite.  I'm better off finding something that relates to the kind of act I'm doing.

I'm not doing the standard singing-and-playing-acoustic-guitar type of show.  For one, I don't have an acoustic guitar, for another, I can't sing.  What I think I'm going to do is something that I can tie several of my interests into.  I'm hoping to create a few of my own songs in that chiptune genre, with electric guitar backed by pre-programmed 8-bit drums and synths.  It's not the most impressive thing when it comes to skill with playing live, but I'm trying to make it interesting and fun.  I'm also considering working my speakerhead into the act - its voice changer may help my lack of decent singing voice.  Or it may make it worse.  Who knows.  Either way, the whole thing has a very electronically-driven feel.

The name that I've been kicking around in my head is Super 8, as sort of a stage name and just a band name for my solo projects.  I like the retro sound it has, as well as the "8" that it shares with "8-bit."  On the other hand, it's derived from a film format, and the fact that this is an audio act rather than video makes it a little incongruous.  Still, a large part of the performance will be visual if I'm wearing my speakerhead...  I'm really not sure.  I'll keep thinking about it.

Today's song:  Continuing the electro/dance theme, here's one from a synthpop band I really like.  Again, great song, great video.

Royksopp - Happy Up Here

Today's thing:  I worked more on the song from yesterday, changing the drums in one part and recording more guitar, as well as arranging a little more bass.  I'm hoping to get lyrics together within the next few days, since it'd be really awesome to play that one for the open mic thing.  We'll see.
Prospective song names (just for fun, I swear):

First Blood First Blank

If Challenge Had a Taste, You'd be Quite Delicious

Ho-Tep's Revenge

Unknown as Usual, King Friday

Line In

Hung Over on Your Love

Not Today, Little Girl

Love in the Time of Nukes

Kind of All or Nothing

Today's song:  So, this is pretty cool.  Techno/dance song, but with lines from movies.  That rhyme with each other.

Ricardo Autobahn - The Golden Age of Video

Today's thing:  I came up with and recorded this.  It needs some arranging and vocals, but I'm pretty excited about it so far.

8-bit rock song

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

After more musicwork and watching an hour-long live webcam session that Andrew W.K. did, I walked over to an open-mic night at a place in Cambridge.  I found out about it this afternoon and figured I'd check it out.  It seemed like a good atmosphere - low pressure, some regulars, some newcomers, encouragement for all - so I figure I'll try to put a two-song set together for next week.  It'll give me a goal and deadline.

Oh, and when I was walking back, I ran into a dumpster diver.  Nice guy.  Gave me advice on where to look for discarded electronics to take apart.

Today's song:  Here's something that's a completely different genre than what I've posted so far.  It's drum'n'bass, which... well, it's not hip-hop, like this particular song sounds at first.  The drum'n'bass part kicks in at about 1:14.

High Contrast - Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Today's thing:  I got some more of that 8-bit-style Party Hard cover put together.  The guitar's pretty damn fuzzy, though, so I may have to rerecord it or something.

8-bit Party Hard little more demo

Monday, June 28, 2010

I ended up working on various musical snippets for most of the day, then found out that a small music festival was going on at Fenway.  I headed over there and ended up catching Silversun Pickups' entire set from just behind the stage.  Which was cool, because they (along with Gogol Bordello) walked right past me, yet I didn't actually pay to get in.

Today's song:  These guys were at the event that I eavesdropped on, but behind closed doors.  What a shame.

Metric - Help I'm Alive

Today's thing:  I recorded the start of a new song.  Thinkin' I'm going to end up calling it Die or Dance.  We'll see.

B punkish test

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Things I have witnessed in the city:

Fireworks.
An ice cream truck.
Hipsters.
Street sweepers.
Dumpster divers.
Young people makin' out.
Old people makin' out.
Runaway balloons.
Cop cars, fire trucks and ambulances.
Extremely bored anti-riot police.
Sports fans.
Drummers.
A sudden rainstorm on a balmy day that had everyone running for cover, united in one moment of "oh, shit."

Today's song:  I just ran across Guitar Wolf, a Japanese band that plays what they call "Jet Rock."  It's like punk mixed with rockabilly mixed with loads of distortion.  It's pretty neat.

Guitar Wolf - Jet Generation

Today's thing:  I started/continued a handful of music projects.  I'm trying to make a couple of the tunes from that set of mini theme songs into full-length songs, since I think they have promise.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Today, I saw my friend fall from the sky.  Finally.

Yes, Chris actually managed to go skydiving.  I got both his takeoff and landing on video.

The reason I didn't jump myself is because it costs about 200 dollars, which I didn't have (and which I doubt I'd be eager to part with if I did have).  However, I worry that that may just be a lucky excuse - I honestly don't know if I would have the balls to do it.  I'd like to think that I would, but I can't tell for sure.

Today's song:  Another guy I wish I could sing and play piano like.

Jamie Cullum - I'm All Over it

 Today's thing:  More footage for the video project.  Pretty much any day I can say "I got some good shots" I consider a success.

On a range of things

Summer in the city:  It's pretty much what you'd expect.  Brick, asphalt, heat.  A welcome breeze.  Sweat and a drink with ice.

Skydiving:  We're going to try for the third time tomorrow.  As someone who believes that his life is a narrative, I have faith in the Rule of three.

Vuvuzelas:  BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Red things in my room:  One wall and half of another.  My headphones.  My guitar.  The shirt I'm wearing.  My copy of "The Elephant Vanishes" and the screenwriting book beneath it.  A guitar pick.  The Sharpie on my keychain.

Music:  I will make more of it this weekend, so help me.

Today's song:  I'd love to be able to play piano like this guy.  I'd also love to be able to sing like him.

Ben Folds - All U Can Eat

Today's thing:  I put down the basis for a possible new song, I guess?  Also I took a day trip to RI and scraped together most of this coming month's rent, so that's pretty weighty, too.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Note to self:  Job interviews go from "good" to "bye" as soon as you mention that you're only here for the summer.

Today's song:  The pop-punk-dance band Datarock says that they're influenced by Talking Heads.  So much so, in fact, that they did a song with lyrics made entirely of Talking Heads song titles.

Datarock - True Stories

Today's thing:  Filled out and dropped off yet more job applications.  I also put together a little more of that song I mentioned yesterday.  I know I said I'd have something cool today, but hopefully I'll be able to deliver tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Jobhunting for the umpteenth time.  This makes me kind of boring, sorry.

Today's song:  This is something I've tried (and, to some degree, succeeded) to replicate in a few songs, mostly in that live 8-bit cover of Heroes that Ian and I did.  Old-school Nintendo synths and drums with driving guitars make for some pretty fun stuff, especially when the whole thing's done by these guys.

Anamanaguchi - Helix Nebula

Today's thing:  Well, I put together a little bit of a song, but not enough to share.  I also submitted another job app, picked another one up, you get the drill.  I'm sure this is a pretty boring thing to hear by now.  Tomorrow I'll try to have something nifty (or even better, you know, A JOB).  Might as well link to that 8-bit cover of Heroes of ours that I mentioned.  Ian's on the left, I'm on the right.

Off the Balcony - Heroes

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

STILL no job luck.  I could always try being a damn chimney sweep.  Or, possibly, I could give selling "intimate apparel" a shot.


Today's song:  I only knew one song by this band because they had a song in Stranger than Fiction, which I'm pretty sure I've already mentioned that I love.  I saw this music video the other day and thought it and the song were pretty good, so I'm sharing it.

Maximo Park - Apply Some Pressure

Today's thing:  I got yet more footage involving my friend's foiled-for-the-second-time skydiving attempt.  Again, it counts.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Today, I:

Had teacher training at MIT.
Was asked "Are you Jordan?" by another teacher, then shown a text message from her brother instructing her to marry me.
Walked from Cambridge all the way back to Mission Hill.
Got caught in the rain on the way.
Stopped by the Sheraton to play their piano and ended up talking to a middle-aged guy about music for two hours.
Filled out more job applications.
Thought repeatedly that it was too damn hot.
Took this picture.


Today's song:  Great song, great video.

Harvey Danger - Moral Centralia

Today's thing:  The above picture, as well as another picture I took that I'll (hopefully) use as some kind of album art.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Writing more songs, filling out more apps.  It's a pretty damn balmy day out, so I walked down the block and took a few pictures.  They're kind of artsy-fartsy.


THAT's what I was hoping to get with the similar one I posted.  Like I predicted, I had to kneel right in the middle of the street when it was empty.  I've also been waiting for an opportunity to get this next one:


Then the next one's kind of the opposite.  NO TURNING BACK


Maybe I should have taken a few steps forward.  Oh well.


This one's just so I have an excuse to mention that the bells in this place ring pretty much every fifteen minutes.  There's the standard "Hear-the-bells-chime, what-is-the-hour" tune on the hour, but during the hour it's a weird variation that just kind of confuses me when I hear it.

Today's song:  No reason for this one other than that I really like it.

David Bowie - Afraid

Today's thing:  Here are those theme songs I promised!  I'd go on for a while about how terrible my voice is but you've heard me say that before so here you go.  If you're not in here and wanted to be, sorry.  If you're in here and didn't want to be, sorry part two.  If you're in here and wanted- ah, hell, here's the damn song.

Theme Songs

Screwing around at the speed of sound

Since arriving here, I can't actually tell if I've been productive or not.  On one hand, I haven't been able to find a job (which will soon pose a problem).  On the other, I'm making new music at a faster pace than ever.  More importantly, I'm making fleshed-out music - songs that are longer than the usual 30 seconds I can put together if I'm lucky.  It's kind of like the old simile of someone turning on a switch in my brain.  This is odd, because there's no actual reason for this to be happening.  I'm not doing drugs, I haven't learned any new theory, and I can't even say that I don't have distractions.  I've hung out with a handful of different friends already, and been all over the city.  Maybe I have fewer distractions, but there are still a decent number.

I guess I shouldn't question it.

Today's song:  OK Go released a new video the other day.  If you haven't watched it yet, you should.  It fits right into their collection of incredible videos.  One day, perhaps, they'll run out of ways to top themselves.  That day is not today.

OK Go - End Love

Today's thing:  I spent most of the afternoon and some of the evening working on this.  For some reason, I ended up having the idea to do mini theme songs for a handful of Hampshire people I know and make them all into one full song.  Each person's going to have two rhyming couplets (except for one so far) and a different guitar/bass riff based on something about them.  This is what I completed today - I still have several more segments to do.  The lyrics are written, but not recorded.

Listen


I'm hoping to finish it up tomorrow. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

Today, I dreamed I slept until half past three.

Then I woke up and it was 9:23.  Seven minutes later, my alarm went off.  I got up, got ready, and met a friend to watch (and film) him skydive.  We drove an hour and a half to the jump site, along with another Hampshire kid, the friend's parents and a two-year-old they were watching.  There, we were faced with a cloud cover that made it impossible to actually perform any jumps.  We waited for about two and a half hours, but the weather decided that nobody would be falling from the sky today.  Well, not on purpose, anyway.

The highlight of the trip was when the two-year-old turned to the Hampshire girl and said "What's cooking?  You are!" in his best bachelor voice.

Later, I saw Toy Story 3 with a couple of other friends (one of whom kindly got me in for free, since she worked at the theater).  It was FANTASTIC.  I was impressed with the movie right from the start.  It was definitely made for people my age, people who grew up with the first two movies.  All of the characters felt the same as ever, and all of the action, gags, bobs and weaves were perfect.  The plot... well, I won't spoil it, but it covers some really serious ground.  There's a climactic moment towards the end that, thematically, is the kind of thing you wouldn't expect from a G-rated movie. 

And tomorrow's back to jobhunting.

Today's song:  It's gotta be this.

Randy Newman - You've Got a Friend in Me

Today's thing:  I took a good amount of footage today for my eventual summer docu-narrative thing.  I'd say it works for today.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"Delicious and piping hot in only three microwave minutes!"

At a friend's suggestion down in the comments, I picked up a huge canister of oatmeal.  For four and a half dollars, it says that it'll get me through about 30 days of breakfasts.  The actual phrase is "30 DELICIOUS BOWLS!"  I think it'll be closer to 30 monotonous bowls, but if it saves me money that I could be out there going awesome places (or, you know, just paying the rent) with, that's cool with me.  Compared to eating a cheeseburger for breakfast each day, I'll be saving 25 bucks a month.  I'll also be a hell of a lot thinner.


As usual by now, I did more jobhunting.  I officially dropped off my Urban Outfitters application, then stopped into Best Buy to check up on an online app I submitted a while ago.  When they asked for my name and phone number so the hiring manager could get back to me, I smiled and whipped out my resume (complete with contact info).  I felt pretty slick, but probably just looked overeager.  I also picked up an app to iParty.  I plan on asking Andrew W.K., self-professed King of Partying, to give me a reference.  How can they not hire me with that kind of backup?


Another of the more notable apps I picked up today was this.  I did it on a whim, just for the sake of aiming laughably out of my league (for retail, anyway).





This one, ironically, is the least stylish app I've picked up so far.  It's for Louis Vuitton.


Today's song:  The source of this post's title.


Gorillaz - Superfast Jellyfish


Today's thing:  I wanted to record something with my pocket synth, so I started working on a chiptune-style cover of Party Hard.  Here's the intro.


Listen


Tomorrow looks busy as hell, but I'll try to update... at some point.  I mean REALLY busy.  But really awesome.  You'll see.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Finally, the sun!  I've been waiting to take this picture for a while now.  This park is a 30-second walk from my apartment.  I have a few other places that I'd like to take shots of - if it's sunny again tomorrow I'll try for some of them.


I'd like to set the shot up so the Prudential Center and John Hancock Tower are larger in the arch, but I'll have to stand in the middle of the street.  At some point, I'm sure that it'll happen.  I also took this one on my cell phone over in Cambridge, just as a reminder of a shot I want to get in that summer documentary I mentioned.  On screen, I think it'll be delicious.  I say "delicious" because good shots make my mouth water.  It's kind of weird.



One new job app submitted, two more taken in.  I've officially initiated my apply-to-silly-places plan.  See today's thing.

Today's song:  It's funny because I'm unemployed.  And it's Tuesday.

Loverboy - Everybody's Working For The Weekend

Today's thing:

(click for big)
(eating shit like it's chocolate)

I'm tempted to add "My screenwriting professor," "The guy in the apartment downstairs who gets his mail in boxers and a tie" and "Martin from QC" but I think that'd be overdoing it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Another short post to counteract yesterday's wall of text.  Did I mention that I'm still searching for a job?  I aim to apply as a busboy (as well as a host of other things) tomorrow.  I also may start picking up applications to places where I'm ridiculously out of my element.  Like, say, Bloomingdale's.

Today's song:  So, after 20 years, Devo have a new album out.  It's pretty good, and it sure as hell sounds like them.  Seriously, listen to this thing.  Right from the beginning, it's DEVO O'CLOCK, SUCKERS yeah I really don't know.

Devo - Fresh

Today's thing:  I turned that 37-second bassline thing from the other day into a much fuller song.  I'm actually pretty happy with how it's sounding.  Now I need to write some lyrics, maybe throw in some "c'mon c'mon"s or "hey hey hey"s.

Bassline thing 2 fuller

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Importance of Being Cera

For a while now, I've been told that I look like Michael Cera. It started off a few years ago with a couple of friends here and there. That's funny, I thought the second or third time it happened. However, as Cera stars in more and more movies, the comparison comes more and more frequently. By now, I feel like I have to write something in order to keep from going off onto a rant every time someone brings it up.

Last night was a bit of a tipping point. I ran into a friend and we hung out, talking. As I made some ridiculously poor play on words ("you snooze, you... miss Dustin... being in Connecticut...?"), she turned to me and said "You remind me SO MUCH of Michael Cera!" This was the second time I'd heard those words in as many days. The friend, of course, didn't know that. Nor did the rain-slicked city street that my cry of "FUCK!" reverberated against, but it didn't care much either way.

I'll admit, there is a little bit of a resemblance. We're both about the same height, weight and build. We have similar hair color and haircuts (though I like to think that mine is more stylish). We're also kind of awkward. Alright, maybe there's a lot of a resemblance. Still, the thing that has brought this percieved likeness to a head is one particular Cera role, one that's not even in theaters for another few months.

Yup, it's Scott Pilgrim. I read the comic last year after hearing it was being made into a movie. I loved it and made my friends read it. How could I not? It's the tale of a 23-year old slacker bassist who, in order to win over a girl, has to defeat her evil exes, boss-battle style. I know that the "twenty-something slacker" character archetype is designed to be easy to identify with, but this one's pretty perfect for me. Videogame references? Check. Rock music? Check. Being the main character of the movie in your head? Shit yeah. And the thing is, my friends have started to see a connection, too. Now, for every person who says I look or act like Michael Cera, there are two who will jump in and say that I'm a living Scott Pilgrim.

This is a marked improvement. While Pilgrim is now played by Cera, the character is different from Cera's usual smile-awkwardly-when-he-should-be-making-conversation type. Scott is still a goofy guy, yes, but he's far more energetic, upbeat and sure of himself. He's an underdog character, but he still kicks a lot of ass. This is the kind of person that, several years ago, I might have fantasized about being. Instead, it's the kind of person that I'm turning into.

I say this with no lack of surprise. For a long time, I've wanted to have an interesting life, to go forth and be awesome. Suddenly, I'm doing just that. I'm being bolder, I'm living on my own in a huge city for the summer. I'm getting into sold-out rock concerts by convincing the lead guitarist to put me on the guest list. I'm making my own (mostly crummy) music and playing (mostly tiny) gigs. I'm not punching people so hard they turn into coins, but I'm doing the rest.

When Scott Pilgrim vs. The World comes out in August, I will doubtlessly be compared to Cera even more than ever. It probably doesn't help that I have two t-shirts that Pilgrim/Cera wears. However, as more people become familiar with the character, hopefully I can make the leap from the S.S. Cera as it passes Pilgrim Island. Maybe in a few years, I'll step out of a club, amp in hand after opening for Lord Knows Who, and someone'll say "Good show. Liked it. By the way, you kinda remind me of Scott Pilgrim. Ever get that?" And I'll grin.

You better believe it's going to rock ultimate.



Today's song: I've gotta have something upbeat here. I've been listening to a lot of these guys lately, they're Japanese and heavily inspired by Devo.

Polysics - Wild One

Today's thing: I just wrote a damn essay about being compared to Michael Cera, I'm counting that as a creation. I need to go outside.
Little to no post today.  As I was standing on a street corner in the rain texting a friend about the remarkable lack of parties compared to on-campus living (though, to be fair, I was looking for not parties but a brick to hold up my futonframe with), I was jumped by a different friend.  Then we hung out and ended up watching Garden State.  Weird how that works.

Today's song:  Well, it was the final song in Garden State and I want to get some sleep so it's-

Frou Frou - Let Go

Today's thing:  Ended up with a flowerpot-shaped hunk of plaster to take the place of the brick that I never found.  I didn't really create it but it's all I have for now.  I also worked on a crappy mashup that'll probably be tomorrow's thing.  Oh, and I wrote something else, if that counts, but you can't read it.  Sorry.

Friday, June 11, 2010

I spent today filling out those applications.  Sitting on the couch, checking addresses of previous employers, I almost felt like I was becoming a competent adult.  It wasn't until I glanced at the posters and headphones already littering my room that I realized that that isn’t happening anytime soon.  Luckily, it was a nice day out, which brightened my mood.  I even have a backyard of sorts that I stared at in between references.




I’m also slowly working on the bag of cheeseburgers that I have in the fridge.  Yesterday, I went to Burger King and got six of their dollar doubles.  I had one for breakfast this morning, along with some yogurt, as if that would make everything okay.  It’s kind of disgusting, but it’s at least two days of food for six bucks.  Being broke is such a good influence on me.


Today’s song:  Lately, I’ve been listening to this really great cover band.  They’re called The Baseballs, they’re from Germany and they do 50’s rock covers of modern pop songs while dressed like greasers.  It’s AWESOME.

The Baseballs – Love In This Club


Today’s thing:  The recording quality on this is horrible, since I did it with my laptop’s built-in mic.  I really need to get my external sound card set up.  Anyway, I’ve been playing around with the bassline for this for a while now, but it wasn’t until tonight that I came up with the simple guitar hook.  I think my favorite bit isn’t the hook itself, but the jangle in the background of the hook’s second measure.  Oh, and this one’s also 37 seconds. I’ll have to come up with more later.

Bassline Thing 2
Today marked the start of active jobhunting.   I stopped by Borders first, after having heard they were hiring.  Instead of getting an application, though, I was told to fill out a 45-minute online application and wait for their hiring manager to e-mail me.  Express was more friendly, giving me both an application and the name of the person to talk to when I turn it in.  A couple of other places also surrendered applications.  Looks like I’ve got a lot of app-filling to do tomorrow.

Today’s song:   It’s been sprinkling all day and I just put up my Stranger than Fiction poster.  This one’s good for a time like this.

Spoon – The Way We Get By

Today’s thing:  Well, I made a backing track to jam to on my keyboard or guitar.  It ain’t much and it’s definitely not worth posting.  I also made… er, headway on getting employed, so there’s that, too.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Today’s move went well.  John showed up and gallantly put my stuff in his car while I scrambled around making sure I had everything.  I burned him a CD full of Andrew W.K. for the ride and we took off, stopping for burgers along the way.  We got to the apartment, and as I started unloading, I ran into a Hampshire kid.  No joke, he was sitting on the steps of my new building, no doubt busy looking vaguely familiar.  After the initial “Don’t I…?” “Yeah… You look…” “Where do you…” exchange, he introduced me to the friends he was visiting, who live in the apartment downstairs and are two more Hampshire kids.  Sitcoms aren’t this coincidental.

Once everything was in the apartment, John and I noticed a Jeep that had become boxed in by other parked cars.  Its driver elegantly inched out of the predicament with a sixteen-point turn.  Meanwhile, the passenger left an angry note on the car behind them.  Once they’d left, we gleefully ran downstairs to see what she’d written.



Oh, and then John drove me to Stop & Shop because it was raining.  I figured I’d be a responsible adult and-



Nah, I’m just kidding, I actually got milk, cheese, bread and V8 juice instead.  John took off shortly after that, perhaps worried that I was now turning into The Man.

As I unpacked, I discovered the box of booze I’d brought back with me from school and left untouched during my two weeks or so at home.  It accumulated towards the end of the semester as people left early, giving away whatever spare alcohol they didn’t want to bring back to their families.  I had tried to invite people over to drink the stuff I was left with, but was thwarted when instead they brought their own booze (and refused to take it with them when they left).  So, I pawned some off on a friend, left some for my modmates (who later pawned that off on the same friend) and packed the rest away.

Completely forgetting about that, I wandered into a small liquor store down the street on Monday night with the sole intention of buying the cheapest bottle of wine they had.  I figured it was the thing to do.  After all, a small room, no money and half a liberal arts degree qualify me soundly as a “starvingartist.”   You can’t spell “starvingartist” without “cheapshit red wine,” I thought, and decided to embrace the stereotype.  Never mind that I wasn’t in the mood for a drink.  I would just save this for when I couldn’t stand being sober (or tasteful) any longer.

And now, I’m still not particularly in the mood.  As I stare at my five bottles, it occurs to me that I am in possession of fatal amounts of alcohol.  If I drank my entire collection, I would flat-out die.  It also occurs to me that this isn’t really a huge deal since you can also be in possession of fatal amounts of bleach pretty damn easily.  I’d say, instead, that this makes for a good rule of thumb:  If you don’t have enough booze to kill at least one man (or woman, but she has to be Russian), you don’t have enough booze to host a drinking party.

Since I don’t plan on offing myself or throwing a rager, though, that bottle of Pinot Noir is going to be around for a while.  According to its label, it is “made exclusively for restaurants and hotels throughout the world where wines of this quality are expected.”  Which is honest, since you know damn well that you won’t find any six-dollar bottles of wine at the Ritz.  I’d mix it with the V8 juice, but I’m not sure which would be helping the other go down.

And now I’ve written four paragraphs about my apathy towards my minibar.  Where do you go from there? “Oh also I don’t really care much about the t-shirts I folded earlier?”  I think I’ll call it a night.

Today’s song:  It pretty much has to be an Andrew W.K. song, given that I heard nearly an hour and a half of him in the car today.  They’re all ridiculously kick-the-world’s-ass-because-I-am-awesome in tone, but I think I’ll choose “This Is My World” for now because it seems fitting.  Well, aside from the brief verse about watching someone through their bedroom window, anyway.  Everyone across the street has their shades drawn.


Andrew W.K. – This Is My World

Today’s thing:  With John’s help, I fixed up the bedframe - er, futonframe - in here.  Later, I put together a keyboard stand.  It’s not really creating but it makes for a sweet setup.



I guess I created a nice living environment.  Shut up, it counts.  I’m tired and I want to go to futon.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Right!  Less exposition, more rock.

For starters, this is my room.  It’s tiny.



In order to get even this much in the frame, I had to stand in the closet.  It’s THAT small.  I’ve been living in dorms for most of the last two years, though, so I’m kind of used to it.  At least this has carpet.  Oh, and a nice view.



I’ll be moving my stuff in tomorrow, with the help of my friend John.  I’ll also take a few pictures of the surrounding neighborhood, which I haven’t quite passed judgment on yet.  It treads the line between sketchy and classy.  If I turn right off of my small street, I soon pass boarded-over houses and a mechanic’s lot full of junked cars before coming to the Orange Line.  If I turn left, I pass a medical research center and an upscale bar & grill before hitting the Green Line.  I turn left a lot.

I’ve picked up a CharlieCard for the T already.  Given how easy it turned out to be to get one (“Hi, how do I go about getting a CharlieCard?”  “How much do you want to put on it for now?”  “Uh, ten dollars.”  “Here you go.”  “Oh.”) I’m not sure why I didn’t get one years ago.  Still, the act of getting it felt good, as if I’d received a small badge that said Hello, I know what I’m doing.

Today’s song:  Jumping to the opposite end of the spectrum from yesterday, this one’s about NOT wanting to live somewhere.  I share frontman David Byrne’s sentiments – yes, the country’s nice, but it’s not the place for me.  Not at this point in my life, anyway.  Who knows, though, maybe someday I’ll want a lawn to tell kids to get off of.


Today's thing:  I don't know if you can really call this a song, since it's a whopping 37 seconds, but it's a thing and I made it so that counts as my daily creating stuff.  It's all electronic except for the recorded guitar, but that's pretty easy to tell.

That’s it for now.  More tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

So, I'm in Boston.

For a lot of you, that shouldn't come as a surprise.  I end up hanging out in the city practically once a month, sometimes even more often.  What makes today different, though, is that now I live here.

See, I'm subletting a childhood friend's place for the summer.  He started trying to find a subletter just a week or so after I'd lackadaisically thought "Hey, wouldn't it be fun to live in Boston for the summer?"  It seemed like a great fit, so I figured I'd give it a shot.  Which was weird for me, because I haven't ever made such a Big Life Decision that quickly.  I take forever just to decide what card to play in Apples to Apples.

The fact that I now live somewhere I've always fantasized about living (since I was young, I've loved cities, Boston most of all) is still a little surreal.  It hasn't sunk in.  Granted, I haven't moved my stuff in yet (and he left a little of his), but I have the key, I'm here now and I've written this month's rent check.

Anyway, now that the backstory's out of the way, let me explain the point of this blog, since that's pretty much a first-post requirement.  It's partly a way for my friends and family to keep up with me, partly a way to make myself write more.  I have a few guidelines for this summer (besides the obvious find-a-job-pay-the-rent-be-able-to-survive).  One of them is "Keep up with this blog," the rest are:

* Have lots of adventures
     This is the big one.  It's pretty much the reason I'm here.
* Create something every day
     Music, a short film, a box that lights up.  Anything, really.
* Make a film of my summer here
     I'm a film student, I need all the practice I can get.
* When in doubt, go for it
     I've always wanted to be bolder.  Now seems like a good time.

Oh, and one other thing - I'll try to include a link to a song with every post.  It'll be fun to find things that match posts thematically.  It'll also be immensely self-satisfying to be like THIS MUSIC IS GOOD SO THERE.  Anyway, I definitely have to start with the song that inspired the name of this blog.

The Billy Nayer Show - Mars

Thank you, and good night.  I'll talk about the apartment itself tomorrow.