Directed by Rowdy Herrington

For several months now I’ve been contemplating a roadtrip vacation to Wyoming and California. Initially the idea was to meet up with my old chum Heather Cox (the first in a collectible series of Heathers I know) in Wyoming and then we would drive to San Francisco. Lately I’ve been getting the feeling that Californy is the place I oughta be. In the last 4 months, I know three people who’ve moved there. Plus the Bay Area is home to some of my most favorite musicians: Jellyfish, Michael Manring, Joe Satriani, Geoff Tyson, Primus, Faith No More, Invisibl Skratch Piklz, Tower of Power, even Huey Lewis and the News. So I’ve always wanted to see it.

But then Heather said she couldn’t afford it. And then DeLaine said she couldn’t be my co-pilot. And my car, well, I just don’t trust it lately. It’s plotting something. I can feel it.

Check out this postcard from Heather and dig her wicked handwriting. Font-makers take note.

Since Amy and Heath talk about the various exploits of their cats, I feel it necessary to relate to you that my cats are completely retarded. Billie for whatever reason is unwilling to lap water with her tongue – she digs water out with her paw and laps it from there. She makes a terrific mess at it. Stinkfoot is basically a dog; thoroughly without grace or elegance, he gets so excited when I give him some tuna that he eats too quickly and two times out of five he barfs it back up. I have to pull him away for bit to let the tuna digest. The dork. He’s also endlessly fascinated by shadows and plumbing.

So I have one cat who has a drinking problem and another who’s bulimic. What kind of parent will I ever hope to be?

Taxes Before Death?

With the deficit at a record high and set to only get higher, I have to ask, is there some fundamental division between Republican and Democrat economics such that Republicans like to borrow money and Democrats like to tax? Which method works better? Isn’t it kind of like buying stuff with a credit card versus making yourself work harder for more money? When the US borrows billions, from whom are we borrowing and what are the interest rates?

And if we’re going to finance a $48 billion-a-year war, shouldn’t we tax the populace more? I think that would make us far less likely to support the war effort. We can tolerate our troops being in danger but if we had to pay for them to go, I think we’d be much more reticent to get involved. Death we can handle, it’s taxes we really seem to have a problem with.

Our deficit for this last fiscal year stands at 455 billion. Divide that by our population of 291 million and it would mean that each of us would have to pay $1,563.00 in tax to pay it off. Ouch. And that’s just the deficit, so add that to your regular annual taxes.

Last weekend I played a frat party on a boat.

Drudge Commits Poesy

“The new generation really needs to reach out for romance, because we’re spending too much time in front of screens and radiation and lights and blips and blurbs. We need romance and flowers and wind.”
– Matt Drudge

Amen, brother (I say as I stare blankly at my screen). This quote came from a great article on him by my Camille Paglia in Radar Magazine. I can’t recommend enough that everyone in the world read more Paglia. She’s a genius.

The Porn Deficit

Though we may be a country of plenty, there are still those who live without the bounty we enjoy every day. Sadder still, those most in need are those who actively refuse the assistance that they so desperately require. This man for example. I ask you, brethren, is there one among us who is in need of good porn more than this man? We can only pray that he seeks help soon.

In other news, informative commentary from Amy on last weekend’s Pointed Stick/Domesticat annual summit. Pics from the Cajun’s show here and forthcoming from Amy. That show marked the professional debut of the new OLP guitar. It sounded OK. Everything sounded much better since I reset all the patches on the POD. And whaddya know, there’s an article on the Line6 site (POD’s maker) about Evanescence. Aren’t they just everywhere? It’s so weird to see Ben Moody and Amy Lee in places like that – seems like just the other day John Lee was in the music store telling us about his daughter’s new record…

Mind for War

“Right now, the military is the only action agency in the United States government, so any time anyone wants something done, the military is being called upon to do it. But that’s the trouble. The military knocked things down in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s very good at knocking things down. But now we have to build things, and the military’s not very good at building things. It’s not about building things. It’s about allowing what you’ve built to be destroyed. It’s about allowing people you love to be killed.”
Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark

Somebody make that guy run for office! Click the link above to read Esquire‘s full article – it’s fantastic. It pointed out something that I’ll have to doublecheck somehow: that the Republicans in Congress voted against intervention in Kosovo. So all the ethnic cleansing that was going on, the Republicans didn’t particularly care about. Yet suddenly they care about the evils Saddam Hussein visited upon his people? At least that’s what their defense is when asked about WMD – "we went in to liberate the people!"

On a similar tack, here’s a neat bit of math from your pal and mine, Moby:

"so according to donald rumsfeld the u.s is spending 4 billion dollars a month maintaining the nilitary presence in iraq.
or 1 billion dollars a week.
or 140 million dollars a day.
or 6 million dollars an hour.
or 100,000 dollars a minute.
that’s a lot of money.
and i just visited my local police precinct and it’s desperately in need of funding.
and we’re closing down firehouses in new york city cos we don’t have the money to keep them open. and education budgets are being slashed. and budgets for health-care for the poor are being slashed. so maybe we could cut the war in iraq short by one minute and my local police precinct could be given 100,000 dollars.
or maybe we could cut the war in iraq short by one hour and we could use the 6 million dollars saved so that we wouldn’t have to close as many of new york cities fire houses. or maybe we could put the war in iraq short by one day and give 140 million dollars to the new york school system so that the hundreds of thousands of people in new york’s public schools could have a better chance of having a safe and decent education. just some thoughts."

Ill Communique

I’m sick. Wednesday night as I was finishing up watching Sunset Boulevard, (another in an increasing spate of Billy Wilder movies I’ve added to my collection) I got up and felt dizzy. Some kind of loss of equilibrium. I figured maybe I’d sleep it off, but no. I woke up Thursday even worse – moving around gave me motion sickness. I got ready for work, but my stomach complained too much when I got in the car. So I went back inside, called in sick and went to bed. And slept off and on until 5:30! I think all I ate that day was Honey Combs, Ramen noodles, cookies and toast. And orange juice. I woke up today somewhat better and made it to work. If I sit still, I’m OK. Getting up and around is like being a little drunk. Turns out Steve from Superflux has the same bug, so we cancelled band rehearsal last night – thank god, because not only did that mean I didn’t have to leave the house but also that I’m not alone in my suffering and it’s less likely to be the inner ear infection I had feared. Nevertheless, I think this is going to cancel my weekend trip to Fayetteville. Bleah. Maybe if I’ve improved enough by 5….

Happy birthdays to Robin, Tracy and Arika, who all have birthdays within a span of 3 days this month. Although none of you are reading this, I love you all to pieces and I wish you all lived closer to me.

Practice Generator

Sadly I’m so bad with numbers that I’d never be a real math geek (not that I aspire to it or anything), but I do enjoy the conceptual end of things, the applied mathematics. I’ve discovered how the application of mathematical concepts to guitar playing can make for a lot of practice material. Say you have three notes – with just those three notes you can make 27 exercises. Say I have three notes, A, B, and C:



That’s 27 sequences to practice – granted many of them are boring and useless, but you can weed out the ones that suck. Better yet you can mix and match to make 6-note sequences like CAB-CBA. I further discovered that you take any number, and take it to its power, and that will give you the number of possible exercises:

2 notes = 22 = 4 combinations
3 notes = 33 = 27 combinations
4 notes = 44 = 256 combinations
5 notes = 55 = 3,125 combinations

And so on. And that’s just a few particular notes. Factor that times a 12-tone system of music and a 4-octave guitar and you’ll never run out of crap to practice.

I’m Down with OLP

Guitar Acquisition Syndrome. I thought I was immune to it by now. After 13-odd guitars, my guitar lust should be sated. But now guitars are getting cheaper. China is making some killer guitars for $200. Like this one:


I had to have it. I bought it Thursday at Banjo Center. It’s unbelievably great for the price. The brand is OLP, which stands for Officially Licensed Product; in this case, it’s a licensed copy of an Ernie Ball Axis, which was what used to be the Ernie Ball Eddie Van Halen model. So in a way it’s another signature model to add to my collection (Paul Gilbert, John Petrucci, Steve Vai, Blues Saraceno, Richie Kotzen). I can’t put this thing down. It’s the best $200 I ever spent!