Thursday, December 06, 2007

Dick Armey - "You cannot get ahead while you are getting even."

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Stewart Udall - "We have, I fear, confused power with greatness."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tallulah Bankhead - "If I had to live my life again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Today I would like to give thanks for my over-the-road trainer, Mike Penrice. Mike has spent the past three weeks (24/7) sharing his truck - a drivers home and sacred personal space - with yours truly, a rookie driver and initiate into the truckers' way of life. We have had ups and downs (literal and figurative) on our journey including bad weather, bad drivers, broken mirrors, insane dispatching, and more. Through out it all Mike has been patient and only occassionally grumpy (probably less of the time than I was) and very helpful in training me and helping me adjust to the lifestyle. This over the road trainer turned out to be more than I had hoped for, and whether my fears were ungrounded or I just got lucky, I am glad I ended up with this trainer. So, cheers, Mike. Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

North to the Future

Day 22
The past weeks have taken me in a circular tour of the States: Tacoma, WA to Lebanon, TN to Kansas City, MO to somewhere I forget the name of in Iowa, back to Los Angeles, CA, and now up to Portland, OR (via Troutdale, OR) and tomorrow back up to Tacoma, WA. I have finally become confidant enough in my driving to relax a bit and take in my surroundings. I think it was today that it really hit me the hardest as I drove past Mt. Shasta in Northern California...this is my job. I drive, listening to good music, with an ever changing view out my "office" window that rivals the most posh corner office in any corporate building anywhere. I have gone from working in the basement (the window-less basement) at a government office job (though I admit it was very satisfying) to working (if you can call it that) behind the steering wheel of truck whose windows look out on more scenery in a week than many people see in their lifetime. If money mattered, I might add that I am making about the same pay as I did at my office job. Not to mention the perks - No dress code. No politics. Work at your own pace, so long as the work gets done on time. Tired? Pull over and take a nap. Jealous yet? Wait 'till you see the pictures.
Granted, this life isn't for everyone. It's like being on tour minus the concerts. I am still adjusting. The first week was really hard. I wasn't sure I would make it. I lived the first week not knowing when or where I would drive, eat, sleep, pee, or shower next left me feeling clausterphobic. I slept with all my belongings crammed into my bunk with me (many I was discovering I really didn't need, while I desperately needed some items I failed to bring along) and I never seemed to have time to get my bearings, figure out what I needed and continue. Always moving. Meanwhile loose ends I left back home were still not tied up, deadlines were aprouching, late fee's accumulating etc. I felt like I was suffocating, drowning, stranded, and lost all at once.
The good news is this feeling didn't last. I passed a breaking point somewhere along the line and things began to change. It felt like learning to swim (I wonder how many people remember what that felt like?) Now I am driving confidentally, getting food when I need it (even if my trainer only eats once or maybe twice a day...crazy...still don't know how he can do that), getting used to sleeping when I need to, and very much looking forward to having my own truck and not having to worrie about all this stuff anymore. Just 80 hours of drive time to go! Then I get my own place. This is more of a releaf than moving out of my parents house for the first time.
That's about it for now - I promise I will get some actual trucker stories in here soon.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Waffle House, USA


Day 5 (side note)
This is the Waffle House I ate at almost 10 years ago while on tour with the band Plankeye. It was the first, and likely the last, time I ever ate at a Waffle house. I remember seeing these places as a kid whenever my dad and step-mom, Patty, took us on summer vaction to see her parents in Ohio. I remember asking my dad if we could stop at one along the way - the big sign with each letter in it's own big yellow square W-A-F-F-L-E-H-O-U-S-E always looked so apealing to me. Just seeing it made me think, "Man - I bet that place makes some incredible waffles. My dad always assured me that this was not the case, which is why we never stopped there, and probably why I chose to visit the place years later. I don't remember exactly what the waffles tasted like, or if I even ordered waffles for that matter, but I do remember that my general impression of the place was that it was a few rungs down the later from Denny's as far as breakfast establishments go...somewhere near Winchel's...anyhow it was a landmark in my life, and seeing it in person nearly 10 years later when I least expected it (I wouldn't have been able to find it even if I'd tried) was very nostalgic.

Goodbye Tenesse, Hello Washington


Day 5
Today was my last day here in Lebanon, TN and as beautiful as this place is, I am definitely ready to leave. As my trianer, Wilbur, said, "the's crazy people everywha', it's jus' a diffrent koind a' crazy." Though I have grown quite used to the kind of crazy people I meet in Southern California, the kind of crazy that are out here kinda freak me out just a little bit. Luckily, none of the people I have had to deal with directly are crazy. Wilbur, my trainer, was one of the sweetest guys I've ever met. Though we came from opposite worlds he treated me with respect, and was always friendly even when correcting me. Alot of the people here were quite hospitable. I should, however, explain to my fellow Californians that Southern Hospitality is very different from our own brand. Allow me to make a comparison:
Southern="Here! Have some candy!"
Californian=INNER MONOLOGUE:"I might offer you some candy if it looks like you want some otherwise I will leave you alone"
Note the use of the imparative versus the subjunctive. In Southern hospitality, your acceptance of the gift and gratitude is assumed. WARNING: do not refuse the gift. Don't even hesitate. Smile broadly and say "Thank you!" Anything less could get you into trouble or at least mark you as being very rude. Enough said. Moving on...
My training here in Lebanon was great. One-on-one training with patient, courteous, experienced (10 years minimum, though I think Wilbur had more like 50) instructors who taught us good practical habits and techniques. By all acounts this was the best training I will get. The next phase of my training will be "over-the-road" or actual cross country hauling of real freight with an Over-the-road trainer. By all accounts, over-the-road trainers are a cantankerous, ill-tempered, unaccountable bunch, and from what I have seen with my own eyes, I believe it...and I tremble. Poor Don. My classmate from Colorado met his OTR trainer yesterday. A ornery looking round, white-bearded man sporting a stars-and-stripes bandana on his head (the kind that are tailored specifically to be worn this way), he briefly introduced himself before questioning him about how much luggage he was bringing, and what kind of "sleeping aparatus" he used and then warned him about the nervous chihuahua that he kept in his truck. He then proceded to tell Don what a horrible student his last one was and how he eventually kicked him out of the driver seat and declared his training over. According to others who heard the other side of the story however, it was the student who elected to end his training with this guy because of innapropriate racial comments among other things. Good luck Don! I really hope he makes it through. All he has to do is log 200 hours with this guy and come back to finish his orientation, but it looks like it might be a little rough. Don is also one of the nicest guys I've met, and I really hope this guy doesn't make his life too miseralbe for the next month or so.
As for me, I'm off to Washington. Tomorrow I fly out of Nashville, TN, make a layover stop in Chicago, and then on to Seattle, WA where I will meet a shuttle that will drive me the rest of the way to Tacoma,WA. There I will meet my OTR trainer. I am hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. These trainers are mostly unsupervised and the stories I keep hearing are not encouraging. Either way, 200 hours which will be over in maybe a month, and then I get my own truck!
There is definitely light at the end, so I will press on. Overall, this has been a great adventure so far and I keep forgetting that it's actually a job. It's a long and sometimes hard road, but the scenery along the way is well worth it. I am glad I did this. Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hello, Nashville...it's been a long time.

Day 1
Today I flew to Nashville, TN where I will begin my training. The company's yard is actually located in Lebanon, TN (about 30 minutes east of Nashville) and I am booked at a hotel not far from there. There's a strange coincidence about where I am staying though. Nine years ago when I was on the road with the religous rock group Plankeye I stayed for about a week at the hotel across the street from where I am now during the 1998 Gospel Music Awards and again later on during the tour. I ate at the same restraunts and everything. I distinctly remember my experiance at the Waffle House right next door. It's kinda crazy. Of all the places I could end up I land right next to the place I spent the most time during my touring years.
So here I am in this clean little room at the Best Value Inn just off Interstate 40. It's clean, it's quiet, it's not home, and I am trying to get myself to go to bed. I guess the most unsettling thing about places like this is that there's no one around. There is a noticable absense of human bodies anywhere near my room. When I cannot see, hear, or otherwise sense other people around me, I get a little uneasy. It's like the opposite of that phobia of crowds (can't remember the name). It makes the silence in this room somewhat oppressive. I hate leaving things like music or TV on just for the sake of noise, but I may resort to that just so I can sleep. Tomorrow is a big day. My first day employed by a truck driving company.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Good Idea / Bad Idea #001

Good Idea.
Me using a toy truck to demonstrate how to back up.


Bad Idea.
My mom using a real truck to demonstrate how not to back up.
My mom. She likes living on the edge.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Big Change


How many clean slates is this now? It seems like I end up with a clean slate every few years. I dunno. Maybe it's a syndrome. Either way here I am with my worldly posessions back down to what I can fit in my luggage. Everything else has been either sold, given away, or just left behind. But the future holds some hope. Truck driving. A new life. A new job. A chance to pay off my debt, maybe even save up some money and start over. I am still doing music whenever I can. I still have that dream about buying a house in Fullerton someday. Who knows. Life seldom gives us what we want (or think we want), but it is what it is. Striving is good so long as you recognize the reward once you get it, and let yourself enjoy it even in all it's inperfections. And then sometimes you don't get a reward. It it what it is. Try to enjoy it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Don Marquis - "Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday."

Friday, October 19, 2007

North to the Future

It's official. I have now (after struggling through truck driving school for 3 months) acquired my class A Commercial Driver's License, and secured a job with Interstate Distributers as an Over The Road (OTR) truck driver. I leave in one week (Sunday, October 28th) and will be flying to Nashville, TN for orientation and to begin my training. It has been a hard already and it's about to get harder but now at least I will be getting paid and will have the satisfaction of being out on the open road.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Oswald Chambers - "The whole point of getting things done is knowing what to leave undone."

Monday, October 08, 2007

Latest Music Picks

I've been hearing so much new music lately it's been hard to make a good top 10 list. This is more of a sampling than a a true top 10 favorite songs list - plus it is only taking recent acquisitions into account. So here they are in no particular order:

1. Punkrocker - The Teddybears (featuring Iggy Pop)
Even though this is a great song, the Teddybears have been pretty much hit and miss and obviously the appearance of Iggy Pop on this track is half the appeal.

2. Cool Kids Keep - American Analog Set
This song appears on the Electronic Acoustic (Electracoustic)compilation and is a great example of the great sound and songcraft of American Analog Set.

3. The Plot That Weaves - The Brothers Martin
All the best of Jason Martin (Starflyer 59) and Ronnie Martin (Joy Electric) in one great pop song. For fans of either or both this is a must hear.

4. Mistaken For Strangers - The National
I was a little late hearing this, it's been out for a while. Good stuff.

5. Chicago - Sufjan Stevens
This guy is taking over. I heard this song in Carl's Jr. a week ago. I couldn't believe it. Why am I surprised? It's a brilliant song. I have to remember to add this to my "Anthems" playlist.

6. Homecoming - The Teenagers
An ode to "Summer Nights" from the musical Grease, this is probably the best pop song that will never be played on the radio and not because The Teenagers' music is so hard to get ahold of. This song's lyrics, set in a perfect blend of hooks, beat, and color, are some of the raunchiest lyrics of any song in my collection - and yet, they are brilliant.

7. Melody Day - Caribou
This song, from the album Andorra, stands out on first listen as one of the most readily likable songs while most of the rest of the album is better appreciated on the second listen. The whole album is really brilliant and separating one song from the whole is almost an injustice as the songs flow together so well.

8. Golden Skans - Klaxons
Another group I was late hearing, Klaxons demonstrate good pop sensibilities as well as a sense for musical drama without "over-doing it."

9. The Cold, The Dark, and The Silence - Sea Wolf
This song comes from Get To the River Before It Runs Too Low which is definitely one of the best albums released this year. Sea Wolf is leading the pack when it comes to Silverlake-brand Americana melancholy folk rock.

10. Astronaut - Luna
This is from Close Cover Before Striking - another album I was late picking up. I can see this fitting in nicely with both my "post-new-wave" collection and my "Americana melancholy folk rock" collection.

Laurence J. Peter - "Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear but forgetting where you heard it."

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

So, in case you haven't heard, I am in the process of becoming a long haul truck driver. It's been a long road already; I am in my second month of what was advertised as a six week commercial driver's licensing program since my entire class failed the DMV test the first time around. I have pretty much liquidated my assets selling off what home furnishings I had, moving out of my apartment, and putting my toyota on "Non-Operative" status at the DMV. At the moment, all my time is dedicated to passing the DMV test and getting on the road. Many have asked why I have chosen truck driving. Well, I think it's the same reason anyone choses what they do. Part necessity, part opportunity, part novelty, and maybe part insanity as well. Seriousl though, I am excited about it. The daily change of scenery, the sense of freedom (whether real or imagined), the ability to do my job well regardless of my mood (the importance of this is often under-rated), and of coarse the money. No doubt the novelty of the idea is a great part of the appeal but that will wear off in time, so I have to make sure there is something to enjoy beyond sheer novelty.
There certainly will be alot of challenges as well. First and foremost, being gone two weeks at a time, back for three days and gone again, tends to reek havock on one's social life. Thank god for myspace (yes I am actually thanking a deity for myspace), as well as cell phones and other modern conveniences for staying in touch (like postcards). True, they're a poor excuse for the real thing but I don't intend to be a long haul driver for ever either. I guess we'll see what really happens. Either way a Class A Commercial Driver's License is very valuable in the working world and opens up a whole new catagory of job opportunites almost any industry I want to work in (including the music industry). I will also have alot of time to write while on the road (not to mention a good deal of inspiration) and I intend to make some headway on some of those projects, not the least of which is one I started recently tentatively titled, "The Bridge." It looks to be a novel that's part fantasy, part reality, part philosophy, psychology, biography, etc. We'll just have to see where it goes.
As always, this whole adventure is just one more chapter in the journey. I really don't know how it will go, but I am hoping for the best as I tend to prefer happy endings. Until then, I am sure I will have more stories to come some triumphant, some not-so-much, but even when one must prepare for the worst, still, hope for the best.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

New Music (well new to me, anyway)

(I just added these bands to iTunes in the last couple months)

Add N to (x)
Boards of Canada
Caribou
Crystal Castles
Editors
Everybody Uh Oh
Film School
Klaxons
The National
New Young Pony Club
Plastic Operator
Sea Wolf
Teddy Bears
The Teenagers

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sigmund Freud - "Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Mike Krzyzewski - "The truth is that many people set rules to keep from making decisions."

Monday, April 30, 2007

Martin Luther - "Who loves not women, wine and song remains a fool his whole life long."

Friday, April 27, 2007

Experience the Drive


This is pretty sureal. You have to see this up close. Click on the photo.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Top 20 Songs


1."Postcards from Italy" - Beirut
2."Pass the Music" - The Movies
3."Cash" - The Movies
4."Strange Lights" - Deerhunter
5."Tuxedo Hat" - The Octopus Project
6."Always for You" - The Album Leaf
7."Ship the Majestic Suffix" - Danielson
8."Did I Step on Your Trumpet" - Danielson
9."Vietnam" - The Happy Hollows
10."Hey Now Now" - The Cloud Room
11."Worried Shoes" - Daniel Johnston
12."We Can Have It" - The Dears
13."Meteors" - The Happy Hollows
14."The Adjuster" - The Octopus Project
15."Rebellion (Lies)" - The Arcade Fire
16."Sleep The Clock Around" - Belle & Seabatian
17."My Tiger My Heart" - Boy Least Likely To
18."Cowbell" - Tapes n' Tapes
19."Worried Shoes" - (Daniel Johnston cover by Danielson & Sufjan Stevens)
20."A No No" - Danielson

Currently On My Playlist

(in alphabetical order)
 
The Album Leaf
Animal Collective
Arcade Fire
Beck
Beirut
Belle & Sebastian
Björk
Boy Least Likely To
Bright Eyes
The Cloud Room
Cold War Kids
Daniel Johnston
Danielson
David Bowie
The Dears
Deerhunter
Devotchka
Dolorean
Doves
Elliot Smith
The Flaming Lips
Frightened Rabbit
Grandaddy
The Happy Hollows
Idaho
Jens Lekman
John Vanderslice
Joy Electric
Keane
Le Tigre
Low
The Magnetic Fields
The Mountain Goats
The Movies
The Octopus Project
Olé
Pavement
Postal Service
The Prayers & Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers
The Radio Department
Radiohead
Sebadoh
The Shins
Stars
Sufjan Stevens
Tapes n' Tapes
Wolf Parade
Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Sunday, April 08, 2007

15 Things I Like About My Home Town: Fullerton, CA


(in no particular order)

1.) Hearing live music in the air at night.
2.) The fact that Fender Guitars was founded here
3.) The Train Station
4.) Rudabegorz
5.) The family of brilliant, creative, and good people that I know there
6.) Out of Vogue & Otto
7.) The sense of community and identity
8.) The Fox Fullerton Theater
9.) The Library - especially the children's Library; one of the best around.
10.) The vintage houses with the full-width front porch whose hipped roof is supported by tapered wooden pillars...
11.) George's Burgers
12.) Back alley clubs and bars
13.) I can walk to the house I was born in. Seriosly. I was birthed there.
14.) OCTA Route 43 (oh, the memories...)
15.) The safety and comfort of beng able to walk the streets at night

Friday, April 06, 2007

HG Wells - "If you fell down yesterday, stand up today."

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Edward Norton on Indie Films

Peter Biskind: "I gotta talk to you for this book that I'm writing about indie film-making."
Edward Norton: "OK, but why?"
Peter Biskind: "Because you've been in all these seminal indie films."
Edward Norton: "I've never been in an independent film. I've been in studio films that didn't make money, but that's not the same thing."

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

with eyes of green like tea and hair like autumn leaves

with eyes
of green like tea
and hair
like autumn leaves
one day
she suddenly
appears 
from palm
springs to silver lakes
and long
beaches named for saints
i drive
but never go nowhere
i could sell out
or i could be myself
could be desperate
or i could be aloof
something happens
when people meet like that
to make me almost
believe in something else
something happens
maybe just in my head
something happens

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Movies & The Happy Hollows (at the Viper Room)

The Movies: five musicians playing on stage

Good music again. The Movies and The Happy Hollows. It was fun. Probably not the best idea to be driving from Palm Springs to Hollywood and back when I have to get up at 6 am the next morning, but that's okay. It worked out. Though some more sleep would be nice.


The Happy Hollows: three musicians playing on stage

Monday, February 26, 2007

My Room


This is where I make my music. And where I sleep. When I actually do sleep.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Favorite Place



This is one of my favorite places. I meant to take this picture in color but even then it hardly captures how beautiful this spot is. (click on the picture to see it bigger)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - "Into each life some rain must fall."

Victor Hugo - "One can resist the invasion of an army but one cannot resist the invasion of ideas."

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Pictures Tell a Story

Sometimes those pictures over there on the right tell a story.
Hint: start from the bottom. Hover the pointer over the picture to see the title of each.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Woody Allen - "Eighty percent of success is showing up."

Eric Hoffer - "We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves."

Friday, February 09, 2007

W. Somerset Maugham - "We know our friends by their defects rather than by their merits."

Monday, January 29, 2007

My I.Q.

Congratulations, Jeremy!
Your IQ score is 127



"This number is based on a scientific formula that compares how many questions you answered correctly on the Classic IQ Test relative to others.

Your Intellectual Type is Insightful Linguist. This means you are highly intelligent and have the natural fluency of a writer and the visual and spatial strengths of an artist. Those skills contribute to your creative and expressive mind."

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Late


I keep havings dreams where everything that has gone wrong was somehow resolved, reconciled, restored, put right; not like it never happened, but somehow making sense out of it, because now it was better than before. It was so real. But as I woke up and began to realize I was dreaming, I was a little sad. Some things are lost forever I guess.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Victor Hugo - "Fashions have done more harm than revolutions."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Music Update


Speaking of getting my creative flare back, I am getting really inspired and excited about music again. Yeah, so...I bought a bass.That's it on the right. I saw it at a pawn shop with a price tag that said $129.99, but I haggled a little bit and got it for $65. Not a bad deal. It sounds pretty sweet too. In addition I picked up a cheapy basic four-track since apperrently the model I wanted from the 1970's has reached the end of it's life span. Every single one I have tried to buy turns out to be dying of the same thing that killed mine. Their kind is vanishing from the world, so I have to move on. Anyhow, keep an eye on the music page of this site for new songs and re-mixed / remastered versions of some old ones.

T-Shirt


Hot of the ironing board. I made this shirt print myself with a pen knife and some iron on t-shirt transfer stuff. I feel like I am getting my creative flare back. I haven't done a t-shirt in a while, and never one like this. It took about 2 hours just to trace the design and cut it out with the pen knife. But it was worth it. I've got a couple other blank shirts too. Man this stuff is fun!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Still Here


It seems like alot of time has passed since I moved here, and I guess it has. I like the place. It feels like home now, sort of. Still a couple bare spots on walls here and there, but they're getting filled up. People are here more often. It feels lived in. I used to be very obsessive about cleanliness and clutter. I apologize to those who had to put up with that. I have relaxed alot since then. A little clutter is human. A stray glass here, a nick-nack there, makes it feel more like home, I guess.
I've started drawing again. It's very...I don't know how to describe it...liberating? empowering? relaxing? Well, anyways it feels good. I've been really inspired musicly as well lately. Too bad I have no way to capture it. No four track or even tape deck, and the only computer I have is a laptop my work lets me take home. Oh well.
A few nights ago saw the first Alva Edison jam session in almost 5 years. It looks like we might have some shows coming up but don't know anything for sure yet.
Work is going very well. I'm a hero again. Or at least I'm popular with my superiors, which is what counts I guess.
Everything else? I dunno. Alright I guess. I have alot to think about, but then again, when do I not have alot to think about? I'm just happy that I've accomplished as much as I have in the areas of writing, drawing, and music in the last few months. We'll see where the next few months take us.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Charlie Chaplin - "Laughter is the tonic, the relief, and the surcease for pain."

Friday, January 05, 2007

Benjamin Franklin - "Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy."

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Bad Day; Go for a Walk

Time Warner's online Bill Pay system has messed up AGAIN and lost my payment, so my internet and cable is still off. Then I accidentally erased all the music on my iPod. I'm already strapped for cash without all this crap going on. And I'm having post-holiday-blues. Thanks God for coffee shops with wireless internet. Have you ever been so frustrated, and you try to just forget about it, but it just keeps bugging you? No? Crap. I guess it's just me. Am I having withdrawals from something? I wasn't aware I was addicted to anything, but who knows? Maybe I'm addicted to the internet. That would be bad. I think I'm going to turn off my computer and go for a walk.