Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Line 6 Delay and a Whole New Sound

I got a new Line 6 delay module (It’s DL 4 if you care to know). If you are wondering what that is then I’ll tell you. It’s the coolest delay pedal known to mankind. It’s pretty awesome, there are about 20 different kinds of delay on there, all with tap tempo. You can mix them however you want them and save them as presets, having up to three kinds of delay per song. Not only that but I can record and loop stuff (up to 14 seconds long) on the fly. You can have an infinite number of tracks playing at once. You can play them forward, you can play them backward, you can do just about anything with it.

Collin has one of these as well, so between the two of us we will be getting some killer new sounds. We’re getting together on Wednesday to mess around with them and come up with some cool stuff.

Now all I want to do is play guitar. It’s so fun getting so many new sounds, experimenting with a thousand new things, and writing new music. One of the best things about it is that I can play one of our songs (“If I Ever” for instance) and record it, looping it back over and over. Then I can take my good old time and write a nice solo over top of that. It’s a great writing tool, and it makes just me sound like a whole band. Hm… this would be a great way to launch my solo career! I will be the Ian Machine.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Well this certainly stinks.

Maybe if we didn't keep spilling it, it would not deplete so quickly.

Oil spilled in the Delaware River.

Real Men

Of all the ridiculous things in the world, perhaps one of the most absurd and obnoxious are the “real men” statements you hear from time to time. It seems to me that a lot of guys are pretty concerned with their manhood, so much so that they proclaim what they do to be incredibly manly, hoping people will believe them, hoping that they can define masculinity to their advantage.

You know what I’m talking about, it’s the “real men” bumper stickers and tee shirts. I’ve been paying attention to them recently and here are some that I have heard: “Real men cook for charity” “Real men hunt deer” “Real men wear green” (yeah, those are the Eagles fans) “Real men work for peace” “Real men don’t use botox” “Real men don’t waste their hormones growing hair” “Real men love Jesus” “Real Men Cry” “Real men have bagels” “Real men don’t eat quiche” “Real men don’t use gloves” “Real men don’t need facts” “Real men don’t ask for are directions” . Here is one that metrosexuals advertise, “Real men wax”

So what about the people that don’t do these things? Am I less of a man because I like quiche? Am I less of a man because I don’t wax my bikini line? I’m convinced that these statements are made by people who are a little bit insecure. Maybe if they can proclaim their ridiculous “masculinity” loudly and persistently maybe people will actually believe them one day.

So this got me thinking. What could you write on a t-shirt that is true of all real men? I thought about this long and hard, searching my heart and mind for a solution, thinking about what it is that universally makes a man a man. First was the obvious thought, “real men have [male reproductive equipment]” but then I got to thinking about all the poor souls that have been incredibly unfortunate. Is Lance Armstrong half the man that Michael Jackson is? I think not. Clearly the answer was not so simple, or was it?

I have discovered the answer. “real men have a Y chromosome.” I was going to start my own “real man” clothing line, but Laura told me that the only people who would ever buy it are the biology geeks. Oh well. Too bad it’s always the geeks that have the best sense of humor.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Staying at Home

When we lived in our townhouse, I would get very upset if a day went by where I didn't leave the house. I would feel cooped up, stale. .. kind of like a loser. But ever since we moved, I tend to enjoy the time we spend in the new house and the backyard to the point that often a day will go by and we don't leave. There is just so much to do.

Today we got all decorated for Christmas. The tree is up, the stockings, the lights. I love this time of year. And it's so fun with kids who appreciate it.

Did anybody go shopping today? I used to like doing that, but chasing a 2 year old in those crowds cured me of that quickly.

I shop online mostly these days.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Thanksgiving

Well, it's Thanksgiving tomorrow and as such it's a very good time to list some things everyone is thankful for. I'll start, and you add some comments.

I'm thankful for (in no particular order):

My beautiful wife and children
My immediate and extended family
My band (oh gee. . .)
New music
The seasons
Existence
Breath
Sight
Sound
Touch
Thoughts
Writing
Reading
Clean Water
Music
u2's new album
Macintosh Computers

There are more.

Standing strong Under Attack

A while back I walked around Newark and put our stickers up on metal posts, power boxes, and anything else I thought they could stick to. Maybe I'm a vandal, but if I am then so is the rest of the world. These things were already plastered with flyers, stickers, and graffiti.

Every so often the cops come by and scrape everything off of the mailboxes, doorways, telephone poles, parked cars, brick walls, slow pedestrians and whatever else my fellow vandals decorated. Much to everyone's dismay this happened last week. The poles are suddenly bare, marked only by glue stains and, incredibly, Look Machine stickers. They are just too sticky to peel off. They are scraped up, their corners are missing, but they stand strong. They can rage against the machine, but we will never be beaten.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The Return of Nhu Ha Le and White Light

Well well well, look at the email I got this evening:
hi
my names Win Heckert,

I have been reading your weblog and have heard about your dealings with NHu ha le.
You were right to get out while you still could. I hope you didn'nt sign any thing with that woman
she's as shady as a 3 dollar bill. Her story was bull. Never told the truth about any thing.
She is now trying to prevent the release of her own movie.
Don't ask how that works but she is. And get her crew arrested for making a "poor product" I am currently searching the internet looking for information about who she is and why she would try to scam and burn so many Artist and musicans and investorsat one time. Her story doesn't check out and she owes alot of money and money she was given is missing. if you could e mail me and tell me your story that would be cool.


I have to get to the bottom of this! Good thing we didn't sign anything. It looks like she really was out to steal time and money. By the way, we saw the 10 minute trailer and it is awful. . . more detail to follow.

Monday, November 22, 2004

The Dumpster Returns

Does anyone remember the beautiful dumpster?

Kind of like the line from the song "Grace finds beauty in ugly things." Well today I was able to incorporate that photo into a design for a website that I'm working on. So now that dumpster can make me some money. Cool. If you keep your eyes open, there are things you can use all around now.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

U2 on Saturday Night Live

Ok, I know that this is starting to sound like a U2 fanlog, but they ARE my favorite band and they DO have a new album out this Tuesday. But did anyone see them on Saturday Night Live last night? That was an amazing performance. They still have so much zest for the music, and it's incomprehensible to me that they are able to accomplish something that no other "supergroup" has ever been able to do -- create new music that you want to listen to and not just have to rely on tunes written decades ago. When they tour in March, I know they will play a whole lot of material off the new album, and I'm looking forward to it.

The second song, Sometime you can't make it on your own, is just so sublimely beautiful that it continues to affect me even though I've only heard it about 3 times. Gorgeous.

NBC! News Flash! If you need to pre-empt the beginning of SHOWTIME AT THE APOLLO so that you can show a thoroughly engrossed live audience U2's encore songs, DO IT! Nobody will complain. That was so frustrating. Bono says, "1 more song!" and you hear the crowd roar and the first couple guitar notes and then. . . NBC cuts to a commercial for "The Biggest Loser" and their regularly scheduled programming. AH! NBC, we know you taped it, can you somehow make it available? Reports are that U2 actually played 3 more songs for the studio audience. Very cool of them.

Geek Moment: I recorded the songs onto my computer using a TV tuner and then burnt them to a DVD. It looks very nice. If you're desperate to see the performance, let me know, I may let you borrow it.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

A Greek Promo CD

Another "proposition," this one doesn't seem to be asking for any money, so that's good. Maybe we can get huge and popular in Greece? The tour would be fun.

Hello.

We are about to market a series of promotional CDs about new music
artists. All other artists have agreed to participate without licensing
fees. The target is the Greek market as a whole. Would you like to be
involved in it? We undertake the artists' promotion FREE of charge.

You are free to select which songs you would like us to promote (minimum
1 song)

Waiting for your reply

Regards

Konstantina Nutsu
E-Hellas Community Manager


I'm inclined to follow up on this one.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Grape Street Pub Poster

We have to get promotional posters up to the Grape Street Pub in the next week for our show on Dec 8th. What's everyone think of this one? Would this get your attention and get you to show up if you saw it? Also, it now says "emotionally charged melodic rock" but I don't quite like that description. Any suggestions?

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Muse Sonic Session in Philadelphia

Update: I think the video is working now, so give it another shot if you care.

Last Thursday night Darby and I were fortunate enough to win tickets to see a Sonic Session at Indre Studios. And the band was Muse. Maybe you haven't heard of Muse, but they are very popular in Europe (and Japan) and Josh my brother had heard of them while touring in Australia and introduced them to us. So we were pretty much obsessed with the band, and outside of U2, they are the band we would most want to see in such an intimate setting. And it was completely incredible.

We were literally 6 feet from the band the whole time. Here is a video of the first song. Yes, that's right, I snuck a tiny video camera in. Just for personal memories.

Please excuse the "Whoos!" throughout the song, I am a bit of a fan.

Afterwards, we had a chance to chat a tiny bit and get autographs. And we asked if we could snag some leftover picks and they said yes. They were very friendly, and of course they are incredible musicians.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Real UFO Sighting and Hear New U2 Songs

Last night I saw a real live UFO. I am not kidding about this. I had just finished watching a movie and I happened to look out my window. There in the sky was a bright light flashing red, green, and white. I know what you are thinking... "so you saw a plane in the sky." But I assure you, this was no plane. I watched it for about 10 minutes and it just sat stationary in the sky brightly beaming it's lights into the night. During the time I was gazing upon it in wonder, I saw 3 other planes fly by.

I have been a watcher of the night sky for my entire life. I have always been fascinated by stars, comets, meteors, northern lights, and possible UFOs. I don't know what it was but I saw something in the sky, thus it was unidentified, it was flying, and it was some sort of object. That would make it a UFO. I don't know if it was some sort of satellite, an exploding star, nuclear war on a far-away planet, or real live aliens (although highly unlikely, I like to entertain the latter of those thoughts).

Also, for those of you who are interested, U2 is streaming all of their new songs from their new album on their web site (u2.com). This is not just a single or 2, it is the entire album and you can listen all you want for free. My favorites so far are "City of blinding lights" and "sometimes you can't make it on your own." If you are a fan, or even if you are one of the 3 people in the world who is not, you should go check it out. They are so talented and inspirational.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Save the Arctic!

America is dependant on oil. The average American uses 40 times as much petroleum as the average Chinese citizen. We import massive amounts of oil from South America and the Middle east and we drill in our own country till Texas and half of Alaska look like Swiss cheese. Still, the bottomless American gas tanks are sucking down the petroleum and the ever-hungry eyes of the oil industry are turning towards the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This is a huge tract of land in Alaska rightfully owned and inhabited by various tribes of Inuputat Indians (A.K.A. Eskimos) eeking out a subsistence living from the fragile tundra. This land is also set aside as a refuge for the Arctic’s incredible array of animals, including a threatened population caribou.

So everybody is fighting over weather we should drill up there or not, or at least they were arguing, but with an entirely Republican dominated government the argument seems to be over.

Well, I am adamantly opposed to drilling there and let me give you some good reasons to agree with me.

The American wilderness is disappearing at such a rapid rate that it only truly exists in northern Alaska and the back corner of a few imaginations. This last truly wild place should be preserved! The most optimistic estimates say that even if we drill those oil fields that it will reduce our gas prices by a maximum of 10 cents, and may take a decade to do even that. I don’t know about you, but it is definitely worth it to me to pay 10 cents per gallon to know that we have one true wilderness in our hyper modernized nation, that caribou still freely breed and migrate, that polar bears still wander across the frozen seas, that the migratory birds still have a place to nest, and that there is at least one tribe of Native Americans that we didn’t uproot, displace, rob, or slaughter.

This land is owned by native people who have followed the same time honored traditions, raised their kids the same ways, and hunted the same animals for countless centuries. Of course, they have the right to change their way of living, but it is wrong to take their land from them or to drill it, leaving only a hollow shell of what it once was. How can a person survive hunting Caribou that can’t breed any longer? How does a tribe continue to live out its traditions when they are surrounded by oil rigs and pipelines.

Let’s face it. America is entirely dependant on foreign oil, and that’s not going to change. If OPEC stopped selling to us, we’d either be totally paralyzed as a society, or we would pull out our nukes and start bombing people (most likely the latter). Also oil prices are going higher and higher as global supplies dwindle. What will happen where there is no more oil left? What will happen when only a little remains? Doesn’t it make more sense to store our oil in the Alaskan “bank”? If we find another source of energy before we have a serious crises, then that is excellent! However, when there are only a couple of reserves left, where do you want them to be? Do you want to have our total economy and culture dependant solely on Saudi Arabia? I don’t, either they would be ripping us off, or we would be killing them. Either way is bad. What oil is left will be of astronomical value, let’s not use that now.

So in summery, let’s not drill because it would be destroying something rare and precious. But if we have to, let’s be smart about it and not do it until we need to.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Quite a Nice Weekend

We got to play a good show last night in Philly at the Adam's Mark Hotel. The sound system was high quality and we were pretty tight, so we had a good time. We even got to play an encore, like one that was actually asked for. We sold a fairly large number of CDs, sold shirts, buttons, stickers.. . got some new fans. All in all, a good night!

At this same conference, the film that Collin and I have been working very hard on was premiered, and it was received very warmly. I have to say, it was pretty cool to sit in a darkened room with between 250 and 300 people watching this film we had worked so hard on, and hearing them laugh loudly in the right places, see the tears at the right moments, and just sense the overall enjoyment. People can tell you they like something, but to witness them liking it is much better. The film is by no means perfect. It was a learning exercise and there are a large number of problems with it still, but overall it worked out much better then I thought it was and I'm happy with it. It's a good starting point. We even took 16 pre-orders! Now I have to use up my computer burning DVDs for the next day.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Rocking at the Adam's Mark Hotel (and beyond)

This Saturday will be our third show in three weeks. If you want to come out and see us we’ll be playing at the Adams Mark Hotel in Philly at about 10:30 pm. It should be a pretty fun show seeing as it is the grand finale` of our second world tour.

Now that this tour is rapping up I’m going to take some time to develop my solo career. There is an all acoustic finger style concert in the works and I’ll let you know when I find out more about it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Climbing

Dangling, suspended 100 feet above bits of broken rock and a mountain slope plunging into the valley below. We’re there, clinging to the rocks, carefully making our way upward. “I’ve got a good hold.” “Grab my hand, I’ve got nothing.” We’re edging along ledges, wiggling up crevices, doing our best to push ourselves almost to the limit. Almost… but no farther. We’re getting higher, it’s at the place where a slip would be deadly, but we don’t slip. We take things slowly and carefully.

Finally we’re getting close to the top. One last push, then Shane reaches his hand up over the edge, finds a crack, and pulls himself up. From where I am part way up the face I hear a shout, “HOLY [Explicative Deleted]!!! You free climbed that?” Up on the top of the cliff is a group of people who hiked up a trail that goes around the back of the mountain and comes out where Shane had just climbed over. Lots of people hike up there, it’s an amazing view of the Appalachians and the leaves were at their peak. There was a group of people up there who had been filming some sort documentary. Now their jaws just hung open as they stared in disbelief. As I come up over another part of the cliff their eyes popped open in shock. “You didn’t, um… come from down there did you? You didn’t… climb up that?” People were crawling to the edge and looking down, stunned. We shrugged, and walked away… and did it again.

Ps. We are actually very safe and careful people.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

For my aMUSEment!

Lately I've been very blessed. For instance, walking in the IKEA parking lot I looked down to find $24 in cash. I looked around for anyone who might have dropped it, but no, it was deserted.

Then in another parking lot I found a still sealed roll of wrapping paper. Wow!

But tonight the greatest blessing so far has rolled my way.

Congratulations...you won two passes to the Y100 Sonic Session with
MUSE!

The Sonic Session will take place this [removed per their request]
at [removed per their request]


You should get to Indre Studios between XXXX and XXXX on [removed per their request]!
No earlier! If you get there any earlier, you will be waiting outside!
There is no advantage to getting there ANY earlier except to freeze
your you know whats off!

Your name +1 will be on the Y100 Guest List at the door of Indre
Studios. You must bring photo ID (school ID is fine, or even your
report card if you don't have an ID)!

We are not sure if the band will be signing any autographs or allowing
pictures. Feel free to bring a camera and something to be signed, but
if the band doesn't want pictures taken or doesn't have time for
autographs, please be respectful of that.

Please do not show up with additional people or tell others when or
where the session is. If too many people show up we run the risk of the
session being cancelled.


Someone said I should go ahead and buy a lottery ticket, a fast! I've got the magic touch. At the concert on Saturday night I entered a contest to attend their Sonic Session -- where it's just the band and 50 fans in a small recording studio. I can't wait!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Worst Football Day Ever

Well, at least for the time being, the fun has been sucked out of this football season. We proud Birds went from being the best team in the league to the worst team in the state, in one terrible afternoon.

So I'm being dramatic with the title to this post, I mean, come on it's not the NFC Championship Game, right? Bad thing is, it looked a whole lot like some recent NFC Champ games, and made a 4th time seem possible for the first time this season.

3 and outs? Check. Not blitzing the QB? Check. No running game? Check.

Argh!

And a very bad thing, I watched the second half at the Grotto's Pizza sports bar because I was hanging out with my older brother and he's a Cowboy fan and wanted to see them (get rocked by the Bengals! Neither of us were very happy). It's a good thing I don't drink, because I would have strangled some Redskins fans who cheered loudly everytime the Steelers did something good (which was often). Seriously, one guy in particular. .. and wanted him to just leave the bar.

Oh well, one soldiers on I presume. Ah, I would seriously pay $5000 out of my pocket if it would guarentee some Philly team a championship in my lifetime.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

MUSE

We had an excellent show today (at the Harmony Grange again!), a private party, just an acoustic set. Another $100 for the Machine, not too shabby. I thought we sounded pretty good. There were people of all ages there, and I'm very grateful that we decided to do an acoustic set. An electrified show would have been a disaster of titanic proportions.

Anyway, now I am getting ready to leave to see Muse at the Electric Factory in Philly. They are an incredible band, I know I say it all the time but if you haven't gotten their album ABSOLUTION you are truly missing out. Anyway, it's sold out tonight and should be a great show. I saw them open for the Cure during the summer and it was probably the best 20 minute set ever (excepting ours from last weekend of course). I can't wait to see what they can do as headliners.

Hopefully I can get a cool shirt too. Their merchandise at the Cure show was lame!

November

It’s my favorite month of all. There is just something beautiful about it, it’s like the world is on the edge of something, sliding from fall into winter. The leaves are falling and it’s the first time you can really see the trees for what they are. Night comes early and it’s finally cold out. You can smell smoke in the air, and it feels like it’s about to snow. People are walking, wearing their coats, trying to hide from the cold, but it’s growing inescapable.

I love it. This is the season when the corn fields are harvested, leaving thousands of rows of broken stalks and deer scavenge for the dropped ears. The geese are flying over in formation and you can hear them if you go out at night and just take a while to listen. Everything feels just a little bit forlorn, and the world seems kind of lonely, but only on the outside. There is something else… something pulsing beneath that. There is a quiet, a readiness, an expectancy. There is the call of migration, the need to move, the desire for something new.

Mornings come with frost, and you can see your breath in the air. The air is dry, making the stars crystal clear at night. Something is coming, you can feel it in the wind, you can feel it inside of you, but it’s elusive, never quite taking shape. It’s like a fish slipping through your fingers, always sliding out of your grasp. Maybe and Indian summer is coming, maybe it will snow next week, you can never tell. November is the birth of a new season, or maybe it’s the death of the old. Things are heading south, dropping their leaves, burrowing deep beneath the cold. People are getting ready to go home for thanksgiving, starting to think about Christmas, but it’s too soon, they keep reminding themselves. It’s too soon to think about Christmas.

It’s right here, between Fall and Winter that both seasons seem beautiful. The last yellow leaves stand out, beautiful against a world growing brown. The newly naked branches are emerging, reaching upwards, starkly contrasted against the cold blue sky. It is now that the cold from outside is exciting, promising of things to come, and the heat from the woodstove is soothing. Warm days are relished as the last hints of the passing season, and cold days are hoped for, as a sign of skiing and snow days.

November is the world in transition.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Pictures of the Machine!

Here are some pictures that our stunning camera man, the incredible Shane Palkovitz took at the show on Saturday. Thanks Shane!


This would be me in all my glory.



Collin rocking out like there's no tomorrow.



Isaiah, imobile but awesome.



David, hitting stuff and sounding excellent.



This is the whole band and the only picture Jason is going to get. Sorry dude, better luck next time.

Update: Shane objected to having that picture of himself on here, so he has been removed. If you heart is broken, then I'm sorry.

A message to the Johns

Hi John Kerry and John Edwards,

I am not a Bush supporter. Neither do I support you. But I have to ask you, concede. This is not 2000. You have lost the popular vote by nearly 4 MILLION votes. That is a whole lot of people. Your "contested state" is not a matter of hundreds and thousands votes, but 136,000. I know you think you are employing a strategy which learns from Gore's mistakes, but I think you are killing what faith the world and the American people have in our democratic process. Come on now, concede graciously. You lost. It's not even all that close.

U2 Lyrics, take 2

OK, they were taken down from that other link I posted. Here they are again, read them before they disappear!

I'm telling you they are very good

Hey wait a minute!

Fox News is reporting that Ohio is being called for Bush now. .. and he is now one electoral vote away from victory. But no one else is saying that. What's going on????

I want to go to bed. . .

But I really want to know who will be leading this country for the next 4 years first. .. Come on Ohio, count a little faster, will you?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Why I won't Get a Job

So I have been thinking lately about my life and the direction I should try to take. I was thinking about majors and career possibilities when it dawned on me, why bother working at all?

Think about it. How many people do you know? How many of these people are really incredibly nice? I was figuring about 20 percent of all Americans are genuine good-hearted people, and about a quarter of those people are probably just too nice for their own good. That means that approximately five percent of Americans are this ridiculous kind of nice. The way I figure it is that any of these people would give somebody a dollar out of their pocket if they were asked nicely enough. Well, there are roughly 280 million people in America, and according to my calculations that would make approximately 14 million people who are just waiting to do a good and kind deed. If each one of these people would give me just one dollar I would be set for life! You might be wondering how I am going to find and contact all of these people and convince them to give me that dollar, well keep wondering (if you figure it out you can just run the idea by me and I'll tell you if it's right or not).

So then I was planning what I would do with my 14 million dollars and 70 years that I wouldn't need to spend working. I didn't get very far, so I'm pretty open to suggestions there too.

Monday, November 01, 2004

The Show at the Harmony Grange with BoySetsFire

Well, we did it and the show was a blast. The paid crowd for the night was 409 people. Of that number, I'd say probably 150 were watching us as the first act.

Chad and Josh from BoySetsFire were extremely kind and let Ian and Collin use their massively nice amp setups, so we could rock out the hall, because the sound man was not going to mic the amps. Making use of the power that the new setup afforded us, we launched the show with a driving version of Fanatic, then segued into All Our Hands, a new song called You Don't Know My Name, played a rocking version of As Much, and then finished things up nice and sweet with As Simple as It Seems. The stage was very large, and I think we made good use of it. The best thing for me was that I knew that we belonged on that stage. We had the talent, the passion, the music to make us worthy of being there.

Overall, I was extremely happy with the reaction we had. About 9 or 10 different people approached me after the set to tell me they really enjoyed it, and liked out sound. We added some people to our mailing list, sold some merchandise. We even got paid, which was unexpected. Pretty cool of Harry from Project Unity to pay us, when we didn't require that. $100 for a 20 minute set. Money for nothin' and the chicks for free. . . well except for the chicks part.

Shane videotaped the high energy set, which clocked in at 20 minutes 45 seconds, and maybe we'll post some selected highlights for those with broadband access. . .

For those of you who attended, THANKS, we completely appreciate the continued support. For BoySetsFire, THANKS MUCH, and of course you rocked your set and we had a great time watching it. Nathan, man, next time there isn't a one-armed man in the audience though before you make comments about one-armed men! Shane taped some of the BSF show too, so maybe we'll post some clips or something.

Old School Rock