Thursday, April 28, 2005

Nashville Sounds

Tonight, I was planning on a night at home of relative boredom and perhaps a viewing of the Apprentice, but my friend Joseph called me and offered an extra ticket to a Nashville Sounds game. Since I have been in Nashville for more than ten months now and still not successfully been to a Sounds game, I thought I'd give it a go.

As it turned out, it was $1 beer night so that made it all the more exciting once I was in the gates. However, the unseasonable cold, threatening rain and poor play by the Sounds certainly put a damper on the game. That didn't stop me from enjoying a few beers, a ballpark hotdog and some roasted peanuts. Fifty-five degrees on April 28 is just too darn cold for the South. Like I said, the Sounds didn't play so hot, giving up five runs in the first inning, but it was certainly nice to get out to a ballpark again. I'll definitely have to take more advantage of the minor league club here in town. It beats sitting around in my apartment watching the idiot box.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


I finally got to watch Sideways tonight. It was a pretty great movie directed by Alexander Payne. I really like his work a lot. I was first exposed to his darkly comedic style through Election but I have to say that my favorite work of his at this point is About Schmidt.

Sideways follow to men played by Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church as they travel to the California wine valley for a last hurrah before Church's character is to get married. Giamatti's character is a depressed writer who loves wine and wants the perfect experience while Church's only wants to party. Both actors shine under Payne's direction and I felt that I could relate to some of the uneasiness and self-doubt of the characters.

About halfway through, I couldn't help but think that this is like the movie Swingers except that it's characters are at middle age instead of mid-to-late twenties. It was a very funny movie yet darkly so at times. And of course it had the now patented Alexander Payne style ending.

Since I'm not much of a movie reviewer, I'd say just take my word for it, but if you want a review that will give plot details, check out the Filthy Critic. He gave it four out of five fingers which is a rarity to say the least. Whatever you do, don't give up on it if you feel that it is starting too slow and isn't going anywhere. That is typical of Payne's style, but trust me, it is worth the wait.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Isn't It Ironic?

As I was spell checking my last post, I noticed something very funny about the spell checker: it doesn't know the word "blog." Even Alanis Morisette couldn't get confused about that irony!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Recording Overdub Sessions

So today, I went back to the studio to continue working on yesterday's project. Since all of the full band basic tracks were cut yesterday, all that was left was guitar overdubs and vocals. So at 10:00 this morning I got to the studio and started prepping for the session. Then the guitarist came in and we started talking. He was a really nice guy by the name of Gary Talley. Fett, my boss, had told me before that Gary had been in a band in the 60's called the Box Tops and they had a hit record. I had never heard of it, but when I asked my dad this evening if he had ever heard of the Box Tops, he immediately started singing "The Letter," the Box Tops biggest hit. So that really made it sink in that I got to record overdubs with someone who has had a moderate deal of success in the biz.

Today, Fett let me engineer all of the guitar overdubs which was a little intimidating. Typically a musician will not get an entire song right in one take because they are only human and they make mistakes. So then it is the engineer's job to play the song back and put the tape machine into and out of record mode at just the right time so that the musician can fix the few incorrect notes. The trouble with it is that it can be very hard to hit those "punch-ins" at just the right time so there is risk of starting too early or late and erasing something that you don't want to. Of course engineers make mistakes too and I made one this morning, but that is not too bad considering it was only one bad punch in four hours. Plus when Fett tried to make the same punch, he screwed it up as well! So it was a tough one.

All in all it was a good experience this weekend and hopefully I will get to enjoy many more. I mean look how happy I am in the picture. And by the way, don't let the size of the console fool you. The Yamaha O2R96 does just as much as this console and this one, it's just all digital and pretty efficiently organized. Leave it to the Japanese to put so much power in such a small device.

The Engineer (3rd Time's The Charm!) Posted by Hello

Saturday, April 23, 2005

First Professional Recording Session

Today I took part in my first official recording session in an operating studio. It was quite an interesting affair especially because of how things are done in Nashville. Most of the music I listen to is indie rock or pop rock and is typically recorded by a band that has been playing together for at least a little while. They occasionally hire extra musicians to add string accompaniment or addition instrumentation that the band can't play themselves.

Well, Nashville and country music in general, operates in an entirely different way. Country music is driven by singers and sometimes the occasional singer/songwriter. Typically, the singer chooses from songs pitched to them by songwriters eager to make money in publishing but not performing music. Check out any current/contemporary country album and you will not see many songs sung by the artist on the cover. They buy their material from someone and they usually don't have a band so they also have to hire one to record.

So the band is hired and comes in and a lot of them have worked together before but sometimes there is a new session musician around. Like today, my boss had never worked with the drummer he used before, but you'd never know it from the way they worked together. So these musicians come in and set up their equipment and then start listening to the song demos that they will be recording. All of the songs are written up in Nashville specific sheet music form called the Nashville Number System. All of the players sit around and listen to the song a couple of times, make a few notes on their song charts and then assume their positions in the recording studio. After a dry run or two, they do one or two takes and move on to the next song! I learned about all this stuff while I was in school but it is something to see. I guess in a music factory like Nashville, it is the most efficient way to do things, but I don't know if I really agree with it. It takes the creative energy of a band out of it but since these musicians all know each other and work together very frequently, I guess it is similar. But it is amazing to record six songs in eight hours. Most rock and roll projects take a minimum of a week to record twelve to fifteen songs.

It was a very fun experience and I even got the opportunity to sit in the engineer chair for one of the songs. That means that I was actually operating the tape machine and mixing console so it was on me if something didn't get recorded right. Most of the day, I was in the position of second engineer typically swapping out microphones, keeping track of paperwork and helping out the musicians when they needed something. I have to say that I did a pretty good job though because I pretty much anticipated everything that anyone needed and was already in the process of doing it before they asked. So hopefully this will be the beginning of a long relationship with Azalea Studios and that I can learn a lot and take this knowledge out on my own someday. All in all, it was pretty satisfying but quite a long tiring day. Tomorrow, it's back to the studio to record vocals and I'll be running the board a lot more for that!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Softly Call The Muster

Let comrade answer 'Here'...

Tonight I attended Aggie Muster for the sixth time since I graduated from A&M. It was my first here in Nashville and was more like my experiences in Atlanta; very laid back and casual. The Musters in Austin were always much more formal affairs which was nice but I tend to appreciate this laid back Muster more being away from campus.

Muster is always a great event for me as it reaffirms my connection to A&M no matter how far away I might be. It is nice to see the Aggie family remain so strong a thousand miles away from College Station. Plus you never know who you might run into. Tonight, I saw a guy who was in a bunch of my Biomedical Engineering classes. I hadn't seen him in six years!

So it was another successful Aggies Muster. Although the occasion is marked by some sadness, it is really a great way to reconnect with the family. For every Aggie out there, Gig 'Em and Happy Muster. For every Texan out there, Happy San Jacinto Day. And for everyone else, Happy Thursday.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

"Ah-ha, hush that fuss. Everybody move to the back of the bus."

In 1998, before "Bombs Over Baghdad," "Miss Jackson," or "Hey, Ya!," OutKast released a song called "Rosa Parks" on Aquemini. In 1999, Rosa Parks sued OutKast over "defamation and trademark infringement because the Grammy-winning group OutKast used Parks' name without her permission in the song title."

Yesterday, I was happy to read that the lawsuit has been settled.

Under the settlement, OutKast and co-defendants SONY BMG Music Entertainment, Arista Records LLC and LaFace Records will help develop educational programs to "enlighten today's youth about the significant role Rosa Parks played in making America a better place for all races," according to a written statement.

OutKast contended the song is neither false advertising nor a violation of Parks' publicity rights and is protected by the First Amendment.

To me there is something unsettling about trademarking the name Rosa Parks. Maybe I'm just naive, but in a world where people are striving for racial equality and where the Civil Rights movement was defined by a 42 year old black woman refusing to sit in the back of a public bus, the idea of trademarking that name seems more about personal gain than the overarching importance of the movement. Like it or not, Rosa Parks is a public figure. She can't just choose to be written about in history books alone.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

For those of you in my email address book...

If you are getting requests by, DO NOT ACCEPT!!!!!

I accepted a request by a friend of mine two weeks ago and this thing has apparently hijacked my address book and is trying to get everyone else to join. This thing is a spamming machine that I have no control over but it seems to be sending messages to everyone in my address book (including me!) to join this ridiculous service. I have closed my account and urge anyone who has already accepted to do the same. When they want to know why you are deleting your account, make sure to tell them that it is because their "service" is really crappy seeing as how it annoyed all of your friends. We already get enough unsolicited spam...we don't need any more.

"We are experiencing service interruptions in the following areas:"

That's the way the message started during the last two nights when I called Comcast to see why my internet connection quit working all of a sudden. On Tuesday night, the area turned out to be all of Middle Tennessee. But nothing was as funny/annoying as last night when I called. The outage was in "All of Middle Tennessee; Alabama; Mississippi; Paducah, KY (?); and Metropolis, IL (!?!)."

Maybe I've grown a little impatient over the past several years, but it's really frustrating when you're like me and you need to obsessively check your email every few minutes if you are within reach of a computer. The me of ten years ago would be kicking my ass right now if it knew how much I was complaining about not being able to connect to the internet. But seriously though, I was trying to finish an online class I was taking and following up on some job leads. Am I wrong in expecting to get uninterrupted service?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

From the "You've Got To Be Kidding!" Department

I saw Napolean Dynamite over Christmas and it was funny, but not nearly the instant classic that so many of my friends and acquaintances seemed to think. I mean it had it's moments, but I'm really not sure if it is as quotable as some people, and t-shirt manufacturers, are making it.

Anyway, today I saw a link to the text of a bill that is supposedly being brought to the Idaho State House honoring Napolean Dynamite. Below are some of my favorite lines of recognition:
WHEREAS, tater tots figure prominently in this film thus
promoting Idaho's most famous export; and

WHEREAS, the friendship between Napoleon and Pedro has
furthered multiethnic relationships; and

WHEREAS, Uncle Rico's football skills are a testament to
Idaho athletics;
To be honest, I actually found this document funnier than the movie itself. Maybe it's because it's filled with allusions to specific elements of the movie or maybe it's just the legal writing...I'm not sure. But it was amusing to me nonetheless and I guess that counts for something.

If you have dandruff, you are destroying the environment!

According to a recent study in Germany, aerosol pollution has larger proportions of biological materials than previously thought. The study cites a larger contribution by dandruff and other dead skin particles in addition to fur, pollen, and other plant materials.

So basically, unless you are moisturizing your skin and shampooing with Head and Shoulders, you are responsible for climate changes. You are an evil person who is responsible for global warming. Shame on you.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Car Update

On Friday night, I called the redneck, Tennessean woman for the fourth time and got her answering machine again. I was pretty much certain that I would be eating the cost of this fender bender so I called Geico again to let them know that I hadn't been able to contact the other driver. They told me that they would make attempts next and then we set up an appointment for me to get my car looked at by an adjustor.

On Saturday morning at 8:30 am, the redneck, Tennessean called me. She told me that she had been out of town and just got back. She also said that I should call her at work and gave me that number. Wow! It seems like that would have been great information to have at the time of the accident! Personally, I think she was hoping that I wouldn't answer that early on a Saturday but boy was she wrong.

So I have her information and I have passed it along to my insurance company was well as filed a claim with her company. I'm feeling better about this now and know that Geico won't mess around when it comes to getting the money for these repairs. I'm still not totally convinced yet, but it's looking like all that money that I have been paying in premiums might actually be worth something after all.

Friday, April 08, 2005

"The Godfather" Video Game

Apparently, Franci Ford Copolla is angry that Paramount has turned "The Godfather" into a video game.

"I knew nothing about it. They never asked me if I thought it was a good idea," [Copolla] says.

"I had absolutely nothing to do with the game and I disapprove," he says. "I think it's a misuse of film."

No word on weather the world was consulted or approved before Copolla released the dreadful "Godfather Part III."

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Beware of other drivers...

I suppose that I am lucky that I wasn't injured or my car was not more severely damaged, but this situation that I find myself in is not good and I have a bad feeling that I will be screwed on repairs to my car.

Yesterday, in the rainy afternoon at 5:10 pm, I was pulling into the parking lot of my gym, the Nashville Athletic Club, and was hit by a woman driving very very fast for being in a parking lot. She was very pissed when she hit me and was pounding her steering wheel while I kept my composure and got out of my car. The redneck, Tennessean woman told me that she was "in a hurry" and "didn't need this to happen" as if I needed it to happen to may car and that my time wasn't important. I told her that I understood her hurry but I needed her insurance information.

We moved the cars out of the main thoroughfare and she gave me her name, address, drivers license number and phone number. Then I asked for her insurance and she said, "I don't have it with me but it doesn't matter because it's not my fault anyway. Call me tonight and I'll give it to you." To this I said, "You were driving way too fast in a parking lot and I'm am going to get screwed here if I don't get your insurance now." She got angry and flustered so I said, "If you're going to be that way about it, I'm calling the police."

I started by dialing 911 but they told me that since it wasn't a life threatening emergency to call another number. I dialed that number and after a few minutes on hold, I was connected to an operator. She took our names, drivers license numbers and color, make and models of our cars. She gave me a report number and started telling me about filing paperwork that I can download from their website. I asked how fault is determined and she said that since it occurred on private property, the insurance companies have to work it out. I asked if an officer would come and she said no and that even if one did, they would not determine fault.

I was in disbelief but my only other fender bender occurred on a public street so that has been my only experience in the matter. The woman who hit me is also very lucky that it didn't happen on a public street because she would be ticketed for hitting me and for not having proof of insurance. So with that, the redneck, Tennessean woman left the scene and I was left at the gym with a feeling that I would never get her insurance information and have to eat the cost of my deductible to get my car fixed.

I called Geico, my insurance company, to discuss the matter with them and they gave me some good advice on how to handle the situation. They also said that if I was unable to contact the woman, that they would assign an adjustor to do so. I really want this to work out and my insurance premiums to be worth something, but I have already called the woman twice and got an answering machine. It would actually work out in my best interest if she doesn't have insurance because my uninsured motorist coverage is better than the cost I have to incur if her insurance refuses to cover the damages which is apparently a possibility.

On the plus side, she is a member of my gym and she will have to see me again. I'm just most disappointed because I really try to take excellent care of my car by maintaining routine maintenance. Now it is no longer an undamaged car and the value that I was trying to hold has decreased. I know cars are not a good investment but Hondas hold their value very well. I only hope that there was no structural damage to the frame.

In any event, here is a photo of the damage. Like I said, it's not too terrible but it makes me a little sad that my car which has traveled almost 70,000 miles without incident was damaged by a redneck, Tennessean woman who was in too much of a hurry to drive carefully in a parking lot. Drivers in Tennessee are terrible. This is the second such incident that I am aware of in which a car was hit in a parking lot. Pretty F'ed up if do say so myself.

My Poor Car Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

More work for me

Here is an update for all of my good friends who have been wondering what I am going to do with myself now that I am finished with school. As I have mentioned before, I am working a part time job at a company here in Nashville called Universal Digital doing recording and editing of spoken word projects used for telephone voice prompts.

Starting yesterday afternoon, I began a new internship with Azalea Studios assisting with engineering and studio management. I met and spoke with Fett, the owner and operator, several times before yesterday and was very excited about the internship. He has promised that after three months he will either hire me outright or let me go on my way but not take advantage of the internship for his personal gain. That's a lot more than can be said for most internships in this town.

Yesterday I watched as he worked on vocal overdubs and then we discussed what I would be helping him with on the studio management side of things. I am very excited about the opportunity and feel that I can make an impression that will want him to hire me. But I will keep everyone posted!

Gotta love those wacky Star Wars Fans...

Back in January, I read a story about a guy who is blogging as he waits in line for the last Star Wars movie to be released in his local Seattle theater. As of Monday he was still waiting and still blogging about it.

Today I read another story from of Star Wars fans waiting in line in Hollywood.

Saturday, 46 days before "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" opens on May 19, the trilogy's enthusiasts began their vigil outside Grauman's Chinese Theater.

Problem is 20th Century Fox doesn't plan to open the film at the Chinese, opting instead for the ArcLight a few blocks east.

"Star Wars" or no, the diehards are resolute about keeping their line on Hollywood Boulevard.

So the movie won't be playing there, yet they are going to stay anyway!!!

A media-savvy bunch, those waiting at the Chinese hope press interest in covering (and most likely mocking) them would persuade George Lucas and Fox to move the booking.

The kerfuffle has inspired some soul-searching among the fans, and they have discovered that standing in a "Star Wars" line is actually more important than seeing a "Star Wars" film.

"The telling thing is -- for me, at least -- if the film is not playing at the Chinese ... I have zero desire to see it at all," a fan who calls himself Obi Geewhyen posted on the message board at "I'm in it for the lineup only and don't give a darn about the conclusion of this lackluster, so-called 'Star Wars' series."

Yes, you read that correctly. There is a website called devoted to starting lines for the new Star Wars movie!

Hope springs eternal, Sprague said. After the last two "Star Wars" films, "We're all a little beaten down," she said. "But this one could be it!"

God bless them. They are so dedicated in their persuit to stand in a line, they don't even care if they'll get to see the movie! What line will they stand in next? I guess it will for the release of Douglas Adams' cult sci-fi movie adaptation of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" or maybe they will be waiting for Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" follow up, his remake of "King Kong." Or maybe they'll just go wait in line at the bank. I mean if it's all about lines, why not right?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Mitch Hedberg will be missed

In honor of the passing of brilliant comedian Mitch Hedberg last week, I am posting a link to a site that has chronicled some of his greatest observational jokes. My favorites include the following:

"I like rice. Rice is great if your hungry and want 2000 of something."

"When someone hands you a flyer, it's like they're saying here you throw this away."

"This product that was on TV was available for four easy payments of $19.95. I would like a product that was available for three easy payments and one complicated payment. We can't tell you which payment it is, but one of these payments is going to be hard."

"I brought a donut and the guy gave me a receipt for the donut. I don't need a receipt for the donut, I give you the money, you give me the donut, end of transaction. We do not need to bring ink and paper into this. I can not imagine the scenario where I would have to prove that I bought a donut. Some skeptical friend. Don't even act like I didn't get that donut. I got the documentation right here."

See more hilarious observations here.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Happy Birthday Gmail!

When I logged into my Gmail account today, I found that it was not only Gmail's, one year anniversary, but also that those at Gmail were giving a present to users. They are increasing Gmail's free email space from 1 GB to 2GB and above! It is quite an amazing service and I am very happy that I let go of my Hotmail account nine months ago even though they increased their free email space from 1 MB to a paltry 250 MB. The people at Google really know what they are doing. It's no wonder that their stock is trading around $180. Here's to many more happy years for Gmail and Google!