Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What's Up With The Tip Jar?

I've added a tip jar here on my blog (at the top). Why? Well, I'm a truly independent musician with no label, no PR machine, not even a manager or agent, so I'm doing this on my very own, by my very self. And I need as much help as I can get!

So if you like what you read here on my blog, or if my music has touched your life in some way, please contribute. Know that every little bit helps. And if you wanna get something out of it, instead of donating, just buy more copies of my CDs! That money does go to me (mostly), so please spread the word and tell your friends about my music if you enjoy it. It's all very grass roots and I need the support of my fans!

Okay, that's the end of the pledge drive. Transmission out.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

SMtv & Miniature Tigers

We've been taping segments for the upcoming Samantha Murphy show. Yesterday the house was filled with lights, camera equipment, c-stands...you couldn't walk through, but it was lit well.

Tonight we went to see Samantha's latest find, Miniature Tigers. They're spectacular. Listen to their interview here. "The Wolf" is our new favorite song, but beware, you will never get it out of your head. It will stay lodged in your brain till the day you die.

They were playing at The Silverlake Lounge tonight at 9. We got there a bit late and only heard one and a half songs. And we didn't even hear "The Wolf." BOOOOOOO. That's okay, cause it's playing on repeat in our heads...for eternity.

Then we drove around for ages looking for food. Business as usual.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Somewhere Else

Late last night, I was losing my voice and feeling a little down; what better time to record a cover of Kathleen Edwards' "Somewhere Else?"

I can't sell it, so here it is for free.

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Friday, July 20, 2007


From time to time, I am fortunate enough to be part of a test audience for an unfinished feature film. I've seen some pretty amazing movies, like "About Schmidt" and "Stranger Than Fiction," and some clunkers, like "Darkness Falls" and "Slither." But if I get to see a movie for free, a year before it comes out, I don't care if it's good or not.

Last night, Samantha Murphy and I went to see an upcoming film called Juno. It stars the ridiculously talented Ellen Page (who caught everyone's attention with her shocking performance in "Hard Candy" last year). She's even better in this, as a high school junior with an unexpected pregnancy. It also stars the hysterical Jason Bateman and Michael Cera (both of Arrested Development), Jennifer Garner, Allison Janney and Rainn Wilson (who's oddly in just one scene). It was directed by Jason Reitman, who also made "Thank You For Smoking," which was one of my favorites last year.

There's no release date set, but it's being released by Fox Searchlight, and you MUST go see it. It's a miracle of a movie. It's like a hug. I enjoyed every single second of it. The tone was special. It reminded me a bit of "Little Miss Sunshine," the combination of edgy dark humor and sweetness, but it was a true original, from the first frame. I can't wait for this film's release, cause I wanna see it again! Keep your eyes open.

Also, next month marks the release of "Superbad." Nic and I saw it back in March and it's hilarious. The trailers make it look mildly amusing but I promise you it's a riot from start to finish. It (just like Juno) features the impossibly funny Michael Cera. It's even better than "Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle." Go see it.

Thus ends the movie raving and excess linkage.

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Don't Do It, It's Bad!

Trust me. Of all people, this hurts me the most. I've been reading pretty much everywhere that multitasking doesn't help, and actually hurts productivity. The general consensus is that, in switching from say, your email to a paper you're working on, your brain has to make a transition every time. And even if this transition only takes 10 seconds, it all adds up over days. And also, in this mode, you're sort of thinking about all the things you're working on, all the time. This graph from Creating Passionate Users illuminates things:
I'm a compulsive multitasker, but I found this article about being mindful, helpful. I'm working on it...but like any personal transition, it will take time.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Critics Go Home

I don't understand the concept of food criticism. If someone makes you a gourmet meal, I think you should be grateful, and not say "the flavors are overwhelming and they don't marry well, and the addition of artichokes was a complete mistake."

Your chef just slaved over a hot stove and spent their time putting something together just for you. You should be happy they made food for you to eat and nourish yourself. So shut up and enjoy it.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Broken Open

Today, someone broke the back windshield of our car. I mean, I think someone did, barring airplane waste falling from the sky or giant rocks flying off the road...it was probably the work of a vandal. Nothing was taken from inside the car, as there was absolutely nothing to take, unless you're jonesing for a baby carseat base or a $10 Radio Shack phone earpiece. They didn't even take the $3 cash in there. So I guess sometimes when you're a vandal, you've just got to randomly smash a back windshield to get your feelings out.

Dude, learn to paint or something.

If you will, I'd like to take a moment of silence for the windshield.



And now, in honor of our windshield, who has served us well for years, protecting us from the elements, defrosting frost and generally being clear (except when we don't wash him), I'd like to quote a few lyrics.

"Broken mirror
You did not lie
You told me what's wrong
And you told me why
Your pieces are true
Sharp and blind
Nobody looks back from your unseen side"

--Freedy Johnston, "Broken Mirror"

"Careful barefoot on the floor
I threw the phone at the door
I missed the door and hit the mirror
She hung it up when she lived here
And pieces of blue glass fall..."

--David Poe, "Blue Glass Fall"

"See how easy things can break?
If its crooked, make it straight
Do you love me? I can't tell
Pick up pieces and make me well."

--David Byrne, "Broken Things"

"So take me from the wreckage
Save me from the blast
Lift me up and take me back
Don't let me keep on walking...
Walking on broken glass."
--Annie Lennox, "Walking On Broken Glass"

Oh, Old Windshield, you will be missed. Rest in Pieces.

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

E3 Sony Spectacular!

I got back to LA early, and I was fortunate enough to be invited to Sony's E3 Press Event. I've wanted to go to E3 since I was 8 years old, so it's an understatement to say I was excited.

In past years, E3 was a huge event held at the LA Convention Center, featuring all the consoles and most of the developers. However, this cost the developers millions of dollars per year that they didn't really need to spend. So this year E3 was quite different. It was a series of smaller events, held individually by each publisher.

I showed up at Culver City Studios and as I walked out of the parking garage, the first people I saw were Chris Roper, David Clayman and the IGN Playstation Team. I'm a big fan of IGN. I listen to their podcasts frequently and (ready for my big geeky reveal) I know all the names and faces of the staff. So I totally geeked out again, but in that silent way that I do.

We all walked simultaneously to the Studio gates for check in, and I didn't say a word. What a loser! But I thought, "what would I say anyway? 'I love your work!' Maybe I would say, 'You people are very humorous, I find.' Or perhaps, 'I'm not stalking you!'

So I just kept the trap shut.

I checked in and got my glamrock armband (see below). It was a press wristband, meaning nobody could tell the difference between me (a lowly Playstation Underground member) and the esteemed folks at Kotaku. Very awesome. So I could pretend to be important.

I made my way into the soundstage.

And sat up near the Great Wall of Camera People.
[video for the following paragraph below] - Mr. Jack Tretton then came out and introduced all the brand new changes to Playstation Home, which looks pretty wide open to user content. He briefly discussed the PS2, saying that it was still super-successful, and then quickly swept it out the door and moved on to the absolutely dead horse that is the PSP. He presented the newly redesigned SLIM PSP, which is the same useless machine, only thinner. Woo. Now it will be a few grams lighter as you play your totally crappy games with only one analog stick and no camera control. If you want to functionally redesign it, how about adding a second analog stick to bring it into the late 90's?! He then added insult to injury and had his buddy Chewbacca bring out the brand new pointless Star Wars: Battlefront PSP. And it's THIN too!

Other show highlights include Hideo Kojima (a true legend) coming out with a translator to introduce Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, and announcing that it would be the very last Metal Gear game ever, and proceeding to show a mindblowing eight-minute trailer [video below]

They showed off new trailers of Resident Evil 5 (which looks amazing), Uncharted, Heavenly Sword, and more. You can see more video on my YouTube page, because I've used up enough blog space already.

After the press conference, we all meandered into the arcade and immediately became children again.

It was like a disco. An awesome disco with videogames everywhere. And cookies on a stick.

The vidogame blog, Kotaku, used the above photo for their lead story on E3 this year. How exciting!

Many more E3 pics on my Flickr stream.

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Sunday, July 8, 2007

Fun With Photo Booth

I have to admit I'm impressed. My new Mac does everything it said it would, and it hasn't slowed down or so much as hiccupped even once.

Last night, Nicole and I had some fun with the Photo Booth application. Here are some samples.

Trust me, there are a lot more. I thought I'd spare you.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The End of the Tour

I woke up yesterday morning at the La Quinta Inn, after a night of returning emails, barely refreshed and zombie-like at 7am. I didn't have time to shower, but at least I got my luggage back from the airline, so I had a change of clothes.

Three people from our makeshift family had already left the hotel for the airport; they were headed out on the 7:30 flight. Crazy people.

Jessica and I decided on the 9:30 flight, because who wants to wake up at 5?

We took the shuttle to the Sacramento airport, driven by a delightful woman, who was very excited about her upcoming Independence Day Barbecue, and listed for us all the food she planned on making.

Then she shifted gears, showed us a photo of her 16-year-old daughter, and told us all about how "high-maintenance" she was. "She wants to buy hi-tops, that new phone that's out, everything. She wants everything. And she got herself a job, so she can just go ahead and buy herself everything with her own money!"

Anyway, it was a colorful ride.

We arrived, got our boarding passes and went to Chili's for breakfast. Yeah, it didn't sound good to me either. But they had a plain old bacon and eggs breakfast, which was nice, because it felt like I hadn't eaten in days.

We sat down to eat, and Jessica told me all about her life as a counselor. I really respect the field of psychology/psychiatry/sociology. It's a subject I've always been interested in. I suppose that's one of the reasons I write songs, cause I just like observing people. She told about the techniques she uses with her patients/clients/whatever you call them. I told her a little about my new album, and the concepts behind it.

Between there and the flight, we both knew a lot about each other. It's really amazing how quickly you can get to know somebody in certain situations. Nicole calls them "summer camp relationships."

We got seats together on the plane, and we talked about music, etc, I played her some of my music on my iPod. It was fun, and it made the time pass very quickly. Flights typically go by pretty slowly for me, unless I'm travelling with Nic.

I told her I'd write a song about her for the new album. She told me she'd email me. I hope she does.

Nic met me at the baggage claim, and it felt like I was travelling for months, like I'd adventured all the way across the world. It should've only been a 2-hour flight, but I guess when you're making a connection in Sacramento, all bets are off.

It was so great to see her. It had been a whole month and her face looked different (I'm not sure if it actually was different though). I had to reconfigure her features in my mind, and though she's a radiant beauty in my memories, seeing her for real was a shock. She is the most gorgeous creature there ever was. While I remembered that in concept, it knocked me back to see it.

I hugged her, and that part of me that was missing was suddenly complete again. Everything felt right. We laughed and laughed about whatever it is we were talking about, and the world felt soft and lovely again.

What a long month it was, and how glad I am that it's over.

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Monday, July 2, 2007


Flights have gotten expensive. To save a little bit of money, I decided not to fly direct to Seattle. I had a connecting flight in Sacramento. But, what's another two hours added on the trip.

However, the flight from LAX to Sacramento ended up departing an hour-and-a-half late, leaving us (me and the four other people making the same connection) only fifteen minutes to run across the Sacramento airport to the other gate. We all arrived just in time, with only five minutes to spare, only to discover that our flight to Seattle left ten minutes early. I have never heard of this. A flight leaving early? And it was on Alaska, who is notorious for always running behind schedule.

And of course it was the last flight out for the night. So Delta gave us a meal voucher ($7 to spend at Cinnabon - wow) and a night at the La Quinta Inn. It was truly the least they could do.

The five of us have sort of become an odd, temporary makeshift family. It's weird how you bond with people when circumstances deteriorate.

Now I'm sitting on a bed at the La Quinta Inn writing this blog on my lovely MacBook. Looking at the bright side: they've got a great wireless network, and free HBO (I haven't seen Big Love in a while), so it'll be an okay night.

If only I had some Tylenol. Or some Valium.

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I'm at LAX, on my grand adventure up to Washington state, and I've stopped off for a meal at the whimsically-named Jodi Maroni's Sausage Kingdom. Trust me, it was the only option. Well, other than Starbucks, but they're so ubiquitous that I've somehow become conditioned to not even notice...they're like white noise.

Reading from the menu here, and I quote, "Jody's Smokin' Hot Dog - Our Signature All-Beef Hot Dog In Our Natural Casing - It Snaps!" Who is this supposed to appeal to? "I love hot dogs, but I wish they were crunchier, and I wish the intestinal shell was more obvious!"

My flight leaves in an hour.

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Mac Attack

I've just spent (literally) the entire day installing plugins and trying to get my email to work. I've input the exact same server settings from my other computer (servers are platform agnostic - right!?) and I can receive email in all my accounts, but I can only send from Gmail. Weird.

And I wanted to take it easy today. But now it's almost 3am and I'm all bleary eyed and about to fall over. So I'm going to bed, fully beaten-down by my new computer. And I thought technology was supposed to make life easier, faster and more convenient.


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Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Dirty Word: ***intosh

I'm headed up to Washington on Monday, to be with Nic and Noah. But I have a lot of work to do while I'm up there. And with the SMtv show starting in August, I needed a laptop.

So, I finally did it. I bought a Mac. Yes. The world is ending. Here come the four horsemen.

I've been a notorious Mac poo-pooer for years now. I was raised on PCs. There are pictures of me at 7 years old, playing around in DOS. Yes, that was the kind of fun I had. So, anyone who knows me is probably either fainting, or laughing a hyena (or coyote) laugh of "I knew you'd come around eventually."

Every experience I've had with Macs in school were terrible. They were always crashing and freezing, and also...WHERE IS THE RIGHT MOUSE BUTTON? Okay so I still don't understand that. Why is there only one mouse button? This is stupid. And the keyboard layout felt totally weird and wrong to me...

Anyway, I got over it and decided to throw myself into the unknown.

It wasn't just a whim either. This was premeditated. The recent release of Windows Vista means that much of my software actually won't work until each one is updated, which could be a while. Also, I need to be able to run many tracks of audio live for this show, without any hiccups, or "oops, you need to update your drivers," etc. So it finally happened.

So far, I'm definitey impressed. Other than the fact that hardly any of my VST plugins are being seen by Ableton Live (which is weird, annoying, and absolutely making me want to toss this laptop through a plate-glass window), it's mostly very smooth. Not one error message, freeze-up, or even minor slowdown yet. And the on-board camera and microphone are a nice touch. Here's what it saw when I first got my hands on my Macbook.

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