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Category Archives: bloggish

Fresh Music: Regenerate (video demo)

In a moment I’m going to show you a song so new that I’m not entirely sure what the title is. I’ve played it less than a dozen times.

At some prior point in this site’s storied history I would write a song, literally record my first run-through, and post that as a demo – sometimes all in a single day. “Granted” is an example.

That’s pretty wild stuff – giving birth to a new creation and immediate debuting it to the world. They at least towel babies off before they shoot most of the photos.

Now, debuting a just-born song is a scarier prospect for me – my recording set-up is more sophisticated and (as a result) much less forgiving of tiny flubs. Luckily, video saves the day. It forces me out of my audiophile box to think about how to perform a new song, instead of just how to play it. Flubs are part of the charm.

That’s how this video came to be. The song is newborn, and it might still pick up some more lyrics or transitions. The emotions are still vivid and visceral to me; this may be as close as I can take you to being inside my brain as I write.

I’m sure I’ll get snooty about all my crap old videos after nine more years of blogging, but for now I love it.

Happy Birthday To This

I. The 27-Club.

Last September I turned 27.

It made me nervous.

Being a major music fan and devout lifetime subscriber to Rolling Stone, I am all too aware of the so-called “27 Club” – a musical super-group headlined by Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Jimi, Janis, Jim, and Kurt, all of whom met their untimely ends at age 27.

My nervousness wasn’t an actual, rational fear. Just a fringe anxiety. Still, it hung there. The 27 hurdle. A year it would be a challenge to survive.

In the months after my birthday the challenge of surviving gave way to the challenge of getting from one day to the next. Honestly, I was so preoccupied with life that the whole 27 Club concept didn’t reoccur to me until I was getting ready to jump out of an airplane last month. And, since that failed to kill me, I assumed I was in the clear with regard to the whole untimely end angle.

I continued thinking that until the past few days, when I began re-reading my entries from the past year in anticipation of the ninth anniversary of Crushing Krisis.

It was then I realized that it happened. I died.

If that sounds like hyperbole, it’s meant to be, but only a little bit. Truly, the past year of my life was so vastly different than any that came before that it was hardly lived by the same person.

If that sounds like hyperbole, it’s not. One of the benefits of your blog celebrating it’s ninth birthday is having the ability to make frequent, sweeping, and entirely-accurate generalizations about the state of your life.

In fact, that’s my favorite thing to do on August 26, the birthday of Crushing Krisis. Continue reading ›

9 posts from Year 9 for my 9th anniversary

Today is the ninth birthday of Crushing Krisis.

I have hundreds more words to share on that topic, but they’re still simmering. In the meantime, I am counting down my top nine posts from Year 9 of the blog on Twitter, adding them to this post as I go.

#9: Groom Team Style, pt. 1, wherein I am nearly ejected from David’s Bridal. Twice.

I love having this sort of madcap adventure so I can present it in a slightly-enhanced-reality post (surely influenced a bit by my love of H. S. Thompson). This one is made all the more amusing by how little I had to enhance the reality. All of the dialog is real, except for maybe the bit about the cloven hoof (although E claims I might have actually said that).

#8: “I’m not old,” and other stories from my actual life, wherein I meet @brimil, watch a house burn down, and have way-out dreams about the impending financial holocaust.

I followed the seemingly disparate thread of my day through a post to something coherent – a story disarmingly framed by an unlikely pair of Kelly Clarkson references. I love that blogging can tie together the themes of our lives, and here they really did come together to something larger … and maybe a little poignant.

#7: … – – – …, a brief SOS wherein we are stranded in London on our honeymoon.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard as much in-person feedback on a post as I did on this one. It was certainly meant to be funny, but the actual direness of the accommodation situation made the situation (and the post) even more ridiculous. All of the Honeymoon posts rank pretty high on my list of favorites.

#6: Tattooed/Colorblind & Shake It Off, my best audio and video recordings, respectively.

My favorite single recording of the year is definitely “Saving Grace,” but its post didn’t make the cut for my list. The “Tattooed/Colorblind” double A-Side still kinda blows me away – recorded them both in a matter of hours.

#5: whiling away the hours, wherein Gina and I discuss the ramifications of Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers and sing harmony to Hezekiah Jones.

Not all of my favorite posts are flashy, funny, or memorable. Some of them simply document moments in time. Many of my favorites occur in the company of Gina, my best friend and bandmate in Arcati Crisis.

#4: Nothing But Rock & Why I Blame Drew’s Cancer, pt. 1, my skydive photo and the start of the story behind it.

It’s impossible to exaggerate the effect #blamedrewscancer has had on my year, which included me leaping out of a plane with a bunch of people I met on Twitter.

#3: right now, wherein I live-blog my wedding vows. (not really) (but kinda)

The last thing I did before Team Groom left my hotel suite was set this post to go live when Elise and I would be saying our vows. Unfortunately, it does not capture the hilarity of my ad-lib Battlestar Galactica vow, delivered to the great amusement of E and our collected geeky friends.

#2: pipes and glass, a stream of consciousness on my childhood drug-addict neighbor.

Blogging gives you so much power over formatting and media richness, but sometimes the most powerful evocation of a memory is words arranged in just the right way.

#1: President Obama, wherein I (& my mother) react emotionally to the election of our 44th president.

I was extremely hesitant to make a post about Obama my top post of the year. However, it’s a not a post about his politics, or really even about him as a person. It’s a post about me, my family, and America, and I’m proud to have written it.

My traditional birthday post will be up tonight.

Blog Spotlight: Meish.org

I’ve decided that as frequently as I can I’d like to highlight a specific blog I love by talking about the blogger and linking to my favorite recent entries. It’s only fitting that I start with the single blog that was at the top of my link list when I launched nine years ago, and continues to be a daily read today:

Meg Pickard’s meish.org.

Meish wasn’t always Meish – it was once Not So Soft. In that capacity I consider it my parent blog, as I created my own specifically to ape what Meg was doing daily.

I’ve read Meg ever since, and she’s never stopped being compelling. She lives in London, was schooled as a sociologist, and spent time abroad conducting ethnographies. She presently works in some capacity for The Guardian.

Meg has a way – as all great bloggers do – of making the common seem very compelling. She also writes wonderful lists (frequently etymological in nature), takes clever and pretty photographs (even with an iPhone), and shares thoughts on social media.

And, as borne out by her original blog name (an Ani reference), Meg has wonderfully eclectic taste in music (and shares some of my OCD organizational qualities).

Some other recent highlights: she tracks the occurrence of “Flying Ant Day” with uncanny accuracy; she ruminates on the concept of time tourism (which I have discussed at length with Rabi); attempts to create a universal theory of measurement; dissects nationalist “visit us” campaigns; makes tables out of old maps; details past packing mishaps; and she bemoans a lack of adjectiveless sandwiches.

And that’s all just in the last year. Meish posts a few times a week, which makes it easy to follow in RSS; more voracious readers will want to subscribe to Meg’s many-times-daily tumblr.

Having met Rabi a long time ago, and Alison more recently, I’d say Meg is probably the blogger I’d most like to meet in real life.

Good blogs and the opinions I spouted at them.

This post could easily be about how I spent the last two weekends sweating my physical and intellectual butt off to completely reorganize my home office and upgrade CK to WordPress 2.8, but you would be like, “Whatever, it looks the same to me,” or “Um, I’m reading you on my RSS feed, so I don’t really care,” or possibly, “Dude, I haven’t read blogs for two years. Send me a tweet about it.”

Which is fine. I mean, should I also tell you about how I swept the floor? Backstage is backstage for a reason. Props people work hard to keep actors focused on their performance, not for the applause.

(Plus, at CK I’m the prop person and the actor. And the box office manager, the technical director, and the old lady ushering you to your seat. You get the idea. Excelsior…)

In my increasingly uncluttered life I’ve been trying to make some more time not only to read other blogs I admire, but to interact with them. That means reading carefully and responding, which sometimes yields thoughtful comments.

I’m sometimes hesitant to leave my thoughts lying around in other people’s homes when they could possibly lead to interesting content back here at my own homestead, but I’ve arrived at a happy medium – I’ll link to all of said intriguing posts as well as giving you a snippet of my reasoned replies.

Here’s a glimpse at some of the discussions I’ve weighed in on in this past week.

(If you find yourself wanting to do the same, try subscribing to Backtype, a simple monitoring service which will doing all of the the keeping-track for you.) Continue reading ›

don’t fail me now

The last forty-eight hours of my life.

At six o’clock on Monday I am playing guitar. I have been playing for hours, drilling songs against a metronome. The bridge of “Unengaged” for twenty minutes straight. I’ve worn through a callous for the first time in ages.

Later I rehearse piano and vocals equally as hard. I fall asleep reading Outliers in bed, which just two chapters in already has caused one blowup with E because I said if I had me as a child I’d call me a failure.

I don’t want to be a failure.

Tuesday I have a fun, frantic day at work – the kind where you realize at the end of the day that you never stopped to hang your coat. I start writing the second my ass is on the bus, and emerge almost three hours later with that last post.

I rehearse. Hard. Again. Trying not to fail. Despite my voice sounding brittle and inflexible due to the lack of a warm-up, I venture out to an open mic while E stays at home and works on freelance.

At the restaurant my first song is awesome; the room is quietly transfixed. (I’m not a failure?) Afterward I promptly break a string and become shy and faltering when I’m handed another guitar. I fuck up “Like a Virgin,” of all things, and promptly lose everyone’s attention.

Today I feel slightly beaten up (thank god I don’t drink at those things), on top of beating myself up. Still manage another frantic work day that barely includes a coat-hanging. On the way home I listen to my own voice on my iPod, which a lot of days is the only thing I can manage to do.

I’m listening to “Like a Virgin” from 2006 and thinking, This is awful. Why am i singing like that? (Of course, I wouldn’t make it ten seconds into “Like a Virgin” from 2001.)

Then I listen to a Trio from 2008 and realize, God, I really did get better.

I am not a failure.

I get home and am kissed goodbye as E heads out to front her band at the Khyber. Another hour of writing.

thoughts right now / subway ride

I ran into one of my favorite professors today on the subway, trundling to work in this non-event of a snowstorm.

We briefly caught up (me, married! him, reconstructing his house! my band, awesome!), and the conversation then turned to my blogging proclivity and how I have yet to abandon it. Which, (a) hilarious that my senior project adviser still asks me about my blog five years after the fact, but (b) way to stick the personal “blogger / songwriter” branding so that it’s the first thing he thinks of, even five years after the fact.

(me, old!)

Anyhow, us being two massive communications nerds having a conversation about communications on the subway, I sketched out the situation. Longest running, blah blah, own a single topic of conversation, blah blah, more magazine style content. Hit tracking, publics, &c, &c. Minus points for not somehow mentioning Cultivation Theory to prove that I am actually as big a nerd as I represent myself to be.

And, you know, as I was being my hip nerdy self for sixty seconds of subway exposition, it occurred to me that I spend more time plotting about blogging than I actually spend blogging.

It’s not such a bad thing, really. Well, it’s a medium bad thing. It’s equally good and bad. I love planning and organizing things so much that sometimes I’d rather not ever do the actual thing.

(This is actually a running theme in my life. See also: song database but no new recordings, exercise plan but no new muscles. The only time it works in my faovir is when having a plan inherently leads to the plan being success, as with a budget.

Anywho…)

There is technically a column I was going to post today. Well, it being 11:35, I think maybe technically has edged into theoretically. But the fact of the matter is, after a non-stop weekend of alternating social engagements and hardcore freelance writing and editing, I am in no mood to write a column.

And that, my friends, is the difference between a blog and a magazine. I can own all the topics I want, but there will still be this inanity sandwiched between.

God bless it.