Saturday, February 25, 2006

samurai photographer gets sick.

cowboy flannel
cowboy flannel,
originally uploaded by samuraiphotog.
For the second time this month I am sick, although this time it's not the flu (thank god) but rather a nasty cold. At least, that's what I think it is.

I have broken out the cowboy PJ's so I can stay toasty warm (the heat is not on in my place right now, despite it being 25 degrees outside) while making disgusting horking noises.

How attractive.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

samurai photographer goes back to the dogs.

originally uploaded by samuraiphotog.
Westminster is being televised now and I am exhausted. Photographic evidence here, fresh from the camera.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

samurai photographer dons the urban crampons.

originally uploaded by samuraiphotog.
I finally got to test out my YakTrax today. These things are amazingly useful. I think I am going to give them to all my friends. I'm completely serious. If you live in a neighborhood where people are lax about shovelling snow from the sidewalks, YOU NEED THESE.

I wanted the orange ones, but they did not glow.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

that's how i escaped my certain fate

Mission of Burma, man.

I shouldn't be amazed at how fantastic they still are, but I am.

Yesterday was an emotional rollercoaster for me. It wasn't supposed to be, it didn't start out that way. Everything was just fine until someone I want some distance from (as in: stay away from me because if you don't I will have to say and do something hurtful, and I don't want to be in that position) re-entered my field of vision. And for about 30 minutes, all the good stuff that happened during the day, and all the giddy anticipation of going to see two good bands with an incredibly cool and fun person - it all disappeared. I hated those 30 minutes.

But then I got to the Bowery Ballroom. I met CM (the aforementioned cool and fun person) and banished those 30 minutes to the dustbin of history. Battles did a good job of pushing them in there, but Burma! Burma just made them disappear completely, leaving my mind free to really enjoy being with CM.

The power of music indeed. I think the only band that could have done this as effectively would be, oh, I dunno, the Mekons. I wonder if CM likes the Mekons.

Gotta check on that.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

i'm the heeb!

OK, so it's an ancient song. I haven't listened to it in a really long time, but it was on my iPod.

So I'm riding on the N train. It's the best kind of N train ride, which means the fluorescent lights in the car I am sitting in are off as we go through the tunnel. I relish rides like these because it's kinda like a trip without the drugs, or at the very least like the boat ride in WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. Minus the oompah-loompas.

Anyway, the point of the story. Since the random setting on the iPod is my bestest buddy, I never quite know what it will choose as a suitable soundtrack to my sojourn. However, whenever I heard the Sam Kinison "AAAAAAAAGH!" I knew EXACTLY what it was.

It was Anthrax. "I'm The Man"

I love Anthrax. I love Scott Ian. Whenever I would see him walking around Manhattan (before he moved to Los Angeles) I would smile at him. Sometimes he would smile back. Scott Ian is a Nice Jewish Boy, and any guitarist who is a Nice Jewish Boy wins a zillion points in my book.

As the song plays, I can't help but giggle a little, because I had COMPLETELY forgotten that the guitar riff in it is, basically, "Hava Nagilah"


It made my day.

top ten, february 7, 2006

1 - caffeine tallboy (joey cappuccino, baby)
2 - the flaming lips, "the wand" ("flash gordon" era queen crossed with blue cheer)
3 - qpe, GENTRIFRIED (mmmmmm, toasty)
4 - the tv show "starting over" (very guilty pleasure. oh, so very guilty)
5 - !!!, "instinct" (shake that white girl ass)
6 - dio, "holy diver" (horns are up!)
7 - golden earring, "radar love" (driving song for those who can't drive)
8 - pink argyle socks from uniqlo
9 - ebow
10 - big stick, "crack attack" (i want my money back)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

samurai photographer becomes samurai guitarist (recap)

originally uploaded by samuraiphotog.
So the performance was last night. My left arm is achey and my back hurts. I feel like the punchline to a joke - "I just played with 99 other guitarists and BOY ARE MY ARMS TIRED!" Nyuk nyuk.

Yesterday was an easy day, rehearsal-wise, as opposed to the previous two days which were pretty grueling. Or gruelling? I am too tired to look it up right now. Throughout this event, I was lucky to be sitting near people who have played in this group before, which made it feel more like a family reunion than a gig. I was sitting next to Eric Hubel, who's played with Glenn for 20 years. I don't know him well, but we kept each other entertained by swapping musician jokes.

We ran through the piece once, and then broke at around 5 or so. "It's like being on tour," remarked my pal Matthew. "Nothing to do except eat until gig time!" Of course, It didn't even occur to me to go look at the Harry Partch collection that was supposedly located in the theater building. Instead, I wandered around like a lost soul, occasionally chatting with other players but mostly trying not to think about how difficult the third movement was going to be to play.

Then I went to dinner.

Then I got on stage and tuned up.

Then John Myers came out.

Then we started.

Then it was over.

And that was it.

I like the way playing Glenn's music makes me feel. I am always sort of down about my guitar playing, and how I really should know actual notes and chords by now, having played for more than 10 years. Even though I can read the music and know what is supposed to be played, I have to cheat and mark where my fingers should go. But when you're in the middle of a sea of other guitarists, some who are a lot better than you are and some who are much more clueless than you are, none of it seems to matter. After I play one of these things, I always feel more confident about my own compositions, even though they are assembled in a much more naive way.

I always get a lot more out of these performances than I anticipate: new friends, new confidence, new energy to try other things. I wonder if other people get the same.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

samurai photographer becomes samurai guitarist, day one.

So today was the first rehearsal for Glenn Branca's "Hallucination City" and it is a completely different animal than it was the first time I played it 5 years ago (indeed, it's much different than our 2004 recording of it as well.)

Gone are the long passages of drone and whoosh, instead there's a lot of strange syncopation and some extremely finger-spraining high register parts. You can bet I will be stretching the fingers tonight!

The ensemble sounds good as a whole, I think tomorrow we will really hit our stride - we'd better, since the tape will be rolling.

Since I got one hour of sleep last night, I look forward to going to bed early (for me, at least) as soon as my headache is gone. I think once I am rested, I can really attack this piece with gusto, and maybe not even need to write notations on my score to tell me where the notes are on the neck of my guitar (because I am, as fellow Ensemble member Eric Hubel says, "guitarded", I need to cheat by taping chord names to my instrument.)

There's more women in the group this time, which made me feel great. Maybe the next time there will be 25 women instead of 10.