Saturday, March 29, 2008

Photos from High Mayhem

A few Years ago one of my musical projects, impacttestdummy played the High Mayhem Festival in Santa Fe, NM. Here are some photos I took of other performers. We also did a remix for the cd produced of that years (2005) performance. We still have a few if anyone is interested.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Hammer

Last night we went to see Adam Corolla's new movie "The Hammer". I have listened to his radio show off and on, but I am not really a fan of his shows on Comedy Central. I was pleasantly surprised with the movie. It felt very real, while still having the good guy wins Hollywood storyline. Corolla was a boxer/ carpenter before his comedy carrer took off, so he fit the part. His best friend Oswaldo was great as well for comic relief. Some of the Corolla rants felt like they might go too far, only to stop just before I lost interest. If you are a fan of indie film, check this out.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Korg MS2000

I still remember when I was looking to buy my first real hardware synth. I had finished recording an electroclash band and after looking at all of thier synths I thought I might like to add one to the pile of noisemakers I already had. My problem was money, they cost and I didn't have much. I also followed the memory of a friend who had bought a minimoog at a garage sale for $100. It needed some work, but hell I can solder.

I checked out my local music store and they had a display with the Korg microkorg. It was small which I liked, but had small keys that felt not real. They also seemed like they might break. I did a little research and saw it had the same synth engine as the Korg MS2000.

A couple of weeks later a used MS2000 showed up at the same store. It was full size and had lots of knobs and buttons. I played some patches and realized it might be what I wanted. After I took it home, we soon became great friends. I still use it live today.



A coworker gave me this from one of the boxes he got this week. I like it when inanimate objects take on a personality. It would be better if the boxes spoke when dropped or damaged. "Please don't kick me"!!!

the #4

The Hulk on Hulu

So I opened my browser the other day and saw a link to "The Incredible Hulk", I don't know about you, but I loved that show when I was a kid. Now there is a free site to stream TV shows, Hulu . I have watched a few shows and even the movie "Point Break".

I'm hoping to be able to use our Wii to stream show to our TV as my wife doesn't like to watch shows on the computer. I guess I don't blame her. We were going to test it the other night at a friends house, but we never got around to it.

longboard season

Some of you might know I started skateboarding last summer. Throughout the winter I didn't get many opportunities to ride, with the rain, cold, and so on. I'm still really a beginner so I stayed away from the indoor skate parks.

I wanted to try hitting some parking garages, but I just never got around to it.

Now the trees are starting to bloom and spring is warming up.

I look forward to skating. My wife got a beach cruiser to ride along Alki.

We went a week ago, but it was still very cold and so windy that I could barely skate. It was pushing me backwards.

Here is a video of me skating last year that I made from still photos from Alki.

need to book some new shows

I was looking at the photos from phase3's last show and thinking how I want to book some new ones. Booking shows can be frustrating. We (phase3) try to not always book ourselves at the same place, or with the same acts. I haven't been going out to many shows either so its hard to network if I don't get out. The last 3 shows I wanted to see I skipped.
As a band we are planning to do some more recording, but all of us are busy with the rest of our lives so booking shows kind of takes a backseat to life. Which is ok, but I still feel the need to play out with an audience. If I don't it is easy to fall into the funk of writers block or stagnation.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Shootout in the cockpit?

So my wife and I are eating dinner when I see a report on the news about a incident I can't believe. You can check the whole story here . Basically a pilot discharged a gun in the cockpit while the plane was in flight. They don't say how. I wonder if the pilot was cleaning it and forgot about the one in the chamber. One for the books.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Tonight the Boredoms play at Neumos. It has been many years since the last time they played Seattle. I still can't decide if I will attend.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Hey Luke!!!

I am completely operational, and all my ciruits are functioning perfectly

So I read about Arthur C. Clarke passing yesterday and I had just picked up a copy of 2001: A Space Odyssey from the library. My wife said she had never seen it so we watched as much as I could before I fell asleep last night. I did fall asleep around 9pm , so we only got as far as Dave returning to the ship right after HAL has killed everyone in suspended animation by turning off their life support. I forgot how cool the ships looked in that movie and my wife commented on how crazy it looks when the walk upside down.

I also love the eye for HAL it is cold and creepy.

I guess we can finish it tonight.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Korg Kaoss Pad

I liked this effects unit so much I bought it twice. A few years ago I bought the Korg Kaoss KP2. I loved the effects and the control I had with the pad interface. I also used the sample loops all the time. I still use it in my live set up today.
Then the KP3 came out and it had a bunch of new effects patches that looked like I could use them as well, but I couldn't justify spending that much on another effect. Then they released the Mini kp.
The Mini Kp has the same patches as the KP3, but is much smaller and is battery powered. I love it. I use both live, but if I want a smaller set up I can use just the mini. It has some real cool granular patches and some delay patches I use all the time.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Nord MicroModular

This morning a friend who writes for The Stranger's music blog, LineOut called to ask me about my current favorite piece of gear. I felt I should write some thing about it myself as I had been planning on writing about the Nord Micro Modular anyway.

I started experimenting with synthesizers in the late 1990's. The first unit I owned was called the Roland PMA-5, a small synth unit with a sequencer and drum sets that had a stylus to program a touch screen like a smartphone or PDA. Not long after I begin to play with computer based sound manipulation programs like Sound Forge, and Acid. Then about 5 years ago I decided to branch out sonically and began to purchase some other hardware synths.

My first was the Korg MS2000, then the Alesis Micron and Dave Smith Instruments Evolver. After that I found the Clavia Nord Modular. The Nord Modular was a hardware based synth that could be programmed using a software interface and emulated modular synths. I liked the sounds I got out of the Nord Modular, but when programming patches the 18 knobs that didn't have any labeling became hard to keep track of. The unit was also oddly shaped, making it hard to travel with. I sold it and bought a Yamaha A3000 sampler. But soon I missed the sounds I was making with the Nord and saw a Nord Micro Modular for sale.

The Micro Modular uses the same software interface as the Modular, but has less voices and runs off one dsp chip. It is also a smaller unit and only has three programmable knobs. It was perfect for me. It works great for programming sounds that mutate over time. I like the size because I can pack it with a couple of effects pedals and cables and head to a show wit honly my backpack.

Here is the article in LineOut about me and my synth.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I have been receiving e-mail announcements from bands on the way to SXSW this year. With the state of the major label companies as they are I can't imagine the festival is the same as it was the last time I went to SXSW (10 years ago). I'm sure it is still filled with corporate parties giving bands a place to play while the drunken hordes of people shuttle from club to club, filled with free booze and whatever else the can get their hands on. Various music industry employees trying to get the bands to use or wear products by giving them free samples and giving them free booze.

I wonder if any of the bands actually think they can get a contract with a record company? Is that still the goal, or is it just another gig albeit one with a possibly larger audience than one might have on any other given night. Do the people remember the bands performance better on the night of a festival any better than a regular night? I don't want to come off as bitter, but it just seems like music industry festival gatherings have become more about industry than about music.

I still remember the drummer from another band making a scene at SXSW. The band I worked for had played earlier in the day and we had loaded up our gear and taken it back to the hotel. The rest of the night was ours to party with. We split up everyone wanting to see different shows, with the idea of meeting up when one of the other bands on our label played later that night. When I got to that show one of the label reps asked where the drummer for our band was. they needed to ask if he could play for the headliner that night. After all the scrambling the drummer in question was able to get up and play anyway. When he walked to the stage with 2 roadies holding him up, I wasn't even sure if he was awake. He played the full show with encores , though as I watched from the side of the stage, I thought for sure he might fall over at any minute. I guess that might be called rock and roll.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What to do?

So in my spare time I started to think of different ways to make a little extra cash to fund my synthesizer habit. Not that I really need any new ones, I wouldn't even say I have been looking for any lately, but it is always fun to think of wierd projects. Today I signed up for a service where I can make money blogging about random stuff. I don't know if I will actually do it, but I could get paid to write blogs about products and companies and such. No much, like $5 per blog and you can't just pump out a whole bunch at one time, they have to be spaced between other blog entries. So it could take a long time to get say a Moog Little Phatty . Not that I'm looking I am just using it for example.

So it would go like this, I might be able to come up with 3 or 4 blogs per month for this pay per blog thing, so around $20 total per month it would take me around 5 years to buy a Little Phatty. If I donated plasma as well I could make about $180 per month. So if I did both I could get one in around 6 to 7 months. That is if I could donate plasma for 6 months twice a week. Trouble is I don't think I could donate plasma once, much less twice a week for 6 months.

I could collect and recycle cans and bottles, I don't even know how to break that one down, but I think it would be longer than just the pay per blog, even if I did them at the same time.

I could take up gambling. Playing in weekend Texas Hold' em tournaments could fund it quickly,but this option could work in the reverse with would be counterproductive.

For some time now I have been trying to participate in medical testing, which pays well, but takes up too much time for me to work when I would be in a trial. If the malaria test comes through I could get up to $4000 to let them give me malaria. I could buy a couple synths with that one. No need to blog, bleed, or collect, just let 5 mosquitos bite me and wait till the bacteria shows in my blood, then get the check. As Steve Martin used to say, "One show, goodbye".

Well enough dreams of odd ways to make money, I think I will just save a little bit of the money I already make and maybe surprise myself for my birthday.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Reko Muse

I went to school in Olympia, WA at the Evergreen State College. The other day I saw a new report about a riot on campus after a Hip Hop show. It got me thinking about the time I spent at Evergreen and the shows we produced. I started my first band with a friend that I still play music with today back then. When I was a sophomore we created a class where we organized, staffed, produced and recorded a series of live shows at different venues on campus. One of those shows was a live performance by my band, impacttestdummy.

When I met my friend neither of us played any instruments. He had an electric guitar and was taking a recording class. We shared an interest in obscure noisy music. He had a project due and invited me to help. He had also built an amplifier out of parts from my car stereo and some other electronics he had laying around his dorm room. I remember his roommates had a car engine in pieces in the dorm living room, it helped to fuel our industrial music. At the studio I banged out some chord like mess over a drum machine beat and bass loop he had. In the basement of the library building we found some strapping tape, I balled it up and beat it with re bar. I also tortured the guitar and amp until some birdlike feedback came out, this became our first piece together, " Chainsaws and Tweetybirds".

The next year we enlisted another friend and became a trio. We spent most of our time banging on found pieces of metal and oil drums. I worked at a car dealership over the summer and had a collection of car parts that I threw into the mix. We practiced at a art gallery/club called the Reko Muse. It had been some kind of a garage before and had two big garage doors in the front. Directly across the street was the fire department. One night we were practicing, now I don't know if you have experienced the sound of metal hitting metal, but believe me when I say it was loud. Now add two more people banging away and it gets real loud, this wasn't some kind of hippy drum circle, this was the primal sound of the coming of the apocalypse. We would go for long stretches of time without stopping, beat after beat, poly-rhythms and simple beats melting into each other, sometimes not stopping until our hands bled. We weren't preparing for shows just working out our frustrations with life in general, (though we did play some shows).

One night in particular we were in the midst of a trance, banging away when I began to hear something that was slightly off. I looked up thinking maybe the reverb in the room was playing tricks with my ears. No it wasn't that, so I stopped. The the other two stopped and the noise got louder. It was someone banging on the garage door , loud and hard. We opened the door and saw two Olympia policemen, one holding his nightstick in front of the garage door. It was past 10pm and the firemen wanted to go to sleep, practice was over.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Jak's Steak

Last night we went out to dinner at Jak's. Now if you read this blog you know how much I liked going to Peter Luger's in Brooklyn. Well here in West Seattle there is a small steak house, that in my opinion makes the best steak in Seattle, Jak's .

I always get the rib eye, which they serve off the bone with a light seasoning. It comes with potatoes, veggies and some shredded horseradish as well as a salad to start. It is always cooked the way I like it. Do your self a favor if you like meat and go to Jak's.

Friday, March 7, 2008


So Tuesday I read that Gary Gygax had died. Unless you happened to read about it you might not know he was one of the inventors of Dungeons and Dragons. D & D and its players have been the source of ridicule since almost when I started playing the game, I myself have teased participants in my old age even though I played the game when I was younger. But I was talking to some friends last night when I remembered the story of the first time I heard about the mysterious game known as D&D.

I was at summer camp, Camp Don Bosco outside of Carnation, Wa, and one of the camp counselors was filling out a piece of paper while rolling different dice, some very oddly shaped. I asked her what she was doing and she said playing a game. Now I must say when I was relaying this story last night I said its true I met a girl who played D&D in 1976, which would be tantamount to finding a Unicorn. I mean as I grew up and played the game, no girls ever became interested, actually I think they might have been turned off by it. But, while I watched her make a character, my mind wondered about this new and exciting game unlike any I had ever seen. A game where the only limitations were my imagination and the roll of the dice, I was hooked. Shew showed me and some of the other campers how to make a character and told us about the dungeons where we could look for treasure, while fighting off monsters. When I got home from camp I asked my parent to buy me the game. Christmas rolled around and it finally came.

"YOU ARE HOLDING A FANTASTIC WORLD OF SWORDS & SORCERY ADVENTURES IN YOUR HANDS! IN DUNGEONS & DRAGONS YOU BECOME A MIGHTY WIZARD, A FEARLESS HERO, A STOUT DWARF, A CLEVER HALFLING OR ANY ONE OF A DOZEN OTHER ADVENTURERS READY TO EXPLORE THE MAZES AND LABYRINTHS OF A VAST AND DEEP DUNGEON - OR PERHAPS TREK THROUGH UNCHARTED WILDERNESS - IN SEARCH OF THE FABULOUS TREASURES AND MAGIC WHICH ARE HIDDEN THERE. BUT THIS WEALTH IS NOT EASILY GAINED, FOR TERRIBLE GUARDIANS LURK NEARBY; AND SUCH MONSTERS AS ORCS, OGRES, TROLLS, GIANTS, DRAGONS, AND EVEN WORSE MUST BE DEFEATED IN ORDER TO GAIN THEIR HOARDED TREASURE." The basic set came with a book explaining the game and an introductory dungeon module. But this wasn't the end, I could buy more books like the Monster Manual, The Dungeon Masters Guide and the Players Handbook, these would help me to better understand the game. Soon I met others who played the game and we gathered on the weekend to stomp thru unknown lands fighting Orcs and goblins, looking for treasure, deciphering the roll of the dice.

As I grew older the game lost its appeal, I stopped playing and moved on to other games. It wasn't until last night that I remembered the girl that started it all. Today video games have taken the place of D&D and plenty of women play video games, but in 1976 a girl playing D&D was a rarity, one that introduced me to a fantastic world.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Blackjack and raw power

So I'm a firm believer in handmedown technology. I have given away old computers, passed on musical instruments and many other kinds of stuff (I think). A week ago some friend's gave me their "old" Samsung Blackjack after they upgraded to Iphones. After they located the usb connector I updated it to Windows Mobile 6 and away I went. I was able to install Google maps in case I got lost and hooked it up to my work and personal email. The early polls say its great, I love it. My wife thinks the email alert sound is a robot and refers to it in this fashion, "Your thing made a noise again!!!".

I also stopped at Easy Street Records to buy The new Grand Archives record and while I was waiting in line I saw they had The Stooges "Raw Power" on sale for $7.99, I couldn't pass it up. I love that record, the new mixes are a little different than I remember, but I still think it has the same feel. many nights were spent partying to this record when I was in college. One the other side of the coin, the new Grand Archives record is great as well in a totally different way.