Saturday, November 27, 2010

recording diary - two

the xmas demos by traveling light

8 tracks; 25min34secs; 192kbps mp3; 35.1mb

surely my mother is wondering why i would take the "Christ" out of Christmas by calling this "the xmas demos." i have discovered that centuries ago xtians replaced "Christ" with the letter "x" for many different reasons. if you care, you should research some of those reasons. i'm sure that if you know me you would know that taking "Christ" out of anything is not my style therefore understanding that i would have several reasons to use "xmas" in this manner.

andrea bocelli, josh groban, even norwegian pop idol (and eventual world idol) kurt nilsen inspire feelings of joy and heartache with their matchless voices. after listening to my latest recordings you could say that my matchless voice inspires feelings of pain and headaches. but i didn't record these Christmas songs for you. i recorded them because i was asked to play my guitar (not sing) at a Christmas party in december. i've heard that there will be other singers there. whew. don't get me wrong…it's not that i think that i'm the world's worst singer. it's just that these particular songs should be sung beautifully and that just isn't in my repertoire.

so, you ask, if i didn't record these songs for you, for whom did i record them? you see, my friend that asked me to play my guitar at her party matched me up with a drummer, the incomparable antonie (see recording diary - a history for more info, antonie was jeremy's first drummer). since we all know that it is very difficult to sit in with other musicians without knowing what to expect, antonie and i got together this to go over some of the songs. antonie's playing has a wild jazz/funk sort of swing to it and he suggested that we get a bass player to join us. i agreed and he called boB (yes, the boB that i wrote about before). boB suggested that we record the songs so he could hear them and here we go. now you know that these recordings are for boB and antonie, not you.

of course, if you are really that curious, go ahead. download and listen. have a ball. cringe, even. the recordings are demos in the strictest form of the word. just my guitar and my voice. no overdubs, no effects, no autotune (although that would really help in this case!), no lasting value.

eight songs. twenty five minutes.

01 - angels we have heard on high

02 - the first noel

03 - what child is this?

04 - it came upon a midnight clear

05 - joy to the world

06 - o holy night

07 - hark! the herald angels sing

08 - christmas at the zoo (flaming lips cover)

if you want to hear demos done well, check out my friend jeremy's 52-week project here. he's much better at this than i.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

picture pages - ten

while i'm not a big fan of labels, using buzz-words to get an idea or description across comes in very handy when talking about art and ideas. if i told you that, as a cartoonist, i was looking to create "narraglyphic picto-assemblages" no one except high-minded, know-it-all hipsters would understand what i was talking about. the term simply means "comics." it's important to use terms that are easily identifiable. that's why labels come in handy. especially when describing music. if i mention that a certain band is punk or grunge or hip hop you get a pretty good idea of what to expect. so when i want to tell a story about a band but the comics medium is silent i have to use a label to describe what you would be hearing if the page had sound.

in this comic, the latest installment of caribou's adventures playing bass, a local entertainment writer describes caribou's band, julia's seizure, as "post-rock." the write up goes on to describe some key elements of the genre (instrumental, dynamic shifts, kind of moody) and mentions a key player in the genre (mogwai). as a cartoonist i chose to use a mention in a local entertainment paper to establish the band and the sound. now i can get into who these three men are and how they are going to save the world from certain doom.

about this drawing: i have been really intimidated by this page. i love music. i love the performance of music and i wanted to get the images right. my problem is the level of realism i want to put into my comics. i am not really interested in drawing photorealistic characters but i do want to draw accurate gear for my musicians. i found some photos of the incredible explosions in the sky (another band of "post-rock" instrumentalists) and aped some of the poses and instruments. i drew the last panel first and waited a week while i sketched out images of the effects pedals and guitars.

while the physical artwork took about a week to get exactly the way i wanted it, the photoshop stuff took just as long. i've stated previously here at geek style that i'm not very adept with the computer tools of illustrating. i use a wacom pad that i simply adore and a really old version of photoshop to go with my really old computer. the more i use these tools, the more practical they become to me and this page specifically has taught me considerably about what i am looking to accomplish with photoshop. i'm using photoshop to add texture and depth to my artwork through shades of gray and gray-er (if i can say that ::wink::). susen asked me why i'm just not "coloring" them with a full pallet. it's partly because i'm pretty down about my own sense of color and partly because i love reading black and white comics but mainly because i only have a monochromatic laser printer at home and don't want to pay for color ink.

the photoshop'd image came out much better than i had hoped and i really feel that i've learned quite a bit about how to get where i want to go through the process of this page.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

picture pages - nine

s.d. smith sent me another chapter of the fledge chronicles to provide an illustration. this chapter is called the soft, gooey insides of affection. when i saw that title and read the text i knew that i was in for a stretch. sure, s.d.'s work lends itself to some obvious graphic work (that's a good thing from the cartoonist's perspective!) but this story is different. just the title alone ups the ante but the tone is this chapter is tense.

fledge's protagonist is ben gray. he is in love. the girl he is over the moon for is sarah watson. miss watson knows what's up with ben but isn't really rushing into anything, she's smarter than that. ben isn't being strung along but certainly is more emotionally invested in this relationship than the lady. because of this situation, s.d. smith is able to write truly hilarious, odd-ball tales concerning this relationship that seems destined for the annals of romantic history but must first scale, inch by inch, the rocky cliff that is love. while the payoff is huge, the build-up is tense.

so my illustration must convey that tension. my artwork needs to show ben's obvious love for sarah and sarah's desire to simply enjoy the moment while keeping her head on straight. going in i knew i would struggle with this one.

about this drawing: i decided that i would illustrate the title of this chapter, the soft, gooey insides of affection in a sort of esoteric way. when you glance at the picture you see a smashed pumpkin. but i want to your eyes to linger and get an idea of where this relationship is between these two. sarah watson is looking gleefully at a shattered pumpkin while ben gray's expression comes from knowing that he made sarah happy. the two are enjoying the same experience but are experiencing it from two very different places.

i began with the smashed pumpkin. that was the easy part. i found a photo of a smashed pumpkin (google images is a treasure trove!) and sketched it out with a non-reproducible blue pencil then inked it with micron art pens of varying thickness. my wife and s.d. himself gave me some great perspective on making the pumpkin look best. then i scanned it in and started work on the faces.

the faces took hours to complete. i have page after page of floating heads from where i was just trying to get it right. i took what i thought were the best two heads and scanned them in to place them with the pumpkin. after working with the drawings in photoshop i went back to my sketchbook to make more faces. i settled on another pair and scanned those in and proceeded to spent several hours tweaking those faces in photoshop. i repositioned eyebrows, i tilted smiles, i reconstructed jawlines...i even gave ben a nose job. eventually i was pleased with the outcome. looking back at my work progress is hysterical because the end product is nowhere near where i started. more importantly i did all the refining on photoshop with my wacom pad which is a huge step for me.

after i sent the final artwork to s.d. for approval i spent another hour or so free-handing the title in photoshop with my wacom pad. i've never drawn letters in photoshop. while they look pretty rough, now i know that i can do it.

in all i spent the better part of two days on this illustration, fourteen hours of draw time and more than a few good lessons learned.

this illustration is due to be published in west virginia south magazine in another several months.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

picture pages - eight

about this drawing: this is a one page comic called the door. it features a character named the traveller and yes, i "realise" that it is commonly spelled "traveler" here in the us but i purposely spelled it with the double "L" to add a little depth to the character. where is he from? where is he going? what brought him down this hallway? why is there a key just laying on the floor in front of the door? who left it there and what is behind that door? as the last panel states, this is "to be continued." maybe next time we'll get to see what is on the other side of the door. maybe not.

this page was completed over a fourteen hour period with lots of stops and starts. i drew it with a non-reproducible blue pencil and inked it with black micron art pens. while penciling the page i used a straight edge for all the sharp lines but free-handed all the inks, hence the wobbly lines. i'm deciding if that is a style i will want to stick with or if i'm going to start inking with a ruler as well.

i hope you enjoy...

Monday, May 31, 2010

picture pages - seven

about this drawing: this is a one-page comic featuring a character named caribou (after the pixies song, of course). it is call "bass practice," showing caribou playing bass in his bedroom. i created this page more or less to practice some of the techniques that i've been learning over the last several weeks. i drew these panels on my large (14x17 inch) sketchbook in non-repro blue between the hours of 11pm and 2am. i used micron art pens to ink over the blue pencils and a faber-castell pitt brush pen for the guitar cable that appears in almost every frame. when the inking was complete i scanned the large artwork in three segments and combined them in photoshop. presented here is the scan with no touchups, resized for more enjoyable viewing.

nothing was playing while i created this piece but the bass lines from nirvana's "come as you are" and "lithium" bounced around in my head almost the entire time.

there is a lot more where this came from so please enjoy and check back periodically for more.

if you are interested, continue reading for the essay associated with this post...

i must say, the month of may has been very strange for me. i've drawn more pictures in the last month but it has all existed outside of the digital realm. i've filled up almost two sketch books and developed a lot more of the po-po character and her friends. i've been working more on illustrations for a children's story and experimenting quite a bit with pencils and inks. i'm almost exclusively drawing with a non-reproducible blue pencil so that i don't have to erase any pencil marks after i've inked the artwork. as i ink my artwork i have been using brush pens with varying degrees of success. in addition to the po-po coloring book and po-po comic strip, i've got two other works of graphic storytelling in the very embryonic stages. i'm focusing on finishing the children's story and po-po projects before i even work on concept artwork for the two new stories but ideas come and i keep writing them down.

i'm reading quite a few different comic books and studying the artwork and ways a story is told with words and pictures. i'm reading expositions from will eisner, scott mccloud and others in order to gain a better understanding of the storytelling process. in all, i'm throwing myself into the art of cartooning in hopes that i would someday be able to tell a good story that others might enjoy reading. all this while looking for a "straight" job. fun.

while all this art is coming out of me i have been very resistant of using the pc. it has become very clear to me that i am woefully uneducated with the various tools available to me on the computer. rather than agonize over these tools, i have turned to the traditional means of creating art. while profitable for my growth as a cartoonist it is limiting the means that i have to share my art with others. i think that once i get more comfortable telling a good story with pictures i'll add the software applications to my repertoire.

scott mccloud's most recent work making comics has really challenged me to focus on the storytelling of comics. his book includes bundles of "optional exercises" that are giving me ways to practice the principles of his theories. before i started reading the book i went through a bunch of old sketchbooks of mine and it struck me how disjointed all my work has been over the years. recently, i've been developing characters for a po-po the super cat comic strip and mccloud's book has given me some direction that i had been missing.

otherwise, i've been reading works from kazu kibuishi, tezuka, daniel clowes and many others. these three in particular have been exciting to read simply because of the craft in their work. it's easy to make a comic book. it's not that easy to tell a good story using the comics medium. i really hope that this (mostly) wordless piece presented today is a step in the right direction for me as a cartoonist.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

odosketch - two

title: po-po YUM!
to view this sketch in full screen mode visit odosketch

Saturday, May 1, 2010

odosketch - one

title: wish you were here

Sunday, April 11, 2010

birthday haiku - ten AND eleven

follow my life's path

permanent ink stains my skin

icons mark the road


for Jon Dunlap

in this world there are all kinds of people...some people (like me) don't have any tattoos, some people (and i'm sure they're out there) have one tattoo, some people (like my wife) have multiple tattoos and hope to get more. then there's dunlap. he's covered. some fine artists have left their mark on my friend. dunlap's diversely colored skin includes such iconography as the three-eyed fish from "the simpsons" to a photorealistic rendering of kurdt cobain. his skin is etched with flames and band logo's and even the elfish inscription found inside tolkien's one ring (that one's around his wrist like an unmoving watchband). in all, dunlap has a story for every one of them and if you fill him with enough of his poison he'll tell you each story multiple times. dunlap's the man. the illustrated man. i wish we had invited him over tonight...


yesterday has passed

tomorrow's yet to be made

i'm looking ahead


for Erika Benson

i knew erika a lifetime ago when she had a different name but all the same cool. i'd pick her up on a saturday morning and we'd go check out the thrift shop and look for records, after we picked up hitchhikers of course. the hitchhiker thing only happened once and we both were left with a memory and the knowledge that we helped someone out. i've got lots of amazing memories of erika and i hope our paths cross again, whether there's a hitchhiker or not. although those halcyon days are gone i know her future is there for her to write. i wouldn't be surprised if one day erika ruled this world with her little peach at her side. she's just that cool.

about the haiku: haiku is a japanese form of poetry that contains a metered verse in seventeen on (equivalent to an english syllable). generally, but not always, the english haiku consists of three lines with a five-seven-five syllable structure. the best examples of haiku paint a detailed picture using the fewest words possible, often only revealing a portion of the subject so as to give the reader something to ponder.

Monday, April 5, 2010

picture pages - six

today i am presenting another workup of po-po the super cat. i drew this with the intention that it would become the cover of the book i put together for chloe. i worked with chloe on the colors of the costume, she originally picked yellow and pink as the primary colors but i was able to steer her to red and pink instead. i'm so glad that chloe wants to call herself po-po and even looks at these pictures and says, "is that me?" i'd much rather her pretend to be po-po (something i can control and influence) rather than sonic the hedgehog or a neopet.

i've spent more time than i'd like just on the logo. i wanted to make sure that i had something that i liked which wasn't easy. now i have to figure out how to use a vector editor to make a slick, professional looking logo (which every superhero needs). i'd better hurry up and finish this project because the only reason why i'm doing this is to help chloe to read and she's progressing so well and so quickly. susen and i see progress every day and that makes me so happy. i'm proud of our little girl and i hope that she can be proud of her daddy someday...

about this drawing: i started with another basic pencil drawing but i wasn't pleased with the positioning of the hands so i redrew the hands on a different section of the paper. when i inked the pencils with my light box i replaced the unsatisfactory hands with the good ones. then i scanned the inked drawing into photoshop, resized po-po, repositioned and resized the logo and cleaned the whole thing up a bit. i colored it in photoshop but chloe colored a black and white one that i had printed out and i liked her colors better (mine had brown hair and a brown tip on the tail, chloe gave po-po purple hair which looks infinitely better) so i put her page up instead of mine.

i have a b&w one up here if you want to print it out and color it yourself. good times.

more pictures of po-po are found in an older edition of picture pages.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

picture pages - five

s.d. smith has been writing a series of short stories for a regional magazine here in west virginia. all of the installments have been illustrated by some very talented artists. he asked me to illustrate the two most recent stories, the first of which was published this month and is featured in picture pages - one. i've really enjoyed the work and, along with some other projects i'm working on, i can really see how i should start taking art classes to better refine my work. as eric can attest, it has become increasingly more difficult to put down on paper what i see in my head. when writing my thoughts for this blog i make sure i pick my words carefully to properly convey my thoughts. i'm doing the same thing with my illustrations but it feels as if my vocabulary is limited. i'm trying very hard to expand the vocabulary of my art and you, my faithful readers, get to see the progress.

about this drawing: this is an illustration for the latest installment of s.d. smith's fledge chronicles published in west virginia south magazine. once i chose a scene to illustrate (which is not easy because s.d.'s writing is so ripe with imagery) i made a rough sketch of the angle from which i would draw. i then made a series of more defined pencil drawings that i would use to compose the final artwork. the man holding the cat is cyclop sammy (for obvious reasons) and i wanted to make sure that he was the center of our attention. i sketched him first and tiled the restaurant floor for perspective and then on a separate page sketched two additional characters (heck davis and the owner of the "grit-r-done" diner, hilda) along with various spilled dishes and utensils. i knew from my initial layout that i wanted to include an overturned chair but i wasn't sure where i would place it. once these sketches were complete i was able to start combining the elements on a finished page. using my light box and some micron art pens i started with cyclop sammy and then added heck davis and hilda. lastly, i placed the "carnage" on the floor...positioning the dishes and utensils along with a triangle cut piece of toast, a piece of bacon and a bunch of grits. at this point i knew where i wanted the chair so i added it and the tiles and i was done! all of the inked worked was done with the light box which has become an integral part of my toolset.

during the inking and finishing work i listened to my old small factory records; i do not love you, for if you cannot fly, and the industrial evolution.

from start to finish i spent five hours on this project.

Friday, April 2, 2010

memorable memories - one

susen and i were married on march 31, 2000. for those keeping track at home that was ten years ago this week. during those ten years susen and i have shared many great memories. we've had a great marriage with our share of ups and downs, some things that would shake anyone to the very bone and some things that couldn't even be dreamed up in the most imaginative love stories. through all of the years susen has made me feel like no one else ever has or ever will and that is more treasure than a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow could ever promise. i know that she's with me through the proverbial thick and thin and i trust that she knows the same from me.

for our anniversary we went to a fantastic local restaurant where susen had beef wellington. i've never been at the same table as this mythic dish in which a filet mignon is covered with foie gras (fwa-grah: the liver of a fattened duck) and wrapped in a puff pastry (think croissant). knowing that this was a memorable moment that we were sharing i asked susen to reflect on some of our most memorable memories. knowing that the first film that susen and i went to the cinema for as a married couple was "high fidelity" in which john cusack ranks everything in his life in "top" lists, we thought it would be fun to countdown our ten most memorable memories of the last ten years.

we have shared some incredible memories in our relationship...our seventh anniversary trip to the easton town centre in ohio, our interesting (to say the least) trip to the mall in king of prussia, pa, my parents living in our little south charleston apartment for six weeks in 1999, that south charleston apartment building catching on fire (a police car smashed into an en route fire truck!) and the subsequent four weeks in three different hotel rooms with our newborn chloe, drama, comedy, tragedy...we have TONS of shared memories and haven't even touched on the six years BEFORE we got married (those are some good ones too: our first kiss, the trips between new hampshire and michigan, the monet exhibit at the boston museum of fine arts, the looonng phone calls where susen would sit quietly for hours and i would just try to keep talking so she wouldn't hang up, the trips between west virginia and new hampshire, the proposal, etc.)

so over dinner susen and i reflected on these, the ten most memorable memories of our last ten years:

10 Our First Drive From NH to WV (2000)

you'll read about our wedding on down the list but two days after our marriage we loaded up a uhaul and moved to wv looking for a new life together. to understand the situation you'll need to know that susen was living in michigan and i was living with my folks in new hampshire when we started our relationship in earnest. susen's son, alan, was living in west virginia with his father and she was traveling down every month to see him. soon after we began our "long distance thing" susen got an apartment in nh and lived there for nine months before we were married. during those nine months we went traveled together to wv to see alan. it was 800 miles one way and because we weren't married we would make the trip in one day, usually twelve or thirteen hours of drive time. susen was on an alternating schedule with her son where one month she would get alan for a weekend and the next month for a full week so sometimes we would go spent the weekend at her father's house before driving back and sometimes we drove down on friday, back up on sunday and then again the following weekend. it was important that we made the trips but it wore us down so we decided to move to wv permanently once we got married.

this trip, our first drive from new hampshire to west virginia as a married couple, was very special. after four or five hours of driving we stopped at a hotel in pennsylvania, just over the new York state line. the hotel had an indoor pool and we were excited to use it after such a long, horrible new england winter. i remember that susen said that she knew "just where her swim suit" was in the uhaul and we opened up the truck, susen went right to where the suit was and we shut up the truck. how often does that happen? i tell you, it hasn't happened many times since then. we swam after grabbing a bite and hitting a little strip mall record store in which we purchased "winners never quit" from pedro the lion, our first cd as a married couple. the trip was full of "firsts" and it will always be a great memory for us.

as a little aside, on that trip we read a cover story article in usatoday about a best-selling series of books that was causing kids to read in droves. it was called "harry potter something-or-other" and we decided then that we really didn't need our kids to read stories about sorcerers and witches. we still, ten years later, don't think that our daughter really needs to read those books.

9 Seeing Lucero at Mountain Stage (2010)

this memorable moment occurred just six or so weeks ago when susen's favorite band came to charleston, wv for the first time. my old friend bob comped tickets for us since he works for wv public radio which produces the mountain stage program. i wrote a little about the show in a previous blog post. this memory is so memorable for me because i love to see my wife get excited about things. just watching her pick the shots she wanted to take with her camera, watching her get to meet ben was a really great time and i'll always reflect favorable on the whole evening.

8 Going To the Purple Door Festival (2000)

that summer after we got married susen wanted to "do something" so we decided on taking a trip to lancaster county, pa where the annual purple door festival is held. it's billed as a festival of arts where bands play and art is exhibited. this year (2000) is the only year we've been but i know given the right circumstances we wouldn't hesitate to go again. susen and i met ronnie martin and jeff cloud at the joy electric merch table which was a hoot because alan would listen to je as bedtime music that summer he turned six. i'll never forget the smirk on ronnie's face when we told him that his was our 6-year old's favorite band.

we saw joy electric play as well as starflyer 59 (ronnie martin's brother, jason), brandtson (our first exposure to such a wonderful band), pedro the lion and switchfoot. susen's not a fan of switchfoot at all and i'm a big fan of theirs especially considering that this was several years ahead of their big commercial breakthrough. however, susen noted that she like the switchfoot set best because it looked like they were actually enjoying themselves. i enjoyed pedro the lion most, they played indoors where an art installation from matt wignall (havalina, jackson rubio records) was housed and the room was packed to the gills with everyone transfixed by the amazing song-stories told by david bazan and his band.

another note to this memory: there were just as many great bands that played that we didn't even see...p.o.d., over the rhine, havalina rail co., blaster the rocket boy. it was a good year at the purple door.

7 Going To King's Island With Alan (2004)

i'm not a fan of amusement parks but i truly enjoy going with people that do enjoy them. we drove out to ohio and got a hotel room with a shuttle that went back and forth to the park. it was fun and we really enjoyed walking around with alan, riding rides, eating awful carnival food...everything that king's island is cracked up to be. i remember going on a scooby doo haunted house ride where they took a picture of you during the ride and tried to sell it to you after. we just took a photo of our picture as they displayed it on a screen. alan and susen looked so happy together. the two of them love each other so much. that time with alan is such a cherished memory.

6 Going To Our First ROH Show With Paul (2003)

ring of honor is a wrestling promotion from philadelphia. it is NOTHING like you would see on teevee from wwe or what have you. they actually wrestle, none of the soap opera stuff people are used to. i can go on and on about my history with pro wrestling but now is not the time. what i should say is that my brother paul is responsible for me seeking out this company that was just over a year old at the time. this event was in wilmington, oh at a hotel/conference center. we checked into our room and walked down to the conference center where a gun show was just wrapping up. we went into the gun show door and ended up in the back stage/dressing room area of the wrestling show. after talking with a couple of the wrestlers we were politely asked to leave the building and go wait outside until they were ready to open the doors to the public. there is nothing quite like standing in line waiting for a venue to open, surrounded by excited fanboys trying to be cool...and susen. bless her heart, my wife must really love me to endure that. the show was in a ball room (literally) with two huge chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. it was fun. there is even dvd proof that we were there. best moment: protecting my wife as mark brisco took an ole kick from the giant samoa joe right in front of us. priceless.

5 Susen's Baptism (2003)

we went to church at north charleston baptist church during this time. my friend, jon jicka was the pastor and he baptized susen there that sunday night. i stood at the side of the baptistery and felt so proud of my wife for making that public profession of her faith. susen's son was there as well as her mom and step-dad and grandmother. i'm still very proud of my wife and the grasp she has of Jesus and His redeeming work.

4 Reuniting With Alan (2009)

the summer after chloe was born alan stopped coming around. we moved from our rented two-bedroom house in dunbar to a three-bedroom house in nitro (still renting) so that alan could have his own room. for whatever reason, alan just didn't come around. we lived there for almost three years before alan even saw his own bedroom. i understand it's strange and complicated but the fact is this: alan loves his mom and susen loves her son.

susen's sister, jessica, got married in october, 2009 and alan came to the wedding (he lives two doors from the church). that whole weekend was great. susen and her son made peace with the past (and left it in the past) and had fun together. i sat with alan during the wedding and while we were just chatting he leaned over and said, "maybe i could come spend the weekend with you guys." alan was fourteen then but susen and i had to keep reminding ourselves that he was just a freshman in high school. it felt like an old friend of ours was in town for the weekend, catching up, swapping stories. that first weekend wasn't at all like we were parents of a teenager. for the next month we saw him almost every day. good times.

3 Driving To Minnesota To See Wilco (2008)

in the spring of 2008 susen started making purchases on ebay. one day she said, "chris, i got something dirt cheap on ebay but i didn't think that i would win the bid and i just don't know if it's going to be something that we can afford." i thought she bought a car. i was relieved to discover that susen had scored tenth row, middle of the floor tickets to a wilco show for only $1.26 (yes, sixty-three cents a ticket). rock. we both love wilco and would enjoy the show and you can't beat dirt cheap tickets, right? well...the show was in rochester, mn. EIGHT HUNDRED miles away. i'll save the story of this truly event filled trip for another time but i'll tell you this: susen got on priceline and found a great rate on a hotel room, susen got on hotwire and found a great rate on a rental car, susen got on speedway's website and found all the speedways between here and there (even gas prices at each location, remember at this time gas was over four dollars a gallon) and cashed in our speedyrewards points for enough gas to get us there and back. susen made it work. even though we try not to think about the driving, it was just as memorable as the amazing show that wilco performed. there was so much happening on that trip i'll have to make its own "memorable memories" post. what a great memory.

2 Getting Married in My Parent's Living Room (2000)

we were married on a friday night in my parents living room. susen and i had been planning on getting married since i proposed on the capitol steps in charleston, wv christmas of 1999. we had to line things up and as we made trips back and forth from nh to wv things started to fall into place. susen picked out a lovely dress (on clearance of course, the only way susen shops), we found an apartment when we weren't expecting it and my transfer with work was all green lit so we decided to call a justice of the peace and tie the knot. my father is a minister but said all along that he didn't want to perform the marriage ceremonies for any of us button boys so he could sit and hold our mother as she gave up her sons. my mom made her incredible lasagna. our friend emily made an amazing cake. susen's mom and step-dad traveled in from michigan. everything was right. i believe fourteen people were there (including us) and i played "just like heaven" for susen on my guitar. our good friend, louise, gifted us with a night at the very "new england" fitzwilliam inn. that breakfast on saturday morning was part of the wonderful memories we experienced. the whole thing was perfect. our marriage has been blessed since day one.

1 The Birth of Our Daughter (2005)

our little girl, chloe michel button, was born on january 27, 2005. she was born four weeks early but you'd never know it. the four weeks leading up to chloe's birth was fun-filled and exciting as susen's amniotic fluid was very low and we had ultra-sounds at the ob's every other day for four weeks. i remember going for a scan and the doctors concluding that everything was fine, the fluid levels were high enough to stop scanning after the last scheduled ultra-sound. we went to the last scan thinking that this would be the end of it and we could finish preparing those last four weeks before delivery. of course, the levels were the lowest they had ever been and the doctor "sent us downstairs" to get more tests. i still crack up that as they put us in a room susen and i both thought that they were going to take blood or something and send us on our way, no-no, susen was being admitted and wouldn't leave the hospital until after chloe was born four days later. i have nothing but good memories about those days. staying in that room with susen was almost fun. we laughed, we talked, we dreamed, we prayed. everything was fine because we were together. what more could anyone ask for? we were together. i remember how scared i was when dr. cotes came to get susen. he made a c-section sound dangerous (maybe it is, i don't know) and gave susen the option to go natural if she didn't want the scar on her belly (what? who cares about the scar? we want our baby to be safe!). i remember putting scrubs on so i could be there with my lady. i remember looking into susen's eyes as she gave birth to our little girl. i remember the anxious second (literally only a second but it felt like everything was paused for an eternity) while we waited to hear our little girl cry. i remember every second of it. every detail is burned into my mind. looking into my daughters eyes for the first time. i remember. every. last. moment.

IN CONCLUSION: our marriage has been filled with memorable memories. i'm completely overwhelmed by how God continually shows His love for us. sure there have been rough times but look at this list and tell me that susen and i haven't had a great time. it's impossible to think that we haven't had a great marriage. ten years on and we're still working out the kinks but we latched on to a verse of scripture from the very beginning. it says: "i know the plans i have for you, declares the Lord. plans to prosper you and not to harm you. plans to give you hope and a future." (jeremiah 29:11). the future isn't over so i know that wherever we break bread on our twentieth anniversary we'll be counting down the top twenty most memorable memories in our married life.

can i get some sleep now?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

picture pages - four

when susen and i found out we were having a girl i got really scared and completely insecure because i grew up with two brothers and i'm into comic books and wrestling and video games. i was very worried that i wouldn't be able to relate to our daughter and she'd have a miserable childhood as a result. of course when she was born all that changed. when chlo was an infant and waking up in the middle of the night she was perfectly content watching two am wrestling matches on the couch with me. as chloe got older we played legend of zelda together on the nintendo and she even refers to magazines and catalogs as comic books. now, with chloe's fifth birthday a couple of months past, she sits on my lap while i read comic books and sounds out all the sound effects (BAM! WHIZZZ! etc.). i certainly can't complain about having a daughter. it's been a wonderful experience for me and she cracks me up every day. chloe even inspires me which is where this edition of picture pages comes from.

our daughter really likes super heroes and really wants to read so i'm developing a new character to write some fun stuff for her to read. these are some preliminary sketches i've made and i'm confident that i can create something good for her. my idea was to create a character that chlo could relate to and hopefully want to "be." chloe really loves cats so it had to be a girl cat with fashion sense that chlo would get excited about. the stories i write will need to be basic "popo can run" "popo can jump" lines that chloe can read to us, rather than have us read to her. it's important that the pages are simple line drawings that chloe can color because that's what kids do...they color. these sketches were done in my notebook with pencils. i recently procured a wacom tablet and a wicked cool art program more conducive to comic book creation than photoshop so finished product will be computer based from start to finish. i'm really excited about the possibilities and i'll post the pages here when i've finished.

about this drawing: the artwork here is a simple jpeg of scanned sketches fit together into a collage. for anyone interested i have posted a pdf that includes notes concerning the various aspects of the sketches.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

birthday haiku - nine

bonds formed instantly

tightened and strengthened through years

bonds never broken


for Lori Rice and Jerome White

what stronger bond is there than family?

about the haiku: haiku is a japanese form of poetry that contains a metered verse in seventeen on (equivalent to an english syllable). generally, but not always, the english haiku consists of three lines with a five-seven-five syllable structure. the best examples of haiku paint a detailed picture using the fewest words possible, often only revealing a portion of the subject so as to give the reader something to ponder.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

birthday haiku - eight

rivers in my heart

with memories floating by

bringing me the past...


for Kristina Hilaire

i remember the eighth grade like it was yesterday...

the seeds of not only who i am but who i want to be were laid in those class rooms. i remember listening to run dmc and watching "yo! mtv raps" before anyone in my little town knew what rap was, all the boys i grew up with were into acdc. i remember discovering ice hockey when no one in my little town had even seen a game, let alone understood why i was wearing a oilers jersey ("is that a football team in texas?"). mrs. jones, the librarian, would dig out old copies of sports illustrated and let me read the hockey articles. i always felt like i had plenty of friends but, although i have always been very comfortable with who i am, i never really felt like i fit in.

these days i'm still very much into "different" types of music and the recent olympic gold medal hockey game made me cry uncontrollably, even my feelings of isolation are still very real. i guess even time doesn't change who we are.

about the haiku: haiku is a japanese form of poetry that contains a metered verse in seventeen on (equivalent to an english syllable). generally, but not always, the english haiku consists of three lines with a five-seven-five syllable structure. the best examples of haiku paint a detailed picture using the fewest words possible, often only revealing a portion of the subject so as to give the reader something to ponder.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

birthday haiku - seven

freedom comes with time

years of knowledge now built up

choose your path in life.


for Jim Landfried and Matthew Ellison

for quite a while now i have told my wife that i embrace each passing year with the feeling that i have gained more freedom through the past years experiences. each day we are alive we make choices based on the things that we have experienced in the past. those choices, while not all correct choices, are more informed and intelligent as we grow older making life that much easier and exciting and filled with hope. while the body may be breaking down we have a better understanding of how to make the best choices for that body. looking back on past mistakes only allows us to see what path we should best choose...and we always have a choice to change paths or not.

age. aging. aged. each stage increasingly invigorating!

about the haiku: haiku is a japanese form of poetry that contains a metered verse in seventeen on (equivalent to an english syllable). generally, but not always, the english haiku consists of three lines with a five-seven-five syllable structure. the best examples of haiku paint a detailed picture using the fewest words possible, often only revealing a portion of the subject so as to give the reader something to ponder.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

picture pages - three

this is a preliminary drawing to a painting i'm working on. the boat is just one element to the painting and i'm practicing on those various elements before i start painting.

about this drawing: simply a quick practice sketch with pencil that i thought would look good inked. i just used a basic medium point roller ball pen and i'm fairly pleased with the outcome.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

recording diary - one

this recording diary thing is surely only of interest to a few people that like to be bored reading the ins and outs of the creative process. i don't expect many to read all of this so i'll get right to the details:

threatening clouds by traveling light

4min24sec; 192kbps mp3; 6.1mb

recorded 02 november 2002

mixed 23 february 2010

as i detailed in a earlier post, i've had a long history of home recordings. as i've renewed my interest and execution of laying down my musical thoughts i found some older recordings that i made when i switched from the four-track to DAW recordings (digital audio workstation, that's the fancy term for recording on the computer). the recordings i found are from 2002 and 2003 and the first one i looked at is presented to you here today. let's discuss...

this is an original composition recorded on a saturday in november of 2002. i called the song "built to rip-off" presumably because i felt influenced by a wonderful band called built to spill but listening to the tracks don't at all give me a bts vibe so the song no longer goes by that name. i decided to called it "threatening clouds" as a tip of the hat to my friends from the past. back in the early 90's we had a newsletter that we published on a VERY small scale called notes from the deep end... in it were short stories and poetry and drawings and music reviews...everything that captivated our young creative minds. before we settled on deep end... as the newsletter's title we hit around some other names. one that we really liked even after we decided on deep end... was threatening clouds. we decided to use the name as a title for our writing collective, it was just too good of a name to throw out. someday i will dig up those old newsletters and post them here. it's not that they were at all good, it's just another marker in my history...proof that i was here and identifying with my Creator by being creative.

so when i loaded the session into my recording software of choice (cool edit pro 2) i listened to the mix i had been working on in 2002. i thought, "okay, nothing special here" and then noticed that i had recorded twelve tracks of music for this one song. i started playing with the mix and found a depth that i had surely intended but, for whatever reason, had not achieved. the tracks and remix are as follows:

two tracks dedicated to percussion...the first a simple beat on a djembe drum, the second a shaker and snap beat meant to accent the djembe. overall, i'm pleased but there are some pretty rough spots were i just lose the beat completely. i guess my 28 year-old self didn't feel the need to match the tracks better since i seem to get it back together after the times i lose it. as my friends in nh used to say, "close enough for rock and roll." i guess that's why i've always been amazed when i have played with eric and antonie and marcus and the other fine drummers i've had the privilege to play with...they can actually keep a beat. i can't. as i remixed the tracks i tweaked the eq so they sounded a little more full and added a slight reverb, sending each of the two tracks slightly to the right and left to further add depth to the recording.

two tracks of acoustic rhythm guitar...i recorded the tracks as such: one track is the line input of my acoustic the other is from a microphone. i recorded both tracks at the same time, sending one input to the left side and the other to the right. in my remix i increased the volume and presence of the tracks, adding some eq to brighten the corners and make the acoustic rhythm more pronounced.

one track of bass guitar...i simply added some eq and increased the volume from the original mix.

two tracks of electric rhythm guitar...i recorded each track individually and sent one to the hard right side while the other is slightly on the left. i did this to give the recording more fullness and depth. when remixing, i actually lowered the volume on these so as to de-emphasize the fuzzy electric and try to increase the richness of the acoustic.

two tracks of electric lead guitar...i don't often play electric guitar and even rarely try to solo but this song has a hook to it that just sticks. i dig it. each of the leads are panned slightly to either side. i guess it should be said here that i am amazed with early rock and roll recordings from the beatles, buddy holly, elvis...everything was recording in mono so they didn't have the luxury of making a recording sound full by panning to the stereo left or right. now it is essential that mixes are defined and refined by utilizing the stereo spectrum. the days are now here when right and left have become passé due the advent of surround sound. bands like the flaming lips have spent the last several years remixing their older records to a 5.1 sound and record labels have found a new way to market and sell dated recordings. i guess all things must change.

for those of you keeping track at home, that's only nine tracks when i said earlier that i had recorded twelve tracks of instrumentation. i really didn't feel the need to include the extra three in the new mix. two of the three were percussion tracks which i'm sure you can understand why i got rid of those.

in all, this recording is very exciting to me because it isn't the normal folk song thing i do. it's pretty well a rock instrumental which suits me just fine. i wrote in my history of home recordings that my friends and i always had goofy names for our songwriting/recording projects. my initial moniker was north dakota which later became justified sunshine. i've felt that now is a good time to start a new chapter with a new name so this project is under the banner "traveling light."

i do hope you enjoy.

Monday, February 22, 2010

lucero at mountain stage 02.21.2010

last night susen and i had the pleasure of going to a taping of the npr radio show mountain stage. the show included the sons of bill; the bottle rockets; bud carroll and the southern souls; sam bush; and lucero. it's a fine show and will be broadcast nationally beginning april 15. west virginia public radio broadcasts mountain stage on sundays (3pm - 5pm) and again on saturdays (8pm - 10pm) so tune in on april 18th or april 24th to listen to this complete show.

here is the lucero set from that show. it was recorded on a iPhone from about twenty rows back in the middle of the auditorium. it was converted to .wav in mediamonkey pro, split into individual tracks in cool edit pro, and converted to 160kbps mp3 in cool edit pro. further proof that i am a geek.

visit mountain stage on the web here.

unzip the file archive using a tool found here.


Friday, February 19, 2010

birthday haiku - six

happy days are these...

times when life calls out our name.

listen closely now.


for Jimmy Rader.


about the haiku: haiku is a japanese form of poetry that contains a metered verse in seventeen on (equivalent to an english syllable). generally, but not always, the english haiku consists of three lines with a five-seven-five syllable structure. the best examples of haiku paint a detailed picture using the fewest words possible, often only revealing a portion of the subject so as to give the reader something to ponder.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

birthday haiku - five

singing happy songs

dancing round with abandon

such is joy in life


for Marcus Gibbs.

my friend marcus is a youth pastor and a drummer. we used to play together as "shakespeare" and later "the wayback machine." i had so much fun playing with him. one show we played was in the parking lot of a rite aid in buckanon (i think it was buckanon, maybe weston). marcus had been toying with the idea of not using a bass drum. instead he rigged a kick pedal to a floor tom (that had been placed on its side) and rocked it out. for most, if not all, of this show he didn't use a drum stool. he stood behind the kit and played. marcus always had a blast when he played. even though marcus never missed a beat or a cue, i remember he would come out from behind the kit at the oddest times for no real reason other than because he really enjoyed playing. sometimes he would dance around, sometimes he would step to a mic for a well timed backup vocal. he just always made it back to his kit at just the right time. it was always a blast playing with marcus. he is a very talented and creative musician. maybe one day our paths will cross again and we'll gig together some more.

i've played music with so many different and talented people over the years. i'm very thankful. music has always been a complete joy in my life.

about the haiku: haiku is a japanese form of poetry that contains a metered verse in seventeen on (equivalent to an english syllable). generally, but not always, the english haiku consists of three lines with a five-seven-five syllable structure. the best examples of haiku paint a detailed picture using the fewest words possible, often only revealing a portion of the subject so as to give the reader something to ponder.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

birthday haiku - four

join in adventure

with your wits and master sword

a new heart you'll win


for Laura Phalen.

clearly so (or maybe not to everyone), this haiku is about the legend of zelda. i've been playing a lot of the ocarina of time game with chloe. all these years and i've never beaten the game...still haven't even played majora's mask, for those of you that must know. compared to the other zelda games (that i HAVE beaten) this is most difficult. im only about halfway through and i'm finding certain things very challenging. since i've been playing so much and it's laura's birthday, i thought a zelda themed haiku would be appropriate.

about the haiku: haiku is a japanese form of poetry that contains a metered verse in seventeen on (equivalent to an english syllable). generally, but not always, the english haiku consists of three lines with a five-seven-five syllable structure. the best examples of haiku paint a detailed picture using the fewest words possible, often only revealing a portion of the subject so as to give the reader something to ponder.

Monday, February 15, 2010

picture pages - two

i've decided that while drawing figures is a strength of mine i am really lacking in a firm grasp of the human anatomy. i can draw certain poses very well, but i'm limited to those certain poses. the subject of picture pages - one put a spotlight on those limitations. i really had to try hard on the pose and felt as if i'd stretched my ability...slightly. as i begin illustrating in earnest, i'll need to become more accurate with my human form in different poses. angles are always central to the depiction of a pose and i'll attempt to draw poses from different angles. this afternoon i needed a guide since my sketching over the last week has been very comfortable for me with little artistic stretching. i went to the internets looking for photos to ape and came across a magazine cover featuring julia roberts. what really struck me is how beautiful she has remained over the years, so i decided to sketch her. i'm satisfied with the overall accuracy vs. my own style, yet i can see several places that i'll want to practice in order to achieve a better result.

about this drawing: the subject comes from the february 13, 2010 issue of the herald magazine. the photo was taken (and belongs to) photographer timothy white. it is the cover of the issue that features a piece on julia roberts. i looked at the photo on my computer and drew with pencils in my sketchbook. i spent maybe an hour on the sketch, presented here "as is" with no touch-ups or embellishments.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

birthday haiku - three

cold winds will soon cease

changing seasons bring new life

even birds will sing


for Stacey Canterbury.

i'm a big fan of winter but this one has been quite difficult. it's so nice that, while we're never sure what tomorrow brings, we can look ahead to a new season.

about the haiku: haiku is a japanese form of poetry that contains a metered verse in seventeen on (equivalent to an english syllable). generally, but not always, the english haiku consists of three lines with a five-seven-five syllable structure. the best examples of haiku paint a detailed picture using the fewest words possible, often only revealing a portion of the subject so as to give the reader something to ponder.

Friday, February 12, 2010

birthday haiku - two

as winter rages

passion bursts in with a smile

guide it through the storm


for Shawn Light.

another birthday, another haiku...

about the haiku: haiku is a japanese form of poetry that contains a metered verse in seventeen on (equivalent to an english syllable). generally, but not always, the english haiku consists of three lines with a five-seven-five syllable structure. the best examples of haiku paint a detailed picture using the fewest words possible, often only revealing a portion of the subject so as to give the reader something to ponder.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

birthday haiku - one

years mount up on wings

taking flight in sunset skies

memories will soar


for S.D. (Samuel) Smith.

back in january i posted a simple birthday greeting on my friend mike's wall (note the implied facebook reference, assuming that we "all" know what "mike's wall" is referring to). he jokingly replied that he had hoped for a haiku. so i wrote him one and sent it to him. now that i have this blog i'll attempt to write haiku for all the birthdays that appear on my facebook friends list. yes, i'm trying give everyone a deeper sense on why this blog is called "geekstyle."

about the haiku: haiku is a japanese form of poetry that contains a metered verse in seventeen on (equivalent to an english syllable). generally, but not always, the english haiku consists of three lines with a five-seven-five syllable structure. the best examples of haiku paint a detailed picture using the fewest words possible, often only revealing a portion of the subject so as to give the reader something to ponder.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

picture pages - one

so having as much free time as i now have i've been feeling ultra-creative...i've had time to write, record and draw pictures. the picture included here really excites me because the drawing was commissioned with a deadline that i was able to meet and was satisfied with the result. i can see that some technique i used could be refined (i should definitely start using a straight edge) and with more projects and more practice i could see more development as an artist. i've already set my mind on several projects that i wasn't able to work on while so engrossed with my store. i'm looking forward to the work that could develop.

when i was in jr. high (yes, there was a day when our education system used a junior and senior high set up) we were required to take a vocational exploration class. i remember sitting in the class while the majority of the students were complaining about the usefulness of the course. our teacher argued that the class was giving us exposure to the various possible careers we could choose and someone pointed at me and said, "why is chris here? we all know he's going to be an artist." well, to this point in my life that just hasn't been true. i'm not convinced that i have been called to be an artist but i feel a satisfaction knowing that with some discipline and refinement of the craft, i could make a living with my art.

susen has encouraged me to submit t-shirt designs to and she even gave me an idea. my wife is always looking out for me...i like that. i'm sure future picture pages will contain those designs. i've also been gathering old notebooks to scan and post. i know it will be interesting to me, i hope someone else out there with find it to be edifying.

about this drawing: this was a combination of three sketches. my initial sketch of the subject (fictional character sarah watson from s.d. smith's fledge series) was included on a page with several other attempts. i liked the head, mainly the expression, but wasn't satisfied with the pose. a second sketch yielded the couch and teevee but the figure was woefully inadequate; i hadn't gotten the pose right, the face was bad, it just wasn't right. i decided to make a third attempt similar to the first in that i only drew the figure, not the setting. in this third sketch i was most pleased with the pose but liked the first head better. this problem prompted me to pull out my light box and, starting with the scenery, i traced from the second sketch adjusting it marginally. i then traced the pose that i liked onto the couch and finally traced the head from the initial sketch. i'm sure that with the right equipment this is done frequently in photoshop, etc. since i am not very adept with photoshop i was thankful to have tools on hand that would expedite this process.

after finishing the final sketch i used micron art pens of varying thicknesses to ink the drawing. i defined the sofa and shaded the teevee. i intentionally gave the subject minimal shading so that she had more of a "cartoon" look. finally i went to the internets to find a photo of the new river gorge bridge which i then freehanded onto the picture behind sarah on the wall.

while completing this piece i was listening to switchfoot's hello hurricane and the david crowder*band's can you hear us?

from start to finish i spent four hours on the piece.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

recording diary: a history

music and sound recording has been an interest to me for years. i remember sitting in an empty church listening to jeremy playing u2 songs on the piano. as jeremy went through these self-discovered arrangements, the songs took new life in my very keen relationship with the irish band. the thought kept going through my head that this is the music i wanted to listen to: relevant, personal versions of songs i was familiar with. sooner than later jeremy would play for me original songs, put together a band and started playing shows. i caught the dream when jeremy gave me the first cassette he recorded in his bedroom on an already outdated boom box. i gave my girlfriend's little brother twenty bucks for an old stella harmony acoustic guitar that he found at a yard sale and i tried to teach myself how to play. jeremy and i would get together playing originals and covers for each other and it became inevitable that we would begin a series of home recordings that would last for years to come.

bob, the bassist in jeremy's band, spent three months out of state at 'the recording workshop' and soon after we had pooled our money to get a tascam porta-studio four-track (the porta07). within no time, following suggestions and tips from bob and our own trial and error, deep end records... was born and homemade tapes came with astonishing frequency. jeremy and i would take turns with the equipment and usually when we made the handoff from one to the other we would write and record some tracks together. one such project was all original holiday music, songs written for christmas, thanksgiving, etc. i remember even having a labor day song. each song was certainly meant for our own amusement rather than mass consumption but that never deterred us from laying the tape. we always named our projects. the collaborations with jeremy were named something so completely strange and tossed off that i can't even remember what it was. i think it had something to do with clouds or pillows, maybe pillow cloud. whatever it was, it was goofy but that was just the beginning of the goofiness. jeremy, jamie and i recorded a couple of songs live with drums and keys (to this date, my favorite recordings) that we called the dakota bug factory, we even named the sessions "panana beel." like i said, goofy as all get out.

during this time eric was writing lyrics at a steady pace and mailing them to me to arrange into songs. we got together as theodore and played a couple shows, one of which we were able to sell copies of a cassette that our friend zac recorded for us. years later, on the first day of work at a new store, i was introduced to dunlap whose first statement to me was "weren't you in theodore? i still have that tape i bought at one of the shows you played." at that time i hadn't even realized that anyone would remember theodore nor that i had met dunlap while he was in high school and even had photos of him taken while we hung out with mutual friends.

eventually i moved to new hampshire and for the first year or so recording on the porta07 had become my connection to the friends i left back home. i sent down a couple of my north dakota tapes while getting tapes from eric (eightball), jamie (ladybug) and jeremy (xy and panic strikes a chord) as well as local (wv) bands; falooda, richard's anger, and the urban renewal project. it was a good time.

while in new hampshire i started a fourteen year stint with a retail corporation and found my songwriting and recordings curtailed considerably. i recorded some things with melinda (clary sage), madelynn (maddy & the evil five), barbara, chris press (crispy), the beloved jay jungles (lost blues), matt (tin foil star), and others that i'm sad to say i can't even remember. eric and jeremy came up to visit once and we recorded some stuff together. i remember sending jeremy tapes with unfinished tracks of song sketches and jeremy would finish the songs and send them back.

during this time i became much more serious about my faith and concluded that it was pointless to write and record songs about trivial subjects. i wanted to focus on the personal and practical exercise of my faith. my wife, susen, calls it God-music. justified sunshine became the new moniker of my own recording projects, leaving behind the name north dakota.

eventually, eric moved up to new hampshire completing our church band, damascus road, as well as drumming with a band called crimson bridge. i recorded some of their songs with mixed results. it was new to me to multi-track a full band and the sessions presented challenges that i hadn't encountered before. i had always recorded to satisfy my own muse, so missed notes or random feedback often made their way onto my recordings. recording the band caused me to use the input and preferences of a separate group of artists. i had to get on tape what they desired to sound like. it was a wonderful experience that gave me the dream of recording bands as a full-time gig. unfortunately, i never really pursued that as a career goal. my retail life consumed me and i was never disciplined enough to pursue it on the side.

that retail life gave me the opportunity to move back to wv and start a family. i'm not sure what happened to that porta07, i assume that jeremy kept it but maybe it just bit the dust. it had served us well for more years than we could have expected. i didn't really do anything musically for a short time but soon i discovered the recording possibilities of the personal computer. while in a band with bob (shakespeare), i was involved with some recordings on marcus's computer. they both knew what was going on with the software applications and the equipment used so i just soaked it all in while the wheels turned in my head for a new recording outlet. almost immediately i purchased a small mixing board, a versatile soundcard, and a copy of syntrillium's cool edit pro (v.2). my love for recording was rekindled and i recorded a few things as time allowed. at one point a band that dunlap was playing with (sarasota) asked me to record some of their songs. just like the crimson bridge sessions, i encountered challenges that excited me about the possibilities. and, just like the previous several years, my retail life took over and i never really pursued those possibilities.

now here we are in 2010, close to twenty years away from that afternoon in an empty church. my retail life is over and i'm open to new possibilities. i purchased a new (to me) digital four-track that combines the porta07's simplicity with the versatility of the pc. my new equipment is the tascam dp-004. i'm looking forward to a new paragraph in the story of my recording life.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

i'm just going to try this...

this is a song i has an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar and is a song originally written and recorded on u2's joshua tree album...enjoy...

Monday, February 1, 2010

geek style is GO!

i started a blog by this same name several years ago...actually it was six or seven years ago, before our daughter was born, around the time my wife came back. i never really found time to write even though i have many things to write about. last month i saw the opportunity arise to write and many other things as my schedule became freed up considerably. i decided that i would start this blog again. now to decide what to include in this blog...i figured that i could tell my story, the story of my life. i know that i have plenty to write about but i'm not really excited to let everyone in to that extent. i figured that i could write opinion pieces of the various media i consume..."a pirate taking inventory" would be a great title for essays on the plunder i find to download. that just seemed too broad and less interesting than the alternatives. i figured that i could write a blog that critically analyzed newspaper comic strips or featured essays on such varied subjects as the neo-soul movement in mainstream music, the current renaissance in situation comedies or the factors currently in motion that will spur on another boom period in the professional wrestling industry. i figured that i could create an illustration blog of drawings that i've made, a photo blog featuring the clay figures i would make or a recording diary of songs made on my four-track.

you can see why i am calling this "geek style 101." i'm kind of all over the place and will most certainly include most of these topics in this blog. i'm hoping that people will read it and be encouraged. encouraged to think and create.