What? I can’t hear you!

It’s very loud in here today. You see, there’s some construction going on, and today is apparently “Drill and Hammer Day.” I keep turning my music up louder, but that’s not really helping.

I threw out a little teaser yesterday that things had been a little crazy of late, and, well, they have. Where to begin?

I suppose I could start by updating the whole band scenario. I’ve had a few more conversations, a couple more auditions, but nothing has quite panned out yet. I do have an audition tomorrow, though, that’s very promising. The woman I spoke with has let me know that they’ve been auditioning for 7 weeks now, and have yet to be even vaguely impressed. I think this gives me a good opportunity, as I like to think of myself as being a pretty fair bass player.

This band holds real promise, too. From the couple of conversations we’ve had, it really sounds like a good fit. Maybe a little bluesier than I might be inclined otherwise, but there’s nothing wrong with that. They’re the first band to actually give me something challenging to learn for the audition.

There’s also the fact that they have a show booked in less than 3 weeks and still have no bass player. The fits in nicely with my goal of not spending a ton of time getting up to speed. If I end up in this band, the pressure will be on me to learn the material fast enough to play the shows. So that’s cool.

In an entirely unrelated series of events, we have a new couch at home. Actually, it’s a loveseat, but I hate that word. And it’s replacing a couch, so it’s still the couch. This may not seem all that exciting to you, but believe me, if you’d been on the old couch, you’d know how much this rocks. It’s nothing special; a nice neutral brown, basic styling, cushions… the usual. But it’s ours and it’s new.

Unfortunately, the old couch is still in the living room, as there’s no where else to put it and it won’t get hauled away until Thursday morning. But, we’re hardly going to be around until then, so I guess that doesn’t matter too much.

My wife’s been awfully swamped at school lately, too. She could tell you better what’s going on there… I don’t really understand what she’s talking about most of the time. I know there are a couple of papers due soon.

Her old roommate got married on Sunday, too. Nothing fancy, just a quick ceremony at the courthouse then off for a big lunch with a few friends and family members. It was really nice, but that ended up pretty much killing the whole day.

Oh yeah, just to make all of this more interesting, I caught a cold about a week ago. I’m pretty much over it now, but for a couple days there, I couldn’t go more than 5 minutes without sneezing. That kinda sucked.

What else? Oh yeah… I sold a bunch of stuff on eBay. Unfortunately, one of the buyers crapped out on me, so I’m slogging my way through the process of handling that through eBay. I’m not really out anything, so it’s not like a got ripped off; it’s just a nuisance.

I think that’s it for the big stuff. It seems like there’s been a lot more housework than usual, which is weird, since we’re never there. Work has been busier lately, too, which means I have less time to do stuff during the day. Well, except for right now, as I type this.

You know, this is pretty dull. I mean, here I am, recounting what has been a pretty darn busy week, and it’s still pretty dull.

I think I’ll wrap this up now. I was about to start off on another subject, but I’ll do that in a separate posting.


Yes, that’s right, I’ve been completely slacking on this thing. So much has happened, and yet, so little. Progress, or at least the hope of progress.

That sounded like a bad first draft for a movie trailer. ish.

Anyway, I will get caught up at some point. Probably the day after I get some sleep.

$%*&.@ Web Hosting!

So, anybody know a good web hosting company? My site’s been down all day. Again. Along with several other sites I know are hosted by the same company. Again. Yet, they still claim like, 99.8% uptime. To get that sort of figure, they’ll have to be up continuously until about 2073.

I’d contact tech support, but guess what? Their site is down too! Not that they’d admit it anyway.

This is it. I’ve been meaning to find alternate hosting anyway, but this is absolutely it. I’m going to sign up with a new host this weekend, no matter what. So, if anyone has any suggestions, please send ’em my way! Of course, don’t e-mail me, ’cause, well, that won’t work.

Just a quick update…

So, I’m leaving for lunch in a few minutes. I’m meeting up with a few people for the delicious buffet at Bombay Bistro. But I at least wanted to get a start on some writing today.

I’m still hunting for a band. The best two options so far did not pan out. One, I’m not so upset about, and to be honest, I probably contributed to it not working out, both consciously and otherwise. That was a hell of a sentence.

The other could have been something. But, I’m still not that upset about it. It could have been something, but it very well could have been nothing.

You know what? I’m not making much sense today. I’m not claiming to be a brilliant writer or anything, but I’m usually better than this. Perhaps I should just stop now, maybe pick things up later if my brain kicks into gear.

Fun while it lasted

Well, hey, I actually had to work for a while there. It was cutting into my blogging, my exercise… it was verging on my social life. But that’s over. I’m back to sitting around all day.

The real problem is that the best way to look busy is to be doing something on the computer. So I screw around onlne most of the day. I can only read CNN.com for so long before I get depressed. So I end up discovering all kinds of new items that I should purchase.

Today I discovered that DC Comics is reprinting ALL of the Superman comics, in chronological order, in big fat installments. As much fun as that would be, I really don’t need to start buying $15 comic books every month. Really. I may have to settle for reading them all at Barnes & Noble.

It could be worse. Most days, I end up looking at houses. If $15 comic books are a problem, that $200K houses are definitely out.

I’m trying to come up with a plan for something to do with my life. I’m seriously considering a career change of some sort, but I don’t know what it should be. I’lll probably end up taking some classes, because I’m really not qualified to do anything else. The longer I stay here in this job, the more out-of-date I become, and I’d rather try to change things now than later.

So, what do I do? I’m thinking I should take a couple classes on InDesign, just to stay current in my current field. That shouldn’t be too tough, just a matter of learning some of the finer points. And Flash. I’d like to get vaguely up to speed on that. Then I can at least stay competitive. But that won’t really help me into something new.

Maybe I should just pick up a class schedule and see what sounds like a good time.

&$%.@ internet…

I like to blame my computer whenever things go wrong, but with more and more stuff happening online, the computer itself is pretty irrelevant. Of course, that doesn’t prevent MySpace’s “advanced edtor” from being incompatible with all of my browsers. Safari? Firefox? Even the dreaded Explorer? Nope, sorry. What, is this, a No Mac Zone?

The moral of this story is that I haven’t had much luck logging on to write lately. That little music thingy is all but dead. I mean, if you don’t know what I’m listening to as I type, then what’s the point?

So I curse my computer. I should probably be cursing the limits of the cable modem, or perhaps the MySpace programmers, but they’re not here.

Wow, that was not interesting. I believe I was going to review the Happy Gnome. That sounds more fun.

My wife and I ended up at the Happy Gnome following our failed attempt to see the Rollergirls. We’re both big fans of the Muddy Pig, so when we heard they were opening a restaurant around the corner, of course we wanted to try it.

The Gnome is in the space previously occupied by Chang O’Hara’s. Chang’s was… OK. Nothing wrong with it, really, but nothing to write home about. The Gnome kept the basic layout with a somewhat updated look. Fresh paint, new chairs, that sort of thing. It’s a little dark and moody for my taste, but the staff seems to be light-hearted, so it works out.

If you know the Pig, then you know the beer. The Pig has, hands down, my favorite beer list, ever. I’ve seen bigger lists, but never have I seen so many excellent beers in one location. The Gnome doesn’t fall too far from that tree. The list is essentially a scaled-down selection from the Pig and seems to have been chosen to compliment the food. Prices are reasonably for what you’re getting. Most of the beers fall into the $68 range, which is high, but many of these beers would cost you twice that in another restaurant IF you can find them.

Then there’s the food. The menu is small, but that doesn’t make it any easier to make a choice. We started with the antipasto, which seemed fairly basic. Some greens, some feta, a couple olives and some sliced meats. It was all pretty good, but the meats were excellent. There were three types of salami, a prosciutto and some French thing with a long name. Havig been to Spain recently, we’re a little spoiled when it comes to olives, but these were pretty darn tasty: not too meaty, but a little on the sweet side and fairly complex.

Next we moved on to a salad of field greens with pomegranate dressing. The greens were very fresh, and the dresing was outstanding: sweet, salty, tangy, fruity… it just kept changing a little with every bite. It was almost like sampling a dozen different salads.

For dinner, Kim had a spaetzle dish, I had the bison bacon burger. The burger was phenomenal, probably the best I’ve ever had. Giant steak fries were a nice side, but nothing specacular. I don’t recall the specifics of the spaetzle, but I do remember that it was tasty.

Unfortunately, we were both too stuffed to sample dessert, but there were some nice looking options.

I tried to find a menu online and discovered something interesting: the chef at the Gnome came from Lucia’s, which is one of my favorite restaurants. Also, it looks like they’re planning to rotate the menu about once a month, which means we’ll have to go back often.

Looks like I have to go to work now. Crap.

Short? Long? Who knows?

By all rights, I should be incredibly busy at work right now. Unfortunately, I’m not in good favor at the moment, so as punishment, I have less work. I’m not exactly sure how that’s supposed to work, but, whatever. The point is, there is a ton of work to be done, so I could get interrupted on this posting at any moment.

Saturday night was supposed to be spent at the Minnesota Rollergirls bout. We were still a tad bit hungover from Friday’s festivities, but it was nothing a beer or two wouldn’t fix. We were running a bit late to meet up with Angel & Karl due to other obligations, but we were still OK. Then we got to St. Paul.

For those of you who don’t know St. Paul very well, it’s a bit of a mess. Those that grew up there know how to get around but the rest of us are pretty much screwed. So, you learn a couple paths to places you frequent and wing it from there.

We were originally headed for the Liffey for a pre-bout beer, but opted for Station 4 instead. Station 4 has much more parking available and a free shuttle. Having played several gigs there over the years, I knew how to get there. Unfortunately, I had not factored in a parade.

Yes, that’s Minnesota for you. February 4, and there’s a freakin’ parade going through downtown St. Paul. This was no half-assed event, either, this was the real deal. Apparently, every cop in the city was there to block every street on which a hapless driver might like to turn.

Knowing full well I couldn’t navigate this thing on my own, we stopped to ask a cop for help. “How can we get onto 4th Street?” I asked.

“You’re on 4th Street.” she replied.

“Yes,” I said, “but it’s blocked. How can we get to a point where we can continue on 4th Street?”

“Just go around,” she replies.

“OK,” I say, taking a deep breath. “How far down is 4th Street blocked?”

“Oh,” she says, giving me hope as understanding seemingly dawns on her. “Just to 7th.”

So, I thank her and we drive on. After only a couple of blocks, we realize that the numbered streets don’t go the direction she was pointing us. So, we grit our teeth and attempt to navigate downtown St. Paul with about half of the streets closed. As we left downtown, still passing barricades at every block, it seemed to us (as reasonably sane people) that they had literally closed one side of the city for this stupid February parade.

Eventually, we got away from St. Paul, essentially by driving around it. As much as we were both looking forward to the bout (and seeing Angel, Karl and whoever else happened to be there) we decided that a nice dinner was preferable to a second attempt at that nightmare. Thus, we found ourselves at the relatively new Happy Gnome, a new offering from the fine folks that brought you the Muddy Pig.

I’ll pause there, as it seems that I may be able to actually do something around here after all. Next time, I’ll offer up my review of the Happy Gnome.

I wonder why…

…that little blog meter on the left has everything under today? Every time I type a post, it says everything I’ve done is today. Whatever… I don’t think it’s that critical.

So, the ongoing search for a band continues. I auditioned with the Classic Rock fellas on Saturday, and that was fun. We ripped through some Aerosmith and ZZ Top and stuff like that. I was kinda expecting a more complete band, but it turned out to just be two guys. Nonetheless, I made three, and at that point, you can at least pretend it’s a whole band. I had a blast, and I think they offered me the slot, although they left it fairly vague. I wanted a little more time to digest the afternoon, so I left it fairly vague. It certainly wouldn’t be the worst option or anything, but I just don’t know yet. I think we need to talk a little more business so I can get a better idea of what they want to do.

In completely unrelated news, Friday night was my birthday party. After much drunken discussion, I believe we established that this was the fifth year that it’s been held at Dulono’s Pizza.

The last couple of years, it’s started to get pretty crowded in there on the weekends, so I scheduled things a little earlier, hoping to beat the rush. No such luck. We waited quite a while and got pretty aggressive to try to claim a table. But by 7:30, we were seated with enough room for ten. We were expecting twenty, but probably not all at once, so it would have to do. It got a little tight at a couple points in the evening, but overall it worked out well.

The Middle Spunk Creek Boys were playing, and they were great. The pizzas were great as always. (I sucked down about half of an All-American myself.) The beer was abundant. We ended up staying way later than expected, as usual.

Long story short, a darn good night. Which is good, because Saturday night didn’t really go according to plan. (LIke how I end with a little tease there? That’ll keep ’em coming back for more!)

Is that Freedom Rock? Well crank it up!

More audition stuff. I promise, I’m almost caught up, then I can write about current events. In fact, this entry should make it all current.

I responded to an add the other day for a classic rock band. A couple of guys are forming a new clsasic rock cover band, and they need a bassist. OK, I was hoping for something a little more established so I could jump in quicker, but it sounds like these guys have a pretty good head start on me. After a couple e-mails and phone calls, we get something set up for tomorrow. Unfortunately, as soon as I set that up, the shit hit the fan and I’ve barely had a chance to work on the tunes. Again, there’s nothing too challenging there, but I’d like to have them down solid before I go in. Plus, these are a little more fun… there’s a couple Aerosmith tunes in there. Like, the old Aerosmith, when they still kicked ass.

So, I’m excited about this one. Could be a lot of fun, playing the classics. No shortage of good material, even if some of it has been overplayed a bit. I’ll have some time tomorrow morning to learn the tunes a little better before I leave.

And that’s where I’m at right now. Nothing else pending. I haven’t scoured the ads in a few days, though, so I should probably take a look at what’s out there. It would be nice to have a couple options and actually choose which band I want to join.

Where was I?

Ah, yes, I was telling the stories of my recent auditions. Good times, I tell ya.

The next audition was with a recently formed cover band, They had only played a couple shows and were looking to replace the bass player who was temporary from the beginning. Their set list was a decent mix of things, mostly recent with a few older tunes. We traded a couple e-mails and phone calls before setting up an audition.

The songs they selected for the audition were a bit on the easy side. Of the five, two were a 1-4-5, one was a 1-5-4. Of the remaining 2, one was pretty much a single riff over and over. The final song presented a mild challenge, in that it had verses, choruses AND a bridge. But, I figured that was actually a fair representation of what’s going on out there, and my best course of action would be to learn to play them really well. So I did.

The audition went well and was actually a lot of fun. I haven’t heard anything back yet, as they were still auditioning more people.

This audition also got me thinking that this was really the direction I wanted to go at this point. The band was a little rough around the edges, being fairly new, but they all seemed to have a fair bit of experience. There is every reason to believe that things would come together pretty quickly. So, I’m hopeful that they offer me the slot or that I can find something similar. Fortunately, there seems to be a lot of this sort of thing going on out there.

Next up was an audition with a guy I had met a few times at shows and such. He’s been playing his own hippie/funk/jam stuff for a while, but has had recurring issues with the lineup. He’s hoping to solidify the band a bit and push forward with some new material. I didn’t really feel this was my sort of thing, but I didn’t really know what I wanted, so why not? I already knew he was a pretty nice guy and had some chops.

So we got together , just he and a drummer and me. There are a couple more band members, but he was going with the stripped-down version just to see how things went. Cool. No real prepared songs this time, just a couple of jams.

Jams are generally fun, but if someone’s not really taking charge, they can become a drone pretty quickly. I tried to introduce a bit of variety into the structure, as did the others. I’m not saying we wrote a new classic on the fly or anything, but there were some interesting moments.

We wrapped things up for the night, and I headed home, giving some serious thought to maybe going this route. I felt fairly confident that the slot would be mine if I wanted it. After pondering for a while, I finally decided that no, it was not. It was time for me to be picky… I’ve been without a band for about a year now, a couple more weeks of looking ain’t gonna kill me. So, I spent way too long typing up an e-mail to say that I didn’t want to join his band but I did want to keep the door open for some possible collaboration in the future.