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Those records you never get rid of

December 20, 2014

For me, music has always been a living thing. It has it’s own pulse, it breaths, and there’s an energy to it. You can’t touch it, but you can feel it. It has a presence. It can be as comforting as a hug from your favorite person and as ominous as a stranger in the room, just outside of your peripheral. And you can’t see it … unless you close your eyes … or at least that’s how it is for me.

We all resonate with different songs and albums. Some more than others and some not so much. But when you find one that REALLY hits home, you know it. It becomes a part of you … for the rest of your life.

Take a record that you’ve been in love with since … let’s say 1997. You know every subtlety, every nuance, every key change and stop … hell, you even know every damn time the guitar play turns a knob on one of his pedals. You’ve listened to that record “EXPONENTIALLY more times” than other records (not my words). And you begin to think that there’s no way in the known universe that you could enjoy this record any more than you already do. Well, life is a motherfucker my friend, and fate is a cruel bitch, so don’t tempt either of them.

So, after you’ve puffed your chest out and declared your absolute, supreme knowledge, understanding & love of all things having to do with said record, the universe moves the cosmic waterways around and sends someone downstream toward you who is equally affectionate in regard to said record. (and you occasionally borrow words from them.)

You get to fall in love with that album all over again, through someone else’s ears. Watching and listening to them talk about it with the same fire and passion in their eyes that you know all too well. And if, my friends, you ever find yourself in a similar conversation and the person across the table from you happens to be a talented musician as well … I’ll just say, you are in for one of the biggest treats of your life.

I guess fate isn’t exactly cruel in this instance, but not tempting her is still a good policy.

Go grab your favorite record and listen to when you finish reading this. We should all do that more often.

New Music

December 11, 2014

Sorry to take almost a year off. I’ve been busy working on myself, as well as some other things. This got accomplished though.

A Year in Pencil

January 8, 2014

sketch teaser

“Doing the work” has been a recurring idea for me over the past couple of years. It’s literally become a personal mantra at times. In that spirit, I set aside a few things last year and decided to work on expanding the skill set I use to make a living.

I don’t want to say I spent the last year teaching myself how to draw, because I’ve always doodled … poorly, but I did. What I can say is that I made myself sit down and sketch something everyday for a whole year. I’m still not “good,” but I’m better than I was 365 days ago (well, 374 at this point). According to Malcolm Gladwell, mastery is achieved after 10,000 hours. The following images represent 300-350 of those hours.

You’ll see tutorials, exercises, and blatant copies of artists such as Mark Crilley, Josiah Brooks, Paris Cristou, Evan Burse, SwiftySpade, Christopher Hart and more than likely a few whose names I can’t remember at the moment. There’s even a handful attempts to copy the work of Fiona Staples and Ben Templesmith. And of course, there are some of my own sprinkled throughout.

So for better or worse, click here if you’d like to see what I’ve been up to.

Nothing worth doing is easy (that doesn’t mean it’s not fun)

July 15, 2013

I won’t even bother to apologize for the extended gap between my last post and this one. Shit happens. This one shouldn’t bee too long either.

Almost a year a go I lucked into a dayjob that requires me to spend a lot of my time drawing in Illustrator. So in my off-time, when I could have been out at the bar with friends or playing xbox (and I’d be lying if i said those things don’t still happen … just less frequently) I’m a big nerd and have spent my “free time” reading books & articles and watching tutorials on how to be a better illustrator, and how further my Creative Suite wizardry.

For some reason I’ve always imagined Flash to be some unlearn-able thing that’s only for coders and HTML gurus. Well, once I finally got to take a look at someone working in it, it didn’t seem that hard. But as this first video will how, looks can be deceiving.

I studied up for almost a month, and then once I finally got my hands dirty, it took me about 12 hours or more to get to this point.

After a few fumbles last week and a couple of long sessions over the weekend, I was able to get the “finished” product you see below. It’s still rough, but you gotta start somewhere. I’ll reserve my gripes about conversion and compression for a later date.

Not to mention that in this process I’ve also had to teach myself how to draw on a graphics tablet. The image below will display the “skill” I showed during my first day with the tablet.

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I should say thank you to Josiah Brooks from Draw With Jazza. Without his flash tutorials, I wouldn’t be the amateur animator I am today. You can check out some of his tutorials on Youtube, or watch his short films and play his games over on Newgrounds.

New Music from The Silent Sounds

August 21, 2012

 

 

 

This is simply a copy/paste job I stole from the band’s site, but since I wrote it, I can do that. If you follow this blog, but haven’t checked out the music I’ve been doing with Chris Ahrens, then please spend some time on thesilentsounds.com.

 

———

 

It’s finally here!

We’re pretty excited for you all to finally hear what we’ve been working on for the past few months. A lot of time and energy went into this project, and we’re still having to move full steam ahead throughout the rest of this week.

Digital copies can be purchased from Bandcamp, but for the moment at least, we’re not shipping any physical copies. Our buddy Tim Bryant at The Runaway Mule downtown will be able to help you get your hands on a copy after tomorrow, and we’ll have some with us Friday night at The Pineknot. The Macbooks will start streaming audio at 8:45 p.m., but we’re sharing the bill with Carlos Lampkin & Kim Foli and Darren Kobetich, so be there by 8 p.m. and catch all three sets.

We’d like to thank our friend Christine Eddings for being kind enough to let us make an album cover out of her photograph, and as always, we’d like to chastise the inkjet printers we use for making the pressing of this record extra fun.

We’ve got some more Silent Shows in the works, but if anyone of you would like to host one, please drop a message to Chris or myself.

Over the past couple of months, this has really become one of our favorite records. We’re glad it now has the chance to be the same for you.

To quote Brody Stevens, “Enjoy it!”

Best thing I’ve seen this week 053012

May 30, 2012

Holiday weekends and recording the new Silent Sounds record has been keeping me busy, but I’m dropping in to give you another update.

Back in my younger days, you were the cool kid on the block if you had one of these guitar hangers on your wall, and you were a baller if you had two or more. They’re dime-a-dozen online these days, but we didn’t even know about the “mail order” version of Musician’s Friend back then. We had to rely on the local music store to stay up-to-date, and if they didn’t have it, it didn’t exist. As great as these are, The best thing I’ve seen this week (if by “best” we mean “awesomely practical”) is the version sold on Stuart MacDonald that takes the “hanger” part a bit more literally.

I supposed there are a few of you out there who are less than impressed and just want something entertaining to watch. Well, I didn’t forget about you, and this shouldn’t disappoint … even though you’re dead inside.

Enjoy these monkeys playing with synthesizers.

Best thing I’ve seen this week 051212

May 12, 2012

While I’m sure that the best thing some of the folks at SFA are seeing this week is their diploma being placed in their hands, I will not be seeing any of the roads in town until sometime Sunday afternoon. Just like the other locals who are wise enough to practice their doomsday prep, I have already gathered all the necessary supplies needed to hide out in my house for a day or two. (maybe I’ll finally get more than ten pages read in “A Dance with Dragons” today) Congrats to all of you who just joined the ranks of SFA Alumni. I’m happy for you all, but I wish to share neither the restaurants nor the roads with you this weekend.

As always, anytime I get to watch Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero or any of the pros from the Bones Brigade days, it’s one of the better parts of my week. And in that spirit I bring you some footage from this year’s Pro-Tec Pool Party. Please enjoy thoroughly.

As awesome as that was, the best thing I’ve seen this week is a little more high tech. The how and why of the Augmented Reality Sandbox created at UC Davis makes my brain hurt, but that doesn’t make it any less cool. Just watch the video, and then you can read the article on Mashable.com if you want to know more about it.

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