Thursday, May 31, 2007

Got my ears pierced!

I've got 18 gauge loops in my ears now and I love em!

Yesterday was a beautiful day filled with so many happy realizations and opportunities. I could just feel the baggage of my 20's falling off of me. I felt like I needed to demarcate the ending of my younger years in a ceremonious manner personal to me, so I made a trip to Diabolo Rojo with one of my dearest friends Monica and her companion Gordon. She held my hand the entire time and comforted me as J-Rok (who oddly reminds me of JBro) speared me.

Up until now I have never had anything pierced. I know that sounds crazy, but it's true. I've been a big chicken until now and after hearing my friend Jay rattle off the 10 or so he had in the cartilage area alone and noticing that it really didn't scar all that much, I decided I needed to just get it done.

Speaking of Jay, after 7 or 8 years of only heavy/deep/super-depressing conversations and never bothering to ask, I finally know what his preferred color is...GREEN!

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

email from my Dad

I was cleaning out my inbox earlier this morning and came across the last email my dad ever sent to me. It's dated the day after his last birthday. He actually spent his B-day and the rest of that week getting carted to and from MD Anderson. For all sorts of reasons reading the words caused me to cry in earnest. I keep telling people in finally getting around to mourning now that the bulk of the paper work is done.

It makes me so sad to detect the optimism in that message. That "next Wednesday" was when they told him there was no hope and to nix any further lab tests towards anything curative (although they did draw lots more blood for research purposes).

Subject: thank you
From: "Michael Chang"
Date: Fri, February 16, 2007 6:29 pm

Cindy and Johnny,
Thank you very much for the birthday gifts and cards.

Cindy, I just received the CD about an hour ago. I have listened the first CD you recorded for me. They are very peaceful and beautiful music. I like it very much. It makes you feel good listening to it. I have not listened to the second CD yet.

Thank you for the birthday card. Johnny, you have a very powerful signature, the kind of signature of a chief executive officer of a big corporation. Many people say you can tell a man’s character by looking at his signature.

I went to M D Anderson today for the pre-process for biopsy, which is scheduled on next Wednesday.


My own birthday is coming up so getting this message was interesting timing. I'm turning 30 on July 6th and trying to figure out when to have a party. Now, party planning is excruciatingly difficult for me. I still haven't outgrown the whole "what if no one comes?!" paranoia that I've had since I was kid. You can imagine having a birthday so close to July 4th is an issue. I've never had my locker decorated or a cool cake at school. In fact my birthday were usually celebrated in Band or Marching Camp where I'd get a lackluster off-tune version of "Happy Birthday" bleated out from tired horn players and hoarse sounding classmates. Water would be the best gift in the world as we all slogged back into the musty band hall carrying in with us all the sweat and remnants of Houston humidity.

I think I was 20 when my mom loudly told me not to eat the gardenia because they're poisonous in front of 15 or so college buddies who were incredibly amused that I'd still need that kind of reminder.

13 was when one of my friend told my mom to leave the room because us girls were talking secrets. I was about ready to kill her. No one messes with my mom.

22 was when I met my husband. I was in Ithaca and damnit, I was throwing my own party. I barely knew everyone on my research team and yet, some of the gifts I received that year were probably the most "right on" for me.

6 was when I got my piano.

19 was when my mom called me to tell me my dad was cheating on her.

27 was celebrated in our new home. I never imagined T and I would ever be a home owner at that age. This was when I made Bobby puke with my signature white Russian. Twas fun.

23 was yet again amongst math nerds. That was while I was in grad school. I had a "semi-pretentious" wine and cheese party. I think I ended up spending over $400 in alcohol and we all drank that stuff up like there was no tomorrow (see, grad students tend to be depressed). I think I was eating cheese and fruit for the next couple of weeks.

I can tell you I look a heck of a lot better now than I did in my early 20's and in my teens. I have a thicker skin. I put up with a lot less shit. Still, it is kinda weird...seems like my 20's went by a lot faster than my teens did. Some who is 22 seems like mere baby to me. I just feel it in my bones, I'm gonna be flaunting my 30's as much as possible. :)

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Trent Reznor: "No wonder people steal music" and the Fragile revisited

I caught this tidbit off of the NINHotline recently. Trent's last blogpost made it into a Digg article and attraced so much attention that the dudes (Alex Albrecht and Kevin Ross) over at Diggnation featured it in one of their podcasts. They do a fabulous job summing up Trent's views of music file sharing, his disapproval of how the record industry openly screw over fans, etc. Basically, the post backs up just how much Trent gets how this generation of music listeners function. Up yours, Lars! Poop on a stick indeed.

Like I've said so many times...TRENT LOVES US (and of course we love Trent too.) See, it's one big appreciation orgy.

Anyhow, this gives me a good excuse to post about a NIN album that came out in 1999. I've been wanting to revisit the Fragile for some time now. I can see all the NINers rolling their heavily made up eyes at me all in unison right now, but I have to say it is definitively my favorite NIN album of all time. I do love Downward Spiral but just 1st half in all honesty and I think heavy rotation of some of the songs on the radio while growing up causes me to not play TDS all that often at home. Sounding incredibly trite, I'll go ahead and say The Fragile has aged like a fine wine revelaing it's complexities with each listen. It's taken me several years to even bother with analysing the lyrics because music itself is so intricate. Add to that Trent's confessions of drug and alcohol abuse during the album and the liner notes suddenly take on a whole new meaning.

I'll admit, I'm kind of a heel when it comes to talking about Trent's lyrics. I think it has to do with the AAA or ABABABABA rhyming scheme and over use of the words: fade away, believe, echo, hands and knees, skin, deep(er), get the picture, but fundamentally he's better than most, so I'll shut the fuck up. Surprisingly when I did take a gander at the lyrics for the song "Even Deeper" (one of the best off of the massive 2 disc album) I found well written prose:

I woke up today
To find myself in the other place
With a trail of my footprints
From where I ran away
It seems everything Ive heard
Just might be true
And you know me
(well you think you do)
Sometimes, I have everything-
Yet I wish I felt something

Do you know how far this has gone?
Just how damaged have I become?
When I think I can overcome
It runs even deeper

In in a dream Im a different me
With a perfect you
We fit perfectly
And for once in my life I feel complete-
And I still want to ruin it
Afraid to look
As clear as day
This plan has long been underway

I hear them call
I cannot stay
The voice inviting me away

Do you know how far this has gone?
Just how damaged have I become?
When I think I can overcome
It runs even deeper
Everything that matters is gone
All the hands of hope have withdrawn
Could you try to help me hang on?
It runs...

Im straight
I wont crack
On my way
And I cant turn back
Im okay
Im on track
On my way
And I cant turn back
I stayed
On this track
Gone too far
And I cant come back
I stayed
On this track
Lost my way
Cant come back

In the spirit of sharing music, I've got a link to one of my favorite NIN songs off of one of the "rare" singles, We're in This Together Now pt. 3 which I believes goe for the low low price of $89.99 used on at the moment. It's a fucking sexy track with a groovy beat and heavy base. Hearing Trent harshly whisper "Give it to me..." makes me weak in the knees every single time, let me tell ya!

Listen to:
"Complications of the Flesh"
"Even Deeper"
"Just Like You Imagined"

Nine Inch Nails Website
Digg Article
Trent's Blog
The NIN Hotline
Purchase The Fragile from Amazon

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yikes! Bad pounding headache!

Oy, the slight caffeine headache turned into a massive stress headache around 3:00am and kept me up. I got up around 5:30am for work and then had to collapse back into bed. It's almost 9:00am now and I'm awake, but groggy. This probably just wasn't caffeine....the corset probably squeezed all the blood to my head for too long or something. LOL.

I was thinking of going back in to do some coding, but I think I'm gonna rest up. I'm so thankful that I'm 30 hrs/wk because it gives me wiggle room to recuperate. Thank you God!

Monday, May 28, 2007

no munchie mondays today

No recipe and food pics today because ironically, I had the good old fashioned munchies and continued to eat these Lays Italian Rosemary and Herb> potato chips that I swear are laced with crack or something. I don't even LIKE potato chips, but I kept eating those. That and cereal. I guess I'm low on carbs.

I was tired and wanted to go to bed at around 10pm today but I've got this slight caffeine headache that's keeping me up. I'm trying ween myself off so I'm not dependent on weekends, but that's really hard to do.

new pic with Bernadatte

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

uncanny spread

I realize these are images stored on a SQL server with some text backing them up and that my "spread" is probably gleaned from some sort of PHP random generator script. I also know that for the most part, this is mainly for entertainment purposes, but every now and then there's a reading that is especially uncanny or useful. I just asked about how my artist ventures will effect my general well-being:

The Moon in the Past position

A card in the left position indicates what has happened to affect your question in the past.

Disorientation. Powerful emotions and imagination. Intuition. Empathy. Creativity and sensitivity. Illusion. Wild visions. Mercy. Intense, valuable dreams. A need to control emotions, lest one becomes fascinated by phantasmagoric dreams and flashes from the subconscious. The underworld. Primordial instincts. Powerful mood swings. Hysteria. Memory. Shadows. Shifting shapes. Familiar landscape transformed under the light of the moon. Seeking mysteries. Strange encounters. Personality complexes. Increasing sensitivity to unseen forces. Magnetism. Tides of emotion. Art source. A fertile period, but a need for conscious control over fears and imagination. The light of reason needed to guard against influence and deception.

Eight of Cups - Reversed in the Present position

A card in the middle position indicates what is affecting your question at this time.

A timid nature attracts predators. Unhealthy situation being drawn out over time. Denying the negative impact of a relationship. Taboos.

The World in the Future position

A card in the right position indicates your questions future.

Ascension. Opening to a higher dimension. Culmination and synthesis. Enlightenment. Attaining a broader view of life. Moving beyond the personal to become aware of the interconnected nature of life. Harmony and perfection. Peace and freedom of thought. Inspiration and comprehension. Ecstasy. Glimpses, however brief, of the great mysteries of life. Being able to appreciate the larger scene or patterns in life. Faith. Epiphany. A heightened sense of being alive. Purpose. Confidence. Completion. Enjoying life and anticipating its curves. Unencumbered by the trivial. Being in control of one¹s fate. Intelligence. Independence. Determination and stability. Strength and enthusiasm. Intuition and spiritual heights. Crowning achievement. Reward and promotion. Graduation. Lasting happiness. As the last of the major arcana, the Universe represents the height of a progression. The Universe card is associated with the four evangelists, Matthew, Luke, Mark, and John, who in turn are equated with incarnation, passion, resurrection, and ascension, respectively.

Lewellyn Web Tarot


Praise all the Gods! And why you shouldn't eat pizza at night...

Whoo hoo! I made it home safe to and from the airport. :)
I'm not a huge fan of driving in the rain and while it is dark, but I'm okay. Before I left, I cuddled with Etouffee and told her "Momma can't die because I have to come home and feed you."

In other news, I'm never going to eat store bought pizza after 5:00pm again. I had 2 people independently tell me that it gives them nightmares if they do so after my slew of deranged nighttime visions I ended up blathering to everyone: kissing one of my good friends and then slapping him out of the blue, making love to my husband and then shooting him, killing his brother by drowning him in a vat of hops all while my dad was egging me on. Where in the world did that come from?

I woke up completely shaken and immediately some of my buddies were like "Did you eat pizza last night?"

Who knew? Something about the additives in the crust.

Last night was a light dreamless sleep. I know I'll be tired come 7am, but right now I'm wired from the drive.

Doing loads of laundry right now. Cleaning the house for an old fashioned sleepover although the parties involved probably won't care how clean the house is. But, I think it's time for me to sift through the boxes of my dad's things and find a place for them. The kitchen table is starting to get buried....

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Aches, pains, urges and duties

I wish I knew symptoms better. :(

So, this morning I broke out into hives right after I checked my email. I've got itchy spots all over my face and a big patch on my nose. Not cool. Oddly, my email was really bland, so I don't think it was that written content that caused it. I am curious though if it is related to my joint pain somehow.

I woke up at 4:30 am with a lot of soreness in my hips and ankles and they still feel uncomfortable. My wrists and finger joints hurt too.I haven't been dancing or doing any high impact exercise lately, so I don't know what it going on. I did stretch a little last night, but nothing more than I usually do. I've also got really bad tummy cramps that comes in waves.

I tend to attribute everything to PMS, but I'm not sure if that is what it is. Could be the weather, maybe? I have been eating a lot of meat these past two weeks. Could it be due to that? I'm babbling of course...

In other news, check out this amazing video of a Chinese Ballet/Acrobatic dance troupe performing to "Butterfly Lovers" It's like Cirque du Soleil en pointe:

Seeing all that makes my groins hurt. Ouch.

I feel like popping by and visiting Beth, Jay and Lisa at the UTLC today but I have a sneaking suspicion that their epic tutor training seminar may be going on right now. we're between semesters and thing can either be oddly quiet or rediculously hectic before the students come back.

Whenever I go there, I have to restrain myself from tutoring the math students, taking inventory of the formula handouts on the wall or rearranging the furniture. At a distance, I ALWAYS want to redesign their website and retake all the staff photos, but that wasn't even a requirement of my former position there.

It's kinda like my friend Erica who used to work at Barnes and Nobles. Didn't matter what bookstore she set foot in, she always felt the great need to ask people if they needed help.

Somewhat related note, I found this pic I took of some of the tutors I supervised years ago at the UTLC loafing around on one of my file servers:

Just ignore the flowers behind their ears. I tended to tease and torture my students.

What you are looking is a physicist, a medical doctor, a mathematician and an engineer before they knew for sure that they would become these things. There's probably a cumulative IQ of over 800 right there in front of you...I really miss working with students sometimes, especially smart motivated ones. Aren't they cute too? I can't remember who it was, but someone accused me only hiring attractive tutors. If I did, it wasn't a conscious decision, I swear.

Today's a half day for me. I'm working on more course ware application stuff right now. I seriously get a high off of rewriting code. That's second only to developing new code. I also thoroughly enjoy making fun of bad code.

BTW, I'm wearing my subNatural shirt today, because I realized the developers would get a kick out of seeing the word NATURAL written really large across my chest. It's a programmer joke and not a boob joke. : P Who knew that a concert-T would make its way into my work clothes?

Tonight T and I are gonna go see Chant do his percussion wizardry. I'm hoping that Sammi will tag along with her hubby so that it's a big fun crowd and so I have a dancing partner. I just want my leg and hip pain to go away first!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Chant:That Which Divides

I've said numerous time that there are few who can rival Punjabi percussion super group Dhol Foundation, but I think I may need to eat my words.

Chant is a one man show, namely Mr. Bradley B. Machine-like in precision yet as passionate as any devoted artist, he's a spectacle and an inspiration... That is to say he's an indication of someone who pushes the outer limits of creativity and energy. Having played in numerous bands in the past, Mr. B soon realized that the only person you can trust is your own self when it comes to hard work, commitment and a unique vision.

In short, Chant is a percussionist, and a damn good one, but sadly that description falls short even though it's accurate.

Drummer, performance artist, a master of rhythm and sound. How could you even classify Chant? We won't even go into the composing, programming, web design and promoting he does on his own as well. You get the feeling that there's nothing he can't handle (sorry ladies, he's taken). He's like Stomp on crack, Blast with the boring brass bits taken out, and the entire drum line of the famed Cavaliers wrapped up into one sexy body. I tell you Tommy Lee would shit himself if he hasn't already.

The music definitely has an industrial element to it (one of the things he bangs on is a mounted satellite dish, apparently) with a tribal influence. You hear hints of jazz and world as well. In addition, he manages to sing with his strong brassy vox while playing, and no, the man is not sitting down at a kit either. He's up and about, a searing ball of fire while performing.

See for yourself.

"Drag Me Down"

The clip above (courtesy of is some amazing live video footage of Chant opening for Pigface back in April 28, 2005. It ought to give you a small idea of what the energy level is like when he performs and I'll be experiencing it myself tomorrow night. If you're in the area go see him live.

His debut full length album That Which Divides will be out this summer, August 2007. You can purchase his live DVD and EP off of his official website which also features ample amounts of media, interesting interviews and a mp3s.

The album described by the man himself:

It's all about "this thing between us". Between you and me, between us and them,
between everyone. What separates us in so many, many ways, when deep down, we are all the same? And what things hold us all together?

Listen to:
"Crash Me"

Upcoming Shows:
May 24 @ 11:00pm - Elysium (Austin, TX)

June tour:

Chant's Myspace
Chant's Official Website

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Contrast Podcast: Personal Theme Tune

What would *your* personal theme tune be?
I've been asked this more than once in my lifetime and although the oboe line from Bach's "Sich Uben im Leben" always pops into my head, I tend to falter and give a lame response like "You are My Sunshine" or "Flight of the Valkyries." I think the problem is that I can't exactly explain why that Bach tune is so appropriate.

Perhaps it's because I waddle (doing ballet for years makes you a bit duck toed)?
Maybe it's the squeaky soprano solo?

Or, maybe it's just a darn cute song! I dunno...but anyhow, I managed to get it out there that my true theme song is indeed "Sich Uben im Leben." You'll just have to figure out why on your own.

We all know that Tim Young himself is an insane ball of energy but I must say a soft shoe jazz piece really works. I can see him cutting and pasting tracks into GarageBand or whatever piece of software he's using, typing in text for the next CP post, composing the notification email all while bopping his head up and down as he enjoys this task immensely. To check out the other podcaster's choices, hop on over to the Contrast Podcast and see for yourself.

Contrast Podcast #60: My Personal Theme Tune


Monday, May 21, 2007

Munchie Mondays: Albondigas

Albondigas simply translates to "meatballs" in Spanish. This is a modified version of a recipe my dear friend Beth gave me. Beth lived in Mexico City for some time and knows a thing or two about authentic Mexican cooking and she served up this dish during a dinner party recently. It was a total hit!

There are several versions of this recipe out there, mostly to do with the types of vegetables used. I've seen carrot, yellow squash and even mint incorporated into this dish. However, what really makes this delicious item are the Chipotle chiles en adobo. You can find these canned in most grocery stores and they're basically roasted chipotle peppers in a thick gravy. I used 3 chipotle peppers in my version, but feel free to modify the spice content to suit your needs.

Pork Albondigas
Serves 6-8

1 1/2 pounds lean ground pork
2 small zucchini squash (grated or chopped finely)
1 small onion finely chopped (reserve half for sauce)
1 poblano pepper seeded and chopped finely
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin powder

2 tbls olive oil
20 oz of canned crushed tomatoes with juice
1 cup of chicken broth
1 to 4 Chipotle chiles en adobo

Mix the pork, grated zucchini, chopped poblano, half of the onion, oregano, pepper, salt, cumin and eggs in a large bowl. Form into 1 1/2 to 2 inch size meatballs. The mixtures should yield around 20 to 24 meatballs.

Add olive oil to the bottom of a large pot and fry the rest of the onion in the hot oil until transparent. Meanwhile, blend crushed tomatoes and chipotle peppers in a food processor until smooth. You can reserve some of the crushed tomatoes if you want a chunkier sauce. Place all the tomato chili mixture into the pot along with chicken broth and bring to boil. When boiling, gently add the meatballs to the hot liquid.

Boil uncovered for 5 minutes, then reduce heat and cover. Cook for an additional 30 minutes until meatballs are cooked through. Zucchini and poblanos should still be slightly crisp when meat is done.

Serve with rice and tortillas. Beth had these served up with fresh fruit and beer which made a perfect accompaniment.

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callous about calluses

I tend to wear my battle scars with pride. I think the first time my toes bled from a long rehearsal en pointe the sadistic side enthusiastically grabbed the nearest camera and snapped photos. I guess it just pushes the envelope a bit for the "good pain" we sometimes feel after a hard work out.

But this set of battle scares sort of boggles me.

If you will, for reference, look at your left hand with the palm facing up. I provided this nifty pic of someone else's hand just in case you get confused:

The left side of each of my finger tips (excluding thumb) has a substantial callus from playing harp. Sometimes I refer to this as the top edge. And no, you don't play harp with your fingernails. I know some people who do this, but it's very VERY bad form. The tipy-tips of my finger tips have a smallish callus from my sporadic attempts at playing guitar. I'm sure typing on the keyboard has toughened up that area a little too over the years.

Now, that leaves one other spot, the right side or rather, bottom edge of my finger undealt with until now. It was this weekend that I discovered that the bottom edge of each finger tip is precisely where you press violin strings with. Violin strings are substantially thinner than guitar and harp strings, so prior to growing a tough skin you get a nice sharp groove that turns into a blister. I'm currently at the blister phase. These I obtained because I spent all weekend working my ass off on my violin out of necessity for an artist I uphold with utmost respect. To not put in my best effort for this opportunity would be ridiculous.

The good pain is sort of veering into the "bad pain" category though as I still can't lift my arms over my head. (Saturday was 4 hours in the recording studio for flute, theremin and violin. Anyone who thinks doing music is a walk in a park should be shot.) Furthermore, my left thumb pad is bruised and my finger tips are starting to look bulbous with all the various callouses forming, kinda like an alien. I suppose that could be cool in a very messed up way...Like I said. I wear my battle scars with pride.

As you know, violin is the instrument that has always been the bane of my existence. Concerning why I even started playing, well, my rationale was incredibly silly: I'm Asian. All Asian kids play violin (and piano, which fortunately, I have covered) so theoretically, I should be able to play violin. I mean, I play a bunch of other instruments. How hard can it be? I think part of me just didn't want to be left out or feel inferior to the ever growing ensemble of string players in my family, let alone my race.

Anyway, I took lessons for precisely one year in college. My instructor was the lovably cranky Dr. Donald B. Wright from the Austin Symphony Orchestra. At the time he was principal viola player and also a faculty member at the UT School of Music. By way of some bizarre registration fluke, or perhaps it was because there weren't enough viola majors, I ended up with him as violin teacher.

Lessons would consist of a lot of interesting imagery and sound effects:
"Do the eee-awww-eee-awww like your arm is a chicken wing"
"Bounce your wrist like you're spanking a baby".

At one point, he affixed a light pen to the end of his bow to show me the true path that the bow tip takes in the air while playing. Contrary to intuition, it's not always an up and down motion. Often the bow will make small circles, waves or a circle 8 shape. When trying to emulate that, I think he exclaimed at one point: "What the hell are you trying to draw there, Ms. Picasso?"

There was also a lot of chocolate:
"I'll give you a piece of chocolate if you can play that etude halfway decently"
"Oh, that was atrocious. Go eat a piece of chocolate until I can figure out what is wrong with that bow arm of yours.

As the months went on, lessons became less about violin playing and more about life lessons and story time which, I greatly looked forward to (the chocolate helped too). Dr. Wright is a fabulous story teller and a great conversationalist. When I knew him, he was already in his 70's and had years of narratives and experiences to share with me. He recounted what it was like to be a musician in his prime. He fondly recalled memories on how he met his wife, the history behind his instruments, let me in on gossip within the orchestra world. I listened with great interest and I got the sense he found having a non- music major who was not remotely interested in impressing or making it big somewhat refreshing.

Although I improved over the year and was eventually able to play comfortably in 1st and 3rd position, I never really mastered the instrument. We went through months of trying to find a chin rest that would work with my square jawline and never did find a fit, so I went without. This caused to physical discomfort when practicing, so I didn't work at it as much as I would with, say, flute.

Still, after hacking my way through a Seitz violin solo piece, University String Builder and Suzuki books 1-3, I got A's both semesters (to be honest, I'm not *that* bad...) I also left with an autographed 8x10 photo of him from the 1940's (the joke that it was the "current" head shot he tried to use for ASO . "Who cares how old that photo is? It's still me.") that said "To a fabu and delightful student, Donald Wright." I think the greatest indication that all was cool between us though was the time he introduced me to a colleague of his:

"This is my pupil Cindy. A delightful student....terrible violinist!"

I think he'd have a heart attack if he knew I was recording on violin. :)


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Pulse Faction: The Celestial Hellgrounds

I should start off by saying that this is an atmospheric album, but not in that fluffy ambient or new age sort of way. Instead, Pulse Faction has created through Celestial Hellgrounds a cohesive soundtrack illustrating the depths of someone's depravity, desperation and destructiveness through brutal percussion and guitar riffs, tense electronic elements, dark melodies and raw unforgiving vocals. Considering that all 9 songs from this album has found its way into countless TV spots, movie soundtracks, commercials and video games, this is not surprising.

Sound wise, I would describe them as a cross between early Tool with its lyrical metal style plus vocals akin to something that falls between David Draiman of Disturbed and Wayne Static of Static-X. However, the is also a supportive electronic/synth element to all of the songs that makes Pulse Faction something much more than just a metal band. By far, the guitar performances are what stands out in all of these songs.

As mentioned before, sonically (and thematically) there is great continuity between the tracks. The first song "Release" hits you in the face with a great industrial sounding rhythm part and then the fierce drums and powerful riffs kick in. "Lies" and "Empty Room" showcases Brock's ability to create tension with its staggered layers of synthesized sounds and beats. "Assimilation" and "Strain" are both clearly pieces that would sound amazing live. They're wrought with head-banging downbeats, throbbing massive power chords and taut frequencies reminiscent of Rob Zombie or Raymond Watts. The last track "Ascension" still delivers the adrenaline inducing forward moving beats which conjures images of bodies ramming into one another dancing with primal ferocity in a darkened club (appropriate given that the lyrics begin with Primal instinct. Primal instincts. The fire within me...) Only during the vocal break and synth solo does it let up a little on the energy. The album ends with as much of as rush as it began. The 7th track "Salvation" happens to by my personal favorite.

Vocal intonation is slightly sharp at times, and can be bothersome if you're a stickler for such things, but it doesn't really detract from the music. I suspect Brock's voice is going to improve, become richer and more complex as he ages (much like Trent Reznor's vox has over the past 15 years). If I was disappointed with anything at all, it was with the sparse CD packaging. Although lyrics aren't always important to me, I think in this case seeing the written words would have definitely been an added plus since there are a few moments where I can't quite make out what Brock is saying. It's not a huge deal though. For example, with the ethereal Scottish group Cocteau Twins (notorious for having completely indecipherable lyrics), the emotion and inflection of what is being sung is much more important that the actual diction of the written text. I think Pulse Faction does this aspect well.

I do wonder though if the lyrics were left out on purpose given how personal this album is to David Brock. Why rub salt into a wound by exposing the written prose when the music itself conveys so much of the hurt and pain he went through during those formative years? The only liner notes provided is the haunting dedication which further punctuates the darkness and despair: This album is dedicated to my friend Brendon Raichle. Until we meet again, rest in peace.

Band Members:
David Brock- Vocals, Guitars, Programming, Keyboards
Patrick Puente- Bass, Vocals
Johnny Ostrem- Drums, Vocals

Upcoming Show:
May 23, 2007 @ 10:30pm - Room 710 (Austin, TX)

Listen to:

Pulse Faction's Myspace
Pule Faction's Website
Buy the Celestial Hellgrounds from CD Baby

(photography by Envision Creative)

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Friday, May 18, 2007

not exactly a laid back evening

Did a lot of stuff today...

-Finished coding a security and audit module for the courseware system I've been helping to maintain.

-Caught up with Sarah during a very pleasant lunch. She looks really good these days. I find it important to add that the taco salad at Trudy's does not include guacamole any longer. This is a sad discovery for me.

-Scheduled a walk through for my authorization table update interface.

-Switched the car title from my dad's name to T and I's. I should note that state office workers in Austin are incredibly friendly. This is not the case in other cities where they usually want to bite your head off. Even though the car isn't officially in our hands, we now are legally a 2 car family again -and- this second car is a minivan so we've got a gigmobile now. Whoo hoo!

-Cut my hair. Not all of it, but rather a trim and got it re-layered. I haven't had a hair cut in over a year and my hair dresser was just appalled. I told her I was going for the scruffy rock star look. I discovered it wasn't as damanged as I thought it was as she didn't seem to think I had excessive split ends even though the tips seemed "crunchy" to me. She shaved off about an inch, thinned it out a little and it feels magnificently better. She was raving at my natural highlights. Frankly, I thought the locks were turning brown and red because my hair was unhealthy and undernurished (normally my hair is close to jet black naturally), but she assured me that I've got a nice healthy head full of tresses. They just happen to be sun kissed. A nice bonus came when she commented that the longer length was flattering for my frame which, according to her, has gotten much thinner since the last time she had seen me. Eventually I'm going to donate it once I reach the 2 ft. mark. T took a pic when I got home.

-Practiced violin some and theremin for about an hour and then had to stop. I've actually got butterflies due to tomorrow. It feels like an audition and I guess it is an audition but rather for an album spot. I just have to remind myself that I've only bombed one try-out out of two dozen or so in my life time. That's a pretty good track record...I do tend to do better when I don't care or don't exactly try, so I need to remind myself to not be so worked up this time around. In actuality though, in the back of my mind, I'm incredibly worried that T will get bored or fidgety during the recording session and cause me to become really stressed out, unfocused or hasty with my playing. :( Not sure what to do about that...

-I baked oatmeal cookies for Monica's Meatfest party tomorrow. They've got a myriad of dried cranberries, currants, raisins and sultanas packed in them as well as nuts. I'm noshing on one now. Because I ran out of vanilla extract, I decided to use maple for fun and they taste fantastic with the brown sugar. They're also calorific...2 sticks of butter baby! If you're gonna make something for something as ostentatiously named as "Meatfest" there's no sense bringing something low fat.

-Caught up on email with friends from afar.'s weird. The people I *want* to talk to rarely make the effort and those who keep checking up on me are companions I need some solitude from. So strange feeling this way. I think it's because I know they want to talk about my father or my old job, neither of which I feel like discussing at length.

So, that was my list of things done today. I need to pack my gear sometime tomorrow morning. Every time I disassemble Bernadette, I worry she'll sound different since she's an analogue machine. Despite all the stuff going on today and tomorrow, I'm still a little down. My friend Shawn is down too, apparently. Although the term is near over, research never stops for a grad student so he's still busy. He found a pretty big error in a VIGRE grant paper a different team wrote and he seems to downplay the significance of that. This is one of those times I'm glad we didn't marry each other because I suspect we probably would have tied our wrists together and jumped off a bridge into the ocean in tandem, drowning our sorrow all at once. I only kid about that now because we're both pretty whole people and laugh as such morbid thoughts, but whenever we BOTH get mopey man is there a huge fucking cloud over our heads...

Shit, I just realized my 30th birthday is coming up in a couple of months. I need to throw a huge-ass party because it's my freaking 30th birthday! I so look forward to leaving my 20's behind. I wonder how old I look though.

Yawn. I guess I ought to go to bed. Tomorrow is gonna be a long day.

Gallery of Tacky Rings Found on Ebay pt. 4

My my has been way too long since I've done my tacky rings bashing and I apologize for the long delay. How could we possibly let these atrocities get go unscathed?

With Monica's annual Meatfest coming up, where she and her hubby show case the multitude of ways to prepare beef, pork, chicken, duck, turkey, shrimp, fish, buffalo, etc. I figured this would be THE ring to start things off:

I just love the detail of the copper grease catcher underneath the pig.

Speaking of animals, I'm assuming this one is supposed to emulate an owl:

Those are REALLY nice diamonds on the side. Fundamentally, it's not a bad design and yet, I just don't like it. It looks like we immortalized a Muppet or something.

Speaking of which...

...looks a little too much like Gonzo to me. Or, maybe it's phallic. I have no idea.

But, in case that one above is too subtle, we've got this classy number:

Yes, that's right. It's a freaking vagina and the clit is a pink diamond. Look, I understand the whole bit about being proud of your sexuality, etc. etc. but for God's sake, how is this even an aesthetically pleasing piece of jewelry? And sure it looks *fabulous* with tarnish and crud caked inside...

Sweet tooth:

Homage to a lily pad?

Say it with me "I am from the planted Zogg. We come in peace..."

Part of me wants to buy up all of his buddies, make a small house and let them all co exist lovingly with one another.

I just don't even know what this is. I undestand being proud of your first tumbled rock, but gosh, there are plenty of other ways to wear this!

This was found at (of all places!) so it's not a ring off of Ebay, but I was just so mortified that I HAD to put this on here.

What we have is an incredibly good old European cut diamond flanked by smaller diamonds creating what could have been a stunning engagement ring and then, for whatever reason, perhaps as an after thought or maybe the jeweler drank too many gin-and-tonics, someone decided to stick on 2 fine rubies. Viola, instant homage to Howard Hughes.

Speaking of engagement rings, here's another one with a good diamond, but questionable design. What is that screw supposed to imply?

And, I'm sorry, no matter how high the mounting is, you're not gonna fool your gal into thinking the diamond is bigger than what it is just because it's theoretically closer to her. She may very well take it and poke your eye out:

Ebay claims this has a full ct. of you see any diamonds in this ring????

I don't think industrial abrasives should count as jewelry!

Earlier Tacky Rings Posts


Thursday, May 17, 2007

supportive families

Okay, this picture just really puts a smile on my face. I found this off of the Lucid Dementia Myspace page.

This is Sheldon Reynolds, lead of Lucid Dementia with his momma. :)

I this this was while they were waiting for announcements during the Austin Chronicle Music awards. They won 1st place in best Goth/Industrial band, BTW. Second year in the row.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

relationship muckety muck-muck

I have a bad tendency to focus on the negatives sometime, but it's been one of those weeks where I have to scratch my head and either go "life is really unfair" or "what the hell is up with the universe these days?"

Before I list the various relationships amongst my close friends that have fallen apart this past, let me remind you, that there are plenty of people in peachy creamy unions right now, me being one of them (and of course Sandy and her lovely male friend. When I say she's glowing, I mean, she could lite up a dark alley with her radiance). It's just that lately as in the past few months many icky breakups or near breakups have been occurring faster than I can count.

I had jotted these tumultuous pairings down on a napkin during lunch to convince myself that all isn't that bad, it seems worse than it is, yada yada, but gah...there's more than I can credit to merely plain old coincidence, ill timing or whatever.

In the past year or so, these are accounts of what some of my married/engaged friends went through:

-B and H married 30 yrs. H goes off with a 22 yr. old and gets her pregnant

-M and J married 15 years. J can't hold job due to pornography addiction, his practice tanks, and they're severely in debt due to him not processing insurance claims from his patients he treats. One child together. Working on saving marriage. I don't agree.

-M and S married 4 years. M is physically and emotionally abused by her mother-in-law for most of that time while husband sits idly by. Runs away with daughter and vanishes without much of a trace except for an email to me stating that she's safe now. Legally, they're still married.

-J and N together for 4 years, engaged for ??? After rehashing grad school plans numerous time, location changes, job changes, basically committing to devote the next years of his life around her so that they can settle and have children, N leaves J without much explanation. This leaves J living in a hotel room for the past few weeks.

-P and C married for 4 months. Marriage annulled by judge after witness accounts of C repeatedly stabbing P with pencils, knives and needles. Physically abuses him in other ways due to his inability to perform sexually. Reason: P is gay

-S and A married for about a year. A tries to get S to act more like a housewife, bear kids and settle down. Turns out S has same reason to break off relationship as P above, but at least they divorced in a civil manner. Still, it was sad to see the intermediate events as they happened.

-T and S married for less than 6 months. Turns out T was using S for sexual gratification and a fucking green card. S still very much in love with T...

-K and J together for about 3 years. One child. Another on the way. J asks for divorce one month before K's due date. Reason: frustrated at lack of sex in marriage and jealousy towards her more successful male friends.

-L and K married for 10 years, I believe. Ugly Ugly Ugly divorce. One child together. Long drawn out custody hearings. K folds due to mounting legal fees.

-S and R stable marriage for 4? years. R commits emotional adultery with old flame. S devastated. Trying to save marriage. Got my hopes up that they will save their marriage.

That's 10 couples right there. I may even be missing a few. All these pairs are close friends of mine and it is interesting that a lot of these dealt with sexuality. I'm not sure if sex is that important to marriage. There's something to be seaid about intellectual intercourse, I but I won't go into that. :)

This list doesn't count the breakups or rocky relationships I've merely heard through the pipeline either. I'm not including my dad who died even thought that's a REAL completely unavoidable (but perhaps more painful) severing of a relationship.

If God wants to tell me that I've got a good husband and that I should be appreciative: I GET IT OKAY? Please stop hurting my friends!!!

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kitty paws psi

Once again, I have another medallion sized bruise on one of my arms from Hippo trying to decide whether or not she wants to lie down and snuggle with me, or go off and her her own thing. She walks up to me, steps onto my arm, puts all her weight on her one paw, lifts her other as if she's going to stroke her chin in deep thought (although she never does)and just stands there. Thinking. Or maybe she spaces out. I have no idea. Usually she finally decides after 5 minutes or so to collapse on top of me and start snoring loudly.

Granted, this always occurs late at night when I'm in the midsts of deep slumber so I'm usually too tired to shoo her off, but it's not cool getting purple and blue spots on my extremities. They don't even pass as bar brawl markings.

Etouffee on the other hand thinks its a good idea to sit on my face or roll up into a ball and curl up in the nook of my neck. If I move away, she skootches closer. If I pull the covers over my head, she burrow underneath. I kid you not. It's cute, yes, I think it's cute...however, annoying as hell because I haven't been able to get any sleep!

They're so polite around my husband. I don't know what the deal is.

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Summer Bowman and Dru Allen of Mirabilis

These was taken in Mayfield Park in Austin, TX. the idea was to make this look like a "pin hole" camera photo:

Image of Summer with one of the famed peacocks that roam the grounds:

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Will Taylor and Strings Attached

This ain't no cover band (someone recently described them as such and I was about ready to smack them)! You all have heard me go on and on before about the virtues of Will Taylor and Strings Attached, beloved Austin based ensemble who collaborates with a barrage of musicians-- many I consider to be among best song writers in the world (ex. Ruthie Foster, Abra Moore, Shawn Colvin etc.) and they're gonna be doing another awesome show pretty soon. If you're in Austin, and haven't had a Strings Attached experience yet, now's the time.

The last concert I attended featuring the Beatles White Album was immensely entertaining and probably one of the best shows I've ever seen. Not only were their interpretations fabulous the entire venue (which was a church by the way) was just filled with this indescribable energy that I normally don't observe in other concerts. Granted, you can't go wrong with the Beatles, but these guys just did such a damn good job. People were up on their feet singing along dancing all over the place and having a grand ole time. I expect no less for this upcoming 40th anniversary ode to another Beatles classic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. People are also encouraged to come dressed up in 1967-esque garb to add to the ambiance.

Upcoming Shows:
May 25th @ 7:00pm and 10:00pm- St. David's Episcopal Church (Austin, TX)
May 27th @ 8:00pm - Nutty Brown Cafe (Austin, TX)

BTW performances inspired by Pink Floyd, Joni Mitchell and Peter Gabriel with be forth coming, so watch out for those.

The video gives a run down of who all is performing.

Will Taylor and Strings Attached Official Website
Strings Attached Myspace Page
Buy Tickets
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band entry on Wikipedia

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Monday, May 14, 2007

The Darkness: One Way Ticket to Hell...and Back

Do you miss good rock?
Do you pine over the days of men with flowing locks of luxurious metal hair?
Do you crave yowling voices and mighty riffs in arena-eque style?

Granted, only 3 out of the 4 men in the Darkness have the luxurious hair I speak of but that does not detract from their amazing ability to entertain. I'm talking about quality good old fashioned 70's era arena rock here a la Aerosmith or Van Halen, a perfect accompaniment for driving the road with the sing-along-able lyrics and massive riffs. You get the fantasy undertones, the too tight pants, the power chords and the always necessary guitar too.

The comparison to Freddie Mercury of Queen is all too obvious. Aside from the band being from the UK as well, Justin Hawkin's voice soars above the stratosphere. The songs pack powerful harmonies and he yowls in true glam-rock form. I still recall hearing my brother belt out "Hazel Eyes" one day and me asking him: Who kicked your nut sack and is it now lodged in your throat?"

His voice is like the rock version of Farinelli, but with his gonads intact (or so I would assume).

And of course not all good things are meant to last.

Due to relationship/drug related issues, the Darkness broke up in 2006 after Hawkins submitted himself into drug rehab. However, according to the official website, there's a new incarnation of the band in the works so I'm gonna cross my fingers and hope for more awesome music from these guys. Till then, check out these tracks.

Listen to:
"One Way Ticket"
"Hazel Eyes"

The Darkness's Myspace
The Darkness Official web site
Purchase One Way Ticket to Hell and Back from Amazon

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Munchie Mondays: Gazpacho Cindy Style

People walk around in shorts and flip flops about 75% of the year here in Austin, TX due to the heat. Gazpacho is a nice cold soup perfect for the upcoming summer weather and incredibly easy to make. There are a gazillion variations on this traditional Tuscan soup and the ingredients seem to be fairly flexible. For the most part, a basic gazpacho contains tomatoes, bell peppers, onion and usually cucumber. The liquid you cut it with can either be dry wine, chicken broth, vegetable broth, lemon juice or water.

My version has tons of toppings to make it a full meal. Feel free to be as creative as you want on your toppings. I've seen things are basic as croutons and bacon to decadent items like shaved truffles and caviar.

Gazpacho Cindy Style
4 to 6 servings

1 large cucumber
1 can of peeled tomatoes + juice
1 medium tomato
1 green bell pepper
1 small red or white onion
2-3 cloves of crushed garlic
2 tbs chopped fresh basil
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 cup of cold water
juice of 1 lime or lemon
1/3 cup of bread crumbs (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

marinated artichoke hearts
chopped crab meat (imitation is fine)
1 large avocado sliced
fresh mozzarella medallions or pear sized balls
chopped cilantro
lime or lemon juice
fresh ground pepper
olive oil

Roughly chop all soup ingredients (except for bread crumbs) and place into blender. Pulse until finely chopped. How fine is up to you, but I like small chunks in my soup. Place into large bowl and stir in bread crumbs. This makes for a thicker heartier soup.

Place bowl in refrigerator and let chill for 1 to 2 hours. Frankly, the soup tastes fine a room temperature, but chilled is the traditional way to serve it. Till then, chop toppings of your choice and set aside.

Divide out portions and place toppings onto soup. Drizzle with a little olive oil, black pepper and lime juice and you're good to go. It's surprisingly filling, but goes really well with poached fish. I think the soup keeps fine for a couple of days and it's easy to imagine that the flavor actually improves with time. Viola! Super easy!

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Cindy Adzuki: Theremin Video #2

Narcissistic post here. :)

Can someone name that tune? Seriously, I lost the composer and title information from the midi file I'm playing against.

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New theremin recording

Anyone know the composer and song? Monnie or Sandy you'd probably know...

Anyhow, I'm stoked I hit the opening note of the phrase dead on right when I turned the thing on. Yee haw.

Just ate a BIG bowl of yummy fruit: papaya, pineapple, strawberries, mangoes and grapes. :) I need that after all the alcohol and coffee I've been ingesting this weekend.

Had a wonderful dinner with my friend Beth last night and got to know Tracy from the UTLC and her fiance, Michael better. Beth showed us amazing photos from India of her daughter's wedding and she cooked us a delicious mexican meal. It was some sort of pork meatballs with chipotle over rice. She asked me to bring fruit as a side dish and it went really well with the meal and beer.

I'm definitely feeling better today. The hole in the ceiling has been fixed and the mold in the utility room removed. We just have to wait for the paster to dry before we move the washer back and all the expenses only came down to around $700, so I'm not as upset about all that anymore.

Cut T's hair and noticed that he's getting furry in the ears. It's kind of endearing but bizarre at the same time. Shopping trip, x-files and then some decompressing. Probably will practice more violin today if I can stand it. Otherwise, I'll clean the house.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Catharsis and the Concert Goer: Tungsten Coil/subNatural

The always-lovely Ms. Adzuki and I had both been having rather One Of Those Weeks, but despite our fatigue we gathered ourselves up and headed down to Elysium to catch subNatural and Tungsten Coil's show last month on April 27th. In all honesty, I wasn’t entirely certain what lay in wait for us – there’s a world of difference between a couple of songs on a MySpace page and the real sound and feel of a live show. Both bands seemed somewhat subdued from their MySpace offerings, and I was really needing something that could wring out all the bad stuff I'd seemed to have absorbed in my inner sponge. Boy howdy, was I in for a shock...

The first act of the night (we always try to get there in time enough to catch all three) was a group called Matches for Memories - an incredibly energetic group of guys who set a good mood for the night. It was impossible to sit still and chat when they were bounding and grinding like life depended on it on stage, I kept finding myself wriggling about in my chair and wishing the very nice random person who'd joined us would stop trying to talk over the band and let me listen. A wonderful setup to the rest of the night.

subNatural was up next, and I was completely unprepared for what I got. The sound I heard on their MySpace was not nearly as hard as what they had in the club that night. Possibly it was the recent addition of their new drummer (who was absolutely astounding, and I wish I'd gotten to see the previous fellow before live to compare, 'cause I'm like that) or maybe just the intensity of live performance itself drove everything to a more frenetic place, whatever it was, I wish they'd bottle it because it was hot. I found myself absolutely transfixed, up and dancing, feeling all that nasty goo at the bottom of my soul shaking up and coming loose. There was so much drive and furious energy coming off everyone on stage - at times it was hard to keep up with the flurry of motion that was Ritch in his shiny red pants, now up, now down, now clutched head-to-head with Nick on the bass, carrying the crowd along with him as he went from high to low and back. Dizzying, energizing, the set was sex on legs, and I was desperately sorry when it was over. Hell, I was taken enough with them that their band sticker is the first band sticker to grace the back windshield of my car. That says something.

The short break between sets was hardly enough for me to get my breath back, and Tungsten Coil came on stage. Fog, lots of it, poured off into the crowd, and a light show started as the lead singer came out on stage with arms spread - I'll admit, my first thought was oh god, please don't let this be cheesy. It was ballsy and made me raise an eyebrow, but lucky for him there were folks in the know there, and they were already all on board. Then they started playing, and it all fell in together, the vocals, the instruments, the lights and the fog, just an absolute force from the stage that Before I knew it, Cindy'd pulled me up to the very front of the crowd and I was screaming right there with everyone else, so caught up in the dancing I didn't realize I was actually holding myself up with the edge of the stage to keep from falling over. Sadly, as tends to be the case down at Elysium it seems, the vocals were often drowned out by the rest of the music, but as a package whole, the way the performance crashed over me and through me was precisely what I'd been needing all week - a pure catharsis of sound and light and attitude. It didn't hurt that they did a hella cover of Depeche Mode's "I Feel You" - you do tribute to the songs that define my history, I'm gonna cheer for your future, it's just my nature. And while it was all what I would consider a very hard and gutsy set, it wasn't all just fast or noisy. There were definite and strong moods within the set, and Eric did a great job of setting up what was coming, connecting with the audience, talking to us, bringing us in to their dark ride. And come on, how can you NOT love a show that has the guy on keyboards come up front and center on a keytar and rock out like Dimitri did not once, but multiple times?

I have no idea how long their set lasted. Much like subNatural's set, time sort of stopped and I was lost in the performance, caught up by the artists, surrendered to the sound. I really like that I came away singing the praises of not just the musicians, but the whole performance - the stage presence, the set design (the TC banner in the back that lit up was kick ass, along with the additional lights they had on stage with them and other touches) - that kind of attention to detail really makes or breaks a live concert which in my little highly digital world makes or breaks a band for me, too. I don't want to go out to a club to hear studio cuts, I go out to a concert to be cut by the hard edge of sound and performance. I go to be caught up and left exhausted. That night, cumulative, did that for me - as the final notes of Tungsten Coil's final song slowly faded out, I realized I was empty. Totally wrung out. The artists of the night had picked me up and made me move and shake and feel to the point I had to gtfo and get food NOW so I could get us all the way back up north to points homeward. I'm actually kind of sorry I had to leave in such a hurry for sustenance, I totally didn't see if they had a merch booth set up in the back. Next time I'll have to pack a granola bar so I can linger. This is what live music is about though, for me, bands who don't just sing at you, they draw you in, pull you under. I am so incredibly glad I didn't let a little thing like lack of sleep keep me home that night, I'd have missed out on some of the best damn music I've listened to in a while, and an incredible piece of performance. Check their schedule and see if they'll be in your area anytime soon. If it's anything like the one I got, it's a show you don't want to miss.

Upcoming Shows:
(please see bands' webspaces for more details and most up to date info)
Tungsten Coil
May 22nd @ 10pmKLBJ-FM 93.7Austin, TX
May 30th @ 10pm101X Homegrown LiveAustin, TX
May 23rdROOM 710Austin, TX
June 15thRedrumAustin, TX
June 16thReno's Chop ShopDallas, TX

Tungsten Coil on MySpace

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SubNatural: Message

This post about subNatural (a new favorite band of mine in the Austin goth scene), was initially going to be merely a CD review and then I had the wonderful opportunity of catching these guys live with co-writer Sammi at Elysium a few weeks ago. I have to say, it was a fucking amazing concert.

Front man and songwriter, RitchN, is a beguiling inscrutable creature. From his myspace are these words:

I wake up and find myself wanting to work on music before I eat... and a glance at his blog indicates someone who is completely and utterly dedicated to music in every which way possible.

Sky from the group Hipnautica once said of Ritch "He has got to be one of the most prolific musicians I have ever met," which doesn't surprise me one bit considering Ritch has admitted to having hours upon hours of unfinished songs sitting on his hard drive, has collaborated with multiple musicians in Austin and shared the stage with artists around the world.

On stage he's a ball of energy residing behind dark glasses, eyeliner and shaggy blonde hair belting out meaningful lyrics with his deep voice. Spoken word/rant pieces are done with eerie intensity and gets one's heart racing as he plots on (think of the through every forest, above the trees. Within my stomach, scraped off my knees.... part in "Closer" when Trent does this). Bookended by his equally competent and talented band mates, bassist Nick Grubbs, guitarist Stephen Van Pelt, keyboardist Jim Dub and the phenomenal Riggz Wade on drums (perhaps one of the best drummers in Austin, to be honest), subNatural as a whole makes a mighty fine looking rock group. Collectively, they make one's adrenaline levels go off the charts and the music itself is just darn good---no two songs on the set list I heard sounded alike and these guys command the attention of everyone in the room. Apparently, they won the last "Battle of the Bands" competition at the Red Eye Fly even though the site hasn't been updated yet.

Aggressive, visceral and yet emotive is how I describe these guys on stage. The sheer energy alone that these guys exude is enough reason to experience them live. They're on the harder side of electronica yet still very lyrical and accessible. I normally describe them as the harder meaner version of CTRL. Check em out.

Listen to:

subNatural's Myspace
Reverb Nation Profile
Ritch's Solo Project

(all photography in this post by Heather Evans Photography)

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

a cbloom rant that I caught

I saw this on Chuk Bloom's blog a second ago and sprayed coffee from laughing so hard:

I can totally sympathize with the idea of going nuts and shooting people, but shooting a bunch of graduate students and professors is just insane. If you're going to rage at the world and take yourself out, take out some politicians, some CEO's, some lobbyists, some police, some models, some yuppies, some televangelists, something sensible!

Considering that Paris Hilton and co. has tried writing to Gov. Schwarzenegger asking for a pardon for her DWI charge, I whole heartedly agree.

The post was followed very quickly with this hate nugget:

If I was in elementary school and I saw a kid with one of those flight-attendant pull-behind suitcase/backpack things that all the yuppie kids have now - I would definitely beat them up.

There's a reason why this guy has garnered equal amounts of adoration and hatred over the years. Over a decade and kid's still funny as hell and frank.

Speaking of frank, I saw my old compadres Ginger and Blake (fellow Nail head) over Mexican food this past weekend. We discussed their new life in Saudi Arabia at length. First of all I learned that a burka is a specific type of head dress--the ones where only your eyes peek through. Apparently because this is all the skin a lot of the women show, they do up their eyes as much as's kind of erotic actually. The abayas, as in the chemise dress worn underneath have evolved from shapeless sacks into slinky tight fitting dresses.

Along the same lines, lingerie and sex toys are really big in Saudi Arabia. No, you can't talk about sex, but they'll do their best to make sure you're having tons of it and grinding out children in the process. According to Ginger, the "rule" for married couples is to get pregnant 3 months after the wedding. *shuder* They also recounted this large placard announcing new "flavors" of lubricant for sale: "NOW IN MANGO, LIME and STRAWBERRY"

I could just see a kid thinking it was some kind of candy for sale..."Momma, I want some strawberry KY Jelly."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Oh FUCK! Mold....

I'm so upset I'm completely numb now.

My husband pulled the washing machine back today to look for one of our cats, Genghis, and discovered that there's a big chunk of wall behind said washer where the wall is black, fuzzy and soggy. Ah yes, there's slow leak in one of the washing machine's connection valves.

Now, I think the gods were trying to warn us about a leak since there was this old patched up area in the kitchen that looked a bit wonky a few weeks ago. Turns out the prior owners used cheap ass caulk to fix the crack and it was merely expanding due to the recent rains. T picked off the plaster and it looked fine (granted, we have a hole in the kitchen ceiling now). A freaking plumber came out and told us it looked fine! No one thought to check the utility room upstairs.

I'm miffed of course, but so miffed there's hardly any emotion coming out at this point. I'm just sitting here typing with Etouffee sitting on my lap. There goes another chunk of savings in a short amount of time. I suspect our trip to China is going to have to be postponed some more.

I discovered that Hippo has wracked up around $500 in vet bills in the past 3 months. They wanted to test her thyroid because she lost weight. HELLO, the cat is freaking obese. She could stand to loose a few pounds. Apparently she also has seasonal allergies...

I sometime wonder if vets bully people into spending money on tests they really don't need. Etouffee just had a $130 in lab work done because they were worried she had ringworm. The basic test indicated that she didn't but the vet suggested another test that my hubby try on her, as well as shampoo for all the cats, antibiotics, etc. My husband is a sucker for these things. I understand. He loves animals. I love them too, but just as we exercise caution on ourselves ("no thankyou, I don't need the steak knife set with my Cuisinart") the same goes for animals.


Anyhow, we washed all 3 cats today with that stinky shampoo I'm sure they don't need. I suppose giving them a bath is fine and all and I'm thankful Genghis didn't take out my eyesight (obviously Hippo and Etouffee are really easy to bathe) but I'm not looking forward to doing this several times a week until the second lab results come in. I look at Etouffee's foot and it honestly looks like she got a blister which doesn't look a thing like ringworm.

Black mold. We have freaking black mold growing in the utility room. Sheesh. I'm pissed.

This is starting to get a little rediculous.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

sore teeth evolving into sore belly...more random musings

I give up. I have no idea what this ailment I have could possibly be. Now, I'm having digestive issues and my top teeth now hurt.

Sarah suggested that maybe I'm grinding my teeth at night. That's a possibility, but my jaw doesn't feel sore. T thinks I'm sucking on my, okay.

As for the digestive issues, I'm wracking my head at moment. I woke up this way, so it may not have been something I ate since I was feeling fine last night before I went to bed. No rock star cooties to speak of. Maybe my cat farted in my face as I slept. I have no idea! Maybe it was the leftover couscous, but geeze, that's a pretty safe food to eat even cold. I'm a little bummed about needing to cancel my lunch date with Sandy (as she gives good healing hugs) due to this but at least I can manage to function at work.

Sammi, on the other hand, is really sick right now. When I say that, I mean, breathing is something worthy of popping open bottle of champagne and throwing a party. If snot were worth a dime a dribble, she'd be a millionaire by now. I have no idea what all she inhaled at Elysium, but it wouldn't surprise me if there was something in the fog machine. I've been going there for so long now, I probably just built up an immunity against whatever microbes that happen to thrive in dusty instrument cases, sheet white face powder, black eyeliner, hair extensions/dreadlocks, goth related fuzz and the roaming sweat-soaked PVC clad musician.

I've got an Andalusian dance class coming up on Monday. Flamenco+ Belly dancing! Now *that* should be fun. Issue is that I'm coming back from Houston Sunday evening, so I have a feeling I might be a wee bit worn out.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

sore teeth, gummy eyes, achy back, and I miss Etouffee

What the hell is going on here?
My eyes are all gummy feeling. I think has to do with the weather. My back aches but I think i can attribute that to coding like the wind. What I can't figure out is what the heck is wrong with my bottom teeth. They feel, sore. I know that sounds so strange, but they feel really funky. My oral hygiene is impeccable, so I have no clue what that is about.

I miss my cat. I know that sounds pathetic, but I really do. I now know why people adore their dogs so much. It's wonderful having a fluffy cute object that waits for you when you come home, acts happy to see you and follows you all over the place. I just happen to have to benefit of having an animal that doesn't slobber and mews instead of barks.

The newest thing we've discovered about Etouffee' is that when she walks down the stairs with you, she'll slow her gait down so that she's walking at the same pace as you are. She doesn't zip ahead like some other cats do. I find that really adorable.

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Landon Zachary Merrifield

Here's my lovely (and freakishly intelligent) niece Adaline holding her new baby brother. Landon was born yesterday, weighed in a 9 lbs. 1 ounce and was 21 inches long. Big healthy baby!

Compared to when we first caught a glimpse of him, he's come a long way!

Considering that he was born in the year of the Golden Piggy he's probably gonna be a successful rock star or an investment banker...

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