Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

This past weekend was a great one. So great in fact, that this is part one of the weekend, focusing on the Sleigh Bells concert I attended on April 14th 2012.

The show started off with a band I’d never heard of, Elite Gymnastics, who’s presence on stage was muted yet exaggerated all at the same time. If that makes sense….

To start off with, when we arrived at the venue for the concert the Slowdown, near the beautiful Old Market in downtown Omaha NE, the stage was set up like this;

Then Elite Gymnastics came on. I must say I wasn’t that impressed when they first started but once you began to understand the type of music they were playing; more noise-pop than Sleigh Bells but also a lot more electronica added. The odd thing was the way they turned down the lights completely so you couldn’t really see the two band members as they played. Instead we were shown a Karaoke Music Video that played through the duration of their set. That in itself set Elite Gymnastics apart from almost all bands I’ve ever seen perform.

Next up on the docket was Brooklyn based electronic duo Javelin.

I’ve heard Javelin here and there over the past few years and was not at all ready for the awesome show they pulled off. The duo, cousins in actuality, rock out with a Bass Guitar and a single Ride Cymbal being the only ‘analog’ instruments on the stage. The rest of the music is played through prerecorded loops and melodies and beat out by the drummer on his electronic drum pad. It was a great show and if you have a chance to check them out you definitely should. Here’s a small excerpt of a song I was able to record.


And then it was time… Time for the thunder and the lightning and the more than off chance of getting Epilepsy from the strobe lights. That’s right Sleigh Bells. I have thoroughly enjoyed Sleigh Bells since getting turned onto them a little more than a year ago. I listened to the CD a few times then had the opportunity to pick up the Vinyl which me and my friend ‘S’ pretty much played through more than a few times a week. So I was happy when ‘S’ said she’d go along to this show too. It was incredible to see the energy that singer Alexis Krauss spread through the crowd. I always think of the line from the 2000 Cameron Crowe film “Almost Famous” when I see great shows. The line comes from singer Jeff Bebe (Jason Lee) “You know what I do? I connect. I get people off. I look for the guy who isn’t getting off, and I make him get off.”

It’s the job of the singer, when they don’t also play an instrument, to make people enjoy the show, to move around, to . . . well . . . get people off! Alexis has a great understanding of this. I don’t believe she really stopped moving since the moment she stepped on stage.

The music was infectious, people were up on their feet, hands were in the air, laughter and joy was all around and that was only after the first song. As the set continued, you could see the crowd inching closer to the stage, but at the same time, there were stragglers, people sitting back in the bar area, just there to enjoy the music and that’s what bands like Sleigh Bells bring out.

 

 

 
I’ve been to rock concerts where there are more fights than enjoyment of the music, more screaming than listening, more wasted money than entertainment gained.

That said, I would follow Sleigh Bells around for a while just to see another performance like that. It sounded real, it looked real, it felt real and when all was said and done, the band was just chilling in back by the merch table smiling and laughing with their fans.

 

 
If you get a chance to see the Sleigh Bells on this tour, do it. It’s going to be hard to beat the tour as a whole including both openers. Great show, and a great weekend.

The next post should be pretty good too as it focuses on the foodie aspect of this past weekend. I miss my foodie weekends, maybe they’ll come back sometime.

 

Learning to Read. . . Again

Posted: March 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

The past few years, I’ve fallen away from reading. I don’t know a specific reason why, but I have a feeling that TV, Movies and Video Games really put a damper on things.

When I was in high school I was at any given time, reading anywhere from 3-5 books. I used to have people ask how I was able to read so many books at one time, and the simple fact is that it was easy. I didn’t have the distractions I have now. I didn’t have satellite TV, only had a Nintendo 64 which I didn’t play much of outside of Zelda: OOT. And I lived out in the country, my closest friend being 7 miles away. Books were how I escaped from life. They let me be something different. If I got bored with one book, I’d pick up another and read a few chapters in that before jumping back to the first book, then i’d throw a third into the mix, and then a fourth and a fifth. I’d finish all five within a few days of each other and then move right on to the next big batch.

When I look at my book shelves nowadays, I see a lot more graphic novels. Only the best of course; Fables, Y The Last Man, Jack of Fables, Transmetropolitan, A large portion of the Allan Moore library, Sin City (In two different prints), and various DC hero collections.

That could also be part of the reason my reading of standard form books has dropped off the edge. My attention level has dropped so low, that I can’t focus on reading a book for a very long period of time.

Fortunately, I’m back on the road to recovery. I read the Hunger Games trilogy within a couple of weeks, and I’m actually finding more and more books that are sucking me in more and more. I want to read more again. I made a trip to Half Price Books the other day and picked up some new books to help get me back into my old reading habits. A couple of Andy Sedaris books, a few Kurt Vonnegut books, and a Christopher Moore book. I’m also finishing up American Gods by Neil Gaiman right now.

I’ve got a lot lined up to read, I would really rather read than waste more time watching crap on Netflix anymore. I may have to put my subscription on hold for a couple of months so I can retrain myself to focus on reading things that will in turn help my own writing advance.

Learning to read is hard, learning to read again, can be a daunting task. I’ve got too many gadgets to distract my time, too many movies to stimulate my eye holes more than my brain, too much time that I’ve forgotten how to utilize.

It’s time for a change, it’s time to learn again.

Growing Up

Posted: March 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

To be young at heart is one thing. To be young is another.

Unfortunately I’ve had these two things confused for far too long. To be young is to be uneducated, naive, selfish, inexperienced and immature.

To be young at heart is to be full of youthful vigor while having the maturity and sense to take care of the necessities before enjoying life and waiting for things to happen.

I waited for far too much to happen through my life. I’ve lost out on a lot of opportunities by doing this and as I’ve come to understand some of this point, my eyes have been opened to the amount of pain and sorrow I’ve caused myself.

I’ve lost time, I’ve lost energy, I’ve lost friends, I’ve lost sense.

To realize you have to grow is a hard thing to come to terms with. It comes a little bit easier when you start your own business. About seven or eight months ago I decided I wanted to make candy. Two and a half months ago I made that decision reality and Karl’s Candy Co was born. I currently sell my candy on Etsy.com and am working on a display to set up in a local coffee shop in downtown Lincoln. I’m also talking with the local farmer’s market people in order to hopefully get a booth set up this summer.

Growing up also comes easier when you pour yourself into it. I’m still failing on a number of endeavors I’m trying to branch out onto, but I’m finding better ways to hold onto those branches.

I slip and fall but keep doing my best to climb and find a nook to get a better footing for the future.

I gave up a lot in the past, I’ve reserved myself to not let that happen again in the future. No backing down, no saying no, trying my best till the very end. Trying my hand at new experiences. Creating, restyling, relearning.

I’m done with losing knowledge, I’m done with not having something to say, I’m done being second rate. It’s time to take hold of the rip cord and pull.

I want to travel. Travel takes money. I’m learning how to handle mine better. I’m currently taking part in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. I have so much to learn, but the baby steps are working. I see the light at the end of my tunnel of student debt. I’ve got a ways to go, but I know I can reach my goals in record time now.

I want to go to Asia. All over Asia and onto Japan and the Philippines, all around the world. I want to bungee jump in New Zealand, roam the outback of Australia, road trip all around this country at least twice more, and eventually make it down to the secret place at least once.

I’ve started playing my guitar again and have plans to play bass with a couple local musicians over the next few months. I’m doing my best to keep busy while allowing myself the space I need for me time. I find it hard to be out with people for an extended amount of time before my panic attacks start creeping up on me.

I didn’t use to have panic attacks but now find them happening far too often. I’ve tried out different forms of healing, but none seem to work, so I’ve begun doing what used to work best. Running. I ran cross country in high school and had little to no stress. It’s been building up on me so much recently that I need to get rid of it and I’d hate to resort to taking some form of medication until it’s absolutely necessary which I hope never happens. It’s also helping me work out a lot more for my own physical health. I got an Iron Gym and am doing pull ups/pushups/sit ups multiple times a week in order to get in some form of shape other than semi-flabby. It’s another thing on a long list of my things to do to become a better person.

I want to grow. I have a lot I need to show people. I have a lot I need to show myself. I know I’m still going to do stupid things, but I’m not going to regret them. They show you how to do things better. I’m also going to think a lot more before acting in any way. spontaneity is great until you end up hurting yourself and everyone around you. Then it’s just dumb.

I’ve learned the importance of plans and I’ve got plans on the move. I’ve begun making lists, I’ve begun formulating the plans that will allow me to have the type of future I’ve talked about, the type of future I can share with someone, the type of future where a future is worth having.

I cried for the first time in a month tonight. I can only stay so busy, I can only keep my mind occupied for so many hours in the day. I can only only.

The future looks brighter today than yesterday, it’s still got a ways to go, but it’s on the horizon.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1permkYrPnE]

As most of you may know, a new documentary is coming out this month called Bully. It shows how bullying is a real and dangerous threat to millions of children every year. As someone who has been on both ends of the bully spectrum, I wish a movie like this had been out when I was in school.

I should actually say, I’m glad this is coming out now. I know adults who need to watch this movie just as bad as any high school punk who thinks he’s tough shit. Even now, a quarter of a century old, I still see bullying in the workplace, on the streets, in the bars. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you need to understand the repercussions of your actions when it comes to directly abusing, either physically or mentally, someone you think is different enough from yourself to deserve it.

Everyone should see this documentary.

 

 

There’s only one problem.

The people who need to see this the most may never get the chance. Due to language and the showing of actual bullying events taking place in schools where this documentary was filmed, the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) has deemed it unfit for teenagers and has essentially killed the effectiveness of this documentary with an ‘R’ Rating. Thus making it illegal for the people who need to see it the most.

The MPAA has been a bane to film makers since it’s inception in 1922. It’s currently chaired by former Democratic Senator Chris Dodd. The MPAA was brought about in response to the Hays Code which spelled out what was acceptable and what was unacceptable content for motion pictures produced for a public audience in the US. Thusly, no single bed in bedrooms of married couples, no kisses that lasted longer than 3 seconds, no toilets were to be seen anywhere, etc. Today the Hays Code, while severely outdated, lives on in many forms. I recommend checking out the documentary “This film is not yet Rated” to help educate yourself on the f*cked up methods used for giving any form of rating to any film that wants to be shown anywhere in the US.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTL3XMDwY0c]

I can’t help but get more and more pissed about this situation. Bully is necessary viewing for kids 7th grade and up. I know it’s going to be violent, and there’s going to be an abundance of language being spewed about. That’s the f*cking world we live in these days. Is it worse that it’s real life footage? Is it worse because it’s teenagers?

Where do we draw the line? When do we stop messing around with paying people to decide what we watch, when we watch it and how much of anything we do watch? Screw SOPA and PIPA, the internet is safe for now. Let’s just hope the Harvey Weinstein, the producer of Bully, will have enough sense to get this movie up on-line as quickly as possible, I don’t even care how much he charges people as per a downloading fee. If it means the people who need to see this would then be able to, do it.

 

As I lay awake last night doing my best to fall asleep without succumbing to vices of sleep aids or drink, i gazed across the shelving that holds a portion of my DVD collection. I’ve been in the process of getting rid of the ones I won’t watch again. The ones that remain must fit a certain set of parameters;

1. Part of a complete collection i.e. Criterion

2. An actual collector’s edition collector’s edition. i.e. The Animal House ‘House’, The Brat Pack binder, Steel Books

3. A film that I have seen a hundred times and will watch a hundred more

4. A film that evokes strong memories and emotions that I don’t want to let go of

5. An out of print DVD

6. The works of directors I hope to follow behind in my professional career i.e. The Coen Brothers, Hayao Miyazaki, Danny Boyle and Wes Anderson

Point 6 struck a chord with me and so for the next week I am going to do a review of each Wes Anderson film in no specific order. If I don’t become side tracked, tonight will start with Rushmore. By the end of this next week i’ll wrap up with doing a pre-review of Anderson’s upcoming Moonrise Kingdom.

Stay tuned, keep reading, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover over the next few days.

 

Updated Video

Posted: February 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

Hey all, If you’d taken the chance to check out my video interview featuring local Lincoln musician Cole Wittstruck you may have noticed the quality was a little under par. I’ve had a chance to reload said video and the quality is now much better. Please check it out again on the Video Project’s page; https://novelwriting101.wordpress.com/video-projects/

Two New Pages

Posted: January 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

Today I’ve finshed uploading two new pages worth of content here. I now have a page dedicated to photography that I will update as often as I can as well as a video projects page for projects I have been involved with. This will also be getting updates as often as I can get things finished up.

Stay tuned, good things are coming.