Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Moving some pots around on the back deck and came across this three-foot beauty. I don't know what it is about snakes, but I think they're beautiful, sleek, sexy, mysterious animals, though oddly approachable. I was born in the Year of the Snake according to the Chinese Zodiac, so that might explain my affiliation with our forked-tongued friend.

Michelle (my missus) said she was glad she wasn't the one who discovered the snake. Unlike me, she's none too fond of them, though she does think they're pretty. From a distance.

For you curious folks out there, Michelle informs me this is a Texas garter snake (if you know otherwise, please say), so it was pretty much full size. It hung around the back patio for a spell, then slithered off into the grass. The description M. read said the snake was domesticable. We could have added it to the cat menagerie we've got going. Except M. said she'd freak at the idea of having a snake for a pet. Just as well, as I think the thing should live outdoors and just visit from time to time.

Though I'll be a bit more mindful next time I'm moving plants around on the patio!

Monday, March 23, 2009

EXSE redux: TV is an agent of the devil and your guardian angel

We did EXSE in 2007 and it was fun, a bit chaotic and really odd to have a huge television monitor in eye-shot where we could see ourselves playing. Sadly, the final product didn't sound so hot. Too loud, no reverb on the vocals (so you could hear every off note, of which there were, sadly, lots!)...but fun, nonetheless.

As this year's EXSE approached, I tuned in to see some of the other bands and thought the sound was really muddy, "uh-oh, even the solo guitar player sounds loud..." I said of the guy with acoustic guitar and the tambourine stuck on his foot.

So with a little trepidation and much enthusiasm Patrick, Shane and I (Andy was sunning himself in Florida!) set up in the cavernous studio and ran through some material while the good people of channelAustin set up their cameras and led us through a sound check.

I have to say, as I listen to the rough draft of the DVD from the taping, things sound pretty good. Not perfect, but way better than I'd hoped. Michelle (my missus!) said that the sound was clear and clean, and it is! So thanks to Steve & company for what turned out to be a rather good little live session, forever captured on DVD.*

Patrick pointed out that he never looked at the monitor, for fear of screwing up. As for me, I looked at it once and almost went dry! But on another occasion I suddenly forgot where I was in a song, looked up at the monitor and saw my fingers on the fretboard and realized where I was supposed to go next, chord-wise. TV: agent of the devil and guardian angel.

Felt good, then, this taping. Shane said he felt really comfortable, I reckon so! Then off he rode into the West for a well-earned vacation. Patrick and I settled for the Green Muse, a Guinness and an unexpected jazz combo.

*Once we cut this puppy up into its individual numbers, we'll post the best and alert ya!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Diving in the deep end

It appears that to make this durned social medium truly social, I gotta tweet, facebook (is that a verb) and, most important, get blogging on a regular basis. Here I was all excited about those long-form entries, full of deep background, and I know I'll still post those, but now -- somewhere between twitter word counts and my wordy tomes, lies this blog.

So update it I shall. Regular-like. la!

I promised the guys at last night's rehearsal that I wouldn't include any "locker room" stuff -- some things are gonna have to stay in-house; but I'll do my best to crack open the door to what's going on with me and the band in ways that (I hope) are of some small interest.

Start with last night: Patrick and Shane and I did a couple of hours of rehearsing for tonight's EXSE gig (more on that soon!). My fingers ached -- the Gibson has "light" gauge strings, but sometimes I think it's like trying to push down razor wire. I have this image of martial arts men thrusting their hands into fire-hot coals to toughen up their mitts. I'm not saying I'm going to do that, but there it is...tempting me.