9/30/2003

If you have been thinking about making a political contribution, today's a good day to do it, because today is the quarterly filing deadline for candidates' financial reports. That means a donation today will go a lot further than a donation tomorrow. It's easy to get busy and forget (or not care) about "politics", but it really is important, so take a few minutes today if you can.

If you're not sure who to support, this is a good time to do some research and get involved! You can see what all the major politicians say about the issues online - http://www.ontheissues.org is a neutral source that will explain what all the major candidates stand for, in their own words.

What's important isn't who you support, but just that you get involved. If you think Bush is great, well, get out there and support him. If you think he's terrible, you owe it to yourself to get out there and help somebody oust him.

(My own plug: I'm steadily getting to be a bigger fan of Dr. Howard Dean, the former Governor of Vermont. He's fiscally conservative but socially liberal, and is big on universal health care and increased international cooperation as a solution to the situations in Iraq and elsewhere. I've heard him speak, and everything he says seems pretty right on to me. There are even lots of Republicans who are starting to support Dean out of frustration with what Bush is doing. If you want to learn more, check out http://www.deanforamerica.com.)

Anyway, the important thing is, get out there and decide for yourself! :)

9/26/2003

So ... our car got broken in to last night, again, and they stole our stereo, again. Last time was a few months back, on campus over at U of H, but this time was right out in front of our own house in the Montrose area, under a streetlight no less, sometime between 1:30 am and 7am. The perpetrator also ripped up the dashboard and messed up the window (not broken, thankfully).

If the perpetrator is reading this blog, I just want to say: a) if you had just asked me for the stereo, I would have given it to you, and b) it's a crappy stereo anyhow, the CD player skips and the EQ options are pretty poor. And good luck setting the clock, man, I never figured that out. Now, can I have my Deathray Davies CD back?

9/24/2003

Choices choices ... there is so much good stuff going on this week, I don't even know where to start. I wish I could be in 10 places at once.

Tonight, Joe LoCascio (my piano teacher and probably the best pianist in Houston) is playing at the Argentina Grill. There's also an poetry reading / open mic at Helios hosted by Mike McGuire, and an improv workshop with Andy (from the Ex) at MECA hosted by Dave Dove and the Pauline Oliveros foundation (not to mention Hands up Houston). And if you've got time between everything else, at 6pm, Welsh band Super Furry Animals will be hanging out in-store at Cactus (not playing, just hanging out while their record gets some play) before their Numbers show tonight. Free beer, hard to pass up.

Tomorrow night is a ton of cool stuff, of which the only one I can make it to is my own show at the Twelve Spot. But of course, the Cezanne Jazz Jam is also a great spot to hit, and Phuz will be at VII lounge.

And then Friday, there's the Society for the Performing Arts' performance of Philip Glass's soundtrack to Koyaanisqatsi (with a showing of the movie, of course), there's Ivan the Fool, a cool puppet show at the Barnevelder that Mike Switzer is involved with, there's a Gulf Coast reading at Brazos bookstore

Don't even get me started on Saturday ... Drop @ Borders Books & Music (at 3pm), a big 1-year birthday bash at the Proletariat featuring The Singles (as they are still temporarily known), a daytime benefit for Reprogram Radio ... Drop will hit the radio on the Soular Grooves show at 10pm that night, so definitely tune in for that (90.1 FM, or online). And Tru Sol is at the Industry Cafe.

Let it never be said that there's nothing to do in Houston.
Happy Birthday Jim Henson!


9/23/2003

More jam bands entering my listening sphere now, like it or not ... I am listening to Umphrey's McGee for the first time (I've heard a bit here and there but never really spent any time with it) and I have to admit that love it! Similar to Phish, but with thicker arrangements and a different approach to songwriting (that I actually like a bit more than Phish). I only have this one tune, on a sampler from Homegrown Music. I wonder if all their stuff is like this? Through this same sampler, I learned about another band I now love, called Uncle Sammy. However, I guess I was a little too late on that one, as their web site announces they'll be breaking up this month. Doh.

9/22/2003

Sorry for being incommunicado for a couple days. I had a good time at the ACL Music festival this weekend, despite the non-stop drizzle. I headed out Saturday morning (too bad, many of my favorites played Friday) and got there in time for Los Lobos and an all-star Johnny Cash Tribute. After a bite to eat, I then got down with Robert Randolph and the Family Band. This guy is amazing - one of the most rockin' pedal steel players ever, with a super positive attitude. He even covered a couple Hendrix tunes (and pulled them off mightily). I saw some of the North Mississippi All-Stars and Bright Eyes, and then caught a full set of Josh Ritter (with Nickel Creek pouring in between (or sometimes during) his songs). The rest of the evening's entertainment was great as well - Michael Franti and String Cheese in particular.

Sunday I had some breakfast at Little Joe's (alas, too early for vegetarian Frito Pie) and then hoofed it back to see some of the Shins (pretty good) and then my favorite show of the weekend, Soulive. Next I managed to pick up Lucinda's show (of course) and followed it with some Polyphonic Spree and Yo La Tengo. They did some beautiful stuff, and also they obviously don't give a flying fig what their audience thinks of them (which is, honestly, kind of refreshing). Last but not least I caught up with Ween and they totally rocked.

I have to say that this was one of the best organized music festivals I have ever been to. The food was good, there were never terrible lines at the bathrooms, you could hear almost every band really well, there were plenty of official folks around to help out - just well done on the whole. Looking forward to next year.

9/19/2003

This was passed on from a friend - let me know if you have any leads.

My family and I were burned out of our home this week. It started in the attic and we were told it was electrical. The owner is an elderly gentleman was having work done on the apartments. We were Blessed with all of our lives. The fire happened in the early morning on Monday and every thing but few clothing and prayer books were saved. All praises to God we are fine. We are staying with friends and family until we find another place. If anyone knows of a place in midtown which is pretty nice, Please call me at ... .We need a 2 bedroom apt., house or townhome. If you are not familiar with this area it is from the Children's Museum all the way to Downtown, the Medical Center and to University of Houston. We don't need anything fancy. We would appreciate the help with a search for a new home.
Oops, almost forgot today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Arrr! Here be a repost of me original poste:

Shiver me timbers! In addition to bein' with me own mateys this night, I wish I could see Hilarrrrrrrrrry Sloan tonight at ye olde West Alabama Ice House. Perhaps I'll get to sail over there in my carrrrrr before my gig. Arr.

OK, talking like a pirate is harder than it seems. I'll keep working on it. I guess I could always break down and use the English to Pirate translator.
Dang, if I didn't have me a gig tonight I would be all over going to see Hilary Sloan tonight at the finest little ice house in Montrose (the West Alabama one, naturally). They start early so maybe I'll get to see some of it before I have to load in over at Brasil. Hilary Sloan is a fine songwriter and fiddle player, and she's got a top notch band (including Ben Collis on bass, a nominee for best bassist in this year's Houston Press awards.)

9/17/2003

Been listening to The Motet all day (snagged a live record from eMusic). You should def. catch them on Oct 13th when they're here at Last Concert Cafe. I probably will not, actually, because hopefully I'll be seeing Ani that night, and I can't pass that up. But who knows, maybe I'll hit 'em both. Our pals Greyhounds open for 'em.
I was over at the Volcano and saw lots of good folks last night, and met a couple new ones too, at the weekly musicians' networking meeting. I got a good chance to talk to Kenny and Sheri from Houston Music Hour about the new idea they're working on starting, the Houston Music Foundation. Basically, it's a booster organization (nonprofit) for local music in Houston, under the idea that "a rising tide lifts all boats". Nifty, eh? It'll be vaguely modeled after the Austin Music Foundation. Stay tuned here and I'll keep you up on what they get up to.
Just the other day, Jill and I were driving through Galveston and marvelling at the giant concrete grain elevator on Harborside drive. Glad we got a look while we could, it was just toppled today!

9/16/2003

Hey, today is Jon Hendricks' birthday! Jon is one of the best Jazz vocalists ever - he really treated his voice as an instrument and could keep up with even the best Beboppers in his solos. He also wrote lyrics to lots of fast Bebop tunes, and in fact wrote the only approved-of set of lyrics to a Thelonious Monk tune ever (approved by Monk, that is). I remember seeing Jon at Yoshi's a couple years back with my friend Peter. He put on a great show.

Happy birthday, Jon.
Good news - the Senate voted to shoot down the FCC regulation changes that would've allowed more media consolidation. But they didn't do on their own steam, I think - they were encouraged by a few signatures from MoveOn.org folks. Good going everybody, keep the public airwaves public.
Today at lunch, KTSU (the local jazz station, such as it is) played a 2 hour block of Cannonball Adderley. Rules. I think at this point, my world would be immensely improved by two things:

1. If KTSU would go back to a more straight ahead jazz format all the time (I'm told that's how they used to be), or at the very least, eliminate all tracks with drum machines and / or Kenny G. As it is now, it seems like 90% of the time when I switch to the station, there's a giant glob of cheese pouring out of my stereo.

2. If KTSU would start broadcasting online like my old favorite KCSM does in the San Francisco Bay Area.

You know, KCSM is an immensely popular station (they've been overshooting their fund drive numbers recently) and they play serious good jazz pretty much non-stop. Sure, Houston ain't SF, but I think KTSU could be bigger & better if they stayed more true to the music. There are so many serious music lovers in Houston, and it's such a big city ... I've got to believe it could work.
Got an email today about supporting the "Ten Commandments Protection Act of 2003". I laughed and thought it was a joke.

But it wasn't. From the writeup on the petition web site:

Throughout the nation, secularist organizations such as the ACLU and others are systematically working to strip the Ten Commandments from public eye.
"Secularist organizations"? Perhaps these folks missed the memo that the United States is a secular nation. It is a cornerstone of our constitution that the state will neither prohibit nor endorse the practice of any one religion. That's why the puritans left England in the first place - for freedom! And we are free, to worship as we choose, tell people about our faith, build churches and monuments, write praise music, whatever our hearts desire. That is awesome. But what we are not free to do is endorse any one religion from an official (state) stance.

Perhaps showing the 10 commandments in a court house doesn't seem like a big deal to you, but it is specifically forbidden in the constitution, and it should be. Common governance and personal faith are separate for good reason - everyone is entitled to his or her own beliefs, and state sponsorship of religion has always been messy and oppressive.

Maybe you don't believe that our fellow Hindus, Buddhists, Pagans, etc. are "right". You're entitled to think that. But think about it: would you like to pass a law that says everyone has to be Christian? If you answer yes to that question, your idea of America is so far from mine that any further discussion is impossible.

Don't make this out to be a fight between Christians and heathens. It isn't. It's a battle between people who have respect for the religious freedoms of our country, and people who feel a moral obligation to make their religion compulsory for everyone else.

9/12/2003

I've been listening to the Houston Symphony doing Webern's Passacaglia today. Webern rocks. OK, well, I guess it's not quite accurate to say that Webern "rocks". But you get my drift.

You know who else rocked? Johnny Cash.

9/11/2003

Thinking back on what I did on 9/11 two years ago. Jill and I heard the news in the car on our long morning drive from Oakland to Menlo Park and Woodside. I remember that when Amy Goodman said "The tower has collapsed", I couldn't fathom it. I just couldn't believe it. I figured she meant some other thing by "collapsed". Because how could that happen? She must have meant "partially collapsed" or something.

I can't remember any time before or since that an event in the news made me cry.
Had dinner last night with my friend Ian (pronounced "Yan"). We ate, ironically, at the new Yan sushi, over on Westheimer. Jill and I were fans of the original Yan sushi location, over in the village. It's the only drive-through sushi place I've ever been to. The new one isn't drive-through, but it has the same appeal - good fresh sushi, without the pristine presentation and high price tag. It's good looking, too:



(Image compliments of Poopscape)
Join the revolution ... Flip Off A Hummer! Hee hee.

9/10/2003

From the Motherland Entertainment web site:

ALERT! - Motherland Entertainment's home office was robbed this weekend, and our computer database was stolen, along with our entire collection of world music CDs. If you have any information, or if you hear of anyone trying to sell a large collection of very rare world music at a local music store, please contact Julie DeRossi via email at survivorgal@hotmail.com.


(Note: post edited for legal reasons, 5/20/04.)

9/09/2003

I've started going through my year-old emails again, and I find it to be a tremendously rewarding experience. One year ago today, I got a tip from a friend about a recruiter who eventually ended up landing me the job I have today. I think I'll write her a note and say thanks again. I also got an email informing me that a good friend of mine was expecting his first child. Looking back through your old email gives you a chance to reflect on what was really important and what was just noise. It's like keeping a diary without doing any extra work.

Of course, this year-old email review requires that you actually keep all your email, and that's not something everybody does. I think it's a great idea, but then I have somewhat unconventional ideas about email anyway.

9/08/2003

OK, I'm going to get back on the blog train here. I've been out of the loop on this for a while, but I've recently started reading a couple other local folks' blogs, and I find it's a fun way to spend a few minutes each morning, and makes me feel like a part of a bigger community. So I'm going to get back into it. I've also been starting to keep a Drop Trio blog, which gives me an excuse to get in there and write / post. So you'll be hearing more from me starting now I think.