Saturday, December 25, 2010

a ground-ups x-mas...

Mary Christmas told me to tell you...

Ground-Ups began in like 1999, or something like that. Shane and I were really into Ruins around that time, but definitely not up to that kinda like trap-kit blitz or stamina. To make up for it, we like put that influence together with our own art drives, and decided to like both play the drums.

We like talked the whole thing up to Chris Clavin and soon he found a home in g-ups via one of his lost passions, the trumpet (and/or) cornet.
Shawn and I love the trumpet (and/or) cornet, and welcomed the new movement of the ground-up. I don’t know...I think Chris just really liked playing trumpet (and/or) cornet.
The initial material really related to life, if you were on a boat, or worked in a hotel, like Shane and I did at the time.

We had some other stuff, like a floor tom with some trash in it, and some spray paint, and Chris had a bunch of stuff like a dictionary, and we spray-painted that and the cape. We record our first show on a video camera, and that appears in these recordings. Sounds like bad, but good bad too.

The second round includes Shan Egg and I with Leah Yeppi highlighting the vocals, playing banjo, banging keys and effex, and engineering the shit in a strange way. Shane and I came up with “GT Frame You Fucking Suck” on the way to record, when we saw some guy walking down the street either riding or carrying a GT mountain bike frame. One of said, “GT frame you fucking suck.” He heard us. We made it into a tape called: “OH! It Bites Me!”

Part 3 is some live recording a few years later when it was just Eric Weddle and I for the large part, and Shim on and off. Er’s horn action (trumpet and sax) is blasted well thru a cut down ancient quad fender amp.

E.W. and I moved on to record studio type ground sounds with Nhoj Daswon at White Ark. Things, like purpose, never really materialized, so these recordings have since sat, been fondled, and end up here in whatever form available from thy hard drive. There is also a few live tracks recorded by someone in PG Six. I like the way those sound.

I wanted to put together a disc or something and title it “Knights of the Ground Table”. But didn’t. The actual recordings sound great rad, but I went in over the course of time and mixed them around and screwed up a lot of the goodness. And that’s fine.

Ground-ups TNG featured Justin Clifford Rhody on trumpet and Clare Hubbard on saxophone. These could of been, and possibly were the best of times...I think I was drinking too much though. Here’s a few tunes from that, and I know there is more out there, but...

These appear via friends and relatives records as a cassingle, split with Crotch Council.
Shane was back on these tunes, at least some of them, and sometimes I can’t tell if it’s both or not. Regardless, it’s def jcr and Clare.

We’re still doing it...whoever we are.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Caked Up – the tasteful art of Kate Steffens

Kate is great. As is her whole damn family! Kate’s thing is cakes, and other sweets. She’s a pro at making them for both mouth and eye action...not eye action like you put the food in your eye, but rather the food is great to look at with your eye, then put in mouth.

Ms. Steffens folds in a variety of artistic direction. Among these, her application of musically motivated imagery seems to stand out most in my mind(s).
 Disraeli Gears gets the Straight Outta Chocolate treatment
From Fela Kuti to the Cure, she recreates album covers and other related imagery, and emblazons them onto this magic mouth/eye art. Powered with a mix of ingredients as eclectic as her influences, Kate makes great cake!

I’m not a fan of sweets...or at least I wasn’t before getting my mouth blown off by a few of these creations. I’ve since been lucky enough to happen upon her cakes and treats at openings and other events, and I’ve happily made the “I don’ t really like sweets, but...” exception, time after time.
Handpainted chocolate Cure cake
It’s a really fun visual and mouth attacking experience she puts on the table, so view more at her blog “Straight Outta Chocolate”, which is an absolutely amazing title. And you know how I feel about titles for things...or if you don’t, you will.

Trust me on the sweets, and if you’re into hearing some of the stars featured in her work, keep an eye out for her DJing efforts here locally (that means Los Angeles) as “Lady Kate”.

Rate Kate’s Cakes here:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Village of the Damned- Wolf Rilla vs. John Carpenter

As a rule, I hate remakes of things. Especially classic films of outstanding quality, but this case has put my ethics to the test.

Thanks to John fucking Carpenter, I now have to reason between these 2 masterpieces of not-really-scary horror thriller movie things.

Wolf Rilla (awesome name)’s original 1960 version is favorite among the cache of films i put on and pay no attention to. We have a vhs copy. It’s unbending British-ness is a perfect match for the slightly eerie storyline, where the dry calm of the general tone nods to the very timely progression of the film.

Also, Barbara Shelley is great (though not near the confusing splendor of Judith O’dea in the UNCOLORIZED version of Night of the Living Dead...that’s kind of an apples and oranges type of thing but...).

John Carpenter’s 1995 remake comes strapped with some pretty heavy elements, which make this a hard decision. First off, the idiot who you think is gonna be the americana protag gets killed right off the bat, then enters a chain smoking Kirstie Alley complete with Kirstie Alley attitude problem.

The story moves much, much quicker in this version...but it kinda works i guess. There are some rad-ass John Carpenter signature glow effects where the little white haired terrors’ faces light up to the point where you can see their skulls, and Christopher Reeves gives his final and most spectacular performance as the doctor, who kinda replaces the professor from the original, but not so well...but he is in love with the lady from all the Crocodile Dundee movies.

To top it off, the drunk guy from Back to the Future plays the drunk in this movie....

And we get to see Mark Hamill blow his goddamn head off! (though it wasn’t at all graphic):)

As much as I love all the stupid shit John C. does, I’ve gotta stick with the original. Ethics the kids look a lot cooler in the original.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

the ballad of the shimano integer ff system...

Last year, j. shelley bought a bike, an early 80’s Schwinn Ladies World Tourist. It’s super cute.

The most interesting thing about it is the Shimano Integer FF System. It’s kinda like a freewheel crank system, which allows the rider to backpedal via freewheel action at the crank instead of the rear sprocket. The sprocket on the rear hub is actually fixed, meaning that it spins along with the back wheel no matter what.

I think the bike is a 5-speed, with index shifting made possible by Shimano’s primitive and unruly Positron derailleur. These things have a really bad reputation. Admittedly, the broken cable to the rear derailleur, which came with the bike, caused some cursing and head scratching. We solved the issue, and I dialed it in just short of the highest gear...4 out of 5’s not bad.

So, along with making back pedaling possible, the ff system also allows the rider to change gears while coasting. tasered.

Through doing research, I noticed the ff system gets dissed sometimes on bike forums and such, but I think it’s pretty rad, and I wish we had an extra one for experimentation!

I’m guessing that “FF” stands for “Front Freewheel”? (it even makes the freewheel clicky sound.)
By that measure, “Positron” translates to “Pain in the Ass”.

I like this bike.