Your browser sucks.

My Webmaster at the office recently turned me on to Firefox. Firefox is pretty much the anti-Explorer, in that it's easy-to-use, popup-unfriendly, and not as vulernable to attack as that browser from Microshite. It's also open source, which is way cool, and so indie. (Like me, right?)

Anyway, I recommend that you download it and give it a trial run. I'm pretty sure you'll like it.

BTW, there is a little extention that goes with Firefox called Stumble Upon that will ROCK YOUR WORLD. And no, all-caps italic bold is not overkill in this case.

Basically, Stumble Upon is preferences-targeted Web browsing that suggests sites you might be interested in, based on your search history and interests. I've found some killer sites through this thing (Questionable Content being one), and I have a very hard time keeping my cursor away from it, so be warned!

All Hands on the Bad One

Just finished interviewing Carrie and Corin from one of my favorite bands, Sleater-Kinney. Both very cool people. Look for the whole article in a Guitar Player magazine near you!


None more black.

Well, it looks like I'm in a band again.

Jenny was taking food to a new mother in my neighborhood (something all the new moms do in my neighborhood) Saturday before last, and when she mentioned to the woman's husband, Glen, that I couldn't come along because I was playing at a blues jam, he told her that his band was looking for a guitarist and gave her his number for me.

I called and we chatted for a while about music and musical goals, and found that we both wanted to do original music locally, with no touring (we met through the new parents' network, after all). We saw eye to eye on most things, so he suggested that I come over to audition that Sunday.

On Friday the bass player, Aaron, brought by a CD with three tunes from their old band for me to learn for the audition. I hadn't learned entire songs note-for-note in about 10 years, so I dropped my plans of going to see a show at the Velvet Lounge in DC and started working out the guitar parts.

The first song was pretty fast with a difficult rhythm, and it took me until the next morning to get it down. The other two were pretty much cake to play, technique-wise, which was good. Still, the tough part of learning three songs in a day and a half is remembering how the songs go: i.e., what part comes after what. This can only be done by listening to the song again and again and again and again and then shooting yourself and then listening some more. So that's what I did.

On Sunday I arrived at the drummer's house and we gathered in the toy-strewn basement to go through the songs I'd learned. (By the way, can I just say that day-glo Fisher-Price toys in the rehearsal studio is so rawk? Yeowww!)

I used my newest build, the Lo-Fi 5881 and my Les Paul Standard, and immediately got a good sound that fit in the harmonic space between the bass and vocals really well. To the non-musicians out there, let me say that this is one of the most important parts of playing with other people: getting a good sound. Nothing builds confidence in your playing faster than a good sound, and nothing destroys confidence as quickly as a bad one.

Now that I had dialed in my sound, it was time to impress or die trying (which would be quickly be following by my slinking out of the guy's house with my guitar cord dragging between my legs....).

We went through the fast song with the difficult rhythm first. To my amazement, I played it pretty much flawlessly the first time through. In fact, I had to show the bass player (who wrote the song in the first place) how a break in it went. At that point when I started to feel really good about my chances of getting into the band (and really good about my massive cram session in the preceeding days).

We played through the other two songs in like fashion, and the band sounded really tight, especially for three guys who had never seen their guitarist before that morning. We even wrote an original song on the spot, which is a really good sign.

I am too experienced with flaky musicians and the whole garage band thing to expect too much from this, but one thing's for sure: this experience has reminded me of how much fun it is to play music with other people, and I want to do more of it. I enjoy writing and recording music on my iBook, but nothing really compares to the thrill you get when you connect to another living, breathing person on a musical level. It sounds trite, but it can be pretty trancendental. And if not that, it's at least pretty damn cool. You can't ask for much more than that.


Flora and Fauna

Spring is definitely here...and it's been amazing to see the change from winter to spring.
The birds are going crazy and our flowers are blooming!
The peony bush from the previous homeowner JUST started to flower and I am waiting to see if the new bushes I planted have blooms. The azaleas are insane...it looks Hawaii-like around the border of our house! Will post a photo soon!