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Car Issues

Brakes went almost COMPLETELY out yesterday on my car. Then mysteriously started working again. Freaked me out. Took my car into the shop and they couldn't find anything wrong. They think that maybe some moisture got in the line, and since it was so friggin' HOT yesterday the moisture boiled off and left a gap in the brake lines. Make since, except if moisture can get in and steam back out, wouldn't I be leaking fluid? I've checked and I'm not. And the shop says the people I bought the car from must've done a brake job. They looked almost brand new. At least they didn't charge me anything.


Well, Hello there!

Hmmm. Just read Tempest's(meddevi) post and she mentioned that it seemed like people here on LJ were just doing quick updates lately. I actually check on my LJ friends posts almost everyday, but I've been way to lax with actually posting. I blame Twitter and Facebook. It used to be, I'd come here to do a quick update and wind up typing a novel. You can't really do that on Twitter. But I am going to follow Krysztof's(charmed_art) example and try to actually blog like I used to. I know, I know. No breath holding going on I'm sure. But I still think LJ is the 1st and best of the social media sites. Just have to set aside the time.


Guitar Lessons...

I'm actually thinking of taking guitar lessons. I took about 6 lessons when I first started playing and two more about 5 years later. Everything else I know about guitar is self taught. I always say I know just enough music theory to get me into and out of trouble.

I like the fact that I'm mostly self taught because it's given me a unique sound and perspective, but I'm finding that there's stuff out there I hear that I like but I'm having a hard time figuring out how to do it. I can hear what's being done and how it should go easily enough. I guess I've always had a gift that way. But ergonomically, some things aren't happening the way I want them too. I asked Joshy Goering if he'd be willing to help me out. I've known of him for a long time as the former guitar player for Abney Park. And we actually used to talk quite a bit here on LJ until he got rid of his account. But we became friends when Civita played a show with his current band Xanther. It was actually their CD release party. We bonded over the fact that Civita covered a Tool song.

So yeah, I think I may do the unthinkable and actually learn how to play the instrument I've been playing for 25 years now. What a concept.

Here's Joshy rehearsing for the last Abney Park show. They had him back for the last show so that Nathan(nathan_fhtagn ) could play his other instruments and not loose the guitar sound.



Joshy's Back On A Stage!

I'm looking rather forward to Abney Park's Seattle show coming up on the 9th. Joshy Georing is going to be playing guitar and Nathan(nathan_fhtagn) is going to be playing everything else. Joshy used to be in Abney Park and recorded the "From Dreams Or Angels" album along with Rachel(theblackdeer). He is one of the best guitar players I've ever heard! Civita did a gig with his band Xanther awhile back and we bonded over Civita's Tool cover. I can't wait to see him play!


Here is Laura aka Tempest(meddevi) performing to two of the songs we in The Nathaniel Johnstone Band have made. Paul Mercer from The Ghosts Project and The Changelings plays some violin on the 1st song. I love watching all my dancer friends performing to our music. I feel honored that they like it enough to want to work with the songs. All of you wonderful dancers out there that have worked with us, you know who you are, I love you all! Thanks for making our music that much more beautiful!

Ok everybody, Off to work on new tunes actually. I hope you enjoy the music and Tempest's performance!

My Weekends

Man, I'm feeling so satisfied/tired. Had a couple of great weekends and now I'm looking forward to some down time. What made them so great? Why great friends and great music of course! Here's the lowdown.

Started out by driving from Tacoma to San Francisco with Nathaniel Johnstone(nathan_fhtagn) to play a show down there. I like road trips so I was excited. Plus we stopped off in Eugene Or. to pick up our friend Ann(rhiannon76) who just moved from Indiana. She's a fantastic belly dancer and she performed with us. Nathan and I got to check out her new place, which is quirky and neat, and we got to catch up a bit. I hadn't seen Ann since I dropped her off at the airport like at least a year ago maybe? She's a really cool person. So easy to hang out with and talk to. Which is good since we were stuck in a van together for miles upon miles.

The drive couldn't have been better until we crossed the Oregon/California boarder. Then we got hailed on in biblical proportions. I mean holy CRAP! I was afraid it was going to smash our windshield in! The road got slick with it and several vehicles had slid off the road. It cleared up after a bit but when we reached the Bay area, it was back! violent hail, wind, lightning, thunder. It was total wrath of God type weather. I was so happy when we reached our destination.

Our destination was a really cool house on the Oakland/Berkley boarder where Nathan's girlfriend and her roommates live. They're all a bunch of scientists so it was fun to break out my rather rudimentary micro-biology knowledge. I hung out for a bit then went back out into the storm to pick up Mel(instantkarmma), Libby(carpe_jugulum), and Jes who flew down. Had no problem picking them up, but lost the van for a bit in the rat maze that is the SFO airport parking garage. But we found it and went back to the house du science. They were so awesome there! They had this meal of from scratch homemade mac n cheese waiting for us. Along with wine and great conversations. Perfect way to end a 12 hour road trip.

Jes and Nathan stayed there but I drove Mel, Ann, Libby and myself over to our friends Molly and Jason's place where we were staying. Molly is also a transplant from Indiana living in the Bay area now. She is also an amazing belly dancer and she performed with us. She's performed with us before actually. Twice in fact. At Maker Faire in San Mateo two years in a row. Our friend Jenni(crowgrl13) shot video of her at Maker Faire, so you can see what she does (here)Collapse )

So Libby, Mel, Ann and I were all crashing out at Molly and Jason's place which used to be a warehouse. For grain if I remember right. It is the coolest place! It's two levels, All open space with monster high ceilings and plenty of room for anyone with an artistic bent. Molly has all of her sowing stuff down stairs and the bedroom and dance studio is upstairs. It's hard to describe how cool the place is so I'm not going to try at the moment. But I loved it there. Very warm hosts. Here's a picture of us rehearsing before the show so you get an idea of the upstairs studio.

So the next day we head back to pick up Nathan and Jes and are greeted by a gourmet breakfast! Homemade waffles, omlettes, roasted potatoes, bacon...the works! One of the roommates, Joey, loves to cook and is of chef quality. He says he won't buy food at the store unless it speaks to him on some spiritual level. That's how serious he is about it. OMG it was SOOO good!

After sitting around digesting for a while we went to the venue. It was in a somewhat sketchy part of town, but the actual place was beautiful. And the staff were very accommodating. We unloaded the gear and got to hang out with Nathan's old college buddy Matt and his wife Lindsay. I really like those two. I'd like to just go down there and hang out sometime with them when nothing's going on. Just to chill. Matt is an artist and did the cover of our live album Live At The Columbia City Theater. He's a talented guy for sure. Erica Mulkey aka unwoman was performing as well so I FINALLY got to talk to her in person as opposed to various online mediums. She's one of those people that I kind of knew from online, and am a huge fan of, but I'd never had the chance to meet in person. She's 8.72 times more awesome in person! I love that girl. So talented and so sweet! I was impressed with her because she was getting over the flu but she still sang wonderfully! She uses a headset mic so she can play her cello and sing at the same time, so it was interesting to hear her sing these beautiful songs and then hack her lungs out right after. She owned it!

But I'm jumping the gun! Before Erica went on, they had a swing dance class. I went through the class and danced with a lot of people. It was pretty fun but I think I learned more from Alyssa, Nathan's girl than I did from the instructor. She's been doing it for awhile. At the end of the night the instructor guy was dancing with this woman and tripped over his own feet. Landed on his ass and broke a glass. Oh, the irony! LOL!

So yeah, after the dance class Erica performed and she was amazing. Then we performed. I don't remember what we called ourselves that night. We're always Nathaniel Johnstone and the blah blah blah. It changes every show. I forget what we were this time. I think we played great! One of my great joys in life is listening to my wife Mel sing. She is beyond talented. She can sing in many styles and genres and even languages. Anyone that has never seen Civita or The Nathaniel Johnstone band play is missing a treat. Oh, and the rest of us instrument players ain't too bad either. The real highlight for me though was watching the lovely dancers of Standfire Collective along with Ann Shaffer perform with us! Standfire Collective is what Molly's doing now with our friend Predislava(Slava) and as I understand it, a rotating band of dancers. I don't know if anyone got video of the show(I hope so,) but here's more Maker Faire video of Molly(green hair) and Slava(long red hair) doing their thanng while we do our thannng (here.)Collapse ) After our set this girl came up and asked me to tab out one of the basslines to one of the songs we did. She said she plays as well. I had danced with her a few times earlier in the night. I just grabbed a piece of paper and scribbled it out for her and thought nothing of it. Mel had to tell me I was being hit on. She found it endlessly amusing. I'm usually oblivious to that kind of thing.

After the show the next morning we all went out to breakfast in San Francisco at this cool little hole in the wall that I can't even remember the name of. A friend of Libby's and Molly's suggested we meet up there. Had the best chicken and waffles of my life! ZOMG! Soooo good. They put maybe just a touch too much cheese on it but otherwise, YUM! All the performers and various other friends showed up for that. Including Jill Tracy! She's one of my favorite people. Just a really classy lady and an wonderful performer. You can check Jill out hereCollapse ) I took Mel, Libby and Jes to the airport after hanging with Jill and everyone for a bit more and when I got back into town from that, I met up with Nathan, Alyssa, Molly, Jason and Jill in the Haight / Ashbury district. We went shopping in all the cool stores in the area and basically got to hang out as friends. As opposed to friends getting ready for a show. I'm always grateful for those chances to connect with other performers that I love and respect so much. It can sometimes be hard in a show environment where we have to be "on" the whole time. But I realize how incredibly lucky I am to have the life I have and the people I have in it. I don't take it for granted because who knows when something might change?

So after shopping Ann, Molly, Jason and I were getting ready to go back to home. But I was in such a hurry to get back to everybody after I dropped the guys off at the airport that I just parked and ran down the hill to the Haight. I knew what street I parked the van on, and remember the general direction, but wasn't quite sure EXACTLY where I parked it. We'd done A LOT of walking around while shopping and I don't know San Francisco THAT well. So we climbed up and down those famous San Francisco hills while looking for my van, and to be quite honest, it was rather fun! Ann got some cool pictures of the local architecture and views and it was a really nice day out. It's been quite a few days in a row of rain here at home so it was nice to be outside. And it didn't really take very long to find the van. I have a good sense of direction and had a pretty good idea where to go.

Once we found the van and got back to Jason and Molly's we were pretty wiped out. Nathan and Alyssa wanted us to make the drive out to there place to order pizza, but it was like a 20min drive and we also thought they might want some down time for themselves. So we stayed in and ordered Thai food. It was pretty good too! No where near as good as the Asian food you can get in the Seattle area. I haven't found anything to compare in the U.S. Kind of like you can only get good Mexican food in Mexico, California or Texas. But it was quite tasty. Then we went up to the dance studio and threw pillows and blankets on the floor to watch movies projected on the huge wall. Got a nice buzz off of home made mead as well. It was delicious! Not as sickeningly sweet as the store bought stuff. A lot drier. We watched "American Werewolf In London." I'd never seen it and everyone thought that needed to be rectified. I loved it. But I love 'B' movies anyway. The acting and dialog was awesomely late '70's. That was the perfect way to end the trip.

The next morning Ann and I drove out to pick up Nathan. We packed up the gear and dropped Alyssa off at her laboratory so she could do her mad experiments. Then we drove Ann back to Eugene and finally stopped back at my house in Tacoma. It was just a fantastic weekend.

I was debating writing about the two shows we did out in New Hampshire just this last weekend, but I'll do that in another post I think. It's 5:30am. should probably sleep sometime.
I was feeling nostalgic earlier and was listening to some My Scarlet Life. Great Chicago band that broke up in the '90s. They shaped a lot of what I do with music. When I first started switching over to bass from guitar, I learned pretty much every Sky Cries Mary song, since their bass player was my teacher. And then I learned almost every My Scarlet Life song because I just effing LOVED the music. Here's some of both. The SCM one is a good example of what I tend to do on bass. Which is play very melodically. You can thank Juano for that.


Here's My Scarlet Life. Three songs from three different shows. Let me know what you think of them!

R.I.P. Mike Starr

Mike Starr's dead

Stay off the smack kids, that's all I have to say. R.I.P. Mike. No matter what, you were a fantastic bass player.

Evil Stig

I never knew about this film. I got into the Gits because of Kurt Cobain believe it or not. I was hanging out at the bus stop by the Daily Olympian newspaper and the old Olympia community center, which was by Kurt's place at the time I think. Or maybe he'd moved by then, I don't remember. But I saw him on the street and he filled me in on them. I fell in love with their shows. Back then everybody still went to live shows. Not uncommon to just walk into a place and hope a good band was playing. So I checked out the Gits and started going to all their shows. I Met Mia Zapata maybe 4 or 5 times at shows. Really cool, friendly, down to earth chick. Still makes me sad to think of how she was killed. Anyway I went to the fundraiser concert the Gits did with Joan Jett and I can spot myself in the crowd. This was at the RCKNDY and I was in my usual spot in that venue. Right up front center stage where a hole in the stage gave me a hand hold and people couldn't push me from up front. I was right in front of Joan Jett's mic. I can still remember her perfume.

Viva Zapata!

Maker Space

If there's anyone out there that needs space for projects, I'd like to suggest my friend Willow's place on 1st Hill. It's called Jigsaw Renaissance. Maker spaces are popping up in cities all over the country and Willow is the director of the biggest one in Seattle.

The space is for anyone that needs room for projects. Live in a tiny appartment and have knitting yarn all over the place? Or solder and circuit boards? Or art and painting supplies? Just move it all to a maker space and you can have your living space back. That's the idea. Get your science experiments started or your inventions built with out keeping your house mates up at all hours of the night. You get the idea. Plus Willow is just too adorable. Here she is explaining the place.