Sunday, September 17, 2006

Goleta Home

That is home, from the back yard looking forward.

Today was a rather perfect way to welcome us to our new Goleta Home. After Christine took her test in LA, which went well we traveled up to SB/Goleta. Ok, side note... In LA I spent the AM getting my drivers liscence (I am now CA) and I was witness to, a rolling blackout and a fire hydrantthat had a car driven over it! Ok, back on track. We drove up the coast, Highway 1 again and it was gorgeous. We got here, moved in our stuff and the following day we emptied our storage unit. Then it was time to replace everyhing that I had gotten rid of in Boston a year ago. We began to find some free stuff and bought some other stuff. We are now in the process of selling free stuff in order to pay for stuff we bought. It probably won't work out even, but it is close. I now am the proud owner of 2 bikes! A mountain bike (which I bought) and a beach cruiser (which I found in the garbage).

Today, after stepping outside, I found a sword stuck in a tree and then I looked up in the sky and that was when things got strange. The sun was this really strange orange, don't get me wrong I love orange, but this was wierd. So I thought, ah maybe it is overcast or something. An hour later when we got out of the car on our way to the farmers market (I love being able to purchase all mater of peppers!) I noticed the ash floating around everywhere, "ah, forest fire". Well with that mystery explained, here are some pics. (Props to Christine for some good shots. I was busy setting up my studio).

The other interesting adventure that craigslist brought our way was an estate sale. Now I have been to many "estate sales" where only a pile of junk is on sale, that was not the case here, everything was on sale and it was great stuff. Problem was I neglected to bring $5500 for the antique Castilian Chairs or $300 for the japanesse drum. It was a great adventure and we got some fabulous plants for dirt cheap (pun intended). Here they are on the porch.

Finally, the style has been selected and it is all about minimalism; simplicity of form, color and lack of clutter. It is so amazing to have storage. While this is not yet complete, we are on our way. Here are some shots, I am especially fond of the bamboo rug in the bathroom.

The studio

Note the wall of masks in the living room and how every piece of wood is painted brown. It is actually growing on me.

Here are some shots of the sumset in Arizona on our last night there. The imagery sums up how spectacular this unanticipated sidetrip was. We enjoyed AZ to the fullest; good people, sun, relaxation and studying.

I really was on to something with LovelyWeather.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Arizona Artists

I had the great pleasure of having dinner last night with Arizona based sound artist Richard Lermand and visual artist Mona Higuchi. I encountered their work while I was in Alaska and was researching the displacement of the Aleut people during WWII. It is your typical US government mistreatement of people. I found an installation that they had created on the topic and went on to research some of their other work. I was toying with idea of a piece (and still am) on this tragedy and contacted them to learn more about where they had found information and to congratulate them a great piece. We have stayed in contact over the months, as it turns out Mona has a connection Santa Barbara. So when I got to Phoenix I dropped them a line and we were able to find some time last night. We had a spectacular Korean meal, I got a tour of ASU Wests digital media center and Richard and I discover that we are both natives of .... you guessed it Milwaukee!

During the course of our discussion they each posed a question that I have been thinking about since the drive home last night. Mona asked, "Are you going to tour Europe with and ensemble or by yourself?" Which lead to a discussion of my future as a composer. I was unable to articulate it then, but have since realized, that I would love to work with an ensemble, but I have always imagined my ensemble or collaborative artists for that matter, to be scattered across the planet and like a rain cloud, we got together when we are in the same local. That is a component of the LovelyWeather analogy. Certainly Glass and Reich have show that one can have a dedicated ensemble and that is interesting to me, but not on the scale that they have gone to.

Richard's question was more of an observation. In talking about writing a piece of music I related to him that I like to work very closely with the performer to create something that is a product of out collaboration. Richard pointed out that what I said is an interesting extension of the self. I have been thinking about that and have begun to imagine that a composition is not mine alone, rather it is, a it's best, the combined ideas and expressions of the composer and the performer, as well as the social context that it is received into (the audience). In many regards it is as if the composition/music is a separate entity that no one party can control or lay claim to. Collaboration is more than it appears to be.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Great Quote

I found this on my lunch break today
I find that collaboration ultimately strengthens any project to the point where you begin to realize new angles and approaches with the work that you would have never discovered if you were working alone.
Good Read

Jonah's Blog

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Amphi Hoodie

this is an audio post - click to play

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Journey to CA :: Portion 2

And of course, we awoke, and it was really beautiful. We were pretty enamored of the above tree that rotted out, it really has graceful lines and beautiful texture. So we ate some grub and got in the car and away we go! In the first little town we rolled through, there was an organic coffee/ espresso stand... so we had to stop. There, on the side of the road in the morning sun we had coffee. It was one of those moments where you take stock in your life and what a cool planet you have ended up on (at-least I do!).

After following 101 a little further we decided to opt for highway 1. It is supposed to take longer, but hey, why not? Well... it is one of those roads where you can go no faster than 25mph because the turns and inclines are so severe. (Oh and there were random bicycles!) But it was worth it, no traffic and spectacular, I mean spectacular scenery. After wandering up some mountains we finally emerged upon the coast again, and it was spectacular. The very northern part of CA is not as populated and the vistas benefit from that. We finally stopped in a small Victorian town/artist community. Here we spent some time in galleries and poked around a bit, it was an interesting place. Here are some pics...

I really liked the "church steeple"

From here the road twisted down and through Carmel and Big Sur, where we traced the route of Christine's upcoming marathon. This area is really different in that it feels like it is on a different scale, one where you the human are small!! I am not sure that words or images can convey how striking it is, even if 1/2 the road gives way and slides 500 feet down to the ocean.

We even saw a peacock wandering around.

My favorite image was that of road construction along the way. This tunnel that they created really reminded me Jean Claude and Christo.

At this point it occurs to me that I neglected to inform you that this is all south of San Francisco, which is about the point where we stopped and slept, so what if my mind is jumping back and forth between two days! Here is the illustrious $5 bridge.

The night that we spent south of San Fran I encountered one of the coolest things ever... BANANA SLUGS. They were everywhere and I spent 2 cups of coffee worth of time hanging with them. They are so amazing.

At this point, the coast line began to flatten out and we eventually ended up in Santa Barbara. All in all it took 4 days of driving. In Santa Barbara, we discovered that all of the beach campsites were full, so we had to drive up into the mountains, not an easy task with and overloaded not so powerful car.

The next day began the trial though, finding a place to live. Now, we have previously shown up in, Anchorage and Seattle and found a good place to live in one day. Santa Barbara, is one of the biggest challenges that I have encountered yet. Christine and I spent the morning driving around and looking for posted vacancies and then went to cafe and called some places and looked on Craigs List, the University listing and the newspaper. It was not looking good. Finally I began to wonder if anything (well anything under $1500/studio that didn't require a car to drive a 1/2 hour) was going to turn up. Christine began to get very concerned. I called the student housing office to see if there was anything that I had overlooked and spent a good deal of time on the phone learning that I was on page 12 of the waitlist and that nothing was likely to happen for a year. Then it happened. The guy that I had spoke with on the phone emailed me and wanted me to update my status, to which I immediatley replied that yes I was still interested and would take anything that I could get my hands on. He emailed me back that something had just open and was I interested? Well I emailed back, then phoned and now I am renting a university family housing 2 bedroom with everything included for under a thousand!!!! Oh and it is about as close as you can get to the university and still be in the good part of town. Needless to say we were thrilled! With that taken care of, we decided to put our stuff in storage and head down to San Diego to pick up stuff at TJ's place and then to Arizona to spend a little time with Jim and Char Becker and take them up on the offer to use their vacation home. Oh yeah, we can't move in until the 14th! Here is the new place.

San Diego was a great and now we are down in Arizona getting back to work on the whole preparation for tests bit.

Here are a few final CA images.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Real Time Tim

Hanging with Tim and the quote of the day so far is Tim saying

Don't throw your books out the window

People sure are strange round these parts

Friday, September 01, 2006

Journey To CA :: Section 1

The trip began in Seattle and the end was to be Santa Barbara. We took I5 down to Oregon and when we got east of Eugene we cut across to the coast. 5 is big dull fast. The entirety of the drive was in the 90's and miserable. When we arrived at the coast it was a cinematic moment there was a bank of fog that hung over the water and the temperature dropped 15 degrees. It was spectacular. Here is the mist.

Along the coast we found a campground and spent the night in a secluded little site. This is the only site where I have ever parked and then walked 15 feet through a little tunnel carved through the trees and shrubs, it felt like being in the jungle. This was on top of the sand that defined the dunes that are a major attraction. It was very interesting to us that everyone had a 4 wheeler or a dune bugy in addition to their RV.

The next day we drove into a small town North Bend where we pulled over and had breakfast at a small diner on the main street. It was named for the older couple that operates it. (I have no idea what their names are, but they both began with J's). Oregon is filled with small ma&pa businesses and you can get the sense that people are here because they take pride in their place and their community. The gentleman at the table next to us was German and was biking from Vancouver to the Baja and flying out of LA. He filled us in on his journey and we had really began to appreciate that dedication as the miles passed and we saw the hills and lack of shoulders that he was going to encounter. The breakfast was sadly bad. They gave me scrambled eggs when I asked for sunny side up and the eggs, both mine and Christines were (to quote Christine) "I don't know what she did, but she took all of the taste out and made them taste like rubber, I have never encountered that." That being said, I would go back, the atmosphere was exceptional. Oh yeah, the little old man who took our order wrote out each word of what we ordered, while his wife cooked in the back and on the menu, down at the bottom, they had a note that there are drumcircles every Monday night at 8PM. Quite an event.

From here we continued on 101 South along the border taking in the Seastacks and observing the fragile ecosystem and its components on the beach when we could no longer convince ourselves to sit in the car. And this we had a hard time staying in the car!

Nature celebrated both the male and female perspectives, well if you are a human and like to project your associations onto rock structures.

We even enountered a place with "Ocean Views" Problem was, the fog did not allow us to actually view the fog. The other funny thing is that we were reading a book that gave highlights about the drive and the book told us that there were views of the ocean if you just turned off the main street from the middle of the town. Well we turned before we found the sign and got lost in residential neighborhoods. We laughed hard when we found the "road sign" and realize the joke that had been played on us by the author of our guide book. There is really something magical in that moment, when you realize that this author communicated something about this place and played a little joke on you and reminded you that your assumptions exist. On top of that, it is communiated to you, in this place that you know they have been to and you have to be at to realize your folly.

From here we drove continued across the border and into the State that is now my new home, California. Our goal now was to encounter Red Woods and gaze at their splendor and marvel at our insignificant stature. We went on a little detour side loop that took us on a spectacular drive through a windy dirt road. The road winds because it literally weaves through a forest. Being a dirt road, all of the trees were covered with a grey dust, it made me recall the dust of 9/11 and I wonder if the trees assign that same sort of horror to this grey dust as we associate with the "sacred" grey dust of NYC?

After the driving tour, we got out and went for a little walk among these majestic trees.

After that we hauled down to the Avenue of the Giants Where we pulled in after dark after having driven through half of this amazing park in the dark. We were now really starting to get into the road trip zone, we cracked open a bottle of wine and toasted to the large trees, made some rice and salmon on the propane stove and enjoyed a spectacular evening under the stars, knowing that we would awake in a place beyond what we could imagine.