February 19th, 2007


the ocean's owned by the serpent

satyr, originally uploaded by jcruelty.

Sunshine makes the days go round. Prenaturally good weather this weekend. Every living soul in the 7x7 was out and about. On Saturday I was riding my bike around aimlessly, happy going nowhere in particular, when I spotted my friend Andy in midst a mini-Critical Mass. His posse was on my wavelength and they were headed to the beach. I joined onto the end of the train and we convoyed blissfully through Golden Gate Park. One of Andy's friends had an ipod boombox strapped precariously to his handlebars, and we listened to Biggie Smalls vs Frank Sinatra the whole way out there.

I really enjoy bicycling en masse through the city. You own the streets. It's empowering not to worry about traffic.

Friday night was Dave's birthday. To celebrate, Dav (confusingly also named Dave, but spelled Dav) took his RV party-taxi on the town. Dav and Mia bought the RV after having their baby, so they could still go to Burning Man. Every now and then Dav takes it around town, picking up friends and strangers alike. It's an interesting social exercise to pick up total strangers and drop them from point A to point B, free of charge, while offering them beer.

We drove to the top of Twin Peaks and it was the clearest and warmest I've ever seen up there. In the distance Golden Gate Bridge floated in the darkness, its base obscured. I tried smoking a cigarette but my lighter wouldn't catch, no matter how many times I tried. I thought maybe this was a sign from God not to smoke, but nevertheless bought a new lighter, because I'm not gonna let God push me around.

Today I bought a three cans of spray paint (red, yellow, orange) and a doormat. The tyranny of our boring old doormat will soon be at an end.

There was a barley wine festival going on at the Toronado, so I went over there to have a drink with Mondro & friends. I hung out for a while, but we were packed in like sardines and the place was deafeningly loud. As I got up to say bye to everyone, an enraged, heavily tattooed bartender leapt across the bar, pushed through the crowd and bolted out the door. He shouted as he ran, "SOMEBODY STOP THAT MOTHERFUCKER!!" There was a sudden undercurrent of violence and people rushed out to see what was going on. I headed out and didn't see anything, so I went to unlock my bike. When I looked again these two dudes were absolutely BRAWLING, and they were headed my way like a tidal wave. I ducked for cover, lover not a fighter you see. Luckily they blew back the other way.

When the drama ended I looked in my bag for keys. Nowhere to be found. I double checked all my pockets and zippers. Shit. Feeling a wave of panic begin to rise, I walked back through the bar. People clucked sympathetically when I told them, but nobody had seen a pair of keys. Shit shit. They were nowhere to be seen.

I walked back to my bike, trying to figure out what could have happened. Just then I saw the keys hanging out of my bike lock.

Violence is very distracting.

Have you ever tried to actually write down everything you can remember about a given day? It's impossible. Nevertheless today I wrote down everything that happened this weekend in as much detail as I could muster. I'll probably never read it again but I find it reassuring nonetheless.

I bought an expensive blank journal at Flax, thinking it would get me to write more. But the problem with nice notebooks is you don't want to write just any old nonsense in them, so you end up writing nothing.
The only thing in mine is some song I heard today in Dolores Park. As I wrote it, I imagined I was Octavio Paz.

the ocean's owned by the serpent

(no subject)

On the drive to work today I listened to a couple of mixes I made with Mixmeister Express. I finally got around to researching low-end mix software for Windows. There's not a lot out there & Mixmiester is the best I could come up with.

Of course, it's not like I need to freak the eq's with cubase DSP mods......... or like I even know what that means. I just wanted something that would do rudimentary beat matching and make it easy to chop up songs.

For rock music, an ipod playlist is good enough, but for dance music it just doesn't work. Dance tracks are really long with extended intros and outros, but they aren't made to be listened to from beginning to end. To make a playlist out of those, you really need beatmatching software. Or you could actually buy tons of records and a couple of turntables, but I have no vinyl fetish. It occurred to me though that one thing you miss when you go completely digital is the ability to flip through records looking for ideas. What could go with what. It's just not the same scrolling through your Itunes library.

I made my first two mixes by just picking a random assortment of tunes I like, then sorting them by BPM and splitting it into 'slow' and 'fast'. Slow was mostly rock and hip hop. For this, Mixmeister blows. The 'automatic beatmatching' is a joke and when I heard some of the trainwrecks the software had wrought, I nearly swerved into oncoming traffic. For rock especially you're best off sticking to simple crossfades.

For electronic music though, it works surprisingly well. Also, interestingly I noticed that I had three or four tracks from Get Physical and Perlon back to back, and they matched up *super* well. I guess they had almost the exact same BPM. It made me wonder, is that usually the case with dance music labels? It's pretty common to see mixed compilations of a label's output, like Superlongetivity from Perlon. I used to think it must be crazy hard to find a bunch of tunes from one label that all match up, but now I think it must be easy. It's not like you hear a lot of techno with a 7/4 time signature.

Playing around with Mixmeister last night got me more excited about music than I've been a while. You start to play around with different tunes in your head, imagining what could go into what. Also if you have a lot of new music to listen to, you could make an excerpt mix that has bits of each song.

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  • Current Music
    BPM 120-160, mixed by DJ Amar