dateline : 05.12.1998
garbage, glasses and great wind!
loads of links and pics!

A New Perspective

    It's the subtle things in life that change one's viewpoint. The minor details. The little things. One day last week, while I was out at Vanier Park (flying kites if you must know...or, couldn't guess...), I reached up to adjust my sunglasses, and, they basically came apart in my hands. Now, they had done this before, and, I usually just put them back together. But, the reason they were sliding around in the first place was the ludicrous nose piece/rest/whateveritsreallycalled. I had never liked it, it ALWAYS slides around, and, well, damn it, I had had enough. Right across the street from the geek grotto I call my working home is an optical place, so I popped over, hoping to have them graft a different nose piece onto the frames and maybe tighten them up a bit. Now, I can see without glasses, and, anyways, I have two pairs, the aforementioned photo sensitive sunglasses, and a very clear, lightwieght, indoor pair with no shading at all, so whatever it took, it was not a problem, just fix them, once and for all. Well, no. It's never as easy as it would seem to be. Styles have changed, so, the typical (and I mean 18 years of typical) aviator style that I have always worn is hard to find now. And, they were slightly oversized as well. And, the current frame was also not strong enough to support the lens if we did that. So, it came down to two choices. I could get a whole new pair of glasses, at about $160, or, retrofit the existing lenses into new frames, for $83.00. Heh, being cheap and broke (easy to do at the same time...), I chose the riskier route. Riskier? Well, since the photo sensitive glasses ARE real glass, recutting them into a new frame size and type carries the possibility that the glass will shatter. The reason is that when new lenses are done, they coat the lens, cut to size, and then harden, thus, it's pretty tough to cut down older lenses, but, I figured, what the hell, take a chance, if nothing else, I'll get new lens IF I have to, and, well, if I don't, I save 80 bucks. As I mentioned at the start, aviator style frames seem to be pretty passe these days, thus, a really limited selection, so, I decided to be brave, and go with something else. Easy to say, far harder to do. Why mess with success? Well, why not? Time for a new look! Before and After, you be the judge. It's very odd at this point, as I have become so taken with the new frames that I have started to wear them over my usual indoor glasses, but, it's a wierd transition. One gets used to how ones face looks, and when you change something, things look and act wierd for a while. I glance in a mirror and and sort of stop, "hmmm, what's wrong here" (any remarks from the peanut gallery filed into /dev/null). I motion to push my glasses up further into my nose, and they have a] not moved and b] the nosepiece is in a different location so I poke my forehead...c] the frames sit in a different position within my peripheral vision. Enough whining, I'll adjust!

Out on a limb

   So, spring is like, really here in Vancouver. We had three wonderous weeks of sunshine, and in typical kite geek fashion, I flew as many of those days as I could. Six in a row at one point...So, why the massive overdose of kite flying? Remember to the last journal where I discussed competing in Hawaii and winning? Well, I intend to do the same all summer, and, thus, need work to fly better, more precisely, and less "routine like". In case I did not explain thoroughly enough how one "competes" with a kite, here's a readers digest version. Think of figure skating, and it's interpretation of music, involving some freestyle elements and some "technical" aspects. That's really it in a nutshell, except that I don't have to wear sharp things on my feet, nor do I have to wear some foofy costume. But, the politics are just as stupid at least...Anyways, while I speak of wanting to win, it's not my sole objective. The main point is to have fun, and as long as it remains that way, great. All I hope to do is fly as well as I can fly, and points be damned. Mind you, I do need to try and narrow down the music selection a bit...Currently under consideration for the monkey ballet is :

Any favorites? Mail me with YOUR suggestions, 'k?

   In preparation for this upcoming summer stuff, I decided the time had come to visit "The Queen Of Revolution", Penny. Her and her hubby and a few more pals were slated to be down at Ocean Shores, Washington, for a weekend of flying, and I decided to join them down there. It's not a great haul to get there, but, it's still a five hour drive. I like long drives. I load up the CD player, set the cruise control, and motor away. The peacefulness allows me time to think, uninterrupted by anything, ICQ, Email, cats, whatever, and allows for a certain focus to creep into the labyrinthe that I call my "life" these days. So, think think think think think for 5 hours, it was blissful! Also, on my way down, I did have a quick stop in Seattle to meet a web pal that I hadn't actually crossed paths with previously, and, well, that was postively wonderful as well, although it did cost me about half an hour of time as I got lost in Seattle upon leaving...there were a few reasons for the temporary monkey navigation blank out, but, that is for another time and another muse.

   Where was I? Dang, did it again...ah yes, driving to Ocean Shores. Did I mention that the weather was less than promising in Seattle? It never fails, every time I head to south Washington beaches, it's brutally windy, to the tune of "unflyable", it rains cats and dogs and buckets, and it's cold. So, seeing that it was raining in Seattle, I was somewhat less than hopeful this trip would be any different than any other trip I had ever taken to that area. Thankfully, I was rather pleasantly surprised. I arrived to find "SUN" and "WIND" and nice people as well. How nice was it? Well, lets put it into perspective...I arrived at 2:00PM and flew non stop till 9:30PM when the sun finally died out. It was THAT nice out. The wind was right around 10 miles an hour, which is my perfect "fly zone" where I don't have to expend any energy worrying about keeping the kite aloft, and not too windy so that I am spending large amounts of thought wondering where I will blow away to.

   So, by the time all of this flying crap was over with, I was sore from head to toe. I could barely move. Now, for those of you who are sitting there snickering, "what sort of out of shape monkey are you anyways", thinking thoughts of just how non-energetic kite flying must be, all I say is "try it some day". You spend hours upon hours controlling four lines, precisely with your hands, arms, shoulders and legs (legs being a brace against blowing away, and, well, moving around, it's not a stationary activity...). And, on top of being sore, I was utterly famished as well. I am one of those people that can effectively forget all about eating at times, and, well, the last bit of food that I had eaten was in Seattle for breakfast. So, it was off to find a campground and off to find some food. Food was non-eventful, but, eminently satisfying. And, again, as always, "biscuits and gravy" were on the menu. Let it be known that I am not a big fan of the whole "camping" thing. It always rains when I camp. And, coffee is a hassle. But, finances being poor at the moment, I had no choice, it was camp or nothing. So, I prepared this time...Got some canned ice coffee. Brought stuff to sleep in the car with, thus if it rained, I'd be dry anyways. Prepared right? Those of you who know me well just collectively said "RIGHT" in your head, and, well, you would not be far off...I figured that if I folded down the rear seats of the Supra, there'd be PLENTY of room to get a nice comfy sleep! HAH! BAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAH! As if. Perhaps if I was about six inches shorter. Maybe I should have measured both me and the "proposed" sleeping area first? Perhaps noticed that when the seats fold down, they leave a nasty hump, right around the middle of my back? remembered that I had 8 kites, a large duffle bag, jumper cables, boots, and various other piles of junk in the back of the monkey-mobile? nah, any of that would have required 5 minutes of foresight, something which I have proven that I am somewhat lacking in...So, after waking up feeling about 10 times more sore than when I went to bed, I have adopted the following rules for sleeping arrangements :

  1. If it is not big enough to swing a cat around in, it's probably too small for a comfortable sleep.

  2. If it is too small to even HAVE a cat in there with you, it IS too small and you will rue the day you ever fell asleep in that place.

   So, yeah, I hurt a LOT on sunday morning. never again, hotel next time. Why is it that I have to learn life lessons over and over again? Am I just as stupid as I look? (shut up, I don't wanna hear it...). And, the rest of the day was merely filled with some more flying, albeit somewhat sore flying. The point behind all of this flying, besides the obvious fun of doing so, was to get a fix on where I was in relation to other flyers. I am in a wierd position in Vancouver, I am the only "regular" Rev flyer at the park where I typically fly, which, in turn makes me a bit isolated. There are two sides to this coin...first, I won't end up flying like anyone, I have no other "styles" to absorb and and mimic, I fly like "me". This is a feature. But, on the other hand, I have no feeling for where I sit in regards to other Rev flyers, no idea where my weaknesses are and no clue as to various other methods of "doing things". So, the trip was meant to act as a touchstone with regards to technique. Penny was a woman that I met at World Cup last year, and she floored me at that point with her indoor flying of a Rev 1.5. She was a major supporter of REVisions from day one, and has been a real help in my flying in general, but, I had never managed to escape down south to spend a day flying with her and her husband Steve, and see what her outdoor flying was like. So, that was accomplished, and I have come back back with a few different feelings. I was at least partially humbled, as I was beginning to think I was PRETTY DAMN HOT with a Rev, and, well, hey, I'm not bad, but, I am certainly not at "Masters" level yet. I was very happy, because I now know where I have some weaknesses to be dealt with. I could stop a bit more accurately for starts, and, in particular, stopping at "6:00" usually sends me off to some other direction, quickly, embarassingly so. And, I came back excited, because we managed to get some work on a "team" flying type of arrangement as well. Oh, I came back sore too, but, I whined about that above, so I'll spare you further whining. It was a great trip, I needed that break.

Garbage Day

   The Sophomore Jinx. A term usually applied to bands that are about to release their second album. Now, it doesn't get applied to -all- bands that get to the second album status, it happens specifically to bands that became rather large, rather suddenly. And, the jinx itself refers to that all important second album. Oh, I should also mention that the sophomore jinx can apply on whatever album follows "the big one", ie, if a band puts out 3 albums, the third one making them the biggest thing since the Beatles, then, the next album -after- that is the jinxed one. Okay? We have the terms all straight now? So, let's look at a couple of examples...

    Paula Abdul - Straight Up
    Huge album. Not exactly my cup of tea, but, then again, not the point. The point is the second album pretty much disappeared. As has she.

    The Presidents of The United States of America
    Boffo first album, barely got a single on the second. Broken up.

    The B-52s
    See above, although they seemed to escape utter disappearance with a few good albums later on.

       And, well, really, pick a genre of music, and you'll find endless examples of this type of thing. Undoubtedly, writers probably suffer from the same thing, as do movie producers, and that is a simple inability to meet the challenges of doing it twice. Or, is that really it? I'll comment entirely a music take on this, only because I know wee bits and pieces of how that industry works, although obviously not enough to be rich and famous...

    Anyways. So, your average life cycle of band often goes like this :

    1.    Band gets together
      (trick 1, stay together)

    2.    Band writes songs
      (trick 2, write songs, listenable ones...)

    3.    Band plays first shows
      (tricks 3 + 4, play more shows, impress people)

    And, if all goes well, ta da, maybe a first album is released. So, in many cases, those steps typically take anywhere from 3-10 years for many bands. Some of the steps may different, but, what typically happens is that nowhere near the same process happens when the second album gets done. The songs have had far less time to mature, usually have not been "road tested", and were often rushed a bit, because if that first album was that big, they undoubtedly spent ludicrous amounts of time on the road, not writing new material. Or, on an even more basic note, the writers themselves may have been swayed from their orginal vision simply because they have a lot of people telling them all the time how great they are. Who knows, undoubtedly it is different for every band that falls into that trap.

    That being said, some bands manage to transcend all of this potential pitfalls and either put out albums that are as good, or, even better than their first one. One band comes to mind immediately, The Foo Fighters. Disregarding how much pressure might have been felt by Dave Grohl from his previous life in Nirvana, the 1st album was a fine piece of noisy pop. So, with some trepidation, I picked up the second record, and, voila! Still good. Oooo, and check out their cover of Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street" that was just released. I loved that song as a kid, and thoroughly enjoy their remake of it.

    Which brings us to "Garbage Day". When I first heard Garbage a couple of years ago, I was sort of intrigued by "I'm only happy when it rains", but, not totally bowled over. Neat song, whatever, I'll wait for the second single before picking this up. Second single was even better, so I trundled off to the CD store and got it, and was immediately hooked. I tend towards intricately produced bands, with detail and depth to their music, and, well, Shirley Manson's voice sends shivers down my spine. And, well, the whole point to this is that record was their first one. What would happen for an encore? Could they do it again, or, would they suffer the same traps and release some REAL Garbage...? I got a partial answer last month when I came across an MP3 for the first single, "Push It". And, I fell for it, hook line and sinker. Noisier, more detailed, a million little bleeps and blips scatter through it. Dynamics! We LOVE dynamics in music, and, this tune is full of them, including a gorgeous build to the chorus, whereupon the chorus strides into the song and says very loudly "I am the chorus and you WILL pay attention to me". Whomp, it solidly crashes in, yum, just the way I like it. No mussing around around with some wussy chorus that seems like part of a versus. No slinking around like a chorus is a bad thing. And no apologies for intruding on the bridge. And, today is Garbage Day. May 12th, the release date for Version 2.0 , the name of the new CD. And....did they? Didn't they? Could they? Would they? Should they? Well, I'll give a nutshell review as one can get snippets of all the songs on their spiffy new web site at naturally...It's excellent. No sophomore jinx happening for these guys..if you liked the first album, you'll probably like this one too, it's more adventurous...a bit more techno too.

    Turn The Page

    Various pages have undergone some changes over the last couple of weeks, with the majority of changes happening in the monkey cam page, with the addition of a gallery of previous silliness, and some adjustments to various tech aspects of how it runs. OOOOOO! And a FAQ as well! Also, enough people were having hassles with the java hotstrip menu that I have moved that off the new page for now until I can get a better look at it. Other than that, no new content, past this rather long "A Muse". I also intend to "archive" previous entries, so look for that soon too.

    CDs of the moment :

    Garbage, Version 2.0

    Thomas Dolby, Hyperactive

    The Tubes, Best Of

    Pink Floyd, A Momentary Lapse of Reason

    Book of the moment :

    The Ghatti's Tale, Gayle Greeno

    Web sites of the moment :

    A nifty idea with respect to search engines, it allows for you to register a keyword for your site. Of course, I jumped right in and grabbed monkey-boy. Go try it out...

    Vancouver VR

    Many of my net-pals haven't been to Vancouver before, and, Raymond Kam's excellent Quicktime VR files are a great intro to "what Vancouver looks like". Mind you, Raymond cheated and took all the pictures on nice sunny days...

    Visited on a recommendation, which I'll now trun into a recommendation. Great site, great humor, I pored thru it all, which is exceedingly rare these days...go visit, send her mail saying the monkey-boy sent you and she'll be utterly confused.

    And that's that for now. Upcoming things I'll be doing over the next while include some more Roots Roundup shows, some more kite flying and much contemplation on how I got to the wierd place in my life that I am at right now.

    send some email and tell me how pathetic I am.

    over and out, till next time... Previous "A Muse" Entries so that you can see if there is a pattern besides :

    1.    Prattles on WAY too much about kites
    2.    And music.

    April 18th/1998

    All of last year and some of this year