Thursday, November 29, 2007

Carol This Yo!

I feel festive. The following are responsible:

Christmas tree lights, all yummy cheeses, being around my family, snow, cinnamon rolls (the ones my mom makes!), Karli, Bing Crosby, hot chocolate (with cinnamon & nutmeg ), Charlie Brown, O Come, O Come, Immanuel.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


This is the car that I've kinda been wanting since its make. YUM. It's the young professional car. It's trendy, signifies some sort of good income, fresh and actually has enough room in the back that means room for friends not just for yourself like other sporty cars. The grill slays me, especially with the little red trim! Nice gas mileage, its German which = great design! I'm not really a car guy in the macho sense 'hey there pal (3 pats on the back embrace, each pat for each word 'i'm not gay') whats under the hood?', i can't tell you years, or how everything is suppose to work, i like things that look tight and clean, kinda like the whole Apple branding of all their marketing stuff, clean, great use of negative space, bold, like that. I think a nice white Apple sticker in the back window would look super cool too. So aside from the macho car, this is kinda geek-chic, ( i push up my glasses and fondly brush my Mac with tender affection ). One day: white VW GTi & white high tops. I'll start with the kicks :D

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Justin Yang: High School Hero

This morning while slathering strawberry jam on a piece of freshly made sourdough bread (momma's cookin' yo!) i get a text message from my friend eric inviting me for grub with the rest of the indian crew in my old town Berrien Spring. He ends with the information that the legend Justin Yang is in town! Now i share the importance of this name Justin Yang:

Sophomore or Junior year in high school I learn 2 chords on the guitar, Em and G maj.
Justin is the school association pastor and leads worship for chapel time, he finds out that i'm starting guitar and right before he starts chapel asks me to get up on the stage with him on my guitar. I try everything to resist, i explain i only know a couple of chords, that i picked up the guitar to learn smashing pumpkins songs, but it all proved futile, i don't think anyone can say no to his smile, this kid beamed all day, his joy of being in God was his spring of life and was very contagious to those around him. So after many verbal and physical tugs i get on the stage, out of the corner of his eye he says ' just follow me, you'll be fine '. 4 songs later i've butchered every song, i sit back in the school body and Justin comes down to sit by me "Tommy! that was great! you have to play again tomorrow!" In my mind i'm like "did you hear anything i did?" but something about his excitement said that he believed in me more then i did in myself. The following weeks and months, there i was behind Justin Yang learning guitar from worship songs and i begin to understand guitar so quickly that i think something of it. If i was going no where trying to learn smashing pumpkins and now was quickly learning guitar because of praise songs, then God must be more real then i've ever thought.

The next year i took the role of school association pastor and tried to fill his shoes. I would refer to his passion for God in our school as a tangible and personal friend, I learned from him that our First Love was also our Best Friend. Tonight after 8 yrs, i see him again. I think i'm about to cry. :D

Justin Yang is the reason i play guitar, why i'm a minister of reconciliation through music, the reason that fueled my ears to hear Gods calling in my life. I would serve anywhere with him.

Isaiah 6:8 "here i am send me"

That verse has been my inspiration and has been revealed very personally through the way my friend Justin Yang has lived his life. I pray to be the same.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Fresh Collective!

I had the joy tonight of writing music with 3 other people that i don't usually write anything with! It was wild, understanding how people process, create, contribute to a collective, it was a completely fresh experience for me. Its also nice because generally i write a bunch very consistently, but as of late (1.5 weeks) I haven't written much just a song or 2, which for the first time was a relief in a way. Usually i get kinda worried when i don't write a new song every certain amount of days, but to write something new with 3 new people was SWEET! My good friend Tyler played mandolin and sang background, Vanja sang harmonies and played flute, Jay played guitar and sang background and i sang lead and did standard chords. It happened very quickly, the words the progressions, and Jay took the chorus and brought it out of major key it was in and minored it and maybe even changed the key? AMAZING! Tomorrow i hear the bridge that he is suppose to write for it! At one part we are all singing and throwing in another instrument here and there till the verse was pumpin'! Yummy Yum Yum! Its so nice.

Whatever you do, i encourage to experience it with someone else who is in the same vein but does it differently, a lovely time!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tin-Tin! Returns!

I'm so excited! A recent exploring through amazon to appease christmas wish lists brought me to Tin-Tin! Amazing comic turned into cartoon and now in 3 box sets for the first 3 seasons! woot woot! They were written in French and have this proper 2o's espionage/mystery adventures! It is now on my christmas list, yes i have a list, yes i'm 25. :D Can't take the boy out of the man yo! investigate this and enjoy, oh and on amazon right now the first episode is down loadable for free! Check it!

Drawings as of Late

Loverly Shoes in a Row, 'short ones, fat ones, some as big
as your head!'

My future white high tops! woot woot! I HOPE

One of my new graffiti beginnings for 'NO THEFT'

Winter Beard Update

My beard oath ended 2 nights ago in spokane after our show with seven years absence.
The boys were all in full beard glory, and it made feeling gross worth it seeing our joint effort so pleasing. Nick said 'tommy if you keep it growing till the next time i see you at the end of january i'll pay for you haircut and a hot towel shave'. I've always wanted to have one of those old school shaves (very manly) i now struggle with the commitment of waiting till then. I haven't made up my mind, but my goodness i feel ugly. I thought i would only keep it to give my mum a little scare when she saw me at the airport (maybe for once i'll embarrass her! thats for you mom if you are reading this :D ).

I heard that Zac Fairbanks had withdrawals of lack of beard after he shaved his and is in the process of regaining the jaw territory on his face. Karli made a better word coupling then withdrawals, i forget. I'm not sure if i'll have that or not. All i can think of right now is getting this grotesque presence off my face. Oh and the Jesus and Moses comments coming to a halt will be nice too.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Musical Differences

In listening to music there are certain elements that i've regarded as a 'no no' when it comes to writing a piece. A lot of these are heard and replicated into other artists music writing therefore enforcing its stay in the years to come of music. These elements in my opinion can never be overlooked or allowable because it fits for a certain song, to me these are always annoying and certainly gross. I commence:

In a lot of pop vocals when a word at an end of a phrase ends with the vowel sound of 'A' or 'E' and is bent in and out of vowels ex. The song ends with the word 'day', so the artist says 'day-Eee-Aye-Eee-Aye. It's gross and if you have enough time to trail off with the A & E twang then be a bit more creative and throw in some more content.

Melody lines that follow a scale note for note up and down. This is usually identified in a lot of pop vocals as well during verses. A pop song is created to get you to the chorus with no effort on the melody of a verse. Okay I recant on this, the only acceptable melody line following a scale note for note would be found in Elliott Smiths' "Everything means nothing to me", I don't know how he did it, but the minor scale note for note is so haunting and lovely, i just broke my rule of overlooked or allowable. Also when coming to an end of a lyrical line and instead of ending on the same note going down and back up on the scale back to the note, its TOO extra.

Referencing. My goodness the pain is great. Any reference to MTV in lyrics, any reference to other known famous people, any reference to current popular people. These are always gross, it removes the any possibility to timelessness, and where these elements of references are found usually will also state that it is a pop or rap sound. It also states in its recognition that somehow MTV is the pinnacle of the music world that somehow its a standard for greatness when really MTV has soured to an old age of soap opera material feeding the younger and younger adolescents because of guaranteed profit. YUCK.

Pauses. Too much of them that is. I'm all for a dynamic halt or surprise, but repeated to much in a song kills the motion of a song.

Popular phrases. These are recycled so much through the mainstream lyrics. In the 90's the most overused would have to be 'breathe in, breathe out' i lost count of how many artists used those words.

Standard chord progressions. A lot of mainstream recycles these. Taking a Key and using only the chords standard to it, no accidentals just strict key chords and especially in choruses. like the Key of C, the progression would be: Am, F, C, G. It is so overused that as soon as i hear it i turn the song, if the song is relying on such an elementary progression without spicing it up with counter melodies or accidentals i rarely will want anything to do with the song.

Length of time. Oh give me a song longer then 3 minutes! Sometimes there isn't enough time to share what your saying in 3 minutes. The other extremes are the lengthy undigestible overtures that have no unity as a whole. If it doesn't die in the middle of a lull and doesn't have abrupt changes that don't go anywhere. If you are going to sing me a song for 15 minutes or more it better be a great journey.

Predictability. This is more song structure then anything, but as a whole effects the song and most of the time defines the genre. Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus, Chorus, Chorus. This is mainstream to a T. Its a copy of a copy that has been cloned out long ago. Pop, Rock, Rap, Hip-hop, Country, Techno, as a majority subscribe to this predictability of song structure. It's wearysome how all mainstream music is created to earn a buck. From vocals, to musical content, chord progression, length in time. I guess my beef is how involved music industry is with the creative process of a musician. There isn't much support for supporting an artist in their musical direction.

I guess that is about it for now. I think i come across quite snobby in this, i just feel like these elements have contributed to the overall decay of music and its always lovely to see music/musicians stepping past this. for ex: The Strokes, Black Rebel Mororcycle Club, Arcade Fire, Steven Delopoulos, Karli Fairbanks

Friday, November 2, 2007

Joshua Price: Kid Hero

Growing up there were kids you looked up to. They sometimes were way older then you or just a couple of years. As I've gotten older 2 things have happened, I've always remembered the pivotal kid of cool and secondly that I look up to kids younger then me too.

So here's
Joshua Price.

First off we all called him Josh.

Josh was held down one grade for some reason and this made me connect to him as this cool guy that was normal like me cuz i got held down a grade in 3rd grade for not knowing enough english (i had recently moved to the states from France and had struggled with much grammar/spelling/pron
unciation of the English language).

Josh could do any sport flawlessly, and especially basketball, by 7th-8th grade he could grab the rim and then slam a basketball (i was happy to grab the net) Josh could throw the meanest ball during 'knock down the pins' basically a dodge ball game that had 2 sides with 2 pins on either side of the court to be knocked down.

Josh showed us that Air Jordans were the shoes to wear, we were all Chicago Bulls fans, and he didn't show us by telling us, we just revered him and what Josh wore made it cool to wear. I fondly remember walking out of school one day next to him and he had his old Jordans tied together over his shoulders (because he had just got the new ones )and asked if i wanted them. I was shocked that he would choose me to pass them down to, i smiled my acceptance and wore the 10.5 size shoe on my size 7 feet for the rest of the school year.

Josh showed us that talking to girls was actually cool, but not to go all flirty on them, but to treat them like a friend, like he would treat one of us.

Josh showed us that our hair could be long or buzzed short and still be cool. I quickly wanted the shaved head with a little more growth on top like he did.

Josh Showed me that when you order hamburgers from a fast food chain that you can eat more then one burger, Josh's mom in the front seat 'josh how many burgers do you want?' "i'll take two" Josh's mom "how many will you have tommy?" "i'll take two as well". Josh showed us the importance of doing homework and fun, he had to work for his grades but he always did his homework when it came to it.

Josh passed onto us cool phrases and fart sounds, he past down us good 'melon peels' (thats when you palm someones head and pull up like the opposite of the egg melting on your knee trick done with your collected fingers spreading to your palm).

Josh had 2 older brothers who were cool too, but Josh would still go to church even if they didn't.

Josh showed us it was cool to talk to our teachers, to treat them like our friends.

Josh showed us compassion in the way he talked to our friend who was crippled fr
om a nasty accident when she was in first grade.

Josh was always ready for something next, ready to move.

Josh is still my hero.

(These are the Air Jordans that Josh gave to me, a little
less spiffy and new as these, but more valuable!)

VERNACULAR:Hip Today, Mass Tomorrow

What the kids are sayin' in the high school generation is always changing and sometimes building off the old, so in the past 2 weeks when i've been around the teens i've heard this latest in terms, keep it fresh with these new spits!

Caking: This came from ohio, it means to flirt with someone. When asked on the origin and how cake became the subject of the phrase no one knew, it just had been around. Ex: "Yeah, she's totally caking" (She's obviously flirting with someone)

Scratch: This came from the Monterey Bay kids, but its not pronounced like 'scratch' you phonetically pronounce it like this "Skee-Ratch". You say it when someone messes up on something (probably coined to a broader spectrum/built off the billiards scene) oh and you say scratch with an elevated voice sometimes holding out the 'skee' with an increasing pitch before descending into the 'ratch' part. It is a term said usually in a public place so everyone can observe the foul up of the poor patron.

Soddy: This word has hand motions when verbally applying the term. You poise your hand like you would when you say something is okay, except you use your middle finger to your thumb instead of the pointer and rub them together while saying soddy. The word means that something is sketchy even skeezy at times with a hint of being under par. The word is pronounced 'Saw-Dee' and has equal length in pronunciation and is sometimes accompanied by the word 'balls' not sure if this is reference to the male genitalia but for some reason i'm pretty sure it is.

The Skinny:This is actually an oldy but i like using it. It means the latest news or lowdown on whats going on Ex: "Here's the skinny gents, we need to...." I learned this from old black and white films with Fed Astaire and other kids of the 30's-40's.

Thats all for now cool kids, if you have any new ones that should be mentioned do share, i love words! woot woot!