Hallelujah, It's the Weekend.

Please please please just let time stop for a few minutes tomorrow so I can try to catch up with everyone else in the world.
If I had 15 spare minutes, twenty-four-and-a-quarter hours, but everybody else only got the regular 24, I might be able to feel good.
I could sleep for 15 minutes without hating myself for wasting time, even though I waste more time awake.
If I had those 15 minutes just for myself, I might be able to be nice to people, and enjoy being around them. I hate how exhausting people are.
I'd like to like them, but they wear me out, grind me down to dullness. And then?
Then I write blathering blog posts and feel sorry for myself, and that's too bad. I'll never get anything done, and my tombstone will say

Here lies 
James Elliott Rice
who would have done many things
but just got 
Plumb Tuckered Out


Habakkuk 3

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines,
The produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food,
The flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places.


What's Wrong With...

big industry? It's all about efficiency and profit, about streamlining and sterilizing processes. Big industry is concerned with profitability, not people. Science is great as long as we don't reduce the world to numbers. Science is great when it enhances our knowledge and appreciation of the world around us. Industry is the same way. When it's too big, people are as removed from the process as possible, or at least the personalities of people are. We become organic computers. We are not different because of the fall, we are different because we are designed differently. Our good characteristics are beautiful, and when you streamline our personalities out of the process, you are removing God's design. Maybe?


I'm braintired, I don't want to think. I've thought about this all before, anyway. Can't remember where that got me... Everybody's thought about that before, and it's all been written out better. Why did I bother?

The holy spirit, 1/1 and 1/3 God...
Scraping away culture and perception to get to reality and truth. How can I describe colors to a blind person? I can't even describe colors to the sighted. It is the same when talking about God.


Roasting Coffee

I made my second attempt to roast green coffee beans today. I have nothing but a cast-iron skillet, so I'm trying to pan-roast over propane, which is.... hard. In my first attempt, I pulled the beans too soon, maybe halfway through first crack, because the heat was too high. Beans were either scorched or far under-roasted, which lead to a delicious cup full of charcoal and grass flavors. I kept the heat lower this time. I ran into a little bit of scorching right at the end, and first crack came around 17 minutes in which is a longer roast than (I read) is ideal. Still, I managed to get a relatively nice City color, and I'm looking forward to being able to finish 3/4 of a cup before giving up in disgust, a significant improvement over my first batch's choked-down 1/2 cup.

Tip: Oven thermometers not only measure heat, but retain heat as well. Do not pick up with bare fingers, or you well get the ouch.

Tip: Dogs like coffee. Coffee isn't great for dogs. Try not to let roasting beans fly out of the pan, because dog with eat them beans.

Tip: You should probably just buy your beans in small batches from a local roaster if you care about things like taste.


Wilson at the Taft, Jeni at the Brew, Schuette at the Emery

What a glorious day.
Got up early (Saturday early, i.e. 8:00), ground up my really bad first-batch of pan-roasted coffee, and managed to drink some. I'll do better next time. Read Jonah, my long-standing favorite book o' the Bible. Rolled out to help move a hot tub from one friend's house to another's. Hot tubs are heavy, of course. But now I know for certain. I wore denim on denim, all blue tonal. Even my boots were blue. I can't decide if that's fantastic or not, but the fact that it was unintentional and purely practical absolves me from any judgement. The fact that I have thought about it as much as I have, an decided to write about it probably brings twofold judgement down upon me. ...Then I ate really good food and drank potable coffee at the "another's" house.

The next stop was the Taft Museum with B to hear Michael Wilson, an old friend and mentor (freintor is the word, I believe) talk about his photos, which I love, and Steichen's photos, which I respect but remain largely indifferent to. Michael is a successful, gracious and humble artist with a disarming way of forgetting to finish sentences. Michael also put together a Disfarmer show at the Emery Theater, which I got to see later in the day, and which is really really really swell! I want to be Michael. Artifact from the taft:
We both had some time to kill between engagements and decided to track down a local coffee shop that stocks Jeni's ice cream. It seems strange sometimes to have thoughtful and meaningful conversation without trying. Effortless, comfortable discussion about subjects far deeper than the weather or how-much-your-boss-is-an-idiot still takes me by surprise; it's nice to know people who also want to really talk. Talking, talking, talking, until coffee was gone, ice cream was gone, time was gone. Beethoven's 9th and music friends beckoned her. Oh look, hot air balloons across the river in Eden Park! So I decided to head over there. I saw this sunset on the way (I think pictorialist-era Steichen would have liked cell phone cameras if he'd lived 100 years later):
Turns out it was time for the annual Balluminaria, which is actually a real thing, but the hot air ballons never leave the ground... they just look pretty, reflected in Mirror Lake. The internet told me that Santa also visits Eden Park, so bring the whole family. What's the point of a hot air balloon if it doesn't fly? DUMB.Final event for the night was CCM DMA candidate Paul Schuette's installations and performances at the Emery Theater. Most of what was going on exists on another level of experience and intellect that I can't tap into, but I can sure enjoy his work on a purely visceral level. I swiped my old debit card in a tangle of wires and speakers just inside the front doors, and all sorts of beeps and other noises happened. Somebody speaking Korean and laughing tried her library card, which made far better noises, and we both smiled a lot about that. Then I drank some really good wine. In another room speakers and stuff dangled from the ceiling, producing noises I believe were related to the motor that slowly spun the piece back and forth. Mobiles and installations were scattered throughout the theater, including backstage. There was a map to find them. There was a jar full of pink jelly beans, but that wasn't on the map. I drank more really good wine. Here's a man enjoying one of the more interactive mobiles very much:
After a while, we all sat down. Schuette's opening statements included a remark that they "don't give a damn about Ohio state law [at the Emery]; there are no exits. In the case of emergency, we will all stay here and burn alive." Then he sat down at a computer on stage as a tuba joined him, and from there on out it was just great electronically-augmented acoustic noises and Schuette's light-hearted explanations for 1.5 hours. Highlight of the night: A set of five etudes Schuette composed for oscillators of his own design. Four musicians controlled a total of 16 oscillators, each musicians' square-wave noises routed through a speaker at one of the four corners of the audience. It was explained beforehand that the etude form was chosen to convince both the audience and the composer that the oscillators are legitimate instruments, to put them through their paces. The etudes progressed, at first chaotic noise, unconvincingly musical and disorderly, but by the fifth etude all four musician's eight hands controlled the sixteen oscillators precisely and beautifully in a tightly rhythmic, toothy, rumble-bass and squiggly-treble glorysplosion. There were also some improv pieces. Here's Erica Dicker improvising on a prepared baritone violin being modified in real-time by Schuette at the laptop. Her violent motion starkly contrasted his emotionless, rigid form at the computer, both intellects churning away inside. The digital processing we hear in music all day long––but never see––was suddenly revealed as part of the performance. It was really dark; I couldn't tell my "detail" of the violin looks like butt cheeks. What a glorious day.


Shelter from the Cold and Wet

It was a windy, wet, and cold October 31st, so killing time and taking photos led me under a bridge by NKU. Rocks, water, and light were all hanging out down there. Yesterday was just lovely, after all.
Picked up a bunch of books at The Open Door, including some by Zacharius, Tozer, Schaeffer, and Piper. Pretty excited about that, and here's a word from Tozer's preface to The Devine Conquest/The Pursuit of Man that ties in with my last Donne post:
If the reader should discover here anything really new he is in conscience bound to reject it, for whatever in religion is new is by the same token false.
God is eternal and unchanging.


John Donne Longs for the Real Church

Holy Sonnet XVIII

Show me, dear Christ, Thy spouse, so bright and clear.
What, is it she which on the other shore
Goes richly painted? or which robbed and tore
Laments and mourns in Germany and here?
Sleeps she a thousand, then peeps up one year?
Is she self-truth and errs? now new, now outwore?
Doth she, and did she, and shall she evermore
On one, on seven, or on no hill appear?
Dwells she with us, or like adventuring knights
Frist travail we to seek, and then make love?
Betray, kind husband, Thy spouse to our sights,
And let mine amorous soul court Thy mild Dove,
Who is most true and pleasing to Thee then
When she is embraced and open to most men.

I'm glad I'm not the only one in history who grows weary of mens' spins on God's reality.
I long for truth, I long to live by truth, and I pray that my interpretation of scripture is as God-inspired as the intents of those who wrote it.
Religion should be informed by faith and reality, should be informed by a true relationship with the Ultimate Being, a changed heart and redeemed soul; it is worse than worthless when it stands alone.
There is something more important than actions and rituals, something behind and above them, that gives them their power and value. 
Oh, I hope I see it and don't lose sight.
God is God, forever and unchanging, and all Truth is His. Down with reinterpretations, trends, earthly comfort and convenience in the church! Where I am wrong, correct me, Holy Spirit. Why should we want anything but His pure, unfiltered reality?



Fall is the absolute best time to ride bicycles. Mountain, road, I just don't care.

Oh, Wikipedia,

source of worthless knowledge, sink of valued hours.
"Luthiers seem, however, to be undeterred by either practicality, or by the limits of human anatomy..."



start or at least figure how to approach homeless eyes project
get in shape/eat better
learn new things
(horticulture is a good knowledge)
figure out teaching
read more poetry, but don't start using stuffy words in everyday speech
pray more, worship god actively
work on song
be in the woods more, especially since it's getting prettier every day
think ahead
work on linocut
skydiving: responsible?
figure out work
keep a schedule
drink a beer, relax. buy a hammock, that's a good idea
find a nice hat you don't hate yourself for wearing
love everypeople
learn how to sew
figure out how to get a cheap new prescription for glasses
figure out how to get a cheap new glasses
practice guitar, piano
develop bread skills
work on spelling
vanity, makeup and grooming: where do you draw the line?
winter is coming, do you have gloves jimmy?
don't stress it buddy
how can I learn to be a good sketcher?
live more intentionally
be more serious
be more fun
be less lukewarm anything


Two Things:

1) I have never regretted going outside.
b) Don't confuse knowledge with wisdom.


Father's Classical Guitar

I'm tired,
I'm lonely,
I'm maybe even fearful;
a lot of things I thought I'd never be.
I sought myself,
and look where it got me:
spiraling down, burning...
doubled doubt and vanity.
Cried out,
"Oh God,
When will you comfort me?"
"Son, when will you love me?
(When will you) turn your face to me,
away from your small gods of sin?
How long will you feast at barren tables;
drink deep from empty wells?
Aren't you my beloved child?
Stop wallowing in self-pity;
Do not give Satan a foothold.
Know me, love me, steadfastly.
You set for yourself impossible goals;
what do I require of you
but justice and kindness?
Walk humbly with me."

Thumb-strum and fumbling with a classical guitar. Of course I incorporated some droning strings.
Still trying to figure out how to deal with the ridiculously high action up the neck and
some new chords I'll have to work on, but I wanted to get it down before I forgot them.


Unmerited Favor

A family I haven't really spoken to since high school found a box of broken cameras and parts while cleaning out a building in Aurora and thought of me. They drove out of their way to deliver the cameras to me at church yesterday, and it turns out there's a near-mint Polaroid Land 360 in the box... I'll need to rewire it to accept a battery that's still in production (fie on electronic shutters!),  but I loaded it with Fuji FP3000B and got a few shots in before the old batteries died.



It's very nice to sit alone in a low-lit room with Tchaikovsky piano concertos spinning by on the spindle. It's very nice to write and sip spiced rum. I haven't had very much to write about lately, or I haven't been able to write about very much. It's the nicest thing to be alone, after a day of people. I can think my thoughts at my pace (slowly), I am not in anybody's way, nobody is depending on my actions. I can read, or pray, or write, or none-of-these, without interruption. I'm not really alone anyway––besides the spiritual world, there is the spider on the wall by my pillow; I don't mind her, she minds her own business and I hope I don't roll over on her in the night––but the absence of people is wonderful. (Meaningful conversations with friends are also nicest, but heavens to Betsy, the sure do require effort! I cannot sustain it. I had several this past weekend and I am tuckered.)

I am trying to be better at people. People are messy and selfish and very stupid, and it is enough to put up with my own allotment of these characteristics without needing to sort out the amount belonging to other people. Still, lately I have realized how very little I have invested in my people. I don't call back, I intentionally avoid you, I don't talk deep. I am sorry. I'm sorry I'm so ashamed of my relationship with God that I'd rather avoid relationships than talk about it. I'm sorry I'm afraid to open my mouth because I don't have all the answers, even though it's so obvious that none of us do. I'm sorry I so often feel no need for others, and assume others have no need for me. We're all brothers, sisters. I don't love anybody as much as I love myself.

Paul writes in favor of singleness when it comes to marriage-type relationships, but he is vehement about the importance of my relationship with everybody. Communal relations come before romantic ones. We our not our own, we do not belong to ourselves. We belong to God first, and our brothers and sisters second. We are last and least, as individuals. (Oh dear, theocratic communism!) Christ, THE KING, served the lowliest of us all, yet we put ourselves before all others, unkingly in every sense. I wish Christians would focus less on Christ's saving of our souls and forgiveness of our sins, less on personal salvation (it's all about me!), and more on Jesus' humility and servanthood, more on our actual position relative to the physical and spiritual reality of the universe and its Grand Creator. What are we, compared to El Elyon? Yes, Jesus loves me. He also loves the annoying people, also loves the politicians-of-the-opposite-parties, loves the unforgivable-sinners, the rapists, murders, dictators. Let us diminish, let Christ increase.





Two Covers

Frank Proffitt's Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down was played entirely on a broken toy keyboard I found in our neighbor's garbage. Also, my cat has a solo around the two-minute mark.

Sacred Spirits' People was played (two hands + foot pedals) on my old Conn organ, which actually sounds nice at medium volumes. Too quiet and it's muddy; too loud and the speakers break.


More C. S. Lewis

“I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditures excludes them.”

I don't have the brain cells to look up the source material at this time of night, but God's been bouncing thoughts about how I should really be living around in my head for a few weeks now. I know I spend too much of God's many gifts on myself. Money, time, energy, thoughts, health, transportation. What good are these if they only benefit me, the man who prefers to be alone? What a waste. And how much of what I pursue is beneficial to the people around me? Even within the category of necessary expenditures, like buying groceries, clothes, etc, how often to I buy more, either in quantity or quality, than I need?

And then there's "entertainment:" Worthlessness epitomized. What good is produced, what people are positively impacted, when I watch Breaking Bad by myself late at night? That time would be better spent sleeping, even. Movies? An expensive way to pretend to spend time with somebody while avoiding the burden of constructive conversation. Video games? I hardly play them, yet I'm becoming certain––convicted, even––that they have no place in the lives of God's people. 

I could ignore the multitudinous scriptures exhorting us to live pure lives mentally, physically and spiritually (which, I think, we could all agree a lot of pop culture media does not promote), and still feel strongly that video games, movies, books, music, sports, relationships, the food we eat, the cars we drive, any of them employed simply for the sake of personal enjoyment are sinful, simply because they are a WASTE OF RESOURCES. We do not have eternity in this life, but "what we do in life echos in eternity." I cannot believe that God put me in this place to defeat Bowser and restore peace to the Mushroom Kingdom. I cannot believe that if I am in a situation requiring an automobile, I need anything but the most basic and inexpensive automobile available. Does my clothing need to do anything but clothe me, or should I take money I could be putting toward people and put it toward a nicer shirt, cooler shoes, or prettier skin? (A related topic for another night: How do I justify my current means of income? I know you don't have to move to Africa to live righteously, and I know there are plenty of people who need Christ everywhere.... but how can a Christian work in the fashion or luxury industry? More specifically, how can I? I am troubled; I don't think I can. Praying for enlightenment and guidance.) Practically speaking, I don't think you can be that rigid about things. "The man who fears God will avoid all extremes." Brains need some cool-down time, so when it comes to the profitability of entertainment I think it's important to realize that sometimes it is good to "waste" time on occasion, and take a mental sabbath...

The important thing is I know I spend too much of God's many gifts on myself. I am painfully and prayerfully re-prioritizing.



Well, does it?

I've got about 400 little snippets and tidbits in text files on my computer, and sometimes I go through them to see what's up. Came across this, which interests me especially after reading Pilgram Marpeck on living as a true Christian. Apparently at some point in the past I watched the TV show Skins. Not sure entirely why––must've had some downtime at school––but there you go.

does it give respect to God?
does it promote peace?
does it help the poor?

Spoken by a Muslim father to his son; it's nice to have actual positive content in popular media today. 
I think I could stand to ask myself these questions more often.


In the Studio

Stepped into the studio a week ago to record a single with the boys.... With all the bulky gear I had to haul anyway, I figured, "what's one more heavy and awkward instrument?" So I took my Mamiya RZ67 Pro II along and grabbed a few polaroids. Some:


An Original, On Originality.

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. - CS. Lewis



Earworms are songs that get stuck in your head.
What are words that, seemingly by chance, pop into your brain and sit there for a while?
Is there a word for that?

Triumvirate floated up in my mind a little bit ago, and for no good reason at all.
I'd like to know what subconscious goings-on are responsible for such an impractical and seldom-used word getting jammed up in my cogs. It's hard to think about any subject without triumvirate trying to tie in.


From Blaise Pascal's Pensées

Yes, the same Pascal (1623-1662) infamous for his Wager, which is found in the same collection.
Just a few lines I enjoy.

"The Church is in an excellent state when it is sustained by God only."

"How useless is painting, which attracts admiration by the resemblance of things, the originals of which we do not admire!"

"In my present state, ignorant of what I am or of what I ought to do, I know neither my condition nor my duty. My heart inclines wholly to know where is the true good, in order to follow it; nothing would be too dear to me for eternity.
I envy those whom I see living in the faith with such carelessness and who make such a bad use of a gift of which it seems to me I would make such a different use."



"If you loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing else to give, you still gave him love. When the last of the chocolate was gone, his mother had clasped the child in her arms. It was no use, it changed nothing, it did not produce more chocolate, it did not avert the child's death or her own; but it seemed natural to her to do it. The refugee woman in the boat had also covered the little boy with her arm, which was no more use against the bullets than a sheet of paper.
. . .
What mattered were individual relationships, and a completely helpless gesture, an embrace, a tear, a word spoken to a dying man, could have value in itself."

Orwell, 1984



Why can't we just live in our bodies on earth, 
and recognize which things are good and have worth?


In life, In dreams

What does it mean when I wake up in the middle of the night with a crushed stress ball in my hand?

It means work is taking up too many brain cells,
It means I should intentionally un-schedule time in my calendar,
It means I drink too much coffee,
It means I'm probably focusing too much on little gods,
It means not enough of my days involve things like these:

Gotta remember to slow down a little, really soon.



Photo by Robert Doisneau
The fact that for a long time Cubism has not been understood and that even today there are people who cannot see anything in it, means nothing. I do not read English, an English book is a blank book to me. This does not mean that the English language does not exist, and why should I blame anybody else but myself if I cannot understand what I know nothing about?
"Picasso Speaks," The Arts (New York), May 1923, pp. 315-326.


Audio Still 1

Audio Still 1 by Jimmy-James Rice

So, a few notes:
This is, of course, a rough draft based on my thoughts from last night's post.
It was played on an electric organ, not multiple instruments.
There are multiple parts: Part A is something of a melody, to see how it would relate to the non-melody of Part B, which has two sub-parts.
I played one of the notes with my nose.
It's not really a "still" in the "electronically sustained slice of sound" sense, as I manually played the notes the entire time, and the rotary speakers
  are influencing the sound waves...
I think actively playing the notes is better than artificial sustainment after-the-fact, although harder to achieve with non-electric instruments.
Listen for the change in sound when I switch off the rotaries around 4:15. All that's left is the oscillation of the sound waves.
Also, the robot noises at the end aren't in the original recording, my software glitched doing noise-reduction and I liked it.

More Late-Night Music and Unsolicited Thoughts

A bad feeling: wanting to listen to a very specific kind of music, but not knowing any bands in the genre, or what to call the style. Tonight I wanted the slowest droning, must brutally distorted and grinding sustained down-tuned guitars, without stupid growling or operatic singing to distract from the emotion and noise. I found a few good bands, but nothing I was in the mood for. I could hear what I wanted to hear in my head, so even noises that came close were disappointing. Finding new and good music is such a grueling, laborious and disappointing effort. While I have a few choice bands in my reservoir, I don't dip into the metal-zone enough to know how to describe what I'm listening for tonight, and it seems the metal corner of music is particularly fussy about sub-genres. Fraught with failure, especially when there are 14,000 stupid Finish sludge metal bands that think they should sing about mythology and 12 funeral metal bands that just make bad sounds. How many hours of rubbish must I endure to find a few good things?

Eagle Twin is definitely not what I was looking for, but there are a lot of noises here that I have been interested in on other nights. Tuvan throaty, and lots of Aboriginal and Native American influence.

This is a little closer, I guess, but again not at all what I wanted originally. I guess I wanted instrumental music made out of single, intensely forceful notes. This is not that:

Of course, as is typical of late-night web-crawls, I found something else I had no intention of finding, but which is very much interesting (to me). In the past couple weeks I've been rereading Gauguin's writing on art... symbolists, of course, make everything symbolic ad nauseum. A specific hue corresponds to and evokes a specific feeling or idea. Gauguin, like any other artist interested in "total art," compares relationships of colors/tones to relationships of musical notes/tones, but complains: "...The art of painting tells whatever it wishes, with the advantage that the reader immediately knows the prelude, the setting, and the ending. Literature and music require an effort of memory for the appreciation of the whole; the last named is the most incomplete and least powerful of the arts." (Notes Sythetiques)

Well, what if a piece of music simply consists of one note or chord per instrument, simultaneously played, and sustained (perhaps electronically, if it's to be done perfectly) without dynamic or timbric change etc. for several minutes? It would be like taking the most infinitesimal slice out of a piece of music and stretching that sonic moment into several minutes. Then the listener would be able to explore the sound like a painting without disruption, either appreciating the whole/general piece, or focusing in on small details, individual instruments, correlations and vibrations. An auditory still... Red and green vibrate violently, forever––what will a reedy aerophone and a smooth idiophone do? The specific notes and instruments would be chosen as carefully as a subjectivist painter chooses his colors, both for their relation to each other and individual messages. I am sure some stuffy composer has already dedicated their life to this minimalist and reductive thought, but again, I have no idea where to start in order to find their music. I guess I should be happy that Philip Glass has repeated himself as much as he has; at least I can listen to intervals forever. Since I don't even know what I'm thinking about or how to find out if anybody else has thought about it, I'm tempted to try it myself, just to get an earful of it and see if it's even interesting. I probably won't though; it would be very tiresome for everybody involved, plus I have no idea how.

(As far as "everyday" music goes, I think of a music "video" comprised of an unchanging image accompanying the music, to act as a counterbalance, maybe a foil, to the requirement of memory to appreciate the musical whole. The audience could rest on the image, and let the variable [sound] interact with the static [sight]. Eh. It's pointless, wasted thoughts. I've painted a yellow spot on a green leaf, hoping to see a similar static/variable relationship play out over time, as the leaf dies and yellows. Simply a stupid diversion.)

ANYWAY. My thoughts on experimental sounds and musical minimalism found an agreeable meal––though not to the reductive extent I am thinking off––when I somehow or other was led to Rhys Catham's Guitar Trio. Of course, I have always loved drones, so I'm predisposed to this stuff... but good golly this is great!

Gosh, I hope nobody reads this but me.


Elements of Chip Music

If you enjoy old school video games, music, or are a geek/nerd, hollow out a liter of time and watch this presentation by lft/Linus Åkesson.
You'll learn something.


Life on the Mississippi / Loss of Innocence / The Trouble With Knowledge

      Now when I had mastered the language of this water and had come to know every trifling feature that bordered the great river as familiarly as I knew the letters of the alphabet, I had made a valuable acquisition. But I had lost something which could never be restored to me while I lived. All the grace, the beauty, the poetry had gone from the majestic river! I still keep in mind a certain wonderful sunset which I witnessed when steamboating was new to me. A broad expanse of the river was turned to blood; in the middle distance the red hue brightened into gold, through which a solitary log came floating, black and conspicuous; in one place a long, slanting mark lay sparkling upon the water; in another the surface was broken by boiling, tumbling rings, that were as many-tinted as an opal; where the ruddy flush was faintest, was a smooth spot that was covered with graceful circles and radiating lines, ever so delicately traced; the shore on our left was densely wooded, and the somber shadow that fell from this forest was broken in one place by a long, ruffled trail that shone like silver; and high above the forest wall a clean-stemmed dead tree waved a single leafy bough that glowed like a flame in the unobstructed splendor that was flowing in the sun. There were graceful curves, reflected images, woody heights, soft distances; and over the whole scene, far and near, the dissolving lights drifted steadily, enriching it, every passing moment, with new marvels of coloring. I stood like one bewitched, I drank it in, in speechless rapture. The world was new to me, and I had never seen anything like this at home.
      But as I have said, a day came when I began to cease from noting the glories and the charms which the moon and sun and the twilight wrought upon the river's face; another day came when I ceased altogether to note them. Then, if that sunset scene had been repeated, I should have commented upon it, inwardly, after this fashion: This sun means that we are going to have wind tomorrow; that floating log means that the river is rising, small thanks to it; that slanting mark on the water refers to the bluff reef which is going to kill somebody's steamboat one of these nights, if it keeps stretching out like that; those tumbling "boils" show a dissolving bar and a changing channel there; the lines and circles in the slick water over yonder are a warning that that troublesome place is shoaling up dangerously; that silver streak in the shadow of the forest is the "break" from a new snag, and he has located himself in the very best place he could have found to fish for steamboats; that tall dead tree, with a single living branch, is not going to last long, and then how is a body ever going to get through this blind place at night without the friendly old landmark?

––from Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi


Photography Was/Is Hard

Actually, I dig the bottom one now, in a  laissez-fiare pretentious street/life lomo sort of way. "It didn't work!" Also: "Date: ?"

Meretricious Costumes

     "Even in former times I always felt ill at ease in presence of a lady arrayed in all the splendor of a ball-dress: at present I positively shudder at the sight, for I recognize therein a palpable danger to people in general, a danger that has no legal right to exist; and I feel prompted to call in a policeman, to appeal for protection against this danger that threatens me, and to insist on its removal or suppression.

     ...Can it for a moment be pretended that that bedecking of the human body which our society connives at in women, and which is calculated directly to provoke passion, is devoid of social danger? Positively it is just the same as if you were to set traps and spread nets on the streets and public walks, on the highways and by-ways. Nay, it is still worse. Why is it, let me ask you, that games of hazard are prohibited, while women attired in meretricious costumes are not prohibited? And yet the latter are a thousand times more dangerous than the former!"
–Pozdnischeff, from Tolstoy's The Kreutzer Sonata


What is Good

“With what shall I come before the Lordand bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God...

...to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good? Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. Yet the Lord set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

For I [the Lord] desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said,“Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?

Micah 6:6, Deuteronomy 10:12, Hosea 6:6,  Romans 13:8, James 2:8


Coming Soon

White SX Ursa 1 P-Bass
Seymour Duncan Quarter-Pounders
Totally re-wired electronics, including new pots (250K, w/ no load @ 10 for the tone pot), a .047uF orange-drop cap for sexiness, gold-plated jack, cloth-wrapped wire, red and blue chickenhead knobs and copper shielding throughout
Rotosound 88 tapewound strings
new bass. 
gonna do all the work on it as soon as the parts come in.
I can't decide if I'm going to string it up BEAD or EADG
(BEAD would require committing; recutting the nut), 
or if I should just put the 88s on my Brawley, 
and keep the SX for rockin'.


Red River Gorge

Two friends from Perfect North and I somewhat spontaneously decided to spend 1.5 days at the Gorge this week. The trip was fraught with misadventures and backtracking, but also great moments on the hearty crust of the earth. We headed for Gray's Arch, and here are a few photos.

 Getting coniferous on the ridgeline.

 The Arch in all its glory.

Behind a small waterfall next to the arch. 
For scale, my backpack is on the ground to the right of the tree. 


Behind the waterfall again, looking back toward Joy and the base of the arch.

Jimmy on a hard rock shelf, chillin'.

Freaky rocks, freaky roots: errwhere.

Because of the bears, right? Because they'll tear you apart?


The Bikeriders

Danny LyonThis has long been one of my favorite post-Americans documentaries.On a somewhat-related note, I need to travel more. Recent conversations and weather  have reawakened the ramblin' man.


Romans 13:8-10

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.



From a little side project that I'm working on. 


Robert Rauschenberg

"I really feel sorry for people who think things like soap dishes or mirrors or Coke bottles are ugly, because they're surrounded by things like that all day long, and it must make them miserable."

Grace Woodroofe

I heard Grace Woodroofe's interview on World Cafe last night... I caught the last half of I've Handled Myself Wrong on the way home from work and sat in the driveway listening to her live version of Transformer, which is THE GREATEST. She was playing with the Relentless Seven (Ben Harper's band), which she should always do. Jump to 13:30 of the interview for Transformer (but listen to the whole interview).





Also, This:

This guy has been popping up in "related reading" of mine for the past several years... I finally found a good video of his Ultimate Bass Instrument.

Bazantar, techne follows psyche (2007) from Fey Adelstein on Vimeo.

All Night

My 6:15 alarm just went off. I don't know why I even have that alarm anymore, I haven't gotten up that early "since college." This is yet another night in which I have stayed up listening to things like the following video and staring up out the window; the moon has been spying on me the last few nights. There are so many things out there for our senses to devour, and most of them unconsciously. I am still convinced that we don't actively touch, taste, see, hear, smell and think-about enough of the world we're passing through. Little beautifuls scattered everywhere; let's worship their Maker by at least acknowledging them. These are just the physical senses... Imagine what it will be like in God's raw presence.