Archive for the ‘Photos’ Category

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I’ll let the Sharpie do the talking

In Photos on March 19, 2011 by ryepdx

Despite having more ways to post available to me than I knew before a week or two ago, I still have obviously been quite lazy about posting. About forcing my day-to-day into some sort of narrative. I’m a rambler. I think it comes from spending too much time as a child alone with my thoughts.

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But I can come up with random stimuli. Disjunct thoughts from my day. Pictures that seemed interesting at the time.

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Like this one. It’s from the trip I’m taking out to a tiny town near Baker City where I’ll be meeting my girlfriend’s mother. I’ll probably be posting more like this. Because honestly, there’s a lot to post about. It’s just that none of it has coalesced into a coherent story yet.

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Kimya In Portland

In Photos,Slice of Life,Video on January 17, 2011 by ryepdx Tagged: , ,

There is probably just one person alive today who can turn me into a giant, raving fanboy.

I went to see Kimya Dawson with my bandmate last Saturday. She was playing at Backspace, the same place she played last time she was in town. It was, as always, an incredibly inspiring experience. At the risk of reverting to my primitive fanboy persona, I must say that she’s the only artist alive today whose music expresses almost perfectly the way I feel about things these days. Unfortunately, the song of hers which resonates most with me and which I’ve now heard just twice has not yet wound its way in its entirety onto the Internet. A small clip of it can be found here, though.

She touches briefly on the same themes found in that song in another song called Enema, which has still yet to make it onto a CD. I imagine it’ll be on her next album which I hear will be called “Thunder Thighs.” The lyrics in question:

Was it an Olympian hippie or a New York City hipster?
What’s the difference? ‘Cause we all try hard to make this world better.
If it’s thrift or if it’s vintage, it is still your grandpa’s sweater.
Either way, three cheers for you, ’cause it’s better to reuse
Than to support the corporations buying crap they mass-produce.
You think, you think, you think
You think I’m preaching to the choir
But I am not, I’m not,
I’m singing with the choir.
We are all birds, birds of a different feather;
We each sing the way we sing and we are all in this together.

We arrived at Backspace at 7pm, the time displayed on the website. Unfortunately it turned out the website was wrong: the show started at 6:30pm. And Kimya was opening.

So, after standing in line for ten minutes with the rest of the misinformed, we finally got in. The first song she played after our arrival happened to be her first public attempt at a rap song. It was good, honestly, and it expressed a lot of the “live-and-let-live” philosophy that I touched on earlier. This song also will reportedly be on her new CD.

Afterward, Defiance Ohio played. They were good, though I likely feel this way because of their violinist. I’m a sucker for a bands with violinists. My bandmate thought they sounded like Flogging Molly; I thought they sounded like the Dropkick Murphys without the bagpipes. I got a headache from headbanging.

While headbanging, I happened to see Kimya pass by. I’m pretty sure I made the scariest face a celebrity could ever hope to see: my eyes went huge, my jaw dropped, a huge, goofy grin spread over my face, and I did this palms-up, arms-open greeting I often do which is sometimes mistaken for an invitation to an embrace. She begged off, saying she was looking for someone, and I, somewhat embarrassed at my behavior, nodded as if I knew how it was and let her be.

Finally, when the crowds began to die down, I saw my chance. There was a window of time when nobody was at Kimya’s table. I’m not sure all of what happened or what I said, but I’m somewhat aware of saying something like “I love you” and “can I get a picture?” I’m pretty sure it was only one of many such awkward moments in the poor girl’s life. She obliged and gave her best for the camera. I spent a good half hour after that in a sort of euphoric, fanboy stupor.

On the way home, we danced the night away.

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Happy Holidays

In DIY,Photos,Slice of Life on December 26, 2010 by ryepdx Tagged: , ,

Hope you all had a merry Christmas yesterday! I woke up at around 11am and came downstairs to find my mom making drapes for our kitchen window. Here’s a photo of her handiwork:

Red drapes.

Apparently one of our tablecloths had gotten a little too stained and worn for use. You couldn’t tell that from seeing it hung up though. A handy idea for all you DIYers who like to use things that would normally just be discarded. (“Upcycle” is the word, I believe.)

Just thought I would share that with you all. Tune in tomorrow for the continuing adventures of a computer scientist turned creative! 🙂

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Creative Space

In Demos,Photos on December 17, 2010 by ryepdx

After returning from Portland, I still found myself unwilling to plan anything. The biggest problem, I realize now, was that I had no idea how to set about making a plan. I did, however, know how to write music, and I was aware that I needed to start writing soon. It had been nearly a week since I had left my job and I had yet to write anything.

But first I decided to act on an idea I had the night before. I had decided it might be interesting to try making headphones out of salvaged parts. In particular I had decided that the lids from the same type of tin I had used to make my condenser mic might make good earpieces. This idea sounded much better than writing because, to be honest, I was feeling rather uninspired. You know your muse is in the toilet when you find yourself asking things like “why do I write? Why does anyone write? What’s the point of writing? What should I even write about?

I ended up going to a thrift store nearby. I did not find what I was looking for, but I did find a 5” lightbulb and a bunch of really cheap Christmas lights. These, I thought, are the answer to my recent dearth of inspiration!

So I came back to my apartment, threw the Christmas lights around, and plugged in the giant lightbulb.

Now inspired, I started writing. Here’s a demo recording of what I wrote:

Creative space seems to be an important factor in determining what one creates, doesn’t it? I’ve found that I write happier songs on sunny days when I’m able to either open all the windows or go outside, and that the gloomier songs are almost always born at night or in a setting that fits the somber tone. It makes sense since the mental state of a writer is almost always directly reflected in the work they create. It’s impossible to remove this coupling, much as it is impossible to completely remove all traces of oneself from one’s work or to look at something from outside your own point of view. Everything perceived must pass through the window of the mind; it’s nonsense to assert otherwise, for it is the mind itself which perceives. No mind, no perception. In the same way, all your creative work must pass through that same window. No mind, no creation.

As writers, as artists, as people who think and create (this encompasses the entire world, for we all think and create) we must pay attention to our surroundings and the effect it has on our emotional health. We must also pay attention to our own ways of thinking, for these can have an even greater effect on our emotions, our actions, even our destiny, than our environment. How many times has a person beaten the deck which has been stacked against them? Ask anyone who has suffered abuse and then gone on to be healthy, happy, and successful, over and against the wishes of their abuser, or who has risen out of poverty.

But environment can make success harder or easier to achieve. It is a factor. It does have its effect. This is a lesson I’m finding I have to take more seriously now, for my environment is no longer shared with my coworkers. My creative environment is entirely mine. This is another aspect of the freedom I must get used to. As I’ve said in past posts, it’s exhilarating and yet terrifying. Every aspect of my success is, as of the moment I’m writing this, entirely up to me.

So I’ve got my scented candles and I’ve got my lights. I’ve got my Jonsi and my Mika and all other manner of upbeat music. It’s what I need right now, really. It’s the creative space I’ve chosen to create.

What does your creative space look like?