March 30, 2003


I just found out that Saturday Looks Good To Me is playing here Friday from someone who found my photos of them. I'm excited because this fellow is starting a fan page for SLGTM, something they deserve.

This made me wonder again why there are no fan pages for The Aislers Set. This band inspires long essays but no bandwidth-hogging pages of photos and the Yahoo group is all but dead. I hope to have a bandwidth-hogging page of photos a week from now but I'm afraid the Fireside Bowl is too dark and I don't have (or particularly want to use) a flash. God, the front row at the show is going to be 12 people taking pictures -- me and 11 seventeen year olds with Polaroids.

The Aislers Set deserves more obsession.

Posted at March 30, 2003 09:41 PM, Categories: Beardcore

March 27, 2003

Retired General Beardcore

What do all of the retired generals do when there isn't a war going on? Bombs start falling and suddenly we're swimming in generals with opinions.

Posted at March 27, 2003 08:53 AM, Categories: Beardcore

March 24, 2003

New photos

Picture Of The Day updates (finally), along with (link outdated)a few new collections.

Posted at March 24, 2003 11:23 PM, Categories: Beardcore

March 23, 2003


At this moment life couldn't feel any more surreal. We've launched a war nine timezones away, bombs are falling and people are dying, people are rallying in protest and in support, and we're watching it all live. From trucks that are racing across the desert for crying out loud. It's only a matter of time before we see the first reporter ever to be killed by enemy forces on live television. However you feel about the war, you can't help but be glued to the tube.

Friday afternoon I went downtown to take photos of the rally at Federal Plaza. I knew that there were two rallies planned -- one for the first afternoon after the war began and one for the following day. The first rally was huge -- 10,000 people spilling out onto Lakeshore Drive and stopping traffic -- but Friday's rally turned out to be completely different. There were about 500 police officers in full riot gear surrounding the plaza two-deep. At one end there was a makeshift stage and about 200 protesters, and the rest of the plaza was filled with about 100 reporters and amateur photographers. The protesters grew in numbers but by 6pm half of the police officers left because they obviously weren't needed.

Pictures from that coming up (haven't developed them yet) -- this one digital snap will have to tide you over for now.

Saturday night was (again) spent at the Abbey Pub, this time listening to Black Dice and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. As pretentious as GY!BE may be in their beliefs and in their punctuation, they're awfully mesmerizing. And loud.

Someone fainted near the end of the show. I hate that need to do something yet not knowing what to do. Actually I knew what to do but not until 2 minutes later when I had time to think about it. So it will be fresh in your mind, read this, First aid for fainting, before you need to help someone.

Posted at March 23, 2003 04:32 PM, Categories: Beardcore

March 17, 2003

Give Pizza Chants

Always (sometimes) on the lookout for opportunities to hone my photographic skills, I occasionally search the web for anti-war protests in Chicago. Yesterday afternoon I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there was one happening not two miles from my apartment: a candlelight vigil for peace in Wells Park. I loaded up too much camera gear in my bag, grabbed something like 6 different kinds of film (on the off chance that there would be enough light to shoot anything slower than 3200), and set off.

I'm pretty sure this was my first time at a candlelight vigil, and I didn't know what to expect. It turned out to be a lot less eventful than I expected, and was by no means moving -- I'm not for this war with Iraq, but I'm but don't feel compelled to sing songs against it. If I'm going to discuss the matter with other people I wouldn't choose all the college students and professors from my neighborhood.

Anyway, there was one striking thing about the rally/vigil/excuse to get your handdrums out: two different speakers reminded the audience about an "emergency action" planned for 5PM the day "we start bombing Iraq." Not "them," not "the US," not even "their president," but "we." This was surprising -- I expected the folks there to be distancing themselves from the impending war rather than taking any responsibility for it. But some of them genuinely felt that we as a people have failed to prevent our government from going to war. But almost nobody mentioned the reason we're going to war. Nobody mentioned chemical weapons, the Kurds, the tens of thousands of Iraqis that have died of starvation. The only suggestion of an alternative course of action were two signs that suggested that inspections continue.

Here's a picture:

Posted at March 17, 2003 03:26 PM, Categories: Beardcore

An Inspiration To Dozens

Sometimes I think that before my time on this earth is up I must leave my mark somehow. Change the world, be recorded in a book somewhere, maybe inspire millions. I think I'm capable of greatness, but in what I don't know.

Other times I feel that all I must do is not wreck anything, make at least one person's life better somehow, and be an inspiration to dozens.

Posted at March 17, 2003 12:43 AM, Categories: Beardcore

March 09, 2003

Infrared Photography

So last night at the show I had yet another brilliant idea that, it turns out, has already been done. Numerous people were taking photos during the show and the flashes were annoying me (and, no doubt, the performers as well). Considering how sensitive digital cameras are to infrared light, I wondered why nobody makes infrared flashes, or at least IR-passing filters for normal flashes. With an IR flash you could snap away without bothering everyone and still get decent photos. I'm not a big fan of flash photography myself, but last night the stage lights were too dark for even the great T-Max 3200 and my f/1.4 50mm lens.

A simpler (and cheaper) solution would be an infrared light that you leave on -- this wouldn't require flash synchronization (something my digital camera lacks) and you can make it out of inexpensive IR LEDs. I've done a little research on the web and those that have tried Sony's Nightshot IR lamps have found that they don't work very well with still cameras for some reason. Still, I plan to order a few LEDs from Newark this week for some testing.

So the flash/lamp idea is still in the works, but in the meantime I've learned that a couple layers of unexposed but developed E6 film makes a decent IR-pass filter (passes infrared light but blocks visible light). Last summer I got a roll of E6 developed that I apparently never used -- they returned the developed film but didn't mount any of the frames. Good thing I'm a pack rat.

Below are two photos, one without and one with this filter.

Original photo, +0 exposure, no filters, desaturated in PhotoShop and auto contrasted:

Two strips of unexposed but developed E6 film, +2 exposure, daylight white balance, desaturated in PhotoShop and auto contrasted:

Posted at March 9, 2003 05:24 PM, Categories: Beardcore

Oh Chan how could you?

Just got back from seeing Cat Power (in this case Chan Marshall plus three others) for the first time. I wasn't as disappointed as I had expected to be. In her two-hour set there was a solid fourty-five minutes of real music. The rest was her pleading for a Scotch neat or muttering things or trying to figure out the mic stand or starting and stopping songs. She may have been drunk but at least she played for more than fifteen minutes.

Because I have to stay awake long enough to drink enough water to be properly hydrated again, I present some of the concerts that have exceeded my expectations:

- The first time I saw Bob Mould (St. Andrew's Hall, Detroit MI, 1996?). I had been waiting for years (I discovered Hüsker Dü right after Sugar's last tour) and while my expectations were high I was completely thrilled. Each show I've seen since has been good but nothing can top that first time. This was also the last time I saw a certain ex-girlfriend: we didn't even say hello and I regret that.

- The first time I saw Mouse on Mars (Clutch Cargo, Pontiac MI, 1997?). Not because it was magical, but because it was just the two of them twiddling dials and shaking their asses to their own music. Since then the shows have been a different format and while they have been good, it wasn't the same thing. Their twenty minute blissed-out encore with Sterelab was one of the happiest moments of my musical life.

- Auburn Lull and Mahogany at the Green Room, Ypsilanti MI. I'm not sure where I heard of them (probably on the My Bloody Valentine email list) but I went to the show having not heard any of their music. Both bands blew me away. Best unexpected concert ever.

- Sleater-Kinney (Zoot's, Detroit MI, 1996?). They were on their way to becoming huge and I felt lucky to see them in what was effectively a large living room.

- The Lonesome Organist (Empty Bottle twice). Jeremy is just amazing.

- Lovesick (Fireside Bowl, Chicago, 2001?). I wasn't into their music that much but there's something about Fred that makes you feel like he's playing just for you. Musically I like Saturday Looks Good To Me better.

- The Parka Kings (Halfway Inn, Ann Arbor MI, many times). Nice guys, good music, and just so fun.

Posted at March 9, 2003 03:48 AM, Categories: Beardcore

March 06, 2003

Born (and Baked) In The USA


New photo galleries up on the new photo page.

Posted at March 6, 2003 08:36 AM, Categories: Beardcore

March 04, 2003


Picture Of The Day has been updated.

Posted at March 4, 2003 02:24 PM, Categories: Beardcore

March 03, 2003


Lots of romantic turmoil amongst friends this weekend. It's hard to watch this kind of thing, easier to help them, and easiest to avoid turmoil yourself...I seem to be pretty good at avoiding it by not even talking to women.

I guess I wouldn't mind getting hurt once in a while.

Posted at March 3, 2003 07:25 PM, Categories: Beardcore

March 02, 2003

I don't say much, but..

I'm a rather quiet person. Part of this is insecurity over my opinions or lack of knowledge of a subject, but it's mostly because I wait until I'm really sure of what I feel and what I'm about to say before I say it.

Thus, in my humble opinion, when I do speak it's something worth paying attention to.

Posted at March 2, 2003 04:08 PM, Categories: Beardcore

March 01, 2003

The History of This

So back to the thing about the sink smelling like a fish tank. We had a few runs at the fish tank thing when I was maybe 10 and the experiments can be divided into two categories: the fish would die within days or the fish would overstay their welcome.

My older brother had two tiger barbs -- something like the most badass of fresh water fish -- and they coexisted happily for months, eating smaller fish for sport. After one of them died we figured it was only a matter of time before the other one turned belly up but lived for another year or two. Eventually it was too big for its tank and too big to be transferred to another tank. This was one vicious fish. Sadly we couldn't keep up with its, um, productivity and the fish was constantly swimming in its own filth. I must have taken the most pity on the dreadful thing because I don't remember anyone else ever cleaning the tank, and it was a horrific smell.

We also had a collection of goldfish that evaded the tiger barb. Anybody that lasted a week in its tank was rescued and placed in another tank. Most of these refused to die (perhaps my earliest first-hand experience with natural selection) and before long they too were swimming through murky stinky waters.

My brother eventually convinced a pet shop to take the tiger barb and we somehow transferred him to a bucket. He's probably still alive today eating centenarian tortoises in the lobby of a restaurant.

What I really meant to write about was the long journey to this web log. I've watched the web log grow from a great diversion during college (thanks to Annie) to a worldwide phenomenon. Today I heard Wait Wait..Don't Tell Me use someone's web log entry as a quote. I resisted the temptation at first because I didn't think I had enough to share, and later because I knew it would be lost in the sea of boring bloggers. Another annoying random blog that only my friends might read. But once I decided that the only people I would want to read my blog were my friends, it made sense.

I'm not modest about the fact that I've had a web page since 1995. I sometimes feel like a pioneer in the field -- yeah, I used Lynx via Michigan State University. You used to be able to dial into their PPP servers for free with no name or password. Just dial up, type in "gopher" or "lynx" and have at it. Back before URLs were heard on the radio, read in newspapers and printed on everything and when Altavista seemed like a godsend -- not because it was heard to sift out the good sites, but simply because it was hard to find sites in the first place. Back when Altavista had the less than obvious URL of Back even before Jennicam. I would have had a web page sooner but I didn't know what to put on it.

So when my boss was putting together a page for our project and asked me if I had a home page to which he could link, I slapped something together for my record label that went nowhere, bLatent Records. Soon after I put together a page describing my summer of 1995. I think it was that same summer that I started the Michigan Music and Media page (which I've finally decided to put to rest) as a local answer to the Internet Underground Music Archive. That fall I learned how to do tables and client side image maps. My knowledge of HTML pretty much stopped progressing at this point, eclipsed by the new students who had actually taken classes in the stuff. I missed the Javascript bandwagon (probably for the better), the dynamic HTML thing, PHP and MySQL and all that.

Maybe that's why I resisted the temptation to start a blog -- in the span of six years or so I was already washed up as far as the internet was concerned. Sure, there are still enough wretched GeoCities sites to make you wish you never heard of that band, let alone found their page, but I couldn't keep up with the reasonably well-designed sites.

Anyway, we'll give this a go.

Posted at March 1, 2003 06:59 PM, Categories: Beardcore
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aislers (Mar 30)
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