Monday, March 26, 2012

Born Performer

A few months ago my family and I went to a dinner theater. We have been twice before but it has been a while. This time it was the King and I. Looking past the racist undertones, it was actually a pretty nice experience. The actors and production exceeded my expectations. We are actually returning next month to see The Wizard of Oz.

I bring all of this up to shift the focus back to me. Seeing all of these performers on a small stage brought me back to 5th grade. That year I starred in what many refer to as the greatest elementary school production of the last hundred years.

While this occurred over 20 years ago, I remember a lot of specific details very vividly. What I don't remember is how I came to be the star of the show. I don't think I had any dreams of being a star. I wouldn't have actively sought this out and yet here we are, discussing my glory. I can only assume that the dance and theater teacher witnessed my natural shine and knew that I was the only way this show could reach that next level. Want to turn amateur hour into broadway? We better lock in the star.

There were a lot of components in this show. It had dance scenes with neon geometric shapes and black lights (think Daft Punk video, except better). It had me having various dialogues with my costars. It somehow involved math. It played 3 times I think and it sold out everytime I am sure.

I recall having to cold open the show. That was always scary. Once I blacked out and the first lines were projected out of the cafeteria p.a. I just went on autopilot. I was involved in every scene and would have to run all over the place, jumping into dance scenes with my rhombuses. Another reason why I was a big deal: I had a headset microphone. Keep in mind, this was the 80s. That would be today's equivalent of me being simultaneously projected as a hologram and acting with myself on stage. Also, I was the only one that got to wear one. That might sound like bragging, but yeah, only Kevin.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Test post part deux

Here is my second post using blogsy.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Finding new music is a problem for many people. Spotify and Pandora do provide both almost unlimited access to all music and music recommendations based on your tastes, respectively. While tools like these are great, there is plenty of void left within the music discovery experience that is left unfulfilled. Aweditorium makes an attempt at generating a more unique and interactive musical discovery experience.

Upon starting Aweditorium, you are presented with a beautiful user interface made up of a grid of slightly grayed out images that each represent a different song for you to experience. Click on an image and the screen navigates to it, opening the image and playing the song. You also see the lyrics displayed at the bottom of the screen. When you click on the screen, the lyrics are replaced with VH1-style pop ups with random facts about the band or musician. From this screen you also have other options. If you like the song, you can share it via Twitter or Facebook. You can purchase it from itunes. For some you can also open a video with an interview of the band/musician. Once you are done, you can go back to the grid page to navigate around and listen to more music. The entire experience is very smooth, seamless and a lot of fun. It gives a sense of interaction that is lacking from other music apps.

Considering that this is a music app, the sound quality is very good and you are even prompted to use headphones for the best experience. I actually enjoyed sitting next to my ipad in my living room, listening off of the iPad speakers. Either way you will have a quality aural experience.

One very important note to make would be the musical offerings. Within a few minutes with Aweditorium it became very obvious that this app focuses strongly on various takes on indie rock. While these can range from folk to math rock, from what I could tell almost all of it would fall under the broad genre of indie rock. There was a small sampling of hip hop and world music. One thing you will not find is any top 40 or too well-known musicians. Personally this works perfect for my musical tastes, but might not appeal to everyone.

Another nice thing that Aweditorium does is when you pull back to the grid, not only are the songs you have listened to, now lit up, there is also a more meta screen in the top left that illustrates what percent of everything you have explored.

Overall Aweditorium is a great addition to music apps. It certainly fills a void through its interactivity and slick interface. While the musical offerings may be narrow, if you do have any interest in indie rock or any one-offs from the genre, you may find yourself blissed out. Even if you are not someone who keeps up with sites like Pitchfork or Coke Machine Glow, exploring different styles of music can broaden your horizons and I can think of no current app out there that makes it this much fun. Also considering that this app is free, I can't recommend this app enough.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

mr. fix-it

one thing i am very slowly and hesitantly trying to achieve is to become more handy and able to do household things that normal people probably consider easy. i don't know why i have avoided a lot of this stuff in the past. i guess i always had those fears of attempting to fix something and in the process making it worse. or the other avenue of attempting something seemingly easy, yet it becomes a much bigger production that takes a ton more time, effort and money to actually complete. i hate the idea of both. that and for the past few years brodie has been a good resource for fixing things while maybe not the best at showing me how it's done, but that's more my fault (and laziness) than his. anyways, i need to learn some of this stuff myself and just gain a little more experience and confidence in doing these types of things.

i recently replaced a sink and it's fixtures, but then again it was aided by brodie and relatively uneventful in that it actually worked out. my current project is repainting dave's old room with josie. we chose a dark green paint, purchased some rollers and went to town on sunday. overall things went pretty well.

  • the color (grapevine) looks great
  • it didn't take forever
  • i was able to thwart josie's attempts at starting a paint war...somebody has to be the mature one
  • doing corners and edges was relatively easy

  • even though the walls were white, we apparently should have used primer first
  • now we know to cover the electrical outlets with tape
  • we probably should have gotten 2 gallons of paint

so at this point i believe we are just going to use the remaining third gallon of paint and give most of the room a second coat. hopefully that works out ok and gets rid of the spotting that is driving josie crazy. then we can clean up, move the furniture in and voila! we will then have a new office/den/hangout/library/music/art/makeout room. i am looking forward to this room as well as clearing out a lot of the stuff temporarily stored in my bedroom.

assuming that all works out, our next project is to recaulk the shower. i have watched a few videos on how to do this and it seems deceptively easy. i just know that i am in store for some sort of nightmarish flooding, shower-collapsing situation. i have my tools - knife, razor blades, mold-resistant caulk, caulk gun, some sort of cleaner. so we should be good to go. josie has already claimed dibs on the knifing and scraping as this is somehow appealing to her.i obliged.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

la di da

oh hai there internet. it's been a while. i wrote not too long ago about my lack of blogging, but it was dumb. it served the purpose of getting me to write while itself, forever sitting on my virtual shelf, never to be published. maybe in the future i will grab some especially nonsensical sentences from it and try to pass them off as some sort of poetic, short form blogging. but really, i will just be glad that it got me back on the blog while forever feeling shame anytime i think of it's stupid face.

tonight josie and i are attending some fancy gala/event for urbanite magazine. i say "fancy" because when josie looked up last year's event they showed a picture of a guy wearing a blazer. therefore, i will now be wearing some sort of non t-shirt outfit. i know this sounds like complaining, but as long as we don't end up at some eyes wide shut style gathering, we should be good. we get to get out of the house and go to some high-brow event that will have some food and drinks (i hope?). we get to do something different and josie gets to dress up. also, it's free, which is the type of activity i am appreciating more and more.

one thing though that i am not feeling great about is the fact that when i bought my suit a few years ago, i made the unfortunate decision to get pants that were pleated. i don't actually remember making that decision and i find it hard to believe that if given the option i would not go for normal...and yet here i am...a man with annoying pleated pants. i bet those jerks at the men's warehouse had some crazy surplus of p.p.'s and decided to unload them on unsuspecting, ignorant customers like myself. hopefully i can just get some replacement pants that are of the unpleated variety that also match my suit.

with that whining over with, i am officially getting hyped about tonight, what should i expect?

fancy people

fancy hor devours

mingling and dancing

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

time to start keeping a dish towel over my shoulder

this past saturday, josie, eskay, dave, katie and i, volunteered at the american visionary art museum gala. this made for a nice night in a number of ways. it was something completely different from my normal weekend evening. it was free for us. we got to enjoy the awesome parade that included people dancing on stilts, a roller derby team, various dancers, a marching band, other weird stuff, and lewis black riding by on an elephant float. there was a fun live band that did party covers and also were dressed up as if they were amish. there were lots of crazy costumes including a life size sock monkey that josie loved. we got to drink for free. finally, and this is what i mainly want to discuss, our volunteer jobs at this event were as bartenders.
if you look closely you can see him on the elephant. he was smoking a cigarette and giving the finger to people while he was waiting to enter

various parts of all of my jobs involved some aspect of service, though never outright as a "server" and never involving food/drink. while many people who do this for a living probably don't enjoy it too much, this was an opportunity for me to give it a try. it really was an ideal situation as i was not an employee and the actual drinks we served were super easy to serve. also we got to keep any tips we made.

when we first arrived, michele had josie and i work at the wine bar. this was pretty easy as all we were doing was asking if people wanted red or white and pouring it in cups for them. easy money and it never got very crowded on our side. dave and katie on the other hand were working the first shift at the kettle one bar that involved pouring premade vodka drinks down a cpiral tube encased in an ice sculpture. that are was a lot more crowded and the act of pouring the drinks down this tube made it slow goings. they looked stressed. michele later asked us to relieve them and we did. i was excited knowing this was my real chance to play bartender.
it sounds silly and maybe privileged of me, but i really had fun being a "bartender". i enjoyed the action of running around making drinks, keeping everyone happy. i noticed how all of a sudden lots of people were striking up conversations with me and i found that fun. i learned that my go-to move is the thumbs up. i am easily swayed to dole out shots or add extra vodka to the premade drinks by having the drinker follow my eyes to the tip jar. josie was told she was beautiful a number of times and while nobody was as forthright with their admiration of my looks (though one girl told me she loved my pirate costume and brought me a cupcake...i'll count that as a win), i did see how it would be easy for a single guy bartender to keep conversations going and get to know the ladies. oh yeah...did i mention eskay and i dressed up as pirates? well we did and it was pretty silly. our shirts kept getting more and more unbuttoned as the night progressed.
at the end of it, we all had a fun night where we made a little money, though dave may have been ripped off by the kettle one rep. i offered to give him about half of the money i earned, but his scorn and anger towards the kettle one guy burns too brightly to accept. for now, that money sits on our dining room table, surely to be used to buy something ill-advised in the near future. even with that, josie and i were able to enjoy a great sage lunch and buy an amazing book from her store about inter-species friendships. a dog and a koi are bff's??? that's ridiculous! obviously it was a lot of fun and i hope to do it again next year.