turning your orbit around

or... the utter enormity of the task


broadcasting live from steambizzle

hello folks. well, i finally figured out how to get an mp3 music file uploaded to my GSLIS server space.

here's big pants doing a cover of a mason jennings song titled empire builder. i would've included one of our originals, but files cannot be any larger than 5 megs. and since this is our shortest song, it will have to do.

(can you tell i just discovered the color text option today?)


fifty smackeroos

on saturday night, big pants made two hundred clams for rocking the house at braun's. musically, probably our best show yet. we were tight for the most part, took some chances, changed some stuff up on the spot, incorporated some skronky noise on a few, and had a good sit-down crowd who were actually into the music. and it wasn't just all our friends and family.

i laid my $50 on jenn's nightstand when i got home around 1 a.m. and said "say hello to my little friend!" actually, i didn't say that. i said "say hello to our new downstairs bathtub tile!"

how rock n' roll is that?

and we now have confirmed gigs at mambo italiano (my fave italian in steamboat, with a fabulous patio in the summer), on july 15 and 22.

here's the setlist.

big pants/braun's/06.25.05
rodeo clowns/j.johnson
burning cinder/my new one
voodoo woman/with our friend heather
long cut/u.tupelo
what I got/sublime
ain’t no sunshine/b.withers
waiting for signs/d.willis
driver 8/r.e.m.
rescue blues-can't always get.../r.adams-rolling stones
ball & biscuit/w.stripes
jesus just left chicago/with our friend heather
Handshake drugs/wilco

come together/beatles
i’m over it/tommy's new song
empire builder/m.jennings
just kissed my baby/funky meters
california stars/wilco
roses are free/ween
golden age-black napkins/beck-f.zappa
don’t push/sublime
franklin’s tower/g.dead


new song

at the request of dear old da', i'm posting my latest original addition to big pants. it's just a good-time reggae song. it's designed to make people move, and the lyrics aren't too terribly deep. still, it's got a good groove, and i love playing it. verses are primarily B7 A7, except for the "let's make some music tonight" line, which is C7 D7 B7.

(since dear old da' is concerned about the legalities of blogs, i will now post this disclaimer: i do not smoke pot, nor do i condone the smoking of pot... in spite of what timmy and cnn think)

burning cinder

everybody needs a paradigm shift
a new way to move for that righteous uplift
so put down that beer and light up that spliff
and let's make some music tonight (x2)

everybody needs somewhere to go
a person or place to call their own
so get off that chair and get on the dance floor
and let's make some music tonight (x2)


everybody needs someone to love
someone for whom to thank the good lord above
so hold your baby's hand tight like a glove
and let's make some music tonight (x2)

everybody needs a shot in the dark
a burning cinder to help rekindle that spark
so listen to yourself and follow your heart
and let's make some music tonight (x2)

rap section - yes, i rap
we're not shopping around demos
or trying to ride in limos
we're just rocking the faithful
from the get-go
with a sound so genuine
since i can't remember when
we like to make it interesting
for you folks in steamboat
now you might think you heard styles and styles of rhymes
but you didn't know what you were missing until you came across mine
big pants is known to rock a party time after time, side by side, line by line
and if you like big pants then give us a sign
come see us at braun's every other saturday at nine

word up. peace out to my peeps across the nation. respect!

big pants plays braun's tomorrow night, and finally it's our first paid show there. tonight after work, the irie sounds of steel pulse will rock the yampa valley with a free show at howelsen hill. can't wait.

over and out.


do i look like a friggin' tree!?

my friend and big pants bassist, tommy, threw a birthday party for a friend on tuesday evening. to entertain the unruly birthday party attendees, russell, tommy and i played a few songs without our drummer. here's a picture of russell and me.

in the middle of california stars, tommy's older dog - little joe bender - came over and decided to mark his territory by peeing on my left leg. two songs later, tommy's younger dog - little ernie jenkins - came over and decided that he needed to mark my leg as well (tommy names his animals after his favorite people).

try playing through that.

on wednesday morning, when i got into work, tommy had dropped off handwritten apologies from e.j. and bender. apparently, joe bender has had quite a bit more formal schooling than e.j.

here are the apologies:

i am sorry about youren urianti peeing on your leg last night. it won't happen again.

mr. willis,
please accept my most humble apologies for my rude behavior last evening. there is no excuse for what i did and i only hope that you can forgive me upon subsequent visits to our abode. my regards to sadie and marley.
-little joe bender


el cumpleaños de eugénio!

today, my dad geno is one year older.

my mom inspires me by her willingness to be goofy, the ease with which she laughs, and her voracious reading appetite. my father inspires me by his curious mind, the passion with which he discovers new hobbies and rediscovers old ones, and his generosity.

so happy birthday, pop! make sure mom takes you out to a nice dinner.

in other news, a couple people have asked me why on earth i'd advertise my winter weight on my blog for all the world to know. well, frankly, to challenge myself. last time i had to lose some weight, the inspiration was sheer desperation: i'd never weighed that much, and it freaked me out. this time around, i'm not at that point - thank goodness - so why not make it public and give myself something to prove? folks, my target weight is in the high 180s. as of this morning (i'm happy to report i've lost half a pound!), i will have to lose 11.5 pounds to get to 189. expect more reports to come.

the summer of fitness started yesterday.


what the hell's going on...

big pants played the quadrennial subaru "park n' boogie" on saturday afternoon. here's an article about it from last friday. we had a huge turnout - about 17 people over 2 hours. awesome!

i just love this friggin' picture. robbie dudie!

hiked the sarvis creek wilderness on friday. it was an absurdly beautiful day - high of only 78 or so, no clouds, just a light wind; we started down by the creek, the trail took us up above it, through several meadows, over many smaller creeks, and eventually through a very large tract of lodgepole pine. all the while, we could hear the creek down below, noisy with spring snowmelt, and as we slowly started to descend, we eventually met back up with it about 3 miles into the hike. had lunch on some boulders above a perfect pool for trout. lo and behold, about halfway through my lunch, a big and wild brook trout started feeding right below me. i was kicking myself for having left my rod back in the car.

made it back home by 3:30. marley didn't blister her paws this time, but she bruised them so badly (because she just goes like a bat out of hell the whole time) that her front ones have swollen to almost twice their normal size. dumb dog. we took her in, and the vet said they're now infected, and we've got her on antibiotics, and her paws are all wrapped up. it looks like she has boxing gloves on.

gained about 12 pounds over the winter. not happy. time to start working out regularly again. three years ago, this program helped me lose 20 pounds. went from 207 to 187 in about 5 months. i think i'll give it another go.

that's what the hell's going on.


it's been official for three years...

but this november we will have been together for 10.

yesterday was my three year anniversary with my lovely wife, jenn. but we've been together since november of 1995. some adventures in those ten years:

-the south by southwest music festival for spring break, 1996. we caught over 30 bands in 4 days. i have a photo of jenn smoking a huge cigar in the back of a burlap sack coffeehouse where we listened to a band that sounded like rusted root's poor cousin.

-jenn visited me in aspen in 1997 and tried snowboarding for the first time. she was bruised and tired, and didn't like me very much at the end of the day.

-in the middle of our americorps year in new mexico, we went up as a crew to taos in april of 1998. we cleaned that community's acequias - centuries old networks of ditches that help the landowners share water for farming and ranching. every spring the town comes together and cleans the ditches. the work took us through pastures, down back alleys, across backyards. i have a picture of us walking out that evening - the sun setting, snowy mountains in the distance, jenn and our americorps friends walking tiredly down a dirt road with picks and shovels slung over their shoulders.

-in the fall of 1998, i was accepted into the graduate school of library and information science at the university of illinois. jenn drove down from the quad cities and met with an advisor. she was allowed to take a couple classes that spring, and became a full-fledged student the following fall. i was more proud for her than for myself.

-in the summer of 1999, we drove out to phoenix to see trent and dawn get married and to hang out with timmy. we went on to san diego, where we rented longboard surfboards and tried to learn how to surf from a guy named kahuna bob. the ocean handed us our asses that week - i've never done anything so difficult. but we car camped on a bluff overlooking the pacific in cardiff by the sea, discovered really good sushi together, and played in the tidepools in the early morning when the tide was out.

there are more adventures, but i have to start my day. perhaps i'll recount more next week.

i love you, jenn. here's to more explorations together.


i love you mp3

i gotta admit, i'm a little late to the mp3 game. i've simply been copying cd's and downloading shows in wav format. but holy crap, are mp3's cool. much smaller file size equals much faster download time.

one great thing about having a tech dad who buys tech toys, is that he always wants the latest gadget. as a result, i often get the leftovers. (that same generosity goes for my bargain hunter mom too - i can usually expect a bag full of tj maxx clearance clothing she's purchased for me every time i see her).

geno is pretty close to purchasing an ipod, so as a result i got his old 20 gig archos jukebox studio 20. now, if you're unfamiliar with hard drive size, 20 gigs is big for an mp3 player. big enough, in fact, to fit pretty much my entire music collection.

i downloaded a free mp3 converter from the web, and i've been converting albums in the background as i work on other things. i simply drag and drop into the archos drive window and i'm good to go. we're doing inventory right now in the library, so i've been listening to my albums as well as new downloaded mp3 shows from the live music archive. music definitely makes scanning 20,000 barcoded books go a lot faster.

flippin' awesome!


not for the faint of heart...

but couldn't resist. thanks to keith olson for this gem. Posted by Hello


"i'm a lumberjack, and i'm okay!"

well, if the rain and crappy weather don't turn him away, matt pilcher should be arriving some time this evening for a weekend visit. and he will have come a long way in the past few weeks to do so. but first let me tell you a little about mateo.

matt was responsible for my first and only acting experience in high school. matt was a thespian - black turtleneck, big curly head of hair on top of a football player's body, fearless on stage beyond measure. we were both freaks our senior year of high school, but matt was a bigger one - i was told by yearbook staff that i came in second to him for the yearbook award of "most original." which, of course, is just the student body's euphemistic way of saying "weirdest motherf*%ker in our class."

anyway, my first and only acting experience onstage (to this day) - was as a chorus member in the monty python lumberjack skit, which we performed at the spring "spectrum" talent show. it's a funny, funny skit that, um... well, let's just say it explores gender roles. matt was the lumberjack.

keep in mind, this skit was performed in front of hundreds of parents and younger brothers and sisters of students. if you're unfamiliar with it, i will now include some lyrics:

I cut down trees, I skip and jump
I love to press wild flow'rs
I put on women's clothing
And hang around in bars

chorus repeats:
He cuts down trees, he skips and jumps...
He's a lumberjack and he's okay...

matt went on to finish a masters at the university of arizona, learn arabic, and now he works for the state department (i think - matt may have to correct me on this one). anyway, he just got back from working at the embassy in kuwait city, and now he does stuff like this.

he was present in may when kuwaiti women were finally given the right to vote. i imagine he's seen some pretty remarkable things over there, and i can't wait to talk to him about it.

i am infinitely impressed by the good work that he's doing, and consider myself lucky to call him a friend.


workday blues

a perfect little morsel of a mayfly has been on the outside of my office window for a good half hour now. it is the most beautiful dang day here - everything emerald green, 58 degree temps, clouds and wind a distant memory.

i got my annual license last friday, and this morning all i want to do is lock up this library and go fishing.

sometimes, i think, it hurts the soul to be indoors.


one good thing about music...

my sister in law gave me a kick ass leather bound journal for my birthday. i wrote in it yesterday after several sunday afternoon beers. here are the results:

if music means the world to you, then you'll spare no adjective when describing it.

how can you deny the drama? when that slinky, guttural bass line hits you in the chest and reverberates up your throat; the climax of a long, drawn-out chorus building into a bridge that makes you close your eyes and sway inside of your own little space; a whisper followed by a scream.

i've been listening to America lately. not the band, but the country. 12 bar blues progressions from masters like john lee hooker, the moody swamp boogie reinterpreted so masterfully by modern-day mofro; the brilliant neo-glam of las vegas' the killers; the rural midwestern prog-roots-rock of melody masters wilco; the spit and the shine and the venom of eminem.

i like american music. i like the junked-up funked-up reggae punk rock of sublime; the lo-fi twisted rockabilly of the violent femmes; the guitar in ocean waves of jack johnson; the earnest, lap-steel virtuosity of ben harper; the soaring, mountain grooves of the samples; the jazz and grit of willie nelson's west texas country.

but i will say this: when a good - a really good - british band invades america(or any other part of the world that's no longer part of the british empire)... it's some powerful stuff. oasis was the biggest damn band in america for 2 years! coldplay marries rock and melodrama so perfectly they ought to name a new style of music after them. led zeppelin came, saw, and screwed their way across this great land. and let's not forget the four lads who started it all... john, paul, george and ringo.

british bands, perhaps more than rockers from anywhere else, understand perfectly that marriage of talent, good songwriting, world-conquering attitude, perfect timing, and just plain mystical f*#king coolness. it is completely and totally compelling, and if you love music - if you truly love it - you have probably fallen in love with a british band at one time or another.

here's to new order. to the irish U2. to the verve.

here's to the rolling stones. eric clapton. the beatles.

here's to the sex pistols. here's to the clash (the clash!).

and my own personal conquerors: here's to the fucking stone roses.

peace out.


on the eve of a 3 day weekend

my coworker and i are swapping 4-10 weeks this summer. this week is mine, and i have friday off. 9 am to 8 pm is a long day, but being able to cut out and get outdoors on friday, when hardly anyone else is playing... well, that's pretty cool.

today is drizzly and cool and absolutely socked in... and it's really lovely. any rain in colorado is appreciated, and this much rain is just fantastic. we've had precipitation for about 2 days straight now, and it reminds me of the lengthy thunderstorms i grew up with in illinois.

tomorrow more of the same is expected. geno and i will be heading up to pearl lake in the morning, north of steamboat at the base of hahn's peak, where we hope to lay into some nice sized colorado greenback cutthroat trout. the rivers and creeks are just raging right now, so fishing streams of any size is just unrealistic. so, we'll try our hand at some lake fishing and see how we do.

rain gear will be a must. the dogs will be along. good music on the beautiful half hour drive up. a beer at the hahn's peak cafe on the way home. it ought to be a great day.


muchas grassy ass

thanks to b kuhl, wendell gee, robbie dudie, and jenn's dad for leaving me a "happy birthday" voicemail yesterday.

i'm still waiting for a call, or at least an email, from my expatriot homeboy timmy dudie. boy, i tell you - i go out on a cold afternoon with a raging sinus infection, drag my ass to the pawn shop to get a calling card so i can call him in germany and wish him a happy 32nd birfday... and this is the thanks i get!? the nerve.

my favorite gift? a pair of crocs. godawful ugly, but so comfy.

literary moment of the day:

wild geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair,
yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting...
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

-mary oliver