There are 5 days left in my tenure in Pittsburgh and things are beginning to get a little mad. It would be fantastic to be able to relax and enjoy my last days here, but that wouldn't really be emblematic of the time I spent here now would it? Instead its going to be a whirlwind of packing, goodbyes, parties, work and mild panic as I try to sell off music equipment and bulky furniture that is no longer useful where I am going. I want to leave as few loose ends as possible here at work and it will be close, with just a few issues left hanging with some code agencies that I have no control over.
The band has wrapped up its final performance but if you'd like a t-shirt or CD drop me a line and I can hook you up in time for the Holiday Season.
Tickets to Hawaii have been purchased, New Years' plans have been made, Replacement Housemate has been interviewed, Brazen has been retired, Farewell Concerts and Final Kwanzaa Parties are being planned ... It's t-minus 33 days and counting and then Pittsburgh will be short on one Thomas Sean Kelleher and one Lisa K Pelky ... come see us in Hawaii, there's room for plenty.
I tendered my first resignation ever yesterday, effective January 1st 2008, without first securing a new job.
I made a commitment to a rent three times my current rate and also managed to break up the band.
My sister moved three thousand miles to be closer to family and I am moving five thousand miles away to 'a lump of volcanic rock in the middle of an ocean surrounded by nothing'. (That was my bosses description of my chosen destination upon hearing the news.)
My best friend from high school has been diagnosed with cancer ... operable, recoverable ... he's got a fight ahead.
So although I am excited, and proud, about my decision to move, it is tinged with a swirl of trepidation, disappointment, and anxiety.
I am hopeful that my career will take on a new and fruitful direction.
I am hopeful that my bandmates will forgive me and keep making good music.
I am hopeful that my family will get along and respect each other.
I am hopeful that my friend will make a full and healthful recovery.
I am hopeful that being in Hawaii will reduce my stress levels and make bad things go away.
Come visit me and Teddy, we'll be on Lanikai beach
waiting for you.
ps looking for a replacement for me both at work and at my apt.
rent is 425, bills range 100-180
location is southside, big room, big kitchen, basement storage, awesome roomate (quiet, clean, responsible)
Was heading home on friday night and I'm parking my car on 25th street adjacent to Carey Way. A typically grungy biker on a single speed track bike weaves his way down 25th and turns sharply down Carey. He disappears from view as I unload my guitar from the back and then walk to and turn down Carey. Whereupon I notice the aforementioned biker is facedown on the sidewalk, still as a log with the bike oddly propped between his twisted feet so that the rear wheel and frame are pointing straight up. His head is facing away from me and the position is so perfect so as to seem staged. My first instinct is to jokingly overreact and mumble 'someone call the cops' in order to illicit a response from the prankster. Upon approaching the biker the moderate pool of blood formed on the sidewalk indicates that this is, in fact, a serious situation. 911, are you ok, yes he's conscious but bleeding profusely, send a bus asap, keep him still and talking, you know the drill...
About this time Carsen drives by on his way to drop-off a cooler to my house and mistakes our odd situation as a photo shoot ... not recognizing me until closer inspection as well. Carsen and I dislodge the bike from his feet and glean that his name is Adam Cooper and that he is verry sorry for bleeding on someone's sidewalk. As I'm talking to Adam Cooper about how he's doing and why in the world he thinks he should be apologizing to the people who's sidewalk he is bleeding on it becomes apparent that A) he is way drunk B) he is way depressed. Carsen and I talk to him a bit and Adam gets pretty weepy about something so I decide the best thing to do is to sing him a song. 'Carsen, what song should I play? ... I dunno Tom, how about something in French? ... Ok Carsen, this is a song about showing children the promise of the future ... Prendre un enfant par la main ... "
Adam gets pretty weepy during the song, dunno if it cheered him up or depressed him more, but he decides that he should probably go now. We attempt to persuade him to stick around for the ambulance but he's pretty determined to move on despite his bulging and bloody eyebrow and blood all over his face. I follow Adam, Carsen goes to Carson Street to flag down the Ambulance. The medics find us and Adam, they take a look at him and tell us we can move on - i bid Adam a goodbye and hopefully better luck.
Saturday and Sunday was a quiet and generally relaxing pair of days spent sanding and varnishing the mast, boom and running trim on Dulcinea, the biggest debacle of which was camping in 40 degree weather having anticipated 80 degree weather. Also got sun on sunday leading me to be de-hydrated as well as feverish on monday morning.
Despite being quite sick for a full third of the R. Squadron's European Vacation I have to say that I had a fabulous time. A lot of this had to do with being with the best people in the whole wide world. I also had the fortune of having a travel companion who deals with stressful situations graciously and pragmatically. Most importantly, she was comfortable with my improvising and occasionally hairy driving, this was invaluable.
I took about 800 photos which I've culled and put the best up on flickr.
They are a good way to get a brief glimpse into the fun that was had.
I've also started work on producing the mostly random video footage that was taken, including some of the Iron Chef Leek Challenge and spinning in circles in various European city squares. Hopefully the ferris bueller museum montage will be awesome!
There are a great many good stories to tell about the trip which are definitely best told over belgian beers at the sharp edge.
However, if you can't corner me there you can read what Dyl has started of a summary of the most fun tidbits on her myspace blog:
I got sick again at the beginning of this week and I made it worse and worse
by trying to control it through medication and maintaining my typical work pace.
It was only a sore throat right? Maybe allergies? Maybe re-hash of the trip disease?
D says it could be strep if there are white spots in my throat (I can't see any ...)
But since its already been 5 days not much point in going on anti-biotics for 10 days is there?
Yesterday I was delirious, tired and could barely swallow without sharp stabbing pain and yet still I kept trying to work through it.
Cough and cold medicines were useless, only advil made the swelling go down and
even then I was still feeling beat. So I did the only thing that ever works ... called off meetings,
postponed the deadline, left work early and slept for 18 hours.
Opportunity knocks ...
My firm needs about 30-40 interior and exterior photographs of our projects taken. Largely they need to be simple, web-quality images taken for marketing and promotion purposes. Its a large back-log and the realization that it would cost ten-thousand dollars+ to have photographed professionally has the management in a bind ...
So I propose a free-lance, semi-pro photography contract to produce above-average, digital-only images using an amateur DSLR, pro-lighting and a versatile lens (super-wide zoom). The goal is to earn the equipment by offering an affordable fee for simple, quality services.
They accepted. Equipment is in the mail. Game is On.
I feel I've left 2006 with many positive marks and a lot of optimism for 2007.
Weight loss is a perennial goal for most of us and I managed to drop 50 lbs over the year and only put on about 10 in the last 2 months. I think I can match that performance this year and get close to my target of 220. This is good because the Doc reviewed my blood work from last year and said without corrective action Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes were waiting for me down the road. Let's hope this year's bloodwork tells a different story (maybe the goopy French cheese known as Explorateur in New York was
not the most helpful way to cheat ?
Game plan is a short period of strict Phase 1 Sonoma Diet
Followed by the more relaxed and indulgent Phase 2 and 3 for 3 months
A quick break for Holland and then back to Phase 1 for a week and progeesing back to phase 3 eventually.
My guitar playing (bass and acoustic) has improved markedly and I am no longer wary of barre chords.
Singing ... I never hold back but the talent really isn't there except as far friends and family are concerned.
The signature project of the last 3 years of my Architecture career is now complete, hurrah! And photography (and porfolio materials) will commence soon.
Also, studying has begun for the Registration Exam, as well as final IDP documentation and verification.
The band has been struggling of late, what with holidays, recording debacles, broken fingers, and slow production.
If we Boot and Rally this could be the breakout year for the Ruckus ...
My brother is moving to Hawaii in June and I want to live here
Hopefully his SERE
Training goes well this week
I'm on a big win streak in online poker - 3 single table sit-n-go tourneys in a row in first place - taking home about 60$ in a week.
Working on overdubs tonight with Lisa, Bryon and Len - Hope to have our demo ready by the end of the month so we can get lots and lots of gigs.
The Fringe Racing Red Bull Derby Team is meeting on Saturday to pick our theme.
1. Texas Massacre/I'm a lumberjack and that's ok Chainsaw (with pedal powered recirculating chain with foam teeth)
2. Major Kong's Nuclear Rodeo (with full cast of Dr Strangelove)
3. Oscar Meier man in a HotDog Suit jumps into a Hotdog bun car (deli-team serves up giant fake condiments and dressings)
Which Princess Bride character are you?
Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti
Just bought some music by:
Erin McKeown (we will become like birds)
Keller Williams (stage)
Mike Doughty (looking at the world from the bottom of a well)
Jill Sobule (cinammon park)
Bruce Springsteen (seger sessions)
- Music:Keller Williams
Today, at work, there was an envelope in my inbox.
But not the kind you expect to get at work.
The kind you expect to get at home around your birthday or the holidays.
Nice paper, large, with interesting stamps, handwritten address and one of those custom return address stickers.
Except I didn't recognize the name at all.
Nope, doesn't ring any bells, and I don't know anyone that lives in West Mifflin.
Turns out its a thank you card from the woman who was in the buick that was spun around by the speeding hit and run driver. With a little note about how nice I was to help her and comfort her. Oh and a 30$ panera gift card - how cool is that? So next time someone might in mortal danger, if you're on the fence about getting off your lazy butt to help, just think, there might be sticky buns waiting for you if you lend a hand. Thanks Carol! :)
Every now and then its good to totally cut loose and have some fun.
Saturday night was the Jammy Jam and I made the most of the occasion.
Lots of Jack on the rocks, vodka jello shots, and a Jager bomb meant
I was about as inebriated as I've been in a while and yet I still
managed to perform our set with minimal screw-ups. I had some fun with
people playing the 'we bet you your pinky that you can't light this
lighter 10 times in a row' game and then pretending to pass out.
I wore black silk boxers, black old man slippers and my vegas swinger
shirt with the furry red stripes but I didn't win the Jammy contest :-(
apparently winning is as much about presentation and showing skin as the
quality of your jammies.
'Stewart' the band went on before us and rocked it in a punky new york kinda
way - very ramones meets weezer in the form of a cute busty girl with her friends
and family backing her up. I missed the second act but saw his awesome guitar
which is something like a Chapman Stick.
Sunday the 23rd of July, 2006
The weather report, crafted to give the impression that today would be the most glorious opportunity within the month of July to go sailing, was only slightly misguided. It neglected to mention the chance of passing thunder showers and the accompanying doofuses from the yacht club that would clog the docks without removing their boats from the water. This caused some tension and ire to enter my otherwise perfect first solo sail aboard the gorgeous Dulcinea, my 1959, restored ,Lightning class, one-design, sloop rigged, day racer. My galloping troll of a friend from Berwyn was in town unexpectedly from Boston to attend a wedding with his (clearly serious) girlfriend. I invited them for a day of relaxation unparalleled but they instead chose to visit the over-glorified home designed by our dear idol, FLW. The repetitive question in architecture schools nationwide is "If it is such an iconic work of genius they why are so few contemporary homes designed with same principles, let alone the same aesthetic? Why are the ostentatious cribs of celebrities giant, dull vanilla boxes hung with glitzy trinkets and unauthentic trappings?". I offered them a tour of the nearly complete, nearly organic and very dramatically designed residence that I have spent the last 3 years of my life drawing, which they turned down. I hope to revel in their chagrin when it becomes world famous ... ;-). I have nicknamed it 'Copperfalls' but neither the owner nor my boss know that yet.
The point of all this is to point out that I finally used my boat for my own relaxation. I had become accustomed to having outings with the intent to share the joy of a day sailing, and not necessarily to enjoy them myself. It was quite therapeutic and it brought about three rather easily decided decisions about my own life.
1. I will stay in Pittsburgh for 1 more year.
2. I will become a registered Architect.
3. I will do more things for myself. Especially solo sailing on beautiful days.
Sometimes I crave productive work in a way not entirely dissimilar from craving food.
You desperately desire a glutton of meaningful tasks set before you like a feast. The hearty flanks of far-away vaction home, the delicate flavors of a graceful glass and metal canopy, the intricacies of a difficult accesibility problem, even the simplicity and cheesy goodness of a themed carwash, like mac an cheese with too much sauce.
Trouble is I'm feeling a little stuffed right now. And to top it off most of this feast hasn't gone well with each other. Like when you go to the buffet and can't help getting anything and everything that looks good to you and not picking items that suit each other. How do you switch from detailing a luxury bathroom to a 4,000 sf pre-engineered metal building that costs half as much? Its like having foie gras and caviar as an appetizer to a Big Mac. Off to band practice
Being deeply involved in a creative project, whether its architecture, photography, buggy, boat, music, website etc, is a great, great place to be. You've got this tasty morsel of an opporunity in front of you and you can take it pretty much anywhere. Your imagination is the limit and your intuition is the key to success. Experience, vision and taste are all commentators and they can shape and direct your efforts, but always be aware that they might hold you back.
With the band we are just getting started on our creative little journey. We've done some preliminary exploring with a wide range of music, and now it seems time to start making some decisions about where we're going and how we choose to present our identity. I've started work on logos and some graphics. Our band photos so far have been sepia toned cell phone snaps in the dark basement where we practice. The lo-fi aesthetic is actually quite attractive; the 1:2.8 lens with minimal pixels gives grainy and atmospheric images with great distortion from the wide angle. The sepia tone and low-light effects drive the character with exaggerated shadows and a antiqued tone.
What I like about our band and our sound is we are indulgent without being overwhelming.
Bryon loves his fills, Paul riffs into oblivion and works to master his leads, Lisa puts character and gloss in every piece and I slide, glissando and snap whenever it feels right. We're not afraid to put ourselves into the songs. The sound is rock but it's sparse because we love tone and not because we love filling every bandwidth with sound.
We are musicians and we know what makes us special as a group is not us, but the music we make.
And making the music makes us happy. Why else would we gather for 2-3 hours and work up a
sweat in a steamy basement in the middle of July?
Suffering from Live Music Overload Syndrome. Symptoms: ringing in the ears, faint trace of smoke in hair, mild hangover, ground seems to bounce occasionally, finding bruises in new places.
We (the Gladstone Ruckus) played our 4th show to about 30 people on Friday night. Probably our best to date and for once we experienced minimal sound system issues, i.e. feedback wasn't an issue. This undoubtedly improved everyone's confidence in performing. As it was also our 2nd show in week we all seemed very comfortable.
Comments from friends included:
Best sounding yet.
Really like what you've got going.
Singer's stage presence was pretty good and of course tommy being tommy ...
Quite a variety of songs.
Could be tighter still.
Sometimes guitar drowns out singer.
Endings often caught people of guard.
Saturday night was Slim Cessna's Auto Club and the Legendary Shackshakers. It was Psycho-Billy heaven. A regular bluegrass gospel hoedown revival romp with a fair share of hallelujahs and praise jesus followed by
intense harp and blues psycho-billy with abundant audience/performer bodily fluid exchange. Good music but so much smoke that my nose bled.
Sunday was a Mordant Productions show with the Brides, Revolver Modele and a guy with a laptop. Modele was the best by far and if they were in Pittsburgh and not Minneapolis I would want to play shows with them. Dancing with Lisa and Katie was pretty fun.
The other standout event of the weekend was the dramatic car accident that I witnessed. A Buick in front of me was turning left onto 2nd avenue from Bates and was struck from the left by a speeding dark sedan. It hit in front of the left tire and caused the behemoth Buick to spin 270 degrees. By the time I got out of the car the sedan had disappeared into the night and the victim in the Buick was getting out. She hurt her neck but was otherwise alright. I made a statement to the po-po and left my info but was surprised at how little I could remember about the car that struck her. I had called 911 immdiately and reported the hit and run but it seems like the guy is going to get away with it ...