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Playing guitar in space

February 23, 2012

I’m always happy when the worlds of music and science collide in cool ways, as should be quite evident by the name of this blog. In reality science IS music, just like science is everything, but this is one instance where it’s especially cool. Astronaut Chris Hadfield is scheduled to be commander of the International Space Station, and he also happens to be a musician. It turns out music is actually an integral part of maintaining the psychological health of the astronauts, and so NASA decided to put an acoustic guitar on the station. This video from Space.com shows Hadfield explaining the guitar design itself, as well as the challenges and adaptations one has to make when playing in zero gravity. Very cool.

On a side note, I’m well aware of collective facepalm the science community is doing right now since the story broke yesterday that the apparent faster-than-light neutrinos discovered last fall may actually be due to a simple bad GPS cable connection. This is still, as far as I can tell, unconfirmed, so I’m holding off on posting anything in-depth. But I will say that I almost expected it to be something so trivial… We’ll see how it pans out.

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Wow, there’s a lot of good stuff to report today.

First of all, let me say that this morning sucked. Quite frankly this started out as a bad day. But I found out that local guitar wizard William Tyler (who’s played with Silver Jews, Lambchop, and most recently KORT) has a new solo album out, and it’s streaming on NPR. I had no idea what to expect, but I started playing some tracks and my day immediately improved. The album is mostly instrumental acoustic guitar compositions with roomy, spacey samples and horn parts washed in here and there. A few tracks feature ambient sound effects with distant druid-like chants. It was one of those times where just the right thing happens to come along to set you back in sync. Good job Willy T!

Now for a brief moment of self-promotion. My band Powerbrrrd is playing a free show at the Exit/In tonight, along with Nite Nite, The Grayces, Little Viking, and Frank the Fuck Out. A good time is guranteed. We had a 4th Brrrd in line to make his debut tonight, but unfortunately he inured his wing and won’t be able to rock with for a few more weeks.

One more brief moment of self-promotion. Saturday I turn 29. To kick off my last year of being a coveted twenty-something, I’m hosting an 8 off 8th at Mercy Lounge next Monday, and it’s a grunge cover night. Yes, break out your flannel, ripped jeans, and chucks- it’s time to get filthy. The lineup is Eliza the Arrow (former members of Forget Cassettes), Foxcore (members of Take the Power Back), Anchor Thieves, Powerbrrrd, Sweet Tempers, Kelly Kerr, and Bad Press (Nashville Cream staff). There will also be FREE CAKE.

If you’re a music maker of the electronic type, or just a DJ who dabbles in production, you should head over to Makeup & Vanity Set’s website where can download stems for an official remix contest he’s hosting. The track being remixed is “Charles Park” off of Charles Park II. I really look forward to hearing some of these remixes, and tackling the remix myself. Whether I can come up with anything noteworthy remains to be seen, as my time is stretched thin…

Finally, I must warn that my posting may be limited to non-existent past today. Something blog-worthy may pop up tomorrow, but Thursday I’ll be having PRK eye surgery, and unfortunately there is a bit of recovery time involved, during which I may have be doped up on pain meds while my corneas heal. Most of you haven’t a clue how severely near-sighted I am, but suffice it to say that even though this surgery will only reduce my corrective prescription, that alone will be well worth it.

Protomen/Pansy Dance/beer

September 25, 2009

father of deathSo tonight is the epic CD release show for The Protomen’s Act II: The Father of Death. Epic is an understatement, actually. We’re talking a full choir, and a full string section. Not to mention the 10-15 people already in the band. The super-dedicated fanbase of this band never ceases to amaze me. They are flying in from all over the country for this show. Oh, and it’s sold out… so if you don’t have a ticket you’re SOL.

HOWEVER, if you’re still itching for something to do, and don’t have a ticket, there is something else for you to do, and it happens to be pretty close by. Little Hamilton is hosting the 2nd official “Pansy Dance” party, featuring DJ’s Kid Chicago and me (Burgers). I’ll be scooting over there right after the Protomen show’s over (around 1-ish) to DJ till the wee hours. So if you don’t have a Protomen ticket, just come, and if you do have a ticket, come over afterwards and dance the night away!

Some other random music tidbits:

Wayne Coyne is pretty crazy. And he likes to call people in other bands dicks. And he also likes naked people on bikes. So maybe he just likes the word “dick” in various usages. I saw their movie Christmas On Mars this past weekend, but I wasn’t on any kind of drugs so that must why I thought it was kinda pointless and needlessly weird. I still like the Flaming Lips though.

Jimmy Page, Jack White, and The Edge were all in a movie about guitars called It Might Get Loud. It’s playing at the Belcourt Sept. 25th through Oct. 1st. Read the Scene’s Patrick Rodgers’ take on it here.

My first batch of home-brewed beer turned out pretty decent, in case you hadn’t seen my twitter and facebook posts about it. I’ve actually given a good chunk of it away already, but I have about 20 bottles left. It’s a pale ale, and while it’s not exactly wonderful, it’s not bad for a first batch. The hoppiness is a little off- rather than a pleasant, crisp, refreshing bitterness it has a slightly unpleasant bitterness that sort of wears out your palate by the time you finish the beer. But I’ve discovered that drinking it with a meal greatly diminishes that effect and creates an overall pleasant beer experience. I’ve got a batch of cream ale in the fermenter as we speak, and it should be ready in a few weeks. It should be a much better batch because I used filtered water to make everything.

Also, Caitlin Rose officially approves of “Steve Cross’s attempted pale ale.” I’m thinking she should be the official spokeswoman. Just watch this video on facebook. (You’ll have to login to watch it…)

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