Mountain View Cemetery

Not too long ago, I went to the Mountain View Cemetery to take some photos. This place was built in 1863 and was designed by  Frederick Law Olmsted, the same chap that designed Central  Park in New York City.

It was a product of the Transcendentalist movement, and was intended to be part park and part cemetery.  If you’re able to visit it, this will make sense, because it is beautiful—I’m very glad a friend of mine talked me into going.

I only saw a tiny corner of the place, and I plan on going back sometime this summer. In the meanwhile, here are some of the pics I took.

For those keeping score at home, these were shot with a Nikon D70 with an 85mm f/1.4 lens.

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The Game of Thrones is Dead – Long Live The Song of Ice & Fire!

WARNING: There are spoilers galore for The Game of Thrones, The Song of Ice and Fire, and even The Lord of The Rings contained herein. Read at your own peril.

Update: I added a little section on Jeyne Westerling. As noted above, don’t read it if you don’t want spoilers!

The Game of Thrones is dead. The TV show, I mean. It’s dead to me. It’s become a big pile of poop interspersed with gleaming nuggets of gold.

Oh, I loved the first season, which tracked the titular first novel, The Game of Thrones, of The Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin. It was gorgeous, and beautifully created. The actors were mostly wonderful, and when the producers made changes to the source material, those changes made sense and were understandable.

Season two, which roughly tracks the second book in the series, A Clash of Kings, has introduced a variety of changes to the source material that do not make sense.

Catching Up

I think I should probably catch you up  a bit, because there have been a lot of big changes for me since I was regularly posting here in…what? 2008? It’s been a while.

In 2009, Darla and I had to put down Chandler Bing, my (he had become our) Yellow Lab. A couple of months later, Darla and I divorced. The Country Music Standards & Essentials Bureau contacted me shortly thereafter letting me know my life was officially eligible to be a bad country song with the proviso that it would behoove me should anything unfortunate befall my car within a 90-day period.

Chandler Bing (& Yellow Weiner Dog) in 2008. R.I.P., Mr. Bing! We Miss You!

Chandler Bing (& Yellow Wiener Dog) in 2008. R.I.P., Mr. Bing! We Miss You!

Let It Burn - The Atomic Love Bombs

Let It Burn, by The Atomic Love Bombs

In 2009, The Atomic Love Bombs released its first CD, Let It Burn. It is a great album, and I was proud  to be a part of it, but in 2010, I left the band. We were working on some great songs—Joe’s an amazing songwriter—and you can hear one of them, “Sol Invictus,” on the band’s Facebook page. It’s a great song and hopefully they will record more.

Grits & Chops!

I’m in the middle of an eight week self-imposed program of learning/cooking one new recipe per week. Well, not really the middle, this was the second week.

Anyway, I started off with chicken korma, because, you know, it was way above my cooking ability. Fortunately it worked out despite my lack of skills.

So for the second week, I went for The Pioneer Woman’s awesome Pork Chops with Apples & Creamy Bacon Cheese Grits.

This was an amazing dish, and the folks I was cooking for really enjoyed it. Better yet, I enjoyed it!

Grits & Chops

Last Practice, First Gig, Wife Sick

In reverse order of importance, we had our last practice before my first gig with the Atomic Love Bombs, and Darla is pretty sick. It was a rough practice at first, due to the studio time interrupting real band practices, but things came together pretty quickly. I am stoked.

We’re playing First Street Billiards in San Jose on Friday the 14th. It would be nice if we could rehearse one more time, but I think we’ll do well enough without it.

Studio Wrap

We finished our three days in the studio, and man was it fantastic! All four of the songs we set out to record came together on Monday, and they sound great, even in a rough mix. Tim will be spending a time in the coming weeks doing some mix downs, and I can\’t wait to hear the final product.

Tim and I laid down some great background vocals (I think) for \”High Again\” and \”100 Mile Freefall,\” and Joe was kind enough to let me play a GREAT guitar line he came up for \”High Again.\” I think it really brings the tune together, especially below Dan\’s vocals and Michael\’s lead work.

I was particularly gratified to get some nice comments from the boys in the band for my contributions to our work. Being a new member, that means more than I can easily express.

Day Two In The Studio

Another day in the studio! Fortunately, I was feeling a bit healthier than yesterday, and I laid down two (mostly) good tracks for “I can’t see you lasting much longer.” I also laid down a track for “100 Mile Freefall,” and “High Again,” but we’re starting over on that one, so it doesn’t matter.

One more day! Sure is cool to be able to do this stuff.

First Day In The Studio

Oi! It was our first day in the studio, and man, am I wiped! I’ve done LOTS of home 4-track recording (back in the day when that was cool), and a lot of home digital recording, but being in a hot studio (AC gets turned off on the weekends where we are!!!) for 9 hours when you’re sick is TIRING!

We laid down scratch tracks for four songs, and then did some very rough demos for 8-9 more. Next, we started working on the real guitar tracks for Early Grave, one of the four tracks planned for this weekend. We didn’t make a lot of progress, but I think we’ll do well on Sunday.

And hopefully I’ll be feeling a bit better, too!

Oh, and Joe and I worked out some guitar parts for some songs, and I really dig ’em. These aren’t for our studio time, but rather some of the band’s repertoire where we hadn’t spent time on figuring exactly what I would be doing. It’s good stuff, IMNHO.

Lastly, I put Apple as a tag because we’re working on ProTools on a G5. My first experience with ProTools, but then I am not engineering it. That task falls to Tim, our bass player, who went to school for this sort of thing. w00t!