31 December 2007

Holidays

Hello to All! I hope that your holidays are going well and that you're happily fattened and content. Christmas was a blast -- I'll have pictures soon from both Jersey and New Hampshire.

I'm now back in Asheville, NC, where I'll ring in the New Year tonight at Bobo Gallery. We (Sirius.B) will be playing the show, along with The Plowshares.

More soon, with pictures. The New Year approaches, and I've got plenty of plans and loads of ideas for the upcoming months. Be safe tonight.

24 December 2007

19 December 2007

Radio Show Wednesday

Tomorrow I'm heading out to Knoxville, Tennessee.

That, my friends, is something I never in my wildest dreams expected to say before moving down South. (Yankees are like that -- We can't even imagine visiting Tennessee).

Sirius.B will be playing a show at the Preservation Pub in downtown Knoxville. We'll also be giving an afternoon performance at one of the larger Tennessee radio stations, WDVX. It should be a great show, as it is a live show (with a live audience) and is simultaneously broadcast over the airwaves and the Internet.

We'll be playing during the 12 - 1 hour (the Blue Plate Special) -- Some guy named Sam Lewis will be opening for us, and we'll be playing the second half hour (perhaps a tad more). If you wish to tune in, I'd suggest doing so around 12:00 and catching the whole show.

Anyone interested can listen here:

http://www.wdvx.com/main.html

OR HERE:

http://www.penguinradio.com/stations/3950

More soon -- I've got some pictures from a recent hike at Bent Creek (a local forested area) to share -- but not now.

18 December 2007

Sony Bravia

This is an advertisement for the Sony Bravia, which is (I believe), a high-definition television. The paint is real (and environmentally friendly). Thanks to Eirene for showing it to me indirectly.

Oh--by the way--I present this ad not because I'm interested in the product, but because it is really quite an amazing visual performance. Apparently they used something like 70,000 liters of paint to make the commercial.

16 December 2007

Sunday Evening

Visions of America




Decorations in Baking and Adventures in Dying



14 December 2007

Knoxville News

We've (Sirius.B) made the Knoxville News!

Asheville band not afraid of mixing it up

By Wayne Bledsoe
Friday, December 14, 2007

If there’s a bit of built-in incongruity about being voted “Best Unknown Band” in your hometown, that seems to fit Asheville, N.C.-based Sirius.B just fine.

After all, this is a band that bills itself as “the finest absurdist gypsy metal folk funk punk the world has to offer,” and then says, “Well, not quite.”

“It’s all those things and more,” says Xavier Ferdon, lead guitarist/vocalist with Sirius.B. “Or maybe it’s just absurdist. You know, we have two violins, a marching-band drum and a cymbal played with a coat hanger … .”

“We definitely don’t want to be a fusion band,” adds Pancho Romero, lead vocalist and guitarist with the group, “but there’s always new things to throw into the mix.”

The genesis of Sirius.B can be traced to the University of South Carolina, where Romero was teaching Spanish and Ferdon was studying guitar. One night Romero sat in and played some of his songs with Ferdon’s cover band.

“His songs were better than our covers,” says Ferdon.

The would-be group never quite happened because Romero moved to Brooklyn to take a job at New York University. Ferdon eventually relocated to Asheville.

After two years, Romero found himself “at the end of my New York rope” and decided to visit Ferdon in Asheville.

“I got a girlfriend, and within three weeks of being there, it seemed like I had a whole life set up,” says Romero.

It wasn’t until early 2007, though, that an actual group began to fall into place.

Hannah Furgiuele (violin and viola), Imhotep (percussion), Jamie Davis (bass) and Laura Baskervill (violin and duende) joined the band.

“For all of us, the whole thing just magically fell into place,” says Romero.

But what the group is, is still up in the air.

Some people would like to call the group a “dance band,” and Romero understands that reaction:

“We have a couple, no, four or five songs, that if you’re not up dancing, then you’ve got a problem. (The songs) beg for a crowd to be up dancing. Maybe those are the songs that people remember, but we have slower songs, too.”

The group’s songs used to be Romero’s with just additions by the rest of the band.

“Lyrically, we’re very different,” says Romero. “I have a love song about an oyster.”

However, more recent compositions by the band have begun in a more democratic fashion, which Romero says is “very exciting.”

While the group is just spreading its wings outside of Asheville, Romero says the band is no longer unknown:

“No, now people know us around here.”


© 2007 Knoxville News Sentinel

13 December 2007

Zeitgeist

I have just seen a movie that has me chilled to the core, angry as hell, confused as could be, and ready to scream. The movie is called Zeitgeist (the term means "spirit of the age").

it is directed by a man named Peter Joseph, and is a film divided into three parts:

Part I: "The Greatest Story Ever Told"
Part II: "All The World's A Stage"
Part III: "Don't Mind The Men Behind The Curtain".

The film approaches much of the same material as many films, websites, etc. that have been produced since 9/11 (Loose Change, etc), regarding the ideas of a grand conspiracy (within the US Government). The film goes much further than a mere discussion of 9/11, however, in that it connects those events to the "myth" of Christianity, the Federal Reserve Bank, and the quest for world domination led by world bankers.

It sounds ridiculous perhaps. Or maybe not so much. Regardless of the far-reaching claims, which are often backed up by unmentioned sources, ghostly voice-overs (with no name) and pictures of mystery pages from unsourced books, the film makes many strong and valid points. What more, the movie comes up with some reasonable and frightening answers for the "why?" questions that many other 9/11 conspiracy explanations often leave unanswered.

I don't buy it all, but if even half of it is true, I'm ready to join the revolution.

Check out the movie, free, at www.zeitgeistmovie.com.

Concord, NC

I took a trip to Concord, NC this weekend, to visit with some of my girlfriend's family. The town is a rather typical place in many ways--it appears to be a poor Southern town filled with churches--with a very typical Pennsylvania-type story (from what I heard, a mill of some sort closed five or ten years ago, resulting in much unemployment).

Still, the town is home to the Lowe's Speedway (I stayed on Earnheardt Rd.) and seems to benefit quite a bit from NASCAR (economically benefit, that is). And, according to Wikipedia, (good news!) only 8.2% of the population is living below the poverty line, compared to our stunningly impressive 12.5% nationally.

The downtown area, while filled with bail bonds places, DUI Assessment Centers, and abandoned shops, is actually quite pleasing to the eye, and was surely at one point (though not, I'd imagine in 2004, when the town won an All-America City Award) a very pleasant place.

A few pictures below for you.



08 December 2007

Jesus

Continuing coverage of the vote for our national minister --

From The New York Times, December 7, 2007 (Editorial)

CNN, shockingly, required the candidates at the recent Republican debate to answer a videotaped question from a voter holding a Christian edition of the Bible, who said: “How you answer this question will tell us everything we need to know about you. Do you believe every word of this book? Specifically, this book that I am holding in my hand, do you believe this book?”

07 December 2007

Elf

Check this…

http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=1230494443

The White House Words

From the New York Times, in regards to the recent discovery that the CIA destroyed tapes of interrogations:

President Bush “has no recollection of being made aware of the tapes or their destruction before yesterday,” the chief White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino, said today.

Amazing wordsmithery.

Balsawood Players

The Balsawood Players was a musical group that I started with Jason Weinstein in 2003. We played original and quirky songs, merging our lack of musical talent (I had barely begun to play guitar and sing, Jason had not sung since high school chorus) with my brother Brian's recording genius. The three of us, with the help of some other friends, recorded an album over the first few months of 2003, finally finishing "The Stench Filter" in April or so. Somehow, the mix worked, and the album was a huge success.


We played one official show, Balsapalooza, which I hosted in my parents' backyard. There was a lot of beer, a bbq, and many good friends. Later, we traveled to South America together and occasionally treated some locals to our tunes. This we considered to be our South American tour.

Some of our songs can still be heard today, and soon you'll be able to hear all of them. If you're a MySpacer, go check us out at www.myspace.com/balsawoodplayaz and become our friend. If you're not a MySpace-head, check us out anyway, and spread the word. The music has been called "viral" by a very learned man named Jeremy, and I'd like for him to be right. Let's spread the virus.


I'll let you all know when the rest of the album (another eight songs or so) is up online.

05 December 2007

Friedman

Friedman (of the NY Times) occasionally gets it right. Lately he has been really on point, as is the case in his column today. Read the article here.

Sorry (again) for the barrage of rather political posts of late, but these things that I read I can't help but want to share. These are frightening times . . .

Wait--I take it back. I'm not sorry at all.

Knoxville News Sentinel

Yesterday, in preparation for my band's (Sirius.B) upcoming trip to Knoxville, TN, Xavi (the lead guitarist, my roommate) and I were interviewed by Wayne Bledsoe of the Knoxville New Sentinel.. The interview consisted of a pleasant phone conversation of about 30 minutes. The whole thing was painless, enjoyable even.

Still, I couldn't quite shake from my head the realization of what power these newspaper types have. Even staying within the confines of our quotes, Mr. Bledsoe has the power to shape his article and our words in pretty much any way that he desires. He can make us out to be total geniuses or complete dolts. He's like the editor of "The Real World" or something -- he decides how the world will see us.

It's amazing, really. And so, Mr. Bledsoe--If you're reading this, be kind please. We appreciate it.

04 December 2007

Me x 3

Here's an interesting photo of me from this summer. Note that I am the attacker, the victim, and the innocent (and obviously scared and confused) observer.

(photo by Eirene O'Connor, 2007)

Don't Mess With Texas

Christine Castillo Comer, the former director of science for the Texas Education Agency, was recently forced to resign, after committing the obvious and terrible blunder of forwarding an email announcing a talk on evolution.


Read yet another sad story about this incredibly curious country of mine

03 December 2007

La Vaca Loca

Here's an interesting Wikipedia Article about Creekstone Farms, an Angus beef producer out of Kentucky. Apparently, they wanted to test all of their cattle for Mad Cow Disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy), but the USDA wouldn't let them

The USDA controls the sale of all testing kits of Mad Cow, so Creekstone had to take the USDA to court. Amazing, isn't it, that a government agency charged with protecting American citizens and their food would actually STOP a company from testing all its animals for BSE?

Conspiracies Abound!

Seriously.

Read it Here

And, while you're reading about one "prion disease", you might as well read about another.

Warning, the following article made me gasp out loud in horror.

Scary Wikipedia Article

The Trumpet Lady

Since I started playing with a band, I've been working on my kazoo skills, trying to turn what is generally considered a clownish instrument into something that truly adds to the music. The kazoo that I've been using recently is a great one from kazoos.com that's got a trumpet-like bell on the end. It's plastic, but it has a nice, even, very loud sound.

I've been searching, however, for an even better kazoo, and I'm amazed by the different kind of mirlitons (the name of the kazoo's musical family) that one can find out there. Some of these variations on the kazoo theme can cost $50 or more--quite a surprise when compared with the cheapest of kazoos, which cost literally pennies.

Even more amazing though, is what an internet search for kazoos and a "trumpet-like sound" can turn up. Like this lady for instance, in the video below. On YouTube, everyone seems to call her the "Trumpet Lady" -- Her real name is Denise Reis, she's Brazilian, and the sounds that emanate from her mouth are ridiculous. Check it out below.

Chavez Not Victorious

Venezuelan Opposition Defeats Chavez Proposal

Photos from Hannah Flanagan's

Julie, our lovely booking agent and photographer, has posted some photos of us over at her blog.
Check them out at www.jbirdphoto.blogspot.com

02 December 2007

Pick a President

An interesting website here:

Pick a President

Answer 11 questions about political issues. The amazing computer machine will tell you how much you agree with the stances of the different candidates.

Huckabee

In this week's New Yorker, in the Talk of the Town section, Hendrik Hertzberg writes about one of Mike Huckabee's campaign advertisements. Curious, I went and checked out what Hertzberg described as an "unusually entertaining spot".

And, as I live and breathe, let me tell you--It is truly unusual and truly entertaining. I'd never vote for the guy, but I certainly give him some points for creativity and good humor.

Big Surprise

What a surprise! The World Bank has been giving Malawi bad advice all this time? The American free-market strategy wasn't working as it was meant to?
I'm shocked!

Read this article about fertilizer in Africa

01 December 2007

Nutjobs

Just another news snippet for all y'all. If you have not yet read about this woman (Lori Drew, crazy woman), you're in for a real shock.

Read it Here