What You Wanted

The lazy videographer:

 

Tonight I went out to Kings Coffee to grab an Espresso Milkshake, only planning to stay a few minutes before rushing back home before I turned into a pumpkin. That was before I realized that Lucas Ireland was playing.

I don’t know how to best describe Lucas. He seems like a good ole southern boy until he picks up his guitar. I know a lot of people who can play the way he does but not many who sing like that. The emotion and power that comes from such a soft spoken young man is impressive, but that isn’t why I’m having a hard time describing him.

I’ve decided that the best thing to do is just use his words:

 

 

Since I started playing music back in 1998, I’ve just been living my life like any normal person. Well when things have gone bad in my relationships, or life gets hard to deal with for one reason or the other, I’ve made it a point to write songs about it. This way it’s like a snapshot of a time in my life and I can let it go and move on. Don’t hold your feelings in. They will consume you. This is my way of releasing these tidal waves of feelings, which in turn keep me pretty happy and optimistic for most of my daily life. It’s too big a world out there to think one bad day means the end of it for you, so find things to relate to, cry it out, talk it out, then put one foot in front of the other and move on to the next part. Learn to leave these feelings where they belong, and you’ll carve out a path to a better you. Enjoy life and leave bad feelings where they belong… in songs you can go to when you need a reminder of how you got past the worst. Thank you to all who listen!

 

So while the kind of music Lucas plays isn’t exactly what I normally go for, you have to admire a man who can put himself out there the way he does. The above video was recorded during his set. This haunting number is called “What You Wanted”. I can assure you that any audio issues in the video are mine and not his. If you want to hear a better version of this song, as well as his other work please stop by http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/lucasireland

“An All Round Printer” I am not… yet

In a past life I must have been a printer. I majored in it in College and my first job after graduation was as a press assistant at a direct mail (Junk Mail) printing facility. I loved the work but not the atmosphere, but that is a story for another time.

About 8 years ago I bought a 3×5 Kelsey Letterpress along with 3 different fonts. I don’t know if you know anything about letter presses but the generally use raised metal type, which means each letter, each punctuation and each space has to be meticulously placed in the press in order to make a print.

Letterpresses also print directly onto the paper which means that the type is reversed… Here is where the problem came in. I bought the press off of Ebay from someone in the Midwest (I live on the east coast) So it had to be shipped UPS to get here and when it arrived…

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See all those empty slots? They’re not supposed to be empty. Somehow during the shipping, even though great care was taken by the sender, the type all got over to one side. Sad, even though I have this amazing piece of equipment  haven’t really printed anything. Since all the type is out of order everything has to be removed and then painstakingly put back in its proper place. Well tonight I started on that task… Well, I mostly just dusted everything off and cleaned out all the compartments. I hope to have everything organized by the end of the week. What’s so hard about it you ask? Well everything is tiny and backwards some of it is nearly impossible to read.

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I mean. We can all agree that this is an H without having to do a whole lot of squinting. Right?

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But What exactly is this one?

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 Oh… Its an E. I think…
Unless its upside down…

The rest of this week I plan to spend an hour or two a night organizing and cleaning my equipment. I miss printing.

Wish me luck!

Metkaf

Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated*

According to my records my last entry was over 8 weeks ago. I’d like to say in that time that I’ve been traveling or working with some cherity or on a soul searching quest. The reality is much less interesting, the reqality is I’ve been mostly benge watching Netflix. I have done some reading and starts playing the guitar again.

I actually played guitar with other people last weekend. Its probably been close to two years since I’d last played my guitar so when my friend invited me I was simultaneously excited and terrified. I was at my dad’s house for the weekend and luckily still had a guitar there along with a fresh set of strings. With shaky hand I set out to resting my guitar. Finally my brain and my fingers got on the same wavelength and I was able to get all new strings on my guitar and in the right order which as it turns out is very important if you want your playing to sound good.

I got together with a couple of guys at my friends church and we all sat around and played some bluegrassy gospel. It’s a thing they do every once in a while, they kinda put out a call during worship service for anybody who wants to come out and “jam”. Only four people, including myself, showed up for this session. It was a little rough in the beginning, I can’t tell if that was just me and my rusty fingers or if that is normal. After a while one of the guitars switched over to a banjo. We played for about 2 hours. It was fun, we went through this gigantic book of chords. I think he said he had chords for something like 172 songs. There was even an index. We didn’t play them all we only played 10 or 15 but it was fun. I was nervous to begin with but those nerves soon settled and I was able to keep up and make changed and give feedback and sound reasonably like I knew what I was talking about. Maybe I’ll be better prepared for the next time.

*I’ve recently discovered that this is a misquoted line from Mark Twian. According to the internet, which may or may not be true, the actual quote is ‘The report of my death was an exaggeration’. This according to an Oxford Academy Tumblr. So I’m not sure how reliable THAT is.

Metkaf

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Did you wear green today? I did not. Don’t get me wrong, when I got dressed this morning I was wearing green, but when I looked in the mirror I said NO. No, I will not bow to societies demands… either that or I found a spot on my green shirt so I had to change. But since the first thing makes me sound more like a rebel then I’ll go with that one.

I was expecting- and if I’m honest hoping for- some flak from my coworkers but I got none. I can’t tell if that’s a good thing or a bad thing; it either means that they don’t care enough to engage with me or that they are intimidated by me. I think I saw a slight twinkle in a couple of their eyes but it quickly vanishes and they moved along. Either way it isn’t good.

It does, however, remind me of a story for St. Patrick’s Day past. *Star Wipe* I was over at a friend’s apartment probably playing video games. It was somewhere in the 2004 to 2006 time range. Sitting there minding my own business probably getting the crap kicked out of me in some halo game.

Turns out when you really don’t have time to play video games you tend to be less good at them than people who play 8-12 hours a day.

Anyway, in comes one of his friends, she didn’t knock, apparently when you’ve lived in this town long enough you no longer need to knock. She begins bounding around the room pinching anyone who wasn’t wearing green. She even pinched a few people who were in green, I know this because they protested loudly, she would reply by telling them it was the wrong shade or that it was really blue. She was really like a bumble bee but instead of delivering venomous, possibly deadly stings, she was delivering mildly annoying pinches.

She then turns to me. I was wearing a grey t-shirt and blue jeans. She studies me for a second, I take notice of this, and she eventually says “You’re not wearing green.” “Nope” I replied. “I don’t know you that well… so I’m not going to pinch you” That’s probably for the best. Then I think she used the bathroom and then left again. This was a common theme at my friends place.

I really had no point to that story other than I seem to be very intimidating when I’m not trying to be but when I AM trying to be intimidating people just think I’m being funny. It is kind of a problem.

Do you guys have any stories of St. Patrick’s Day hijinks or lack thereof?

Hope you all had a pain free St. Patrick’s Day!

Metkaf

Day Light Savings…

I’ve spent this entire week fighting with daylight savings time. It is almost impossible, I’ve found, for me to wake up at 6:30 in the morning when my body is certain that it is actually 5:30. So we compromise and wake up at 6:55, and by compromise I mean sleep through the alarm, wake up at 6:55, panic, skip most of my morning routine –including breakfast- rush out the door to make it to work on time.

This means that I collapse in a mound of exhaustion once I cross the threshold of my house in the evening. Needless to say I haven’t done any writing; that is until last night. A friend asked me to take one of those 5 minute quiz things.

I was supposed to “Imagine a vast desert, and in the midst of the “sea of sand” there is a cube.

The first task is to describe the cube, and explain all of the details of its aesthetic, size, material, and placement in the sand.

There are no right or wrong answers; this is extremely personal to your experience. Don’t rush, and be sure to elaborate on as many key elements that come to you…the more, the better.

The next task is to visualize a ladder. Where is it in relation to the desert and the cube? Describe as many details as possible. What does it look like? Is it big or small? What color is it?

The third step is to imagine a horse in this desert. Describe the horse…its location, and its actions. Is it in motion, or is it still? If it is in motion, where is it going? How does it feel, and what kind of energy is it giving off?

Now, there are flowers present in this scene. Describe the flowers, their colors, quantity, smell, etc. Where are they, in relation to the horse, ladder, cube, and sand?

The final question is to describe a storm that is now happening in the desert. Is it affecting the flowers, horse, ladder, cube or sand? What kind of storm is it, and how does it feel? Is it heading in a certain direction? Is it near, or far?”

Then I was supposed to read down through the description to find out what all that stuff meant. I didn’t do any of that. Instead I wrote this:

In a desolate desert nothing as far as the eye can see. Nothing that is except for distant mesas and a single cube. Now, its odd to see a perfectly shaped cube out in the middle of the desert. But this was no ordinary cube. This clearly man made cube measures about 3 feet… in… cube… was either purple or blue depending on the light and what is even more peculiar is that there was a industrial looking metal ladder sticking out of it.  The wind picks up drawing your attention to the east. A Dust storm approaches and judging by the gaining wind this is going to be a bad one. You look around to find shelter from the storm by there is nothing for miles around except for this cube. Panicked with no other option you run over to the cube, it doesn’t look big enough to hide in but then you realize the ladder in the box disappears into darkness. And in the darkness you hear very mechanical noises. Looking back at the rapidly approaching storm you decide to take your chances down the ladder. Ordinarily you would not climb down a strange ladder in a strange cube out in the middle of the desert. Ordinarily you wouldn’t find a cube in the middle of the desert. So it all evens out.

You take one last look at the nothingness that surrounds you… except the mesas to the south and the gathering dust storm that blots out the sun to the east and you descend the ladder into the darkness of the cube. Down down down you climb until you start to see a faint light below you. As you near the bottom you hear and old man cursing in what best you can tell to be 1940s diction. You finally place your foot on solid… metal grate? This can’t be right! This coming from a person who just climbed down a mysterious ladder in a mysterious cube in the smack dab middle of a not so mysterious desert.

You turn around to see Slartibartfast fussing with an overly complicated control panel that is making all sorts of whizzing and bumping noises. “Confound it” he yells as smoke begins to trail from the controls… He turns around and greets you with “So… Where were we?” you stare at him unable to speak. “Ah Yes! The tour!” He turns back to his control panel reaches for an oversized lever with a very pronounced hard plastic red ball on the top. He looks back at you “You may want to hold on to something” Without giving you time to take hold of anything he pulls the lever.

You feel weightless for a few seconds then the unmistakable feeling of wind on your face lets you know you are moving. And the constantly changing stream of colors lets you know that you are moving quite fast. The colors are only interrupted by the occasional floating farm animal. There was a cow, some pigs and a very annoyed farmer who appears to have lost his cow and pigs. All the while Slartibartfast is looking out into the indiscernible strings of color as if he is searching for something. “Ah, Here it is!” he says as without warning he pulls the lever again causing you to stumble forward catching yourself on the rail.

You find yourself looking square into the eyes of a horse. He is a black thoroughbredy looking horse who had stopped munching on flowers to look up at the clouds and was very much enjoying himself until suddenly he was looking at you. So he was as surprised as you are. But horses are kinda dumb… so after a few seconds he went back to munching on flowers. “QUIT EATIN’ MY FLOWERS YA DANG HORSES!” Slartibartfast yells. The horse pays him no mind and continues eating. “Those are Tulalilies! Its my own personal blend of Tulips and lilies.” You think it looks like an oversized tulip with a stem coming out of the middle of it but he seems proud so you say nothing. “ I only see one horse” you finally say. “He speaks!” Slartibartfast exclaims. “All the other horses are invisible… that one is defective” he says as he glares at the magnificent black horse “Why am I here?” you ask. “For the tour of course!” he replies “why else? Now, if you’ll look this way you’ll see the opla valley with my beautiful, and hopefully award winning, Taluladasies. They are a Tulip, Lilly, Daisy hybrid. I love Tulips!” To you the mutant flower looks like you would imagine if someone smashes a tulip and a daisy together. You don’t see anything that resembles a lily. But again you say nothing.

As you go along for the ride in his little magical floaty metal cage you begin to tune Slartibartfast out. He has begun to follow a river as it winds its way through the valley. You follow it until it reaches the coast where he turns left to follow the coastline. You watch the ebb and flow of the water all the while he is going on and on about the algorithms he used and the physics he had to make up just to get the tides to work out right.

At this point you are tired of all the talking and wonder if the dust storm is over so you can go back home after all how long can one person go on about his award winning fjords. Then there is another turn and you find yourself flying over a desert. This is starting to look familiar. And there is a cube. With that same industrial metal frame ladder. The same ladder, it would appear, that you climbed down earlier.

You are brought back to reality as Slartibartfast says “Looks like a storm came though here. Ah well. Right back where you started” You stare at him in utter disbelief. “Yep just climb back down the ladder” He says. But I climbed…down…” He looks at you funny so you decide, after all you’ve seen today to just go with it.

You begin to climb down the ladder into the darkness just like before, only this time after a bit you begin to realize you are climbing up instead of down. And strangely enough you now find yourself back where you began. You step off the ladder on to solid ground. You stumble a bit but manage to catch your footing without a fall. You turn back to the cube, but its no longer there. Was it even there to begin with?

I borrowed a bit from Douglas Adams. I hope he doesn’t mind. (I know hes dead)

What’d you think?

@Metkaf

New Toys  

In the past two weeks I’ve acquired some new toys; one by choice, one not so much. I finally broke down and bought a new DSLR camera, a Nikon D3200. Now I have no excuses for poor photographs except for my own short comings as a “photographer” I have yet to really get to practice with it beyond my back yard and as it turns out there really isn’t much back there to photograph. Assuming the weather cooperates that will change this weekend.

Based on the very little bit I’ve played with this camera it is far better than the one I had.(I’m pretty sure I could fashion a camera out of a rock and some tin foil that would be better than the one I had. But that’s not the point here)  I still have to use the flash more than I’d like but at least now it doesn’t complete wash out the entire photo. And I can also focus on things must easier and closer than before. So… Yay!

The other “toy” I got was a new phone. This was the “not so much” I mentioned. I ended up having to buy a new phone because the old one broke. I don’t mean “Was too old” or “stopped working properly” I mean what was once one piece is now two. This means I spent my entire lunch break in line at the US Cellular store to get my new phone. US Cellular being the only carrier in this part of the state that works.

I had a flip phone and decided to bite the bullet and buy a smart phone. I don’t like it, mostly because it is different and new and I don’t like either of those things. Having a smart phone DOES mean I can stay connected easier, if only I had something to stay connected to. It also means I know have 2 camera that are far better than the fifteen year old Fujifilm that I had.

 I may right more about these at a later date but for now its tome for me to go to bed

Metkaf

Sunday Snowy Sunday

I tire of snow. It was fine when it really was snow but it has since turned to pretty much solid ice. It still looks like fluffy snow that calls to you to come play, but when you run out into it you find that it is all a lie! A soggy yet still physics defyinly frozen lie! Defyingly is totally a word… Don’t bother looking it up… just take my word for it. I mean how can it be both wet AND frozen?

Its like when you bring home a baby raccoon as a pet because it is all cute and cuddly (which is a thing people do apparently) and then realize after its grown up that it is still a face mauling raccoon and you have to call animal control to come get the thing out of your house while your entire family is forced to live in the tree house in the back yard… What was I talking about? Oh yeah, snow.

This is the south more specifically North Carolina. Despite having north in the name we are firmly planted in the south, unlike those posers in Virginia, or as I like to call them, the hat of the south… But I digress… Being in the south we are not accustomed to snow. As previously stated we tend to panic when it snow. It snowed about 5 inches Wednesday night into Thursday morning and THE SNOW IS STILL HERE! Normally it snows and then melts away the next day. This snow is different, this snow is evil, it refuses to go anywhere. Partially because the temperature hasn’t gotten out of the high 30’s since then, bur mostly because of the evilness. It has now completely turned to ice. Leaving the house requires a level of acrobatics that I do not possess.

So I’m stuck inside occasionally looking out the window at the inviting deathtrap that used to be snow. It taunts me. It taunts me. But I dare not venture out into its icy grasp. I’ll just sit here in my warm house, drink my hot tea and read a good book. You know… Winter isn’t so bad after all.

Metkaf

Thats a Lot of Spam

My local theatre is performing SPAMALOT.

SPAMALOT? Here?

Yes.

Wow. How bad is that gonna suck?

As you can see my friend doesn’t have high expectations, but I have hope. I have other friends who will be performing in the show so I bought my tickets for the play months ago and I plan on attending the 2:30 show this afternoon, which means leaving my house. It means going out into public. I understand there are people out in public. I don’t like people, in general. I especially don’t like large masses of people… like say a theater full of people, so I find myself hoping that the weather keeps people home. I don’t think that will be the case. I’ve heard that there will be a van load of 15 people driving in from the neighboring county Eeekk! The neighboring County?!

My anxiety is such that I am circling the theater in Google street view trying to find a “safe” place to park. Planning on arriving an hour before curtain so I can find a seat before the hordes of zombies, that is to say theater goers, burst in and eat my brains… or you know… sit next to me.  From the looks of it I may have to sit next to a stranger… This is not good people. We are closing in on a DEFCON 3 level of anxiety and as you can see from this totally scientific, definitely not something I found on Google image search chart DEFCON 2 is the “Knocking people over” level. Now, I realize that this chart is labeled “Bread and Milk”… but I think it is all transferable to an evening at the theater. Don’t you?

Truth be told, assuming I can find a Metkaf approved parking place and a non-deadly place to cross the street, everything will probably work out fine. I mean, this isn’t the first time I’ve left my house for a not necessary to sustain life trip so I’ll PROBABLY survive. Right? Anyone anyone… Bueller? Don’t all of you reassure me at once. It’s SPAMALOT for crying out loud! I KNOW!

Metkaf

This is All Steve’s Fault!

Seems like if it drops below 20 degrees my internet goes out. There was a time when I would get angry and call customer service immediately after the outage and be a smart ass to the customer service rep, but I just can’t get angry anymore. I know that whoever I talk to on the other end of that line is probably reading from a script and is definitely just doing their job. It isn’t Steve from Omaha’s* fault that my internet went out and there is probably isn’t a thing in the world he can do to fix it. I’m also probably the 50th person he’s spoken with today, all of whom have been on hold for at least 25 minutes so he’s been yelled at most of those 50 people.

The last time I got an attitude with one of these reps was when he was desperately trying to up sale me on a premium package while I was calling him to report a service outage. I figure if they can’t get a basic package to work then I’m not just going to start bundling my phone and TV with it. It was only after I said no for what had to be 12,000 times** and he still persisted that I started to turn in to a jerk. So he made me do it. It was all Steve fault.

But it wasn’t Steve’s fault. Steve is just like the rest of us. He’s doing what he has to do to put food on the table. We’re never going to get a chance to yell at the people who are actually at fault so be nice to all the Steve from Omaha’s of the world because I can almost guarantee you that he wishes he was anywhere else.

Metkaf

* His name was not actually Steve and he wasn’t from Omaha.

** It was probably more like 3 or 4 times but it FELT like 12,000 so its still Steve’s fault

Snow Days

Snow days

Monday night it started to snow. Sometime Tuesday morning it turned into sleet. This means I woke up Tuesday morning to find 2 to 3 inches of solid frozen snow blanketing everything. This also means that, because I live in the south, that everything, including the library was closed. When it starts to snow down here we all panic and run around in circles waving our arms in the air.

Snow days used to be great when I was a kid, not so much now that I’m an adult. When I got the email that we would be closed for the day I said “Yes! Imma binge watch me some X Files!” What did I do? I watched me about 3 episodes of X Files and then slept the rest of the day. Seriously, I woke up at 4:30 in the afternoon. And if that wasn’t bad enough I slept wrong. You know sometimes you wake up and your neck hurts or your back is sore… I had all of it. However you are supposed to sleep I did the exact opposite. My neck was in such a way that I couldn’t hold my head up and my back was tied in such a knot that I couldn’t even stand up straight. I went into work on Wednesday looking like the hunch back of Notre Dame.

Oh and remember the part where I said I’d slept until 4:30 in the afternoon? Right. That meant that I was awake until nearly 3 am Wednesday morning. So I spent most of Wednesday just trying to stay awake. This is a long winded way for me to say that I really don’t care much for snow. Now, I could take responsibility for my actions and say that none of this would have happened if I had actually done something productive with my day off, you know, like read a book, write, exercise or anything really besides sleep. But because I live in a society where it is almost always someone else’s fault I think I’ll blame the snow. Stupid inanimate snow…

I didn’t even take any pictures! Stupid snow.

Metkaf