The 2000 MySpace friends of the radio show blossomed to 5000, then we started collecting them on Facebook. The monthly circle moved to Spartacus, and got a website. My band was invited to play at the 20th annual installment of a prestigious accordion festival in California, and I singlehandedly pulled off programming 8 days of squeeze here in town for our 3rd annual Accordion Noir fest. Last month we celebrated the 4th anniversary of the weekly radio show ’s establishment, and every episode is (eventually) downloaded as a podcast thousands of times.
We have just organized as a society, and I have just organized as an accordion teacher. I don’t know if the instrument is experiencing a renaissance, but I certainly am experiencing a burst of its revival around myself!
Share step-by-step deadlines with your friends and ultimately perhaps even meet other local IF enthusiasts!
Feb 15th – March 15th
This dovetails well with my “go on tour” goal pretty well. During my 2002 cross-country trip I picked out the largest, most inpenetrable books in my shelf that I would never read otherwise, because Canada is a large country and small books would barely be a drop in the bucket that is the vastness of the prairies. That got me through Gravity’s Rainbow and Moby Dick.
Fortunately I’m blessed with a constitution allowing me to read while in a moving vehicle, so I hope to take my upcoming two-month spell on the highway as an opportunity to finish off Don Quixote and maybe some Dostoevsky. What’s this? A collected anthology of Mark Twain’s writings? Okay, I’ll stow it next to Augustine’s City of God. Big books for big trips.
Measure, mix, heat, agitate, heat, cool, eat.
I suppose all food can be boiled down to such essentials, but it was so stark in this case. By the time it’s mixed it’s practically ready to eat!
The video at http://www.forkyou.tv/2007/02/27/quick-fork-5-to-granolas-house-we-go/ got me where I needed to go. Now only exhausting my ingredient supplies is the sole thing holding me back from making it continually.
what I actually want to do is work up the gumption to just tear up the lawn and plant directly in the dirt.
Of course, if I can’t commit to being around through the growing season for maintenance, what that amounts to is spreading out a lavish buffet for slugs. You get to tour or grow vegetables, but maybe not both.
practicing yoga was actually something that my ex was interested in doing, not myself… and now she has someone else to get up at the crack of dawn with to stretch and contort. Perhaps one cherishes one’s own health more when in a relationship, even to the point of pursuing esoteric treatments of maintenance. Will nothing motivate us to be healthy for ourself? (Not, one supposes, without addressing the core problem of low self-esteem.)
Well, I missed that boat… but there’s always next Spring! It’s not like Portland is going anywhere, and besides; if I have to choose one time of year to be there, that would have to be Columbus Day. (New Year’s Eve wasn’t too bad, neither!)
will certainly help in the achievement of this goal. (As section editor, I have the option of bringing in pinch-hitters, but it’s not like I have any dearth of things to say regarding video games.)
If you can tell a story in grammatically correct English, it’s eminently likely you can make a game. It’s that easy. (Maybe not a /great/ game, but, well, that’s a different goal, isn’t it? Baby steps, now!)
My suspicion is that its pseudo-natural language may actually get in the way of implementing trickier puzzly things, but for the meat and potatoes of text adventure games, it should now be possible to do >80% of the fundamental work by stream-of-consciousness conversationally relaying instructions to the computer off the top of your head through voice recognition software while engaged in other tasks. When the tools become this easy, our only excuse for not producing is creative bankruptcy—and everyone’s got a “My Apartment” game in them somewhere!
A week ago I got a chance to discuss the monthly accordion night with Rick Cluff on the Early Edition, around 6 in the morning on the national radio service. This prestigious appearance didn’t have as big an impact on our group meeting that night as the craigslist posting did, but it certainly did demonstrate my rise in the ranks toward the natural media “go-to” contact for any and all stories with accordionic connections. While I’m hardly an expert, it seems I am at least becoming oriented in the direction of a spokesperson of sorts.
(The craigslist posting also yielded some BCIT journalism students who interviewed Bruce and I yesterday morning on film about our squeezebox fixations to pad their portfolios. Getting tight today with the reporters of tomorrow!)
lowers many of the presumed obstacles in the path of those of us with this goal more inclined toward writing than programming… and is likely worth the while to read up on.
Instead I comb through old games for all-text data files to dump and re-implement as choose-your-own-adventure batch files. A grand leap back!
okay, okay, there’ve been some dry spells, but since I’m sitting on three assignments at the moment (again for three different clients—two previously visited in this spree, however) I think I can still swing it if, as I initially insinuated, we play the law of averages 8)
Previously remarked upon and now up and on the streets (and more to the point, the internet): Articles two and four ... the latter of which may end up panning out into a regular opportunity to not only write about video games but get paid for doing so! (Once I’ve achieved that, then I only have to worry about meeting my goal of actually writing video games 8)
Article 3 didn’t pass muster (looking for art, not art criticism), but one of the audio submissions (we just found out, months later) is ending up on their music compilation. Not our music, but at least my efforts are resulting in some good for someone! Encourage your local reclusive songwriter!
As well as having achieved 2000 accordion friends on myspace, we launched the monthly accordion circle (7 pm, 2nd Tuesday of every month, at the Little Mountain Studios—195 E 26th at Main) to a room of mixed talents, a dozen individuals with a half-dozen instruments in hand. Half the room were just-got-accordion novices, but to counter them we had not only the Accords but two stately gents who first learned to squeeze box back in the 1930s! Between that, a Celticfest appearance and two improbable sightings at Vancouver’s meat market the Roxy, my profile is boosting.
Just now, while responding to an e-mail inquiry about the Vancouver accordion social (as referred through someone in Texas!), I was interrupted by a phone call by someone looking for accordion lessons. Having to put one kind of accordion business on hold to address another is a good sign that advancement in this goal is being made.
(9 hours of music up as podcasts on the Accordion Noir site... with at least that much waiting to be uploaded still.)
Because Vancouver is the insular kind of town where something that fascinates you might be going on down the block without your ever knowing, when you find an aspect of secret wholesome fun poking up it can be worth your while to subscribe to its mailing list, especially if it’s likely to report on similar events of whimsical bounty—Vancouver has for instance a pretty good track record on flash mobs.
While promoting events I help to run (doing my bit to help make Vancouver more interesting) I do what I can to help spread the word about other esoteric happenings I find out about from various sources, generally reposting a digest of sorts once a month over at http://community.livejournal.com/vancouverarts/
Someone wrote in to thank me for turning them on to the 2nd annual Noise Pancake Breakfast. Do they plan on going? No—but it makes them glad to know that it just exists. I don’t mean to specifically plug my listings; the backs of newspapers and even laundromat bulletin boards and the sides of streetlamps often yield access to secret wholesome fun you might otherwise stumble onward totally unaware of. Keep your eyes open and you just might uncover something worth reporting back here.
I don’t know how much this will boost my specifically local accordionic profile, but it looks like our late-night accordion radio show has successfully made the leap to podcast, with files available for download at AccordionNoir.org. And it’s awesome.
With clearer local applications, looks like I’ve found a place for the monthly squeezebox circle to occur… following some renovations and cleanup. Will keep you posted! (It’s a good way to distract how it’s been over a month and I didn’t get anything published 8)
While encoding my projects beneath a numerical cipher is /secure/ and prevents me from getting pinned down to any sort of commitment (hm, a complaint my ex had also), it must make for oblique, boring reading. Article 2 is IN—hopefully not too late to be used. (It was a review of Michael Barnholden’s Reading the Riot Act: A Brief History of Rioting in Vancouver; an interesting read, but a topic I exhausted most of my word count in just setting up. This may be why my proclivity leans far more toward online writing: never hitting the end of the page means I can be a slow boil + can build as long as I need to. As it is I put all my players on the stage, introduce them, and then need to wrap it up before they get to do anything! In any case, these conflicts were the primary obstacles in getting the piece in.)
Article 3 was an interview of Bob Uker, aka the Minoans, for a magazine run by one of my old computer artscene buddies Tincat. The interview was mostly fluff peppered with a couple of paragraph-long questions, but really the whole purpose of the article was for an excuse to quote from his over-the-top song lyrics about how hard an artist’s life is.
Article 4 coming on up is a feature on that locally-grown video game about living on the street and setting the theme of homelessness and repetitive, arbitrary labours for uncertain rewards, in a video gamey context.
As for 5? Poetry? I still stall at the thought. I imagine they’d take fiction too.
but a week or so ago I was horrified to discover that for three years I have overlooked my honourary godfathership of a little boy easily within reach. Fortunately his birthday is on Sunday, so perhaps I can help to make that occasion enjoyable… though without (for absolute lack of funds) any presents typical for such an occasion not originating from inside my room. (Perhaps I will discover a hidden cache of stuffed animals.)
I’d say he could be good practice for my actual nephew, but given their two-year age gap their respective developments will remain at some odds for quite a while.
Three weeks on the air now, with goals met ahead of schedule: for week one, an e-mail address; for week two, a myspace page (and semi-swank logo thrown in for free!); for week three, 100 myspace friends. The internet response has been overwhelming (looks like we have jumped on the precise moment in the zeitgeist for this thing) but due to a lack of a radio Nielson rating, all we have to gauge the success of the broadcast is middle-of-the-night phone calls to the station.
Next up, an inquiry into a more advantageous time slot (even from 2 am to midnight would be a massive leap in terms of local listenership); podcasting will it seems give us the international coup we’re jockeying into place for. Still… becoming synonymous with accordion use internationally is not the same as becoming synonymous with accordion use in Vancouver.
My pitch for community space use for the monthly accordion circle was turned down and I’m at some odds for a plan B. Networking with the established box squeezers in other countries is a gas, but where I think I can do the most good is telling the newbies which side is up and what the different switches do. (Building bridges between the two levels will be, uh, fantastically synergetic! however of the two levels, I think the micro is more essential than the macro. Hence this goal as opposed to “achieve international accordion superstardom.”)
Article 2 horrifyingly two and a half weeks past deadline; article 3 submitted at the final final deadline (may also get my band included on a compilation CD and possibly some live performance opportunities, but, tragically, won’t know how any of it pans out for weeks.) Just at the point of broaching article 4 with the editors (surely if I write the article before even pitching it I can’t end up behind deadline!) and have been invited to submit more by the publishers of article 1… supposing inspiration strikes. (Supposing I’d best finish up #2 before moving on those.)
What a lovely assortment of numbers to be sure. Perhaps I should run them through a spreadsheet, their intricate interlacings no less literary than the dovetails of a sonnet or villanelle. (That reminds me, the notion struck to submit a poem to my old alma mater’s rediscovered literary journal (making #5), back from the dead. On the other hand… once you leave poetry behind, can you really go back?)
Since none of these are guaranteed, I suppose I’m at the ”/submit/ something every month” phase in this goal’s evolution and just hoping for the best. Certainly maintaining a good hit to miss ratio is preferable, but there’s something admirable to be said for someone continuously in print despite a bathroom wallpapered in rejection slips. It demonstrates a certain obstinate solidness of character.
one that presumably can’t be shared by too many (though I will be a sport and cooperate with the competition, since I acknowledge that my idiosyncratic one-hand-dominant style is hardly a fair representation of the instrument’s full capabilities.)
I think I’m already well on my way there: nowhere will you find a man more tirelessly thrusting this instrument into the musical sanctums of Where It Is Not Expected, Yet Not Explicitly Forbidden. I’ve been to dozens of open mics that featured a dozen guys on guitars and me—and in such company how one plays is really secondary in establishing a strong, stand-out recollection. (It doesn’t hurt that some people seem to get off on my crate-diggings.)
You don’t have to come to one of my concerts, already a member of the choir, to catch me in action with the squeezebox; I bring it with me to all manner of unexpected public places and thrust it into new musical contexts. (There is nothing punk about Britney Spears, but there are few things more punk than playing Britney Spears on the accordion… at the Asbalt.)
En route I serve as an ambassador for the instrument for any passers-by who care to recount tales of their families’ expired traditions of its use. People ask me about repairs and lessons.
Circumstances are buoying me along in an effort to take it to the next level – from punchline back to instrument. Rime may have inadvertently kneecapped my attempts to meet Shayne Koyczan’s challenge of the Accordion Slam, but 22 hours from now we hit the air with the first episode of a weekly accordion show on CO-OP radio – perhaps with a podcast doppelganger. Inquiries have been made for a live alter-ego for it to dovetail with, a monthly accordion social circle in the spirit of Ralph Shaw’s improbably successful Ukulele gatherings.
I was going to make some lewd double entendre about sucking and blowing here, but it’s just not coming together… perhaps because it genuinely isn’t a good fit in the face of such bold optimism.