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I ended up finishing this with what I think is the easier of the two, a Led Zeppelin cover band. We’ve had 15 shows so far, and after this Saturday, we will have had 18 in the 6 months we’ve been playing together. I, of course, play the part of Jimmy Page, and we’re bringing in more production value each show. I’ve got the double neck for The Song Remains the Same, The Rain Song, and Stairway. I’ve got a bow for Dazed and Confused. It’s a total pain, but we definitely want to bring the theremin in for Whole Lotta Love at some point. Anyway, while I love Led Zeppelin, I’ve still got a lot to go if you look at the rest of my lifelist. I’ve learned the entire ballboy catalog too, but there are 12 other bands on my lifelist that I haven’t finished (though I’ve made a huge dent in some of them), and, if I keep going the route I’m going, there are at least 6 other cover bands I could be in.
May want to remove Muse from that list now considering how terrible I think their new album is. May just add The Beatles since I’ve become a bit more than in love in the past few years. Hmmmmm

So at some point, I decided this would be fun to get good at. I’ve accumulated a bunch of stuffed animals for Julia. At one point, in the course of about 6 or 7 dollars I spent over a month, I got 7 stuffed animals.
That said, I’ve been on a terrible losing streak lately, but I still contend that this is a game of skill and I’m good at this. I think I’ve just been too damn cocky about it that I’m willing to put in too much money into every machine I walk by. I’m no longer careful now that I’ve achieved the goal I wanted to go after (a bunch of stuffed animals out of a small amount of money). Not sure what’s next in the saga or if it will go back and forth between careful and daring. Not sure if it’s about knowing when to hold them and fold them, but man, every single time I walk past a machine, whether the odds look good or bad, I want to put money in, and I find myself wanting to go to stores and places that have machines versus ones that don’t. That’s where I am now.

I wanted to make sure, since this has been on my lifelist for a while and, as my memory recalls, possibly incorrectly, I’ve missed a few eclipses in my region for stupid reasons, that this wasn’t just something mundane. I didn’t want to just stay at home to see part of the eclipse and do the stupid cardboard pinhole box bullshit.
So we drove up to Sedona, some friends and I! It was a fun day trip. We went up to the Lowell Observatory, looked through a telescope, and looked through some crazy sunglasses at the sun being partially covered. Maybe this was just me being stupid and naive, but I really thought it might affect the actual amount of daylight, but it did not whatsoever! I guess only a total solar eclipse would do that. So that was a bit disappointing. Either way, it was a fun trip, and I’m glad to cross it off the list!

First, I want to say, just to make my position clear, I love women, and I consider myself a feminist. I think women should have equal rights and make equal pay and blah blah blah. But I saw something online and it triggered a rant in me. I started ranting out loud, even though I am alone in my apartment because my girlfriend is away for the next week and a half. Anyway, here’s what I saw:
So, you might know that I’m a fairly liberal guy, and you might be anticipating a rant about the media right now. That is exactly what I am here to rant about, but probably not in the way you had anticipated! I absolutely hate the people who made this infographic. I won’t claim to have a whole lot of knowledge about statistics, but I did take a year in that course in high school, and got a 5 on the AP test, and I’m very proud of that. I understand how to say a lot with a little bit of statistics, as most statisticians and infographic artists do (this should basically be synonymous with con artist now, by the way), and I’m going to deconstruct a lot of this graphic.
First of all, the whole point if this graphic is to point out the gender gap. Choosing to include organizations quoted is just unnecessary and misleading, and slightly alters the balance of the other statistics. It is completely unnecessary for the point they are trying to prove, and they could have just made their sample males and females.
That said, the number of people/organizations quoted only reflects EXACTLY that, the number of people quoted. That doesn’t even mean the number of quotes. This means that, for example, a paper could have quoted Hillary Clinton 80 times within 12 minutes, and this would only count once. I hope you get the point, but let’s give another example: any female politician/head of an organization. If she says one word, or one million words, she is counted ONCE. The amount of time or effort given to these quotes, or even the number of quotes is not represented at all. So, obviously, there is a huge flaw there.
This would be the equivalent to saying “Oh, they only let one black man speak out at this rally?” when Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech. Do you see how these numbers might possibly be wildly misleading? And do you also see how these are not weighted in any way? This, to me, is because of a bigger problem, though this is a bit of a tangent. We live in a society where it is very important for everyone to have a voice (see: Twitter), but let’s be realistic, not everyone has something powerful or new to say–in fact, most people don’t. One Martin Luther King Jr. or Abraham Lincoln speech would kick the ass of all of these fucking quotes and it wouldn’t matter whether he had a dick or a vagina or both!
There’s another thing that bugs me about the way 4thEstate presents their data–the categories in which they place these quotes. Abortion, birth control, Planned Parenthood, and women’s rights are all very similar categories. I am not saying they are all the same topic, but it is going to be nearly impossible to find a quote that doesn’t fall into more than one category, if not all four. When you have overlapping categories like that, it would be more responsible, statistically, to group them all into one sample. Now we cannot just take the average of the 4 and get reasonable data because we have no idea what their sample sizes are and where the overlaps are.
AND here’s the most important thing of all–they left NO comparison to what the average numbers are. We have absolutely no context. This is a pretty standard thing. You have a control group and a sample group. Obviously, there’s no experiment here, but we have two things that we can compare, and then make conclusions. If you took a look at other nation-wide issues, does this fall outside the norm? Are there more females or less females weighing in on the economy? It’s kind of odd that they left out any sort of benchmark, don’t you think? It seems to me like they may have even started making conclusions before making the graphic, which is my biggest problem.

Now that we’ve argued numbers, let’s get to the original point of the graphic. It’s trying to say that woman are underrepresented. At least, in terms of women’s rights, isn’t that what you want? I mean, obviously women are going to fight for their rights, but MEN should be fighting that battle just as much, if not more than women! The name of the game is EQUALITY. Isn’t the whole point of feminism for men and females to be equal and to not care? When blacks earned the right to vote, it wasn’t because only the blacks were fighting for it, it’s because whites were fighting for the blacks to vote too! In a perfect world, wouldn’t you rather have more men fighting for women’s rights than women? Wouldn’t that be THE most powerful message of all? One of the biggest problems we have with gay rights right now is that they are very few publicly homosexual politicians. Similarly, the strongest message we can send is that the heterosexual community embraces them and is willing to fight for their rights because we are all equals. Let’s focus on everyone fighting for what they believe in instead of picking apart meaningless numbers, all right?! Sheesh!

So we went to see a psychic the same day that we saw the eclipse and I must say, though it was fun, it was a bit disappointing. I was really hoping for a big black woman with cloudy eyes and giant dreads and a crystal ball… Maybe some tarot cards. I should have really done this in New Orleans rather than Sedona.
This guy was upset that our group didn’t have any questions, and he didn’t predict a whole lot. Most of what he said came down to that we should crack jokes, drink water, and not eat/drink any milk products. Hmph. I finished this item, but it was really quite disappointing! I think the next time I am in New Orleans, I may have to retry this one.

The full item on the lifelist was this: “Attend a giant music festival (Something like Bonnaroo or Glastonbury or Coachella or Lollapalooza or Summerfest… I’d prefer it to take a few days and be an overnight thing, not something crappy like Edgefest!)”
Well I did! Not only did I attend a festival, I played in one! I played at Hammerfest IV: Hammer of Thor. We did tons of press/interviews so go look up Chemicals of Democracy at Hammerfest on Google or something if you really want to. You’re going to get a huge writeup from me here! I’m just checking off the lifelist item.

Olga Kern Rachmaninoff Festival Tickets

I believe I’ve seen the Phoenix Symphony perform one of the concertos with a pianist before, and I’ve definitely seen them perform the Symphonic Dances before.
What a treat to be able to see all of them in two weeks! Here is the full program:

Thursday, May 3 (Symphony Hall):
Sergei Rachmaninoff – Piano Concerto No. 1
Aram Khachaturian – Selections from Gayane (Lesginka, Dance of the Young Maidens, Ayshe’s Dance, Sabre Dance, Mountaineers’ Dance)
Sergei Rachmaninoff – Rhapsody on a Theme of a Paganini

Sunday, May 6 (Scottsdale Center for the Arts):
Aram Khachaturian – Selections from Gayane (Lesginka, Dance of the Young Maidens, Ayshe’s Dance, Sabre Dance, Mountaineer’s Dance)
Miecyzslaw Weinberg – Sinfonietta No. 1
Sergei Rachmaninoff – Piano Concerto No. 2

Thursday, May 10 (Symphony Hall):
Sergei Rachmaninoff – Vocalise
Alexander Borodin – Symphony No. 2
Sergei Rachmaninoff – Piano Concerto No. 3

Saturday, May 12 (Symphony Hall):
Sergei Rachmaninoff – Piano Concerto No. 4
Sergei Rachmaninoff – Symphonic Dances

A few notes. Borodin is one of my heroes, so I absolutely loved that I got to hear some of his music performed live. I also was surprised at just how much I enjoyed the Khachaturian, and thought it would be a pain to hear it twice. After the Weinberg, Julia and I were the only two in the audience standing, and it was really neat, because Michael Christie acknowledged us by nodding to us! It was SO COOL. In terms of the Rachmaninoff, the 3rd concerto was my favorite, but the Symphonic Dances were definitely my favorite overall and I loved that that ended our two-week festival.

Blinking Lights and Other Revelations by the Eels… This is just one of those albums that I guess I just really feel. It sticks with me. It’s been a while since I’ve had one of those. It’s not quite as coherent, but it feels like The Wall in a lot of ways. It has a lot of really strong themes that keep coming back around again, but in different ways. There really are a lot of similarities between prog and indie music, it’s all about labels. Like I’ve said before, let’s all pretending it’s so fucking easy to label music with genres, all right, guys?
Similarly, there’s a podcast I’ve found that’s dug it’s way into my soul as well. I haven’t yet explored the site, but it can be found at The podcast is called The Mental Illness Happy Hour. If you think you might be screwed up and have ever considered therapy, this might be the push that you need in the right direction. Though I haven’t been back to counseling in a while, this has really got me thinking about it, and it feels good listening to it. It’s got me thinking more than anything else has, and just as good album does every now and then, it seems like I am experiencing the world in a different way now. I listen to a lot of podcasts, but this is something truly amazing.

This is a continuation of sorts from Now More Fun. I realized how long it had been since I had written there. I’m here to write some new, hopefully more meaningful, hopefully further reaching material. I’ll soon no longer be paying for a domain name or hosting, and, if I feel the need to most music, I’ll be posting it on YouTube and on here.