September 30, 2005

he’ll need sweaters and earplugs

The average price of natural gas in Minnesota is already up 73 percent, this year versus last. I should be concerned, seeing as how I’m moving to the frigid tundras of Duluth, but I have a trick up my sleeve that will offset all heating costs this winter. My PowerMac G5 arrived yesterday, and let me tell ya, that thing really kicks out the BTUs. I doubt I’ll even have a gas bill this winter; I’m just gonna pipe the exhaust from my G5 through the house.

With our digital infrastructure firmly in place, all Brainside Out Industries needs now is a physical address upon which to affix its assumed name. With any luck I’ll be in Duluth within the next couple weeks and should be able to scout out a suitable environment. Hardwood floors, a front porch and a view of Lake Superior top the list, but I’d also be okay with the modest surroundings of Glensheen. If only there was a way to keep all the tourists from sniffing around. You’d think the murders would be enough to keep them away, but no, that stuff attracts them in swarms!

Meanwhile, there’s more than enough down here in Minneapolis to keep me occupied. Great Big Dreams played at the Hexagon last night, with The Fillmores and another band (whose name escapes me at the moment, but they were a tight indie rock group that moved here mere weeks ago, and have already played a number of gigs around town). It was a good show, though the acoustics at the Hex are rather abyssmal and the monitors were too quiet/too broken for the guys to hear what was going on.

The mellow start and intense build on Bring was excellent, Paper Cuts was nicely done, and The Dirge was absolutely creepy. That song totally needs red lights and a fog machine. The highlight of the night was definitely Doggy Paddle, where the music was so consuming I felt like I was transported to another place entirely. Nice work, guys.

I might be playing bass for The Como Avenue Jug Band tomorrow, though I may have recruited another bass player, in which case I’d play saxophone or tuba or bones or something. Mates of State are playing at the Triple Rock on Monday. There are a lot more upcoming concerts I wish to see, that are either too expensive or too sold out for me to attend. Over this I weep openly.

Oh. Coldplay’s new album X&Y is holy-freakin’ rad. I was afraid all the hype would turn out to be, well, hype, but this disc absolutely blows me away.

September 25, 2005

Silence != Inactivity

Holy geez, is there a lot to say.

I’m done guiding trips for the summer.

It was about a week ago that I finished up, and this time around I feel really good about being done. It was truly an incredible experience, one that I wish to repeat over the next couple summers, but now there are other things afoot that command my attention.

All in all, I spent four months this summer living up the Gunflint Trail, and spent 50 days out in the wilderness. As I’m doing the math, that nearly doubles the amount of time I’ve spent in the wilderness, up to this point. I saw moose and otters and beavers and bald eagles. I never saw a single bear, even though at the beginning of the season we had one wandering around camp, breaking windows and eating grease. Over the course of 11 days on Isle Royale we hiked more than 100 miles and saw seven moose. I saw sunsets and sunrises and meteors and satellites. I saw the moon.

The new Great Big Dreams album is stellar.

Tap Solo Just Kidding is so fine and polished that it’s runnin’ #1 down in Plano, Texas.

89.3 The Current is the best radio station. Ever.

The Current is a radio station from Minnesota Public Radio, newly created since I moved to Oregon more than two years ago, and they seriously play the best music that I have ever heard. Many times when I’m listening to The Current and jammin’ around town in the Geo Tracker I need to check and make sure that I’m not inadvertently listening to my iPod, their sets so closely parallel my own music collection. Other times they play stuff that’s so freakin’ hot and esoteric that I can’t believe I don’t have it, already.

It’s an incredible and eclectic mix that sandwiches Duke Ellington between Atmosphere and Modest Mouse, and I honestly would have it no other way. I’m listening to it right now, through an internet stream broadcasting wirelessly to my PowerBook.

Oh. And that’s another thing.

I’m an Apple guy, now. And I’ve never been happier.

I have been a hardcore PC guy since 1987. I was a Windows jockey even before there was such a thing. I’ve been building my own PCs for nearly ten years. And you know what? I gave it all up a few days ago, and I’m ecstatic. From a hardware standpoint, this PowerBook is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. The wireless card is built in, the antenna hidden in the screen. The keyboard knows when it gets dark and lights up, respectively. Not only does it light up, the light fades on, or fades out, depending on the situation. The trackpad scrolls windows when you use two fingers. The LCD screen is huge and bright and lovely.

As for the software? Tiger is spectacular. I have already transferred over 4,000 photos into iPhoto, I love Exposé beyond all words, and I catch myself giggling in glee whenever I dive into Terminal to tweak the OS. The focus on design and the attention to detail with these things, both in hardware and software, is absolutely staggering. After switching from Windows XP (and a fast computer running Windows XP, mind you) I honestly feel like I’ve been catapulted 50 years into the future. I finally have a system that is built around the way we use computers today, not the way we used them ten years ago. The difference is significant.

I’m moving to Duluth.

Good friends, Lake Superior, a season pass at Spirit Mountain, snowkiting in the Harbor, Sir Benedict’s Tavern, and Fitger’s Brewery were all deciding factors on this one.

I’m starting my own business.

Make no mistake about it, we’re goin’ at this thing balls-out. The threat of starvation can be a source of great motivation.

More details to come.

I turned 25 yesterday.

Does anyone else find it ironic that the cost of your car insurance goes down at the same time that you are allowed to rent a car? Have you ever seen how people drive those things? My brother-in-law tried to drag his rental sedan to the summit of Mount Hood.

That should do it for now.

September 20, 2005

we all need haircuts

Okay. This time I’m back for good, and now I’m working on something pretty huge.

In the meantime, I find ice water amazing.

September 12, 2005


Holy crap, the iPod nano is quite possibly the coolest thing I have ever seen in my life. Well, the coolest thing ever, perhaps excepting the view from my new cabin at Menogyn. Aaron our program director moved out of Aerie yesterday, so I took the opportunity to move in, make a mess and spread all my crap around.

Aerie cabin is located atop a nice hill, right next to Bearskin Lake. I have a huge screened-in back porch that looks right over the bay leading to the Daniels Lake portage. At night I sit on the porch in a Sky Chair, writing or reading or watching thunderstorms roll across the lake.

You can see the tension I experience in life. On one side we have the glorious beauty of untouched wilderness, saturating my senses at all hours of the day. On the other side we have hot techno-geek stuff like iPod nanos. I can’t make up my mind. I want both. I want neither. I want it all.

As for my lowly iPod Shuffle, I still love it. Something like the nano is far too beautiful to be treated the way I treat my Shuffle. I charge it up and shove it in my linty pocket, aside car keys and spare change. I hang it around my neck when I go running, and soak the poor thing clear-through with sweat.

As I reflect on my lifestyle, I believe I got the Shuffle specifically because it didn’t have an LCD screen. If you talk to my old digital camera, it will tell you that LCD screens and I have a sorrowful history, one that is prone to mountain bikes, high velocity impacts and shattering.

Anyways. I’ve got a few more weeks in the wilds and then it’s back to civilization. Civilization, and remarkable things like hot water, ice cubes and iPods.

Nanotechnology. It’s going to save the world. I mean, really.