State of the Project: 12/23

It’s been over a month since my dad took this picture:

The triumphant return!  Only about 17 steps to go!

In fact, now it’s the day before Christmas Eve (a.k.a. Christmas Eve Eve) and here I am, writing about what I did back in the beginning of October. But there’s a method to my madness: if through some miracle I finished writing about the tour today, there would be months of nothing but “well, I’m still mixing…” posts. Not very exciting. Instead, I’m timing things so you get a slower but constant stream of actual, exciting project news.

“Bah!” grumbles Mr. Yerfulovit. “You’re just telling yourself that to make yourself feel better about not updating as often!”

Maybe partly true. And hey — welcome back Mr. Yerfulovit, we haven’t seen you around for a long while. Anyway, while slowly bringing the travel bloggings home, I will occasionally mix in current project news so you also know what’s going on now.

Current project status

Mainly, I’m waiting on my visa to go teach ESL in Korea again, and start climbing out of the debt this project has already put me in. The wait is far longer than expected, evidently due to lots of changes to the visa process in Korea. Because I needed a week or two where I wasn’t thinking about the project and 10,000 related details every day, I had been planning on waiting until I was in Korea to really buckle down and get things edited, mixed and recorded, but as the wait drags on I’ve had to reassess that plan. So, I have been working on making sure I have everything recorded in the States that I need. I’ve been doing a good bit of mixing, and recording a handful of people in Omaha.

But to be honest, I’m experiencing a bit of a “down” after the constant hustle and bustle of traveling and recording. Certainly I needed to crash a bit, just to recover from the exhausting tour. But I still don’t feel like doing anything, and it’s been about a month since I got back to HQ. This constant waiting for the visa and not knowing when I’m leaving yet has also got me a bit frayed. But it’s been more than long enough and I need to get back on my feet.

I’ll be taking a very stripped-down version of my studio with me to Korea, so I’ll be able to finish up the project over there. But I won’t be recording anyone (besides myself) in Korea. It’s a kind of project rule: only US Americans on the project. I know some great Korean musicians, but I’m saving them for later. This particular project is about Americans from all over playing American music from all over. As it turns out, even limiting it to the USA is diverse enough for at least three albums (Amazing!). I’m not generally very nationalistic — I don’t see why any country is necessarily better than another, when every person on Earth is equally valuable — but America is my home and the source of a lot of my musical upbringing, and the best context for my first album. A kind of foundation, from which I can depart but never permanently (I’m applying that to both my geography as well as my music).

In exciting future news, I have both a really great painter and a really great graphic designer both on board to help out with album artwork and jacket design (!!!!1!!11!!), and a handful of musicians ready to collaborate with recording online should I discover a hole I’m not able to fill myself in Korea.

There’s a new version of Sonar out. It looks shnazzy.

And now for our regularly-scheduled travel blog.

Bend, OR

Bend! Besides being the home of famed cluster balloonist Kent Couch (undoubtedly the first cluster balloonist to fly in a lawnchair from Bend to Idaho), Bend is also known as one of the most scenically scenic places around.

“Excuse me,” interrupts Attractive Girl, delightfully.

Well, it’s been a while! I was almost afraid you had moved on to someone else’s blog.

“Nope, not every girl is like that,” she replies, winking.

You have to stop winking like that, it’s very distracting.

… What was I talking about?

“Bend. And what I want to know is, why Bend? It wasn’t originally on your itinerary.”

I went to Bend because of —

MPM: THE LONG ARM OF RAMON.

— um, yeah. Geez, we had two entire posts with no narrative devices and now this.

I had not yet located a host on the way towards Boise (the next stop) so Ramon very generously bought me a night at a bed & breakfast in Bend, which was pretty much exactly halfway to Boise from Portland.

“Hey,” says the ugly passerby, “did you by any chance steal that phrase about Ramon’s arm from a song by your friend Michael Olson, entitled Long Arm of Love?”

Dang, you caught me. Can I continue?

“I knew it!”

On my way to Bend I saw many scenic scenes. I even, on a lark, decided to follow a sign for a “Scenic Route” which ended up adding only a half hour to my trip, and negligible distance.

Watch for runny noses, next 12 miles. On the way up McKenzie Pass.  So scenic!

A few times the scenic route actually came out from amidst all the trees to give me a view of something, but unfortunately it had started misting.

Look!  The mists of time!

At one point, I knew I was really high up and there was a ridge to my left so I got out and climbed up the ridge…

Just over this rise...

I thought if I just went a little further I could have a spectacular view. At last, I came over the top of the ridge and saw:

Wow.

Ok, not quite so nice. But I turned around and got a decent shot of my car.

Car, by road, near deceptive ridge.

Finally, I reached the summit. It was dark.

Taken from a moving car at night.  Not bad!

The bed and breakfast I stayed at was called Country Inn the City. It was a nice homey place run by two very kind and motherly young ladies.

The Kind and Motherly Ladies of Country Inn the City

I had a bed!!!

It was pretty much like visiting my grandmother.

The following day, after an exemplary breakfast, I was on my way. I poked about Bend for a bit before heading along towards Boise.

Mountains.  I think some of them are sisters (of the Three Sisters). Driving through the bustling downtown of Bend. More mountains.  I think one of those is The Bachelor. There must be something interesting in this photo, but I'm not sure what it is.

On behalf of Attractive Girl, the ugly passerby, the mob of teenagers, Movie Preview Man, everyone who hears and enjoys the final product, and of course myself, thank you Ramon!

NEXT: Boise — where is it and why doesn’t it rhyme with “tortoise”?

Eugene, OR

Eugene! Not to be confused with the Korean singer/actress Eugene formerly from S.E.S., nor the software designed to aid political scientists in testing expected utility theory of war and dispute initiation (Expected Utility Generation), this Eugene happens to be a town in Oregon famous for its hippies. I didn’t happen to see any hippies while I was there (can’t say I looked for them either), but I did see an old friend of mine who claims that his name is Tim Bess!

Tim Bess, musician

Tim is a classy dude who plays keyboards and trombones and does a great job at both. In addition, he has gotten himself married to a classy short girl. I always enjoyed playing with Tim back in the day and enjoyed getting the chance to a) catch up with him and meet his wife over lunch, and 2) get him playing some trombone and keyboard on the project.

Tim keyboarding.

Yay!

Unfortunately, my stay there was brief, as I was on my way to Bend, OR that very day.

NEXT: On my way to Bend, OR that very day.