|From Downtown Los Angeles (click the picture for more)|
Posted by mrsteveholmes on May 25, 2009
Posted by mrsteveholmes on January 11, 2009
|From Somers Point, NJ|
This was taken during my holiday stay with the family in South Jersey (more here). Fun was had, (too much) food was consumed. It’s a crime to say No to homemade cookies in some countires I heard, so I didn’t want to take any chances. I wish my sister’s baking skills were matched by my skills of getting back to the gym. It’s amost that time, gotta wait for the “January People” to clear out, then I’ll hit the treadmill again.
I hope everyone had a healthy and enjoyable holiday.
Posted by mrsteveholmes on November 24, 2008
Apologies dear reader for my lack of updates. Every time I find a new web site I think is interesting I immediately check how often it is updated. It’s literally the pulse of thing. No updates = no pulse = not alive = I’m not coming back. Hopefully I’ve got the paddles on this site just in time to yell CLEAR and bring it back to life for you.
Life has been interesting. I began the road to change but it was suddenly transformed into a dead end. Now I’m sitting at the wheel and frustrated with my lack of destination since I was mentally prepared for the trip. I’m tired of things and hunger for a change but my last minute cancellation has left me unmotivated. A debacle I’m currently dealing with. What one knows and what one feel are often in direct conflict. Once one realizes the uselessness of one’s emotions you should earn the right to deactivate them. This is on my short list of questions/complaints to THE LORD OUR GOD should I ever bump into him accidentally. Yeah thanks I get it, I’m (insert emotion here). Mind turning the THING THE HELL OFF NOW PLEASE THANKS.
Speaking of the HOLY MASTER HIMSELF (or lack thereof) I’m currently reading The Book by Alan Watts which communicates a Western version of the The Vedanta Philosophy which I hesitate to summarize due to my unfamiliarity with it at this point. I’m almost done reading the book and I find it very interesting. However the information is fairly condensed so I’m going to re-read it I think. The basic premise is one that found myself recognizing before reading the book however. It touches on the possibility that the universe is essentially ONE thing with many parts that all rely on each other to be the ONE thing; similar to components inside the body. In order to even consider the possibility however, Watts points out that the way we see things is all together wrong (separate components) which makes subscribing to the notion a bit challenging. I won’t butcher it further, it’s worth a read for sure.
So I’m neck deep in Facebook. I resisted for a while but have been pleasantly surprised in the experience so far. Facebook has created the Hagen Daz Vanialla Ice Cream of social sites. Perfect in it’s simplicity, pointing out even further the massive failure Myspace has turned out to be. Yes may I please have more bots spamming me with requests of folks with obnoxious profiles of gaudy backgrounds and horrible looping music interested solely in self promotion? MySpace shows what happens when you let people do whatever they want. It’s a web site version of the United States and Facebook shows us why we need laws of every kind to prevent us from fucking each other over for self-advancement.
On the GAMING front I beat Call Of Duty World at War in co-op mode on PC with my friend Derek. We had a blast. I made it a point to not play the game during development so I would get the fully cooked dish. I’m glad I did, it’s the best game Treyarch as made I would say. I know I may appear biased, but I’m not. I pretty much call it like I see it, and they have really made a great effort to add the grit and edge to the WWII genre. Even the the launch trailer is essentially a heavy metal video violence highlight reel that I Love. One trailer I didn’t make that I wish I did. I’m also playing Ninja Gaiden II which I’m enjoying a lot. The combat is fun, and the gore is hot too. Tried playing Gears of War 2 co-op with a friend, we got maybea 1/3rd way into it and both decided to stop playing. High on presentation (amazing visuals, well cut but lengthy cinematics ) , but the whack-a-mole style shooting gallery just wasn’t enough to keep coming back for more. Pretty amazing looking game though. It’s been said that many games are the same 10 minutes repeated. Strip away everything and drop the player in a room with the enemy and some cover and make it fun to kill and you’re just about home. The combat is just..bland. I really wanted to like it too. I didn’t like Gears 1 but I played it solo. Everyone told me OMG IT’S AMAZING CO-OP YOU’RE NOT GETTING THE FULL EXPERIENCE (of course co-op is more fun. JAIL is more fun with a friend.) So I made it a point to play GoW2 co-op. It was the same game but my friend was controlling one of the characters. There were some attempts to harness a co-op experience with one mission requiring player 1 to shoot target A in order for player 2 to advance in an area below. This was cool. Hell, EVERYTHING about the game is cool, except the combat. So it didn’t last.
I also beat DEAD SPACE which was amazing. First game I’ve beat 100% in a while. It’s basically the movie ALIEN perfectly translated to a fun, suspenseful, scary, and gross game. If you play this game be sure to play it loud and uninterrupted. It took a while to get to the Epic level, I had all but given up on it before getting sucked back in.
Posted by mrsteveholmes on September 30, 2008
Apologies for the lack of updates folks. I’ve been busy working hard on getting to the next level of my life. I don’t know if it’s going to happen or not yet, but I will update when i find out. In the meantime a trip to Cambria California yielded the above picture (click it for more).
Posted by mrsteveholmes on August 18, 2008
I worked hard on this so I’m going to post it. If you want more info, go here
Every since I was young, I’ve obsessed on things that interest me. I think “interest” may be putting it lightly. Things that involve creativity, when the idea strikes, and the momentum gets going, I get consumed.
When I was in High School I got roped into a youth group at my local church and went through a phase of going to church (that’s a whole other story). I remember several instances sitting in a pew listening to whomever, all the while unable to stop the drumming in my head. At the Time I was way into Steve Smith: Part 2 (an instructional video from the late 80’s) and couldn’t turn off the mental playback button of Steve soloing in 5. I was worried that maybe something was wrong with me. Surely during this moment, I should be focusing on the message in front of me. No chance really. The part of my brain that recites music simply has no off switch. I sometimes think that the constant “mental” practice has helped my drumming in a big way. How can it not? It’s its extreme nature that concerns me.
My first experiences with girls at a young age I soon discovered background music was distracting. And by “distracting” I mean sorry honey you’re cute and all but I’m playing a drum solo over this tune you have on and I can’t stop it I hope you understand it’s not you no I’m not like the others wait where are you oh dammit. .
Another odd thing is how the current tune in my head gets planted. I never know if it will or not. One second you click on a youtube link where someone plays an old Chicago song and the next thing you know it’s been on repeat for 3 days straight on the old mental jukebox. You know, the one with no plug (to be unplugged). I’m not complaining, but it gets inconvenient at times where I don’t need my own personal soundtrack. You can imagine. Christ, at least let me pick the tune. Flying, and meetings are particularly grueling because I’m a captive audience to the mental carnival of music, drumming, and director commentary to whatever the heck’s going on at the moment.
I’m used to it by now. It happens with other things that involve creativity as well. Making movies. Taking pictures. I’ve recently learned a great deal about game scripting (text files that contain code that dictate everything that happens in the map you’re playing). I spent a good 11 hours working with it yesterday and got up today at 7am, my mind racing with commands and functions that translate into game actions. It’s an extreme sort of all-or-nothing state that sets me in motion whether I like it or not. There comes a point however, when personality driven obsession meets enough resistance and it’s up to discipline and perseverance to get through the knee-jerk reactions of quitting as a result of repeated failure. It’s called growing up I suppose. I like to call it manning up . Man up, Steve.
Posted by mrsteveholmes on July 17, 2008
More pics here. Thanks Dave!
Playing music is fun. I’ve been in Altered with my friends John and Jeff for about 7 years now.
I ended up leaving for the gig later than I should have. I was at my friend Derek’s watching Denzel Washington in The Great Debaters (an excellent movie). As a result I ended up rushed from that moment until downbeat. I had to change a few heads on my kit before tearing down and packing up, which took some time. Well spent however, the drums sounded great (I bought them in High School. Yamaha Recording Customs for the win, Alex). I get there, setup and folks are already arriving. I manage to think ahead and order a chicken salad (opting not to eat a huge baked potato before playing). I setup, then sit to scarf down the salad while saying hi to friends as they arrive. I step outside to clear my head for a few, then return and we hit.
Gigs are always interesting in the way they bring together people from various aspects of one’s life. Co-workers, former co-workers that are friends, friends, family, music fans, strangers, all come together and this unique energy is felt as the eyes and ears are upon you. There is nervous energy but it is kept at bay by confidence of past repetition.
I immediately I notice the room sounds a bit strange (it always does, there’s a wall at my back and the sound is loud but dry). I make every effort to hear John and Jeff and try not to step on things volume wise while forking out my share of energy. I like to use the “pilot taking off” as a good analogy for starting a song with a band. Get the tempo, count it off, watch and listen. Make sure the song gets to the altitude it needs to as smooth as possible in terms of tightness, tempo, and overall feel. Every tune has a very specific place it’s intended to get to, I am always conscious of it’s arrival and what happens next. Usually with us it’s the musical version of some kind of loud protest that ends peacefully. That’s how we like though.
The first set is over as soon as it starts (all 60 minutes of it) and I am told by our 2-man/5-camera film crew that all is well. They’re not filming the second set, but despite dome flubs I think there may have been some moments in the first set worth checking out. As of now I haven’t even received the footage yet. I say hello to friendly faces while refilling small thin glasses of water from the bartender. The waitress is a gorgeous Gweneth Paltrow look-alike that is covered in tattoos. I’m curious what her story is. Folks leave, the hardcore stay and the second set happens. I take more chances with less eyes on me and the comfort from set one’s success. We have fun and play music, then tear down while exhausted. The doorman is pleased and so are we.
Until next time..
Posted by mrsteveholmes on July 10, 2008
|From Altered in the studio.|
Spent two days mixing the new CD from my band Altered. Fun was had, levels were adjusted, frequencies were compressed, food was consumed, music was created. It really is cool how personal chemistry can effect musical chemistry. I’ve been in this trio for about 8 years now and there is no substitute for the kind of comfort and trust you get playing music with the same band over time. It creates an atmosphere that is very fertile for reaching it’s full potential as a result of what everyone has to offer. There’s no real interference because of the personal trust musical intimacy that sets the table.
I’m enjoying talking through my car stereo. I met a woman at a party (the same one, on two different occasions) that I regret not asking out. I have a gig on Sunday I’m excited about. I got a chance to speak with one of my favorite actors of all time (can’t mention specifics quite yet). There’s a tree dropping crap all over my car hood. It’s on my neighbors property so it’s going to be a big song and dance dealing with it. I got a new screen door to maximize comfort at the palace. I’m still watching reruns of The West Wing on DVD. I’m excited for the new Batman movie coming out.
That’s all i got for now.
Posted by mrsteveholmes on June 22, 2008
Taken from the Mulholland Drive lookout area. There were lots of tourists taking group pictures around each other. I found it odd that none of the groups really spoke to the other despite being confined to narrow walkways and tiny parking areas. I mean, I keep to myself as much as anyone but they all had something obvious in common. I’m not expecting a group session where they chat about their respective vacations, but this was sardines in a can pretending their alone pretty much. I did find it novel that folks had come from around the world to check out this area that’s essentially walking distance from where I live. Of course the novelty wears off after I notice the smog in my pictures.
SO Friday night I go to this video store that’s a chain native to LA. It’s called 20/20 video and despite being a chain it doesn’t really seem like one (which I like). There’s always interesting folks working there, and more so very odd music playing in the store. Sometimes super heavy death-metal, or some odd omlette of genres that I never hear outside of the place. Usually I don’t care for it and sometimes wonder if they do it to minimize time customers actually spend in the store. Whatever the case I’m usually tapping on my legs along with whatever is playing while browsing the new releases.
One tune catches my ear after a moment, an a Capella song in German with two women in a duet. They sing slowly and sincerely and I was having fun soloing over it in my head while being emotionally captivated by the tune. On the way out I ask the guy what it was and he tells me it was a band called Faun, the song being “Der Stile Grund” (lyrics by 16th century poet Joseph von Eichendorff). A live version of the tune is HERE on youtube. Beautiful stuff.
I become intrigued at the idea of playing along to this tune as kind of an accompaniment to some drumming and go home to hit the Google-webs for some research. I end up buying it on iTunes and immediately notice that tune goes in and out of time. Can’t really drum to that! Somehow I have to get this thing to a click track of some kind. I’m determined to cross this over from the idea to reality.
So I burn the song to CD and rip it to wav format to strip the DRM. I import it into Adobe Audition (a sound editing program) and create a project. The tempo is about 110bpm so I end up stretching and blending the end/beginning of phrases while using breaths to smooth out the transitions to get them in time with the click. Currently it looks like this. So far it sounds good, after I spend some time playing with it I may post results (giving proper credit of course). Stand by.
I wanted to also mention that I got a new car stereo on Saturday. Now, I’m a pretty hard-core geek. However I still find myself amazed at some of the technologies available to us these days. The stereo has blue-tooth syncing with my cell phone. When I get a call, I talk through my stereo and the caller comes out through the friggin stereo speakers. Now, I understand how it works, but it’s one of those George Jetson type things that I’m not used to yet, and nowhere near taking it for granted. I mean, they automatically detect each other when I get in the friggin car. My phone and my stereo. They talk to each other. I don’t even have to do anything. OK. I’ll stop now. I’m starting to sound old.
Posted by mrsteveholmes on June 16, 2008
|From HDR Misc|
I’ve often driven around the Sepulveda Dam and always wanted to take some pics of it. I figured it would be difficult to get to, but it turns out you can just hike right up to the thing (here’s what it looks like from the the top of it). It was a fun little adventure getting there. Once I arrived there were some kids on dirt bikes there. They obviously knew a better way. My ratio of pictures taken to pictures being good enough to share is getting worse. I’m learning the lessons but not yet applying the new knowledge. It’s a difficult limbo but I’ll get out of it. It’s just a matter of trusting my gut on when to not even bother taking the picture in the first place.
Speaking of “Dam” I went to a CD shop (Amoeba) with the intent of buying the soundtrack to Matrix Revolutions because it has an amazing song during the final fight scene. So I get there and low and behold they have the soundtrack for the other 2 Matrix films, but not Revolutions. I actually gave the clerks grief (you guys were literally caricatures of the type of guys one would expect to work there. I hate to be judgmental but your existence literally breeds stereotypes for record store employees across the globe).
“There’s three Matrix movies”. I said. “There’s a Hajillion CD’s in here. You’re gonna tell me you only have two of the three soundtracks?”
They go on to tell me that the last copy they had was in the store for a long time before it sold so they didn’t pull the trigger on getting another one right away.
All of the sudden it doesn’t seem so stupid that I’m literally swimming in compact discs here and you don’t have the soundtrack to the movie that was (oh nothing) part of one of the biggest trilogies OF ALL TIME. Mind you I think the 2nd and 3rd Matrix movies sucked. I’m just sayin. They should have the thing.
“Oh.” I said.
“Let me go to one of the other CD shops around here.” Dramatic pause.
“Oh wait. There is none.”
I leave. Dam.
Turns out there’s a new Virgin Megastore in Hollywood. And a Borders. I ordered it from Amazon.
Posted by mrsteveholmes on June 12, 2008
All great TV shows have a few things in common: Interesting stories, characters you care about in some way, and engaging dialog. The West Wing was a 10 on all counts.
The show was written by Aaron Sorkin (his first movie was A few Good men spawning the famous line “You can’t handle the truth!”). The dialog in West Wing is the verbal equivalent to a really enjoyable sports match. It’s not simply entertaining. It’s sometimes challenging, sarcastic, and fast moving (which almost forces you to match it’s pace but in a comfortable way due to the excellent delivery by the cast). It’s beatifically shot, and often has long single-shot scenes that tour several locations.
I’m not sure why it appeals to me personally above and beyond it’s overall quality. I tend to have a dramatic streak in me from time to time, I suppose I may gravitate to that kind of theater if well executed. If one is dramatic about something, chances are they’re passionate about it. It’s the kind of show that after watching several seasons, I’m still in disbelief at how good it is after a favorite episode. I mean Hey.. Ben and Jerry’s ice cream ALWAYS tastes like Ben and Jerry’s. That’s the beauty of it. Consistent. Excellent. Execution. Such a rarity.
Anyways the show has been off the air for a while, but if you missed it, you can Netflix it, download episodes here on Amazon, or get it here on iTunes. Here’s a clip from a great episode where The President, having just finished a funeral for a good friend, has security clear the church where he basically tells God off. In Latin no less! Good stuff: