Friday, September 17, 2010

Argentina cravings, beard shavings, and Oddwood/friendship savings

     Where to begin. First, I'll start with my recent hankerings for the Argentine culture. It's now been almost one year (come October 26th) since my adventure down south, and at this point last year was when I was doing all of my extensive research into the initial trip. As I said 'goodbye' to SeaWorld camera operations, I said 'hello' to leaving the U.S.

     With my trip came a life-changing mentality and paradigm shift in my way of thinking and appreciation of other peoples out there. Seriously, the Argentines that I met were such wantonly friendly and open people who shared with me such great stories and impromptu lessons in castellano. The nightlife and the live music and the passion that they immerse into artistic endeavors (tango, film, performance) is unrivaled in anything I've encountered in my experiences.

     I have been intrigued to return to the land of silver sometime next March - no news as to length of travel or if I can afford the apparently higher price tag of plane travel and recent imposing of a $130 U.S. entry visa, good for ten years and purchased upon entry into the country. And if that plan is carried out, I would like to head into Patagonia to explore the scenery and awe-inspiring wildlife. And now I have a hi-def camcorder to capture all my exploits, including the spotting of right whales, orcas beaching for seals, penguins, and elephant seals. Oh! And Nequen, a town more in the central part of Patagonia, has an excellent dinosaur museum. Argentina can boast about finding the largest dinosaur ever discovered–truly a testament to how much this place relates to my own interests¡!¡!

And now that I've got that out of the way...

     I recently shaved my beard. Last night (Sept. 16th) marked the two year anniversary of The Dread Crew of Oddwood as a band!!! I decided that, since I've been growing my beard since the band formed in 2008, and I've been growing tired of my moustache, I should rid it all and start over. It took some serious contemplation on my end as to whether I should actually part with the waterfall of hair on my chin, and after kissing it farewell, out came the razor and to the floor it fell.
     I've forgotten what my face looks like completely naked. Pretty damn good, if I do say so myself.

And in light of that tragic event,

     The Dread Crew of Oddwood, starting shortly into October, will be going on a few months of hiatus (but definitely not indefinite). We have just completed a 3-week long, 5800 mile, 17 state, 25 show, 8 person, 2 small vehicle national tour and journey across the heartland of America! Personal tensions flared at times, boredom seldom but occasionally ensued, adventures were plenty, dinners cooked in our hotel rooms on portable burners were absolutely amazing, and the Midwest had some nice views, as well as a whole lot of nothing to look at.

     So, pursuant to our inevitable exhaustion and a much-needed break from the weekends of heavy performance schedules, a national tour, recording an entirely new album, and a round of novelty performances at the L.A. County Fair, we will be braking the bands inertia for some air. There have been several relationship strains because of this, not to mention the countless bickerings and arguments, and now our guitarist/flutist is moving on due to personal conflicts. So we'll be down to six remaining members following the break. Shit happens, so flow with it. catch my drift.

     My sentiments on this whole Oddwood intermission...thank doG! I finally get time to relax on the weekends! And I will get to spend time outdoors! Basically, I've been couped up in a cubicle/office environment, working 40 hour weeks and spending weekends performing with Oddwood. I love my real job, and my band job, no doubt, but I also love personal relaxation and some alone time every now and then.

   I recently invaded Seaworld, and just days before our [meaning, all of San Diego's] beautiful orca, Sumar, decided to up and die, still to the trainers' bewilderment. He always had a giant plastic waffle toy that he would play with and swim around with, wearing it on his head.
      I still have some fun activities for the fall and winter planned, of which all will be pretty excellent.

Until then, this is Drew Peters.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

7th Day of the Oddtour!

     I am writing from a relatively upscale hotel room in Gurnee, Illinois; just about half an hour North of Chicago. More things have happened in this first week--regarding our adventures, misadventures, and activities--than many people accomplish in a ten year span. It's incredible that it feels like we've been on the road for weeks or months already, but are only through a third of the total trip.

     Last time I posted a new journal entry, we were in a hotel in Phoenix, and Ian had knocked one of his fake teeth out. We decided to have him get some emergency dental glue from an office the next morning, while we all went out to a cool coffeehouse in the suburbs near Phoenix's industrial center. And I was able to repair my badly falling apart tom drum, since, after suffering from years of my beating the crap out of it through travel and play, the hinge screws decided to cause the drum to almost break off the metal stand I've crafted for it.

     From Phoenix, we headed North through Flagstaff, where the desert suddenly rose several thousand feet in elevation and became evergreen pine forests, as far as the eye could see! The air was fresh when we got out to eat some lunch at an appropriately named road house, The Lonely Pine. Some us still conducted our daily regimen of 50 pushups for each stop we make on the road, be it for gas or a stretch break or to eat. After lunch, we headed east through the open steppes of New Mexico, where beautiful thunderstorms left heavy stretches of dark gray clouds which permeated the air with rain and lightning blasts. The dark red land was beautifully dotted with green shrubbery and not that many houses. We passed tons of signs for selling meteorites and ostrich eggs, Indian trading posts, and religious propaganda.

Albuquerque and Santa Fe
     We arrived in Albuquerque to play a fun show in a bar named The Atomic Cantina, with another fun bar next door, Burt's Tiki Lounge. We met the other touring band who was playing Burt's at the same time we played the Cantina, and soon parted ways. I felt a very cool vibe in downtown Albuquerque-- I really want to go back there. We stayed the night at Nick's friend Ria's house in Santa Fe, about an hour North of Albuquerque, and watched Clerks 2/ enjoyed some hand-made enchiladas, courtesy of Ria as well. All of the houses are made of adobe and are surrounded by cool plants and trees. There is a very strong Native American theme to the area, which is awesome. Anyway, the next morning we grabbed some Mexican food from a locals only type restaurant, including some menudo for me to enjoy, and hit the road for Oklahoma City. Definitely want to return to New Mexico someday. Someday.

Amarillo and Oklahoma City
     We had a 9 hour drive across mostly flat plains to reach our sleeping-only location of Oklahoma City. Since the whole day was based on us driving, we had no anticipated outdoor activities. What better way to have something to do than to eat lunch at The Big Texan steak house, located in the northern Texas panhandle city of Amarillo! And what better way to make a scene, as Oddwood notoriously does, than by switching from car clothes (and it was bloody hot, by the way) to our pirate garb. Besides getting a few weird looks, we sat down at a round table and looked over the menu. The Big Texan is home to the 72oz. Steak Challenge! If you can eat 72oz. of steak, plus a few sides, in under one hour, your meal is free. We considered splitting said meal amongst us, but after finding out the price is significantly higher to order it for a group, we split off and got our own meals. Mine was a super-juicy 18oz. steak, with a baked potato and salad. Completely delicious.
     From that point, we continued on to Oklahoma City, where we reached the ridiculously seedy Motel 6. It was chock full of low-lifes and scumbags and weird people of all sorts, and simply felt dirty. Andre was pleasantly confronted by a person whilst returning to his room with more towels for us to split. The conversation was as follows:

     Andre (while passing by): Hi.
     Guy: Hey I got a girl in Room 108, needs to be f***ed real good and hard. You interested?
     Andre: Nope.
     Guy (sounding a bit disappointed at Andre's response): Well alright...

     Next morning we got the hell outta Dodge and went straight up to Wichita, where we had a super fun show awaiting us at Kelly's Irish Pub. The promoter was definitely into us and spreading the word about us appearing, as The Biggest Party of the Summer! and Awesome West Coast Pirate Rock. We hung out in downtown Wichita, where old brick buildings and brick-lined streets sat heavily upon a near-deserted, borderline ghost town. Since it was a Wednesday night, not that many people were out and about. I kind of thought zombies might appear while we walked around in our defenseless pirate garb, and we were contemplating immediately accessible weapons, just in case.

     Our show at the Pub was possibly one of the best Oddwood performances we've ever had. People were drinking their hearts out and dancing and standing around, while we belted out tunes for two hours of music. My hands were torn up, we were given several rounds of shots and free drinks, which drowned out our sensibilities and required the fun bar wenches to ferry us home to our hotel rooms. I passed out, sprawled across the bed, and I was asleep like a rock the remainder of the night. We gave the bar their best day ever in drink sales, even beating out their St. Patty's Day crowd, which is wall-to-wall packed!!! We rock. Seriously.

St. Louis in passing, and now Gurnee, IL.
     Anyway, we headed from Wichita to St. Louis, where we stayed, again, in a seedy area of town. The drive out was beautiful too, being more of a midwestern treed area. Each Midwest town has their own water tower, decorated in pride with the town's name and sports team, reminding people of our nostalgic and amazing past as settlers and cowboys and outlaws. St. Louis was nothing special.

     St. Louis to our current location, Gurnee, was about 6 hours or so, so we left in the afternoon and got here at 8pm Friday evening. Mosquitos are everywhere! I've been attacked at the feet 12 or more times by those bastards. During the trip, I was in deep contemplation about my relationship with Katt, whom I love very much. She has done so much for me, and I can't wait to see her again! I miss her very much, and I'll still be on the road another two weeks. :/

We've spent this weekend playing the Bristol Renaissance Faire in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which is only  about 20min from here and a few miles West of Lake Michigan. Needless to say we turned heads, gained a brand new and ever-growing fan base, and sold a whole lot of BOTH our albums!!! The faire itself is set amongst an old oak forest, complete with a bog, a pond, and permanently built shops and period-era decorations. The shops have very affordable cool things like weapons, leather craft up the wazoo, clothing, trinkets and art. Our shows were super excellent. I managed to get my thumb caught in between two pieces of one of my cymbals during a show, and upon removing it, discovered the sharp metal edges punctured my thumbnail, which was interestingly enough not a terribly painful experience by any means. Not to mention I've destroyed my hands with torn blisters and new blisters and constant healing/breaking down. I need some drumming gloves.

Anyway, that's enough for now, so be sure to check back for another post- maybe sometime this upcoming week, or perhaps the next, depending on how much down time I have.

Until then, this is Drew Peters.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 1 on our National Tour and it's already worth another post!!!

     So I woke up at 7:15a.m. this morning and took off to Vons for last minute items I needed: antibacterial ointment, bandages, and some granola bars for the car ride. We headed to Santee, where, at Ian's house, we loaded up our 2 cars full of merchandise, instruments, and 3 weeks (per person) of luggage. The best part was/is-- we are driving in an '07 Dodge Caliber and a 2004 Toyota Corolla, with eight people.

     I'm writing from a bed on the 4th? story of Motel Six in Phoenix, with 3 other Oddwood members and 2 Oddgirls (whose cars we were using). We're discussing the options for Ian, our resident concertinist, regarding replacing his fake tooth, which, only one hour ago, came out in a pool impact. Superglue, perhaps? Emergency dental cement? A do-it-yourself dental repair kit?

     Today, Murphy's Law was definitely in effect on the ride out, although, considering everything we've done today, we seemed to luck out as well. The Dodge Caliber, coincidentally of American design, decided to freak out about an overheating transmission, despite the fact it was recently given a full service inspection. The ride over, for our car anyway, went without a hitch. The weather on the desert ride out was a cooler (yet still bloody hot) 104 Degrees, eventually dropping down 85 Degrees with a little bit of rain. The smell of desert rain is always a great experience. Last time we came to Arizona, it was quite hotter, and with thunderstorms!

     We stopped by a Guitar Center so I could pick up a few new cymbals (which are SUPER excellent sounding), and a whole bunch of drumsticks. Arriving at the motel, Colleen, Nick and I headed to a Safeway for the eve's dinner pick-up. I took the helm on our first dinner of pasta w/ green peppers, mushrooms and garlic, cooked on some camping burners and such. The sauce bubbling created a mini murder scene all over the mirror and bathroom sink. Success!

Our first show stop:

     We played The Trunk Space earlier tonight, with The Cullens and Wizard Teeth. The Cullens were excellent! Great B-52's style punk, with an ambiguously-gendered lead singer, a hot bassist chick, a fat drummer, and a bathrobe-sporting guitarist, and a guy in nothing more than a  speedo, horn glasses and a headband, playing synths and a cowbell. Weird and hilarious.
     Oddwood went up immediately afterward, and we played a great set. I got to test out my new cymbals! And then, immediately following us, a band named Wizard Teeth played. Basically, their band is very similar to ours. The instrumentation includes upright bass, violin, mandolin, 3 guitars, and accordion--but no drums. They had a decent turnout of crazy punk kids, which I'll explain in a second, but their music was very similar to power metal with Oddwood-esque instrumentation and musical style. Every Wizard Teeth song has catchy, repeatable lyrics, and frequent breaks in volume and random, mostly unpredictable song endings. But what really made their show was the environment. The lights in the venue were all turned off, and there was no mic'ing of the band, which made them the quitest show of the night. But their followers yelled the lyrics to every song, which really brought up the energy. And they also moshed and mad waltzed around, crashing into the walls. Francis and I were standing on chairs along the framed painting-decorated wall, which gave a great view of the crazy Wizard Teeth fans. And one of the madly waltzing couples smashed into Francis, which caused his hand to punch through a glass frame on the wall. The show continued with two people grabbing chairs and literally SLAMMING them at each other, swinging with full force and miraculously (but also regrettably) not gauging out faces. Quite the show.

Then we returned here to commit myself to the pool for a refreshing swim, with and without pool furniture in the actual pool. Part of these antics resulted in Ian's current, one-tooth-less situation. Oh! And Nick, Reece, Francis and I are committed to doing 50 push-ups everytime our car stops (for gas, for a motel, or for pretty much any other reason). We'll see how buff we end up 20 days from now. Tomorrow we're off to Albuquerque; I wanted to post this because so much fun stuff happened today.

Until next time, this is Drew Peters.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

My first national tour! And life update.

     So it's been a little while since I last posted. That's fine, because you are still out there, whoever it is reading this right now. It could be anyone. Anywhere in the world. At any given moment today, tomorrow, or yesterday (depending on where in the world you are relative to the next reader). Most likely, at this point in time, those reading this will be people who know about me already. But hopefully you know people who would get a kick out of my writings and mind-to-electropaper analyses. If so, could you please send them here? >><<

But I digress. Let's address the true topic at hand. How I feel about my upcoming national tour as a civilian musician, my current life as it stands, and where I want to be in the near future.

     And so exactly that. Oddwood is going on our first National Tour! OH SHIT! We've picked up camp and readied ourselves for an epic journey battling monsters, winning babes (those of us who haven't already won some), and experiencing new locations all across the Midwest and West Northwest. We've really gotten our stuff together this year.

So far, we've managed:
  1. Recording a full-length second album.
  2. Being WAY better than the year latter's version of us performing at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire.
  3. Busking all across San Diego's beaches on a grey July 4th, and becoming a saving force at the beach that day.
  4. Organizing a 13 State Tour.
We are playing the following:

FRI 07/30         Los Angeles, CA
SUN 08/01       Phoenix, AZ
MON 08/02     Albuquerque, NM
TUE 08/03       Oklahoma City, OK
WED 08/04      Wichita, KS
THU 08/05       St. Louis, MO
SAT 08/07        Kenosha, WI
SUN 08/08       Kenosha, WI

WED 08/11      Ann Arbor, MI
FRI 08/13         Chicago, IL
SAT 08/14        Kenosha, WI
SUN 08/15       Kenosha, WI

MON 08/16      Omaha, NE
TUE 08/17        Denver,
WED 08/18      Salt Lake City, UT
THU 08/19       Las Vegas, NV
SAT 08/21        San Diego, CA
I really hope anyone out there can make the tour! Tell all your friends- it's a pirate band. As one booking manager said to us, "Who wouldn't want a pirate band?"

Check us out!  >> <<

Rocktopus organization into reality:
     Rocktopus was an onslaught of musical chaos which was recorded completely digitally, and eventually sealed onto plastic compact discs to go out for distribution. The process that has been happening all the way through mid-July has been for us making changes to ideas and designs and input on the content and style of the Rocktopus album - booklet and casing and disc and all. We tend to argue a lot on many minor changes that ultimately near the project to perfection. Grammar changes, contrast issues, word choice and subject content, colors, and design layout were all accounted for by each one of us. Not only are we talented musicians, but digital artists and belligerent bickerers.
     Beyond the recording phase, back in March of 2010, the album had to be mixed. All of the mixing was conducted in June with Brian Rumsey, a band/high school friend and recently graduated student of music production. Once we listened to and adjusted the drum levels appropriately, the album seemed to kind of take on its own breath. We applied the drum equalization on every track, made a few other instrument level adjustments, and sorted out some unintentional vocal competition.
     From that point, it became a job for a mastering engineer. What does mastering do? Why is it recommended to master our album? Well, the answer is that mastering brings out the volume to its full potential by slightly compressing all of the tracks, and puts it on a volume level equivalent to that of major studios--now we've leveled the playing field between Diddy and Oddwood.
     We shipped it off to the disc makers, who took our digital layout and made the album! We received 1,000 copies at our doorstep on Friday, July 23rd. I can't believe we've already produced a second album! We celebrated by heading downtown (walking some 28 blocks with instruments) to Comic-Con International, being held at the San Diego Convention Center. This year, we played on the property for 20min and were kindly waved away by public transit security. So, we headed across the street and busked near the trolley station. And we were rewarded handsomely, let me tell you.

My Current Life:

I have a spectacular job working with TakeLessons, which rocks supremely. All of the people their are like-minded individuals, dedicated to getting shit done and also having fun along the way. Our company has seen phenomenal growth this year alone, bringing on more people internally so that we can expand externally (which is happening at a 100% growth rate--amazing in this economy).

No complaints from me about life. I'm alive; have all of my basic life necessities covered; I have a wealth of new information to learn and discover; I have plans to travel back down to Argentina in 2011 (possibly March, but we'll see), and everything in Oddwood is happening (new album, national tour, new website, heavy performance schedule through October). Seriously, I'm finally living life just the way I need it. I've needed the stability and the inertia for such a long time, and, so long as I persevere, will see it through until the next chapter of my life. Now if I can only avoid paying the city more money (street sweeping tickets...c'mon!)...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Aftermath of Face-Melting Fun: Pleasure Faire 2010

So as per accordance with my last post, I wanted to follow up with you on how Oddwood fared at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire of Southern California. And the results are in- we kick ass! I cannot even begin how to describe how intense those 7 weekends during April and May were.  I'll do my best putting the memories and thoughts into the ether of this electronic box.

There were close to 100,000 attendants at this year's round of faire, with each weekend becoming progressively more populated. People of all ages (and all styles) perused the hundreds of booths, shows, and food courts, not to mention stopping by the taverns to booze up and come see us. The weather ranged from overcast to scorchingly hot, and there's an interesting fact at hand: the hotter it is, the more Oddwood merch people buy! Interestingly enough, people turn to alcohol to quench thirst, which in turn dehydrates further and allows for leniency towards generosity, in the way of buying our stuff.
Our Shows:
We did indeed have packed audiences for the majority of our shows, filled with headbanging/moshing rockers, women blessed by nature (and some cursed), kids of all ages (sorry, unsuspecting parents!), super old seniors and more. I shattered dozens of drumsticks, sometimes several in one show. I was also gifted a bunch of hand-made, custom design sticks by a very cool lady there. I signed a bunch of broken ones for kids and parents, which is super awesome in that I inspire kids to play drums! I've also now been called someone's "favorite drummer" a few times, beating out Dave Lombardo of Slayer and Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan of Avenged Sevenfold (who's dead now). And Francis' mandolin is completely trashed.

As far as our live show antics are concerned, we certainly pushed the envelope this year. Besides the usual dancing and headbanging and normal craziness, there were instrument tosses, "pantics", and a ton of other ones that I suppose you'll just have to be there to know about! :p  In addition to playing our repertoire from Reign the Helm, Star Wars, Flogging Molly, et al, we previewed our new album material off of Rocktopus! In fact, we pre-sold the crap out of that album! As of this writing, Rocktopus is in its final mixing phase; beyond this, it's off for mastering and the presses. Just wait- it's going to be SUPER good, with a bunch of badass artwork on it.

We ended up camping at the faire 6 of 7 weekends, during which time antics ensued. I had some fun admiring the gaggle of geese that were right next to our campsite (which was also adjacent to a reservoir), and showered the geese with gifts (including food). It's surreal how much they behave like dinosaurs, since they are, after all, of the avian variety. The way they hiss is pretty awesome; I need to find a way to record it and put it in a song. Sleeping on the ground more or less sucks, which is why I'm glad I can afford my current lifestyle. I switched between several blankets, my cot, and my tent, depending on how much I felt I could manage bringing in to the faire each weekend. The final weekend came with a party that Oddwood hosted at our old chum Gil's house in Rancho Cucamonga.

Seven Weekend Effects:
Seven weekends of mostly boiling weather and eight outrageous shows each weekend takes its toll on me. About the 4th weekend in it was my toughest mental point- I showed up not even wanting to, and hating a couple people we normally are with, but by the end, I was feeling pretty good again. Drumming has it's way of releasing pent-up aggression. And it also has its way on my back. I acquired several knots, and had to borrow massage skills from various folks to keep myself from dying. Rum helped out, and so did picking up my new love, Katt! She showed up at the 4th(?) weekend, where she met me in a clobbered state of affairs. She bought my meal when Oddwood went to Red Robin, since I effectively passed out in a drunken stupor at the table. Damn you, Christian Brothers! But since then, we've gotten far closer, and she's super awesome.

The effect of Oddwood on people is increasing, as we've found thousands of new fans! Our current efforts for the season include a potential outing with the band (can't tell you details yet, but it's big), and now playing the L.A. County Fair. We'll have several shows along the way, so occasionally check our MySpace page (which reminds me, we'll have our website up soon, which is never soon enough).

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The piratical 7 weekend journey

So it is the beginning of April- Spring is here, and henceforth the beginning of some serious adventuring. The Dread Crew of Oddwood is back in full force for seven weekends of hilarious antics and terrible jokes, all happening at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Irwindale, CA.

We rocked out hard here last year, but only for 5 weekends, as that was our debut. This year, however, we've been placed on the faire's best performance stages, for five shows per day! More or less, we're awesome. But that's obvious.

Now comes the time where every weekend will be a smorgasbord of picnic-esque foods- rounds of bread, wedges of cheese, nuts and fruits and water and rum and wine. I usually supplement myself with olive oil and vinegar, and this year I'll be packing some dulce de leche, a delicious milk caramel spread brought to you by the Argentines. Chipotle Tabasco, Cholula, and avocados are also staple Oddwood eats.

Thousands of people flock to Pleasure Faire every weekend, and now thousands more will be due to our band. Last year, we just had our first album to sell, Reign the Helm . This year, we'll have that AND t-shirts for guys and gals, as well as cool stickers. If we really push ourselves, our new album Rocktopus (currently in the final recording phases, as of 7 April 2010) may just be ready for handout come the final weekend.

Scores of women will be down at our heels, clawing at us (unless they've been de-clawed), and droves of super-nerds will bask in the cultural references we use.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A read on San Antonio de Areco and the festival I'd attended

Here is another blog that relates to my adventure in San Antonio de Areco:

It has me in it! I paraded around the festival with a British bloke named James, who wrote this blog. He's still down in South America somewhere, so I figure I'd post this to read. He did a better job writing about that weekend than I.

I have decided to head back down this year to Argentina. Where, is a different story. I think I will revisit a lot of people throughout some of the towns, and check out some new places as well. I'd like to be housed this time, not hosteled!

Today is my super nostalgia for Argentina day again, revisiting the music which has its strong emotional ties for me, as well as some of the few reclaimed pictures I scrounged from my camera's locations on computers in Argentina. This is one of my favorites - a broken-down car parked on a side street in Palermo.

Monday, March 1, 2010

I really need to get out of the U.S.

I am currently in a swirling maelstrom of major events - I envision my mind a giant pitch black space with a disassembled puzzle in it. My goal is to put all of the pieces together in some sort of logical manner that results in successful progression in my personal life. I have a lot of stuff going on, so I figure I need to vent about it all via writing. This is still what I define as a life journey, in case you'd wonder why I'd write such an article.

I have a list of stuff to do this month that includes (but is not limited to):
  • Submitting several school portfolios/documents/moneys
  • Moving out and moving in (happening tomorrow)
  • Editing my zombie movie (from one blog past), Dyin' For You.
  • Recording drums, vocals, and percussion on Oddwood's next upcoming album, Rocktopus.
  • Organizing time with friends
  • Organizing some free time for exercise and adventure.
  • Figuring out how to read many books, research many topics and watch many movies, without sacrificing too much sleep (unlikely prevented).
There are other things that are not listed, these just being the main ones. Plenty of stuff to fit into my life schedule. As I always say, in mantra-esque fashion, ab chaos, ordinem. Or, "from chaos, order" in Latin. Everything that is chaotic and "by chance" in my life, all comes to order in due time, which is eery to me, its perfection. It's also surprisingly eery that the word eery is listed as incorrect spelling of some other word, like leery. Are we trying to make vanish a great word? But I digress...

That being said, I'd like to pack up and move down to Buenos Aires, sooner rather than later. I just realized, upon looking back on a few of the photos from my trip, that it is probably likely that I can return during summer, for a month perhaps. It would be winter for that southern side of the world, and many places are excellent for visiting, aside from the unavoidable winter tourists that come with the season. Who knows? Maybe I can head down to Patagonia in its peak excellency. I'd like to bring with me a High-Definition camcorder upon my return, making up for the digital camera from Trip 1. And maybe by then I'd have another Powershot A110 (the camera that was heisted on the subte system in Bs.As.). I'd plan to be filming a lot, so I could bring a tripod and scout out some excellent places to shoot.

This post is short, but it helped me release a bit of built-up frustration. I will look back on this years from now and read my entertaining mind flows. Let's see how much of this actually comes to fruition!

I am definitely looking forward to an amazing year with TakeLessons, America's largest music lesson company, as well as an overwhelmingly excellent year of fun-filled, action-packed adventures with The Dread Crew of Oddwood! Pleasure Faire, hopefully Disney negotiations, national tour? Let's go!

All for now, more for later; until then, this is Drew Peters.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Post 24, Two Months after returning home.

So today is now the two-month mark of returning home from Argentina and Chile. And after these miserable two months of job-hunting, my hunt is over. I just landed the job at TakeLessons, an online music company that sets up music teachers with students and students with music teachers. Quite simple, really. And it's something I truly believe in, in the Grander Scheme of Things. I am indirectly promoting music education to countless thousands of people, enriching their lives - that's pretty cool to me.

I perused the pictures from my blog, nostalgia-ing myself. Can't wait to be back. The music craze has just recently settled down, but I still love hearing it on random shuffle. I have increased 7 pounds in body weight since the comeback, but believe 3 pounds of it is actually muscle mass increase from some great outdoors exercising.

Just last weekend, on Saturday, Jan. 30th, I completed the shoot of Dyin' For You, a 50's romantic zombie musical short comedy film. I had the idea for this about 2 years ago, when I was in my 50's mode of wardrobe and oldies music rediscovery (I had grown up on The Beatles, Jay and the Americans, Pink Floyd and Johnny Cash). I finally got around to writing down the story and converting it into a script with my friend Azrael.

Anyway, I secured 17 people for the shoot, planning the shoot as the script was reread and revised. Everything went quite well, seeing as I was working with people I knew and are friends with (for the most part). Chapman University allowed us to use one of their nice but obsolete Panasonic DV cameras, and we acquired sound equipment as well. Around 12:30pm, just as we were taking a break from filming, a private security guard pulled alongside and asked to close the production down. You see, we were shooting down in a river dike that just so happens to run parallel with train tracks, which are deemed private property. The trains are forced to slow down when there are people within 40 feet of the tracks, since I guess there is always the risk of train suicide, which is pretty manly. This eventually prodded one engineer to report us, but luckily my Dad was on set and delayed the shut down until we wrapped shooting. We only had 2 hours to shoot 50% of the scenes, which was quite lucky in that we did in fact shoot all of the shots, and rather well, I might add. We'll see how it comes out in final edit, but for now it's still in need of some serious audio work.

You can check out more photos of the Dyin' For You shoot here .

Just yesterday I got home from L.A., where I stayed awake all the way since Saturday morning. I helped Reece out doing boom operator work on his colleague's student film, which was being shot in a back lot of CBS Studios just off the 101. Food and excitement kept me up and at 'em during the Red shoot, but then caffeine and ice water were the only things keeping me awake for the drive home.

That's where I am 2 months after getting back.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Argentina's Musical Effect - The 39 day progression

       So I am now posting roughly one month and 9 days after my return home from Argentina, and a few things are of interest to me, in regards to the music. I uploaded all 15 or so CD's worth of music I bought down in Argentina, whose genres are all frequently indulged in by the locals. I have some tango in different forms, from older traditional to more modern, tango-inspired, Latin-esque stuff, and even tango jazz, which is pretty sweet. I bought some chacarera and zamba music, which I have now fallen completely in love with, and wish I had more. I also purchased some lesser-enjoyed chamame, which I frankly don't like as much. It's not as rythmically interesting as chacarera or gato, and spawns from Argentina's Northeast-- chacarera (and subgenres of gato, zamba, escondidofrom the Northwest. 

        Now that I think about it, it has been almost 40 days - or the length of my stay in Argentina - since I have been back, and in that time I have realized a few things. First off, that the music truly captured me when I was there, and has steadily grown my interest in certain Argentine genres more than others upon return. I have scoured the doG-forsaken Internet to find more of it, so I can have my folklore fix. My song list is about 228 strong right now, so there's plenty to keep my ears busy. 

        Originally I was super into tango, especially when I was down there. I first heard chacarera in Buenos Aires, when I went out one night to try my hand at tango dancing at the locals-suggested La Catedral. A few liters of beer in, I had a lot of fun making an ass of myself on the dance floor with a Spaniardess. By 2am, I sat down to cool off and simply watch others perform the dance much better than I. At some point the DJ put on some chacarera, whose genre I had never yet heard. My waiter that night, who I remember so well due to the whole visual-aural experience about to commence, was a tan guy with long black hair, wearing a black apron and black V-neck t-shirt. He was quite aloof to providing me timely service, probably because the actual building was a huge warehouse, converted into a modern dance floor, bar, and restaurant, not to mention that it was packed full of people. That aside, he stopped his super busy ant schedule as soon as the folklore came on. He walked to the dance floor, found an immediate female partner, and commenced the awesome dance. It reminds me of scorpions moving about, with pincers extended, circling round and round. Anyway, he didn't just dance one song; he danced for at least 5 or 6 of them, each one captivating me to this 6/8 on 3/4, triplet-cycle music. This also led me to the realization that work, in Argentina, is done only as necessary, and can be put off for a good chat, a dance, or a flirt. That is different from the constant attention we estadounidenses are so used to by our waiters, and the fact that the manager is always looking over the workers' shoulders. It came to pass that I would encounter chacarera again at Peña del Colorado, and then out in S.A. de Areco during the Gaucho Festival, where a huge grass field was filled with traditionally-dressed gauchos and their chinas (women), dancing the frigid, crystal clear night away. 

An example of the super-intricate dancing of chacarera, with a gaucho and his china:

        Speaking of San Antonio de Areco, I learnt it was recently submerged by a massive flooding of the Rio Areco, due in part to the heavy rains that swelled up the river's main artery, the mighty Rio Parana. Here is a video of said destruction:


        They had to evacuate 3,000 residents! I know my friend Rodrigo, who you may remember from one of my older posts , probably had to be evacuated, which is terrible. His family didn't have too many huge possessions, besides the house of course, and a huge dump truck, and a few motorbikes. [Rodrigo, si puedes leer este, lo siento muchisimo sobre la inundacion!!! Espero que estas bien, amigo.] 
De todos modos, a lot of people decided to stay put and not evacuate, fearing looting to happen. I hope the other people whom I met in Areco, namely a leathermaker and his wife, are okay as well.
         I need to try contacting some of the people I met in Argentina, and I believe I will actually use my Skype account to make said international calls. I want sooooo badly to return to the beautiful country, and I know I will, maybe even this year! No plans as of yet, since right now my top goal is (unfortunately) to still find a job in this terrible economy. Maybe if I find enough time and money, I will head back down, even if I don't venture all over the country. I would, however, have to bring another camera, which I WON'T have stolen! I'm actually thinking along the lines of a video camera, with Hi-Definition capability. That is my top purchase prior to leaving for AR again. I prefer shooting video, since it has the added bonus of sound, but honestly, it was pretty fun using my digital camera for photos. Each has its perks, the Hi-Def camcorder being that I can control what I record, I can record far more actual happenings, and can have a near-complete monopoly of the YouTube, high-definition Argentina footage market. Awesome!

I have Argentine-based hunger pains as well. I miss the beef, I ache for steak, I need the meat, and I yearn for sirloin. And the empanadas!!! They are the perfect college student/budget person meal, even here in SD. I still have to locate and eat at an Argentine restaurant here in sunny San Diego. Who's in?

Oh! And I almost forgot, have a couple more pics that I've received from one of the hostels, my Irish buddy Graeme (and our trip to Tigre), and some photos of me adventuring in Barreal. Check 'em out:

Cerro Pintado quedabra range, Barreal. This was part of that hike to the abandoned mine .

Same deal as previous photo, exploring the lunar-like landscape.

Yes! Landsailing! Wooo! This is just before I took over the helm, if you will.
Now on to the photos from Graeme's camera, which was not stolen just before Tigre!

A rowing statue in Tigre, the muddy, subtropical river delta directly behind. Almost the Everglades?

 The Museo del Arte Tigre, a.k.a. the "Castle in the Sky"  

Directly behind that museum camera shot, as we were up on a walkway overlooking the river.

Great times with Graeme (in red), Rodrigo (olive green), Mati (brown), and a couple more Tigreans.
Off to the casino, but as we start for it, guess what follows me?

A couple friendly strays! They were super playful, yet somehow vaguely creepy still.

Made it to the Trilenium Casino, my first casino experience.

And of course, I can now post pics from my first days in Bs.As., which Lara at Ayres de San Telmo sent me via electronic carrier pigeon -- e-mail.

"Matambre de cerdo", or hardboiled egg & sundried tomato wrapped in pork, served cold. On the right is delicious potato & egg salad, and completing the triangle is a fresh baguette. Can't forget the Coke!

All for now, more for later; until then, this is Drew Peters.