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Frostbyte's electric marvels never more to grace the night

Wow. I just found out that one of my favorite artists died. I never met him, but I spent a lot of time appreciating his art. This man was a genius, and the world is a much darker place without him. Frostbyte, I'm sorry I never met you in person. Peace be with you, wherever you are. You are an inspiration to many, and you will never be forgotten.

I found out about this from Tall Tom, Fearless organizer of the Temple of Dreams Guardian Angels. The link to the original article in the Boston Globe can be accessed HERE or by clicking on the title of this post.


2006-01-17 11:24:47 PM: It has come to my attention that Frostbyte's site at MIT is down... and I'm not sure why. I'm digging folks, so if I can find out where the photos and coumentation on his art projects went to, I'll fix the links here. You'll know when I know.

2005-12-28 11:04:41 AM: As per Leila's investigative digging, here is the link to Frostbyte's (aka Kevin McCormick) amazing art projects.


Weird dreams and self revelation

I've been feeling sick, and I was just completely fragged to the point of shutdown when we got home this evening, so I took a nap. I woke up after having had this very vivid dream.

I was at Burning Man (but it wasn't really Burning Man). Up on this nearby hill was a ring of trees. The hillside itself was mostly treeless, but there was a ring of trees at the crown of the hill, and a few sparse trees at the peak. As I walked through the trees to the top of the hill, I realized there was a band playing Rush, and I somehow deduced that it was a cover band that I'd heard of. In the dream, I knew their name and it was the title of one of RUSH's albums or songs, but now I can't remember what it was. Their name was one word... arrrgh, I still can't remember what it was. Anyways, they were pretty good, though they were a 6 or 7 piece band (HA!). There were playing playing mostly late 70's, early 80's Rush tunes... pretty tight, with a few creative liberties thrown in here and there. They even kind of looked like Geddy Neil and Alex during the late 70's. They were set up on the top of the hill on a low wooden riser with several tree trunks coming up through it. All around were long low wooden benches. There were quite a few people sitting around watching them, though no one was really all that enthusiastic except for me. I listened for a while, but was feeling strangely self conscious and restless. So I wandered away a bit. I found this long line of people, dressed in very late 60's, early 70's attire waiting to slither and scramble down what basically amounted to a dry waterfall. They were trying to descend in some sort of unison with the beat that the band was playing. I was baffled by why they were doing this, though I wanted to try climbing UP, as it looked like an interesting problem.

Now mind you, this whole time, throughout the music and the observation of the waterfall descenders, I was constantly thinking of my friend Merritt, and wishing he could be there to experience this with me. I knew that he would really appreciate it. Realization dawned on me that I had come to Burning Man alone (although this whole experience bears absolutely NO resemblance to any experience I've ever had at Burning Man, nor did the geography bear any resemblance to that of the black rock desert). I somehow knew that Merritt was also attending Burning Man, but I didn't know where he was camped, and I knew that he didn't know that this Rush cover band was playing on a nearby hillside. It was all very distressing for some reason.

Then I woke up.

I lay in bed for a while thinking about my dream, somewhat puzzled by my reactions to being alone at a musical performance, and also at Burning Man. I came to wonder if my appreciation of live music was dependant on the presence of friendly company. Am I so much of herd animal that I need validation of things I enjoy from friendly faces?

This may seem tangential, but bear with me. I recently attended a Nuclear Rabbit show at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma. It had been YEARS since I'd seen a show at the Phoenix. The sound at the Phoenix is usually.. mediocre. The people mixing the sound are usually rather amateurish and untrained it seems, but this isn't surprising given the venue. Every show I've ever seen there has been an all ages show, which usually means you see a lot of young kids. They range from about 10 on upwards, but mostly concentrated around 14-16 yrs old. In truth, I felt like an old man, especially during the first two acts who's artists were both considerably younger than me. The guys from Nuclear Rabbit are all around my age, though the demographic of my age group was sorely underrepresented. Never mind... the point is, I felt a bit out of place, although I did end up taking to a guy named Rick (I think that was his name) for a while outside the venue. He was about 46 and had taken his nephew who was 16 or 17 to the show. He'd never heard of Nuclear Rabbit, but being a musician and a pretty open minded guy, he was there. We chatted about music and work and ended up standing together for part of the show, commenting on sound, guitar technique, interesting people in the audience and what-not. It was nice. I doubt I'll ever see or talk to him again, but I'd walk up and say "hi" if I recognized him somewhere. In case you were wondering, Rabbit was pretty good, though Gene and Greg were pretty "chatty". The Broccoli Tacos were suprisingly good, their guitarist being their most impressive asset and appearing to be able to directly channel Randy Rhodes into his guitar.

My point in all of this is: I believe we are creatures of the herd. We need to share our joy in order for it to fully blossom. Also: For all of our philisophical posturing on the importance of the individual, our baser emotions and hormones often create a longing to belong. To fit in. To be accepted by a tribe. These urges and subconscious (and sometimes unconscious) desires are sometimes brought to light in dreams. Sometimes our dreams... don't mean a damn thing, the equivalent of mental vomit. A spew of random images and thoughts that may appear to have meaning, but don't hold up under scrutiny. Does my dream have meaning, or is it regurgitated mental stew? I'm still not sure. At least now I can go back to bed and stop thinking about this crap.

UPDATE 2005-12-28 2:06:18 AM:

I had a conversation with my friend Leila about this post, and I must make some clarifications: I believe that humans can experience joy fully alone, but for it to grow exponentially, it must be shared, as this seems to have a "kickback effect". I also came to realize that I DO enjoy attending events by myself, as no one else's agenda can compromise my own. HOWEVER, the aforementioned "kickback effect" is usually well worth the tradeoff.


Site of the Day: Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Dear lord flying spaghetti monster no! Finally, someone has come with an appropriate response to the push for Intelligent Design to be taught in science class.

Ha ha Intelligent Design, TAKE THAT!


Jacquie Phelan is my hero

Holy christ... when I was 18, I was in the best biking shape of my life. One day while riding up Shaver Grade I got smoked. You know, having your ass handed to you? It was one of the most humbling and exhilarating moments of my bicyling life. Jacquie and her husband Charlie Cunningham (yes, the guy who made the legendary Cunningham Bikes and original founder of WTB) blew past me like I was standing still. I'm 30 now, and Jacquie is about 50... so in 92/93 she would have been about 37/38.. more than twice my age. Wow. I remember the exact moment I realized who had just dusted me. All the hairs on my body stood on end and I rolled to a stop, mouth open, heart pounding (not from the climb, really); yeah, I was totally starstruck. My friend Rick caught up to me several minutes later and I was barely able to stammer out my exciting news. They had passed him the same way, but he hadn't taken notice of them. This little moment was one of those "high points" that you never forget. To paraphrase Hunter S. from Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, "the high water mark." Man, that's ugly... surely he's rolling over in his grave for that misappropriation.

Fast forward 12 years. I'm reading this article and I got to thinking, "wow, I wonder what Jacquie is up to these days?". I don't ride southern marin trails much anymore (her stomping grounds) so I've had no real chances to cross paths with Jacquie again. So I do a google photo search... and found this article from the wombats website. As if her conversation with Karen Brooks at Interbike LINK HERE wasn't enough to completely impress me all over again! Sheesh.. Jacquie, although you'll likely never read this, thanks for being an inspiration to me and countless others who's lives you've changed. Rock on. And yes, I do look over my shoulder every time I ride or walk Shaver Grade, just to see if Jacquie is sneaking up on me.


Site of the Day: Phone Bashers

Man, this gave me a good laugh. I realize that this is not legal and not very nice, but it's still pretty damn funny. I have a sick sense of humor, sue me. I have to admit that I've wanted to do this to people at times. As for myself and for the most part, I'm pretty embarassed to talk on my cell phone in public. Watch out for these guys, you might be next *smirk* Click on the title to see the link.

Or click here: Cell Phone Stomp


Northern Lights running away

This just in from Erin the Petsaver:
According to this report in the BBC, the earth's magnetic pole may be migrating soon... better check your compass! Click on the Title for the link.


Site of the Day: Bag-E-Wash

This is pretty cool.. I've been looking for a good way to do this for ages and never really found one. Plus, Jessi never wants to handwash the bags, so most of the time they get thrown away (especially the ones that had frozen chicken in them). I'd like to quote Margaret Mead here:

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead

All those "little things" you do to try and make a difference? If enough people start doing "the little things", the net result is a "big" thing. Never forget that folks. As they say at Xtracycle, "Be a good butterfly".

Click on the title to check out the link. Check out the FAQ.