Summertime Driving Playlist

Brandon and I are going to Florida this weekend to go see STS-127 lift off from the Cape. [I’m bummed that Nathan can’t go, since I crashed on his couch last time and everything.] I’m putting together the second episode of the GeofCast to be a summertime driving playlist, with the eye that the whole podcast will be under 80 minutes and the playlist itself under 74, so it could be burned to a CD. I’ve done a first cut at a list, and I’m sorta happy with it, but I’ll take suggestions: what would you put on a summertime driving playlist? Leave a suggestion in the comments.

Though Not My Home, It’s Where I Live

Dear Alabama,

I’m back. Did you miss me? Clearly you did, because it rained a lot while I was gone, and rain’s like tears. [Or something.]

I was in Ohio, and it wasn’t as somber as it could’ve been. This time we did all the sad stuff first, then hung out with people in our old hometown. Watching Mom get re-acquainted with Beavercreek was quite fun. Getting a zinger in on one of our church’s notable zinger-givers, even better. 🙂

But anyway, I’m back, even if I am still dreaming of that Empire Victorian house in Van Wert. Well, that, and of manned spaceflight being in Dayton so I can go back home. Man, I miss Ohio.

All Aboard the S.S. Failboat!

All aboard the Failboat! FAILBOAT! on Flickr, originally uploaded by mintytrina.

So, last night, Amy, Stephen, and I went to Nashville to the Cannery Ballroom to go see The New Pornographers and Okkervil River. Early in the trip, Amy and Adam were talking on the phone [or maybe it was texting at that point], and Adam indicated that we needed to name the road trip. “All good road trips need a name.” Well, last night shall henceforth be known as “The Voyage of the S.S. Failboat“.

Let’s just review the list of things that went wrong:

  1. I failed to do the appropriate level of research on the show, not knowing all about Cannery Ballroom. I’d been to Mercy Lounge upstairs, and so I figured our chance of getting to sit down if we got there early was 50-50. FAIL factor: 7.5/10.
  2. I dumped photos from my CompactFlash-based photodrive yesterday morning but didn’t check the disk out until right before I left the house. Something went wrong in the deletion process, rendering the CF drive unusable. I didn’t know this until after I’d left the house, because I didn’t take 20 seconds to find out what “Err 02” was on my Canon 10D. FAIL factor: 4.5.
  3. Also, despite putting a decent amount of thought into my mic selection, I didn’t double-check to make sure that I’d packed the desktop mount that might have allowed me to use my cardioids, leaving me stuck with my omnidirectional mic as a practical concern when I got to the show. FAIL factor: 5.0.
  4. I never fully realized that there was battery draw on my battery box/bass roll-off when not in use. The battery was dead when I got to the venue, which I didn’t realize until trying to record. FAIL factor: 7.0.
  5. I had done a lot of work trying to choose a great place for dinner. I’d picked Noshville, which I had heard really good things about. I even checked with my friends about it. But I didn’t realize that there were multiple locations along the same road, so I assumed that the one I knew would be open for dinner wasn’t. FAIL factor: 8.0.
  6. We left a little late, as Stephen was continually sucked into a vortex of meetings. Amy and I went out to the car when we thought he was done, which was a mistake; we should have stayed right by him to ward off the vultures. FAIL factor: 0.5, completely nullified by the fact that I was driving the WRX, and bitch, please, like we’re gonna be late when that’s happening.
  7. Adam asked if the WRX was fast. FAIL factor: 3.0 for the dumb question, 4.0 for me not throwing him in the car when he was in town last. No worry, I’ll scare the hell out of him next time he’s in town.
  8. We get to the Noshville location south of Green Hills Mall, only to find out that it had closed at 4:00 p.m. FAIL factor: 8.5.
  9. We ended up eating at Pei Wei, which was pretty good by my taste. Plus, it inspired a discussion amongst us about how we all liked Thai and needed to coordinate going to Thai Garden for lunch on a semi-regular basis: FAIL factor: 0.5. [Only the possibility that the Thai Dynamite contributed to my feeling ill later does this get any FAIL factor whatsoever.]
  10. Realizing that we’ve got lots of time left, we decide on a coffee shop stop while we’re driving. Knowing where I am, I take us to Fido. FAIL factor: -10, because I have great memories of Fido and always enjoy going there.
  11. Seeing the other Noshville location on 21st just as we get ready to get onto Broadway. FAIL factor: 8.5. “But now we know where it is for next time, and now we have multiple dinner ideas for when we come to town again for a show.” FAIL factor revised down to 6.0. [A&S, do either of you remember what the other place we talked about eating at was? Was it just the Pei Wei? Seems like I mentioned another place or something. I dunno. I’m brain-fried.]
  12. Getting a decent spot in line because we’d gotten to town early. FAIL factor: 1.0, but only because it was raining.
  13. Forgetting my Moo cards and having to go back in the car, to find out that where we were standing by the building was leeward [read: I got pretty wet]. FAIL factor: 2.5, ameliorated to 2.0 by gentle, playful mocking when I talked about not going back out to the car when were clearly going to be in line another half-hour.
  14. Choosing dress shoes to wear yesterday, not realizing that there would be lotsa standing. FAIL factor: 9.0.
  15. Heading to the back of the room in front of the soundboard to record while sitting on the floor, because I was not gonna survive standing for three-plus hours in those shoes and be capable of driving home later. FAIL factor: 6.5.
  16. Suffering all my technical problems with mics while sitting by the soundboard. FAIL factor: 8.0.
  17. Bailing on the OR set after a few songs because I was way too hot and just not feeling well at all. FAIL factor: 7.0.
  18. The sound guy at Cannery Ballroom sucked. FAIL factor: 11.0.
  19. Text message sent from me to Amy early in tNP’s set, explaining that I was in the car. FAIL factor: 0.5. Only reason this registers is because I could’ve sent it a half-hour or more earlier and probably saved them some frustration. [To be fair, they probably would’ve wanted to see if tNP’s set was going to sound any better. It didn’t, of course.]
  20. The drive home, where we talked about concert experiences and listened to Andrew Bird and M. Ward. FAIL factor: 0.0.

And see, at the end of the night, it was still quite enjoyable for me. Despite the rampant failure of the night, I got to spend an evening with a couple of my good friends, something that doesn’t happen all that much now that we’ve gotten away from being “young adults” and are now just “adults”.

I Tweeted last night that the night had been a failure, which got John to respond, “[W]ould you rather voyage on the S.S. Failboat with friends or take a trip on the S.S. Success by yourself?” I’ll take the former every time, and here’s why: despite the fact that it was a terrible night, it’s gonna be a great memory. I’ve had awesome concert experiences solo, but at the end of the night, I had no one to share them with.

As I mentioned, we talked about concert experiences, and Amy mentioned seeing Damien Rice at Workplay a couple years ago. I know someone who went to that show, too, and was similarly blown away. Amy’s response:

I kinda just wanted someone to talk to after that to make sure that what I experienced had really happened.

That’s an understandable reaction. Ultimately for me, live music is a shared experience, and it’s altogether sweeter when shared with friends. [Wanting to preserve those memories is why I have become a concert taper and take lots of photos at shows.] My favorite concert experience that I didn’t mention in our discussions last night was seeing Caedmon’s Call on tour at Liberty University [!] right after Derek left the band: I gave Cliff a bottle of cognac before the show as a way-inside joke [!! Cognac on campus at LU!!!], then watched the show with a bunch of friends who’d all traveled from across the eastern half of the country to attend. Me, I left Huntsville at 0700 on a Saturday morning with my friend Ross [who’d left Tuscaloosa around 0430 to get to Huntsville] and drove to southern Virginia for that show.

The band got us on-the-floor seats, and we stood right in front of center stage during the show. I took photos of both the band and our group, and I remember the photos of my friends more than the band. I also remember Jeff Miller watching us during the show, just shaking his head and laughing as he played the bass. That night, I hung out with about 15 or 20 friends from The Rumor Forum and slept on the hard floor of a new acquaintance’s apartment, then driving back home to Alabama on Sunday in time for UMYF that night. 1100 miles in under 36 hours. Wouldn’t trade that memory for the world.

Somehow, I expect that I’ll remember last night almost as fondly.

My CC in Philly Trip as a Mastercard Commercial

Tank of gas to drive to and from Nashville: $45
Round trip ticket to PHL from BNA: $203
Nine hours of a rental car [a Saturn VUE, which drove like a wounded manatee compared to my WRX … DO NOT WANT]: $93, including refueling
Philly cheesesteak: FREE, but only because Gary bought my dinner. [Great to meet everyone on that trip, but I won’t lie, I really wanted to finally meet Gary and his wife.]
Number of hours slept from Saturday morning forward until Monday evening: 6.5
Number of hours slept on airplanes: 2.5
Number of hours slept in the breezeway outside Terminal D at PHL: 0.5
Number of hours slept on Monday night before waking up, unable to return to sleep, leading me to come out here and blog this: 5
Number of times I have cursed the inability to sleep until my 0545 alarm: 9 (so far)
Number of week taken off of my life as a result of this trip: Unknown, but probably six
Hearing Derek and Danielle power through “Climb On (A Back That’s Strong)”: PRICELESS

That was fun, but I really don’t want to do it again anytime soon. But like Bryan said in a forum post yesterday: if that’s the last Caedmon’s Call show I ever see, I can die a happy man.

[Yes, I recorded it. Yes, I’m releasing it. This is just a busy week.]

15 Hours in Philadelphia

I’ve had a lot of fun conversations this week [and it’s just Tuesday]. My favorite was today with my boss.

“Oh, hey, I’m gonna be late on the 25th.”

“What is that?”

“Monday, the week we ship [the hardware job we’re shipping on Friday that week].”

“Oh, I don’t think that’ll be a big deal. Where ya gonna be?”

“Well … I’ll start the morning in Philadelphia, and I’ll be in Nashville by 0815 and here by 1030 or so.”

And the fun thing is that my boss didn’t even bat an eyelash. He … well, he knows I’m insane.

Indeed, I am: after two hockey games that weekend, I’ll drive to Nashville Sunday morning, hop a plane to PHL, land, get a rental, drive almost to Trenton, New Jersey, watch Caedmon’s Call in concert [and hang out with Bryan and Mark, which is reason enough to go in and of itself], chill with the band after the show, then mosey back down to PHL and fly home first thing Monday morning.

Won’t be the first time I’ve grabbed a little shuteye at an airport before winging my way back home and then to the office.

Yeah, I’m insane. But this is how I roll. [And I have new camera equipment to roll with! My Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 showed up yesterday, and my EF 85mm f/1.8 USM arrived today. My mics show up, well, whenever Sound Professionals gets off their duffs and ships it to me.] And yes, I’ll have more equipment than other baggage.

Grand Rapids or Bust!

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the end of Doug Ross’s coaching career at UAH … our boys went from the lowest seed at our conference tournament to the tourney champions. Unfrickingbelievable. All the teams I’ve followed, all the times we’d been to the CHA tourney final—this was our fifth appearance—and we win it with a team that went 10-19-3 in the regular season. Criminy.

Yes, folks … we’re 13-19-3 and in the NCAA’s. It gets better when you learn that UAH is 5-0-1 in their last six games. Yeah, we were 8-19-2 not that long ago. Just a horribly long start to the season, I guess. 😉

Of course, I’m on my way to the regionals to broadcast the games. We start off with a game against Notre Dame tomorrow at 4:05 p.m. Central; that game will be streamed on the Internet at, thanks to the fine folks at WUMP. They’ve really stepped up for us—all the postseason games we play will be broadcast by them or their sister station, WVNN. Thanks a ton, guys. Zack Bennett and Thom Abraham are our heroes of the week!

Oh, did I forget to mention that my boy Mike Anderson is broadcasting with me? I think I did. This is gonna be awesome.

I type this entry from a Panera in Nashville [on 21st, in case you’re curious]. I was going to dine at the lovely Fido’s a bit further south on 21st, but damn if their parking lot wasn’t completely and utterly full. [Bry, I’m right next to Satco, man. I have a hankering for some terribly greasy Mexican food that I’ll regret at 2:00 a.m. Wish you were here!]

Why am I stopped? Don’t I drive all night? Well, see … I have a fantasy baseball draft tonight, and unlike, oh, Ronzilla, I’m not so lame that I’ll skip the draft despite needing to be on the road. I’ll do our draft [which usually goes under two hours], finish that up, and then get back on the road. Tonight I’m staying in Elizabethtown, KY, and I’ll get up early in the morning and finish the drive. I might yet beat the Pep Band bus to Grand Rapids.

More later. Should be a fun time.

[And yes, I’m posting because, as Mom noted in a phone call yesterday, I’ve been posting nothing but links lately. Yes, I’m terribly busy at work. No, I can’t talk about any of it. I don’t really want to talk about it, anyway. ;)]

“I’m playing my guitar side-saddle.”

Bootleg Cover Art

Originally uploaded by gfmorris.

Last [er, Friday] night, I drove up to Nashville to go see Sandra McCracken play a show at The Rutledge. It ended up being an interesting night: she and Drew Holcomb were the late show, so I had to go to the Mexican place next door to kill some time. [Let’s not discuss how I got to the venue four hours before the show, shall we?]

I learned a lot of things, though:

  1. Fiesta Mexicana, despite having a fully Hispanic staff, serves Tex-Mex and not authentic Mexican. [That, or they can’t handle chile relleños well. Like my mother, I use chile relleños to judge a Mexican restaurant’s value.] It’s reasonably priced, but it’s pretty meh.
  2. Watching March Madness is a lot more fun when you only spent five minutes on your bracket and can’t remember that you had Illinois picked to upset Virginia Tech while you’re watching the Illini blow the upset. [Sorry, Mark.]
  3. Those signs about how they tow cars in the vicinity of The Rutledge? They’re not shitting you, people. I watched them tow three cars in the 20 minutes I sat in my car after eating dinner.
  4. When you load in for a pregnant singer/songwriter, she guestlists you.

Turns out that, as I sat in my car waiting for the early show to end, Sandra pulled in next to me to park. I waved, hopped out of my car, and offered to load in, knowing that she’s about six months along at this point. “I love this part of it!” she beamed. “I haven’t loaded in for about four months, other than maybe a guitar.”

I didn’t realize that this show would be with a full band—Kenny Meeks on electric, Mark Polack on bass, and Garett Buell on the drum kit—so it was doubly awesome. I got to catch up with GB on the Caedmon’s tracking, talk with Mark briefly, and share an awkward “we’ve never been introduced, but we’re still both too ‘guy’ to introduce ourselves” moment with Kenny to talk about hockey. To say nothing of how great it sounded. I was just above the sound board, so I bet my recording kicks ass. I’ll find out later today … for now, I think I ought to go to bed, as this is two nights in a row up this late, and I have to sing at both services today.

All Falls Down!

We Have a Winner, People

Originally uploaded by gfmorris.

I remember trying to capture this, hoping that I got it. When I saw it import in iPhoto early Friday morning, I jumped up and let out a small whoop.

Yeah, I’m a dork.

I’m still having a hard time fully grasping that I drove three-and-a-half hours round-trip for what amounted to be a forty-minute set. It honestly doesn’t faze me, though; it was good music, I got to see a bunch of people I don’t often get to see [including Caedmon’s Call’s Cliff Young, whom I never see outside of CC shows], I got a good recording [other than this cut that I induced that I’ll self-flagellate over for another week or more], and a good bunch of photos that I liked.

It’s not like I was going to do anything cool on a Thursday night anyway.

All my photos from Thursday are available in a slideshow on Flickr.