August 27, 2004

even though I did not feel the wind

So it seems that I underestimated myself earlier thinking that I wouldn't finish this song before going on vacation. I got close enough to taste the finished product and just couldn't stop working until I got it done. Also I was having a fun time and it was going well.
I am now up on Islesboro enjoying the incredible weather and I just listened to the song again to make sure that I still liked it. Thankfully it passed the test, so it's time to post.

Download: leaf

I got help from a bunch of people on this song. First and foremost, I am using some really cool selections from the didgeridoo recording session I did with Geoff a month or so ago. I extracted a great loop that Geoff and I had played together and then used some little solo bits thrown in throughout. I think it is cool how I often record stuff having no idea what I might use it for and then am able fit it into something later on or use it as inspiration for something new. In this case, this song began with the didgeridoo loop. I built everything off of that and then used some other didgeridoo parts to add color on top.
I also got lots of help with voices. Over the past several months, I have asked a number of unsuspecting (and a few suspecting) friends to record a bunch of things, including this particular poem. I thank Hoyt, John G., Julie, Johannah, Ethan, Darcy and Margie for their voices and their willingness to participate in these ongoing experiments of mine despite the oft expressed strong dislike of the sound of their own voice. I knew I could make you all sound cool.


What's that poem about?
I'm not entirely sure. I think maybe it is just about that undefinable feeling of nostalgia that happens sometimes. The one that is totally unmistakable though simultaneously nearly impossible to describe or understand the source.

Did you write the poem?
Yes. Thank you to Peter Richards, the accomplished poet and inspirational instructor with whom I studied several years ago.

Do you really have a friend who is a leaf?
No specific leaf, although I have felt a few hints of fall up here in Maine and am really excited for the crisp weather and the forthcoming multitudes of crinkly orange.

How many drum parts are there in this song?
Two; one which is part of the didgeridoo loop and a second which is essentially the main beat. I liked my first take of this main part, but recorded it before I knew what the structure of the song would be so I ended up trying to 'franken-drum' my way to a complete drum track. This was fine for building the song, but I finally gave in and recorded a new take start to finish and (big surprise) it flowed much better. Sometimes I get too attached to little parts of songs - presumably because I hear them over and over - and then have a hard time giving them up even though I have lost the ability to judge them impartially.

Did you use the malletKAT in this song?
Yes. I played that sixteenth note synth riff with the mallets, along with the marimba doubling of this part. I actually wrote it on the malletKAT too.

Posted by halsey at 01:05 AM | Comments (1)

August 24, 2004

the word is spreading

So I finally got my ass in gear and have posted two mp3s in the Phoenix MP3 Studio. I have my own

aevidence page

which is pretty cool with a picture and all, and I am doing fairly well holding my own on the weekly

Top Ten Downloads list

Feel free to give me a boost up the list if you want!

Posted by halsey at 02:21 PM

August 20, 2004

work ethic?

My new song is progressing smoother than the last one. This makes me feel good. The problem is that I am going on vacation next week and don't think there is any way I can finish before. And I don't want to push myself to this goal because I have learned that is not a good idea. So I will have a week long pause in the middle of the song. Maybe this will be a good thing, but I'm not glad about it right now.
I am very excited to get away from work etc on my vacation, but it strikes me as odd (and somewhat unfortunate) that I feel a fairly strong hesitancy to leave my studio for that long. It seems as though I am a bit obsessed. Of course there are other ways I can work on my music when I am up in Maine. I will record anything and everything with my portable recorder and I can work on lyrics, but what's so bad about just taking a break? What am I missing by being so reluctant to put it all down on occasion?

The new song was thinking about having those night wave sounds, but decided not to in favor of some cool didgeridoo, a driving mallets part, lots of big drums, and a poem I wrote four years ago.

My haircut feels too short today. But it always does the day after.

Posted by halsey at 01:42 PM | Comments (2)

August 19, 2004

empty bathtubs

Garden State is the best movie I have seen in a long time. It was one of those films that pushed my emotions so far out onto limbs of happiness, hope, nostalgia and incredible sadness, that I was almost unable to speak upon leaving the theater.

mle has written a wonderful reaction to seeing it last night, and I will defer to her truly expert words as I not only agree with her sentiments entirely, but can also only hope that someday I will be able to write like her. So go read what she has to say, and more importantly go see this movie.

The one point I do need to make here is that the music in this film was a huge part of its success. Like the music in Lost in Translation, this collection of songs and original compositions added so much to the overall feel of the movie. Obviously, I am prone to visceral reactions to music in any situation, but believe me when I say that there is something special about this soundtrack. Not only do the songs make the film stronger; the film makes the songs stronger.
Music supervision is practically an art form, and most definitely a highly skilled craft.

Posted by halsey at 10:27 AM | Comments (1)

August 18, 2004

night waves

It was blowing around 25 knots the whole day a few weekends ago when I was up on Islesboro. Usually the seabreeze calms right down as the afternoon wears into the evening and night, but this time it didn't. The wind just kept on going, and it was almost as if it didn't belong there, at night. It sounded so different - pushing through the spruce tops and roughing up the ocean - than it does when I can see.

So I walked to the town beach and began recording. I got some amazing stereo separation of waves crashing onto the rocks and shooting up between the volcanic fingers. I just don't understand why the sounds were so much more magical without light. I can close my eyes during the day, but it's not the same. Do sound waves travel differently through dark air? Can my recorder capture this subtlety?

Perhaps it all is in my head, but I don't care. It's beautiful and calming and powerful and exciting and I will put it to good use soon.

Posted by halsey at 03:01 PM | Comments (4)

August 17, 2004

violin barbie

I almost want to write two reviews for the Bond show that I went to last Friday night at Paradise. One that says how entertaining it was, and the other that says how pathetically lame so many aspects were. But I'm going to not split it up in favor of just writing one schizophrenic review. Bear with me, please.

I was initially curious as to how the Bond girls were going to handle reproducing their sound for a live audience in a rock club, and this question was answered even before they took the stage. There was nothing on the stage but for their "wood" instruments (as they referred to them) carefully propped up for effect on the drum riser. I was disappointed that all of the supporting music was pre-recorded as it would have been really fun to see a full backing band. But alas, it was just the four of them, though I must admit I wasn't TOO disappointed by their physical appearance and attire. Being very good looking is as much a part of their show as the music, if not more. I was thinking to myself, how different would this group be if they weren't so hot? And then I realized that this was as unfair a question as 'how different would this group be if they didn't know how to play their instruments?' Music and appearance are both completely integral to the whole of what Bond is and they certainly don't pretend otherwise, much to their credit. To this end, the choreography was clearly worked out well in advance (though it could have been better rehearsed) and much of the fun of watching them was seeing how they dutifully rearranged themselves over and over on stage while playing. The dramatic upward reaching bow sweeps were impossible not to laugh out loud at and simultaneously appreciate for their unabashed ridiculousness.

OK, so what was totally lame? First of all, there was way too much support from their pre-recorded back-ups. They had the ultimate safety net, and that made it less exciting to watch. It was embarrassingly clear that the cellist was 'cello-syncing' to the first several songs and that was really really lame. Stupid, in fact. She did start playing later, but the fact that she faked it at all took away from any real playing she did later in my mind. Part of their set was 'acoustic' which was a great touch, but by not sitting down and playing a full on Schubert string quartet, they missed a fantastic opportunity to not only legitimize themselves as true classical musicians but also to educate the audience. Coming down from a bass thumping version of Swan Lake to a nicely interpreted, true to the original performance of a string quartet would have been very cool. And the final totally lame aspect was that the music was no questions asked, no doubt about it, full on cheesy. But hey, they're cross-over!

Despite these pockets of total lameness, I came away from the show not feeling disappointed at all. Bond doesn't pretend to be more than what they delivered, and, though I still do feel they could take the concept further, they provided a certain type of cross-over entertainment that was fun. They didn't take themselves too seriously and were fun to watch in their enthusiasm, their energy and, yes, their good looks. And amazingly enough, their beauty somehow didn't prevent them from actually being able to play their instruments! The first violinist and the violist were really good as far as I could tell; nice strong sound and tone and were not afraid of some pretty fast passages! I'm also going to guess that it does take talent to strut around stage in 6 inch stilettos while playing an instrument. I enjoyed hearing some of the greatest melodies ever written, and having them augmented by electronic drums and other loudness certainly lended a new perspective. The Bond girls really were getting into it, jumping up and down, shredding their bows and generally behaving as no one does, but everyone should, when listening to some of the great pieces they had arranged. I am risking serious contempt from a certain group here, but I will say that there are some things that the classical establishment could learn from Bond. Let me also say there are only SOME things; not very many, but SOME, nonetheless. Don't be close-minded.

I'm not sure why classical cross-over artists exist. I'd like to think that they have a mission of spreading a certain type of music to another group of people who had not yet been exposed to it. But I fear that many are manufactured to take advantage of a perceived market opportunity. In the end, though I am all for exposing different audiences to different types of music, I wonder how much Bond is really accomplishing in this regard (maybe they don't really care, but I hope they have a higher purpose). It seemed like they attracted an older crowd to a rock club, which is fine, but I would prefer to have seen a younger crowd attracted to a concert hall, or a younger crowd turn out for some really good, serious music, classical or not. There are already tons of rock fans, but the classical world could really use a shot of the youthful energy that Bond exudes. What would happen if Sonic Youth played at Symphony Hall with an orchestra or if there were more experimentations like Metallica's with the SF Symphony and Michael Kamen? The problem seems to be that classical performers are often so full of integrity and pride that they don't want to 'sell-out' to make money or spread their music. And rock musicians, if they are famous enough to command any influence, don't have music incentive to expose their audience to other types of music. Maybe cross-over is just a stupid idea that will never succeed in any substantive way. Or maybe cross-over is the only hope classical music has of not dying a slow and undignified death. Enough of that.

The fact is, Bond is entertainment, and they use a number of different techniques to succeed. This is not classical music; this is not the slightest bit serious music; it's hardly pop music for that matter, but taken as a whole it is light entertainment and there is nothing wrong with that. Bond is a band that I don't feel I ever need to see again, and I will certainly never purchase any of their cds (or t-shirts or, god help us, promotional posters), but am very glad that I saw them once and I am glad that they exist.

Posted by halsey at 03:24 PM

August 12, 2004

listening list

Gustav Mahler - Fifth Symphony
The Prodigy - Fat of the Land
Heitor Villa-Lobos - The Little Train of the Caipira
John Antill - Corroboree
Paul Oakenfold - Tranceport

the Villa-Lobos has some of the coolest percussion I have heard in a classical piece in a long time...

Posted by halsey at 07:35 AM | Comments (2)

August 11, 2004

e-valuation

I love updating my website. Not for some dorky reason like technology worship, but rather because of what it symbolizes. Updating my website symbolizes that I have reached another point of completion. Another song is done and that feels incredibly good to me. This is somewhat ironic because I don't really feel that any of my songs are completely done. But getting them to the point where I am comfortable enough to put them on the website is as far as I am able to take them on my own, so it feels like a completion of sorts.
I have realized that this is one of the few times that I let myself relax; this between song time. It's a time where I can revel in my most recent accomplishment and not yet worry about the next challenge. This time does not last for long, usually two or three days, but I relish it. I worked hard and earned those days, dammit!
Sometimes I wish I wasn't so driven because it is tiring and doesn't necessarily help my social life. I can't seem to do anything about this, and truth be told, I'm willing to make sacrifices in the name of writing music. But I wonder if I am actually making progress towards something or just spinning my wheels. Is it because I love creating music so much that I am so hard on myself and insistent on pushing myself ahead? Or is this just my nature? Or do I generate so much self-worth from the music I create that stopping the process decreases my 'value' minute by minute? Ouch...that's depressing.

Posted by halsey at 03:57 PM | Comments (2)

e-valuation

I love updating my website. Not for some dorky reason like technology worship, but rather because of what it symbolizes. Updating my website symbolizes that I have reached another point of completion. Another song is done and that feels incredibly good to me. This is somewhat ironic because I don't really feel that any of my songs are completely done. But getting them to the point where I am comfortable enough to put them on the website is as far as I am able to take them on my own, so it feels like a completion of sorts.
I have realized that this is one of the few times that I let myself relax; this between song time. It's a time where I can revel in my most recent accomplishment and not yet worry about the next challenge. This time does not last for long, usually two or three days, but I relish it. I worked hard and earned those days, dammit!
Sometimes I wish I wasn't so driven because it is tiring and doesn't necessarily help my social life. I can't seem to do anything about this, and truth be told, I'm willing to make sacrifices in the name of writing music. But I wonder if I am actually making progress towards something or just spinning my wheels. Is it because I love creating music so much that I am so hard on myself and insistent on pushing myself ahead? Or is this just my nature? Or do I generate so much self-worth from the music I create that stopping the process decreases my 'value' minute by minute? Ouch...that's depressing.

Posted by halsey at 03:57 PM

August 10, 2004

strengths in your problematic issues

Download: My Sister's Getting Married

This song began with a weekend hanging out with my sister and then became more solidified through the phrase 'I don't have a sister to spare'. I realized in writing this song that this phrase has many interpretations and I don't mean all of them, but I suppose that is often the case. I don't want to dictate how people can interpret my music, but I also don't want anyone to have the wrong impression of how I feel about my sister.
The fact is, I do only have one sister and I do care tremendously about her. I always want the best for her and will do what I can to help this happen. As I ruminated before, there is something about being 'married off'. I plan to truncate that phrase to simply 'married' in my situation as I don't like the 'off' part.
I really just want to create something that shows people how it is that I interact with my sister; how much fun she is and how funny she is. How lucky I am to have such a cool sister. How dorky we both are.
There is something irreplaceable and unmistakably unique about a sibling relationship. We shared a childhood with each other in a way that is impossible to reproduce, and the commonality of these early years has a powerful effect on later year relationships. The experience of childhood usually seems perfectly normal until some perspective and gathering up of self-knowledge makes it seem totally screwed up all at the same time. My sister is my only sounding board for this spectrum.
In the end, I view this song as not really a tribute or some sort of clear statement, but more of a roundabout representation of my roaming feelings about my sister over the last little while. It makes sense to me, but you, my friends, are a different story. Let me know.


When did you record your sister?
Well, the date is in the song(!), but it was the most recent time I saw her - she was visiting my parents. I wanted to record her reading a few poems and answering some questions and then the session expanded into much more including, most significantly, some excerpts (with ocassional modifications) from a standard pre-marital questionnaire. I ended up liking most the material that was totally impromptu; the stuff that fell between what I officially asked her to do.

What's the story with those bells at the end?
Besides being out of tune, you mean? I got those bells in Kathmandu when I visited my sister there way back when she was in college. Therefore they remind me of her. Therefore I had to use them in this song. And they are very cool sonically.

What's up with the Heavy Duty power cell?!?!?
RHYTHM: It really has nothing at all to do with the Walgreen's battery that I was maligning for it's lack of performance. This little snippet was recorded at the same time as everything else and happened to lock in perfectly with the 120 bpm tempo of this song which is really quite remarkable considering it's not only how I said the words, but how my sister laughs after them. I tried countless other phrases, but none worked like this one. Also, it's kind of funny.

Is your sister's partner really lacking in personal hygiene?!
no! he is very clean.

Posted by halsey at 12:52 PM | Comments (2)

August 09, 2004

video perception

I just took a little break from work and in the name of keeping myself informed of current pop music trends, I watched a number of videos available through the iTunes Music Store.
I watched about 8 or so (including the BOND one again - I couldn't resist the urge, sorry) and was thinking nothing more than how god-awful boring and stupid they all were. Do they have to be that way, or is there just a lack of creativity here? Or is it that videos are really only for marketing purposes so why bother to spend loads of time and effort on the creativity?
How do you make a video that isn't totally cliché? They all seem so formulaic. It's either a live concert video (which is probably the best, most honest approach in many ways), some sort of stylized 'performance' with the band lip-syncing to themselves in some exotic location, or some over dramatized re-enacted story, presumably taken from the lyrical content of the song itself.
Literally each one was just more of the same until I hit the Tortoise video for Salt the Skies. I almost didn't watch it because I had seen Tortoise recently live and didn't really need footage of it, and I was getting really annoyed and bored. But thankfully I watched because this video is really what video should be about. It actually added something to the music; something beautiful and tasteful. Something that was wholly original and complimentary and non-obvious. How refreshing! The lighting was perfect and the high-speed videography was clearly done by someone who had done it before. The production is professional and there is an elegance throughout. Well, the flying spider plant and stuffed monkey may not be so elegant, but were vital nonetheless because they took away the pretension that might have otherwise encumbered this expression. Blah, blah, blah. Go see for yourself and let me know what you think. I almost forgot; the song is good too!
You can check it out here:

Salt the Skies Video

What's the point of making a video if it doesn't add something? This whole MTV era with the requirement of everyone having a video for their single if they want to be successful is bull-crap. Music is MUSIC, not VIDEO. Don't get me wrong, I love video and think it can add a lot, but this requirement has to go. It's freakin' expensive too, and doesn't earn you any money directly. You basically have to pay MTV to play your video. OK, now I'm angry, dammit!

I have been thinking visual thoughts to go along with my own audio and I will certainly aspire to this sort of creation. Perhaps the dearth of truly good videos will provide an opportunity for bands like Tortoise and perhaps someday aevidence or eoe to get noticed.

Posted by halsey at 04:11 PM | Comments (2)

August 08, 2004

he had to cross the street anyway

I drove up to Portland, ME on Friday night in a flashy new indigo Gulf with a worn down, but ready for adventure mle. We had recently watched 'I Am Trying to Break Your Heart' together, and could not pass up the opportunity to see Wilco in concert. Although they have now scheduled a date at the Wang, earlier it appeared that Portland was going to be the best local date. And the Wang kind of sucks anyway because it isn't at all built for rock shows.
So after much traffic and the slowest burritos ever, we entered the State Theater, positioned ourselves right in the middle about 25 feet back and listened.
Wilco is not a surprising band for me. This show, like their most recent album was no exception. But this is not a bad thing. They served up what one would expect from Mr. Tweedy and Company; a simple, honest and incredible well done performance of simple, honest and incredibly well-written songs. What I like about Wilco is their ability to be so inventive within an elegant simplicity. Listen to the drums in 'I Am Trying to Break Your Heart' as an example of what I am talking about. This is not a prog-rock anthem to complexity (far from it, thank god) yet the drums are wildly clever *and* understated at the same time. How did he do that? Some of John Stirratt's bass lines are similarly sneaky. And of course Jeff Tweedy's lyrics and vocal melodies never let us forget that this is a smart group of musicians. Smart and tasteful and rockin' too.
Perhaps the most memorable moment from the evening happened before the show began while mle and I were eating our burritos across the street from the Theater. We are sitting there minding our own business and who ambles by, but Mr. Tweedy himself! Much to the dismay and embarrassment of my concert-going companion, I took it upon myself to no longer mind my own business and go talk to him. We walked across the street together and I told him how excited we were for the show and wished him good luck in the performance. He was friendly, and I felt cool until I saw mle's mortified expression. But I can't let opportunities pass by unused! I think she has forgiven me.

Posted by halsey at 01:21 PM | Comments (4)

August 06, 2004

consciously random

I've been thinking a lot about my post on randomness lately. I have gotten a number of responses and inquiries about the topic since the post and these have led to some interesting discussions.
I'm sitting up on Islesboro Island in Maine right now (well, I was when I originally wrote this...) looking out onto Bracketts Channel through a thicket of white birch trees. Trees are one of my favorite examples of the combination of order and reason with apparent randomness. With their subtle curves, branchings out and little knobules of knot, these trunks tell countless stories of strong winds and variable sun. However, the clear intent of the tree, their programming, if you will, is to grow straight and tall and sprout branches with leaves positioned to be free and clear in their access to the sunlight. It's like they have a mission statement which guides them overall, but allows for the flexibility to adapt to the randomness of the world around it. Without this acceptance of random, unanticipated events, they would surely die. This must hold true for everything, yes?
I can accept that there is no randomness dictating the behavior of the smallest of the small objects. But it is the interaction between these micro-activities on a more macro level that in my mind fosters randomness. Can collections of perfectly predictable actions lead to something wholly unpredictable? This reminds me of some of the territory that William Gibson gets into in his book Pattern Recognition.

I've also been thinking about randomness in the non-conscious sense (ie. trees) and randomness in the conscious sense (ie. you and me). Surely there are both differences and similarities. Free will begets randomness, right?
Does random mean 'without reason or intent'? Or is it "unable to be predicted"? Our friends at Merriam Webster state that random is "lacking a definite plan, purpose, or pattern", so I guess it is sort of both of my definitions somehow. This definition would suggest that the only truly random things occur with conscious beings. Trees have their 'plan' hard-coded into their very fiber, so everything they do reflects that plan and is therefore, not random. Yet as I look out onto Bracketts Channel, I can't help but feel that there are strains of randomness, or at the very least, happenstance, which contributed to this beauty.

But again, perhaps randomness is in the eyes of the beholder, and my eyes are particularly susceptible. I can live with that.

Posted by halsey at 08:40 AM | Comments (2)

August 04, 2004

how do you spell didgeridoo?

My friend, Geoff, came over the other night to do some didgeridoo recording. I actually don't know how it came to be that he plays didgeridoo (if you read this, G, please let us all know!), but as soon as I found out, I knew that I needed to record him.
Now this is a freakin' cool instrument. Basically, it is just a hollowed out fairly narrow tree trunk with a beeswak 'mouthpiece' that you play similarly to brass instruments (tuba in particular). Geoff tells me that the first ones used by the aborigines were hollowed out by wood boring bugs, so all that had to be done to turn it into an instrument was trimming to length and dipping it in beeswax. Nowadays, some are wood and some are made out of distressed PVC. You don't play notes, or at least not more than one note, so I didn't have Geoff play any interesting melodies (but we did get some cool rhythmic motifs going). Now that I write this, I wonder if you could make a didgeridoo that could play multiple notes a la the trombone. This seems possible. Maybe I will try. Maybe it already exists.
What I really love about this instrument is the texture and variability of the sound. It is so distinct and so individually analog; in some ways totally evil and other ways kind of friendly in its goofiness. I imagine that the way this texture is established is because of the rough interior surface. Those bugs tended not to leave things too tidy. I guess the sound waves are modified and interrupted by these variations yielding a more guttural and organic sound than the pure sine wave sounds that come out of more traditional and well-polished wind instruments.
I am looking forward to using this new sound in a song. We'll see what happens.

Posted by halsey at 08:50 PM | Comments (4)

August 01, 2004

Lance tan

I really like to bike. I have a mountain bike as well as a road bike, but recently I have been much more into the road biking. I like it for the exercise, of course, but I also like it for the mind and body experience that it gives me. There is something incredibly powerful about exhausting the body and then keeping on going. There is this purging of something, and the regenerative inflow that follows feels great. You use energy in a big way, but you get more back in return (maybe not right away, but you know what I mean). I don't know how this works physiologically (or even logically for that matter), but this is what I feel, and I don't think I am alone.

Road biking is a very simple activity. I'm not talking about racing or any competitive aspect, just the act of biking. It's repetitive, it's straight-forward, and my favorite, it's rhythmic. When you get a good cadence going it can feel like nothing can stop you from motoring right on up the next hill and cruising down. I used to hate the uphills, but now I love them not only for the challenge they offer, but for the reward on the backside. Last weekend on my way down the eastern side of the Kancamagus Highway in NH, I hit 40 mph for the first time ever. Then I freaked out and settled back to the low thirties. That's pretty fast when you have nothing between you and the speeding pavement but for an aluminum frame, two tires, and a bunch of components that please, please, please will continue to function properly. And I'm really not a very experienced biker, so this felt a bit hairy to me.

I got a bit side tracked here. I wanted to talk about how I write a lot of music while I am biking. Or at least I get lots of ideas. I always carry a piece of paper and a pen to jot them down if my mind gets filled with enough that I'm afraid I'll forget some. I often come up with silly acronyms or mnemonic devices to remember my ideas because I hate stopping to write things down. My competitive side doesn't want to hurt my average speed and I just like the uninterrupted flow. So I get this little battle going in my head. How many ideas can I remember until the fear of forgetting overcomes the desire to just keep on going? Usually it's three or four. Sometimes I even chant them as I go, and strangely, I secretly hope that I won't think of anything new because if I do the balance will be tipped towards stopping. I don't know what the logic is, but to me it is much much much worse to get an idea and forget it than to never get it in the first place. Perhaps I feel that all I am doing is postponing the idea and that therefore it will come out at some later time (when I can write it down easily!) whereas if it comes out now and I subsequently forget it, poof! it's gone forever. And my brain doesn't forgive me for that very easily.

I'm not sure why biking is conducive to me getting music ideas. Perhaps the rhythm and repetition has something to do with it, or maybe it's just that this is a strangely relaxing time for my mind and therefore I am open to ideas. Or perhaps it's that my over-active brain just won't sit still and insists on thinking about something at all times and since the biking doesn't take much thought, music is the natural exciting thing for me to contemplate.

Of course, I don't always think about music. When I get really tired, my brain doesn't want to think much at all. At that point, the trick to keep oneself pushing onward, I have found, is to fool the brain into thinking about something, anything, other than one's burning thighs. Sometimes I create simple little math problems, usually involving my bike computer, to perform this distraction. At what mileage will I be four fifths of the way back home? How far do I have to go in an hour and forty five minutes to have an average speed of 20mph? If I am traveling at a constant rate of 25 mph on a flat, what power output will my legs need to generate in order to not fall below 12 mph on my climb up the upcoming 9 percent grade, 3 mile long hill in terms of q, the coefficient of friction between the road surface and my tires? OK, that last one is a joke, but it works remarkably well especially given that even the simplest problems (I'm talking basic arithmetic here!) become quite challenging in this state of exhaustion. Try it if you don't believe me!

Now that I have spouted on about biking so much, I figure this is a good opportunity to discuss the 'Lance tan'. Now I'm pretty sure I made this up, though I might not have been the first to do so. Either way, I like the term. What does it mean, you ask? I'm not going to burden you with a picture of my own stellar example, but essentially the Lance tan is what some less hip individuals might call a 'farmer tan', though there is the requirement of equally well-defined lines on ones arms, neck AND legs. I figured that a) I'm not a farmer, so I can't have a farmer tan, b) Lance is really cool and all women think he is sexy, so why not take advantage of that? and c) I truly do have this sort of tan from biking a lot. So there. I'm proud of my Lance tan and no one will ever make fun of me again!

Posted by halsey at 10:34 AM | Comments (5)