Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for January, 2007


Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Sarah and I had a pretty damn good weekend. It wasn’t perfect, as I felt like crap for a good portion of the weekend, but we made the most of it. That’s one thing I’ve been trying work on — doing the things I want to do despite not feeling well or it being dark outside, or having cold weather, rain, snow, etc. Those things can all be a hindrance, but a lot of things are still possible despite those poor conditions.

On Saturday morning, Dave and I went riding on the frozen trails at Brown County — read about our ride here.

Yesterday, it finally snowed. This was the first significant snow of the winter; we didn’t get a ton of snow, but at least a couple of inches. I felt pretty crappy in the morning, but after sleeping late, taking some Excedrin and eating some lunch, I felt better.

I like snow. It can certainly be a pain from a practical standpoint, but I think it’s really beautiful, and it can be a lot of fun to play in it. That last part isn’t something I’ve done much since becoming an adult, but I think it would still be fun. We debated what to do and decided to go for a drive and try to do some photography.

I was a little nervous about the conditions of the country roads, but the ones we drove on were all in good shape. It helped that it was just barely cold enough for the snow to stick — I think for the most part, the roads were just warm enough that the snow had trouble sticking to them. That, combined with the sand/salt on the roads, was enough to keep them clear.

We went to Lake Lemon, which looked really beautiful. In addition to the snow, there was also some fog, so everything was shrouded in white. Neither Sarah nor I have much experience taking photos in the snow, but we both did pretty well, and it was good practice. Exposure can get pretty tricky, and I still need to learn more. I’ll post a few photos below, but you can see all of my photos here, or see Sarah’s photos here.

Curved trees reflected in Lake Lemon.

Minimal snow painting.

On our way back to town, things were just beautiful. More fog was developing, and, as Sarah put it, “it was so pretty that we stopped the car in the middle of the road on a two-line road, put on the hazard lights and stomped through a field to take these photos.”
Road fading into the fog
Country road. This is Indiana State Road 45 — some of my bike rides go this way.

Sarah in the snow
One of my better portraits of Sarah. Her eyes look particularly good in this shot.

Trees shrouded by fog and snow, barely visible against an overcast sky, in a Rothkoesque composition.

After that, we drove to Lake Monroe. Sometimes, when we’re out driving around, I just feel compelled to keep driving until it gets dark. This was one of those times. We wanted to take in as much of this as we could. It was a bit dark by the time we got to Lake Monroe, so this shot (and some others on my flickr page) I did using my tripod.

Winding road
Causeway over Lake Monroe.

Frozen ride

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Dave and I had planned to ride at Brown County at 9:00 am on Saturday. I don’t normally get up that early on weekends, but it was the first good opportunity to ride in a while, and we had to go early to ride before the trails thawed.

We invited some of our coworkers to come ride with us, but they seemed to prefer sleeping late in their warm beds to getting up early to ride in the sub-freezing temperatures with us. Go figure! The trash talking was in full effect on Friday, albeit via e-mail.

Dave was running late since his dogs ran away (Dave is never late), but he called me before I left home and we just pushed the ride back. So it was probably approaching 10:00 by the time we started riding after getting there, getting our gear together, and stretching.

The trails were in really great shape — they were frozen, but not very icy, and the ice that was there was more of a crunchy kind of ice, rather than slick ice. I’m not used to riding on frozen trails, but it really didn’t take a whole lot of adjustment.
My fitness level has seriously degraded with the lack of riding lately, but it was still fun. We rode the North Tower Loop first, which was surprisingly hard, given my decreased lung capacity. We stopped a number of times.

On the way to the Aynes Loop, there are some creek crossings, which normally aren’t an issue, but Dave stopped before one of them. I wondered why. He asked if I thought there was ice on the rocks, but I didn’t think there was, so I went ahead and tried to ride across. Of course, the last rock had some ice on it, and my rear wheel slipped off the rock. Fortunately, I just put my foot down and caught myself.

The Aynes Loop was in really good shape, too, although it was getting later and the sun was shining, so parts of it were thawing as we rode. Most of it was fine, there were just a few greasy/slick spots. It was pretty interesting because you could tell that trails only on one side of the hills were thawing due to their more intense sun exposure. The Aynes climb seemed even harder than usual, but it was well worth it. There were some animal prints frozen into the trail surface in places, some dogs or doglike animals, deer, and some others I couldn’t recognize.

I haven’t figured out exactly what layers I need to stay warm. On Saturday morning, it was in the lower 20s when we started riding. I was going to wear a fleece sweatshirt and my jogging suit jacket over my long-sleeved jersey, but that ended up being too much. Even just the fleece thing was too much, I ended up with just the jogging suit jacket. On the other hand, my legs were cold for most of the ride, even though I had my shorts, cycling pants and the jogging pants over those. I could’ve used a better insulation layer in there. My feet were surprisingly comfortable with just my mountain biking shoes and a pair of Merino Wool socks.

I bought a “Micro Clava” at Dick’s, which worked great. It fit under my helmet, kept my neck warm, and allowed me to cover my nose and mouth if I wanted. I ended up not needing to do that, as it wasn’t quite cold enough for that. I did try it, and I might have problems with my glasses fogging up if I cover my nose and mouth. I didn’t leave it that way long enough to find out.

Attempting to get back to the music

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

So, I did February Album Writing Month (FAWM) last year, and really enjoyed it. The thing is, by writing something like 16 songs in one month, I really burned myself out. And I’ve had a lot of things going on in the past year, including moving, starting a new job, and doing a lot of bicycling and photography. I have hardly worked on music at all since FAWM last year.

I’m trying to get back into doing that, including, hopefully, working some new elements and influences into my music to take it to the next level. I’ve been pretty into folk music lately, and I would really like to incorporate some things from that, more acoustic instruments, and possibly more songlike structures. I’m also thinking about doing some more vocals. To date, the only song I’ve added vocals to was Last of the Lost (can be found on my DMusic page).

But I’m having a bit of a hard time getting back into it. I’m rusty with actual playing keyboards and guitar, and trying to learn some mandolin technique at the same time. And synth programming is something that you get accustomed to doing; I need to reacquaint myself with it.

I’m hoping that things will come back to me fairly quickly, but so far, the little bit I’ve tried to do has been difficult. I need to get back to where I can just sit down and work on music. I’m going to try to do FAWM again, and hopefully, that will help get me back in the swing of things.

One thing I hadn’t thought about that I noticed last night was that I was playing guitar for a while, and when I stopped, I got this huge nicotine craving. I always used to smoke a lot when I worked on music, but I’ve never smoked in our new apartment — which made me realize how long it had been since I worked on music!

Way too long, if you ask me.

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