Monday, September 27, 2010

Pioneer Photography Practice

Pioneer Village

Last Sunday was the Umpteenthsomething Annual Forks of the Wabash Pioneer Festival in Huntington, IN. It's much like any other festival of the type, a big group of people set up tents, appear in era appropriate garb, and sell exceedingly inappropriate for the time period merchandise. I don't believe those unfortunate individuals on the Oregon Trail were sporting peace sign necklaces or looking forward to filling their new homestead with tacky lawn ornaments. Maybe I just missed that chapter in my history book.

Nicole makes it a yearly tradition to visit the festival, and since we may not be within a thousand miles for next year's, she wanted to make sure we made a visit. Unfortunately, this meant we got there about 1 hour before it closed. Cue "Yakkity Sax" and a Benny Hill style run around in circles as we attempted to locate everything on Nicole's must buy list, all while trying to avoid tripping over lots of 19th century skirts in the way of our mad dash.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Unfortunate Tale of Ms. Gabriele Nichols

Apparently, I live a double life. To my friends, family, co-workers, and pretty much any person that actually knows me as a human being, I am Gabriele Nichols, an adult male in his middle 20s who could only be mistaken for a female if we’re talking about the bearded lady. To countless advertisers, credit card companies, and various producers of junk mail, I am Ms. Gabriele Nichols.

The tail of this confusion begins before my birth, when it was determined by my parents that I should have the name Gabriel. However, due to a desire to do something different, I received the spelling-of-indiscriminate origin Gabriele. Apparently, this spelling is French in origin, though it took my language expert English professor in college a full 5 minutes of thought before he could place the nationality. This man could give you the entire history of the word “beer” in 5 seconds flat, so my being able to stump him was quite a feat.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Great Honeymoon Debate

Photo from The Commons on Flickr

While I’m definitely obsessed with selecting the music for Nicole and I’s wedding next year, what I’m really thrilled about is planning our honeymoon trip. Travel is one of my loves in life, and this is one of those few opportunities where you are expected to spend loads of money and disappear from the real world for a week or two.

At first, I was obsessed with one idea. We would go to Europe. A large part of the time would be in London, and then maybe Germany for a few days since Nicole knows some German. Oh, and of course Paris, because it’s the city of romance, and there’s Disneyland Paris of course. I’ve also always wanted to go to Italy.

Monday, September 20, 2010

NSP Review: Matt & Kim- Grand

Album artwork from Matt & Kim's Website

Album: Grand
Artist: Matt & Kim
Label: Fader Label
Sounds Like: Someone took the White Stripes, taught Meg White how to drum, gave Jack White an electric keyboard instead of a guitar, and took away about 3/4th the melody and the blues influence.

Matt & Kim are an extraordinarily simple band, so this is going to be a short and simple review. Hailing from New York, everything about the band seems to evoke the idealistic view of the place, with art school origins, album artwork built from collages of the city, and live shows where the two-piece loses itself literally in the middle of the audience. “Constructive Chaos” might be the best way to describe the band, as they seem to put a lot of effort into seeming random and destructive.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Requiem for a Record Store

Photo from The Commons on Flickr

I have spent nearly every day since this past Tuesday trying to find a single CD. This is not uncommon, as I happen to live in a town where there are literally 3 sources for music, a Wal Mart, which has eliminated half its selection, a K-Mart, which has eliminated 9/10th of its selection, and a place called Karma, which probably only sells a bad selection of CDs to disguise the fact that it is filled with pot memorabilia. Add on the fact that most music I consume is completely unknown by anyone else in this city, and you’ve got yourself a typical problem.

The more frustrating part of this search, however, came from two factors. One, it was the new album by Grinderman, entitled Grinderman 2, which is Nick Cave’s side-project. Nick Cave also happens to be one of my favorite artists ever, and one of the few that would turn me into a screaming pyscho fan if I ever got within 10 miles of him. Second, my search wasn’t just of my hometown, but also of Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, Indiana, two of the biggest cities in the state. I finally found the disc today, but was almost to the point of vehicular homicide by the time I discovered a store that carried it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Florida Invasion Plan: The Reconnaissance Mission

Photo from The Commons on Flickr

In just a few weeks, Nicole and I will be infiltrating Florida to find our new base of operations. We will arrive via air, and commandeer a commercial vehicle to investigate potential sites. We will break for R&R, then share intelligence with a fellow operative already deep in the field, before returning via air to resume our civilian jobs.

You could say it all that way, but that would be ridiculous. Instead, here’s a rough plan for our apartment hunting trip next month.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Absence of the Other Half

Nicole is not a spirit helping me solve mysteries, because she is, in fact, alive.
Photo from The Commons on Flickr.

Lately I’ve suffered not seeing my better half often enough. Due to Nicole’s work schedule and vastly different sleep schedule, I managed to see her a grand total of 10 hours, non-consecutive, including falling asleep, in the last 3 days. Yes, I did the math, because I’m that intensely bored without someone else in the apartment. If it wasn’t for Team Fortress 2 and random music, I’d be tugging my hair out at the roots, and the former is only possible when our intolerable internet works. As anyone can tell, however, she’s not only absent often in my life, but also on this blog.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wedding Music Part 1- Tears of a DJ

Photo from The Commons on Flickr.

There are many important things to plan for a wedding. Location, date, menu, decorations, honeymoon, the list goes on forever. There is one essential part of the wedding that I know will take the better part of the next year to plan, at least for me. I only have a year to figure out what music I want to play during the reception, and that seems like barely enough time.

If you’ve read other posts on here, it should be obvious that I’m a little obsessive when it comes to music. It’s one of the few hobbies of mine that hasn’t diminished over time. Nicole is also a music lover, though not quite devoted to the weird and obscure as I am. We are already formulating our lists, and over the next months I’ll be recounting some of my potential picks. I pity the DJ that will have to follow my stringent demands, if I even bother with one in the first place.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tie Me Kangaroo Down

It's Friday, and the weekend beckons once again. According to something I heard recently, but I can't track down if it's true for the life of me, they've started to end the workday early on Fridays in Australia. It's becoming standard business etiquette, in some areas, not to call in the afternoon, as the office has already adjourned to the nearest pub. I think this is a respectable and decent practice that all American places of work should seriously consider. I mean, who really gets work done on a Friday? Oh, right, I am, but I think I'm the exception to the rule a lot of times.

Thus, not a lot of time for an entry today. No long winded reviews or rants about impending moves. Instead, just a simple song about a dying Australian. All together now, "Tie me kangaroo down, sport, tie me kangaroo down!"


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Chime- More Trance Inducing Than a Room Full of Hypnotists

Game logo from Zoë Mode (the developer)

Based on the recommendation of one of my favorite blogs, Twenty Sided, I downloaded the game Chime, which was just released for the PC on digital release platform Steam. The game is the first release by OneBigGame, a charity group that plans on getting developers, in this case Zoë Mode, to make games for free, then donate the profits to good causes. It's an intriguing idea, and for only five bucks, I thought it was worth supporting a charity and getting a few minutes distraction. What I wasn't expecting was one of the most relaxing, zen-like experiences I've ever had playing a computer game.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

NSP Review: Murder By Death- Good Morning, Magpie

Album Artwork from Murder By Death's Discography

Good music is not always easy to find in Indiana. Unlike many areas of the country, there isn’t, and maybe never was, a comprehensive “scene” or music city. Like anywhere in the country, the larger cities have their struggling bands, and the small towns have aging cover bands and high school kids with little talent but huge dreams. Thus, the band Murder By Death, which hails from Bloomington, Indiana, came as a big surprise to me when I discovered their music. They quickly became one of my favorite bands, and their new record, Good Morning, Magpie, is no exception.

For those who have never heard of the band, Murder By Death is an alternative group that sounds something like the love child of Nick Cave, Ennio Morricone (famous composer of classic westerns), Johnny Cash, and a literature major on a three week bender. So, more of a love grandchild, really. At their start, they were not easily distinguishable from some of the more theatrical emo and punk bands, with ridiculous song titles like “You Are the Last Dragon (You Possess the Power of the Glow)” and “Intergalactic Menopause.” Even on their second album, Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them?, song quality was occasionally sacrificed to support the bizarre plot line about the Devil unleashing zombies on a small, desert town.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Picture from The Commons on Flickr.

As it should be quite obvious, I have missed two of my regularly scheduled days for posting, last Friday and yesterday. My past blogging attempts haven’t lasted past eight or nine posts, so I definitely do not want to abandon this one, or even let up too much on my posting schedule. Keeping up the writing plus the insanity that is life right now, however, was quickly pushing me to a case of burnout that was going to leave me as roadkill on the highway of the universe.

This last Saturday, I had dinner with my Father (who is also my boss) while Nicole was unfortunately working the evening shift. At least half of our conversation revolved around making comments like “It’s been a long year,” “What happened this last year,” “Seriously, what happened, I don’t remember,” and random sounds of confusing thought. Essentially saying, it’s been constant chaos at the family business, and the last few weeks have been no different. Over two weeks ago we liquidated everything but the property at the farm, and since then I’ve been constantly trying to revamp an entire webstore by myself.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The New Car Shuffle

Photo from The Commons on Flickr

With our big move rapidly approaching, one of the things Nicole and I have had to accept is that we must get her a new car. There are no ifs, ands, or buts to this situation, except the butts which will be sitting in said new car’s seats. Both of us need an automobile, and there is no way that Nicole’s vehicle will make it all 1000 miles we have to travel ahead of us.

My old car, the Chevrolet Beretta. Photo from

I already replaced my long neglected, continually falling apart Chevrolet Beretta a year and a half ago. This car got a flat tire and was technically totaled. I replaced it with a brand new HHR, a vehicle I thought was pretty neat until I realized that everyone in the tri-state area apparently had the same thought. Now I can’t find a parking lot where at least 2 other cars look identical to mine.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

NSP Presents: Random Listening, Volume 1

Photo from The Commons on Flickr.

With work being a little ridiculous right now, and all the big move, wedding, and other planning, I find myself listening to a lot more music lately than I have since college graduation. This is good, as music has always helped me focus and made me a happier person. This is also bad, because I suddenly gain an insatiable craving for more new sounds, more new albums, and I have to use every bit of self control not to purchase any random song that seems interesting.

As such, here’s the first of potentially many little overviews of some albums I’m listening to at the moment, with a few thoughts on each. No guarantees I won’t milk these for full reviews later.