Unstuck

A couple months ago I shared the story about a package of mine that got lost in shipping somewhere between Germany and here. The package contained all about 100 copies of a special edition Nanoloop cart that had been manufactured specifically for my Kickstarter backers and seemed to disappear somewhere in US Customs. Losing this box of carts was absolutely devastating, and threw my whole year off (fiscally and emotionally). The stress of hunting these carts down was so intense that it was even the subject of my music video for “Rumspringa“:

Thanks to Oliver’s help, we were able to order a replacement batch of carts manufactured and I’m pleased to say they will start shipping to my backers this week! I really felt honored that so many people believed in this crazy project, and I can’t wait for them to get their hands on the final result. I mean, it’s an album of my music that you can play directly on a Game Boy Advance. That’s just so freaking cool!

The carts will be a little different than we originally planned. Rather than going with the special red circuit boards, we needed to go back to using Nanoloop’s old school gray cases, which I actually prefer. You can see them in the Vine video up top. I’m going to start recording a “quick start” guide for first time Nanoloop users, as well as a longer how-to video for more detailed song creation. Sometime in the next few weeks I’ll even do a Nanoloop 2.7 workshop for my backers. It’s been a year since the project launched on Kickstarter, and I’m so happy to finally move out of the “stuck in customs” phase of my life.

For what it’s worth, I’m extremely proud of Destroy All Presets. I think it’s one of the best albums I’ve ever released and I really love the idea of shipping it (in an instrumental form) in a way that allows people to listen to it directly on the Game Boy Advance… just like I did in the months before the album’s release. Once people get the cart in their hands I’m hoping they’ll start exploring/remixing the tracks and spend some time creating tracks on their own.

Discovering the Undiscovered photo list

photowalk-glitch

Today I had the pleasure of giving a talk at the SF Apple store about some of the weirder and lesser known iPhone photo apps. The talk was done in conjunction with Apple and Flickr and it’s one of my favorite iOS workshops yet. We didn’t record video from the event, but I did want to share the full list of apps I mentioned, as well as today’s slideshow and a video full of tips for Hipstamatic users.
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Seattle Yo-Yo Story

space needle yo-yo

I’m just getting back from a short stay Seattle where I helped judge the Pacific Northwest Regional Yo-Yo Contest. It was one of the first contests I’ve judged in years, and one of the longest stays in Seattle I’ve had since my first trip 15 years ago. The trip where I bought a yo-yo that would almost instantly send my life in a whole new direction.

On March 3rd, 1998 I flew out to Seattle with dreams of getting signed to a record label. It was a week before my 21st birthday. I was living in Lewisburg, TN and had been communicating with someone at K Records about my music. I sent them some tapes and they said “These are great, you should come visit us sometime.” I took that as “Come get signed to our label!”.

My plan was to spend most of my stay in Olympia, but the first thing I did when I arrived in Seattle was head straight to the top of the Space Needle. I was a big World’s Fair nerd at the time, and was trying to visit all of the old fairgrounds in the US. After enjoying the view, I stopped by the Space Needle’s gift shop to buy a little souvenier for my collection.

A Space Needle yo-yo was $1.49. A Space Needle snow globe was $1.99. So I went with the cheaper option.

During my week in Olympia I carried my new yo-yo everywhere. I was terrible and the yo-yo was just a cheap wooden yo-yo, but it kept me busy as I walked around town each day.

I obviously didn’t get signed to K Records. I met with the dude, who just worked in shipping or whatever, and we just chatted. He played in Godspeed Ye Black Emperror half the year, and worked the warehouse the other half. I met several folks just like him. Folks that I idolized for their art, zines, and/or music. Many of whom were homeless. Well technically homeless. Some lived in vans, or couch surfed, and just made albums and played shows all the time.

I realized on that trip that there were many super talented people out there who were just more passionate about making music than I was. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but I love having a place to stay too. The nomadic lifestyle was just not something I was interested in.

I left Tennessee with dreams of getting signed. When I came back I decided what I really wanted was just to find some job I didn’t hate, so I could afford to make my own music at night. A big change, but it probably made me a happier person in the end.

On the day I came back from Seattle, the day after my 21st birthday, I made a quick stop at Cool Springs Mall for a quick bite to eat before I headed back to my small town. The mall was just opening and I noticed a man opening a brand new kiosk called “Yo Momma’s Yo-Yo Store”. As he was opening up shop for his first day, I walked up and asked if I could try one of his toys. He handed me a Yomega Fireball, which was one of the new wave of trans-axle yo-yos that were just catching on in Hawaii and California.

Impressed with my skills (and the fact that there weren’t any other 21 year-olds who carried a yo-yo with them) he offered me a job. A month later a huge yo-yo boom hit the nation and we could barely keep them in stock. 3 months later he was opening his second shop and made me a manager of the Cool Springs location. 6 months later I was the regional manager, traveling to new cities to hire and train staff for his growing empire. 12 months later I entered the World Yo-Yo Contest and got 3rd place. I was lucky enough to there right before the yo-yo boom and it was just the beginning.

I moved to Virginia, then Chattanooga, then bought the business and opened my final store in St. Louis. When the dust settled down, I moved to Minneapolis to manage a toy store in the Mall of America. I lived there for about 4 years when I was asked by a friend to to do one quick show in San Francisco, where I fell in love with the town (and weather) and decided never to leave. I met Christine here, made some video games and a bunch of art, and kept making music in spare time, just like I decided to do 15 years ago.

All those cities I lived in, people I met, opportunities I had, all came down to a little green souvenir I bought in Seattle right before my 21st birthday. Sometimes I wonder how completely fucking different my life would be right now if that snow globe had been 50 cents cheaper.

space needles

What it’s like to be a tourist in SF

Tourist Day

For our 3rd anniversary, Christine and I decided to be tourists in our own city. We picked up as many clothes as we could find with “San Francisco” on them from thrift stores and dollar stores along Mission St, donned some shorts, and hung cameras around our necks. We looked the part.

We started our day with a MUNI ride to the Ferry Building. We noticed a bus just pulling up to our stop, but we were too far to make it, so we kept slowly walking over to wait for the next one. To our surprise, the bus pulled up right next to us and the driver let us on board.

“Where you two from?” The driver asked.
“22nd and Capp St.” We replied.

Tourist Day

An hour later we were on the ferry heading to Alcatraz. I had been before, but this was Christine’s first trip to the island. If you’ve never been, now is a pretty good time to visit. The Ai Weiwei exhibit will be up for a couple more months and ads a little more variety to the trip. More bang for your buck as they say.

Tourist Day

We followed up our trip to Alcatraz with a crab sandwich from Fisherman’s Wharf and a trip to Musée Mécanique… which was the highlight of our day. Afterwards, we waited in line for a cable car to Coit Tower, but then just decided it would be more fun to walk.

My goal was to experience the city the way a tourist might. Eat where they eat, see what they see, but it’s hard to be a tourist in your town. “It’s only a 35 minutes, lets just walk it.” is not what most tourists do. They wait in the lines and pay 6 bucks for the cable car… hell, most tourists probably never even notice Musee Mecanique, which is one of the coolest spots in the city and happens to sit right in tourist central.

Tourist Day

We made it to Coit Tower around 4pm, after a short trip to chat with Al at Al’s Attire. The murals in the base of the tower were one of my favorite parts. The view from up top was great too, but not something I’d ever need to do again. BTW, you get a discount if you tell them you are a local.

The whole day was a blast. Even if we didn’t get to act completely like tourists the whole day, I think we got a pretty good feel for what it might be like. From the sneers from “locals” as we got on the BART in the Financial District, the super nice MUNI driver in the morning. When planning the day, I had so much more in mind; double decker buses, little yellow go carts, bike rides across the Golden Gate bridge… there’s no way we could have done all that in a day. Just hitting Alcatraz and Coit Tower was more than enough tourism to fill our day.

Tourist Day

Tourist Day

GHD appearance at Fallen Cosmos

Don't believe the lies
I spent most of this weekend staging a fake protest at Fallen Cosmos in SF. Fallen Cosmos is an immersive art experience happening at Pier 70. Hundreds of artists came together to create installations and art for the show’s attendees. As part of this experience, myself and some friends made some signs about the “myth of the dinosaurs”. I brought 300 copies of God Hates Dinosaurs and handed them out to folks after preaching to them. We started out a bit rusty, but by the end of the show I had a silly rebuttal for just about anyone who wanted to debate with me.

I don’t want to give away too much of the experience, but the folks at Fallen Cosmos have extended the show for one more weekend. There’s one important catch though, tickets are only available to be offered as gifts, nobody is allowed to buy tickets for themselves. If you’d like to go with a friend, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure something out.

If you are interested, and if you live in SF you really should be, you can purchase tickets for your friend for Friday the 6th or Saturday the 7th.

I went to Fallen Cosmos
fallen cosmos