Friday, May 01, 2009


Well, it's Spring again. After the cold and wild Winter of 08/09, the trees are showering us with beautiful flowers. As usual, our piecemeal status updates are dropping into other channels than this area. We're on facebook and email, but nothing really pours into online channels - too many real-life people to chat with, thankfully.

Han's documentary concepts are forming, and she's been working with Reach, a community development non-profit to help with their photos and presentations. Her web development skills are now powering quite a few sites, including Shasta Trout, Diamond-Cut Life and the Spring's latest project, Padre Pio. It's quite amazing to see her branch out and use barter for smaller transactions, which helps everyone build great relationships and stay connected while the official economy tanks.

My own projects has revolved around music this Spring. Starting in Feb, I switched from guitar and MIDI-based songwriting to a more social band atmosphere. Although I still like dabble, the fun of collaboration for writing, play and recording has been awesome. All the usual drama around a "band" comes along, which is fun in its own way.

The house transformed for a few weeks into an amateur studio/rehearsal space while the band prepped for a few performances. It may still convert from time to time, but for now, its (almost) back to a full dining room.

I've gotten knee-deep into the world of online music promotion, ranging from a few social networking sites to more of the marketing and selling sites. I've also stumbled across a ton of great musicians along the way.

Also, I've had to realize that 38 is old in the music sense. A lot of the folks who have the most freedom to participate are young and subsisting on their parents' resources. In other words, there's a lot of people about 3 years away from reality smacking them in the face. I'm happy to split a "day job" with true focus on music in a realistic sense: ability, creativity, sociability. I'm glad to have been introduced to some similar folks through Han's musician links she's made over the years.

In the non-music news, we've been taking "NET" classes for a few weeks now. NET is a regional version of the federal "CERT" program that teaches citizens preparedness, light rescue and medical techniques for getting through a large-scale disaster. Here in the NW, our particular dangers are from volcanoes, earthquakes, windstorms, and possibly fires. When a "big one" hits, the professionals have realized that they will be overwhelmed, and so these classes become essential to getting the most number of people to survive. We're learning basic techniques to getting through such events, from how to use certain equipment, to organizational/communication skills to psychological concepts that can arise. It's wonderfully fascinating, even if the subject matter is scary and morbid. Look for this in your town - it's amazing.

The economic depression has hit our way, just like everywhere. We've scaled back on travel plans, taken a 10% hit on income, and re-formulated our cost-of-living. Also, we're re-financing on a much lower rate, which should offset some other losses. In the end, though, I'm happy to see that our cost of living was already so low that just a few changes were necessary to keep us going. We're able to still save in case of something big, and we're still enjoying all the activities we always have (biking/climbing/gardening/cooking/music-making).

In the future generally, Han and I are both bracing for even more narrowing of our spending habits. But for now, with the Spring in full action (no heating bills) and no big projects on the list, we're confident we can weather the dollar drought.