Family


So first a little housekeeping. Sorry I’ve been a little lax on posting things here. Been busy and, besides, microblogging (see Twitter feed) is more up my alley (haiku is my favorite poetry form). On the subject of music, which this post will concern itself with, I should point out a few things:

  • My radio show isn’t dead, just been busy. That, and I’m waiting on Mixxx to fix the bug with my microphone so I can use voice over. But that’s really an excuse. I’ve been planning on doing another show, for weeks. So I have lots of fodder for it. Also been thinking about doing a noise show.
  • This year, my friend Jon 7 aka President Blair who runs the Timetheory netlabel and subsequently released my first noise album as Brownian Motion, started a project called The ERNIE 4 and played a couple local shows. In the spirit of Future Sound Of London’s “ISDN,” we did a little “tour” via Icecast. As the year is drawing to a close, we should be releasing the archives of this year’s tour soon. Keep an eye out.
  • Also keep an eye out for the second Brownian Motion, More Culture Than A Pint Of Probiotics, soon to come from Bleak netlabel.
  • The biggest show The ERNIE 4 had the delight in playing was with noisers from across the country at the 2011 Eugene Noise Fest. It was a lot of fun and we had an opportunity to test out some new equipment which worked out really well. We released the rather short set for free which you can find here.

On that latter point, I had finally decided to put Linux on my G4 Mac. It worked, but I wasn’t totally satisfied. After mucking around with it quite a bit, I realized how I could make an old Thinkpad R60 do the trick. Merely days before. I got Lubuntu, JACK, Pure Data, JACK-Rack, Patchage, and a bunch of LADSPA plugins set up. I brought a contact mic along for fun. The flexibility it offered, especially via Jack, was awesome. Best of all, Patchage made virtual cabling super easy. I was able to run multiple inputs any which way I want. Through this process, I got Jon interested in pd and he used it, too.

The more I contemplated this the more excited I got: I had a completely free system. By this I mean not that I got the computer without cost (this is not about money), but that my entire set up, down to the operating system, was entirely open source. Free for anyone to investigate, distribute and modify. Why is this important?

There’s a reason why I’m so adamant about Creative Commons licensing with my work (including my radio show). It’s the same reason why I’m so adamant about using freeware. I don’t believe information should be “owned.” It’s like Monsanto trying to patent DNA. There is only one goal from this– greed. Music should be about your passion to make it. Not greed. If you want to be greedy, go be an investment banker. I do believe that artists deserve recognition for their works and I do believe that artists have the right to profit from their works, even make lots of money from them. When you make it only about profit, however, then you are, in my opinion, not art, you are simply another commercial juggernaut. Go make jingles for McDonald’s.

There is that phrase: if you love something, set it free.

Meanwhile, I became a member of Hal McGee‘s Contact Group of Homemade Experimental Electronic Music and Noise on Facebook. I missed an option to add a track to his recent compilation series of 60 second tracks. In the process of discussing this and lamenting that there were some missed opportunities, it was brought up that the group was about the free change of ideas, not about the compilation. The gauntlet was thrown down.

So I picked it up and offered an idea of my own: a free electronics compilation. Made with free software, distributed in a free format, with a free license, offered through a free host, and released for free. By all of those except the latter, I meant free as in speech, not beer (i.e. not about money). This led to some lively discussion and ultimately some decisions were made:

  • Contributions are open. Anyone, Contact Group member or not, can contribute.
  • There are no limits on genre or genres. Doesn’t just have to be noise.
  • There are no limits on time. Doesn’t have to be 60 seconds. It can be. Doesn’t have to.
  • Deadline is January 1. February 1.
  • Release will be offered through Bandcamp (technically not free, but their API is freely available). Reason is that we can offer it for “name your own price”which means it’s free as in beer if you want it to be, but if you want to contribute, great. The money will be equally split between all the software projects used.
  • More specifically, it will be released on my own Bandcamp page under the “Brownian eMotions” label. Cuz it’s funny.
  • Must use free software.
  • Must use a free format. MP3 is not free and, besides, we need lossless to make Bandcamp work. I highly recommend FLAC because it is free and lossless and compressed, which makes distribution easier. Other alternatives are WAV and AIFF, but they were originally proprietary formats developed by IBM/Microsoft and Apple, respectively. In general, these should not have licenses or patents, but there are some patents on some extensions, so it may be difficult to be certain that you’re using a free version. FLAC is definitively free.
  • Contributions can be made available any which way you want: file sharing services, email, etc. Leave a comment here with how you’d like to do it and I’ll email you back with the necessary information.
  • Remember, this is free as in speech. Open source. We’re not talking about price. If you stole Fruityloops off of some Torrent site, that’s not the free we’re talking about.
  • It is highly preferable, but not necessary, to use a free operating system. Windows and OS X are not free.
  • Also preferable, but not necessary, is the use of open source hardware. If you want to use your guitar, go for it. But if you want to make an electronics project out of this, knock yourself out.
  • For many people, this will be a dramatic change. It’s meant to challenge you. Try something new. I WILL be happy to answer technical questions.
  • All tracks will be licensed with a by-nc-sa license which allows users to remix and share the track given that re-use or re-distribution is non-commercial, that the original is attributed, and that the new work or distribution is similarly licensed.

That being said, we already have some takers. As I hear from more people I will add them to this list. Here goes:

  1. Travis Johnson (track received)
  2. Jack Hertz
  3. Nuno Maltez
  4. Ronny Wærnes (track received)
  5. Post-Avantist (track received)
  6. Herv
  7. Halluciphile (track received)
  8. Antiquematter
  9. President Blair (track received)
  10. The Cheshire Dragon (track received)
  11. Centrescape
  12. Ganglion Cyst (track received)
  13. Hobo Liked Gnomix (track received)
  14. hiyohiyoipseniyo (track received)
  15. Astrometria (track received)
  16. Hollywood Video Game Kill-Bot (track received)
  17. d0x10 (track received)
  18. Lackthrow
  19. RJ Myato
  20. I Died (track received)
  21. John Dunlap (track received)
  22. Nick Bailey (track received)
  23. Elizabeth Veldon (track received)
  24. Pulsewidth (track received)
  25. Carl Kruger (track received)
  26. Somnaphon (track received)
  27. The Implicit Order (track received)
  28. Shaun Sandor (track received)
  29. Marax (track received)
  30. The Last Thing I Said To You Was (track received)
  31. Loopool (track received)
  32. noish (track received)
  33. Jukka-Pekka Kervinen (track received)
  34. Arvo Zylo (track received)
  35. Brownian Motion (track received)
  36. The ERNIE 4 (track received)
  37. Precocious Mouse

So get out there, make some noise, and spread the word. Bonus points if your piece is on the subject of freedom :)

P.S. This post has been done by email so if it sucks, blame WordPress. :)

Update 29 December 2011: make sure to read the comments for some further clarifications.

Update 2 February 2012: A few loose ends left in bold. Revised to include all previous candidate contributors. I struckout the ones who either I lost contact with or who said that for whatever reason they couldn’t contribute. This is mostly for my own desire to document. There may be a volume 2 and 3… Meanwhile, expect this out relatively soon. I’m aiming for mid-February, probably consistent with the release of the new Brownian Motion.

Update 14 Febuary 2012: Come get it!

Flying by Christina LapchynskiMy lovely wife, Christina Lapchynski, has been an artist since she was a little kid. She recently decided to go to school to study. One of her classes, on 3-D design, has been challenging her to try new media. Her unique vision continues to shine through despite this difficulty, as you can see in this work, “Flying” which is a static sculpture that has a moving element (the front wheel). In this sense, it not only implies motion but has motion. Please check out (and comment on!) her other works on her new blog, “arousing the inner child.”

As an aside, we went to a show of Kenneth O’Connell‘s work at DIVA recently. Christina was really excited about this because they both work with Copic markers. When we were there, we bumped into ex-customer service guy Hugh Larkin & his wife Sandy (who has some great art herself). Turns out they took one of Ken’s classes on a trip to Italy. Small world! Ken’s stuff is INCREDIBLE, by the way. He takes sketching and elevates it to a whole new level.

The wrong dessert to get me for my birthday: Bacon Burger Pie

The wrong dessert to get me for my birthday: Bacon Burger Pie

Yep, it’s my birthday tomorrow (thanks for the early wishes, everyone!). My honey ain’t feeling too hot so I probably won’t have a cake, so if you want to stop at Sweet Life and grab a Vegan Tiramisu or something, that would be cool. While you’re at it, a Vegan Chef’s Choice from Pizza Research Institute and some Oakshire beer, maybe the Vit or Duck Billed Platypus or the Ill Tempered Gnome, would go down quite well, too.

If you really want to splurge, get me a gift certificate at Best Buy (I probably would have said Frys but they’re not local and I’ve already got some old gift certificates at Best Buy). I can use it to get another external hard drive for the music, pictures and video. A print server would be nice, too. We could also use a couple extra Wii MotionPlus remotes for when the visitors come and want to gang up on New Super Mario Bros. Wii! :D

<geek>Not to mention the fact that it would be nice to get another Linksys WRT160Nv3 router in case I happen to render mine useless trying to flash an Open Source firmware called Tomato USB onto it. After SimplifyMedia made me mad and gave up the ghost, I’ve been trying to find a good solution to accessing my files from abroad. Maestro.fm crashes and has literally no support. Remobo– is just plain weird and looks like it will have issues with firewalls. This lead me to virtual private network solutions. Hamachi would be GREAT but there’s no support for anything but Windows (ew!) anymore. There was Viscosity but I didn’t feel like spending money for it.

So that lead me to OpenVPN solutions. Tunnelblick held some promise but it was going to take me forever to figure out how to configure the thing (I have a couple BOOKS now on the subject) and then I wasn’t sure it would work with a Bonjour-based service like iTunes Home Sharing. Looking for other options, I stumbled across a few different Open Source firmwares like dd-wrt and the original Tomato, complete with built in OpenVPN server. Now it’s just a matter of implementation but I’ve been a bit nervous without a backup option. So, yeah, that would be cool. I can always return it if all goes well.</geek>

But in all honesty, I don’t need any presents or surprises. I can’t complain. Even if I got nothing, I got a great wife who I am so proud of for going back to school to persue her dream (art) and constantly and delightfully surprised by for gaining new interests (biology) and who is just the best friend I could ever have (tandem kayaking and whale watching last weekend was fabulous!). I also got a remarkable little daughter who could out-swim me any day, who’s excelling reading standards and who continues to challenge and astound me every day.

Besides, I’m a geek. I don’t ever get bored, so it’s hard to feel sorry for yourself if you don’t get any presents or no one remembers your birthday. :D Not like I have that to worry about…

Ever since I got a Prism kite as a gift, the easily foldable/packable Stowaway Diamond, I have been absolutely in love with kites. On a recent trip to the Northern California Coast, home to the world’s oldest trees (the Redwoods, silly!), I even rushed to save my kite from the ocean as if I was trying to save my daughter from drowning. I guess that’s what I get for letting someone else fly it!

Anyways, I always enjoy when my client’s interests (outside of bikes) intersect with mine. Such is the case with the well-travelled cycletourist Jan Houtermans aka kiteplayer. He just happens to like kites, too. While browsing through his galleries, I found a glorious picture of a cyclist AS a kite, which was even more coincidental. Jan told me that he was not only a French professor of math and physics, but was well known for his remarkable kite making abilities. And does he deserve it. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:


Any other kite flying cyclists out there? What’s your favourite?

My first album has been released.  Not for the faint of heart, it’s a rather noisy eighteen-minute manipulation of some very high frequency electromagnetic waves I found floating in the air one day.  It can be listened to here and can be downloaded directly here (for free!) along with the fantastic artwork by Timetheory label owner and good friend Jon 7.  I named my little project Brownian Motion after the random movement particles in suspension and a little bit of double entendre.  The title of the album, “Midnight Vawk In The Park,” you’ll have to figure out for yourself.  Let’s just say the mispelling is intentional but doesn’t lead directly to the meaning though the timing is about right.  All in all, it’s a little bit serious and a wee bit tongue-in-cheek.  Enjoy!

Sierra taking off on 25 meter breaskstroke

Well, as aforementioned, the 2009 Big Kahuna Open happened this weekend.  We only showed up for Saturday, the day of Sierra’s two events.  It was a long hot day and we couldn’t see and we were perched on the side of a hill and there were people everywhere but it was a good time and we had great fun bonding with the rest of the team and their families.

Sierra ran the 25 meter freestyle and the 25 meter backstroke.  For the first, she was one of the few (even among older kids) to dive off the blocks, which were significantly higher than the ones at home.  For the latter, she thrust off the wall with such velocity (see above), it was really delightful to see.

Most of all, she had fun, even despite the fact she had to do the backstroke twice.  There was a long whistle and then a short whistle and then a horn to at last signal the start.  This confused one of the girls who took off on the short whistle.  I was confused, too, so I yelled “go” and off they went.  All of the kids finished the whole event and after 5 more heats, ran again.

Sierra’s coach was very proud of her, as were we.  Also, we had a lot of fun and look forward to future events, especially if it ends with a little ocean swim.  We had a get together at Sunset Bay State Park where we actually managed to get in and not be cold.

Click on the picture above for the usual shots and please enjoy a movie by clicking on the one below.

Sierra takes off in the freestyle relay

It’s official:  Sierra’s a ribbon-holding  competitive swimmer at the meager age of six.  The Emerald Aquatics team (that’s Sierra’s) took on another group at whose name I did not catch because I was too interested in encouraging Sierra and making sure she wasn’t nervous and had a happy experience.  The atmosphere was relaxed:  no official times, everyone got a ribbon, free food, but to her, it was still her first meet.

Grandma came down from Portland to watch the action took a number of great pics (see more by clicking on that picture above).  The weather was warm at Echo Hollow Pool and after a long bike ride (and for Grandma, horrible traffic), we were all looking forward to a dip.  Too bad the pool was filled with kids!

After some 150m of warmups (!), Sierra took on the 25m breaststroke and got 6th, then the 25m freestyle and got third.  Lastly, there was time for freestyle relays and her team got 2nd (though they got 3rd place ribbons for some odd reason), each of the four of them doing 25m.  Sierra was the second of the four in the relay sequence and did great.  You can see her launching off in perfect time while the competition stares in stock.

The last relay was with the older age group 2 and it was neck and neck.  The crowd, myself included, was really getting into it.  I had to ask one of the finishers who actually won because I couldn’t tell!

We had a blast and we’re looking forward to the big meet (the Big Kahuna hosted by the Gold Coast Swim Team) in Coos Bay at Mingus Park Pool August 7-9 if anyone wants to show up!  Warm ups start at 8am except at 11:30am on Friday.  If I understand the information I find correctly she should be racing in the middle to near the end of the day.

the team that found the bike: Rainey, me (though I didnt do much), Paul, and Torrent

the team that found the bike: Rainey, me (though I didn't do much), Paul, and Torrent

I’ve received a lot of support over the past month or so from all sorts of people regarding my stolen bike and I’d first like to say thank you.  I had hope– even certainty– that the bike would return, but your kind thoughts soothed my questioning mind from wondering how humanity has come to this.

Those of you that did not notice (and this would be surprising considering how impatient everyone’s been to hear this dan story!), my bike was snatched Monday, March 24th.  Anyone paying attention to my Facebook page surely noticed me rejoicing at its return two days later.

It’s taken me so long to share the story of its trip back home because of my workload as of late has about doubled, due to external factors (good weather means cyclists come out of hibernation) as well as internal ones (Paul Adkins leaving us!).

It turns out though that we must forgive Paul as he was instrumental in the safe return of said bicycle.  And it should come as no surprise that I was at work on Wednesday, March 26th trying to bust out some after hours emails when I get a call from him.  See, Paul and his family of six are carfree and so their Family Triple Tandem is like a Eugenian Escalade.

Paul and his olde kids, son Torrent and daughter Rainey were on the way from their Whiteaker (Eugene’s “ghetto” to the clueless, this is the hip, happening “heights” to the true Eugene downtown) home to Cosmic Pizza to see a performance by Uncle Bunkle.  The kids noticed a tikit riding by– in fact, one that looked a lot like a certain salesperson’s recently stolen bike.  An alarm sounded through the chain of command until, at last, the captain was notified.

BRING ABOUT!  FULL SPEED AHEAD!  The stokers cranked hard whilst the captain steadied the wheel and at last, they were upon her.  Paul explained the situation and the lady who was riding it seemed generally compliant.

She explained that someone, perhaps being chased, had jumped the fence around her relatively quiet southwest Eugene (where the bike was stolen) property and ditched the bike!  She didn’t see it but, her grandma apparently did.  She called the cops and they told her to hold onto the bike until the odd chance happened that they found the owner (really?! this seems fishy).

She was excited that perhaps a free bike had appeared on her doorstep and her husband seemed even more thrilled.  He stripped the bike, removing the decals (again, fishy), the headbadge, even the little plastic logo plate on the FMF cranks.  He then proceeded to remove every accessory except for a white blinky light, including a bar end bell, a Planet Bike light, a Detours seat bag, and a Soma coffee cup holder, an adjustable wrench, a Crank Brothers multi tool, a Quik-Stik tire lever and a Crank Brothers pump, my beloved Park glueless patch kit, my BF double sided front rack, a couple rack bungees, and even my CatEye bottle cage and tikit handle!  Seems like a lot of time and effort to put into making a distinctive bike all the less distinctive, no?

Well, it gets weirder.  So Paul calls me while detaining her and I rush down there with the showroom’s Travel tikit and a BikeRev heavy duty trailer big enough for another.  We agree to meet at a certain location she dictates off Blair and 5th.  Worse yet, when I arrive, no one is there.  I guess they had to move.  Paul almost thought he might need to go into pursuit mode, he later tells me, as she takes off real fast at first but either decides it’s futile or just calms down.  Anyways, I call Paul’s home after wandering around a bit and get redirected to an apartment on North Grand.

At long last, there she was!  I could barely contain myself.  Paul’s magnetic personality had drawn a crowd of interested local folks who were as much amazed by the bike’s engineering genius as its price.  In between appeasing the masses with folding demonstrations, I checked my baby for signs of abuse.  The aforementioned rape and pillaging notwithstanding, she was in as good of shape as when I last saw her.  I made some adjustments to the sizing to better fit her to me.

Well, I was hoping to stick her in the trailer and take off but we had to let the lady ride the bike to some other place where her husband was or something (never quite could make sense out of the story) which interestingly enough was on W 5th Alley, right nearby the locale I thought we were first going to.  Along the way, she road all over the road, in the other lane, no helmet, lackadaisically telling us a tale about how when she first tried the bike she almost got bucked off by the fixed gear.  Then when we get there, as collateral and proof that she would get back to me all the accessories, she gave me her phone number and the holder to her MP3 player.  In retrospect I probably should have demanded the MP3 player, but oh well.

I say this because at first she said she would come visit and never did.  Then when I called she said she was busy and would have to call me back.  Then she hung up on me.  Then I left messages on her voice mail.  Then her voice mail message became a generic message.  When I called the police to report the bike found, I explained the whole story and told them about this so clearly they tried to call the number, with the same results.  I have, to this day, never seen the stuff returned.  But I still have the holder to the MP3 player for evidence, if I could ever convince the cops to do any sort of fingerprinting.  Unlikely, sadly.

There was good that came out of this whole experience.  For one thing, I learned to take seriously everyone’s caution to lock the bike up, despite how short of a time you expect to go in the store or how visible the bike is.  If I’m going in for the long haul, I make sure to fold the bike up before locking it, but I always lock it, even if it is just to itself.  As suggested by one of the folks on the Bike Friday security page, I bought a set of Master Lock Street Cuffs (I use the single link version).  What’s really cool is that fitting it onto the tikit, just ahead of the piece that holds the seatmast when folded, it does not get in the way of folding, and it means that one half of the locking process is already done.

neat pump mount; click for more pics of the change

neat pump mount; click for more pics of the change

Secondly, I got a bunch of new bits, including a hyperfold cable again (I think she tweaked the stem clamp when she almost bit it), Dimension moustache bars (WAY cheaper than Nittos), a Detours Digi Midge stem bag, which is perfect for the garage door opener, an Arkel seat bag, and a cool SKS Revo Alu pump with an integrated gauge.  I had some lights kicking around that I fit on and got all the rest of the other bits.  Still trying to figure out what I’m going to do as far as covering the bars is concerned.  That electrical tape kind of stinks.  I’m thinking of getting, despite the vegan in me screaming “NOOOOOO!” the Ciclo Di Cuoio leather sew-it-your-self tape.  We’ll see.

As a final touch a few days ago I finally fitted on the tikit Aardvark Safety Upgrade Kit.  You can see it here in a highly polished version so as to stand out and make it clear what the final product will look like for all you people wondering.  On that note, the kits are currently in production and are relatively simple, so don’t sweat it.  No machine shop or even bike shop needed.  They are currently being installed on all bikes being shipped out.  I believe the plan is to eventually make the upgrade a permanent member on the frame, but Rob’s on vacation and even discussion about that will have to wait until he returns.

Another change is planned:  the new Sturmey Archer S3X three speed fixed gear hub!  At long last it is finally going to be made again.  I talked to the guy who distributes for them in the US and he says they’re going to make a freewheel driver for them first at request of some of their bigger OEM buyers, though I’m not sure why they don’t just get a standard three speed.  In any case, it will be nice to share the joy of some new exciting bike part with my best bike buddy.

Never had this happen to me before, especially since I’ve had the tikit.  I mean, come on, who needs a lock anymore? You just fold it up and wheel it inside.  Today, though, I had to bring the trailer along to carry some bigger stuff. On the way back to work, I stopped by for a brief moment at the bank. Since the trailer sort of messed up the convenience of it all, I left it outside.  Came back and well, ended up walking back to work.

A long time ago I learned that sometimes having nothing is better than being wealthy, that to be truly rich you don’t have to possess a darn thing.  Some of the richest moments of my life were spent in total poverty, with nothing more than a single backpack to call my own.  I remember the day I sold my music collection (I had probably close to 1000 CDs) just to fund my way out of Ohio. I worked tireless hours for those CDs and spent countless more enjoying them. Yet, I felt a remarkable sense of freedom, like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.

Sadly, though, that’s not what I’m feeling. It’s a funny thing about bikes: they’re like old friends. You spend that much time with anything and they start feeling like that. Worse yet if it’s a bike you built yourself. Then when it’s stolen, it not only feels like a lost friend, it feels like child abduction, a brutal kidnapping. You’re left plagued with thoughts of how they might be torturing, molesting, or abusing it.

I’m not without a certain amount of grace. Like Paul of Tarsas, I know what it is to be in need.  I don’t wish revenge by any stretch of the imagination. I feel sorry for the poor soul who is in such dire straits as to have to resort to such behavior. How foolish, too, that this person stole such a distinctive bike. They won’t be able to go anywhere without it being noticed. Hell, *I* can’t. This surely won’t bode well for their well-being.

Surely, too, I will find peace (and likely a new bike!) should it never return. I suspect, though, it will, as there are countless stories of people regaining their Bike Fridays. They certainly outweigh the ones of people NOT recovering their Fridays. I have hope in the power of a community-based effort. It has certainly worked in other cases.

Which is why I implore you, friends, to help me. Watch Craigslist, eBay, the Internet in general, pawn shops, bike shops. Spread the word. Be on the lookout. Speaking of friends, I am most grateful to Vik Banerjee whose wonderful pictures of my bike show it in nearly its exact present form.  The only differences are the lack of the Power Grips and rear light (fell off) and the addition of a Made In Oregon sticker next to the Made In America sticker on the right hand side. There are older pics here.

For those that can’t tell, it’s a Racing Green/Black Diamond two-tone, a true one of a kind. It should sparkle all the way around, just like Cream Soda Blue does.

And yes, it is a fixed gear on both sides of the rear wheel.

If you have any leads, thoughts, questions, concerns, feel free to comment away or get in touch with me through the many other options available. I ultimately just want my bike back, no questions asked. Thanks in advance for all of your help!

Lapchynski Christmas 2009 - Sunriver, ORThe snow is thick (in fact, I swear we gained a whole foot last night) in Sunriver and Christina, Sierra, Grandma Cheryl, KZ and I are having a great time.  Looking forward to some  more sledding today with Sierra and who knows else.

Now might be a good time to finally post the video of Sierra’s Christmas performance at church wherein she pulls off a fantastic solo in “The Friendly Beasts“, so here you go.  You should be able to just press the play button and it will play in your web browser but if you have a problem with that then you can download it there, too.  Now if you still have a problem with that, drop me a line and I’ll drum up a DVD for you.

 

Sierra 2008 Christmas program solo

Anyways, Santa was good to us.  Sierra’s love for the American Girl series (which, I think is cool because it teaches girls about the important contributions girls have made to history) continues to be appeased, this year with Nez Perce (the people of Chief Joseph) sweetheart Kaya, complete with teepee and corresponding fire!

As for us, interestingly, one of our presents is to come back to Sunriver for a couples retreat!  I also get to take a class on foraging for wild food and Christina gets a class in landscape painting.  Santa also made sure to get us thank you notes, which is indeed going to be useful!

 

But Christmas ain’t about the presents, right?  No, it’s a time to cuddle up against the cold with our loved ones and celebrate the seed of new hope that has sprouted.  No matter what you believe in, whether it be in the birth of Jesus or simply looking forward to the coming of spring, may it be a blessed one for you.

By the way, this was composed to Silber‘s annual winter/Christmas compilation, “Winterizing,” which you can download and/or listen to free here.  It’s an interesting mix of psychfolk, ambient, shoegaze, and electroacoustics from an ever-interesting label.  Their tendency towards emotional yet not goth stuff has always delighted me since I landed a copy of their first release many moons ago, especially when it comes to covering traditional Christmas songs.  Sadly, that’s lacking here, but it’s a good one none the less, especially given the price.

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