Saturday, April 09, 2005


So, I found the coolest thing at a garage sale today. I found a Mixman DM2 for $6. $6! They go on Ebay for anywhere from $25 to $75.

What makes this so cool is that it allows me to switch loops on and off, literally at the touch of a button. Very cool. It's a very neat and cheap tool for live performance, which is what I'd like to do eventually, should I ever get my hands on a laptop. And it's USB, so no futzing with MIDI cables. There's even a relatively thriving community that's using these things for far more than they were ever designed for. First learned about it on EM411, of course, quite some time ago.

So, yeah, I'm stoked.

Mowed the weeds, and the wife and I went to Lowes and got various plants and herbs and gardening things. Then I made some kickass cajun catfish. She said it was the best catfish I'd ever made. Here's the secret. First, make sure the catfish is fresh. That's important. Then, make a wash out of eggs, minced garlic, and some buttermilk. Soak the catfish in it. Then dredge it through a little flour, corn flour, and cajun seasonings. Then LIGHTLY pan fry it in just a little little little bit of olive oil in a nonstick pan. It doesn't take much. It ends up being light and flaky, moist without being greasy. Very good.

Speaking of using/reusing things beyond their intended purpose, if you're not aware of, you should be, of two magazines. The first is Readymade, and the second is relatively new, called Make. Both are incredibly cool, if you're into subverting the mindless consumer culture of America by being smart, thrifty, handy and resourceful.
The recent death of the Pope has me thinking about some things. As some of you may know, my father was an Episcopal priest, a very thoughtful and spiritual man. As a result, I was raised with a large amount of religious material in the house, (Including the Book of Mormon, much to the surprise of two LDS lads who came calling a few weeks ago. I think they were surprised that a godless heathen like myself was familiar with it) which has led to a lifelong fascination with religions and religious movements. I no longer am a practicing Christian (For the sake of convenience, and because it's the closest fit with my personal beliefs and attitudes, I identify myself as a Buddhist. But I'm not a very good Buddhist, I'm afraid.), but I'm still fascinated by the history of both the Church and early Christianity.

I found this fascinating site that basically proposes that the trigger that led to Jesus being crucified was the incident in the Temple complex. It's not too long. Maybe about 4 or 5 pages worth of material. It's worth the read.

On a related note, when I was around 17 I read this book, The First Coming: How the Kingdom of God Became Christianity, by Thomas Sheehan. It had a profound and deep influence upon my religious and spiritual development. As it seems to be out of print, I was ecstatic when I finally found an online version here. Also well worth the read. Of particular note is this passage, from the beginning of chapter II:

"Soon after Jesus died, something dramatic happened to his reputation: His followers came to believe that he had been raised from the dead and was alive with his heavenly Father. This enhancement of Jesus' reputation is a historical fact, observable by anyone who studies the relevant documents.

But according to Christians, something dramatic happened not just to Jesus' reputation but above all to Jesus himself. They believe he actually was raised from the dead, was taken into heaven, and is now reigning there as the equal of God the Father. These, however, are not observable historical facts but claims of faith.

The purpose of this central part of our study is to distinguish between the facts of history and the claims of faith, between what certainly happened to Jesus' reputation after he died and what allegedly happened to Jesus himself. There is no doubt that Christianity formally began with the disciples' claim that Jesus had been rescued from death. Our question, however, is what that claim meant in the early church and what historical experiences lay behind it. (When speaking of resurrection, the New Testament writers generally use the passive construction "Jesus was raised [by God]"--in Greek êgerthê or egêgertai--rather than the active-voice "Jesus rose" [anestê]. In what follows I use the word "resurrection" in the New Testament's passive sense: Jesus' "being-raised" by God.[1])"

In addition, if I were going to make an online syllabus of Books on Christianity that Peter Thinks You Should Read, it would have to include Who Wrote The Gospels, by Randall Helms, From Jesus to Christ, the Origins of the New Testament Images of Jesus, by Paula Fredriksen, and finally Liberating the Gospels, Reading the Bible With Jewish Eyes, by John Shelby Spong. Obviously, most of these books are of a rather skeptical perspective. They're definitely not apologetics, so if that would disturb your worldview, I'd definitely not look them up.

That concludes the bulk of our symposium for today. Tomorrow, perhaps some words about Nagarjuna and Padmasambhava, and some related topics.

Oh yeah, and it's a miracle. My delay pedal seems to have come back to life, all on its own.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

So, the Freesound Project is something that I found over on EM411. Essentially, it aims to be a new open source database of samples and sounds, using the Creative Commons Sampling Plus License. Which is cool and exciting, if you're into creating original music, but still love the challenge of sampling something and then making it your own.

Speaking of Creative Commons, my friend Alan over at MinisculeWombat has revamped his online record label, and is offering all the stuff under a Creative Commons license.

"what that means is you are welcome to share this music as much as you want. we are also using the sample plus license which means you can sample and remix our stuff as long as you credit the artist and don't try to make money off of our art. if we aren't going to make money off of it (we aren't trying anymore) then you can't either."

So, that's totally cool.

In other news, I'm peeing a lot, but not really in any pain. Uncomfortable sometimes, but no pain.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The good news is that apparently I have a high pain threshold. The bad news is that, after spending about 5 hours in the ER today, it turns out that I have a kidney stone.

Which sucks ass. There, I said it.

Anyway, I watched I Heart Huckabees the other night. Very odd and dark little comedy. Highly recommended.