Monday, January 31, 2011
So I’m hanging out at the news staff meeting the other day.
Really, sometimes they let me sit in. We get to organize ideas and stories for the next issue of the paper.
But sometimes I think they let me stay for the entertainment value I try to provide.
Like the other day, when I mentioned that I’ve got this band, the Gravity Research Project, coming to town this weekend.
And the quips start flying around the room.
“Man, that’s a really heavy subject,” someone says.
“Are they, like, less dense than air?” cries another.
“That story should have some weight to it, I should think,” says the editor.
I thank my co-workers. I’m just happy to provide some levity to the situation.
But since this is a serious news meeting, I don’t even have time to go into the really funny part.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Jim, now you’re going to tell us some random story about your life that in some way, shape or form, relates to this band." (To boot, a band that has been together for only 18 months, by the way.)
Yes. Yes I am.
You see, when I checked out the band’s website the other day, and scrolled down to the bottom of their home page, I just had to laugh when I saw what graphic had been posted on-line.
Let’s go back a ways. Childhood. I’m probably about 12 years old.
And back then, I spent a lot of time reading paperbacks. Sci fi, mystery, space, adventure. I’ll tell ya, Stephen King was a much better writer when you’re 12. The Stand? Are you kidding?
Anyway, don’t ask me why, but there’s a book that still sticks in my mind.
It was kind of a small paperback, white cover, red letters.
“Chariot of the Gods.” It must have been in every supermarket.
Now debunked, I know, but to a 12 year old, it was fascinating stuff. Archeological research on the mysterious clues that could have been left behind by space aliens – unexplained pictures in rocks that could have been alien craft landing strips and “evidence” of “batteries” that could be thousands of years old.
It was all there in black and white.
And, on one page, a pencil drawing of some ancient Indian dude, portrayed with a bunch of “machine looking” apparatus surrounding him.
I don’t remember exactly where they said the drawing came from, but I seem to remember this: The book said that when this item was found, and they turned the picture around 90 degrees, it looked like a person who was lying on his back, possibly in some type of rocket ship, waiting to blast off.
Of course, this was thousands of years before anyone did anything like that.
Or did they?
Was this really a depiction of the first Gravity Research Project?
The Gravity Research Project comes down to Earth at the Waucoma Club, on Saturday, Nov. 20, around 9 p.m. No cover charge, 21 and over. Anti-gravity shoes recommended.
Interview with Gravity Research Project
1. Let's start with explaining the name of the band. How did you guys decide on this and what does it mean?
1. As we play such heavy grooves and deep vibes, we attempt (with some level of success) to decrease the density of the air. This increases the likelihood of finding yourself spontaneously moving to the music, thereby shaking off the fetters of everyday life and experiencing a heightened state of funkiness. Since we are constantly attempting to undermine the effects of gravity through sonic postulations, i.e. sonic anti-gravity demonstrations, this pursuit lends itself to an intense survey of gravity. Thus, we find that Gravity Research Project perfectly encapsulates the processes we undertake for our mission: to heighten your spirit and elevate your mind.
2. Your keyboard player plays some sort of trumpet/keyboard hybrid. How did this instrument come into the mix?
2. Ben plays a melodica. This instrument was popularized in dub music, one of our inspirations, by Augustus Pablo. It has also been played in modern jazz by John Medeski of Medeski, Martin, & Wood. Ben has simply made it his own vehicle for expression.
3. How long has the band been around and what's the biggest crowd you've played for?
3. We have all played music with one another in various formats previously, and GRP has been around for about 18 months. Though if a thorough investigation of our origins were undertaken, the seed for this biomechanical anti-gravity phenomena was sown in 1996. Ben's brother Sam is the biggest crowd we have played for. He is truly a big human being.
4. What can folks at Waucoma Club expect to hear from GRP (what's on your setlist)?
4. We have taken some reggae classics and dubbed them out. We have taken some dub classics and dubbed them out. We have taken some hip hop classics and dubbed them out. We have written our own classic tunes and, you guessed it, dubbed them out. There are fat deep grooves, scintillating solos, and unforgettable melodies.
5. What's the next step for GRP. Have you guys recorded a CD yet? More touring?
5. We are touring as much as possible to reach as many people as possible to record the effects of all our sonic anti-gravity postulations. After this intense research, we plan on documenting them and releasing them to the masses before summer.
6. When I scrolled down to the end of your homepage, I just had to laugh when I saw that strange graphic. (I think I even know what book that was published in.)
Anyway, is that the first depiction of ancient gravity-research?
6. The first visual document of gravity research is a hotly contested title. The Egyptians maintain that their asp hypnotists were in fact attempting to defy gravity. This assertion is contested in most modern intellectual circles as another species is the beneficiary of the process. The sarcophagus lid of Pacal the Great from Palenque, Mexico, however, represents the earliest gravity research undertaken solely for the benefit of mankind.
Thanks again guys and look forward to hearing from you!
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge