It’s been a long time. My last Creativity Journal entry was October 24, 2002. I have written little since then, but I have not been entirely devoid of creativity.

The band formerly known as Flat Rabbit has started getting serious; we added a couple of members, and our first gig is a benefit for the victims of the December 21st Summit Apartment fire in Thornton, Colorado. See the band’s website for further information.

I spent my lunch hour throwing that site together; I expect it to change much in the coming days and weeks.

One of my vices in the last three months has been a game called Motor City Online. It’s an online racing game, and I’ve become hopelessly addicted to it. Even this has not been uncreative, however. I have experimented with building my own skins for the game, and the results are below.

I chose to use my character’s ’65 Mustang for the experiment, since that is the vehicle referred to in Agamemnon’s Skinning Tutorial. Also, I knew I wanted to build a Denver Bronco themed car, and what better car to use than a pony car? The picture below is an in-game screen shot of my first attempt on the Mustang.

Not bad, but it has some problems. Most notably, the orange mane of the Bronco logo washes out next to the orange car. Bad design idea. Here’s attempt #2:

Much better. The blue really sets off the logos and is consistent with the Broncos theme. It was a lot of fun to build the skin, even though I’m the only one who can see it in the game. To everyone else online, this is simply a standard, red ’65 Mustang.

Technically, I did attempt another skin before these. It was a modification of an already modified ’73 Firebird skin, the closest thing to a second-generation Camaro that exists in the game. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work very well because the model that the skin wraps around is much more true to the body of the Firebird than the Camaro. I may post a shot of that car if I can get a good angle on it. Originally, it was an attempt to replicate my old 1970 Camaro Z/28, a car that I miss dearly and should have never sold. I may give it another try, now that I’ve learned a little about skinning.

Thanks to all of the people who sent me e-mail about the site recently. Two of the e-mails were guitar-related, one from a person wanting my final opinion of the Carvin Bolt kit (which gives me some incentive to finish documenting that project) and another from one of the primary guitar playing influences in the early days of my playing, Peter Neds. You can read why Peter is one of my favorite guitar players in “The Zone,” one of the first pieces I wrote for this site, five years ago.

Dante Spumante Again

Yes, we went to see Dante Spumante again. This time, John, the bassist from Juan Hit Wanda (aka Flat Rabbit) and Squidlick (aka Better Than Nothing) and his wife were there. Also, Trevor, one of the guitarist/vocalists for Dot Com, and his wife Debra showed up. Brad the Drummer‘s wife Cindy was able to get a babysitter tonight, and showed up as well.

The rest of the crowd was pretty quiet, but those of us at the band table had fun. I must confess that part of me wanted to be at Fiddler’s Green watching Rush on their first tour in six years, but we didn’t have the money for that concert. Dante Spumante was much less expensive, and though they didn’t have lasers and fog machines, they were entertaining in their own right.

At the end of the night, John, Brad and I briefly talked about getting together to jam next week. I hope that comes through; we haven’t played together for at least a month and a half, and probably more. Trevor also expressed interest in playing with us, so maybe we’ll have a miniature party that night. It was good seeing John; I still entertain delusions about being good enough to play in Squidlick with him and his other band members.

Good Days

Last night’s writing group was excellent. Only two people showed up, which was monetarily unfortunate for Melanie, but very fortunate for Michael and me. We discussed a short-short that Michael had written, the responsibilities of an artist in recording true-life events, and they both offered wonderful feedback on my “Saint and Cynic” story. After incorporating some of those suggestions, I’m going to cut this one off and start circulating it.

Melanie also wondered if I had done anything with my “Fear Sphere” stories since the last one. I haven’t, other than thinking about them. She encouraged me to write more of them and collect them together. I hope I can get some of these projects rolling when Ryan moves out. Having that spare room for working in the early morning will be a blessing, as long as I take advantage of it.

Tonight, John, Brad and I donned our collective instruments to become Flat Rabbit, and we had a very good night. We covered a lot of material and added a few songs to the list. We played “Sweet Child o’ Mine” better than we ever have, I think, and even went over a bunch of old originals that Brad and John wrote years ago. All in all, it was a fun night, and I was reluctant to break down my equipment.

I did have one problem, though. My Strat started squealing, and I traced it down to what seems to be a jack problem. I took the jack plate off to check the insides but it seemed fine, with no loose wires. It worries me a bit, since I will be trying out for Better Than Nothing on Tuesday night. Later in the night, the Strat played fine, so I may have put off the problem for a little while, but I need to recreate it at home and figure out what’s wrong.

An Opportunity

I will be having lunch my friend Michael today, on his gracious invitation. We will be discussing writing in general and whatever else comes up. Tonight, I will be attending Stories for All Seasons. Earlier today, I updated the Stories for All Seasons web page with upcoming appearances. It looks like they are fairly booked through February 2003, with some very big names appearing. That’s great to see.

(Later that day)

Lunch with Michael was good, and we had some Real discussion about artistic inspiration and responsibility. We also briefly discussed recurring themes in our work, which gave me a lot to chew on.

Late in the day, I got an e-mail from John, the bassist for Flat Rabbit. Evidently his other band is in need of a guitarist, and I’m going to try out for the spot. If I do manage to land the spot, it will mean looking closely at my available time and deciding which creative activities I want to pursue most.

Music + Computer = Geek

Today I made a practice CD for my band, Flat Rabbit. Using the World Wide Woodshed‘s Slow Gold program, I was able to transpose three of the songs from the key of E flat up a half step to E, which will be convenient because it means that we can practice along with the CD without having to detune our instruments. In a live setting, we would just play the songs a half step up anyway, so it makes sense to practice them as we would play them. The songs lost some quality and gained some delay artifacts in the transposition, but they will still suit the purpose well.