2010 in review

January 10, 2011

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 27,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 3 days for that many people to see it.

 

In 2010, there were 7 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 32 posts. There were 8 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 1mb.

The busiest day of the year was August 3rd with 562 views. The most popular post that day was Is Your Favorite Reality Show Fake?.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were in.yfittopostblog.com, chrisjones.info, search.aol.com, en.wordpress.com, and facebook.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for anne boleyn, operation repo, natalie dormer, operation repo cast, and sonia pizarro.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Is Your Favorite Reality Show Fake? October 2009
9 comments

2

I Was Watching Through the Window, Waving to Anne Boleyn February 2010
2 comments

3

New Music for the Culturally Clueless October 2009
4 comments

4

70’s Jeans – Why They Won’t Work for You September 2009
4 comments

5

The Wounded Hawk July 2009
2 comments

It’s Been Forever, And There’s a Reason

August 12, 2010

I forgot how much work it takes to keep a blog rolling. At some point I lost interest, maybe forever. However, I guess it wouldn’t kill me to post something new in the event that I do ever reinvigorate my blog. And within this structure there is a postmodern dialog taking place that is so subtle as to be missed, as if there were something to miss. I miss the old me, but he’s dead and the lines between future and past have been blurred. The smudge is now. Perhaps by being obtuse and avoiding the melody completely, a writer can say everything he wants to without singing any of it.

In any case, I don’t know if I’ll ever write in this blog again after this. I certainly won’t make any promises, but know that the clouds love you and there’s a chance that everything will soon be in harmony once more. For the time being, just know that it isn’t, and this is my disjointed protest against the state of the world today. Our economy, our freedom, our president, our GOP – all monsters too large to let a little warrior like me squawk away on a meaningless soapbox so deeply buried in cyberspace. If you got here, there isn’t any chance you could leave a comment is there? I didn’t think so…

The Greatest Rock Photographer of All Time Passes On

March 25, 2010

... Just a fly on the wall

Yes, folks, sad news today. Jim Marshall passed away yesterday at the ripe old age of 74 (read about it here). This was particularly devastating news to me, as I had a chance to sit down with Jim at the bar on a couple of separate occasions and talk about some of the amazing people he worked with and knew as friends, particularly Jimi Hendrix (described as a “shy loner”), Otis Redding (sex god), Duane Allman (friendly and loveable), and Waylon Jennings (son of a bitch). He spoke of all these people as you would any friend who had long since passed away – with respect, admiration, and bittersweet sadness at their passing. To have been in the presence of so many amazing people was a true honor for Jim – and his photographs tell the story of his reverence with much greater proficiency than my words will allow.

He always carried his Leica camera around with him wherever he went, and he told me, “With guitars you have Gibson or Fender. With cameras, there is only Leica.” He also revealed that he had been using the same film developer for most of his career, which had a lot to do with why his images are so timeless. He never adapted to digital technology, unlike almost all of his peers. Mr. Marshall was extremely genuine and you could tell just by talking to him that he was a real artist who had mastered his craft very early on. I grew up idolizing his images, and was lucky enough to get to thank him for providing the visual documentation that created my rock n’ roll fantasy. His photographs allow you to know something personal about about the subject, and Jim was an expert at capturing candid moments. It’s true that half of his magic was just being in the right place at the right time (more about that in a minute), but he was also a technical master and really knew his stuff. He has a unique feeling of composition and lighting that really frames his subjects perfectly without actually being perfect.

 We’ll see you on down the line, Jim.

Yay! One Day I May Actually Have Health Insurance

March 22, 2010

I’m still taking in the news that the Health Care Reform Bill got a thumbs up yesterday. It’s hard to surmise exactly what this means for the 30-something slacker who works several part-time jobs. I mean, they’re talking about having this thing up and running by 2014, does this mean in four years I can maybe expect some health insurance? Because by that time I might actually have to get a full-time job or have cirrhosis of the liver, in which case this whole thing was a waste of time for me.

I guess I should look at this from the humanitarian side of things. I mean, it’s great that future generations of under-achievers like myself will not have to sit in triage at General Hospital for eight hours just to have that hole in their leg looked at, only to be charged $400 for a bottle of antibiotics in the end. I mean, it’s simply unacceptable that universal health care hasn’t been enacted in America already. I’ve always thought that it’s a cruel reality when people who make a lot of money have all their health care paid for by their jobs, while those who really need it (i.e., the poor, the unemployed, and the elderly), can’t afford it or can’t get coverage. Yeah, I know, blah, blah, blah. But it’s really one of the great crimes of the 21st century when you actually think about it. It makes the death penalty seem like a lot less of an injustice by comparison.

I also take a little solace in the fact that insurance companies will have to take the biggest hit on this one. I mean, they have basically been allowed to decide the outcomes of whether people live or die without being put in check at all. I know they are businesses and need to make money, and that’s why they shouldn’t have the right to decide these things. So now that problem should be solved. Of course, it will be the responsibility of taxpayers to do so now, but I don’t mind because someone has to do it, and I don’t particularly like living in a country where I could pay taxes my whole life and then die of a curable disease because I can’t get health coverage. I also find it very conspicuous that a health insurance company already called me first thing at work this morning trying to get me coverage. I bet they will now be offering great deals for people like myself with no pre-existing conditions. Those bastards are out drumming up as much business as possible to cover their own asses… it’s very hard to feel sorry for them. They truly are the casinos of health care.

The drug companies will, of course, make out well in this deal, and on this subject I really can’t say much. We tend to think of drug companies as corporate drug dealers, who slang pills for all your ills, but since working in the medical research field I’ve discovered that a lot of companies create incredible treatments and therapies that truly merit praise and are worth the expense. I just get pissed every time I see an ad for herpes medication, and I think to myself, “The high prices of all the drugs that this company makes are what pays for advertisements and the courting of doctors to prescribe this medication”. By the way – if you don’t like a certain drug company, nothing is stopping you from requesting a generic version of the same drug from your doctor. And it’s cheaper, too.

In the end of the day, it looks as if this bill will pass and we will finally begin the lengthy road to health care reform. I wouldn’t expect any miracles, especially since the government will be in charge of creating the programs that will increase Medicare and cover the uninsured. There will inevitably be great delays and inordinant amounts of money and time wasted along the way. Health insurance companies will bitch and moan, drug companies will stick it to the government because they can, and some people will continue to get inferior health coverage and have their cases mishandled. But at least we can say that we are trying, and this is the most endearing thing our government has attempted to do for the People since I can remember. Too bad Bill Clinton couldn’t have gotten this thing going back when he was in office. We actually had money then, and by now things could have stabilized a little. Oh well, better late than never, I guess?

The World Now Has One Less Boner

March 3, 2010
Andrew Koenig, the actor most known for his role as Boner on the hit TV series “Growing Pains” from the 80’s committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree deep in the heart of Vancouver’s Stanley Park during the Olmpics. While the tragedy of this unhappy event makes me sad, I can’t help but point out the uncomfortable humor inherent in repeating these facts. And I also can’t help but point out that one of my many nicknames is also Boner (Chris Jones ->Jones->Jonesey->Joneser->Boner->Stabone, and so on…), and wonder when I die, will my obituary read something like, “Boner Succumbs to Prostate Cancer”? I know I should feel bad about writing this, but sometimes humor is the only way to deal with loss, especially when we are talking about such a loveable TV personality.
 
I would also like to point out that Kirk Cameron, who played Mike Seaver (which coincidentally rhymes with beaver) on “Growing Pains”, is now a wacko fundamentalist Christian that makes videos denouncing the ‘absurdity’ of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. When Koenig went missing, Kirk threw this bone (pun intended) to his old buddy:
 
“Mike and Boner could always work things out when they put their minds to it. Andrew, if you’re reading this, please call me.”
  
I imagine that if Andrew had actually called his old buddy, he would have been lectured on the fact that God was there for him, and he should answer his call. I’m also guessing that Andrew didn’t call Kirk because the last thing he wanted to hear before ending his life was some religous nonsense from his wacko ex-coworker. There’s no way he was going to play Boner to his S(b)eaver.
 

Boner Arrested

It’s only fair to mention that Koenig did in fact protest a lot, and there is a picture of him being arrested at the Rose Bowl in ’08 on his father’s memorial site. Apparently he was protesting US involvement in the Beijing Olympics. I don’t know why he chose the Rose Bowl… maybe it was really close to his house or something.
 

Serious Boner

On a final note, I offer this simple fact as a tribute to show just how powerful and awesome Boner was:  shortly after he left Growing Pains the ratings coincidentally dropped and by 1992 it was cancelled. Even Leonardo DiCaprio couldn’t save the show! That’s how awesome he was. Boner simply was the show, and all the other characters sucked in comparison to him. He paved the way for all the Boners to come after him, and he will be sorely missed (ouch!). If only he had Viagra, perhaps this Boner could have lasted a little longer. Ok, now I’m really going to hell!

I Was Watching Through the Window, Waving to Anne Boleyn

February 26, 2010

The Tudors Makes British History Sexy

I finally finished watching the second season of the Tudors last night. I’ve never been so emotionally involved in a TV show before… the story of Anne Boleyn (played so well by Natalie Dormer) is so incredible to me, I have always loved proud and headstrong women, despite their shortcomings, and learning about the details of her story is like having to hear the trials of what so many women have had to bear over the years while men have done what they pleased. I’ve got to admit, it made me pretty upset. Especially when it is well-documented that Anne died with such dignity and grace in the face of such ridiculously damning charges, and that for the most part her desire to improve England as a nation was only overshadowed by her desire to become and remain Queen of England. If only she could have had a son…

 

This Picture Doesn't Do Anne Boleyn Justice

What strikes me most about the retelling of Henry VIII’s life is that not all that much has changed in politics since the 1500’s. Men of power still cheat on their wives and do so with little discretion. Intelligent women with ambition are thought to be “witches”, and are often either put in check by their peers (I’m thinking Hillary Clinton), or yanked from the spotlight completely. In theory, a boor like Henry is not unlike the boors of many countries today (even the USA), who are still guilty of horrible injustices that they get away with completely. The excuses for justification are always skewed and manipulated by the devices of their own staff in corroboration with media outlets, so that they evade ever admitting any truths in the public eye. Meanwhile, public policies are created via the leveraging of mistakes and weaknesses of government officials against them by their enemies. In the blink of an eye we can see the mightiest of leaders fall, not based on their principals or actions, but by the deceit of those that serve them. The court of 1500’s England is no more corrupt and filled with injustices than our modern courts here in America, though we tend to deny this under the pretense that we live in a “democracy”. I would allow that the severity of those injustices are no longer as severe as 500 years ago, but the principals that dictate the outcome of political battles still remain in practice today.
 
We live in a world where humans fail one another and their nations for greed and lust for power. We are all the lesser for it, I say. As a humanist, it is has always been difficult to sit by and watch history unfold with the discomfortable feeling that good shall not prevail, and that justice is clearly not being served in our courts and commitees. Favoritism is given to those who protect themselves with money and power, which are used as leverage against anyone of lesser stature who wishes to betray them or bring them to justice. We are still not allowed to enact the will of the public over the decisions of the fellow elite, who are beholden to a power so much greater than that of the democracy:  the power of corruption.
 
Thankfully there will always be the the tales of martyrs like Anne Boleyn, whose story remains vital and current in our culture today. Her life and death continue to remind and inspire us to push for equality within ourselves, even when our government is a mockery of the virtues and values that we are taught to possess. I question whether why we have not more headway in this cause, and acknowledge that there will always be this push and pull of good against evil. There is no doubt that Anne herself had to play political games to stay alive and was willing to destroy her opponents to do so, as in the case of Cardinal Wollsey, who it is said was jailed at her behest by King Henry for not being able to persuade the Pope to grant them permission to marry. She also used her political leverage to hasten the Reform movement of Catholocism, which was clearly helpful in acknowledging the corruption within that religion. Anne is an effective martyr because she knowingly became used her power to make both personal gains and improve the quality of her nation. In the end Anne became the victim of her own internal struggle of good vs. evil, and it was her courage to become involved in that struggle, despite the sacrifice of her own life, which remains so profound and memorable. While it was the betrayals of her tyrant of a husband and his servant Thomas Cromwell that were eventually her undoing, she acknowledged that it was the realization of her selfish desires which granted them the ability to cause an end to her life. And so in dying she actually revealed the inherent injustices of England’s politics, and perhaps helped in the reform of certain aspects of that kingdom with her actions. Just like in chess, the queen was sacrificed through strategy, so that perhaps overall the quality of the game might be improved.
 

Natalie Dormer, You’ll Always be Anne Boleyn to me

While there may never be a time when war is no longer necessary, or when power is no longer obtained by stepping on the heads of the weak and innocent, we as humans improve the world we live in by holding those who commit injustices responsible for their actions and checking the corroptions. As an American, I am constantly ashamed of the actions of our country’s leaders, especially when this country was built on the principals learned from the allowing the corruption of governments like by the likes of King Henry VIII. I believe mine to be a great country, not because of those who lead us, but because of the civil and moral obedience of the few who realize that of all the governments of the world we live in, this is one allows the most personal freedoms. With personal freedoms come personal responsibilities. We can allow ourselves to become involved in the destruction of what we know to be right, or we can choose to uphold what we believe to be correct, whatever the sacrifice. It still takes a personal conviction to die for what we believe in, and the willingness to put our own souls in the fight of good vs. evil and not look the other way in order to better our nation through our government. Anne Boleyn reminds us that we don’t have to live perfectly in the right to survive this world, but that we must actively participate in our government’s moral dilemma head-on in order to accomplish the changes that are necessary to improve conditions of the world that we live in. I pay tribute to you, Miss Boleyn.

I’m Having a Mental Breakdown… I Hope You Care

February 12, 2010

I’ve not written in a while, because….

 Been hiding in my room, far away from the tiring social world of San Francisco.

Got a good pair of sweatpants and some curtains for my room. So this is what people do when they don’t play music and/or drink, huh?

Lots of daytime TV and organizational projects inside while the wind blows and rain falls. Plenty of sleep keeping warm and waiting for dinner time. New strings on all of my guitars. Another episode of the Tudors. Groceries in the fridge to be cooked. Pacing up and down the halls. Done with cigarettes, gotta close the window – it’s cold! New roommates, old friends. No woman to make me brush my teeth before bed, but I will anyway. Take another shower. Hang the paintings, record guitar track for song #28. Stop by the hardware store and get a 17/32″ drill bit. Check out another 10 cd’s from the library. Read the new National Geographic – leave it by the bed when you’re done.

Makes me forget how to write. So now I have to relearn. Makes me feel stupid, after all of these years training my mind to dance like a monkey, I’m finally giving it a rest. But now I don’t want to come back. I like it here in this Shangri-La, though I’m fatter and my bones ache with age and I get short of breath easy. No burnout this year for Jones. No burnout. Just empty space. Empty…

By the way, massages are amazing.

Growing Up is Hard to Do

February 3, 2010

This blog has been released to the hounds for the last two months while I attempt to simplify my life and move forward into adulthood after nearly 15 years of living like a viking. Ever since I finished playing my last show in December, I’ve felt that it’s time to take a step back and re-examine what it is I’m actually doing so that I don’t look back 10 years later and wonder, “What the hell happened?”.

It’s not necessary to go into all of the details of the process. Let’s just say it involves a lot of time fixing up my room, watching HBO OnDemand, and recording. For the first time in several years I’ve gone an entire month without playing a single show or making a public appearance at someone else’s gig. No more smoking cigarettes and drinking regularly, and as a result I feel more centered and stable. Without all these sinful delights to waste money on, I find myself able to pay off nearly all of a 10-year debt, which is a nice thing to be able to do in this economy.

When asking myself why this is all happening, I discover it’s because I’m tired of partying and running around living a child-like dream that obviously isn’t coming true. I love performing and hanging out with friends, but no longer acquire pleasure from getting wasted and playing seedy joints without appreciation (or pay). Maybe I’m growing up, or maybe I’m just becoming a big pussy, but either way I am naturally tending towards moving on to something different. I think it’s called being realistic.

In the last year I’ve had to be honest with myself and admit that a music career isn’t necessarily going to provide me with everything I need in life – forget about the things I want! At 31 I still don’t have health insurance, haven’t seen a dentist in 7 years, and possess no savings or investments. I work part-time because it allows the freedom to tour and work on music, but it’s simply a holding pattern and I’m always a step behind financially. I’m not saying I don’t want to play music any more or quit my job, I just need to focus my energy and achieve higher goals than I have in the past.

I’ve had some amazing adventures and done things that most would never dream of trying, so I don’t feel unfilfilled in the slightest. I’m still inspired by music every day and am more prolific than ever, but the desire to be a rock star is completely gone. It’s no longer fulfilling to play every night unless the music, audience and venue is respectable. No more playing covers in a bar band, now it is about creating art for its own sake.

I never thought I would say this, but eventually I want to have a wife and children, and I want to support them doing what I love. A greater purpose calls me and even if I’m never successful as a musician, I’ll always be able to record and perform music in some capacity. I can die happy knowing this. It’s been my dream for the past 10 years to be successful, and at this point it is my best interest to seriously evaluate exactly what that means. A very exciting new phase in my life is just beginning, and as hard as it is to admit, I’m finally growing up. I know it’s the right time because growing up no longer means sacrificing what I love. Now it’s about continuing to create music with class and integrity, doing away with the excesses, and focusing all of my energy on being a good person. Not because there are material or financial rewards involved, but because it makes the world a better place to live in when you treat others with kindness and respect.

Congratulations on a Life Well-Lived… So Far

December 28, 2009
It was a good year

Looking back on this year fills me with a deep sense of satisfaction for having lived out so many dreams and seeing so many people and places all over America. For the first time in forever I am living up to my potential and doing what I love with integrity and honesty. As usual, a lot of disappointments occured, but all hurdles were overcome and led to better things eventually. Ever since I was a kid I dreamed of travelling throughout America with people that I considered to be great friends as well as awesome musicians and artists. Now I can say I’ve done that. While we unfortunately are not playing together today, my experiences in Strangefeather inspired me to continue on another path with new friends and expand the family that is such a vital part of why I make music. For all of these things I am so grateful to the fans, supporters, musicians, club owners and staff, who all play a vital role in keeping live music alive all over America. If I was ever without hope before, it is now completely restored.

 
Weddings are fun…

Just listing the accomplishments of this past year makes my head spin: Played 100 shows in 25 states accross America on three seperate tours, with as many as 52 gigs in one 65-day period, reaching thousands of people’s ears along the way. Released “Interstellar Lounge Music” and played on albums by Monsters are Not Myths and TV Mike & the Scarecrowes. I’ve also written about 60 new songs and cut some new tracks in LA with Jenni Alpert and Eric Boulanger. I held down a steady job during all of this, too, which wouldn’t be possible without my awesome, accomodating bosses. I’ve been places and seen things that I never even thought existed, and met hundreds of wonderful new people along the way. I’ve learned things about my self that I never knew before and pushed both my physical and mental limits beyond their capacities. I’m glad to say that I’m still crazy after all of this.

A lot of people admit that they would never be able to do what I do. To get things done I’ve had to rough it a time or two. Lots of sleeping on floors and in the backs of cars, waking up cold and going days without a shower. Living off of only the most basic of gas station fast food for weeks at a time. Being constantly broke for days on end and staying in sketchy situations with questionable people. Getting ripped off by bars and fixing broken buses and bass amps, playing at puppet shows and chinese food buffets, drinking other people’s beer, being asked to play “Free Bird” again, and lifting lots of heavy stuff are all part of the job description, and none of it really bothers me in the least. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve learned a lot of what not to do, and I feel like I am ready to start being wise now. Because there are no financial rewards for surviving all of these hardships, there is a sense of adventure in everything I do, and it’s ultimately more satisfying than making a heap of money. Of course, I am now learning how to do both at once. I must admit that there were moments in the past year when I wanted to give up on everything and just be normal, but it was from these darkest moments that I gathered the perspective to continue onward, and am stronger because of it. For a long time I’ve thought I have what it takes to be a musician. Now I know it’s true.

 

Still rockin’ in the free world

My goals for next year are simple. Instead of playing so many shows, I want to play better venues with better sound and for more people. I want to perform and write with as many successful and talented musicians as possible and make better records. I want you to be able to turn on the television or radio and hear my songs playing. I want to tour with different bands and see what works. I want to take more airplane flights and I want more guitars and recording gear (maybe even unlimited studio time?). Most of all, I want to make a name for myself as a solo artist and continue to express how much I enjoy what I do. Again, I have all of the wonderful people in my life to thank for such a priviledge. For now, I am content with sitting back and reflecting on my accomplishments and taking it easy for a little while. Happy New Year!

 

Goodbye 2009, Hello 2010!

Now is the Not the Time for a New Blog Post

December 23, 2009
 
Against All Odds!

I’m busy, my boss has asked me to do a million things that can’t possibly be done on time. I’ve been on hold with AT&T for the past half hour with their tech support trying to get the fax to work again, and someone just piled a bunch of holiday cards onto my desk. Everyone is taking off somewhere on vacation and is also rushing to finish whatever they are doing, too. Yet, amongst all this chaos I am still able to squeeze out a quick blog.

I feel like Anderson Cooper at the scene of some giant hurricane as it mercilessly blows his silver mane into a frenzy and he clings tightly to his microphone, continuing to mutter useless drivel against all odds… against all odds! It’s more the point that he’s bringing the news to you, rather than whether or not you need to know that news. So as the hurricane at my office job continues in the background, I sneak quick sentences into this blog without checking for punctuation and spellng errors. The plants go unwatered and the fax line remains inoperable, Christmas cards remain unsent and I can hear the sound of people having mental breakdowns behind me, but I still continue forward with my blog, against all odds. AGAINST ALL ODDS!!

I couldn’t find a big Anderson Cooper shot, so here’s some Dan Rather look-alike instead

I just spent the past 20 minutes looking for pictures of Anderson Cooper online instead of writing those important checks that have to go out today. I found out a lot about this creepy bastard, none of which was the slight bit interesting or helpful in writing this blog. And it certainly wasn’t helpful in getting all the work done that I have to do today. I also learned that Anderson Cooper must have several interns scouring the web for images of him, because there are simply no unflattering pictures of him available anywhere. I even searched “Anderson Cooper + The Artist Formerly Known as ‘Prince'” to see if maybe they have some kind of affair going on, but all I found was this really creepy website of a Japanese girl who is obsessed with “The Silver Fox” and posts thousands of screenshots of him from each of his broadcasts, peppered with some videos of her playing piano. I think I’m going to be sick…

And yet, still no work has been accomplished. I must stop this now, it’s even getting too much for me.

The only emberassing picture available of Anderson Cooper

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