Sunday, October 31, 2010

Drumming diary: Good Times, Bad Times

This week, on Rachel learns the Zep...

After a necessary hiatus, I've gotten back to work on "Good Times, Bad Times." The muscle memory had faded a bit, but it's returning. Really, the only part that's giving me any trouble is this one:

C=Crash, R=Ride cymbal, T=high tom, S=Snare, FT=Floor tom, Bd=Bass drum, Hf=Hi-hat pedal played with the foot.

That's a long string of triplets played pretty exclusively with the feet. The hands are involved, but it's mostly half notes played on the hi-hat pedal with the left foot (1+2+3+4+) with triplet beats on the kick with the right foot (-ea-ea-ea-ea-ea-ea-ea-ea, with the - representing the half notes played with the left foot). Bonham loved his triplets. He was also known for his speedy foot, and thus had no compunction about throwing, what, 10 triplets in a row on the kick?

Incidentally, this track was the first one on their debut album, and thus was the world's introduction to Led Zeppelin, and John Bonham. Everyone who knew anything about drumming stood up to pay attention. Even the drummer who influenced his technique, Carmine Appice of Vanilla Fudge, played his kick triplets with a double-kick drum setup; but Bonzo did it solo.

I'm not that fast yet, so whenever I'm sitting down or even just standing still, I'm playing triplets with my feet. I'll catch up to you yet, Bonzo. You and your little dog, too.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why I don't support the injunction against DADT.

I joined the Army when I was 17, a couple of months after 9/11. At first I was in the reserves as a PFC, but then I received an ROTC scholarship and went to college to train for the officer ranks.

I'm also queer. I was active in the GLBTA and there were some nights when I would attend both an Army training session and a queer pride fundraiser in the same night.

I know firsthand the damage that DADT does to individual soldiers, unit cohesion, and the Armed Forces in general. It requires queer soldiers to either limit their social contact with their comrades to the point that they never have to lie about their personal lives, or it compromises their honor. It removes skilled technicians from the ranks at a time when we are fighting two wars and desperately need them.

DADT is wrong by every standard we could apply: constitutionally, morally, and functionally.

But placing an injunction against it that slaps the whole system down is not the right way to go about ending DADT. I know the military. If there isn't a very detailed manual telling them how to deal with a situation then they just...won't. And there will be situations to deal with: the soldiers around me in the cadet ranks were tolerant to the point that several knew about me and chose not to say anything, but enlisted combat units? Those are the guys who either didn't have the IQ for Armor or actually wanted to be enlisted Infantry. In the words of Joe, an enlisted Infantry soldier I spoke to a couple months ago on the subject, "We're the kind of pricks who'd shoot a fag."

Basically, if this injunction stands, we will see dead queer soldiers. We will hear rumors of beatings and abuses, but the chaos of such an abrupt change would leave queer soldiers with no proper channels to make a complaint. We will see a spike in friendly fire. We will essentially have thrown them in there with no safety net, no protections, and no way to defend themselves. Then we'll get the regulations and support network--but it will be reactionary and too late for some.

We need to do this the right way. We need to give the military time to set up proper support that can ease the transition--and that's key, making it a transition. An injuction in federal court that ends DADT so abruptly is not good for the Armed Forces and it's definitely not good for queer soldiers.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fighting hate with laughter

I think of all the It Gets Better videos thus far, this one is my favorite: a bunch of queer comedians got together at the Gotham City Comedy Club for a night of laughter and encouragement.

This is a great runner-up, though: a cop and a Marine, in uniform, in love.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Drumming diary: ~The Process~

I have a very specific process by which I learn how to play a new song on the drums. My specific process, let me show it to you in glorious MS Paint flowchart:

Click for larger view

Monday, October 4, 2010

Bullying and the It Gets Better Project

I don't know what is sadder about this interview: the fact that the father seems so horribly guilt-ridden, or that he keeps accidentally referring to his deceased son in the present-tense.

On the subject of bullying, Dan Savage has started the It Gets Better Project on Youtube, in which queer adults record video messages aimed at their teenage counterparts, encouraging them to hang in there in hopes of a better life. I'm not too familiar with Dan Savage's politics and I know he's done or said some things in the past that ticked people off; however, I very much like the project itself, and wish that I had a camera so that I could contribute. I especially liked Sarah Silverman's message:

So true.

If you feel like submitting something, please do! My socially-isolated, miserable past teenaged self thanks you and would have been very much encouraged by something like this as a kid.