3/21: The Hour Of Waking Has Grown Alarmingly Late

by Nick Smith in


I haven't slept through an alarm in a long time. So when the bright world slowly started to shine into me at 11:30 this morning, I was awfully puzzled by the hour. There should have been a sound akin to one used to alert a factory or villain's lair to a chemical spill or other grave accident emanating from my phone at 9:00. One that has never failed to wake me in the 8 or so months that I've had this "intelligent" contraption. I didn't have to work until 1 so it was no catastrophe, but I would've liked to accomplish some generic life-maintenance shit this morning. Instead, I basically just did the bridge of a Day In The Life  up until the having a smoke and going into a dream thing. That's the frustrating part of days with closing shifts: I've got to get myself up and going in the morning if I am going to wrest anything of value from the day. Unless I'm going out and being funny, which I haven't been lately, I don't do anything worthwhile after work. I've just been watching basketball today since I got home. I have not been watching enough basketball this year. Probably due to the whole no-access-to-broadcast-television thing. Just an internet connection. I'm excited for the fall when I will be settled into my new place presumably with cable and DVR and all those goodies. And closer to everything so I won't need to drive everywhere every day. Maybe I can bike and stuff. That would be a goodness.

Very little to report otherwise. Happy Syracuse fan. Will try not to be too gloaty with all the Badger fans I'll be seeing at work tomorrow. No guarantees, though.


3/21: Automobile?

by Nick Smith in


The weather has begun  to keep me up at night. All of my fans and my air conditioner are still back in New York. I only slept about three hours last night. Then went into battle this morning. The caffeine flying through me and the cars coming down like a hailstorm set me into a state where I am just a whirlwind of steaming milk, pouring espresso, and travel cup lids. It's a great rush, and I hadn't gotten much of a chance to do it in the last couple weeks because I've been closing so much. But then when it slowed down, I inevitably crashed. I came home and took a big nap this afternoon. I question the sustainability of this course, but I'm still young and made of rubber, so I might as well abuse it while I can. What else?

I noticed a long time ago that "Have to Explode" and "Going to Georgia" have the same chord progression. I'd been toying with the idea of slamming them together in an interesting way for a while. Today I finally attempted some sort of mashup where I alternated verses, and it kind of worked really well. I'm going to keep tinkering with it and see what it can become. It's a neat other thing I can muck around with.

I'm listening to podcasts right now, so I'm not really giving this my full attention. I think I just don't really have much today. But I wrote something. And I judged that to be good. And it was good.

Title is not relevant. 5 points for anyone who gets the reference.

 


3/20: The Diving Board

by Nick Smith in


Today is Kofi's birthday, so happy birthday, Kofi! Oregon is really way too far. Everything is way too far. I realized the other day that I basically have not left the city of Madison all year long as far as I can remember. Back when I lived in the northeast, people were far apart, but also kind of close together. I don't mind a five hour drive to spend the weekend among friends. But now that I am here in Wisconsin, everyone's too far away. I need to take four days off of work just to go home for two. Everyone is swamped with grad school stuff to the point where I have a hard time reaching out for fear I will disturb their fragile grad school equilibrium. Basically, the prospect of going to graduate school frightens me so that I am convinced that all my friends in grad school are so busy that a phone call will throw off their whole fucking education. I fully acknowledge that this is unreasonable behavior. But I have enough phone anxiety that this is totally sufficient for me to not dial numbers. I achieved at a modest level today. The clothes and sheets and aprons from work are laundered. I got started on the dishes. If I actually finish them, then maybe I'll have a goddamned party. I have a schedule this weekend that will probably test my limits, as I have a split shift on Friday that will result in a completely unprecedented DOUBLE clopen. Closing Thursday, morning Friday, closing Friday, morning Saturday. I'll make it. Especially since Saturday night I'm off to some random small Wisconsin town to catch a concert with Stefan's dad. That will be a nice treat.

I have failed to achieve in other ways, though. I still have not touched a microphone since that debacle at Amy's back in February. I've got a little bit of material that I've been working on piece by piece, but I still am struggling to throw myself back into comedy. I've got a good chunk of material together about Snooki's pregnancy that actually feels like it has real live jokes in it, which is a refreshing change.  I'm starting to worry she's going to have the fucking thing before I get a chance to tell it. It may be a little overly topical and hacky, but it least it is jokes, and not just me editorializing without any sort of punchline, which is a problem I felt like I was running into with my older jokes. I was talking an awful lot and only setting up one or two laughs. Also, it's gonna be a little weird when I go back, because I can only assume all the other comics figure that I've quit. And I haven't quit. I'm just trying to regain my focus, because if the debacle at Amy's taught me anything, it's that I have to be prepared to go up there or I will bomb. So if I'm not focused and ready, then I'm going to keep banging my head against the wall.

When's Phish tour again? I don't want to wait until the end of June. That feels like forever, but it feels like June right now.

Where do I belong again? These days off where I basically don't have social interaction really fuck with me. This country's too goddamned big. And I struggle with feelings that I'm wasting a lot of potential. Almost all of my friends are in grad school, or are on their own fun adventures. Today I was driving and my brain was digging and something went clank in the thought mine, and I unearthed a big shiny thought that said, "Hey, Nick. You might actually be the single least successful member of your graduating class so far." I was unable to cite specific examples to debunk this argument. Maybe I can turn this train of thought into a joke somehow. The joke would probably only work in Boston or New York because anywhere else there isn't that base of knowledge that is familiar with Middlebury College, and it would drag the joke down to explain it.

But I dicked around with the guitar again today and came up with a neat little chord progression. I miss feeling like I could write lyrics. I feel a bit of a disconnect between the way I write music and my voice as a lyricist. I always feel like things don't fit right.

Also, I want to be in a band again.  It's not something I was ever opposed to, but it's not a thought I've actively had in a VERY long time. I want to play guitar rock. Holy shit, do I want to play guitar rock. I don't even care if I'm playing guitar or bass. I want to just let it fucking rip. What all this means is that I will probably troll Craigslist musician pages with the same look-don't-touch cowardice I have with OK Cupid.

IN WHICH I ATTEMPT TO DEVELOP A METAPHOR FOR MY LIFE STRUGGLES EPISODE #324: At my parents' house we have a pool. That pool has a diving board. Often times when I am about to dive in for the first time, I will freeze on the diving board. As best I can tell it is rooted in some anxiety about the shock of the water being cold. Even though I've been in that pool hundreds of times. This can happen even on a hot day when I know the temperature of the water is a temperature I am perfectly comfortable in. I just can't dive in. Eventually I do, but it's fortunate that gravity is there to take me the rest of the way. Unfortunately, unlike the pool, all of the things I need to be throwing myself into feel like they are constantly throwing me out.

Jesus Christ I need to stop torturing this metaphor and go the fuck to sleep.


3/19: Esophegal

by Nick Smith in


Today was swallowed by the laziness monster. I woke up in the gullet of the beast, and was swallowed for the day before I could anchor a plan to a tree stump, pole, or other solid object outside its maw. There isn't much else to report. I only left the apartment to forage.  

BLAGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHh


3/18: The Struggle to Calibrate

by Nick Smith in


It's been a weird weekend. Much of it has been a struggle. But it hasn't been all bad either. There's a kink in the hose somewhere. It's frustrating to be forced to acknowledge that there are things I won't be able to do again at the same time I am trying to weather the beginnings of new paths. Work today was a great struggle. I have to learn how to handle days where I don't kick ass. Maybe I tried to do too much. I attempted to juggle a bunch of tasks that take a while to do, and I got really stressed out that I wouldn't finish in time, so naturally things snowballed and 8:00 came way too soon. So I went home in a horrible mood.

So I don't really have much to say. I was just so busy yesterday, I didn't sit down and write. Sickness, work, sleep deprivation, and a bunch of social activities kept me whizzing around in search of equilibrium. I did not find it until I resolved to drink water while everyone else enjoyed cocktails.

Now I have two days. Time to recover. Time to put something of value together. Time to go back to work on Mon(Wednes)day with something to show for the time. To drop a couple time pennies in the piggy bank.


3/16: A wise man just said...

by Nick Smith in


"If there is something you want to be, you have to be that person every day." - Nick Smith That saying is something I came up with a few days ago, and is just about the only reason I'm writing this right now. I'm trying to commit to doing this every day because I aspire to be a person who writes things for a living. Therefore, I have decreed that I must write something every day. And this new thing I've started doing can be that thing if I need it to be.

It is just important that I use this portion of my brain every day. If I'm goign to be a writer, be it of songs or jokes or stories, until I am comfortably employed in that field, I have to be a writer every day on my own. Both so I have the practice and discipline of writing, but also so that I can conceptualize myself as a writer, because I do it every day, and the will give me the confidence so I won't feel like an impostor.

Work. And following the basketball tournament. That's about all I've been up to. And continuing to eat terribly. It's gotten to the point where I have no idea what my diet consists of, but I guess today was the first day in a while I didn't eat any pizza.  I need to do my dishes...tomorrow?

I had forgotten how nice it was to sit out on the deck of a bar on a warm night and enjoy drinks and good company. I wish I hadn't been a mess coming straight from work, but that's just how shit goes. It feels like every night social things are happening, I am working close followed by an early shift. It makes me the first one to leave and I feel like a pooper. But I have to sleep sometime...says the guy who has to punch in in six hours.

But at least I committed something to ink and pulp...to be placed in zeroes and ones...today. I call that a win, if a minor one. If I win in a minor way every day, that is a pretty goddamned major win.


3/15: Sunk

by Nick Smith in


Four glasses. Six plates stacked up. These are the dirty dishes. And those are just the ones that won't fit in the sink. I am hungry. But I can't cook any of my food because all the pots are dirty. And I can't wash them because...well I just can't.\ Sometimes, I can't do things. I think sometimes other people don't really understand that. I don't want to let things like dishes and other general life upkeep tasks pile up. But sometimes I just can't do them. I am perfectly physically able. I completely understand what I need to do to perform the task. But I just can't do it. Not all the time. But enough that it impedes progress.

Because sometimes I really need to focus on getting work done, like writing jokes or something. And sometimes I just can't do that if my apartment is a mess. And I have a hard time getting much cleaning done if the sink is full of dishes. So that's why it all comes back to the sink.

I grew up with a dishwasher in my house, so washing dishes is not a thing that I am totally accustomed to doing. But somehow it has become this mental barrier to progress that I've struggled with since I've been out on my own. I try not to blame the dishes too much, though. I am sure if I had a dishwasher, the problem would be something else.

It's Monday now. I work a closing shift tonight, and I probably won't feel like writing later, so I am writing now. It is shiny. Spring. It's free out there. Good weather for driving with the windows down and listening to Phish. There was a period yesterday with the sunshine and the breeze and the Phish that I convinced a part of myself that I was on my way to a Phish concert. It felt really good.

I watched UHF last night and it was really good. Emo Phillips' thumb scene broke me, because I've seen that scene a thousand times, but I've never seen it handled the way Emo does.

I hope to get back to standup next week. I've said that every week for a month, but I really believe it. One of these weeks it will come true.


3/14: Pie?

by Nick Smith in


I sat down in the grass on March 14th. Spring appeared to have taken the reins that fall had hidden from winter. Lake Mendota opened in front of my like the unknown unfolds fear in the mind. Something always strikes me about the fact that you can see two different water towers across the lake. Something different. Something better. The grass and the trees are still dead. The birds are not back in full force. But everything else seems vibrant. The first day after winter where instead of a harsh, biting wind, there is a cool breeze that brushes you. The wind can tell you a lot of things if you are listening.

Today seems like a fantastic day to start things. Starting things has never been an issue for me. Getting ankle-deep in something and not following through has been my M.O. for my whole life. I think this is just another brick in that wall. I think I am going to post this on the internet with absolutely no vision of what it will become. Probably nothing. I might try to keep doing this on a regular basis. I may even succeed. Anyway, it looks like something is burning across the lake. Or maybe there's just a factory there, but I doubt it. The greyish-black smoke doesn't belong today. It's found a hole in the fence of the heaven that is today, and the wind is desperately trying to shove it back through. In fact, it looks like it has cleared up already.

I'll take this on a Sunday afternoon. I know the world's calendar calls this Wednesday, but the liquid calendar I live on places this weather firmly on the Sabbath. Churchless as I am,I feel no obligation. Perhaps more rituals would help to regulate my behavior. Or at least my paragraphs. But at least now, when someone inevitably asks me, "Did you get outside?" I can say yes. And having just that little way I didn't fuck something up makes me happy.


First down on the forward progress [N]

by Nick Smith in


Greetings from the....OK I haven't named my apartment yet. I have finally decided that the whole not doing nothing routine was getting a touch on the old side. Rather than treating the local open mics as a nice thing that it would be not a horrible idea for me to do, I have begun to treat them as mandatory events that I cannot afford to miss. Which to the untrained eye seems CRAY Z. But it's the type of wack shit that is going to have to become a part of me if that whole this becomes the primary thing I do plan can get its ass all fruity. I wrote a new song on Sunday. I'm hoarding the lyrics and the demo. I just don't feel like the posts do a lot of good. Plus it gives me an added incentive to do more work and write more songs so that they can be packaged together and shoved out of my brainplane to parachute into your ears and...this sentence has gotten away from me. I want to put together a full-length album.  So I'm not just going to post stuff online as I'm writing it.  I save that shit for my blog posts. Instead, I'm going to hang onto stuff, work it at open mics  and see what sticks on the proverbial wall. If you really want to hear something, you can always try to butter me up and it's highly likely that arrangements can be made. But I don't want my inability to generate a triple-digit Youtube view count running through my head when I'm deciding if it's worthwhile to sit down and write. So I'm going to go down to the open mic now. Hopefully it'll be less than a month before we meet again. Toodle-oo, go with God, and don't take any wooden nickels, Nick

Like a forest fire it burned a hole in me. I perspired.


All that wasn't broken or left behind [N]

by Nick Smith in


So I've been in Madison for about 2.5 months now (margin of error +/- 0.2 months). I have been neglecting my craft in quite the embarrassing fashion, but I have been very focused on scratching out an existence here, a process which is very near completion. I have found two jobs (and lost one), currently serving as a barista at a neat little drive-thru coffee shop on one of the main thoroughfares into the city. It is great to have a job like that that I really like. I've also found a pretty decent and cheap apartment, which is where I am typing this from while listening to an old Explosions in the Sky album.  Sadly, I have barely touched Guillermo these last months, so I really don't have anything new to report, other than that I hope to get the ball rolling here soon and build up some good positive momentum writing and going out and playing in front of some people. Time to let go of the clutch and see what this baby can do. Allons-y! Nick


Relocated [N]

by Nick Smith in


So I've finally gone and done it. I have officially moved. And it feels pretty goddamned amazing. If you seek me on the East Coast, for the first time in 24 years, you'd be hard-pressed to find me there. I have abandoned my ancestral home of Rochester, NY to make a new one of my own in Madison, WI. Why Madison? Because I felt like it and my dear friend Derek was nice enough to let me use the couch that I am typing this from until I can afford my own couch and a place to put it. I'm beginning to SLOWLY assemble something resembling an adult human life up here, and once I do, it's going to be pretty great...except for all the responsibility and such. So what does all of this mean for The Flat? Well for one, obviously, it means that The Flat is no longer based in the Rochester area, but is now a Madison-centered venture. I believe that this move will free up a lot of my hang-ups that prevented me from doing a lot of the writing and performing that I should have been doing.  It will mean I'll be able to get the next project whirring to whatever it is when machines enter full function and we bizarrely call it life. Running? I don't know. Guillermo has been living inside the trunk of Katrina the Wondercar since I've been here, so as not to provide additional crampitude to a situation where there's enough of my crap around as it is. Once I snap up one of those "apartments" for my very own, you can bet that I'll be going to town on that brain of mine, bringing the thought-smasher online and recording what word-particles come shooting out of the collisions. And I'll be going out, slammajamming open-mics and hopefully getting some gigs where I can make a few friends show up and semi-embarassedly support me while I play these little dripping tunes.

So my life's gotten all crazy and exciting kinda all of a sudden. But the juices have been flowing. I've been putting pen to paper a bit and come up with some stuff. Nothing ready to go up here or anything, but it'll come.

Y'all take care now, y'hear? Nick

We know of an ancient radiation


Laying the first bricks [N]

by Nick Smith in


So yesterday I was finishing up work and getting ready to leave when lyrics began to crystallize in my mind. Somehow I managed to carry one iteration of the refrain in my head the whole way home before I ran upstairs and immediately got to work. Out popped a little ditty about the struggle between good and evil, or good and good. It is often difficult to tell. Today I recorded a little demo for you to watch.  You can see it here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0rPnzf4yaw  The lyrics are as follows: The Gilded Dream Strikes Back

The very last time I walked home alone I'd thrown away all of my change I'd sold away every last stepping stone Ran east, miles out of range. Past the historical markers, The mortal remains of my trust Clutch the sword, parry and thrust.

The very last time I drove down this road I severed the brakelines in vain I burned all the cyphers that broke your code And gleefully swirled 'round the drain. Forty-one thousand four hundred and three, Anything else I bust. Clutch the sword, parry and thrust.

Vault right over the turnstile Find a good seat with a view The orbit's turned around on itself And begun to rise anew.

Today I discovered the seeds you laid In the secret rooms of my mind Someday you'll regret the day that I stayed, When I pay you back in kind. Twitching before the pistol Steal a head start if you must Clutch the sword, parry and thrust.

It takes every last drop from the Finger Lakes To drown my feverish lust Clutch the sword, parry and thrust.

 

I hope you like it! I am pretty happy with it. It's got a forward momentum to it, and there's a lot of stuff going on in the lyrics that tickles me. Leave your feedback in the comments! Share it with your friends! Make people listen to the EP! If you haven't yet, listen to it, then make other people listen to it!

Like a grease fire on crack


A New Chapter [N]

by Nick Smith in


Today I am announcing a big change for The Slide To Nowhere. As many of you know, it was originally my personal blog to vent about shit. No more. From now on, The Slide To Nowhere is the official internet home of The Flat. I'm moving all of my personal blogging type stuff over to my Tumblr (http://whoisnicksmith.tumblr.com/) to free up this space to be explicitly for the band. Hopefully this renewed effort will help to get stuff rolling, both in terms of getting the word out there, and inspiring me to write more stuff. So now, no longer personal Nick shit. Go to Tumblr for that. This is 100% The Flat now. Good. Glad we've go that settled.

I've got a lot of wacky life shit going on right now that will probably make it difficult to get a lot of focused work done. But I am painfully aware of how little I have managed to do since the creative burst last year that conceived, gestated and delivered Scale From One To Yes. My inner critic has been a total dick since then, and has really discouraged me from putting together new stuff. But I can feel a new wave coming soon. I feel ready. I don't have any specific plan yet, no dates, no titles, no nothing, but I will say that I do intend to put out a full-length album. Ideally I'd love to have it in your ears and brains before the year is out. I have no idea if that is realistic, so don't hold me to it, but it is a tenuous goal. I will be sure to keep you up to date with demos and videos here and on the Twitters and Facebooks and such. If I somehow get my shit together and start really gigging, I will be flinging that news this way, and right into your face via every electronic tool I have.

But first of all I must write. I was actually really productive with lyrics last summer. Many of which I remember being quite good. I have a hard time going back and looking at lyrics. Half of me wants to go back and try and turn them into songs. The other half of me feels that they aren't what I want to do right now thematically, and that the past should remain in the past. We'll see how it goes. Once I get my situation sorted out to some degree, I'll hopefully be able to put out a plan to start writing productively again. We'll see how it goes.

In the meantime please Please PLEASE follow the Twitter page we've set up for the band. And like us on Facebook. And listen to Scale From One To Yes. Links for all of that are on the right hand side of this page, as well as under the About tab.

OK. I feel like I've blathered to you enough for one night.

'Til next time, Nick

Frozen outside the lines


The Islands We Live On, And Their Slowly Expanding Shores

by Nick Smith in


I haven't written anything here in quite sometime. Props to Kurt for calling me out on it. I need to take better advantage of this space to hurl consonants and vowels in the general direction of whoever will read them. I have been on a massive tear of listening to the Grateful Dead lately. Namely, I've been heavily focused on their earlier work, between 1968 and 1971, before Jerry changed his guitar tone getting rid of that big psychedelic blues sound in favor of a quieter tone without any of the distortion that really gave the Dead this huge sound at that point. I have been really excited about this rediscovery, but have had so few people to share it with, as an overwhelming majority of my friends have little to no familiarity with the Grateful Dead's music.

Most of my friends are my age or older, so it is far too late in their musical developments for me to say, "No you should really be listening to the Grateful Dead because they are doing some really special things." Especially with a band like the Dead. They've been around longer than you've been alive. If you're not on the bus by now, you're probably not getting on. Not to mention the myriad stereotypes keeping everyone at bay. And even if I do convince you to give a brief listen to something I thrust upon you, the impetus to make something out of that listen has to come from you.

For a long time I was really bothered by the fact that most of my friends just didn't get the music I like the same way that I do. This was back in an age when all of the music ever was slightly less at our fingertips than it is right now. Now that we have reached a point where you can literally go get anything you want to hear instantaneously without even putting on pants, there is no music that is too obscure, because it is all available all the time. I have filled at least a half dozen MASSIVE cd-binders with recordings of Phish concerts simply through the use of a high-speed internet connection. I am not the only person who has engaged in similar activities.

We are all these unique little snowflakes, who have our own very unique and very specific tastes. We get there by slowly annexing one new musician or band after another. The amount of work it takes to really dive into the work of a musician is quite sizable. Depending on the size of their back catalog (I'm usually discovering things that already have a large repertoire to digest) it can take anywhere from a week or two to 2 months. Last year I had a half-hour commute each way. I assimilated a few albums by burning them onto a cd and just letting them play over and over again for a week or two. By the end of that time, the music would seep into the fabric of my being and become a part of my musical tradition. I think there must be at least a brief period of obsession for a song or an album or a band's whole catalog to become a permanent part of who we are and not just some passing fancy.

Really latching onto some new group is a serious undertaking that I can't just do whenever a friend says, "You need to listen to these guys." Over the last several years, I have been very selective about the places I branched out. This has led me to create this strange set of tastes with islands in various genres where I listen to absolutely nothing related to this one act I have completely fallen in love with (see The Magnetic Fields, The Mountain Goats, Explosions In The Sky). I'm sure that there's a lot of other music like it that I'd love. But finding it and digesting it just seems like too much work.

So now I understand why my friends never really give the obscure things I like a chance. It's just too much work to add that one more thing on top of all the other music you're processing. It sucks that we can't share all the fucking awesome stuff that's illuminating my brain, but you've got your own thing going on. And if you're ever looking for something that I think is gonna make you go "OH SHIT!" I'll be here, ready to deal you the top card off my deck.

On the 1s and the 2s, Nick

Searchlight casting for thoughts in the clouds of delusion


Invention

by Nick Smith in


I can't sleep so I thought I'd write what's kind of been on my mind lately. I have an intense longing to create. I want to put forth something new and original in some medium that resonates with people. Unfortunately I am at a total loss for just what form this creation should take. I have not been feeling it with music these last few months. Also, this current impulse is toward something with more narrative focus. I have been watching dangerous amounts of Gilmore Girls these last few weeks and it am finding a lot of inspiration in it. It led me to realize a vitally important aspect of all the writing I was doing and thinking about doing that I was neglecting. Characters. I have invested no real effort into creating characters, which I think is something that I should very much remedy. I was making these shells of people and telling them what to do. I need to invent complete people and make situations and their reactions to these situations should flow naturally from their characters.

I have decided that I need to create a fictional world that will contain all of my creations (in whatever form they take). In watching Gilmore Girls, I am left enchanted by the town of Stars Hollow. I have decided to make a unique world and populate it with characters before I begin trying to write anything. Ideally my plan is to fill it with fully imagined characters who have unique backstories, to the point where I am creating characters that I will never even use.

How I will use this world I create, I am not sure. I could use the backdrop as fodder for writing songs. If only I had some semblance of artistic talent, I'd love to do a webcomic. Maybe I could try my hand at writing straight prose, be it short stories or something in longer form. I don't know. There are reasons I feel ill-suited to any medium.

Regardless, the first step is for me to design an imaginary world and fill it with people.

By Zeus' beard. Nick

Throw it in the fire.


On Saving Terriers

by Nick Smith in


Hey TV Fans, I don't know if you are watching the television show, "Terriers" but I strongly urge you to start if you haven't already. They are really struggling to gain viewers which is a shame because it's on of the best things on television. There is a campaign going to save Terriers and I figured I would do my part to support the show by spreading the word. You should watch the show somewhere where they can measure it (Hulu, iTunes, Amazon) and send an e-mail to FX (user@fxnetworks.com) letting them know you want them to bring it back for a second season. I recommend being respectful and pointing out all the things you like that FX does. Here's what I wrote:

Dear FX Network,

I have very much enjoyed watching your show "Terriers" this season. I understand that the ratings have not been stellar and its future is uncertain. While it is tough to keep a show on the air when it has struggled so much to gain a large viewing base, I love the show and would be quite disappointed if you were to cancel it. I know quality television programming, and I as a viewer can tell you it is one of the best things on television right now. Please do what you can to keep this show alive and I will do my part to keep preaching the gospel and try to bring it more viewers.
I'd also like to add that I am a huge fan of "Louie" and "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" and would like to thank you strongly for continuing to put on such great television. Kudos to you for running a fantastic network.
Sincerely,
Nick Smith

Keep the rubber side down, Nick

You are the live grenade in my life


A number of songs I think you should hear

by Nick Smith in


Hi. Here's a number of songs I recommend, nay COMMAND, you to listen to. I'm just gonna tell you what they are and give you a brief description of why I love them so. Go find a video on Youtube or something if you have no easy access to them. I think I'm gonna refrain from Mountain Goats songs because I've spent so much time tooting their horn here and honestly I'd have a hard time just picking one song. 1. Velouria - Pixies: I have been in love with this band for 2 years now. I keep coming back to this song. I am a sucker for things that can be very pretty while still managing to fucking rock. This succeeds awesomely. The ripping power chord opening dissolves into gorgeous verses before returning for the choruses. Kim Deal's backup vocal is, to borrow a lyric, velveteen, and Joey Santiago as always supplies a nice understated lead guitar. Also something about the object of the feelings in this song gets me. Is Velouria a person, a place, a thing? I don't know, which is part of its allure for me.

2. Half Jack - Dresden Dolls: Listening to the Dresden Dolls inspires a bizarre mix of desires and emotions in me, as much of the content is from a strong feminine perspective, which doesn't line up as neatly with my perspective as most of my music does. Yet I feel a strong connection to these songs that I cannot effectively describe, other than to say that Amanda Palmer is a fucking good songwriter. This song is brimming with an emotional intensity that I cannot easily compare to other music. A great slow build over the course of the song, culminating in the powerful "See Jack Run" refrain at the end.

3. Who Cares - The Flat: OK. I'm gonna toot my own horn a little here. This is MY song. If you don't have it, you can download the whole EP here for free. It's my favorite song on the album and I like what it has become. It's fun, light, and has a wide range of meaning that can be drawn from it. Once I get off my ass and start playing open mics again I'm gonna be leaning on it pretty hard, as I think it's the song I've written that has the most accessibility.

4. Going Away to College - Blink-182: If you think, "I'm too cool for Blink-182," I will give you a very, very dirty look. They're SO MUCH FUN! And while they certainly cater to the shallower stuff, they are a little deeper than they are given credit for. They can play a song that simultaneously rocks and feels. The chorus on this song is magnificent. The narrator my not have much to offer other than his "bouquet of clumsy words" and "simple melody" but all that matters is that "you're so beautiful to me."

5. Warning Sign - Talking Heads: David Byrne is fucking awesome. The greatness of Talking Heads in my eyes was that everything was so simple, yet it was so deceptively complex. The early stuff rode the line between smooth and jagged so effortlessly without losing the groove. Perhaps he is the only person to ever intellectually unlock the secret to the elusive concept of "soul." At any rate, I love this song. A killer bass line and classic Byrne wackiness ("Look at my hair I like the design") just push all the right buttons for me.

That's all that jumps to mind. I may do more of these as songs pop into my head and refuse to vacate the premises.

Mucho D'amour, Nick

Dumber than a second coat of paint


Musings Musicale

by Nick Smith in


I've been thinking a lot about music lately, but actually doing very little. I figured I'd jot down some of my thoughts, get them out of my head and swirling out into the internet. 1. I am REALLY missing musical collaboration. There is only so much I can do myself. I'm limited to 1 brain, 1 set of hands (meaning 1 instrument), and 1 voice. Since it is impractical to accompany oneself on bass or drums, this forces me to play a tremendous amount of guitar, pulling me away from what I have always considered my natural instrument: the bass. I miss being able to just sit back and groove. I miss having musicians to jam with, being able to explore someone's style and find the ways I can fit in with it. There is something magical about feeling someone out and eventually locking into them and grooving together. I miss not having the honus of every single song be on me, not having to be the focus of attention all the time, and allowing my inevitable crappy to not ALWAYS ring out like a gunshot. If I wasn't such an antisocial dork, I would be out making connections and finding people to play with. Unfortunately, I am such an antisocial dork, and haven't even so much as looked up open-mics since I've been home. I need to fix that shit.

2. I have been stuck in the mud creatively. This summer I was incredibly productive lyrically. I have no music to put on any of that stuff. I just need to take it and sit down with my guitar and start making music come out. It is within my power. Just takes action. I am really stupid sometimes. This has been one of those times. I have no interest or ability in terms of lyrics right now. I struck all summer while the iron was hot, now I've got nothing coming out and need to work on finishing these songs. If I can put music to a good number of them, who knows? Maybe I can drop a full album in the spring or summer! #WishfulThinking

3. I have been listening to BUCKETS of Phish lately. And it has made me IMMENSELY happy (as it is wont to do). It springs from 3 separate but related things: 1. The interest in more full-bandy stuff and playing bass again mentioned above. 2. I am finally getting around to cataloging (burning onto CDs and ripping into iTunes and organizing in my unique OCD fashion) Phish's tour from this past summer. Yes I get every show. Yes I am totally obsessed. Yes it probably hinders my social life a great deal. I've been listening to a lot of it (good stuff) while doing the grunt work (very simple, but very time-consuming). 3. I saw them a few weeks ago in Utica. I needed skin-grafts from my legs after the show because my face got MELTED. I managed to get there early and be front row in front of Mike the whole show (it was General Admission). They played a show that was incredibly fun and experimental (in the vein of how they were playing back in 1994) that left me absolutely dumbfounded. I listened to it again between last night and this afternoon and it absolutely holds up. It was an awesome experience. It was the first time I went completely solo, which freed me up to wait in line to get my great spot.

4. I went on a bit of a Talking Heads kick a few weeks ago. David Byrne is a fucking genius. If you haven't been listening to Talking Heads lately fix it right now. David Byrne makes great music that anyone can play. David Byrne makes great music that no one can play but him.

May your tracks be lost in the dark and snow, Nick

The book I read was in your eyes