Monday, August 31, 2009

May you live in interesting times

It's been an interesting weekend. I tend to consider "may you live in interesting times" to fall somewhere between curse and excitement: . Much of my focus this weekend seems to have been on one of the most difficult obstacles I've ever encountered in my life. It's rare I run into a decision, that I don't know how to breakdown and add up the sum of the pieces, but I find myself in that exact situation with this one. While I know it's a bit unfair to vaguely talk about an important issue and not share the detail, given the topic and the people involved, it's one of those situations that by sharing it openly would only exasperate the situation further, which is the last thing I need at the moment.

I can say that I'm in a better state of mind then when I first confronted the issue. When I first started to focus on the issue, I wasn't in an emotional/mental place that was conducive to resolving the issue. That means that whatever decision comes from this, I'm confident that I'm capable of taking all factors into account and not getting hung up on menial aspects of the situation.

Ok, enough of that though, some other things from the weekend. I took the daughter shopping on Saturday. We went out to the Great Northern mall, and while it's not as bad as Parmatown with store closings, there are more then I expected to see there. There wasn't any real goal of the trip other then to go out and look at some clothes and footwear and maybe get some ideas for Christmas and Birthday gifts for the upcoming months.

Now you may wonder why I'm looking for Christmas and Birthday gifts for the daughter nearly 3 months early, well it helps me get an idea of what I want to spend this year and what she really wants. If I went strictly by TV commercials, I'd just have to buy anything that comes out with Barbie, Tinkerbell or Spongebob. It also helps me keep an eye on the sales ads and sometimes find some deals on the stuff she does want. The big focus right now is on a toddler bike, I'm hoping since it's the end of summer, I might find a deal on one. Even three months away I'm incredibly excited about seeing her reaction to getting a bike for Christmas.

The footwear and clothes search serves two purposes. The first is as I've stated before, I'm ridiculously particular about the types of clothes I choose. In addition to being picky, I hate spending money on clothes. By going out regularly and looking at things, it enables me to find stuff on sale or to get ideas of where I want to shop for clothes, when I oil the wallet up and decide to spend some dollars on threads.

The reason for my clothes search is related to singing. I need to find some clothes to wear for singing. The reason is if I put myself up there in front of a crowd with the goal of entertaining them, I need to be entertaining. In order to do that, I need to be comfortable and I need to foster my outgoing personality traits. While I can talk the ear off to those close to me, I can also be shy or introverted around those I don't know, it's a defense mechanism as I'm observing reactions and words of the people I'm unfamiliar with in order to gauge my interactions with them. While others do this too, I likely am a bit overboard in how I handle meeting new people, to the point, that people think I'm mean, cocky, elitist, or even in some respects 'slow' until they get to know me. Which is why I need to foster my outgoing traits and create a persona for the performances. And that means clothes, something that strikes the right chord that I can be comfortable in. Something with a little style but yet doesn't look like I'm trying to hard to be hip and young. I also want to give the impression that I thought about my outfit before throwing it on in the morning.

I know that many guys would find this line of thinking completely insane and there is a part of me that agrees with them, but in actuality it's kind of fun. I started at Macy's and was surprised that I was able to find some choices outside of the typical men's section which is racks of khaki pants and polo shirts, I know deep down this trend is due to a woman marketing manager who's determined to casually cloth every man in that style (well not really but it sounds good).

My actual theory on why department store's have the types of clothes they have: guys tend to not care about there clothes as an average, and so the department stores have 30 different colored polo shirts in their men's section along with 3 shades of khaki colored pants, so the women shopping for their man can say, "well he wore a polo shirt once and I like this color, so I'll get it for him and I'll throw away that that he wears constantly and has since we met, and these khaki pants will look adorable with it."

I digress though, which I seem prone to do today in this post. I was able to find some ideas for shirts and pants, but what I really wanted to talk about a jacket I found. (2 pages of rant later and I finally get there). Waist cut, denim, military style jacket, without being overly 'military' style. (who knew I was such a trendsetter in the early 90's with my Dad's Vietnam jacket) Very cool looking and would look good on stage. As Bronwyn and I were walking toward the section I saw it even before trying it on, I knew it was what I was looking for. I tried it on and it's friggin cool as hell and even makes me look cool as hell (well relatively speaking). Then I looked at the price tag. &%*#@ $149. $149 for what's basically a jean jacket, you have to be &%$#* kidding me! I just can't bring myself to spend that much on a jacket, I know I'm cheap, I know better fashion costs more, it just seems to high though. Which is where I'm at today thinking about that jacket and how I want it but don't want to fork over that much cash for it.

The good news is later that night I realized I had a $100 Macy's card through my credit card reward program that I just requested. With that, I can sort of justify the cost, although I still want to find something cheaper. It's a sickness, what can I say, I'm horrible about spending money on clothes. I find that when I buy stuff that looks good in the store there are many times where I don't love it as much when it's in my closet. Usually it's after a couple months, so it's not like I can take it back. Which is why I try and find sales and clearance stuff or shop at wholesalers. I can buy more and if I wind up not liking it I don't feel bad if I don't wear it.

Which means I'm currently waiting for my gift card, and having the internal struggle on whether or not to buy the jacket when said card arrives. Having to wait for a while isn't a bad thing though as it gives me a chance to scour the Internet for something comparable and hopefully cheaper. I'd post a picture of the jacket, but it seems to be too new for even Macy's website (I'm such a frigging trendsetter ).

Friday, August 28, 2009

Getting to 100, give or take 4-5 drafts

I can't believe this is my 100th post. (in retrospect, it's very possible this isn't my actual 100th, but we'll use some fuzzy math) Considering the time between the 1st and 2nd post was over a year, before I decided to try and keep up on this bog, I'm a bit amazed I've gotten here in about 7 months.

As I mentioned in Friday thoughts, this was going to be about religion, but I just don't have the energy to try and right all that's on my mind for that subject, it will come though in due time.

I do realize that after 7 months, I need to go back and read over some of my previous entries. I need to avoid becoming repetitive for some of the things I talk about and the only way to do so is to try and 'remember' what I've already talked about.

I can't begin to tell you how much anxiety this causes me. Why? Well I hate reading my own writing. It's not a matter of whether I think it's good or not, honestly I don't concern myself to much with that. While I hope people will find the blog interesting I find that most of my writing is done more for my benefit.

I'm not entirely sure of all the reasons I don't like to go back and read through my things. For work, I read through emails a couple of times depending on their importance, so it's not like I can't do it. I send anywhere from 100-400 emails in a week, so I'm pretty sure my hesitancy is due to something emotional rather then the amount of work it takes. Having said that for papers in college, I was never a big fan of proofreading though.

One reason I hate going back over it is I'm going to beat myself up for my grammatical errors. Since I tend to not proofread outside of spellcheck. I know there are multiple grammatical errors in many of my posts. Writing as you are thinking makes you extremely prone to this. It's my one big regret of this blog that it appears sloppy at times and that it may seem like I don't always have a full grasp of the English language.

The other big reason I don't like to look over my stuff and ultimately the reason for my grammatical errors is I really hate my prose once I've committed it to paper. I don't know if it's because I'm my own worst critic, whether I'm uncomfortable seeing the vulnerability I display , or whether I just look at it and think I'm . I know that in trying to express myself at times, I just have to write it down and if I re-read it I'm more likely to just scrap the whole post. That's the big reason I accept the grammatical errors, I justify it by my belief that I'm opening up in a way that I cannot do in a contrived manner. It's sort of like getting really drunk and just emotionally running off at the mouth, once it's out, it's not coming back and regardless of whether it should have been said, somewhere inside it needed to be said. It's pure in a sense and less filtered, which if I was going to read is what I'd want to see. Proofreading makes me want to filter and soften it.

Having said all of that, in the end it's just a clever excuse in many respects. I'm perfectly capable of proofreading and keeping the message unfiltered. So I'm going to go back and start reading over some of the stuff and at least getting an idea of what I've talked about to either further the insight or to try and avoid repetition. Hopefully over the next few weeks I'll be able to do some of that.

Interesting factoid though:

In looking over the categories I assign to many of the posts, I see that Irrelevance is far and away the winner for topics. With 42, that's likely fairly telling in what I think about my work. :)

Ahh, the struggle with understanding and acceptance of self is never truly complete.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Friday Thoughts 18

1. Men's fashion still sucks, at least for those of us without an entire Armani budget and let's face it, you can't wear suits everywhere. Don't believe me, the next time your in a store go into the men's section. There are 3 types of shirts. Tshirts, dress shirts, and other. Not to mention everything is frigging khaki

2. God I hate khaki, if there is a hell, I know I'll be dressed in all khaki when I'm banished there and everything around me will be in shades of beige.

3. My metro sexual tendencies in relation to food and looks disturb me sometimes.

4. This spot was going to be a commentary on Ted Kennedy, but it's just not worth it. I have so many mixed feelings over anything about Ted Kennedy I wouldn't even know where to begin. So I'll sum it up with, thanks for your service and FU for Mary Jo Kopechne.

5. And for equal time for the Republicans, we have another Sarah Palin in the making:
Nice choice of words there.

6. I'm very close to my 100th actual blog post, meaning published ones. I started the week thinking I was going to put in a post on my thoughts on religion, but realized quickly after an hour of writing, that I just didn't have the 8-10 hours it would probably take to capture what I wanted to say. Here's a synopsis: I don't 'get' religion (more to come someday, maybe)

7. I don't think I mentioned this, but I went to Parmatown mall on Sunday last week, and while it was early 11am or 12. The place was a graveyard. It's sad to see the American mall dying. One whole section is completely closed storefronts. The sad part is, this isn't completely due to the recession. It's been this way at Parmatown for the past 10 years in different cycles. While I'll be sad to see malls closing over the next 5-10 years (Euclid and Randall are gone), I do have to wonder how some of the stores ever survived. Who the hell ever bought anything at Radio Shack or the asian antiques store selling samurai swords and other assorted weapons? And don't tell me that those one time customers were regulars where they were able to turn a regular profit.

8. It's raining today, I love rain. I find being able to appreciate rain is a great way to find the positive in bad situations. (i.e It's raining today, I'm working inside, cool, because I can't go outside and enjoy it anyway) It's all in the perspective.

9. I find celebrities that want to be political rather stupid on average, rather then informed. Which actually is no different then most political figures in my opinion when you have a camera or recording device in front of them regularly.

10. Favorite drink over the last couple weeks, Sweetened ice tea and whiskey. Good without being overly strong. Black Velvet reserve or Southern Comfort would be my recommendations for the whiskey.

Meanderings of an old teenager

I'm looking for something to write, I'm just in the mood. Unfortunately the issues that are likely the catalyst for this feeling aren't ones I can write about, we'll just leave it at "it's complicated".

Which means I need to use this post as a distraction. Something that's interesting enough to make me finish it, yet essentially avoids the true catalyst.

I guess I'll revisit getting older. I had another episode this week where I unequivocally realized I'm getting old. Let me try to explain. I've had previous posts that talk about me getting together with this band. As we've been practicing, I've also been going through potential songs that I can cover and I stumbled upon one of the old songs they did with their previous singer. "We're not going to take it" by Twisted Sister.

I was also watching VH1 "One Hit Wonders of the 80's" this week and it was one of the videos they played. The commentary about the song/video was that it was the ultimate 80's kid anthem. The song came out in 1984, which would have put me at 11 years old and on the brink of teenager land. I remember every boy in school seemed to love that damn song, it might have been my first clash with pop music culture.

The song has popularity and nostalgia going for it. We are likely to play for older crowds and considering that, it's probably a good choice. It's vocals are also likely in my range, which is why I was looking it over. It also doesn't hurt that the band had previously played it and by choosing it we would minimize the amount of new material they'd have to learn before we were able to do a show.

As I was thinking about all of these things, I suddenly had this weird feeling come over me. When I think about this song I relate to it as an 11 year old boy, now I wanted to sing it as a 36 year old man?

It's a rock anthem about rebellion and growing up. Nowadays I'm part of the 'establishment' rebelling is done against me , not by me. I'm the old guy in the video not the kid. To say it was sobering and disturbing at the same time would be an understatement. Just another instance of where the hell did my 20's go and I'm really going to join a band at 36 approaching 40? Weird, if I was in my late 20's the thoughts of this wouldn't even cross my mind. Heck, if I was on the underside of 35, it probably wouldn't phase me. I think it's the fact that I realize I'm now closer to 50 rather then 20. I know I still have a way to go, but as I stated earlier it's still sobering.

My gut instinct right now is to not try and do the song, if the band asks I'll give it a shot in practice and I'll probably relent to performing it if it sounds good, after all it's a fun song and for the nostalgia factor it's likely a solid choice. Maybe I just need to think I'm rebelling against the oppressing baby boomers that are hanging on rather then retire or are intent on sucking Social Security dry. I'll put together a YouTube video of us pushing some older gentlemen in a wheel chair down the stairs as we limp down after him with our canes.


That's kind of how I feel today. It's been two weeks now with some variation of of a crappy damn cold. Once I kicked the stuffy head, congested mess, it seemed to have moved to my eye. So I've walked around the last two days with a serious case of pink eye. Half closed, red mess.

Without getting graphic, I went to the doctor's for an issue with my foot the other day and hadn't noticed the red eye yet. (talk about going through the motions, you'd figure I would have noticed the giant red eye staring at me when I put on my contacts).

Anyway, while I was waiting in his office, he walked into the room to grab something for another patient and although I'm paraphrasing, his first words were "Holy crap what's wrong with your eye". Now I'm thinking oh crap what now, it's not bad enough I'm here for something else. I tell him I'm getting over a cold and he seemed to calm down and seemed to agree that it was definitely the likely cause.

Unfortunately that was the first day (Tuesday) of cursed red eye and yesterday was absolutely horrible. Today seems better though, and maybe just maybe, I'll be back to 'normal' by the weekend.

I blame this on having to leave my reclusive home office and being out around people in longer amounts of time. Especially one person in particular, who I won't mention past my saying I swear he's a walking petri dish. I see the person once or twice a year for a fantasy sports drafts and I swear I get sick every time I'm around him. (I do realize I'm likely imagining that correlation though, as he tends to be a bit annoying, so maybe it's just a bit of displacement.)

So pfffftttttt... It's a nice sound and sort of cathartic and that's what I'm going with today.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Toxic News the evolution of Toxic TV?

I was just reading an interesting view on Fox news at the following blog:

I can't say I disagree with anything in the bloggers post, but I'd take it one step further in relation to Toxic News. 24/7 and local TV news as two examples seem to have become toxic across the board in chasing ratings. CNN, MSNBC, and FoxNews are all guilty of it in my opinion. If they aren't overplaying a 'story' they stoop to essentially creating controversy by playing a poor mans (dumb mans) devil's advocate.

The good thing if there is one, is perhaps there is hope that we only have to endure this for another couple years until it burns out Recently, I've begun to think the relevance of TV has about a 10 year period for fads. What I mean by that is the newest TV concept that seems to develop and hold the headlines seems to last for about 10 years. While it doesn't mean they will ever fade away completely, perhaps this focus on Political ideology will follow suit.

As a reference I site the 90's infatuation with 'trash' TV, not only was their Jerry Springer, we also had Maury Povich, Jenny Jones, Sally Jesse, Rikki Lake, and assorted others that followed in the footsteps of late night Morton Downey Jr antics. Put people on TV that were so unbelievably trashy and then incite them further. After all they really just wanted to be on TV anyway, so take advantage of it. I can't remember the last time I saw a show that seemed to focus on antics such as this, so maybe it's extinguished.

The other reference I'll site is Reality TV, although I admit this sort of breaks theory too, but Reality TV as the big thing seems to be over. Sure there is still reality programming and it will probably be around for awhile (as I expect 24 news channels to be) but even then, there ability to grab headlines seems to be effectively over. I'm sure there will be an occasional show that will still 'shock' us (Rupert Murdoch I'm looking to you), but I think it's going to take something remarkable to do it on a consistent basis.

Whether or not I'm right with this, I have no idea, maybe I'm just hoping (I tend to be fatally optimistic). It would be nice to see a country again where political mouthpieces that have no agenda other then cashing their own paychecks don't seem to dictate so much public opinion.

It's probably a shame that my hope is that 24 hour news/political channels lose their influence instead of hoping for 'true leaders' to emerge that would allow people to put aside the trivial differences and work to get things done.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back to Father related thoughts

I think I've done a poor job of talking about fatherhood. A big part of this blog was intended to focus on that, and it seems I just haven't paid it the attention I should in writing at least. So while the next issue might not qualify as fatherhood thoughts, it does relate to my little girl.

What's in a name? I've found when people ask me my daughter's name that there is a good deal I can tell about the person pretty quickly. There are two standard reactions. The first is "oh, that's a beautiful, unique name" sometimes followed by I knew a girl in school with that name or some other reference. The second is "What was her name again?" followed by the uncomfortable "oh that is an interesting name". It's rather comical at times to see this play out. I could care less either way whether or not someone likes the name, but it does give me initial insight that I might not have had before.

It's not like we weren't aware of the possibility or had thought about it. Bronwyn is Welsh, literal translation is 'white breast'. Also based on Welsh lore, it is a form of Branwyn, who was a Welsh goddess of Love and Beauty. It's also unique enough without pushing the boundaries too far, in my mind at least. During some rough spots relationship wise (pre-marriage), I dabbled in a lot of Welsh/Celtic history and mythos and Branwyn stood out during that time. (Hey some herbal cigarettes, college, and alcohol plays a large role in 'spirituality' during those days). I was definitely predisposed to that name from that period and some favorite books I had read as a child, many years later when my wife and I were talking about potential names before pregnancy, she mentioned an affection for that name. Given my affection for coincidences, it seemed like an easy choice and it was.

If you've met my daughter it doesn't take long for you to realize that Bronwyn is a great fit for her, regardless of how you felt prior to meeting her. Does that mean it was destined? No, it's probably more a result of her environment and our guidance that may or may not be shaped by our predisposition to the name. Anyway you slice it, it's worked out.

So getting back to how people approach it at times, I do realize that it can be cumbersome in some circumstances for her and us. Bronwyn has a formality to it, that doesn't truncate very well for casual circumstances. Having a preference for Michael, I'm acutely aware of how it shapes perception for me if I utilize that or here people call me it. Mike is casual and while not my preference, I recognize the benefit of having something less casual to us. So I wanted to find something for Bronwyn like that. Hence discovering her nickname.

A nickname in my opinion needs to be something fun, with a bit of a story. It should be casual but not cumbersome, meaning it really shouldn't have a negative connotation for the person it's assigned too. (Yes, I know I think too much). From her birth I recognized we were going to need one for her. During her colic period, one night working to calm her down and get her to sleep it came to me and 'boof' was assigned. And to date it's stuck, when I need to be casual with her it's Boof (also modified to Boofster, Boofy, and others) and when I'm in a more proper dialogue it's Bronwyn. Now whether it will continue past her toddler years I have no idea, but it fits, so if you hear me referencing Boof, now you know what I'm talking about.

Oh the clever story for her nickname? I explain it in the following way, when she was a baby, it was the sound she made when I dropped her... Boof. Now, I'm happy to say (and relieved) that I have in fact never dropped her, although during those colic spells , I think you might try anything to stop the crying.

The nice thing about it in retrospect (besides the colic's over) is that we wound up with a positive out of a difficult situation. Although strangely enough people that aren't familiar with the story look at me just as funny when I refer to her as 'Boof' sometimes you can never win.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Naivety of Being (finished)

* I'm going back and reviewing some of my draft posts and trying to clean up the blogging dashboard. Most of them had started out in one direction, but either I didn't have time to finish or I just didn't have the ability to try and articulate the point I was trying to make.

What I have realized though in reading them, is that things seem to have changed quickly in my 4-6 months since I started writing it. This is my attempt to close out the post, possibly give you some insight into my thinking and while I don't think they are going to come to a point, I'm going to provide bolded commentary from the updates that are happening today. Essentially I'm cheating, since I can't articulate the complete thought, I'm using the post date comments as my flourish to distract you from my writing inadequacies. * (8/24/09, not bolded for easy reading for this part)

(2/18/2009) I think my headlines are starting to become something out of a Douglas Adam's book, maybe not a bad thing, but let's hope I can deliver in the same clever way. Hmm, by not finishing, I'd definitely say I was not able to deliver, clever as the title may be.

So in thinking about the way I want to change my thinking or reconnect with myself, I started focusing on the fact that I need to understand what is beneficial to my way of thinking and for lack of a better word, what sucks. While I didn't post this entry, it's the main issue I was experiencing toward the beginning of the year (captured in other posts), which was to move myself back towards a calm, collected state of mind. Interesting in that 6 months later, I'm pretty much where I want to be from a state of mind standpoint, I've regained my confidence, focus, and positive outlook, while many things have not changed in my life, I'm much more capable of coping with them now. There's still a lot of issues to work out and many which I don't write about on the blog, but with the right attitude and focus I'm confident it will work out in the way it's supposed to at some point. Ahh as I was writing this though, I am reminded that I'm in difficult waters, maybe someday I'll be able to share what that is though.

I'm plagued by the idea and phrase: if I only knew then what I know now. I swear the phrase haunts me and I realize that many decisions and choices inevitably would have been better with today's knowledge. There's not much I can do about that feeling, besides changing my outlook and at the very least learning how to incorporate my current knowledge into my present day instincts and deductions. Not really profound here, knowing then what I know now, is a common issue for people as they get older. What we fail to incorporate though, is the fear we experience from decisions in the then, doesn't apply in the same way it does now though, as that fear is removed from the knowing of now. It's a worthless statement in so many ways, as it focuses on the past, rather then looking to the present and the future. The past is gone and maybe some day when I'm old and gray I can reminisce about it but focusing on it now, means I'll continue to utilize this phrase in the coming years for what I miss today during that time.

Our understanding of things is simpler when we are younger, maybe it has to do with what we have encountered is so much less as the years are smaller or our understanding of words and actions aren't quite as defined. Looking back now it seems it would be much simpler to decide on a direction and pursue that goal or path. Simpler maybe too much of a term, but there are definitely less complications to manage in making decisions when we are younger. Consequences while they seem great then appear very menial when viewed through some age and hopefully wisdom. Although I know some of the issues I'm dealing with now, are direct results of paths I chose to ignore when I was younger. By avoiding some of those types of decisions in 'easier' environments I'm now faced with making those tough choices in a much more complex life.

I believe we all choose archetypes to follow through life, we need cues and paths to follow. They come from a variety of areas, family, religion and work as examples. I believe these archetypes that we individually build are necessary in order to process the vast amount of information that we experience and allow us to make quick decisions as we proceed. Not entirely sure how this 'fit' in to the other post, outside of trying to understand how we build our personality through life and that personality ultimately makes the decisions in the here and now. Part of what I think I was thinking was that if we stumble during the process and apply 'archetypes' and knowledge to our thinking that is incorrect then we inevitably become derailed much easier later in life, as we've fostered our instincts incorrectly. A good part of this I believe to be true, but luckily at least for me, I seem to have built in a mechanism to force myself to refocus when things seem to be getting out of whack, as they were. So maybe it's not such a dire situation to not always do everything perfect and learn 'perfectly' from our mistakes.

I've also come to the realization, that we are inundated with facts, figures, suggestions and all sorts of stimulus that affect the way we live and think. We decide to strive to be a good person and we follow the stereotype as best as possible, we choose to be religious and we follow a path directed in some senses by the sect we choose to follow. These are just two examples, and I'm not saying there is anything wrong with them or any others, we need archetypes and paths to follow sometimes, it's comforting to know that they exist. The basis of this was recognizing I wasn't who I wanted to be. We create this sense of self that often times can get off track from who we actually are. We can create it based on what we've experienced emotionally and physically. Say for example I consider myself a 'good' person, a fairly generic statement, but one that can imply all sorts of things from one's individual perspective, does it mean I don't do x, y, or z. Or does it mean I have to do a, b, or c. And what happens to that 'title' when my actions make me question whether I'm a 'good' person. I still don't know the answer to this, but as I've found out before sometimes time is the great equalizer with this. Whether or not I'm what I want to be is an important issue, but understanding why I may or may not be it is just as important. There will be plenty of time to resolve those discrepancies between self perception and actions, but for the moment it's time to deal with the problem at hand. What I found is no amount of self introspection was going to solve the issue at hand. Resolving whether or not I was a 'good' person with some of my actions could wait, the only way to resolve this issue I was facing (and still am) was to understand the factors that existed and move forward cautiously but honestly (to myself). In many senses this is what I wanted to find. It's what I found after years of 'identity creation' during my college years, that thinking was overrated and I needed to start doing. While I'm not yet where I want to be in life, I've moved forward and started doing the things that I think will lead to a resolution of the issues I'm facing. How they resolve is still to be determined, but no action was only creating frustration.

Summer as of 8/24. That's the here and now. I'm not going back and reading it, and I'm sure in some senses it's extremely disjointed and doesn't make a lot of sense, but I doubt this is going to be the first or last one that's probably difficult to read. Hope you get some enjoyment out of it, and who knows perhaps I'll be able to write about some of the issues that have been driving this self introspection.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saturday morning

Woke up this morning and thought oh no, I have to work today before realizing it was Saturday. Kind of refreshing actually and something that hasn't happened in a long time. (It's usually the other way around, i.e yay it's the weekend, crap no it's not).

What's next waking in a cold sweat up thinking I'm late for an exam in college?

Off to take care of the roof problem here shortly and then Swings and Things for the afternoon, miniature golf, putt putt, go karts, and the greatest ice cream you've ever tasted, Bronwyn is going to love it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday thoughts 17

Haven't put much down on the blog this week, this cold seems to have been kicking my butt pretty good. So here's some random thoughts for the weekend.

1. Summer colds suck. In my opinion it's one of the most miserable things to be sick in the summer. Weather's not conducive to just relaxing, and who the hell wants to eat soup when it's 95. Not to mention, forget about going outside and doing something (i.e exercise or yard work).

2. I'm one cranky motherf&#%er when I'm sick. I completely understand why dogs get aggressive with people when they aren't feeling well. Leave me alone until I get better.

3. My wife was playing with my iPhone the other day and I think she's hooked, as I walked outside (I had left it on a lawn chair pocket), her first words to me were "I want one of these". Looks like I might have found a Christmas present for her.

4. Kmart's doubling coupons this week on anything up to $2. Time to find all my $1 and up coupons and hit the store. (yes I'm extremely domesticated, what can I say)

5. I miss being able to go to the movie store and pick out movies. The store I usually go to has reduced their selection and in today's need it now environment, I honestly just can't bring myself to sign up for Netflix. I'm still amazed at their success, what the heck happens if I want to watch 3 or 4 movies over a weekend?

6. As much as this summer's disappointed me with temperatures, I'm still looking forward to Fall. In my opinion Fall in Northeast Ohio is the perfect season, too bad it's followed by winter.

7. While I do have two clunkers, they didn't meet the government criteria for 'clunker' so alas no chance of taking advantage of the recent program.

8. Why does it seem like those that are/were getting help are/were the ones that didn't plan as efficiently and live within their means? When I bought my house, our mortgage broker made a point of saying how much bigger a house we could buy on our income, umm no we couldn't that's the price I can budget and am prepared to risk. Thankfully we didn't listen and we are still upside down a bit on the mortgage, probably less then 10k, but still not a great feeling.

9. A piece of aluminum siding came off the house yesterday, due to a gutter pulling off, of course it's on the back of the house, at the highest point. Mike and climbing on the roof is not a good combination.

10. How was there ever a Daily Show without Jon Stewart? I mean seriously, even those that don't like his positions have to appreciate that he fits the show perfectly. Craig Kilborn just never cut it as the host in my opinion.

Have a great weekend...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday morning fun

I've got a cold or sinus issues. Yech!

Regardless of which it is, it sucks. Especially in hot and humid temperatures, talk about being miserable. It feels worse then it really is too, as it's such a rare occurrence anymore, one of the benefits of working from home is your opportunities to come in contact with germy people is severely reduced.

Of course my symptoms started to manifest late Monday night and sleeping Monday was a bit of a struggle to say the least, wonderful timing for it too, with the first official practice on Tuesday, but luckily enough drugs, cough drops, and pushing through it enabled me to make it through the practice and only sound like kermit the frog on a couple songs.

Practice on Tuesday outside of some nasally sounding songs went very well. I'm very happy with how much my voice stretched out from week one to week two and the comfort level on certain songs is getting very high. I still had a ton of timing issues on stuff I wasn't as familiar with, but I was able to struggle through them the second round of trying.

It looks like the first and second set lists are fairly complete and I'm pretty excited about them. Here's what we have so far.
1st set
1. Sex Type Thing (Stone Temple Pilots)
2. Machinehead (Bush)
3. Gel (Collective Soul
4. One (Creed)
5. Far Behind (Candlebox)
6. Rebel Yell/White Wedding (Billy Idol
7. December (Collective Soul)
8. Man in the Box (Alice in Chains)
9. Kryptonite (3 Doors Down)
10. Interstate Love Song (Stone Temple Pilots)

2nd set (order possibly changing down the line)

1. Pour Some Sugar on Me (Def Leppard)
2. Personal Jesus (Depeche Mode) (no line dancing allowed :) ) Actually any dancing will be encouraged and it's a song the other guys want to do, so what the hell, should be interesting.
3. Nothing but a good time (Poison)
4. End of the World (REM)
5. What I like about you (Romantics)
6. Summer of 69 (Bryan Adams)
7. Don't you forget about me (Simple Minds)
8. Good (Better then Ezra)
9. What I got (Sublime)
10. The Promise (When in Rome)
11. Learn to Fly (Foo Fighters)
12. Never tear us apart (INXS)

The third set is still in discussion, it looks like it's going to be some harder sounding material, which has worked for the guys in the past, it will just be a manner of finding what works for my range and style.

I'm definitely having some trouble with timing due to the difference between actual versions and the produced songs I'm used to, however they do seem to be for only a few songs, so I'm fairly confident I'll be able to get those down.

I tend to get frustrated with things like this though, i.e. things that need to be second nature when learning a new skill. It's a personality quirk in that I get impatient with it, but ultimately I know my impatience just is the fuel I use to ensure I focus on it and learn it quickly. By making the timing second nature, I can start to focus on the pitch and projection issues I want to move onto.

I mentioned before, but it looks like the drummer is having a birthday party on 9/12 for his wife and we'll get a chance to do some performing in front of a live audience (and hopefully a friendly, slightly drunk audience :) ). It should be a good time and I have to start talking to some friends to see who maybe up for going. The performance isn't likely to be very tight, as it's only about 4 days of practice, but given 2-5 of the first set sound pretty good right now, it's not unreasonable to think we'll have 12-15 quality songs ready and then 10 more that might be a little rough.

That's enough for today. Other stuff going on but nothing I want to write about, hope wherever you are your Wednesday is a good one.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Thoughts 16

Another installment of Friday's random thoughts of things that I hope are interesting or just piss me off in general.

1. While in one respect, I can appreciate the cool summer, it's really sucked when you think about it. 75 degrees for 3 months, just doesn't help you get through the single digit temperatures of the winter.

2. I could give a shit about Michael Vick or Donte Stallworth for that matter. If it wasn't for the fact that I enjoy the competitive aspect of it and for football at least, it's something to watch on a Sunday afternoon, I could be completely done with sports.

3. My daughter has an obsession lately with boobs, every women who picks her up, she does some peeking and asking about them and every morning she looks down her own shirt to see if they've arrived yet. She also regularly tells me that drinking she's drinking her milk so she can get boobs. Needless to say, they grow up to fast and I'll be contacting a cardiologist in a couple of years.

4. I know as I get older, I get more frustrated with those that seem to be unable to process information provided to them (i.e listen and change). This statement relates directly to work.

5. One of my closest friends lost their job this week, good luck to him on finding something new. It comes at a time when he was pursuing an alternate career choice, which has many hurdles to overcome, I wish him the best of luck for it.

6. I think I want to have an impromptu cookout tomorrow. I'll have to call some people today and see what we can come up with.

7. Newt Gingrich is giving Sarah Palin advice on how to pursue future ambitions (comeback) here: I have some simple advice for her, think before speaking, understand what you are speaking about, and don't be retarded.

8. And for our Democrat side of politicians out of office that are stupid, let's not forget the creep that is John Edwards. Oh what your mistress's child isn't your best friend's kid, who was married and had a family too. How shocking. Here's some advice for John on your political comeback, don't. Or better yet just go hide in a bathroom again, you f***head.

9. Ahh, I feel a bit better now with some political venting.

10. Looking over some 80's tunes for the next list of songs to play for the band is kind of exciting, finding a lot of things I've forgot about from those many years ago.

Have a great weekend and hope you are able to do something fun, before summer ends.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I like coincidences

I'm having one of those Thursday's where I've run out of things to read on regular webpages and there seems to be a blogger strike for those I read regularly. (Or I just read too quickly). Anyway, that means either I have to come up with something to do with work, or write something. Well since a good portion of my job is hurry up and wait, creating unnecessary work is counter-productive, so that leaves me with writing.

Plus it's been a while since I got into of my own points of views or ways of thinking, so that's were we are at today. Coincidences, or co wink eee dinks as I've probably termed them at some point of my life. (somehow the written form of that seems much stupid then even the spoken form, which is sort of an amazing thing when you think about it).

I'm a big believer that there is a lot to be learned from one's surroundings. When I'm going right, I tend to think I pick up a lot of cues from my surroundings. Sometimes it's something that someone says that stays with me for a period of time until it clicks due to a situation, or I'll read something and be amazed at it's correlation to a situation that I maybe experiencing, or sometimes it's watching a movie and being able to relate the story or actions to a situation I'm experiencing. While I know these types of things happen to everyone, at certain periods of time I seem to be hyper-aware of mine. That doesn't necessarily mean every single one of them develops into an epiphany, quite the opposite, most of the time, they seem to act more like sign posts. Small clues to larger puzzles.

There are also many that likely mean nothing at all, well at least I think they don't mean anything in the whole scope of things, but they interest me. Here's one that I believe means absolutely nothing, but it sort of made me feel like writing this post.

I was finished with work on Wednesday and relaxing after dinner. The wife was giving Bronwyn a bath and I was flipping through channels and stumbled on "The Day after Tomorrow" (the global warming catastrophe movie). The movie had already started and I came in at about the point where New York city was about to be completely flooded from a Tsunami. And I remember the image jumping out at me during the movie before they show the wave of the waters starting to pour up into the streets from the manhole covers. Not sure why it was sticking with me, but it did (visual images sometimes do this for me, almost like movie foreshadowing in a weird way).

Cut to Thursday and I'm perusing my blog list and come across this entry: . Monica's interesting take on water coming up through the street in NYC and people's reaction to it. A good portion of it related to the entrepreneurship of most people. Which then lead to last nights local news that my wife was watching as I was doing something in the kitchen (I despise TV news), but one segment caught my attention, an avenue near Brown's stadium that they were doing a piece on for how people sell parking spaces, homemade jewelry, bottled water, etc and basically use their location for some monetary profit.

Nothing more then three coincidences loosely tied together and unlikely to have happened to anyone else based on their three experiences over those two days. Does it mean anything? Probably not, unless they are telling me I need to drink more water and make more money, but I didn't really need a set of coincidences to realize that.

I've had old friends pop back into life at points where they were the exact insight I needed to answer a question I was facing. Conversely, I've had people pop back into life where I had unresolved issues I was experiencing, but the timing of their appearance forced me to realize my own thoughts in relation to the past and many times has given me insight into my presence.

Sometimes I think this isn't anything more then some sly game I perform for myself in order to occupy my over-analyzing mind. It's definitely a possibility, what better way to keep myself from obsessing over things then to give it a bunch of random things to calculate and create a pattern out of. Other times I think it's tied into some bigger pattern of things, I think of it as 21st century druidism, by paying attention to your environment (even a modern one) there are answers surrounding you. For me that's a pretty big statement considering I'm definitely not religious and over the last years my belief in the spiritual has dwindled.

I'll end in saying keep an eye out for those coincidences, maybe they mean something and maybe they don't, but if they do maybe you'll get something out of them.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Oh, you were interested in the results

I did manage to make it out to the audition yesterday, although work did everything in it's power to make sure I showed up as late as possible. The guys had said anytime between 5 and 5:30 would work, so I planned to get out of the home office at 4:15 if possible. I was driving out to Medina, I'm in Garfield Heights. It's about a 50 minute drive with no traffic and if I hit any snags of rush hour, who knows how long it could be. So I told the guys I'd be there about 5:15.

Cut to Tuesday, I get an invite for a required conference call at about 3pm, of course the call is at 4pm, it drags on for 20 minutes. Then a sales rep. calls in reference to a pending contract that's stalled in the process, there's another 15 minutes. So out the door at 4:35. Needless to say I did hit some rush hour traffic and pulled into the house at about 5:30 on the nose. At least I was within the time they had given me.

I didn't really know what to expect when I got there, getting back to how my crazy mind thinks, there were multiple possibilities on what was going to happen when I got to the house. Here's what was going through my head on the hour drive over.

1. I'd get there and when they realized I'd never sung with a band beyond a few songs here and there, they'd dismiss me based on just not having enough experience, maybe a courtesy song or two, but pretty much have their minds made up that I wasn't going to be able to cut it.

2. I'd get there and the band was 'sort of a band' meaning a collection of guys who knew no more about the scene then I did, but perhaps with a little more skill with their respective instruments.

3. I'd get there and be a colossal flop. For all of the talent that I think I might have, actually being able to carry a song with a band for multiple takes would prove to be way outside of my skill level.

4. I'd audition and while not bad, they would decide that I wasn't a fit and either stick with their current singer or look for a different one that was more in tune with what they wanted to do.

I'm sure there were more thoughts then this, but that's a quick summary. So I arrive at the house and pull in the second driveway as directed, which lead to a barn. I walk in and I was blown away, this barn, wasn't like any barn I've ever seen. For a quick reference the drummer identified it as 'his man cave". Bar up front, refrigerator, walls lined with guitars, action figures, pictures from performances, a slot machine in the corner, a pool table with plenty of room to play and in addition to all of this in the back, a full performance stage, soundboard, lighting and full equipment. Immediately I realized that I could scratch #2 off my list. However, that just meant that 1,3, and 4 were much more probable.

I met the guys from the band and they were very great. First impressions go very far and they were friendly, open, and laid back as they indicated they were. I introduced myself and thanked them for the chance to come out and sing. They asked how long I had been singing and with what bands. Uh oh, here it comes I thought. "Well I've been singing live for about 15 years, but it's been mostly karaoke (shudder), and a couple of performances with some live bands. I've had offers to try out before with a band or two, but at the time I was travelling for work and it just wasn't possible." They nodded and seemed perfectly fine with it. (Scratch #1 off)

As we talked some more they advised me that they really were just looking for someone that really wanted to sing, entertain a crowd and front the band singing so they could get back out and play, it seems their previous singer would get put off by certain songs which resulted in him either refusing to sing certain ones they had performed previously or he would have everyone learn a new song and then decide that he didn't really want to sing it. So it was no longer, maybe we get rid of our lead singer, it was now, we have an open spot and want to give you a try. Your emails seem to indicate we may have a match. (Scratch most of #4)

So we took the stage and I let it rip. I stressed my voice a bit early, had a whole lot of nervers I was supressing and had trouble finding the printed lyrics for some of the songs, but even with that it went pretty good. No mid song stops where they look at me and kick me off the stage, no comments about me hitting notes that may or may not have been in key, no catcalls where I missed my timing or for parts where I strained to try and perform. They seemed to be comfortable with what range I had and were perfectly aware that as essentially a first timer there was a lot that I was going to 'get' as time went on with some performance legs.

So we finished up the first hour or so of playing and talked some more, they asked some questions on my interests, what made me decide to want to give a band a try, etc. I gave them the rundown. I'm a music fanatic, I love to sing, I finally decided to give it a try after the last live band I saw when I realized that I could do as well or better then their lead singer (and for those thinking it's arrogance, it's only taken me 10-15 years to make that leap). I told them that they weren't likely to experience any issues with me in the same vein as their previous singer, as I really just want to get up there and sing, if we have a crowd great, if not practicing with full set is beyond anything I'd ever thought I'd do. If it's in my range, I'll sing it, I pretty much like any song that I can actually sing (I tend to think I have a fairly limited range) so what I like to hear vs what I like to sing are completely different things in most cases. I'm a perfectionist in the sense in that I just don't want to suck at it.

Again, they seemed pretty happy about that, we talked some more and I mentioned that it's going to take a bit for my voice to carry a full set, and as we practice more I expect it to get stronger, they nodded in agreement, also giving me some pointers on some of the other things I'd become more aware of, timing, some reverberation effects they have on the equipment, and whether we need to bring the octave level down a notch for a song that might fit my range better.

I was definitely more comfortable in just the second set we did. We did a couple more songs and even some repeats from the first time, that I thought sounded goo. I also realized that on a good majority of songs I expected to do well on, I need more work then I realized. And for ones that I thought I needed more work on, I'm better then I expected.

Since this is getting a bit long I'll cut to the chase, they said we sounded good and want to give me a shot as their regular singer, so I'm in. We spent the rest of the time lining up 12 songs for the 1st set list, which we'll start working on, once a week, and we'll build from there. 2nd set needs to be more 80's based for the type of crowds they usually play and for dancing, which is kind of a relief, as I'm anticipating some of those choices will be a little easier on the voice. After that we'll figure out the 3rd set, which is likely to be leftovers from 1 and 2 that didn't make it in there.

I'm still in a bit of shock to tell you the truth. I just never considered the concept of actually playing in a band, I haven't ever really ever thought of myself as that type of person. God knows I've spent enough time at bars in my life though. My wife has characterized it as my 'mid life crisis' and I'm sure in some respects she's right. I know part of her is happy for me and part of her is a little anxious about what this actually will entail. It's a bit too early to fully understand that though, for now once a week practice really doesn't seem like much, as we get things down and play shows regularly I'm told that once every other week works for practice time anyway.

At the very least, I think I have something to write about going forward. Just received an email today, it looks like we'll be doing the 1st set for a party at the drummer's house 9/12. I think I better go and check out my lyric sheets.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A dilemna of fashion proportions

Yes, it's true, I'm a bit neurotic, especially when it comes to clothes. We've discussed this before though in the blog, so I won't rehash the whole thing. But I thought it would be a good time to write out what I'm trying to decide to wear today.

Hmm, this is my thought process so far:

Here's what I know:

1. Band has fairly wide range of music (Elvis to Danzig) so putting them on types of clothes is a little hard, however given most of their sound is more rock then light, I'm counting on a Tshirt/jeans kind of look.

2. Practice area likely to be sort of outside, by that I mean a temporary or barn type structure. Temperatures are likely to be in the 80's or 90s.

3. I don't wear tshirts out and my collection of them is minimal at best.

4. Hitting the right note on what the hell to where is as important to me for this as it would be for any job interview. Then again, I could just be overthinking this (of course I'm overthinking this, but I'm actually sort of enjoying this, if you haven't realized already, there is about 50% seriousness to my thoughts on this and 50% fun with it)

Those are the parameters. Since most of my clothes that I'm most comfortable in are of the long sleeve variety, we can pretty much rule those out. (Crap). I have decided to wear jeans, if it winds up matching the shirt I choose. Dark cargo pants could actually be better dealing with the heat, but jeans work and it's likely to be what they are wearing. F

or those wondering, shorts just are not going to fly. It's pretty tough to project any image other then doofus by a guy who's wearing shorts. Don't think so, name me a guy that projects a strong image in shorts, and provide picture or link. (for those that want to name athletes, you might be right, but let's face it, 90% of us don't have athlete style bodies). Don't misconstrue this for an anti-short rant. It's not, but for this situation, shorts aren't going to work for me. Remember too, I'm working on setting an impression here, if I start practicing with these guys and feeling comfortable, I may very well wear shorts, but for first impression, it's not an option in my opinion.

Shirt wise, I'm going a bit out of my mind. I just don't have any light material shirts, that project the image I'm looking for. Laid back, maybe a little quirky, good look, different but not too different. I think I've found one button up short sleeve shirt. It's black (big surprise I know) and it's not overly dressy, plus with jeans on it will bring it's dressiness down a bit.

So with some black shoes, the jeans and the black shirt, possibly an old worn out necklace that I have, I think I have the look I want to wear tonight. Now it's just a matter of being able to sing and finishing printing some of my cheat sheets for the set list.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Not much new

Thought I'd check in and post an update on the blog. Not a ton new going on, had a nice night with some friends on Saturday, where we imbibed in too many cocktails. But it was nice catching up with everyone and we even have tentative plans for Punta Cana resort vacation in February.

I spent Friday night with Bronwyn, while Laurie went out. We took a bike ride, had some pizza, and watched her choice in movies. She chose 'Space Buddies' 5 golden retriever puppies that get shot into space. Anything to get away from Barbie or Dora for a bit and it wasn't half bad. Always great to have a night with the little one by myself. My wife seemed to have a good time when she went out, but she only stayed out til about 11. I can't understand having such a short night out, when you have the whole night to yourself and friends, but she did say the band wasn't very good and she just wanted to head home.

I also watched the Watchmen on Friday night, wow, just a fantastic story, complex and intriguing. Not as good as Sin City, but fairly close and nice to see something different then the same garbage they keep recycling over in the theaters.

I've got my audition tomorrow, drove out to the house yesterday just to see how far it was and where it actually was, it's out in some serious farm country in Medina, but looks like a huge place and with that much room around you no worries on bothering neighbors. So we'll see how things go.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Life it's bigger then you and you are not me

That's how I'm feeling a bit today and for the last couple months actually. I'm still on hiatus from Friday thoughts for the moment. (Just not enough interesting ones to make a list).

It's one thing to talk about the dog days of summer, the period of time during the summer season, when perhaps you are a bit tired of the heat, or just exhausted from the ungodly amount of things we seem to wind up doing during the summer. Living in a Northeastern climate, I swear we fit in 3/4 of our lives socializing and doing things during the summer months and essentially hibernate from those types of things through the rest of the year.

I reference the 'dog days of summer' as it seems like I'm watching it unfold for so many people I know in respect to their lives too. Is 35 to 39 age the dog days of life? Is it at that point, where you finally realize you can actually become a bit exhausted with things you do?

As it happens to be though in this case, I'm not talking about myself. It's not that some of those same things aren't affecting me, but my reflection on it is related to some of my friends this week rather then introspective.

Two of my friends are having marital issues. One's just found out recently that his is over, his wife told him she no longer wants to try and that she's done. The other one is still married, but the way he puts it the marriage is over, they are just unable to do anything about it at the moment (financially, or due to the little one).

For both of my friends these decisions seem to have been brought on by their wives rather then either of them. As anyone who's been through divorce or long term breakups can attest it's not an easy thing.

I know it has to be painful for both of them, but I can't help being a bit curious and interested in how things are playing out. Part of that is due to the fact that no one close to me has been divorced before. Yes I do know people that have gotten divorced, but some were casual friends and some weren't as close due to time and location. These are the first friends that I'm very close with that are ending their marriages (or close to doing so).

A big part of that (for lack of a better term) fascination is seeing how things have played out with their marriages, knowing their personality types, problems it was likely to cause, the women they decided to marry, and how life and time affect it all. It's the type of insight no one hopes for, at the same time when you are presented with it you might as well learn something from it.

I'm losing my train of thought on what I wanted this post to be about though, I guess that's the problem when you try to discuss something on an open forum that you still want to respect their privacy.

It just seems like divorce is everywhere around me lately. I found out the other day another cousin of mine was getting a divorce (wife caught cheating). I've been hanging out with another cousin who's wife left him a year or two ago and we've been discussing that during some of our nights out (Might be one of the worst instances I've ever heard of). I have another close friend that while maybe not on the brink of divorce seems to have had problems since one month into marriage. There doesn't seem to be a week that goes by that I don't hear through the grapevine of someone having got a divorce that I might have known or having extreme problems.

I guess I just never considered that I'd experience a period in life like this. Don't get me wrong I never expected none of my friends to get a divorce, in many cases I definitely expected there to be some/many/whatever. I'm just a bit surprised on how it's playing out I guess.

I will say this, although I do understand that when people get married it's easy to lose touch with people you know through circumstance, as there are time constraints that we all experience as we grow older. I am seeing that old friendships are fairly easy to fall back on in times of need, which is really a wonderful thing when you think about it.

I'm sure I'll have more thoughts on this eventually and hopefully they'll be a bit more coherent as a post. But for now I think that's all I have to say on the matter.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Not quite the goober I thought I might be

Well, I sent off my long, excited, droning email yesterday to the guy I had been talking to about the audition and he replied with some of the excitement for some of the songs I chose from their existing list and liked a good majority of the stuff I put down that I preferred and had done previously.

They wanted me to come out tonight and see how things went, but I've got my last night of bowling to finish up, so we are going to play next Tuesday.

I've reached out to a friend of mine and Laurie's who gives singing lessons. While I know my voices strengths, I also know that I have to stretch it out a bit if I ever want to do a full set a night and I could use some warm up techniques, that aren't grab a shot of Jager and hit the stage. I'm hoping she can give me some advice with those.

For the next couple days, I need to find a place around the house to sing some songs and practice some of the notes I need work on and commit the lyrics to full memory.

Here's some of the stuff I'll be working on:

From their old set list:
1. Creed: One
2. Alice in Chains: Man in the Box
3. Bush: Machine Head (this one I need to work on fairly confident I can nail it, but need to get the breathing down on it)
4. Elvis: Burning Love (love the mix of Elvis and some modern rock in their set)
5. Elvis: Suspicious minds
6. Creed: Arms wide open
7. Sublime: What I got
8. Candlebox: Far Behind
9. The Romantics: What I like about you

From some of the stuff I suggest or would like to do:

STP: Wicked Garden, Sex Type Thing, Crackerman, Interstate Love Song
Pearl Jam: Jeremy, Black
Matchbox 20: Real World, Disease
Thomas/Santana: Smooth
INXS: Devil Inside
Def Leppard: Pour Some Sugar on Me
Poison: Every Rose has it's Thorn
Bryan Adams: Summer of 69.

Ok, so there's some of the songs I'll be going over for the next 6 days or so. I need to find an isolated spot though to practice, as I feel like a goob singing out loud by myself. (I know I've got issues).

Speaking of issues, I just posted a new facebook photo. It's one my brother took of me when we were in Vegas recently. I can honestly say the picture is already driving me a bit crazy and is not likely to last the week on my page as the profile.

Let me give some background or rehash if I've covered it before. While I've made great progress in my own self confidence over the years, there are still things I don't like about myself. I can pick out every flaw imagineable in a picture of myself. Which means I'm extremely particular about pictures I choose to use or display. This has lead to the following conversation with some of my friends on my former pictures.

Friends: Man, what's up with your picture?
Me: What the hell do you mean.
Friends: Smile a little bit. man.
Me: Smilings not quite me in case you haven't noticed, I'm more of a smirk guy, besides, I've got a crooked jaw, teeth I'm not thrilled with, etc, etc.
Friends: but you sort of look like a serial killer in the those pictures.
Me: Maybe, but I'd rather look like that then some goofball.

Friends: Oh wait, your picture does work, when we use the kidnapping app and it shows you behind bars, it's perfect.
Me: Funny, what about your picture, you look like you are about to fall over.
Friends: Isn't it great, I was bombed when we took that picture, that's the type you need.
Me: Umm, no, not quite the image I'm comfortable portraying.

This has lead to the group referencing my stoic pictures pretty regularly and taking some candid snapshots. So last night my brother posted one and I tagged it and made it a profile picture. It's actually me sort of mid laugh, and probably a bit drunk, I was in Vegas after all and it was late afternoon. I actually think I was laughing as the group of friends was remarking that they don't typically see me in shorts, especially jean shorts. (Hmmm, maybe people pay more attention than I thought). Anyway, that's the back story of the picture.

As I mentioned though, this picture is not long for the front of my page, my initial desire was to put one of the others my brother took up as the picture. However, that one has me about to light up a cigarette and given that smokers are like the anti-christs I've decided not to use that one. I do however like the picture, far enough away to not display all my flaws and a fairly interesting look on the face.

I will say this though, I was a bit vindicated tonight, one of my wife's friends asked her what was up with my new picture, so I decided to jump on the facebook chat and ask her why.

Her: Well I'm just not used to seeing you smile like that.
Me: I know, weird looking isn't it.
Her: Were you at the strip club
Me: No, not that time, does look like it though doesn't it.
Her: I prefer the stalker look
Me: Yep, me too, this one won't be up for long.

We are 1 day into the picture experiment, I'll let you all know how it goes.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Never too old to follow a dream

Well that's a nice headline, but not entirely true. As this news hasn't been a dream of mine or even really a thought except in maybe the past year or two.

Anyway, I mentioned previously that I've been thinking about trying to find a band that does cover songs and needs a singer. For those of you that may not know me, I'm a bit of a singing junky. Karaoke, analyzing/critiquing bands I go watch, a few songs with a live band, and let's just say you probably don't want to go on a long car ride with me, as I'm likely to sing for 75% of it. Not that it's bad singing, but I'm sure a captive audience would grow rather tired of it, I would.

In addition to that about a year and a half ago, I was able to sing for the first time with a band. It was at the House of Blues in Vegas, and they bill it as Rockstar Karaoke. There's not much Karaoke about it because if you can't sing/project/carry a tune, you just aren't going to get over the guitar and drums amplified. So I sang that night and the feeling was beyond intoxicating and I started thinking, I've been singing for 15 years or so and I know I'm not half bad. I may not have the greatest vocal range, but within my limits, I'm pretty damn solid. On top of that I love music, so why not think about trying to find a cover band. But given family commitments and possibilities of moving, I decided against it. That is until last weekend.

We went out on Saturday with some friends, we had a babysitter for the night and decided we needed to get out of the house, so we went to a bar. Live band took the stage and through the first set, my only thought was the instrumentals were solid, but the lead singer was not very good. Now mind you, there set wasn't my favorite type of music, late 70's/early 80's rock. But the lead vocalist was just nothing special and I knew it. So during my drinking I decided, that I was going to start looking for a band that needed a singer. (Have I mentioned before, that when I'm fairly bored, tends to be when I drink the most? We'll save that for another time).

Which brings us to today. I was able to find an ad from mid-July with some potential, so I emailed the poster. He emailed back, they had found a singer, but it might not be working out, so I'm going to head over sometime in the next month and audition and see what happens.

Yay! I'm genuinely excited and I don't seem to get excited for anything. On top of that, I'm nervous as hell, which I'm sure is apparent in my response to their request for some of the songs I might want to try out. (I think I listed about 30 bazillion possibilities in order to give them some options, real cool there slick). Anyway, we will see what happens. Two good omens though.

Many years ago, my friend Will and I met up to head out for the day and he couldn't stop laughing. He told me he had a dream the night before where I was singing the song "American Band". That song happens to be one they used to perform from their set list they sent over, coincidence I know, but amusing nevertheless. The other good omen, is my best song vocally is probably Creed's One, it's the style they are looking for and easily the most complete song in my range. It's also on their old set list, so at least I know I won't completely embarrass myself when I head over there. (I know power of positive thinking, don't worry, I'm confident in my ability, I just know I have some limitations with my singing, plus there's a big difference in singing at home, karaoke, etc, then there is in a band for a 3-4 hours in a night.)

Monday, August 3, 2009

NFL Season approaching

Taking a break from everyday life and thinking about NFL season. I must admit I'm getting a bit excited to watch some games on Sunday. While our team here in Cleveland, isn't much to talk about, I still find myself looking forward to the season. The glutton for punishment that I am.

I realized how much I was looking forward to lazy Sundays in front of the TV yesterday when we decided to rent a movie and make popcorn for the day. Bronwyn was pretty worn out from spending the night with the grandparents and Laurie and I were spent from Saturday night out and the multitude of ups and downs lately. So we made some microwave popcorn, added some butter and popped in a Muppet movie. (Wizard of Oz) it was Bronwyn's first experience with the Muppets and she seemed to like them. Unfortunately the video store did not have the original Muppet movies, just Treasure Island and Oz, but it was fun nevertheless. The movie ran a little long in my opinion and at about the 2 hr mark, Bronwyn was visibly bored. But for her one and a half hours of sitting is pretty amazing in itself.

Anyway, that's where a good deal of my anticipation is coming from, as based on the Brown's last season and many previous ones there aren't many reasons to look forward to their season. Having said that, let me talk a bit about all I want from the Browns this year and for the most part have hope for in the last 11 that they've been back.

In the 11 years they've been back, there has been only one season where they've had any type of offense, which was two years ago. Now two years ago, the offense was rather prolific and exciting to watch, outside of that this team has been horrible. I'm sick and tired of seeing a football game where we are consistently inconsistent in being able to move the ball at all. All I want is an offense that is professional, i.e able to run the ball occasionally, score some points, and pass the ball decently. I don't want to feel like I'm watching a high school team play an NFL defense. It gets old quick to say the least.

The other thing I'd like to see once in awhile is our defense make a team punt once or twice a game especially on the continuous third and long completions the opposing team makes. While I don't expect the defense to be dominant, I'd like to see a professional unit show up with something visible that they are NFL caliber. That doesn't mean they are going to win a lot or even be competitive to a certain degree, but I'd like to see flashes that we have potential.

The other wish (I'm getting greedy here) is I don't want to see the old Bill Belechick, Butch Davis, Mike Fratello (NBA), style of making the game so slow, boring and uninteresting, that we only lose by 3 points, hence we are competitive. Screw that, I'm tired of that, lose by 10-15, at least do it by building real skills for your players for the future, in order to identify true holes that need to be filled in the next off season, but by doing so you take your lumps but you don't 'protect' your team . By protecting your team and teaching your young players these idiotic tendencies, you ruin their development and moving to the next level becomes all but impossible without 'rebuilding' again.

That's my wish list to Eric Mangini, coach of the Browns. While I didn't like him as the choice for the franchise, if you can do those things or even come close, you'll have a fan here.