Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Understanding anger and conflict, the art of being 'mad'

It seems like I've been thinking a lot lately about how I deal with situations. There seems to be a ton of drama going on in my life, some I tend to talk about on here, and some I've decided that needs to be kept off the pages for the time being.

(By the way my brother if he's reading this, will be telling me I told you so, the next time I talk to him).

One of the many things I've realized lately is I don't deal very well with anger as an emotion. That statement maybe a bit misleading, as when people typically think about issues in dealing with anger, they think of someone unable to control there emotion. In my case, it's just the opposite. And in truth while I've described the emotion I have difficulty in dealing with as anger, it's more an issue with getting mad. I rarely get mad.

I don't really know how to get mad. To be upset with something that borders on anger, but ultimately isn't a very strong emotion that ties me up mentally. I just don't know why this is. Maybe it's the fact, that I tend to let things roll of my back or that I just don't think the energy is best spent in getting mad about something, when I can already begin working on how to correct the issue that got me mad.

I'm beginning to wonder though, if that's the best approach. To many times lately, things seem to build up into anger, and too a level that is physically and mentally draining. Not to mention the fact, that I don't necessarily do my best thinking when I'm emotional. It makes for bad circumstances.

There is a part that's over thinking this as well though, while getting 'mad' once in awhile would likely prevent pent up (pop can like emotions, there you go Jason). It's not going to solve the underlying issues of what's driving that emotion. In many senses I see getting mad regularly as making it worse.

Which brings up my other issue, that I've come to realize recently. I despise having unresolved issues in my life. And I hate not having a consensus on an issue, even if it means difficult compromises. I want to understand the issue from the sides in contention and then determine how to proceed with it going forward.

This is probably why I've never been really good at relationships. They tend to have a lot of grey areas to them, where it takes time to work through an issue as both parties can sometimes have vastly different thoughts or approaches to a problem. It's not that I'm opposed to the work and compromise, it's just that in many cases, I run into situations where I'm at a polar end in a belief and I know I'm not going to change my opinion on it. I can't stand situations like this, as I'm not really the type to say to someone, you are just going to have to deal with it, as this is the way it is. And again, it's not like I've never said those words it's just not my typical nature. I've never thought of myself as this type of person and have always tried to avoid these types of situations. Hell I'd go so far to say, that it's my number one philosophy meaning i.e avoiding these types of situations.

In case you haven't been able to decipher, I'm faced with one of these types of decisions right now, and I know I'm not going to change my opinion on the side I'm on, I got to it after many years of thinking on it and examining the pros and cons of it. In dealing with it, I'm finding myself anxious as I have to consistently be in a state of agitation due to the issue and the person who's on the opposite side of the issue in my life. And as I pointed out, I don't do plain old mad well, so I tend to repress emotionally rather then upsetting the uneasy balance that currently exists as I watch the issue become larger and larger.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tales from the weekend

It was quite a weekend, had our second show Saturday night and it went very well. The weather was horrible, constant rain, but it didn't seem to affect the crowd at the Pig Roast. There were probably 60-70 people at the roast, and I think they were all packed into the garage where we played. Crowd was great and definitely enjoyed the first two sets of the night. I ran out of energy during the third set. A big part of that was first time through syndrome, i.e understanding how much energy you are going to need to complete something and not overspending it early.

I also got a chance to set up the equipment for the first time, even for a small group, it's a ton of stuff and kind of fascinating, once you start understand what goes where. Overall though I'd have to say it was a very successful second show. Even better is that I had a chance to review some singing techniques and tips with a voice coach on Friday and apply them to Saturday's show and I'm happy to report that there was no loss of voice on Sunday.

I'm all over the place in writing this morning, trying to put it together between work and watching the little one.

The last thing I want to recap from the weekend though is Sunday, had a chance to take the family to see 'Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs' always fun to take Bronwyn to a movie and depending on the movie, she can actually sit through the whole thing. It was a good time and a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Outside of that though, I was amazed at how affectionate Bronwyn was towards me on Sunday, constant hugs and kisses, cuddling up when she was tired and multiple other actions. I swear if I didn't know better then I would have believed she was working an angle for something she wanted, but it wasn't the case, she just seemed to be rather loving for the day. Considering the last week or so, she seems to have been in one of those phases where she was definitely withholding the affection a bit or at least directing it elsewhere. It was nice to see the previous phase end and makes for quite a rewarding day with all the hugs and cuddling up.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Working toward the weekend

It's Wednesday and that is awesome. Well today it is at least. This week has gone very fast and considering the amount of work that has piling up and then being moved from my desk, that's a good thing.

Not a lot to write about evidenced by yesterday's post. But I did go to the first practice we've had in over a week. We have a show Saturday, so I was eager to get back to working. We started work on our third set, which is going to be a heavier rock set.

I was a little concerned about the heavier sound and whether we could find a middle ground on stuff I like, since I don't tend to trend that way for music and some of it, is just impossible for me to sing. I'm thrilled to say, I'm loving where we are going with the third set. I think we've found a pretty damn good mix of mainstream with heavier sound. And a couple of the third set pieces are likely to be some of the best stuff we perform in my opinion.

Here's what we have so far for the sets. After Saturday's show, we'll likely add a couple more songs to get us to 30 total and then we can put a CD together and start trying to take it to some of the clubs to play. I like the mix so far, a lot of stuff I like. Some songs that worked for the band before that I was able to pick up and a little diversity in stuff that other bands typically don't play. There are a couple on the list that we are going to see how the crowd reaction is to them, as they may or may not make our final rollout. Would love to hear any feedback in the comments about the song list.

The other good thing is my voice seems to be back in synch, after the last bout of laryngitis, going to give it an easy practice on Thursday and then hope to make it through Saturday and keep it for Sunday, we'll see how that goes.

Set 1

Sex Type Thing: Stone Temple Pilots
Machinehead: Bush
Gel: Collective Soul

Far Behind: Candlebox
One: Creed
December: Collective Soul

Interstate Love Song: Stone Temple Pilots
Rebel Yell: Billy Idol
Man in the Box: Alice in Chains
Kryptonite: 3 Doors Down

2nd Set

My Own Worst Enemy: Lit
American Band: Grand Funk Railroad
What I like about you: The Romantics

Pour Some Sugar on Me: Def Leppard
Nothing but a Good time: Poison
Good: Better then Ezra

Don't You Forget about Me: Simple Minds
It's the End of the World: REM
Learning to Fly: Foo Fighters
What I got: Sublime

Set 3:

Symphony of Destruction: Megadeath
Enter Sandman: Metallica
Gimme Three Steps: Lynard Skynard

Vasoline: Stone Temple Pilots
Slither: Velvet Revolver
Basket Case: Green Day

(possibly Nothing Else Matters by Metallica too, still working on some timing issues for it)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day by day

I have some topics I'm still kicking around in my head that I want to write about, but unfortunately things have been pretty busy with work, so I haven't had the time I thought I would to put those together.

On top of work being busy, I just am not feeling it this week, when it comes to writing. I can't quite explain it, but the thought of diving into a piece that explores "x, y, or z" seems like way more then I'm capable of at the moment. We'll dub this the 'bleh' feeling.

The good news is, that by reading this post on nothing about a 'bleh' feeling, then you likely have now experienced said feeling as well. What can I say, I'm a giver, you're welcome.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Rare Saturday post

Have some time tonight and feel like writing. It's day 7 of the smoking cessation train and while I haven't been perfect, I'm pretty damn happy with the results so far. The nicotine lozenges seem to be doing a great job on the cravings and unlike previous times quitting, I don't seem to be eating everything insight.

I have smoked a couple over the week, but considering I was over a pack a day, I'm pretty impressed that every day in getting up, I'm perfectly content to continue using the lozenges and having had a couple over the week, it's removed the forbidden aspect to the equation.

I'm noticing immediate effects from quitting to. I'm waking up more refreshed, not feeling as achy, and seemed to be walking with my head held higher a bit. (I think there was a part of me that despised my dependency on smoking and it affected my persona). I feel like I've got control over it at this point. So we'll see what happens from here.

Got a text from our lead guitarist on Friday with a few new songs we are going to do for next Saturday's show. I can't wait for practice on Tuesday. I miss the fact that we didn't have practice last week, although my voice needed the rest and is coming along nicely from having lost it after the other show.

That's all for now, talk to you next week.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

NFL picks for the 2009 year

Ok, so I'm a week late and I suppose it gives me an advantage over all that picked last week, but considering I probably am not going to jump around screaming "Yay me" unless I hit ever single one on the head, it probably doesn't matter anyway.

Division winners

NFC North: Green Bay, something about this team, I really like this year.

NFC South: New Orleans, if that defense comes around, could be real tough in playoffs. Atlanta's probably another year away from being very good.

NFC East: Philadelphia, this is Philly's division to lose. NY and Dallas are nice teams, but Philly has too much talent.

NFC West: Seattle, I just can't pick Arizona. This division is almost as bad as the AFC West, rather pathetic. Hell the Brown's would compete in this division.

Wild Cards
Atlanta (as the East teams beat each other up)

AFC North: I don't type their name do I? It's the city about 90 minutes away from Cleveland and their team makes me want to puke.

AFC South: Tennessee, only because I think Indy is going to have some problems adjusting this year without Tony Dungy's steady hand. Call it a coaching hangover.

AFC East: New England. Miami comes back to earth after a coaching change and some lucky breaks, no one else in this division is close to New England.

AFC West : San Diego (seriously if they don't win this division, I want a congressional inquiry into the legitimacy of these games, other teams in this division are horrible)

Indianapolis (I said there was a coaching hangover, not that they stunk)
Baltimore, all the other AFC teams have big issues, plus Baltimore gets 4 games with Cincy and Cleveland, while maybe not 4 wins it can't hurt.

Green Bay vs New England with New England winning (yuck)

I'll pick MVP's but who really cares about football MVPs?

Offensive MVP: Aaron Rodgers, GB (stick that in your pipe and smoke it Bret)

Defensive MVP: Justin Tuck, DE NYG (how the hell should I know who the defensive MVP is, I swear they pick a name out of the hat)

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Mark Sanchez NYJ QB

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Larry English, DE SD

Browns record: 6-10. Team starts to move in right direction, in my opinion the high water mark for this team is 8-8 this year and low water mark 4-10. Should be competitive as the year goes on though vs throwing in the towel last year. Big key to whether coaching staff has lost its players is whether we continue to see 'rash' of injuries mid-way through the season.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day 4

Day 4: The zombies are visible for as far as the eye can see. We've lost another one... Oh wait, that isn't right. It just feels that way.

I'm in Day 4 of breaking off my addiction to cigarettes. I'm sure it's counter productive to think about how many days it is, but at this point in time I don't really care, as anything I can do to distract my mind is a positive in my book.

I find myself sucking on nicotine lozenges like Augustus Gloop goes for chocolate in the Willy Wonka factory.

Considering I'm a bit on edge. I thought it would be interesting to discuss 'things' on my mind. Some good, some bad.

I went to the Doctor's office yesterday for my post 35 yr old checkup. I've been to this doctor twice now and I have to say I think I need to find a new one. First visit, wait an hour in the waiting room past appt. time. Dr. comes in, checks out the issue I had with my foot, says "oh yeah, it's this, call this specialist, let's do an annual checkup for you as well, go get the blood work done and come back." Fast forward to yesterday, wait another hour in the waiting room, doctor comes in, pulls out the charts, "everything looks good, have a good day." So I've spent almost 3 hours in two visits in the doctor's office and seen the doctor for about 10 minutes total. Somehow that math doesn't work out. While I'm happy to get good results back and recognize that there probably wasn't much to discuss with me. I can't help but think that this might have been the weirdest set of doctor appointments I've ever had.

I spent about 2 1/2 hours working out yesterday. An hour bike ride followed by an hour and a half at the gym. No better way to take my mind off of something then to exercise. My theory is if I'm miserable from not smoking, at the very least I can look good doing it.

There are parts of being smoke free that I do like. 1. My voice is coming back from laryngitis much quicker then it did the first time I got it. 2. I can definitely tell the difference in breathing, especially during workouts. 3. I know I feel better without it too from an energy standpoint, it's just the awareness boost I seem to be missing.

I also have come to realize I make pretty convincing arguments. How do I know this, well my inner voice constantly barrages me with reasons I should indulge in a cigarette or two. After all, it would just be one or two, not a whole pack. While I've realized before when quitting that my mind is fairly relentless in pursuing it's objective. I never realized that maybe part of why I've struggled with quitting so much is due to the fact that I tend to be fairly skilled when it comes to directing conversation, working to convince someone, or hammer a point home. I'm having a bit fun with this statement, but it is something of a self realization. I tend to be pretty convicted in my thinking and if I want something, I tend to pursue it relentlessly. Which consists of over analyzing incessantly and finding new ways to come at a problem when I meet resistance. It's not that I didn't realize I had they traits or capabilities, but I don't think I've ever quite considered the depth of them.

I don't understand MMA style fighting. I really don't, I wish I did and I know those that train for it can probably kick my ass from one side of the block to the other. But dudes, you are essentially wrestling with dudes for 90% of the time even while training. I've had discussions with friends over my disinterest in MMA fighting previously, but I don't think it was until last night at the gym, that I sort of walked away with a 'wow that's really weird' feeling. See the gym where I work out has MMA training which happen to be in direct view of those on any of the cardio machines. As I was using the elliptical last night, I got to view 20+ men engaged as partners on the canvas. The drill they were going through was one laid on his back and the other engaged on top of him, and they spent 20-30 minutes trying to break free. Seriously? I get that it takes a high degree of skill, strength, and technique. I get that you have to be pretty tough to do it and I'm sure every one of them could kick my ass. But I'm sorry there is no way in hell you could get me to do something like that unless I was actually fighting. To me the grappling nature of it takes away from the masculinity of fighting and competing. Perhaps it's homophobic? But I don't think that's it. If you knew me, my guess is most would not find me to be homophobic, but perhaps I'm wrong. There just seemed to be something very weird in watching this training. As a matter of fact, it seemed more like watching two men engage in passionate embraces but not admitting it to themselves, if that makes any sense. If I was any type of artist, there is something to be captured there in photograph or painting, alas I'm not such an artist. Alas it was disturbing on some level, but I doubt I've conveyed the reason I found it so, and likely it would be different then most typical men you'd here the account from. Anyway, way too much thinking on it. Here's what I wanted to say. Wrestling looks weird and you'd never catch me doing it intentionally. Now give me fight club style bare knuckled kick each other's ass no holds barred kind of thing and I'd probably be into it and likely even want to participate.

Ok, that's enough for today, I'm not even sure what I'm writing about anymore and I'm sure this is difficult enough to follow already. Bottom line, we are now half way through Day four and no animals have been harmed.

But there is just no way I would be rolling It's not even the homo erotic nature of the grappling, as I really don't have any problem with homosexuality. It's just that you couldn't pay me to g

Monday, September 14, 2009

The first to draw my ire (this week)

That's him, the first victim of my ire this week as I withdraw from smoking. Seems harmless enough doesn't he? However behind that playful demeanor is a vindictive little dog.

Let me give you some background on Edgar, our pug. He's now 6 years old and we've had him all except one month of his life. We got him one month after moving into our house. He was tiny and cute then, he's grown since to a rather hefty 25lbs, which for a pug really isn't that bad.

He snores, he likes to sleep constantly, and he might be the weirdest dog I've ever known. He's horrible at playing, as tug of war and fetch just don't interest him. Fetch lasts for about 2 throws before he gets bored, and tug of war, he just gives up. He's never really chewed on anything besides furniture, I think this picture was one of the few times that he's ever really gotten mischievous. He doesn't like to be petted, he licks your ears when you come home, and he sleeps on the top of our couch like he's a cat. He hates rain, so much so that he will stop from going outside right at the door if it's raining out.

In addition to being weird, I don't think he's very bright. I don't say this to be mean, he just doesn't seem to be the brightest dog. The reason I say that is based on his attitude, I was a bit spoiled with my golden retriever Casey, who I consider the all time best dog in the world, so it's understandable that Edgar had some big shoes to fill. Casey when she was upset about something would playfully do something to get your attention. Edgar is vindictive and decides to 'truly' get revenge.

How you might ask, by peeing on things. As a small puppy, Edgar used to come upstairs when Laurie got ready for work and wait to be picked up by me and put in bed. One morning when I didn't feel like listening to his snoring in bed, I rolled over and went back to sleep. He whined for a bit turned around, ran downstairs and proceeded to pee on my leather coat that was hanging on a chair.

He's like a guided missile with it. It would be easy to think he's just not house trained and decided to go whenever he felt like it, if it wasn't for the fact of all the things he has decided to pee on over the last 5 years. Mad at Laurie, he seeks out her blanket specifically. Mad at me, it's my coat or my large pillow that I lay around the living room with. The worst part is, it's usually when you least expect it.

So today, I decided to head to the gym during lunch, grabbing the bag I had packed up a while ago, that had a towel, and a book, and my earphones. I was able to dress for the gym at home and threw in a change of clothes. Get to the gym and get to the machine to start the workout with my towel, as I realize that my wonderfully eagle little pug had decided at some point over the last month to piss on my damn bag, thereby getting the towel in the process. Crap, there goes that, luckily there wasn't any harm beyond an almost disgusting scenario of wiping off with said towel. Quickly returning it to the locker and finishing an abbreviated workout and I returned home and threw the whole damn bag in the washer.

There wasn't even much to say to the little shit, as he likely did it sometime over the last 2-3 weeks and wouldn't remember it anyway (sigh). I do feel pretty good though in that I didn't kill him, or dunk his water-avoiding butt in the pool.

So how did it go?

The title refers to the question that I've gotten since Saturday. For those that aren't familiar with my blog, I've recently joined a rock band by the name of "Torrn". Saturday night was the first show for Torrn with me as the new singer, a small gathering for a birthday party, about 30-50 people at the show.

I woke up Saturday morning and could immediately tell my voice was a bit hoarse. Having practiced on Tuesday and Thursday nights the week prior to the show was probably a bit too much for my voice considering we've only been stretching it out a month. Add in my coffee drinking, alcohol drinking, smoking, and humidity sucking air conditioning and you could see where I might be in for a bit of a problem. It also didn't help that I took some more vocal chances this week on some of the songs, that I felt I was getting stretched out for, which is a factor as well.

I know I have a pretty strong voice, but I also know it's not been put to the test regularly like it will be with singing from a band. The good news is that I'm becoming more familiar with it's capabilities and limitations. The bad news is that I need to make some serious changes in my lifestyle if I'm going to continue doing this.

Getting back to Saturday, I've woken up hoarse before, the dry air in our house almost ensures it. I attempted to rest the voice for as much of the day as possible, sucking down water at incredible rates and trying to limit my smoking. (Always a difficult thing with an anxiety provoking situation on the horizon). I wasn't overly worried about the hoarseness for that nights performance as I still felt I could handle the number of songs we had that night. (although I knew I'd pay for it)

What I was worried about is how the hoarseness would play out going forward, especially on nights where I needed to do back to back shows. If things went as I expected, I'd probably have no voice on Sunday after performing Saturday night and maybe longer then that. After my bout with laryngitis in July, it's something I seem to be overly conscious of now, and to the point that it's a bit scary. As it turns out I was right, I made it through the two sets, but as of Sunday morning, I had nothing besides a whisper for a voice.

Oh how I frigging hate myself at the moment, if for no other reason then I'm a stubborn son of a bitch. I know the affect of smoking, alcohol, and even coffee on my voice and self, and I still act like I'm 25 years old able to bounce back regularly from things. Fact is I'm not, and I need to change this. I'm in a state of disappointment in myself, with a a bit of fear mixed in from the laryngitis (which brings to the forefront my ability to abuse myself over the years and what consequences I may need to pay for that too). Enough of that, we've now established that I'm a bit dense and we'll come back to it. Let's take a break and talk about the show.

Laurie and I got to the house at about 8, the party was in full swing and it definitely looked to be a lively crowd. I had a chance to introduce Laurie to the band members and meet some other people that I hadn't met and by arriving a bit early it gave me a chance to relax a bit. It was weird seeing the barn full of people, I've become quite used to us practicing in there in relative solitude. Having the familiarity of the stage though for our first performance was huge though. After 4-5 practices, I definitely felt comfortable in 'my spot' which goes a long way in building a foundation of comfort, start out with a comfortable spot to do a show, get comfortable with the performance in front of people and then use that comfort zone in going to new venues.

We started at nine, right into the first Stone Temple Pilot's song, where I proceeded to completely skip the second verse of the song. I went from 1st to the 3rd verse and completely screwed up my pacing. So after standing on stage for a minute or two (an eternity), I was able to find the spot where the band was and close out the rest of the song without completely falling apart. While this was not the way I wanted to start out, one thing I've learned from public speaking and singing, is that you are going to fall on your face, somehow/someway and sometimes multiple times, while you don't want to, how you handle it is really the big key to how the rest of the show goes. So getting a big blunder out of the way early was frustrating, but it also let me relax a bit.

I knew going in one of the songs we were extremely comfortable with was going to have a mess up. My guess was that song was going to be Kryptonite by 3 Doors Down as we had become very comfortable with it, but alas I was wrong and it was the first STP song.

I made a variety of other mistakes through the night. I had some timing issues, more lyric mixups, voice cracks/pitchy moments, and struggled a bit to keep my eyes open when concentrating on what I was trying to sing. But overall it went pretty good. I was able to push through the two sets with the voice out of whack and even with my nervousness I was able to have some stage awareness and presence. Crowd wise, they seemed to enjoy it and I got a couple compliments during breaks on my singing. So overall I'd say it was a success.

My fears of group dynamics were baseless, as no one outside of Laurie came to the show, and she got along with the group and enjoyed the night.

Final verdict is that the first show was a success. The day after the show was a failure due to losing my voice.

Which leaves me with the question of what to do? I've decided to quite smoking (again.) I've been flirting with it again for awhile, and I hate to even put it down to words because I've been unsuccessful so many times. It's not like there aren't plenty of damn good reasons: health, child, longer life. It doesn't hurt that I'd really like to do this band thing consistently and wouldn't mind saving a ton of money from not smoking.

I'm into day two now, and based alone on the fact of where my voice is back to today (not good, but much better then last time I had laryngitis after one day) I know this is the right decision. Hopefully with a mix of nicotine lozenges, exercise, flushing the system through multiple gallons of water, and trying to keep my mind off of it and focus on what I want to do, it will be enough to overcome this. However I do expect to be a bit of an asshole during the addiction breaking, and need to figure out how to keep my rather patient outlook post-nicotine addiction. I'm convinced my calm demeanor is rather largely influenced by my regular nicotine inhalation. Not to mention, I'm not going back to being overweight. (while I'm not at my perfect weight, I think I might become bat shit crazy if I got up to 240 or 250 lbs).

If there is another bright side, it's just one more thing I get to discuss in my blog. My rants during my addiction withdrawal should be interesting, although if they aren't at least there is a chance for some catharsis.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Nerves of steel?

Yes it's Friday and typically the title would be Friday's thoughts, but I'm just not feeling that today. A bit of an interesting week in that it seems to have been gone before it started. (4 day weeks seem to do that). Sitting here on Friday, I've realized that there is a pile of work that accumulated last night, in varying states of submission from my sales reps. Anxiety level for next week is pretty high based on the expected craziness that is likely to cause.

That means I need to try and figure out how to forget about it starting today at 5 and not pick it back up until Monday. Sometimes that seems so easy, but with the added anxiety of tomorrow's first show (for numerous reasons) I don't think it's going to be possible to 'relax' this weekend, which means I'm likely to be a bit on edge for the next 7 days or so.

Practice was up and down yesterday, it was a bit of a let down considering Tuesday's practice sounded very good. I'm not overly worried about how we'll sound, I think we'll do reasonably well, but I am curious to see how the mix of people I bring with me to those that are friends with the band works out. It's probably nothing to worry about and I'm sure I'm just over thinking yet again, but it's causing some of this anxiety. It's more difficult due to the fact that I would typically consider myself the bridge between groups in a situation like this and for a large portion of the night, I'm going to be a bit tied up.

That pretty much sums up my Friday at the moment, I'm a bit of an anxious mess, on edge, a bit grumpy, and a ball of nerves knotted up in my stomach. It doesn't help that I've started to cut down my cigarette smoking, and considering I don't want to be hoarse tomorrow, indulging deeply in that at the moment would probably only give me more anxiety on what I would sound like tomorrow.

Anyway, have a good weekend, and if you hear screeching cats in the Medina area tomorrow night, you know you are probably close to the show.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sometimes a little is all there is

Not a lot of time to put some thoughts down, but I'm feeling like I want to write something. As I anticipated it's been a fairly busy week and having Monday off has thrown the schedule off a bit too. The nice thing of course is tomorrow is Friday and the week seems like it has flew past.

Tuesday night's band practice went really well, very happy with how the second set sounded on the second pass through and we have a follow up practice tonight in preparation for our semi-gig on Saturday. I'll get into it further at some point, but I pushed vocals some on Tuesday on songs I had been holding back on and I was very happy with the results. The reason I had been holding back on a couple tunes, was partially due to trying to ensure I didn't over strain my voice and I didn't want to take a risk at some of those points and flop.

My mother in law is coming into town today and has plans to spend a lot of time with Bronwyn. Bronwyn's very excited about it and I'm glad they are going to have some time together. I'm still waiting to see if MIL being here adds any additional drama to everyday life though, as I've stated before my wife and her mother's relationship has it's ups and downs.

Last thought for the day as I'm putting my thoughts around some of my favorite book posts that I still owe the blog. I realized more then ever this week, that I really like chaos. Maybe not to the same levels that the word itself is associated with, but at least as far as how it impacts everyday life. I'm sort of fascinated with life itself and it's associated experiences, so much so that I love at times trying to fit square pegs into round holes or adding gasoline to a fire in order to see what happens. It's invigorating. The interesting part to me is many times I seem to provoke reactions unintentionally rather then by the calculated manner I typically proceed with things. I'd dare say it's becoming more common for me to do it instinctively. Let me qualify this a bit too, chaos in a mid-30's nuclear family lifestyle is not quite the same as it could be for another type of life. So my chaotic endeavors are more in trying to break the mold at the moment, rather then turn things upside down. I'm hoping it will be clearer as I talk further on this, but I thought I'd share a bit of what's on my mind.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Weekend and week ahead

Had a fairly enjoyable Labor day weekend. Saturday and Sunday seemed like they were non-stop work. Getting house ready for party, tending to the yard, and shopping, so it was nice on Monday to relax.

Went to my brother's in-laws house Saturday for a pig roast. It was fun and there was a ton of food there. The only negative of the day was taking my brother's four wheeler for a spin and coming close to tipping it over on me. Luckily I escaped with only a scraped up left arm. As it was going over I knew enough to continue my momentum and get as far away from it as possible. Thankfully it may have only been my imagination that the vehicle was tipping as it didn't fully come over.

Sunday's party had a good turnout and it was good seeing everyone. For once I seemed to go through almost as much food as I expected to, which was a bit of a surprise. The party lasted about 4-5 hours. Starting later I was hoping for some to hang on later into the night, but alas most were worn out from their own activities. The good news with the party ending earlier than anticipated was that I was able to get most of everything cleaned up, so very little work on Monday.

Monday I did nothing, ran over to my parents for a bit and then relaxed at home.

Quite a busy week ahead, I have practice tonight and on Thursday and we have our first show on Saturday night. I hesitate calling it a show as it's for friends and family and we only have 2 sets, that while good, aren't quite at sale quality. It's basically an enhanced practice. It should be fun though and I like the fact that we are pushing the envelope a bit in setting obstacles to get us ready for real performances.

The drummer's brother saw us last week and asked us to play at his pig roast on 9/26, so it's something else to look forward too and it sounds like we might make a couple dollars from that show, which is kind of cool.

I did realize over the weekend that I'm terrible at talking about myself to people. I'm so accustomed to directing the conversation with those around me, when people start focusing on me, I revert to my shy, non-confident past. I had a number of people who asked about the band this weekend and wanted to discuss it, it was actually very nice, but a little strange at the same time. I'm just not good at being the focus of one on one conversations and found myself struggling to make eye contact and having a tendency to want to downplay it rather then discuss it. Just another personality quirk of mine. I was actually a bit surprised at how I handled it, I haven't been that sure and non-confident in many years. It's not that I'm not confident about how it's going to sound, it's just unusual when the focus is on me. One common aspect of the conversation was when people mentioned, they didn't even know I sang. That's not an accident, there is a strong tendency for me to be rather reserved about myself and to keep things close to the vest. A definitely would not consider myself a self promoter.

I'm hopeful to get to the second post on books this week and maybe some more updates, but at this point, I'm thinking it just might not be possible. We'll see how the work week pans out though.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Friday Thoughts 19

More random thoughts for the day that begins with an "F"

1. I feel like a sloth this week, four days of setting the alarm early to get up and go to the gym and four days of either pushing the snooze or just not going once up. The fact that it's been fairly cold in the morning has not helped.

2. Holiday weekends are so nice, but can be so busy. Full slate with pig roast at my brother's in laws tomorrow and a BBQ at our house on Sunday, which I need to get the yard ready and shop for tomorrow.

3. I find myself thinking a lot lately about how different things are in life now then when I was a kid. Whether it's the 24 hr lifestyle that seemed non existent then. The fact that going to a grocery store now, means having 10 aisles of assorted snacks, or the difference in television. Such a different time.

4. I also find myself looking at the future a lot as well. Specifically around how to try and help shape and advise Bronwyn on what she wants to do someday. I'm ahead of myself, but it does cross my mind.

5. Singing is hard. Kidding to a degree, but this week's practice on the second set was draining and very rough. A much different situation from the first set where I was just sort of fitting into stuff the band was comfortable with. The second set is mostly brand new to all of us, and putting it together is a challenge. Excited about some of the songs though, as they aren't your standard cover style choices.

6. Almost final results for the pool this year. Hundreds of dollars in chemicals, maybe 5 good pool days this summer.

7. Speaking of pools though, we have neighbors three doors down with one, which they and their kids seem to use quite frequently. I was amazed when I climbed my roof last week to do some repairs and looked over and saw the brownest green water I've ever seen. Absolutely flabbergasted. And I thought some debris on the bottom of my pool means I did a bad job.

8. I swear I don't know what I'm going to do if I have to go back into an office someday to work. Working from home, while it has a host of stresses, is still 10x better then working in an office.

9. Check engine light came on for one of our cars this week. Haven't we advanced enough that at least it could pop a number up or something that we could look up. Rather then just some yellow glowing light?

10. I think I'm experiencing informational overload this week, three days off away from the laptop will be a refreshing break. I also think I need a work trip to break the monotony of day to day work life.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wednesday, is it over yet?

Just thought I'd post some random things on what's currently going on this week. Band practice was moved to tonight from our usual Tuesday and I'm chomping at the bit to get back. It's the first time in 2 weeks, I haven't been dealing with a cold. Only 10 days now until our first show. . Thankfully the show is just for friends at the drummer's place (wide open farmland in Medina). Hopefully most attendees will be well imbibed before we take the stage. We should have some stuff on facebook or the web after the show

It's one of those weird work weeks, crazy busy one minute and then dead for an hour or two, I guess it's a function of getting to the end of fiscal Q3 and partially due to the holiday weekend coming up. So many people took this week or next week off, I think it throws everything out of the loop.

I'm looking forward to this 3 day weekend though, going away for work and some vacation during July 4th weekend really screwed up the summer schedule for me as I haven't had an at home 3 day weekend since Memorial Day. It's my own fault as I've been squirreling away vacation days until end of the year, so it's not whining, just a fact.

It's going to be a pretty busy weekend I think though, Laurie's got plans on Saturday, so I'm taking Bronwyn over to my brother's inlaw's house where they are having a pig roast. And then on Sunday we are hosting our first BBQ of the summer here at our house. Hoping for a good turnout Sunday, but haven't received a ton of responses from the email. Based on previous results though, I think people that regularly come, just intend to come and figure we know they will and the only time they respond if they are not coming. I guess we'll find out Sunday though.

That's it for now, hope you are having a good week.

Reading and coincidences

This is likely to be a multi part post over some time as I have a ton I want to incorporate, but just don't have the time to do it in one post. My guess is it would likely be a better read in multiple parts anyway.

One of the things I came to love early on in life was reading. My father used to read books to my brother and I every night and I'd regularly see him reading a book. My mother used to take us to the public library weekly. Going to the library, we were usually left to our own devices to go find whatever we wanted. For a child under 10, it was a great deal of freedom, to meander about the library searching for books I wanted to read. I'm sure a good portion of my fondness for books comes from my parents.

I tend to devour books, they give me something I can become engaged in and you'll likely find me having a hard time putting them down once I've started. I tend to keep them close with me every waking hour when I'm in the middle of one and I look for any downtime in order to pick it up and continue. If by chance I secure a couple hours of reading time, I'm not likely to pay attention to anything else as I focus on the book. There is no better distraction for my over-analyzing mind then reading a book. As a compulsive multi-tasker, I find it relaxing beyond all belief. Now this doesn't mean I won't read in conjunction with other activities, I'll read while eating dinner, or working out, but from a mental perspective, there isn't much I can concentrate on when I'm engaged in a book. It's a relaxing hot tub rest for my mind.

Fiction is my book drug of choice. While I would love to apply my reading skills to works of non-fiction, I just can't do it. I tend to like all sorts of fictions but I have an affinity for Fantasy fiction. Wizards, Dragons, and sword fighting is my nerdy preference. I'm not particularly fond of Science fiction, lasers, spaceships and aliens are ok, but they don't really do much for me, it's also because I just have found Science Fiction to be lacking in character development.

In order for me to really engage in a book, I have to have characters that are interesting and developed. On the surface that sort of sounds stupid, after all what's a book without characters? I realize that I won't be able to be able to explain it without writing a whole book on it, so in an attempt to be brief, I'll use an example. Stephen King books are focused on story (and other things) rather then characters(the majority at least). His books bore me to tears and I struggle to read them if I pick them up. There's just nothing for me to relate too. This preference for character driven stories plays a role in the topic of these posts.

Taking a moment to recap. I escape into books and I prefer Fantasy Fiction character driven stories. I've also realized over the years, that some of my favorite books and characters have paralleled my life in many ways. I don't know whether it's coincidence or if it's an underlying subconscious decision to pursue things in different ways, but there are three characters from book series in particular that I see interesting parallels between.

I'm not entirely sure whether the coincidences I see between the characters and myself is due to my reading their stories and subconsciously incorporating attributes and decisions based on those books or whether it's just that I happened to gravitate to characters that had similar character traits to myself. It's the nature vs nurture argument, which influences the other more?

Over the course of the next posts on this topic, I'm going to share the 3 characters and try and point out some of the similarities I see. Some are situational and some are personality based. It's probably a good time to point out that I don't necessarily think this means anything besides my over zealous self introspection having some fun with self analysis from a different angle. I'm likely in love with my own thinking here and while I may think there are 'multiple' parallels, when it's put to paper it's possible they'll look pretty insignificant.