Month: May 2018

This Week - May 20, 2018

Introduction

This week went by rather fast. I'm still adjusting to the new house, and we're still working on making it a nice home. Even though the house was almost completely renovated before we bought it, there's still so much to do!

I've discovered that I have a slight passion for lawn care? I don't know if I'll ever turn into one of those people that has a perfect lawn, (actually I hope I don't, haha,) but I am really into tools that allow me to keep everything relatively nice without having to use gas/electricity. My parents had this old push reel mower that they let me take, and yesterday I sharpened it for the first time. It just feels nice to go outside and take care of something. Mowing the lawn in this way is such good exercise, too! And it's really satisfying to hear/see the grass getting cut and see the progress I'm making. Push reel mowers work sort of like scissors; there's this cylinder consisting of 4 blades which each scrape across a bar at the bottom of the mower as the wheels turn. And I ordered this thing called a "grass whip" to help me get the dandelions, which the mower doesn't cut. I guess because they're too thick. We have a shit ton of dandelions.

But yeah, even though it's easy to focus on all the things we haven't done yet and feel like horrible people, we're making good progress each day. And soon enough that list will be complete, and we'll just be in regular maintenance mode and have more mental energy to venture into other aspects of life.

Oh, and we ate a lot better this week, too. Although look, I'll be real with you. Even though I value a healthy diet and eat mostly healthy food, I just discovered that our local grocery store makes really good cheese danishes and I had like 6 of them this week. Once you get on that sugar train it's hard to get off!

Photo of the Week

Maybe this is cheating, but... Is this cheating? Someone find out if this is cheating. Wait, this is my blog and I make the rules here. And I say this is cheating.

Oh well, can't win 'em all! Jessica took this picture like 4 weeks ago at the same time she took the photo for the previous blog. Oh the humanity! It's still cool though. I like how the cables look like they're trying to grab you.

What I'm Working On

I did a little more work setting up my studio this week. It's done. Ish. For now. And I also forced myself to go downstairs and at least start on this cover I have in mind. There's a contest over at my go-to music community (Indie Recording Depot) which I'd like to enter. I think it could be a good way to get back into the game a bit. It's a cover contest for the song Fever. I have some ideas of what I'd like to do with it.

That's about it, really. I realize that I have a big opportunity here to start from scratch, and I'd like to take it. So it might take me a little while to get back into music like I was before, but that's okay. It's strange, but the breaks are usually where I see leaps and bounds of improvement. So maybe (probably) I'll find myself in a new place when I get going again. I look forward to it!

What I'm Listening To

I'm think I've mentioned him in this blog before, but I'm a fan of Jocko Willink. He's got a podcast that Jessica listens to a lot, and this week we listened to them together. Specifically, a set of podcasts where he tells the story of Chesty Puller and his son. I've enjoyed it immensely.

For some reason, this story is helping me to realize that I have less control over my life than I often imagine I do. I came up with this quote some years ago: "we can only do what we can do, but we can do what we can do." I'd like to remember that more often. I'd like to measure myself by my efforts, and not by their outcomes.

It's a tricky line to walk; it truly is. Because none of us will ever know all that we're capable of. This is one of those things that reminds me of Life is Strange, actually. Max had the power to rewind time, which gave her this vast runway on which to try harder. You can see in the game that it's driving her a little crazy at times, and I've read some great fan fictions that explore this idea even more. If you're someone that cares deeply and wants to do the right thing, then more power just feels like more responsibility. And how can someone relax, with that? How can someone enjoy their life?

Maybe we just have to decide not to do certain things, to find peace. We have to pick our battles, knowing that maybe we could have won the ones in which we surrendered, and maybe we'll lose the ones that we continue to fight. Maybe I'll get better at choosing. A lot of things come back to the serenity prayer. I think of it often.

Next Week

When I was 24, I quit my job and left Bellevue, WA for the Oregon Coast. Eventually I landed in a cottage for rent in Gold Beach. The owners were a very nice couple who kept chickens, and had a wonderful garden. The man was an elementary school teacher and also played guitar and sang at a local restaurant once in a while. The woman had spent years battling cancer, and come out on the other end after nurturing her body with healthy foods. We spent a little time getting to know each other, but they mostly left me alone. I went to the beach nearly every day to sunbathe and look at the rocks and the water. I explored the small town. I did a lot of journal writing. I don't recall if anybody knew where I was. I'm not sure I was talking to my parents at the time because they weren't supportive of my adventure at first. And I had said goodbye to all of my friends as if we may never speak again. Sometimes, I felt totally free.

After a short while, I began to feel pressure to do something great. Immense, agonizing pressure. It drove me to work on an album for a while. I think it's what also drove me to nosedive from a healthy diet into "experimenting" by eating as much junk food as I could. I remember standing on my scale one day and seeing... haha I can't actually remember the number, but I think it was 135lbs. Which is by far the most I've ever weighed. And feeling as though I'd accomplished something. At one point I wrote this in my journal:

Here I am out in my Gold Beach retreat near the ocean. Here I am hunching over my cell phone for long stretches of time, draining the battery and compulsively checking things, all the while the 3G connection is flaky and frustrating. I forgot about the "no productivity" promise--forgot!!--and assigned an album to myself to be completed. I've got my checklist in my head; eat right, exercise, get sleep and sun, stretch, plan the next phase in life, etc. Things that I can use to judge whether I am okay or not. To keep myself from "going crazy." Constantly treading water to stay afloat. Clenching the ropes of balloons that might fly away if I don't. Anyway, my point is that it is all me. I am stressing myself out. I am walling myself in. I am judging myself, putting pressure on myself. I am truly no more or less happy. No more or less free. I took the leap to let it all go but it didn't just fall of my back like I had imagined. - Aug. 25, 2012

I say this because I still haven't learned how to not put that pressure on myself. And I'd like to, because I think I'll not only be more relaxed and happy, but I'll also accomplish more.

This is what came to mind when I thought about next week. I hope you have a good one. :)


This Week - May 13, 2018

Introduction

So, how to describe the past 2 weeks... 2 weeks ago I was too depressed to write a blog, (which is saying a lot, because I've probably been depressed ever since I started this blog,) and last week I was too busy. I'll skip the long story of how much this move means to me, and just say that it feels like waking up from a bad dream into a world that I might actually want to live in.

It's 6:30am, and I'm probably still too busy to write this blog, but I'll write one anyway since it's so early. This week's been exciting and overwhelming. There's a million little things to do that you wouldn't think of until you're like, "wait, we need a dehumidifier. We need carbon monoxide detectors. We need to mow the lawn before somebody complains. Etc etc etc." On top of it all I had work this week, which was difficult to focus on because of all the things I knew needed to get done around the house. Oh, and since we're not all that settled in yet we've totally neglected cooking. It's been mostly frozen meals and Arby's for the past week. I guess something's gotta give!

I have eaten like 8 of these.

Overall I'm really optimistic. Everything in this house, including the house itself, is mine. It's my responsibility. I am free to make of it what I will, and I'm free to make of my life what I will. I was very unhappy when I laid all the groundwork for this move. I did it so that Jessica and I could have a better future. And now I'm in that future, and I'm very grateful for what my past-self did. It feels like she is dead, and I am here. And I'm just very grateful.

Photo of the Week

Jessica actually took this photo 2 weeks ago for that blog, but it never happened. So here it is now. I built myself a new computer, dedicated just for music. This is basically so that I can have my office (which I use for work,) in a different place from where I make music. That way I can have a larger, dedicated studio space. Anyway this photo is of the inside of the computer. The motherboard has LEDs on it. I think it looks awesome.

Also shout out to Jessica's malfunctioning computer that went on a very dangerous mission to retrieve this photo for the blog this week.

What I'm Working On

Setting up my new studio! There's a good sized room in the basement that I've commandeered for this purpose. This has been really cool. It'll probably be a while before I'm finished, but it's at least functional. Not that I've had any time to make music though, lol.

One thing I want to do that will probably be put off for a while is to make acoustic panels to put around the room. I've got the air ducts going just above the ceiling, which are rather resonant. I realized that my drum kit's resonant heads also resonate. (Duh, I guess, haha.) So I removed some of those. And that the staircase leading down to the basement creates a huge echo. My recording booth helps with this a lot, but I think it'll be an ongoing project to get the room under control.

So yeah! That's about it for now. Here's a photo of the progress I'm making with the set up. My favorite thing is the LED back lights on my desk. I think I'm going to get some twinkly led lights for my recording booth. Cool lighting is one of my favorite things to have in a room!!

What I'm Listening To

Hmmm... nothing, I don't think. I don't really have any speakers right now. Oh! Hahaha, for some reason Jessica and I have had this song stuck in our heads for over a week. I think we heard it at a store. I mean, it's a good song so I'm not really complaining. But it cracks me up.

Next Week

Next week feels a little too soon to accomplish much on my music. I think we still have a lot of setting up and settling in to do around here. But hey, I have a big, dedicated space. I have a dedicated computer. We're looking at the next few years as an "incubation period," of sorts. I am going to work towards having a career in music, and Jessica is going to work towards having a career in programming. This house feels like the perfect place to do that work. Talk to you soon. :)