Monthly Archives: February 2013

I decided that for tonight (and Saturday’s) drum time (my affectionate name for when I play my drums), I will make a special playlist, containing some of my favorite songs, and some that I haven’t played before.

I know you’re dying to know, so here’s what I’ll be playing along with for my next two sessions:

  • Passenger – Deftones & Maynard James Keenan
  • Come Undone (Cover) – Adrenaline Mob (featuring Lzzy Hale of Halestorm)
  • Brother – Alice in Chains
  • Breathe (2 A.M.) – Anna Nalick
  • Cover Me – Candlebox
  • Far Behind – Candlebox
  • Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
  • The Red – Chevelle
  • She Said – Cinder
  • Clean My Wounds – Corrosion of Conformity
  • The Downfall of Us All – A Day to Remember
  • Arterial Black – Drist
  • Barely Breathing – Duncan Sheik
  • White Rabbit – Egypt Central
  • Where Did You Go – Full Devil Jacket
  • Levitate – Hollywood Undead
  • 2 Minutes to Midnight – Iron Maiden
  • Since U Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson
  • San Francisco – Madam Adam
  • Dyers Eve – Metallica
  • Everywhere – Michelle Branch
  • Cemetery Gates – Pantera
  • Purple – Pop Evil
  • Look In My Eyes – Rains
  • Bully – Shinedown
  • Wait and Bleed – Slipknot
  • What do I Have To Do? – Stabbing Westward
  • 22 – Taylor Swift
  • If You Could Only See – Tonic
  • Not Enough – Van Halen
  • Fallen – Volbeat
  • Shoot It Out – 10 Years

As you can see, quite the eclectic playlist.  I jump from Taylor Swift to Slipknot to Metallica to Michelle Branch.  Why? Glad you asked.  For one, it keeps a drummer versatile to be able to play along to various styles of music. Sure, I could just slam my head to pure metal the entire time I’m playing.  But there’s only so far that style of music can take you.  By adding in some pop and mellow tracks, it helps me be improvisational.  I don’t play those types of tracks note for note, but instead put my own spin on them, making them more fun, but also keeping me on my toes.

Classics like Dyers Eve and Cemetery Gates are just fun to play.  Of the 33 songs I put on this playlist, 22 I’ve never played before. So this should be interesting!

Have any suggestions that I should add?  I’m not leaving for drum time for 6 more hours, and will gladly take requests. (You’ll just have to trust me that I’ve played your requested song, unless you want to hike into the city at 5pm.)

Ever since I moved in May of last year, my drums have been at a music complex about half an hour from my apartment. Not ideal, and certainly not as cushy as I had it when I lived in my house. But it is what t is, and that’s the best I’ve got for right now.

Up until this week, I’d only been going there once a week, usually on Friday nights after work. They recently changed their hours, so they’re open much earlier all the time, so it’s slightly easier to go on Saturday morning. It’s also a lot quieter on Saturday mornings, too. Friday nights are hit or miss. Since there’s close to 100 rooms in the place, sometimes I get there and there’s no bands rehearsing. Sometimes there’s a bunch. And as soundproof as they built the place, it’s still pretty loud. Thankfully once I put my headphones in and start playing, it’s tough to hear any other musicians, so that’s okay. I think, but haven’t confirmed, that I’m l the only musician there that’s not in a band and just plays for fun. That’s probably because of the fact that the place is kind of pricey if you’re by yourself. Since most of the other renters are in bands, they get to split the costs between them, whereas I’m by myself.

Starting this week, I’m going three times a week. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning. Not only does this make financial sense, but it’s good for my mentality and physicality, as well. It’s no secret that I’m out of shape, and have been for years. And it’s also me secret that I can’t go to the gym consistently. The only form of exercise over the years that I’ve ever been able to manage has been my drums. So why not take advantage of it?

I got myself an iPad mount a few weeks ago, which has worked wonders. I used to,play along to my iPhone in my pocket, but that wasn’t working out so well. If a song came on that I didn’t want to play, I’d have to reach into my pocket and take the iPhone and change the track. Which doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when you’re trying to play along to songs that may start instantly, it’s too to get the iPhone back in your pocket before the song starts. Now the iPad sits gingerly to to the left of my hi-hats at a height that I can not only always see what’s playing, but I can reach over and swipe to the left or right to change tracks. It works out way better this way.

Here’s a gallery of my drums. Because this post is really long right now, and your eyes could use a break from reading. And because you’re probably curious about what it looks like if you haven’t seen it before.

I’ve also been experimenting trying to play some songs that I’ve never tried before. I’ve always tried to stick to albums and songs that I was confident I could play, but that’s getting kind of boring. So why not try new stuff? I’ve got a playlist on the iPad that’s just called Drums, with tons of songs that I either know I can play, or that I want to try to play.

People often ask “Can you learn to play this song?” And drumming isn’t really something that you can learn. Either you hear what the drummer in the song is doing, or you don’t. Granted, you could read the sheet music, and play it note for note the way the composer did, but that’s usually not likely. More often than not, you just play along to what you hear. You may get to a part that’s hard to hear or too complex, and you improvise. Most of drumming is improvising. At least the way I play it is.

I’ve had this particular drum kit for almost a year and a half now. I bought it for myself in September of 2011, as a birthday gift to myself. It’s my dream color, Pearl’s Ocean Sparkle. I’m a hit miffed that there’s two different shades of blue, but it happens. I got such a good deal on Craigslist, I couldn’t really complain. Perhaps some day I’ll replace the mismatched drums wit matching ones. The issue is that they don’t make this particular line or color anymore, so I’d have to custom order them. Price isn’t a big deal, but there’s around an 8 month wait for custom ordered drums from Pearl.

In short, or to sum this whole thing up rather, I’m going to start playing more. Not just because it makes me feel good, but because its good for me. I love drums.

Editor's Note: This post was composed on my iPad. Please excuse any typos, grammatical errors, or just general stupidity.

I noticed something the other night while blogging about Friends, and subsequently Full House — I’m more apt to blog when I’m not at my computer.  I wonder why that is.

Perhaps it’s because I spend between 8 and 12 hours a day at my computer, and no matter what I’m doing it feels like I’m working, even when I’m doing something as simple as blogging.  I think there’s some subconscious  thing happening that prevents me from blogging about anything when I’m at my desk.  Yes, before you ask, that’s where I am right now.  But even now, only 75 words into this post, I’m having trouble thinking of what to write.

Maybe it’s not the computer — maybe sitting in front of the TV helps me write about things?  I don’t know.

I’ve been keeping myself busy the last few days, trying to help a friend get her website up and running for her business.  That’s been consuming quite a bit of free time, on top of my day job, and my freelance career.  People keep telling me that I have my hands in too many pots, and I’m starting to see what they mean.

Don’t get me wrong, I love keeping myself busy.  It helps keep my mind sharp.  I much prefer being working on something than sitting around not working on something, that’s for sure.

I booked a trip to Vegas in June which will mark my first vacation in five years.  I think not only am I overdue, but I also deserve it after all this time.  I can’t wait to get away to somewhere sunny, hot as hell, and full of touristy things!  It should be a great time, that’s for sure.

Friends lasted for ten years. From 1994 to 2004. Seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?

I, like many others that I know, own the entire series on DVD, and routinely watch it on a daily and nightly basis. It’s hard not to when TBS airs it so frequently. Just on a given day it’s on from 3pm to 5pm, and again from 11pm to 1am. That’s just on a single station. Four hours, without even seeking it out, there it is.

I know tons of people who love and watch it as much as I do, too. Which begs the question, are there are other more re-watchable shows that started and ended in the lifetime of the thirty something generation? Can I say that Friends may be the greatest show in my lifetime? Yes. Would most people agree? Maybe. I’m sure there are others that may have preferred Cheers or Seinfeld, but Friends has (and still has) an intense following.

Sure, it’s not without fault. It’s not a perfect show, and there’s quite a few episodes that I want to skip when they come on. For me, it’s the episodes that focus too much on Phoebe. I never liked her character that much, and Lisa Kudrow is about as funny to me as Dave Coulier was on Full House.

Why was Friends so great? Was it the writing? The actors? Both? For me, I think it’s a great show because of how great the actors were with the dialog they were given. I don’t think that it had anything to with relating to what they were going through in a given episode, I think I was too young to relate to most of that. There’s definitely times when I re-watch an episode and am amazed at the delivery of some of the lines — the dialog between Rachel and Ross when they’re fighting over Ross sleeping with the copy shop girl? Amazing.

Friends is one of those shows that brings people together. Meet a new friend? Bring up your favorite episode of Friends and chances are, you have something to talk about for hours. People still get teary eyed when the last episode airs (myself included) as they walk out of Monica and Rachel’s apartment (I know Chandler lived there at the end, but it’s always Monica and Rachel’s apartment to me) and leave their keys on the counter. Is a great ending to a fantastic ten year run.

There’s a number of rumors as to whether or not there will ever be a reunion show or movie. Most of them say there won’t be, and it’s because of one or two of the cast members not wanting to do it. Jennifer Aniston has been on Courteney Cox’s Cougartown. Courteney Cox has been on Matthew Perry’s Go On. Clearly some of the cast still get along and would be up for the reunion, but then you read about Matt LeBlanc saying he doesn’t want to see the characters “old”. I’m not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, it’d be great to see a follow up to see how everyone is, and what they’ve been up to for the last decade. On the other, is there anything else that they could do more, that we haven’t already seen from Friends? They broke ground for the way that a lot of sitcoms present stories, paved the way for sitcom writers, and educated networks that you have to pay your talented cast members to keep your best show(s) on the air.

I love Friends and think its the best show my generation has yet to see. What’s your take on it, dear reader?

Editor’s note: I wrote this last night on the iPad again while watching the hockey game.  My apologies for any typos.

Most nights while sitting and watching television, I inevitably end up watching an episode or two or Full House. Okay, so maybe it’s more like three or four, sue me. (And usually follow it with two hours of Friends as I doze off to sleep.)

What I never realized was how many things are wrong with the show. I’m writing this from my iPad now, while watching the episode called Happy Birthday Babies (Season 5 Episode 10, from November 12th, 1991). It’s the one where Rebecca has the twins (which if you’re following along at home and aren’t a moron, means those twins have been old enough to legally drink for over a year now). This particular episode has a ton of flaws, most notably when Jesse says he’s having sympathy pains for Rebecca’s pregnancy.

The doctor (an Ob/gyn) touches his stomach for two, maybe three, seconds and diagnoses him as needing his appendix removed. They whisk him away, and separate him from Rebecca while she’s in labor.

Normally diagnosing someone with anything takes more than a second of touching, doesn’t it?

Now we’ve moved on to Danny bringing in the camera crew to film Rebecca being in labor for Jesse, since he’s missing it. Like a hospital would let in a camera crew?

Onto the next scene — Danny is in the delivery room with Rebecca. In bursts Joey (the unfunniest person on television in the ’90s) wheeling Jesse in on a bed, so he can be there when the twins are born. No sterilization. No hair cap. No scrubbing in. They just stroll him right in, and deliver a couple of kids. Just like that, magic.

One of the other things I never noticed, but is clear now in my adult life? (I haven’t verified this yet, but I plan to eventually re-watch all of the episodes to confirm.) Danny kisses Michelle on the head or face in every episode. I noticed this a few weeks back, and have been watching for it since. It’s almost a given. And kind of creepy knowing all the sexual jokes that Bob Saget makes about the Olsen twins in his stand-up routine.

Cut back to this episode: Jesse and Rebecca are now laying in bed together with the twins. A king sized bed. In a hospital. Like that ever happens.

I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with Full House. On its face, it’s not really that great of a show, is it? I suppose it’s because of the nostalgia factor that people from my generation have for shows that we’re once part of TGIF. (Re-reading that makes me sound old and crotchety, sorry.) I think everyone my age that watched TGIF loves Full House, and Boy Meets World. Does anyone really miss Family Matters, though? Does that make us partially racist?

Now I’m curious what other shows were on TGIF. According to Wikipedia, TGIF debuted Friday September 22nd, 1989. Just a week before my tenth birthday. The original lineup was:

  • Perfect Strangers
  • Full House
  • Mr. Belvedere
  • Just The Ten of Us

It wasn’t until a few years later that Family Matters showed up (’90-’91). This article on Wikipedia also details quite a few shows that I don’t even remember, such as: Baby Talk, Billy, Going Places, Where I Live, On Our Own, You Wish. Am I alone there, or do you remember any of those?

Though the lineup over the years mostly had some shows that our generation loves, there were certainly some duds. I think the issues started when those of us that started watching this great Friday night lineup grew up, and were no longer home on Friday nights to watch. Wikipedia also reports that ABC has tried to reboot TGIF two more times since its original debut in 1989.

And thus concludes tonight’s lesson on Full House, TGIF and making you feel old. You’re welcome.

Editor’s note: Sorry for the typos. Autocorrect got the best of me.  Double note: this was my first post from the WordPress iPad app. It did quite a nice job.

That’s what I keep telling myself today.  If the day before is a bad day, telling yourself that today is a new day is a new way to start over. Start fresh. Let your mind reset itself, and try again.

I posted this as a Facebook status earlier: “Today is a new day. Today is a new day. Today is a new day” and a great comment to the effect of “the brain can be tricked. Replace “new” with “good” and see what wonders it’ll work.”  Which is amazing advice.

It’s amazing what you can do if you set your mind to it.  Just telling yourself that you’re going to have a good day can do for your mentality.  Just telling yourself that you’re going to be positive actually works.  I’m trying that as my mantra for this week.  Be positive. Stay positive. Act positive.

I’ve been keeping busy this last week, which is why I haven’t updated much.  Lots going on, and my hand in too many pots at once (as usual), and trying to stay above water.

I finally booked a vacation after 5 long years of not having one!  Trip to Vegas in June with friends.  I rented a house, ’cause that’s how I roll.  Go ahead, be jealous.

Oh, and I finally finished my taxes.  Having to repay the government the $8,000 First Time Homebuyer’s credit was rough.  Apparently the law is that you have to live there for 3 years. Even though I still own the house, and rent it out, I had to repay it.  That took a big chunk out of my refund, which hurt. But c’est la vie.

That’s all I’ve got for today.  That’s as interesting as what’s happened in the last week. Sue me.

Today’s Valentine’s Day.  Or, if you’re like most men, it’s “Oh, shit! I forgot!”  Hence the image of a heart to the left there.  There’s nothing else in this post about Valentine’s Day.  Sorry if you’re now let down.

I’ve been keeping myself extremely busy the last few days, working on some new projects.  Some of which are old projects, in fact.

I dug out the legal storage container full of my song lyrics, that’s now sitting next to me on the floor.  Staring at me.  Saying “You should finish typing us. You only got to the letter S.”   Staring at me with their hanging folders, and handwrittenness.   I’ll get to those eventually.

Work has been keeping me busy, as well.  Tons of work going on there, which is good.  It’s helping me save a ton of money.  The more money that comes in, the easier it is to save excess, right?

I think I’m at one of those places in my blogging life where I have nothing else to say.  So, that’s it.  I’m done.