Needed to make a few trips away from home during this ice-storm and was truly inspired by what I witnessed out on the roads here… So here’s 5 quick tips in case you’re not used to driving in the ice and snow. By my estimation, this soft-headed contingent might be as much as EVERY SINGLE VEHICLE currently on the road in Texas.
If you have 2WD, bald/racing tires or a car that’s an inch off the ground: Stay the fuck home. No matter what. Even if it means you will die by not leaving. You’ll just end up killing other people (and yourself) with your ridiculously ill-equipped vehicle. Your lack of common-sense, as you do things like slide back down inclines into all the traffic behind you, will not endear you to anyone on the planet. Stay home.
If you have a 4×4/AWD (with grippy tires) then proceed with caution by AVOIDING ALL OTHER CARS. Even if it means putting a couple wheels up on the sidewalk and blasting through red-lights. Just get the fuck away from the clumpy packs of other drivers. Do not let these harbingers of death surround you. They will creep about and spinout and roll into each other like it was some creepy slo-mo bumper-car ride at some inbred county fair. Remember all car packs consist of at least 72% petrified morons continually shitting themselves out of fear; this causes them to do exactly the wrong thing at all times. The other 27.9999% are too dumb to be scared. The .0001% is me. This statement is probably a fact.
When your car drifts or slides in an undesirable direction LET OFF THE BRAKE AND PUT IT IN NEUTRAL (Even with an Automatic Transmission). Prob solved. Every time. Trust me.
When you need to stop: Begin braking 10x earlier than you are used to doing by VERY LIGHTLY touching the brakes in quick spurts. Also throwing it in neutral (see #3) always helps; this keeps your wheels from spinning and will snap you back into a straight line. Your car has no clue what’s happening. So it does what it’s told by the gas dripping into the engine.
If you decide to venture out (after passing the above qualifications) don’t’ drive 3-fuckin-MPH. Seriously. You’re like a wall standing in the middle roadway that everyone has to try to avoid. You become a huge fucking problem and a legit excuse for roadrage. This is why you have 4WD. You’re in the middle of it now… JUST FUCKING DRIVE. You’ll be okay (see steps 2, 3, & 4)… If your heart can’t take going with the given traffic flow, or faster when required, please refer back to the last sentence of rule #1.
Please forward this to anyone unaware of the stupidly lethal combination of cars and ice and dummies.
A year ago today yesterday… I decided to upload at least two solo music performances a week to YouTube. Not counting the live-streams and band-shows I managed to kick out 114 videos in 365 days. On a few occasions I even snuck in a few extras and never missed the Thursday or Sunday deadline.
***In case you’re already ready for me to get to the point scroll all the way to the end. There you’ll find links to the 114 videos I made over this last dumpster-fire of a year; organized by artists***
Cover Songs on YouTube? I Had My Reasons...
1) It serves as a great memory for songs I’ve learned.
2) I’m self-employed and having some type of weekly “schedule anchor” helps to keep me feeling a little less untethered.
3) Enforced practice time; keeps the wheels greased, so to speak.
4) Each video acts as a potential fishing hook for YouTube search results.
5) This one is contingent on #4… sometimes those caught find their way to my music and sometimes they even like what they find (aka New Fans).
6) Fans = Subscribers (often). With enough of those channel monetization is possible.
7) Enjoyment: I actually love learning and playing my favorite songs.
And I Have My Plan...
Consistency over time is powerful and can foster exponential results that often precede some type of tipping-point. I thought then, and still think now, that this tipping-point is pretty far into the future. It would be great if one of my videos garnered a million views all the sudden but it’s as ludicrous to include that into the plan as it is to put out a record and expect some million dollar signing deal.
Most of my uploads that gained decent traction took years to do so. Not sure what these algorithms are up to but they seem to enjoy taking their time with ROI.
Above and to the right are my two most popular solo acoustic videos.
To be sure, quality is arguably the most important factor when trying to induce the mythical exponential growth curve and I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t throw as much emphasis there. And I do suspect it’s time to shift gears in this dept.
The main angle when signing this year-long agreement with myself was mostly about quantity. I whole-hardheadedly tried to make everything I did worth the time of whoever watched it and tried not to upload any dog shit but I guess you’ll have to be the judge of that. Put simply enough, I wanted more fodder to pad my channel. More hooks in the water means more viewers subscribing.
In the meantime I figured I would learn a few new tricks and get more efficient with the hard/software as well as smoother with the overall process of making videos. And I have. Now, I suspect, it’s time to push a little deeper into the skill-sets that may set me apart from the multitudes of others in this crowded boat.
More Ideas Than Time...
With that said this project has been fun but I’m ready to take a step back and consider some other options. There’s actually a ton of video formats and styles I wanna take a crack at such as multi-instrumental videos where I play all of instruments. Would also like to try my hand at animation or some type of creative film-like video to go along with my music. And for awhile now I’ve wanted to do some focused lesson/discussion segments about many different aspects of music.
One idea I’ve wanted to get more serious about for years now is solo-guitar instrumental arrangements. By this I mean simultaneously playing the bass lines, chords and vocal melody on one guitar. To me this is one of the coolest and most difficult things guitar players can do.
Left: Gareth Pearson with a stunning instrumental version of MJ’s Billie Jean.
Six years ago tomorrow (as a matter of fact) I attempted this feat with that wonderful french horn solo in The Beatles “For No One”.
Completing a quick Instagram of ONLY the solo was as far as I got. This alone took forever to get right.. I gave up on making it through the whole song with vocals and all and the fleeting result you should be able to see to the right on these words.
While we’re at it check out Hey Bulldog (below) another Beatles. Found a bit more success in this attempt. I got down most of the instrumental parts, including the guitar solo, and managed to sing it all the way through while banging on the 12-string. My guess is that I have dozens of hours into that one piece but the response online has been favorable and, to me, worth it. Maybe these are the types of retrospective lessons I need to absorb before moving forward?
Right now it’s just not feasible or smart to announce that I’ll do some crazy, elaborate videos twice a week; or even once a month. I will be taking the time to experiment with all the a fore mentioned formats over the coming months and will no doubt have a clearer sense how to stay consistent with regular uploads. I am simply providing myself some time to decide what new regiment, if any, to put myself on moving foreword.
I WILL STILL BE MAKING VIDEOS…
No matter what you can rest assured that anytime I’m inspired and genuinely feel like making videos I will. That won’t ever change. It’s why I started this second “free for all/whatever” channel in the first place.
Oh, and I will still be playing and uploading my weekly livestreams on Facebook which you can watch live at 7pm (CST) every Tuesday at my personal profile.
(This Week, Nov 10, is the CD Release Party For Bric-á-Brac!)
The 114: Arranged in Alphabetical order; By Artist
…if I can force myself to the floor first thing in the morning for 50 cross-fit style burpees, run at least 5 miles every other day (or so) AND limit myself to only 2 normal sized cups of coffee a morning, then I shouldn’t have too much trouble kicking out at least ONE god-damned blog post a week. You would think anyways… But this is far from my first attempt. I was on a bit of a roll back in the early CV19 days (sounds quaint right?) and then got caught up with a girl and promptly derailed myself with a 4ish-month jaunt to Maine. Well, tangential love-odyssey aside, I’m now back in Austin and looking to reconnect with the writers mojo spirit that was left somewhere in the dust.
I really love to write… …and even more so I love having an excuse to write. Though I may never know why, I do seem to have a lot to say. So it never ceases to disappoint me when another Friday rolls by and I haven’t shared any of the neat bits and discoveries I’ve happened upon during my week.
I subscribe to Tim Ferris’s newsletter and really love it. It’s basically bullet-points of what he’s been up to and in to. Books, quotes, music, podcasts, etc. He’s an interesting, go-getter kinda dude who’s surrounded by some of the most intelligent, creative, successful and driven specimens our species has to offer.
So instead of waiting for some fresh and unique approach to blogging to fall from the heavens I’m going to straight-up copy his template and go from there. These weekly excursions will no doubt take on a shape and life of their own the more I do them. That, I guess, is my faith in the process of keeping nose to the grindstone.
The trick here is not letting the assemblage, post-building process take too much time. Working through WordPress can be slow and clunky and at times I lose my patience but mainly I lose TO my patience and scrap everything… so this will all be a way of becoming more efficient with a tool I desperately need to get better with.
Actually the real trick here is in my waning editing abilities. I can be a bit long-winded, in case you haven’t noticed, and leaving anything of value, perceived or otherwise, on the chopping-room floor isn’t a strong suit of mine.
I’m Old Now: Spose & Cam Groves I can’t always detect the rhyme or reason behind a song getting stuck in my head. Like a dream trying to tell you something about your waking-life there always seems to be some fundamental connection to reality. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I had a birthday a few months ago and I need to start thinking more seriously about my own mortality? Anyways this song came on randomly as I was listening to the 1000 song Spotify Playlist I’ve been making for a few years. I probably listened to it a dozen times since my rediscovery.
Spose is a rapper from Maine and one of the most talented lyricists in the rap-game.
He just doesn’t waste words; no filler bullshit with him. He’s always connected to the main point of the song, knows how to honer a story arc and is extraordinarily great at avoiding clichés and the same hum-drum rhyme schemes as his far-lesser (more braggy) peers. A whole other aspect of Spose’s song building genius is adherence to great beats overlaid with great music. I could go on and on about this but will digress. Just check out literally anything from his immense catalog of music; all of it is real-deal, top-tier shit.
On We Smoked It All 3 Spose features longtime compatriot Cam Groves who constantly proves himself to be just as potent and relevant a wordsmith. Hate to have to say this but even if you don’t like hip-hop, you’ll probably like this… at the very least it’s gonna make you laugh.
This artist came out of nowhere for me and as of this writing I haven’t listened to any of his other songs. I don’t care yet, I just can’t get past the composition of this one. Viewed from a song-crafting and production lens this smooth, hypnotic song bluesily glides along on what is clearly a series of short instrumental loops. What I like best is how it breaks the rules of what a song “should be”; at least in my ‘unwritten but acknowledged’ rule book. It has certainly caused me to consider pushing around the hard parameters outlining my own writing/recording process. I mean it’s just over 10 minutes long and drops in vocals as almost an after thought; haven’t quite deciphered what he’s saying and again… don’t really care. There’s plenty else keeping my attention here. And it really never gets old; I think I listened to it three times in a row while working in the garage yesterday. The drum machine intro, hardly removed from the styling of the late JJ Cale, seems to go on forever. It’s 16 fucking bars of the same thing… What is a brilliant manifestation of tension. I’m pretty sure I didn’t appreciate this on the first spin. I was probably thinking “wtf?? Are you seriously going let this cheesy beat machine keep going??” Had it gone on a for few more bars probably would’ve skipped the track and I doubt I’d be writing this… An arrangement that does this takes some balls to be sure…
This bleak, slow/no-burn intro is saved by great syncopated bass and guitar grooves dropping in to the middle of the mix; the ride has begun. Another bunch of measures later, as the repetitive tension reaches a snapping point again, a couple organ squawks deftly punctuate the burgeoning fabric and set to motion further forward momentum. Lots of separate pieces slowly building into what seems like nothingness and when the suspense starts to lash out here comes this wobbly, duel-noted, ghostly tape-effected mellotron sounding thing as it blares in the far distance. All this adds to the space and mystic of this expertly crafted number.
The staggering amount of patience Norgren employs with his use of tension/release is just awesome. And I can’t quite get my head around it if you haven’t been able to tell… It’s something I feel my own music is lacking in ways that I don’t always know how to remedy. Mostly my obsession with Howling stems from the urgent desire to fully understand, and maybe eventually deconstruct, this song someday. Ironically deconstruction would require reconstructing (via recording) and would probably deliver me to the heart of my confused infatuation with it’s deceptive simplicity. https://danielnorgren.bandcamp.com/album/buck
There’s a lot I could say here… …because currently I’m way too interested in way too many topics… My “current reading list” is pushing 25 books. In this regard things are a bit out of control and to make matters worse I’ve pushed my podcast listening to the wayside in favor of audio-books. I started an account with Audible specifically to listen to Michael Pollan’s book How to Change Your Mind during the ride from Maine to Texas. Well I burned through that “read” at roughly double speed and was done in no time. It was then that I learned a few things about Audible… It turns out you can’t just up and start any title you want. The plan I chose was good for one credit a month; only with a credit can you listen to any title you like. I had used up my one credit about 5 hours into my 32+ hour drive… Thankfully there are a TON of great titles for free to pick from and I was able to placate myself with some more great books on brain science and other consciousness related topics which has been my jam lately. Out of all the good things distracting me from making music these days this rabbit-hole is probably the deepest.
These first two books initiated my long journey into understanding the mind through mediation, first by stripping away the all the new-age bullshit and religious baggage then building an airtight case for it’s utility using the latest science.
The subtitles are key…
Down the road I may go into more detail…
…on the following books but for the time being I’ll just put them right here with the highest of my recommendations. I will say the last book, Conscious, is one I haven’t read yet but have heard great things; it has been on my short list.
Above I mentioned that every morning I kick out 50 Burpees a day…
Cross-Fit Burpee: Stand, squat down, hands on floor then kick out into plank, down into a pushup, back up to plank, swing feet back to hands, jump straight up in the air from this squat, position and repeat.
…I try to get them behind me right out of bed; even before coffee which doesn’t provide half the wake-up power. This seemed like a good idea after restlessly sitting in a car for three days straight and feeling like I was wasting away. Although I am far from a health-freak I’ve finally had to admit that exercise is a key component to my mental health that cannot be bypassed or substituted. I’ve done everything I could over the last 40-odd years to subvert this truth but in the end without physical exertion peppered throughout my week I’m mostly an irritable mess.
I decided to puss out a little… …and started with 50 instead of 100 because I just don’t wanna hurt myself and I was being a puss, basically. But as I began to get used to them I pushed for more reps per set. I began this routine on my first morning back in Texas and started with two sets of 15 and one of 20 done at various points throughout the day, with the first always before coffee.
Naturally the workout became easier… …and last week I began going for more. Listening to my body and not my mind while grinding through the reps was key to not being miserable while doing them and before long I could get 50 in without stopping. The goal is to do this until November 2nd after that I’m not sure if I’ll go for the 100 per day or what I’ll do but it will definitely involve burpee sets. It’s like packing in a full hours work out in 5 or 6 minutes.
Thanks For Hanging!
Okay that’s all I guess. This took forever and I’m burnt out. But I’ll be trying to get faster so that hopefully someday I don’t dread the process like i do now. I mean, I like the writing part, but the page-building work is still pretty grueling, slow and frustrating. Practice makes better…at least.
Halfway through the morning coffee crazy things often happen. For instance the other day I caught myself standing in the middle of my room and staring at a globe (of the Earth) which sits a-top a college-fridge. I could sense some sort of a calculation going on behind my eyes but my conscious-self wasn’t privy to the details so I waited. A few moments later an inaccessible part of my mind spit a calculation out onto the floor of a more accessible part; low-and-behold- I had a idea.
In my world flat, blank surfaces, ripe for putting stuff on are quickly swallowed up by said stuff. This is a constant dilemma for people like me who aren’t always great at putting shit back where it goes when done using it. Globes are kind of nice to have around but more often than not this one is just in my way. This and a telescope are the only things I own that are of no use to either my music or art endeavors. I’ve had to work pretty hard to make my 11’x11′ ”work-space” work. I have a ridiculous amount of hobbies and as much “stuff” as I do keep I’m definitely not a pack-rat. When I know something has no further practical use I see it as dead-weight and am quick to donate or sell.
So within a matter of seconds of my morning epiphany I’m reefing on this thing and trying to get it apart; which, by the way, is the best way to figure out how anything works. Directions are over-rated and anyways I only paid $2 for it at a yard sale. It didn’t come with paperwork.
The mount dismantled, parts in hand I hit the garage where I keep all sorts of tools and storage cases full of random screws and bits. In one of the bins is a molly-screw with identical threading; I had everything I needed to hang this thing upside down; suspended in my ‘space’.
Flash to smash this whole ordeal was probably only 15 minutes. Trading this sliver of time for a square foot of prime real-estate still seems like a pretty good trade. Now I have another convenient spot that’s perfect for quickly unloading my hands of small things that belong elsewhere.
See the hanging basket next to it? That is my recycling bin and it was thunk up with the same type of caffeine-addled sagacity. Also I no longer accidentally kick recyclables all over my room and it’s fun to throw things at it.
How I’m going to tie all this in with the rest of today’s post? I have no idea but my faith in the way caffeine randomly connects unrelated portions of my brain to yield unusual concoctions is unwavering.
•••I spent pretty much all of today fiddling with this blog•••
Originally I started a post about the process of writing and it’s overall arc in my life. It was just supposed to be a few key thoughts and then a few included links wit some of quipping but the damn thing kept sprawling on and on and now it’s some kind of monster that may never make it out of “draft” status. So as of yet I have nothing to show for these missing hours beyond this blog having a whole new domain name than I had yesterday. Uneze.com is a URL I’ve had on lock for a couple years; I’ve been floundering on just what to use it for and it hit me today this was the prefect title for this blog. I could have saved myself a couple bags of hours and a 12 dollar-bill had dawned on me before blitzing my way forward with Ericommeneded.com. But that’s just the way spigot spews sometimes. So in brief…
•••Something Hopeful, maybe•••
In the forefront of my mind is a couple recent articles that were in the NYtimes. Both reads trigger my most hopeful intuitions that Trump and his odd momentum HAS TO implode at some point. In what universe can this impossible and senseless drama play out day by day without consequence?
•••Yoga Ruins Your Life•••
I’ve been hooked on hot-yoga for two years come July. I’m not a fanatic and not all that interested in the crazy, fancy stuff but there’s an amazingly refreshing and reinvigorating feeling after a hot session of power stretching. Yoga benefits the mind as much as the body. A friend of mine, a yoga teacher and true fanatic sent me this quick little video. The Richard Freeman monologue that floats above all the pained looking participants is really what gets me. The rest just looks like it hurts though I assure you that although I can’t execute a fraction of what these yogi’s are doing, it’s anything but painful.