Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Getting excited

I am obsessed with this band I'm in. It's been almost two weeks since we've rehearsed and I'm so looking forward to it. Robb has ordered shirts and tank tops for merch to sell and they just came in and look great.

Since I officially joined, we've rehearsed several times and each time seems to just get better. I've been recording our practices with my trusty Lumia 950XL and aside from some distortion when the bass is too loud, it captures what we do pretty well.

For my birthday, I picked up a Rolls personal monitor box. I'm able to plug in my bass, headphones, mic, and line in from another source. By doing so, I hear and dial in what I want, instead of the usual. I tried it once and it was pretty cool, but I felt like a doofus setting it up, so I've left it alone. Maybe I'll revisit it this week.

Our show is next Friday and I expect it will be well attended. The other two bands are from Portland, and apparently are a big deal down there (Tango Alpha Tango and the Weather Machine). I think stylistically they're different from us, but they should have enough Indie Cred to draw people.

I simply can't wait to play with these guys. It's been a ton of fun and they're all super cool, as well. CAN'T WAIT.

Friday, March 30, 2018

YEARLY UPDATE

Let's be honest, this won't be an update of the past 12 months. More like an update of the past couple months. My memory isn't what used to be.

Work:

Still with Microsoft, still at Southcenter, the most horrible mall on the West Coast. Fights, shootings (fake, mostly), theft, homeless, we have it all! However, our little store is doing just fine. I am and have been in charge of business sales, and if I do say so myself, I've been killing it. Getting on people's radar and making a name for myself at SC. Loving what I do and seeing where it goes.

Music:

Still with the Navins. Still working on the recording we did last April. We played a show in November, then nothing until last week, when we opened for two punk legends, the Dickies and the Queers at El Corazon. That was highly entertaining. Not a lot of people there for us, maybe 30? But we played pretty well and they enjoyed it. The Dickies were pretty cool, just a 3/4 piece and it was PUNK all night. The Queers were an interesting crew, very diverse, but they came in to Seattle and SMASHED ALL OUR FACES. SUPER tight and just on top of it. I really enjoyed them.

I was asked late last summer to think about joining Gregg's band, Service Animal, as they were going to dump their excellent bassist, Jordan. As great a player as he is, i guess his personality was quite challenging. I started playing with them late last year at Andrew's house on Cougar Mt. Only about 15 minutes from home, but out in the sticks. Fun fact, his wife Amber manages an Instagram account for their awesome dogs, a husky named Ripley and a retriever named Ozzie. 300k followers!

I digress. I started playing with them: Gregg, Andrew, Emma and Justin. It was pretty cool. Music was very challenging, definitely trickier than anything I'd played in a long time and their musicianship was all top notch. Trouble is, as tight and polished as we got, the only shows we could get booked were for weeknights. As I played on, we got a gig at the Sunset (good) on a Tuesday (not good). Just this week, we played the Lo-Fi, with some up and coming bands (of which we are one). However, a few weeks ago, I just realized I wasn't into this band as much as I thought. They liked to rehearse on Sunday afternoons, and though I could make that work, it was cutting into family time. Plus 3 of them smoked and we'd end up taking 2 smoke breaks per rehearsal, which I wasn't super excited about. But mainly, it was the music. I didn't hate it, or even dislike it; I just wasn't feeling awesome about it. In the end, I broke up with them last weekend and we'll be playing one more show at the Sunset in early May, unless they have someone else lined up.

And in the meantime, I reached out to Robb from the Stereo Embers in February. Me and the Scheme played with them in 2017 and I thought they were really cool. I remember the guitar player, Tim, and what a stud he was. Just overall, a really sweet old-school ROCK band.

Anyway, fast forward to this year. I saw Robb mention that they would be seeking a new bassist soon. I hit him up on Facebook, thinking, "why not?" He got back immediately, saying he remembered me and thought I was a great player and he'd keep me in mind. About a month later, he asked if I could come out to his house in Lake City to try out with the guys. Before that, I went and checked them out at Slim's, with Stag and Surf the Pines. All 3 bands were excellent and there was a pretty full house there. I really enjoyed it and got to talk to Tim and Robb in person for the first time. Both dudes were quite nice and down to earth, easy to talk to.

The audition came up and I also got to meet Cass, the drummer. We started playing and even though (after listening to my recording) there were some rough spots, we all knew it was good. The guys were all generous in their praise and afterwards, I knew it went well. They were complimentary and excited.

The following days, Robb and I stayed in touch. We bro'ed out over FB messenger. He told me he was surprised at how different it was having a fingerstyle player vs a picker. It gave me pause, but in the end, he said to don't worry about it. Also, he mentioned they had some other guys that they wanted to try out.

After a week or so, he got back to me saying that they had tried someone else out, but that it wasn't great. He asked me to come out again, with a few more tunes. So I practiced, and then we hooked up last night.

I felt more in the pocket last night, for sure. I was focusing more on Cass' drumming and kick to try to lock in with him. I also overplayed a bunch, to see what they might say. Mainly, it was awesome! I think their previous bassist was solid, but not too flashy; there wasn't a lot of sizzle to compliment Tim's guitar. It was pretty evident after each song that the guys were pumped up. And, like last time, they were all super easy to relate and chat with.

After we finished playing, they asked me to join and we sealed the deal with handshakes and hugs. Super cool! So for now, we go on break. :( Cass and Robb will be going on vacation for a week or so, so we're not gonna get back together for a few more weeks. We've got a gig on the books in August playing the Tractor (!) in between Pearl Jam shows. We will be playing to full houses; these guys have people that come out. This is gonna be fun.

General life:

I decided this year I needed to go to the doctor. Had a physical for the first time in years. Everything checked out ok, but my blood pressure was high. Normal is considered 120/80. I was about 140/100. I started exercising and eating better. This was end of February. It's been a month now and I've lost a few pounds and been RUNNING of all things. Last week, I did 8 miles. This week has been less as my knees have been hurting, but I've tried to get Bella and Marci out with me regularly. It's been good for all of us. My BP is down, but I've been supplementing it with medication (I tried w/o but it was going slower than I and the dr. wanted). And it's cool to exercise, believe it or not. Running and/or walking (even at work), doing some push ups and planking. Nice to feel sore for good reasons. Though instead of walking this morning, I've been writing this epic blog. I will walk at work today!

Life of Riley:

Everyone is healthy. Well, except for Riley. He may have broken his hand. Again. This dude broke his hand on the last day of 6th grade. He was in a cast for like 6 weeks? Maybe longer. Then he broke it again in 7th grade. And now, he fell down at school the other day and may have fractured it yet again. This dude...

He is still a treat, though, and sometimes I think I give him too hard a time. He is eager to please, but we are on his case a lot because all he seems to do is watch tv and videos. On the plus side, he does help around the house (when we ask), he is compassionate and he is still quite loving.

He also decided to audition for next year's play at Newport. It's Jeckyl & Hyde, or something like that. He sang and "acted" and got a role being Man #3 or something. He's gonna be the only freshman male with a singing part. Pretty cool! He's dropping band, though, as he needs to take choir or drama. I don't know. But I told him he may not always play trombone, but he can always sing.

Current obsessions: saving money for a Switch; watching superhero shows (current fave: The Flash); Guy's Grocery Games; reading books. You know, boy stuff.

Life of Haley:

Time management. I think the biggest thing in her life right now is time. There simply isn't enough of it. She goes to school, then has 2 hrs of track practice. Sometimes she has double practice, with her club crew also. Then there's dances, pep band, band festivals, friends, homework, track meets, etc, etc. She's so busy. She stays up late, usually to midnight or later, and has to be up around 7-730 to get to school. Overall, though, she seems to be doing ok. Grades are good and she's getting the balancing act down.

She has turned into quite the little athlete. We went and watched her track meet this week and she was frickin' epic. She won her 400m sprint, then 4th place in the 200m, then on her leg of the 4x400m, she smashed and built up a big lead for her team. She got PRs in 2 events and is just doing so well! Love watching her compete and learn how to accept the accolades afterward.

I went to see a counselor last summer because Hay and I had a hard time last year at times. I had to let her grow up and come to me, instead of being the hand's on dad all the time. I had to keep emotion out of things and try not to micro-manage her so much. But there were also times I had to be able to be a dad and do dad things. I tried to get her to come with me to counseling, but she never would. Overall, though, it's gotten better and we do still have our moments, but it's clear we're maturing and progressing and getting through things better.

Marci update:

Last August at work, I was helping a customer of ours that runs a private school. I'd mentioned that Marci was a preschool teacher and he asked me if she was happy. Long story short, he needed a pre-k teacher and Marci got an interview the next day. She was offered the job a day later and started the following Tuesday. She wasn't looking for a new gig, but the $$ was double what she was making so we had to make the change. It has been a challenge, for sure, but she has been soaking up the knowledge and learning and is really impacting her kids, as well as our family as a result. Super proud of what she's done!

Her health is doing as well as it can be. She's been managing her MS with Plexus and eating right and exercising with me. MS is not progressing as her dr. thought it might. She's been doing her best managing her time at work, as it's more than she's been used to doing. Likely over 40 hrs, when we include the work she does at home.

Overall:

People ask me how things are. I say I can't complain. And I really can't! Unless it's about traffic? Or stupid stuff like that. Things are good and generally moving in the right direction. All right!



Monday, April 03, 2017

Today is my Saturday

What did I do?

I went to the dentist for the second time in a month, or, more accurately, the second time in the past 5 years or so. I finally caved to the pressure last month, figured it was time to get my mouth checked out (planning on mouth, then eyes [they are getting worse], then perhaps a dreaded physical), so I made an appointment with the family dentist.

Marci and the kids have been going to see Dr. Ryan (last name, Chiang; no relation) for some time now and kept bugging me to go. I finally went and it wasn't all bad. They had told me that he is reminiscent of Knight, which, after seeing Dr. Ryan, I have to agree.

Anyway, during the first appointment, he told me that for 44 year old teeth, my teeth were in excellent shape.

TAKE THAT!

But I did have a little cavity, which, fast forward to today, I had filled. Then I had my mouth cleaned. Took about 2 hours and it reminded me how unfun going to the dentist is. The people were great, but the process is never fun.

Today is also Opening Day for the MLB. I'm a casual fan. I enjoy baseball. The past few years, I haven't had cable to watch the Mariners, but this year I do. Gonna check them out today. I'm buying into the hype.

Later tonight, I'll return to a new obsession of mine, playing Tom Clancy's The Division on Xbox One! I got this a few months ago with my Xbox One S and let it sit for a bit. I tried it out and got hung up on a boss. Then a few weeks later, I tried it again, and now I can't stop playing it. I'm in love with the New York setting. The graphics and immersion are fantastic. It's difficult enough without being too awful. My handsome character is at level 17 and I'm really enjoying the journey.

Ballgame is about to start. Go M's!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

5 months later

Well, I never got around to posting pix, did I?

I'm still using that phone from the last update, so there's that.

Christmas came and went. Big whoop. I finally got an Xbox One S and have been enjoying that.

Today is Daylight Savings and we lost an hour. We're all exhausted.

I've spent a lot of time recently on Twitter reading about politics, of all things. I follow the president and enjoy/get scared about his almost daily rants and ravings.

Applied for two more jobs at work and got turned down for both, though there may be one more interview for another position soon. 

Playing music with the Navins still, and just finished another show with the Scheme last night. At the start of the show, I broke my E string about 30 seconds into the first song. I proceeded to finish the song trying to transpose the E string notes an octave higher, sing, and stay locked in with Gregg. It sounded rough to me but the people that came said it sounded pretty good.

The bassist from the last band, Jeanette of Dany Laj and the Looks, loaned me her Fender Mustang for the rest of my set. It is a short scale bass and it took me about 2 songs to get comfortable playing it. I didn't adjust her strap as I didn't want to mess it up for her, so it felt like I was playing with a Rock Band guitar.

Today I ended my many year relationship with T-Mobile. Due to Haley breaking her last iPhone, we wanted to find a carrier that would finance a phone on my dealer plan. It seems that TMO wouldn't do it, so we switched me and Haley over to ATT. It'll be nice to get reception in the house now, after so many years without it.

I guess I'll blog again in August, at this rate.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Out with the old, in with the new

A few months into my stint at Microsoft, I was told I qualified for a discounted phone plan. I was on T-Mobile and looked into it. I was able to get an HTC Radar for free and I was off and running. Over the years, I had that phone, an HTC 8X, a Lumia 900 (briefly), a Lumia 800, and then a Lumia 925.

That 925 I had for the past three years. In that time, I got Marci a Lumia Icon on Verizon (now it's Riley's), another 925 for Haley (which became my backup when she got an iPhone), and Marci a Samsung Galaxy S5 on AT&T.

All that time, I was pretty proud to use the 925. I loved the size of it, as well as the camera. Plus, it did what I needed it to do: make calls, send texts, stay connected, etc. And it did it pretty well.

However, over the past several months, it started to show its age. I had put a developer's preview of Windows 10 Mobile on it as the phone didn't support the actual W10 software. It worked enough to use as a daily driver, but it did have some quirks.

I couldn't always attach photos to texts or emails without the app crashing. Some apps simply wouldn't open unless I tried two or three times. The camera button would trigger the camera (good!) but take about 10-15 seconds to open (bad). And the battery was starting to show its age, which, after 3 years, wasn't too big a surprise.

Worst of all, I couldn't make phone calls reliably. At home? It was a 50/50 proposition. I could call you, but it would probably drop. Or not even dial out. At work? About the same. I'd use wifi calling at either place and it would still be a crapshoot.

It got to be bad enough that the kids at work joked that they were gonna get me a new phone for Christmas, because they know how cheap I am.

Last week, my boss Monique said she had a surprise for me. The next day, she dropped her old Lumia 950XL on me. In other words, Microsoft's flagship phone! Unlocked, dual sim, with SD card storage, wireless charging and iris recognition. I went to T-Mobile to have my sim cut and put it in the phone.

We were off and running!

This phone is bigger than my last, and a bit thinner. I have a 64GB card in with all sorts of tunes! No more shuffling music on and off! The camera triggers within a second or two and takes superb pictures. Calls have been a pleasure to make, and all the apps and functions seem to work great!

I've had the phone for a week now and I am still stoked to have it. The iris recognition is cool, though I still feel like a dork staring at my phone to open it up. The battery lasts all day. I took it off the charger at 6:15 this morning and at 9:00 right now, it's still at 29%.

I've recorded the Scheme the past few days at rehearsal and it sounds pretty dang good for what it is. I'm excited to record some video tomorrow at the Scheme's show, and hope to have someone record us as well.

I'll post some pix and video soon.