Thin, a tale of patience and overeating

“It’s hard to make excuses when you have a mouth full of pizza”

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Who could have thought that a 4 letter word like Thin could have so much depth to it.

Between my wallet being thin, my patience being thin, and my waistline not being thin enough, It’s definitely a word that holds some weight for me. Ironic font used here

 Patience,

Has always been a problem for me. I like instant gratification… I find myself getting into last minute projects that I expect to be ready in an unreasonable amount of time… I think it’s probably one of my worst qualities, as a human being, and something that I’ve kind of been forced into working on in the last couple months.  If any of you have children, you’ll understand what I’m talking about!!  I found myself not letting things go and expecting too much from my little ones. It creates an unnecessarily uncomfortable atmosphere in the home and sometimes you just go on a spree of wanting things done your way, without looking at the root of the problems you’re facing. I know that’s kind of vague, and I intend it to be, but my biggest takeaway from my impatience lately is to let your kids be kids. Let them enjoy childhood, because let’s face it, we would all trade the last 5 years of our life, to experience a day of being a child again.  I know my upbringing wasn’t… normal. My parents were ridiculously strict with me, and could be very impatient, I was a bit of a loner and very socially awkward as a result of this… and also battled a lot of depression because I was always second guessing myself… So, instead of having thin patience, I find myself trying to encourage transparency with my kids, and letting petty things go… because they’ll eventually learn how to clean up after themselves and mature into fine adults.

Wallet…

Money, it’s not easy to talk about… and as thin as my patience is, I Find myself also living paycheck to paycheck far too often. It’s a struggle, and one that no one likes to deal with… but, as important as paying your bills are, NOT obsessing about your finances is also important. Money IS the root of all evil, as we all know… which I guess means I’m not that evil.. cause… ya know.. all my money goes to everyone else!! haha!

Weight

I answered a Facebook question the other day that asked what excuse I use for not going to the Gym… my response was “It’s hard to make excuses when you have a mouth full of Pizza.”
And I wonder why I’m not as skinny as I used to be!!  This bothers the heck out of me, mainly because I’ve gained 30 lbs in the last 5 years… What can I say? My wife and I are both great at cooking.. and she bakes the best everything you’ll ever eat!!! I just need to learn some self control… and I think that also is something that can be considered thin… My self control… my ability to choose between making a healthy salad.. or eating a #2 from Burger King is miserable… I think this may be a partial side effect of anxiety.. and some mild depression, but who knows. I either need to get my butt in gear, eat better, and exercise some more.. or find a job that isn’t sitting behind a desk all day… I’m telling you what, desk jobs will freaking kill you… I’ve been doing them for 3 years now and my health has never been worse… I look at myself and can’t believe I’m only 30 years old, and in just Godawful shape…

Anyone have any tips? What do you do to keep yourself in shape, or do you also need assistance with getting the motivation to better yourself??

Thanks for reading!! I know I’m a little scatterbrained lately.. but I’m glad to be back here sharing my thoughts!

Place in the World (On Stage)

Place in the World

I grew up in a very musical home. My Father played bass in a very popular local Rock cover band called Night Flight.  My parents were always listening to music. My mother was an artist, who also would sing around the house and plunk on a guitar. Dad also played the acoustic beautifully.  Ever since the first time I saw a concert, I wanted to be a musician. The cheering crowds… doing something you love to entertain others… it was like a little piece of perfection that I had to get my hands on.

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I remember my second grade teacher, Mrs. Losch, telling my mother that “If that boy doesn’t grow up to entertain people, he will be wasting a huge talent.”  after my breathtaking performance of Prince Charming in the play version of… ‘Cinderella’ (End Sarcasm)

Performing to a crowd is my place in the world. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small bar packed with people, or a large professionally built stage with top quality sound and lights. As long as I am playing music and making people happy, I am content.

My wife always compares my love for music as being a physical part of who I am. She has said things like “Not being able to play music, would be like losing one of your extremities.” And it’s true… performing music has been my leg to stand on, for the majority of my life…

So, there it is… The awesome picture I used above was from a performance at Fat Daddy’s in York, PA. Photograph Credit to Christine C Photographie, for more of her amazing work, you can look here!

 

Thanks for reading! What are your passions? Where are you the most comfortable in this world? I know it’s the photo challenge, but I want to hear your personal thoughts on this!!

Have a great day!

 

Pedigree (Time to get over yourself)

Pedigree

The first word that comes to my mind, when I hear the word Pedigree is breeding…
The act of selectively choosing the best mate for an animal to get the most “pure” breed from that specific bloodline…

Seems kind of messed up when you think about it… Although, Royalty doesn’t seem to work too differently sometimes… Taking natural selection out of the equation to keep a bloodline ‘pure’

For the rest of us, what does this word mean?  Nothing really… our parents have their own individual story that includes the birth of a child. By random chance you ended up here.. (Note, I am not devaluing divine concepts, or the miracle of birth.. as both are important to me.) BUT, here you are. You didn’t choose to be born here… and depending on your parents you were dealt a specific set of genes at birth, that make you who you are… Almost like a poker game. Whether you were dealt a pair of 2s or a Royal Flush at birth, you still have challenges you have to face throughout your life… Fortunately, our decisions in life are all our own. You may get dealt random occurrences, be it positive or negative, but the way you respond to those things is what matters.

I had a random thought this morning that I tweeted: “It’s so much simpler to find the positive side of a situation, than to twist any occurrence into a story where you are the victim.”  Which I followed with: “But, I guess some people are just too hell-bent on receiving unjust sympathy.”

In other words, instead of letting anything negative effect you negatively, find the best possible thing about the situation and hold onto it.

I’ve been going through a really rough time the last two weeks, and though I feel like I’m grasping at straws, I feel like I’ve turned a leaf with my ability to see the positive in a bad situation, and it’s pretty much been the only thing keeping me sane lately…

I am so sick of people blaming the world for their situation. If you’re not happy with something about your life, fix it. If you grew up poor and uneducated… read a book, go to the library, get online and educate yourself on something.  Education is the most important gift that we can give ourselves.

I personally never went to college… BUT, I know how to do a plethora of things.. I am a self taught musician, mechanic, wood worker, I can solder and fix guitars/pedals/amplifiers, I have my own recording studio that I learned how to use by experience and reading, I can use photoshop, and just learned by trial and error!

You wouldn’t believe how much happier you could be if you just teach yourself a skill. There is nothing more liberating than being able to do something, looking back on it in a few years, and being proud of where you’ve come!

So, in a cliche nutshell.. you choose your own path. Don’t be a victim of your circumstance… Take a few minutes out of your day, get your nose out of Facebook, and teach yourself something!

Thanks for reading, and I am again sorry that I have been away for so long. Life has been insane lately… but it’s been nice to get some things off of my chest in blog-form.

 

Take Care!

Oh where, oh where has your little Joe been

Firstly,

I’d like to apologize for my absence. Though my followers are few, you’re my followers.

My youngest child was born unexpectedly at the end of June (5 weeks early!) and my life got pretty busy for a while!  My wife and baby are both healthy. Her big sisters are all super proud, as am I… for the strength and fortitude they showed through a slightly bumpy ride.

That being said,

I am going to make a better attempt at writing posts!  There’s been a lot of good going on in my life, and I’ve got a lot to share!

I’ve been playing a lot!

My acoustic shows have been plentiful and full of great crowds of people. I’ve had more people coming to ME for bookings, as opposed to having to seek them out myself.. Which is great!!

I’ve begun teaching

my wife, mainly, to play guitar! She’s a fantastic singer, and she also wants to take on the role of a solo performer. We’re also working on building a nice, completely mobile, 2 channel recording rig, that can be used in studio, or live performances… but more on that later!

I’ve been trying

to push myself back into the world of social media… I’ll be posting some cover videos and even some of my original music, as I get situated with everything..

That being said:

Thank you all for hanging out and not writing me off yet!!  I am going to make a real attempt to update this weekly.. I doubt I’ll have time for daily posts, but we’ll see what the future brings!

As always, thank you, and have a great day!!

 

New(ish) Music – Friday! Royal Blood

I’m going to start this one with a rant… and then a review… and who knows what else!

When one of my favorite bands releases a new album, I like to listen to it, in its entirety, a few times, before making an assessment.

The problem is this: Today, bands like the hype leading up to an album, MORE than they like giving their listeners something new to listen to.

Which brings me to today’s album review: How Did We Get So Dark, by Royal Blood.

Royal Blood is a 2 piece power duo, with a very unique sound. Aside from the obvious drumming & vocals, all of the rest of the noise you’re hearing comes from a bass guitar that runs through an intricate array of effect pedals, and ends up sounding like a grunge orchestra.

From start to finish, this album is solid rock and roll. Gritty, raw, and real. I remember reading a review with Mike Kerr (bass,vocals) where he discussed not wanting to record anything that he can’t replicate in a live setting.  THAT is my attraction to this band, because too many musicians rely on loops, instead of raw talent.

I will say, I was a little discouraged on listening to this 10 track album, for the first time, because 4 of the songs have already been previously released (1 of which was over a year ago…) and they have kind of lost their “new song sparkle” to me. Which is what I was referring to, in my earlier rant. I don’t want to get a “New Album” and have heard almost half of it already… I want to have a fresh experience, and have my ears tickled with new art.

That being said, the subsequent tracks on the album are incredible. Mike Kerr’s mastery of his monstrous pedalboard, mixed with powerful muse-like vocals, and riff-rock bass playing; backed by the solidity of Ben Thatcher on the drums, give you an album that is worth your attention!

It’s hard to make a dent in the music scene like Royal Blood has, in such little time, then be under pressure after a few years of touring to write a follow-up album and have it be good. They have gone above and beyond our expectations, and delivered another fantastic release!

My only hope is that we get another Royal Blood album before 2020!!!

Here’s some more blog posts, on this fantastic band:

Michelle Geslani on the new album
Speedy Sailor on “Lights Out”
jokevrijens on the most recent single “I only lie when I love you” , before the album’s release

Thanks for reading! I hope you have a great weekend!

Hmm… Car talk?

Natty...

Honestly, a term I don’t recall hearing, before today. A quick google search shows that it means “Well designed” or “Clever”

Cleverness being the thing I am lacking, for this blog post…

Yep.. drawing a blank…

Ya know what was well designed, though? The 4.0 Liter V6 engine, in the pre-2006 Jeeps. I’ve been a fan of Jeeps (specifically Cherokees {Like.. the boxy ones, not Grand Cherokees}) For quite a few years now. I’ve owned 3 of them, and had nothing but fun with them!

Aside from crappy alternators and water pumps, they were the most reliable engine I’ve ever been around.

In fact, back in the 2011(ish.. guessing here) Stimulus package, when President Obama did the national cash-for-clunkers thing (that destroyed the used car market, IMO), I had a friend who worked at a garage. For fun, they would set a stop watch when they had to destroy the traded-in vehicles.

Let me back up a second.. they would have to put a highly corrosive material into the engine, and start it. Then the vehicle would run until the engine seized.

Anyways, the engine that consistently managed to last the longest in this test, was the 4.0 liter straight 6 engine, found in Jeeps. Just goes to show that under the harshest conditions imaginable, they would function.

I used to offroad a lot, with my Jeeps. My thinking was, if they could handle the vast PA wilderness, they were fit to be a good daily driver!
Mud, snow, sides of mountains.. Nothing stopped us from having a good time with our Jeeps… Man, I miss it. It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve been out in the woods, navigating the harshest roads imaginable, with my trusty Jeep.

I traded all of that fun in for a Mazda, and while I love my car, it can barely go over speed-bumps without scraping the undercarriage…

“Someday” I keep telling myself….

I miss working on them too… There was something about the bond between man and machine. If I screwed it up, I got to bring it home and fix it! It sounds frustrating, but there’s a great sense of achievement, to going through a rough patch, with your favorite automobile, and then having to make things better.

I tend to get really attached to the cars I like… My wife doesn’t get it. Even most of my guy friends don’t get it.  I still have dreams of driving my ’87 Daytona Shelby Z, it was the most fun I’d ever had in a car, and I think, somewhere in the depths of my mind, I long for the freedom of the road or the open trail. I long to explore the world around me, with a machine I made capable of doing so.

This may sound like some weird, testosterone fueled desire.. but it’s the truth… And I can’t water it down to something that isn’t that haha!

What about you? Have you ever been offroad? Do you ‘get it’? The feeling of freedom one gets from driving fast, or exploring the woods?

Thanks readers, I guess this wasn’t too bad of a post after all.

Musical Influences Ep1: Victor Wooten

If there’s something I can talk about, until I’m blue in the face, it’s music.  From theory, to its effect on our mood, deep lyrical ideas, to chord changes that give you goosebumps… it’s something that is such a large part of my life, i find a way to integrate it into every part.

I’m going to try a ‘series’ of posts talking about my biggest influences, as a musician. These are in no particular order (well, maybe this one is the most important, but the rest won’t be..), and I will write them as I think of them!

Does the name Victor Wooten mean anything to you?  Funny, that you probably haven’t heard of a guy who is a recipient of 5 Grammy awards; as a bass player, written 3 books, is an all around decent man, and an incredible teacher.

Probably because he isn’t a pop-star. He’s just talented beyond your wildest imagination!

I got to meet Victor briefly, and I promise I’m not going to romanticize this meeting. I was starstruck. My jaw hit the floor as I stood in front of the man who has no idea I exist.  What he didn’t know is this: I picked up the bass guitar from watching a VHS tape my dad had recorded of some Jazz festival in the mid ’90s, of two songs Bela Fleck and the Flecktones played.
After a few brief moments of silence, as I stood in front of my biggest influence, my friend Matt looked at him and said “He’s a really big fan.” I shook his hand, then ran into him later after his show. He signed the pick guard for my prized mid-80’s Fender Jazz bass, and I went on my way.

“The Sinister Minister” is the song that made me want to play the bass. The funky groove, high energy, and that damn bass solo.. From a song that didn’t even have spoken lyrics, is what captivated me to start plucking on a bass.

In fact, here’s the exact video that sparked my obsession:

Now that you’ve seen that… and I really hope you did. Maybe you can understand a little more about me, as a musician.  When I picked up the bass, I wanted to be able to to that.  After years of practice, I haven’t learned all of his tricks, but I’ve taken bits from his style of playing and added it to my own mixed bag of styles to create MY sound.

Here I am, almost 18 years later, hailed (not by myself, mind you) as one of the best bass players in the area. People know who I am, and I have a local “following.” It’s a weird concept to me, because I’ve never really thought of myself as that.

Aside from being a great musician, Wooten is also a great human being. He’s very in tune with nature, one of THE most modest people you would ever want to meet, and very kind.  He speaks to young musicians in a way that will comfort them as they come into their own. One of my favorite quotes of his, that I use all the time “You are never more than a half step from a wrong note” encourages the idea that if you DO hit a sour note, just bend it up or slide down and you’re in the ‘right key’ Now, from a young aspiring musicians perspective, that’s some impressive advice.

His website had (may still have) some of his lessons, when I started really beginning to understand how the bass worked.  A couple were sort of life-lesson sort of things, but a few were very deep into his methodology of the bass guitar.  The one that changed my ideas on the bass forever was the “Thump, Hammer, Pluck” Technique, which took me forever to understand (mind  you I was 13-14 years old trying to decipher the knowledge of a life-time musician.   The idea that you don’t have to play every strike of a note with one hand, is the basis.  Thump – to strike a string with your thumb, Hammer – to hammer a note, and Pluck – to pull a string or ‘pop’ it with one of your other fingers. I would spend hours at school drumming triplets out on my desk in this fashion: Right thumb, any finger on my left hand, then my right index or middle finger. This eventually evolved into the tump,hammer, pluck,pluck, or the thump, hammer, thump, pluck.. or any variation of alternate notation… It’s how he plays so fast- with seemingly no effort at all. It’s genius ideas like that, that have made him the number one bass player in the world.

I hope you’ve learned a little bit today about music, its influences on me, and why I’m so passionate about something other people tend to overlook.

Thank you, so much, for your time! Hope you all have a wonderful day!
-Joe