Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Snow Day That Wasn't

So we got a foot of snow in the DMV. It was really a short lived snow storm but thurnder dropping nearly 4 inches an hour makes a nice impression.

So a foot of snow. All schools are closed and most everyone is taking it easy today. It's a good fire, movie, and bottle of wine type of day. I've been waiting for a snow day pretty much all winter. It's been a little disappointing to this point. But we got a foot of snow. Awesome!

Well... Not awesome. I'm at work. The price of being a "full-time musician" is that I had to move back in with my parents. And although I'm working part time right now, I still live with the family.

So my brothers went out last night around 9 when the snow was slowing down and shoveled the driveway and around the cars. Thanks bros...

Also my dad called a guy to come and plow the rest of our driveway (it's half a mile long) and he showed up at 10:30 last night. So the driveway was cleared. I let my car heat up for 20 minutes and pushed the snow off my car and it was off to work for me.


At least the snow is pretty to look at.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Science of Sleep

As I sit here and blankly stare at my computer screen in my current zombie like state, I think to myself, “What did I do to deserve this?”

Ok not really. But I’m freaking tired. I haven’t had a night of enough hours of sleep since… oh let’s say December 1st. To give you an idea on how much sleep I need, if I could stay in bed and just sleep for an entire week, I might be close to making up the hours I’ve missed.

And all this does is led me to question how I ever was able to function on 2-4 hours of sleep every day. I used to go to bed at 12:30-1:00 every night and wake up at 5:30 and, while tired, painfully so on some days, I could function close to normal. Yeah, my eye twitched and I drank coffee like it was water, but I could sit at my desk, put my headphones on and work (mostly) hard.

But I spent 10 months in 2010 as a full time musician (aka jobless). And while I didn’t always get the 8 hours of sleep my body needs (Alarm was set for 8 so I could wake up and run) I could afford myself time to rest, or get extra sleep when I was lacking. If I woke up early on Sunday for church, I good just stay in bed an extra hour or 2 on Monday. And who doesn’t need more sleep on a Monday?

I also was able to go back to sleep, I technique that had escaped me sometime during my high school years. I used to have issues getting to and getting back to sleep. If I got a late night phone call that woke me up, I wasn’t going back to bed. If there was some loud thunder, I wasn’t going back to bed. Awful, I know. But over those 10 months this wasn’t the case. I had to let the cat out of my room every morning to use the litter box and eat but I could walk to the door, open it up and then go right back to bed. Now that I’m working though, I let the cat out, I’m up too.

And I know you’re asking, Bryan why don’t you just leave your door cracked so that cat can come and go as she pleases? It’s a simple answer, when the sun comes up in the morning, even that small crack in the door will let in enough sun light to disturb my sleep. It sounds dumb, and it probably is, but hey, when you have sleeping issues like I do you take care to try and provide the best available sleep possible. And to those who wonder why I just don’t wait to let the cat out until I get up at 7:15, she’s loud and her cries to leave the room have already woken me up.

This morning I even got up at 6:30 of my own accord, without her prompting, and let her out. I hate that my body has learned when I need to be up.

So why am I so tired now? Is it because I’m older and my body is demanding more sleep? Is it because my current job isn’t stimulating enough and I’m just bored? Have I gotten too used to the cushy musicians lifestyle? Whatever the reason, I’m tired of being a zombie and I’d like to spend more time in bed.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Nothing Like That New Album Smell

I want to talk about music for a second. More importantly I want to talk about digital music and how the internet has changed the music industry. So prepare to be bored.

Not really. I actually want to talk about my relationship with the internet and digital music.

I have a love/hate relationship with mp3s. I always have. There is an upside and downside to being able to download music. Let's start at the beginning.

Napster was awesome. It was the first time that free music was so easily available. It was the first time when the internet was finally working productively in my life.

And then I found out I hated Napster. I didn't hate getting music from Napster, I loved that. What I hated was how Napster changed my music buying experience.

I'm a huge Zao fan. When they put out their self-titled album, I had downloaded most or all of that album on Napster and enjoyed it very much. And then I got a pay check, went to Record and Tape Traders and bought the album. But having already heard the album, I wasn't excited. Sure, I put the record into my cd player and listened to it while I drove home but the excitement of hearing the album start to finish for the first time was gone. And I realized that by downloading songs off the album on Napster at different times and listening to them out of order, killed my previous oy in buying cds and listening to them in my car for the first time.

Now I have positive memories of digital music. The late great was a great way to browse by genre and check out and find new artist. Epitonic used to be an amazing site to discover great indie and post rock bands.

But I still live in the place of having no excitment buying records. To start, there are no real stores that are music stores anymore (Record and Tape Traders and Tower being out of business) and even Best Buy has cut back their music and dvd second BIG time. Whenever I buy a cd now it's something I already own a digital copy of and have heard. I'm just padding my cd collection by buying albums.

All of this to say, I miss the days of buying a huge stack of cds and getting home to listen to them for the first time.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

It's 2011... No seriously, 2010 is over.

And being 2011, it means we only have one more year until we all perish. Ok, technically two because it won't be December of 2012 when the world ends and scientist have admitted defeat in trying to read the Myna calendar and they might have been wrong about that whole 2012 thing.

Anyway, we're a week into 2011 and I feel that's just fashionably late enough for me to do some 2010 reflecting.

I could talk about the lows of 2010 but that's depressing and the poor reader might reconsider living if I post a downer blog so no sad news or bad things. Only good vibes and fast times.

In 2010 I...

Quit my job. While that might not seem like a positive, those on in the inside know that this was a much-needed move. While I at times loved my job and learned a lot and created a lot of stuff I'm super proud (and created a ton of stuff I'm extremely NOT proud of) it was time for me to move on. Audio books weren’t my long-term career goal. The company was struggling financially and a normal days work environment would make most people run for the hills. So after much prayer and consideration I quit.

In 2010 I...

Spent the year as a full time musician. The downside to quitting your job is if you don't find a job, you have major issues. And I have still yet to find a job pertaining to audio or recording of any kind. I'm just too awesome. The upside is sometimes you find a way to make money doing what you love. And I was able to keep myself a float by playing music. It's like a dream come true (minus having to live with my parents).

So I put out a record in February called My Heart to Heaven (and if you don't own it, you should! You can download it for free. That record and a handle of shows have helped me make some money, not a whole lot, but it's been a small beacon of financial help. Most of musical conquests involved playing drums. Seriously, making money playing drums is sweet. I also got to mix a handful of cool tracks throughout the year.

In 2010 I...

Grew a freaking sweet beard. It was awesome. 4 months of bearded glory. It had been 4 years since I had grown a beard and growing one in 2010 made me realize that having a bear and not having to shave it awesome.

In 2010 I...

Started covering the Caps for Washington Sports Jam. It's less glamorous then it sounds but I love it. I mostly just live tweet the games I'm already watching (follow us on twitter. @dcsportsjam) I've been on two podcasts breaking down the Caps and hopeful the boys will expand their blog coverage to include my Washington Capitals commentary (so I won't have to bog this blog down with it).

In 2010...

The Caps failed in the playoffs again. Ok, so I am going to be sad for a little bit. After destroying everybody in the regular season and winning the Presidents Trophy by a few billion points, the Caps were bounced by Canadians in the first round of the playoffs. It was stunning and awful. Hopefully 2011 will yield better results.

In 2010 I...

Got to spend a lot of time with my awesome girlfriend Carley! Being a full time musician (aka out of work) means you have more free time then the rest of the working world. Which means I had all sorts of time to spend with my girlfriend, and I did!

It's not a whole lot but you have to focus on what was awesome and learn from and move from what was less then awesome.

2011, prepare to be conquered.