Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Procrastination Is My Nemisis

I have been battling procrastination my entire life.  Procrastination wins a lot.  It’s an epic battle.  It’s a more epic battle than Waterloo, Battle of Midway, Battle of Thermopylae, The Alamo, Halger vs. Hearns, Spy vs. Spy, Hatfields vs. McCoys, Rocky vs Drago, Karate Kid vs Blond Kid, Biggie vs Tupac, Wile E. Coyote vs. Road Runner, Gandalf vs that frightening demon thing where he yells “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”

Speaking of Gandalf… I think this epic battle properly illustrates my life long engagement with procrastination.  In this clip here, Balrog (apparently the demon’s name) shows up on the scene like the cops to a  high school keg party.  You know the drill… cops show up…. teens run like hell.  Balrog shows up…. Galdalf’s yells RUN!  At that point, Hobbits, Elves, Men and a Dwarf beat feet like they got warrants… throwing down keg cups and jumping fences. (skip to the 1:00 min mark)

Side Note: Why does some one at the party always turn the music down before they run?  That never made sense to me.   They know it’s a party already!  I think it’s the panic setting in.  Somebody yells “COPS!”... music always goes right down.  It could be the host of the party, but I never stuck around long enough to find out.

Side Side Note: There are three types of Keg Party Hosts:
  • The Buzzkill Host: Sticks around to talk to cops, accepts responsibility for the party (usually has zero fun at his own party.  This guy/girl walks around all night making sure his moms nice dinning room table doesn’t get scratched and turning down the music.  They are the worst party hosts ever.  They usually get grounded for their entire senior year.  After their party The Buzzkill Host never has fun ever again for the rest of their life.)
  • The Best Night/Worst Night of My Life Host This person is a total newbie for keg party hosting.  They usually get way too drunk, way too fast.  At some point in the night, they have some type of degrading sexual experience.  This happens right before they pass out in their mom’s bathroom in a pile of their own puke. Ten minutes later the cops always show up.
  • The Businessman Host:  This kid is making some cash today.  This is the most experienced party host by about 10 car lengths.  He will host the best party you’ve ever been to.  His parties have the loudest music, the most beer, the coolest and most sexy people. You’ll never forget this party… ever.  $5 a cup if you want to drink and he’s profiting $400 bucks tonight.  This kid never sticks around for the cops.  He’s out of the door faster than you.  What does he care if the crusiers show up, he’s going to blame the party on his little brother anyway?  His name is always Scott.

The other thing that cracks me up is the 3 or 4 people who don't run out of the house.  Those are always the kids who get arrested.  If you don’t know to run when someone yells “Cops!” then:

  • a) you’ve never been to a keg party or “Keggah” ( what people from Boston call ‘em)
  • b) you may have and injury that prevents you from running (understandable)
  • c) you really want to get arrested

I lost a shoe once I ran from the cops so hard.  I walked the rest of the night around with one shoe.  It’s cool, I found “The Business Man Host” and he gave me a ride home… I had to throw him $5 buck for gas though.

(Back to Gandalf)

Gandalf knows the evil of Balrog and turns and runs.  And wouldn’t you??? What the F is that thing???  

He knows he needs to get to perfect spot to make his stand against Balrog.  He makes it the bridge and forces the others to go on. 

Another Side Note: Actually this part in the movie makes no sense….  How do they actually outrun Balrog?  Ain’t he like 150 feet tall?   One of his steps is like 30 strides for a hobbit.  How tall is hobbit like 3’5”?  That’s a 50 to 1 ratio.  Come on Peter Jackson… its called Math.  

So at one point Gandalf decided F this…..  I’m making my stand!  He turns on the bridge, slams his magic staff down and yells “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”  (the nerd in me gets the chills every time I see that).

Balrog represents the procrastination that lives inside me.  Some days it’s a150 feet tall and the scariest fire whip wielding magma demon you ever saw… and some days it’s the size of a Hobbit.  I don’t always win… Some days I let the hot magma demon totally torture me and pick out my eyes with his gigantic lava claws.   Some days he roasts me and lashes me with his fire whip. 

But some days….

Some days you got to get sick of running and make your stand.  Some days you got to turn around like Ajax, from The Warriors, and fight the Baseball Furies because you're “Sick of running from these wimps!” (Ajax is such a bad ass!)

Some days I’m like Gandalf. I turn, make my stand, and fight him with all the white magic I got.   I punch and wrestle and roll around on the ground.  I fight so hard I loose my breath.  I fight so hard my belly gets hot and turned around like I’m gonna puke.  Those are they days I win. 

One day I will get procrastination, my archenemy, and send him to the abyss.  I will emerge victorious and go from Grey to White like Gandalf did.  Then my magic will be limitless.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Scheduled Cuddle Time

I remember sitting in work staff meetings and looking at the written agenda with distain.  I would listen in horror as my boss ran through every item.  The agenda items never changed in these meetings.  Our program director would just rewrite the same agenda from the week before with a few changes.  The problem was he would force himself to find something to talk about on every item.  This happened even if we all knew there was nothing to update.  It was painful and a waste of our time. 

I began to hate agendas.  It made me want to improvise on everything.   I began to really dislike people who had to do everything in order… never deviating from their plan, even if things when drastically wrong.  These people exist….  They roam among us. 

The funny part is… most of these people get things done.  Even though it can be painful to look at agenda items and set schedules…  they promote productivity.

Today I put my foot down… I’m not going to let myself slack off any longer.   Everyday I ask myself, did I really work towards the things that I find important today?  Where did my time go?  Did I accomplish what I set out to do?

Today I made my first set schedule.  It was interesting because I had to completely change my feelings on agendas and schedules.  I had to stay disciplined and I had to make sure I stayed on task and on time.

The whole thing was a little comical, especially because I scheduled a 15 minute cuddle session with my girlfriend.  She laughed but seemed excited that my secretary was able to fit her in to my busy schedule.  Turns out that 15 minute block between “Practice Harmonica” and “Lunch” was a perfect transition. 

Well its 11:10 and I scheduled bedtime for 11pm…  So time to sign off.  I wonder how long this “New Me” will last?   I’m going to schedule 5 minutes to think about this tomorrow.

PS Even Johnny Cash made agendas. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Dear Music Lovers & Drunk People,

Dear Music Lovers & Drunk People,

Let me start by telling you that I love you. 

*Side Note: I learned in many romantic relationships that the previous statement is never a good thing. Bottom line: You f*cked up. There is now a 97% chance there is going to be a BUT that follows somewhere in the next 30 seconds…. Now, interestingly enough, where that inevitable “BUT” appears will determine just how badly you f*cked up. If they go on to tell you how much they love you… then you f*cked it up bad. If they immediately drop the tide changing “but,” then you just kinda f*cked up and may even be able to bull shit your way out of it.

I love making you dance, I love making you bob your head, I even love that you’re drunk and having a good time.  I know… It’s Friday and you’ve worked hard all week.  I know this and love that about you.  It's so great that you are now enjoying our music with such vigor that you think you own the world…….  BUT….  We need to talk about a few things.  We need a little "Pow Wow," music fans and inebriated people. Just you and I.

I just want to give you a heads up about something you should never ever do when attending a live music show….  No matter how much fun you’re having.


  • Jump up on stage in the middle of a set and ask a musician to let you play their instrument/sing on the microphone
  • Jump behind the drums when the band is on break and start banging away like somebody just requested Moby Dick or any other cool ass drum solo.
  • Grab the mic while the band is on break to make announcements of any kind, unless there is a fire or aliens are attacking us like in the movie Independence Day.
  • Demand a song request.  Simply write all requests on a $100 bill and slip it into tip jar or the singer’s hand… works almost every other time.

I know you’re having fun but a musician’s instrument and equipment is their passion.  They spend countless hours practicing and honoring the music that comes out of it.  They don’t want their music or instrument to be disrespected by any uninvited guests.

Things you would never consider doing:
  • Walking on to a construction site and asking the crane operator to step out of the cab so you could try it out
  • Asking your dentist if you could borrow the drill because “That sounds like fun, can I try?”
  • Walking up to a police officer and asking if it's ok if you relieve him of his traffic directing job
You would never try or even think about trying this.

Last night I witnessed a drunk, twenty- something girl walk on to the stage, mid set, and ask a percussionist if she could bang on his drums.  The girl didn’t even wait for an answer and started banging away.  He put a sudden stop to “amateur hour” and shook his head in disgust and sent her away.  She walked off the stage shocked and confused.  You could see the “Why was he so mean?” look written across her face. 

This is the girl in the video below.  She's the one dancing with the giraffe.
Hopefully this letter finds you, drunk Solana Beach twenty- something.  Please come back to see more live music… because I do enjoy your enthusiasm, but please… keep your hands to yourself.



PS If you want to know how blues and reggae mix watch this video, music by Hazmatt featuring Jimmy Zollo on guitar and yours truly on harp:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Reggae Blues?

Reggae Blues?

Could that be a genre? 

Recently I started "sitting in" with this reggae band named Hazmatt.  They play reggae but more of the rebel sounding reggae… more tripping edgy reggae with long drawn out songs that have reverb on the guitars and long dark bass lines. 

It’s been fun and I always appreciated good reggae bands because its music that has feeling.  Reggae and blues are some of the most emotional music you will hear.  I think they could be cross-pollenated to make music dripping with feeling.   

Tonight I’m going to play with Hazmatt at a Solana Beach bar named Saddle Bar.  This show is in prep for a bigger show next Saturday.  That show will be at the Belly Up and most likely will be jammed with people.  Hazmatt is opening up for Common Sense, a San Diego based band who have a large following. What an opportunity to do something cool at such a great San Diego Venue.  There have been lots of great harmonica players to step on the stage at The Belly Up… but how many of them are playing with a reggae band?   I may be the only one.