Monday, April 30, 2007

Dead and Sleeping....

I woke up early this morning. Not as early as I had planned, but 30 minutes earlier than normal, which is an achievement for me. Typically I wake up around 6:45 in order to leave for work at 7:05. It doesn't leave much room for error, but I've never had much motivation to wake up any earlier.

Lately it feels as if my life is alternating between 2 states of conciousness;

dead and sleeping....

I wake up in the morning with nothing to look forward to but performing the day's tasks. They give me no mental stimulation beyond that which is required to perform at a minimum level. I trudge through the day the best I can, and by the evening, when I may actually have time to do something I enjoy such as spending time with my fiance', writing music, or reading a book, I have no mental capacity left. Even these times are few and far between as every night seems to be filled with more and more to do.

I realize it sounds as if I live a drab existance and am generally unhappy with life, but this is not the case. I'm simply exhausted, and I feel that the problem lies in my inability to live up to one of my own mottos; "Everything in moderation."

Life can easily be consumed with mundane tasks that this world deems important. Society seems to be screaming at us that it is our responsibility to make as much money and have as many "things" as possible. To live up to this standard we give up dreams to work high paying jobs we don't like so that we can buy things we don't need to impress a society that doesn't know what's best for us. I must admit that despite my efforts for simplification, I have fallen prey to this mindset.

My biggest err in judgement actually happened slowly over a long period of time. Only now that it has consumed my life am I able to see how it first began to creep in. In his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey explains how everyone is centered around 7 or 8 traits that truly define them as a person and in order to remain balanced, they must actively seek to nurture those traits and not become distracted with the frivolous things that life is constantly throwing at us. For me I would say the top 4 things that would define me are my relationship with my fiance', an artistic nature, an introspective mindset and the goals of an entreprenuer. The problem arose when I started replacing the activities that nourished these traits with activities that nourished mere busy-ness. When I started working as a stock broker on top of working at Starbucks, all the time I used to spend reading, writing and thinking was spent studying for my Series 7 exam and working an extra 30 hours a week. The stress of the job and the hours I spent at work distanced me from my fiance' and strained the relationship. I became less introspective, less artistic and increasingly focused on the bottom line. As soon as the bottom line was my focus, I began losing the joy I use to experience day to day. The music that used to make me feel accomplished now made me feel like a failure because I was not yet able to make a living at it. The obsession to make a full time living as a musician soon started straining relationships in the band which in turn conjured more feelings of failure.

My life has become a routine which services someone else's goals, ignores what is important to me, and is starting to increasingly diminish my health and happiness...

...but I woke up early this morning. I read un-interrupted for the first time in a long time. I watched the sun come up and sipped my coffee at my leisure and not between words on a phone call. I reflected for the most refreshing 20 minutes I've had in months. I look forward to waking up in the morning tomorrow, even earlier. I'll watch the sunrise again, read more CS Lewis, and enjoy my coffee. I'm still not going to like coming to work, but I'm hoping that if I can at least start to focus on what is important and needed in my life rather than the rat race, my dislike for my job will slowly be replaced by the joy that I will be allowing to resurface.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thought of the day

"...what people fail to realize is that all achievements are eventually surpassed, records are broken, reputations fade, and tributes are forgotten... you were not put on earth to be remembered, you were put here to prepare for eternity."

I don't have the time these days to actually read the books, and it bothers me immensely, but I do get small blurbs of time to read others' thoughts who have had time to read the books. So thanks Stephen for today's inspiration.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Currently Listening too...

So here's what I'm listening too the most the last month or so. Yeah, I realize it's not the coolest, most indy playlist you may have ever seen, but I enjoy it. When I actually have time to seek out unknown bands, I'll start doing it, but until then, I guess I'll just have to keep listening to what's semi-popular.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

2007: Year of the Rock

and I don't mean AC/DC.

In the last 2 months, 2 of my good friends have gotten engaged, and my best friend for the last 7 years was married this weekend. I used to be terrified of marriage, and honestly still was until Chad was married this weekend. It's probably a good thing finally overcame this considering I myself am getting married in September.

It used to be that I was so pre-occupied with the band that any interference to me felt like the death of the band. I remember seeing my old band instructor shred on guitar and tell stories about touring, and I asked him why he quit. He said he met his wife and wanted to spend as much time with her as he could. Then there was my guitar instructor, who was on his 3rd wife. He said he'd known hundreds of guitarists who had been ruined by a woman, because women always want their hand held and that doesn't leave you enough hands for your guitar. So I hardened myself. Nothing was going to get in the way of my guitar playing.

Then I met Emily. Emily was a 5'10" model with blonde hair and green eyes. Suddenly my hardness melted away and soon I forgot about my guitar and my ambition to be a rocker. She didn't ask me too, I just did. I made plans to go back to school, become a pilot, and buy an engagement ring. Then she dumped me. After a year and a half she dumped me. It hurt, but I wasn't scarred. I did however make the decision to never let a woman get in the way again.

I soon dropped out of school and started the Livingstons and lived a miserably happy life. No attachments, just the music. It was great and lonely, just like I thought it should be. I was content, perfectly content... until Mindy came into the picture. It was my summer of 80 concerts and there was one week where I saw her at 4. I later made of fool of myself in front of her at church and she avoided me for months, but then, at one of our shows, she talked to me, and we ended up talking all night. It was great, but not enough for her. She refused to date me for an entire year. Finally after a lot of hard work, she finally came around and accepted my plea to be my girlfriend. That was 2 and a half years ago.

I haven't been an easy man to love. I didn't melt for her like I melted for Emily. I was still cold, hard and career focused. I was afraid, even after the year long persuit, that she would some how try to take everything away from me. I knew her, and knew that she wouldn't, but I had hardened myself so completely that it took a lot to soften me up again. For some reason though, she stuck by me. I really don't know why. I'm not that good looking, I'm kinda boring and am really just mediocre all around. Beyond that she's just way too good for me to begin with. But for some reason she has stuck by me and she's made me realize, that despite what I was "taught" in the past, a good woman can help you on your journey and not just get in the way.

I look forward to this big step that my friends and I are all taking. I'm sure it won't make things any easier, but it's not like anything has ever come easy with this band. Who knows, maybe the women that are joining our ranks will be the ones who finally push us hard enough get where we're going. Maybe us guys aren't tough enough by ourselves. We'll just have to see.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Well, if there is any class to criminals, we seemed to have acquired gentleman criminals. The police found the trailer yesterday and it was just fine, save the equipment that was stolen from inside. The thieves did in fact leave us the merch and lights which was thoughtful of them. If I ever meet them, I'll thank them for that right after I give them a special, personal thanking for the gear that is still missing.

We'll consider the merch that we recovered "miracle merch" or "born again" merch; delivered from the hands of evil.

I'm starting to re-consider my neighborhood. For the first month I lived there, there was not a single problem, but then the trailer was stolen, and then some creepy guy parked his car outside my house and sat there for an hour while my fiance was inside alone and just looked at my house. Then on Monday, as I was rolling in from work, I noticed a brand new Tahoe parked out in the street that had minutes before been attacked with a baseball bat, glass everywhere, tires slashed. There was another car nearby with a brick through the rear windshield and a bunch of people yelling at each other. I called the cops for the 2nd time in 3 days. I may end up flipping the house and getting the heck out.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Friday the 13th

So the luck continues.

Our trailer was stolen with about $13,000 worth of gear inside.

They didn't get anything of mine, but that doesn't really matter much. It still sucks.

Drama Queen aside, I can safely say that Friday, April 13th 2007 was the worst day that this life has ever dealt me.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

All Sponsered Up

Well I finally got the chance to plug in my new amp, and I must say, even under less than ideal conditions, it freaking screams. Most of my equipment is in the trailer in Lincoln though, including my Les Paul, so I haven’t really been able to tweak it yet, but that will happen Saturday. I’ll give you the juicy details when I have them.

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I’m officially the only person in Nebraska to own a Splawn amp. I guess that makes me the spokesman. I’m hoping I can get the news out and maybe make Scott a few more sales around the area and try to make my sponsorship worth his while.

I’m now officially sponsored by Curt Mangan strings as well. That’s pretty cool. They’re better strings then I’ve been playing, and they’re about half price now that I’m sponsored.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

A Strange Occurance

So something happened today that hasn't happened in a long time. It used to be that I would be working my manufacturing job and my brain would be so bored that I would just start writing compositions in my head; full songs, lyrics, chords, melodies and everything. Even though I hated the job, it was always good if I needed a song cause I was inspired every day. Now that I work in a job that uses every part of my brain for 10 hours a day, the inspiration is rarely there. There’s no brain power left. Well today, since I wasn’t taking calls, my mind started to wander and the next thing I knew I was singing a melody line in my head and couldn’t shake it. It was a good feeling. I’m going home tonight to write it all down and then I’ll decide if it’s worth presenting to the band. Whether it is or not, at least I was finally inspired. Soon I’ll be back on the phone and the inspiration will be blocked out once again, but eventually I’ll be “simplifying” and that should give me more room for some thought power again.

I got the amp last night but due to circumstances I haven’t been able to set it up or play it yet. That comes tonight. There will be pics up soon. I can’t wait.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Gathering Dust

One thing I’ve never been able to do well is stand still. Not necessarily in church or at school, or for a picture, but with where I’m at in my life. This year has been a huge year of change, and most would consider my life to be full steam ahead. I work full time as a stock broker, I just got engaged and bought my own house, not to mention driving thousands of miles and playing show after show with my band. I seem to be living the American Dream, yet I can’t help but to feel discontent. I’m moving so fast that it feels strangely like I’m standing still. I don’t have enough time for my fiancé, to write music, to practice, to do anything I enjoy. I’m exhausted most of the time and any ounce of creativity I may have started out the day with was burned out trying to keep a client happy on the phone. I seem to be striving only to meet the bottom line and I don’t know how much longer I can stand it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll remain responsible regardless, but I feel a great need for simplification. I’m looking forward to finding it.

On a lousy note, I’ve been trying since Friday to get my new Splawn Amp from Fed Ex. It has been a thorn. Maybe by Wednesday I’ll have a happy story for you all about the amp that changed my life.

On a positive note, I haven’t had to take phone calls the last few weeks and have listened to probably 100 new bands while testing systems at work. Can anyone say inspiration?!? Not to mention I started playing piano again yesterday. I swear I’m going to learn that instrument if it’s the last thing I do.