Sunday, February 28, 2010

Japan 1

What a day!  We started off by visiting Nijo castle.  It was Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa's Kyoto residence.  The surrounding garden was breathtaking.  I can't even do it justice if I try to describe it.  The castle itself was really cool.  The Shogun's security system was pretty awesome. The floors deliberately make noise when you walk on them.  They're call nightingale floors because they squeak like birds.  it actually works surprisingly well.
The Heian shrine was also a highlight.  The garden was gorgeous. Each sectioned was a picturesque backdrop for a samurai movie.  We felt like we were walking through a video game.
The most amazing part of the day was getting to sit in at an Iaido class in this giant budo hall attached to the Heian shrine.  The sensei was incredible.  He also gave us a quick sword lesson and even let Steve hold his sword!  A local Japanese man who was translating for us told us what a rare honor this was.  The sensei and all of his students were very friendly, but also very skilled and deadly.  They wielded the swords as if they were weightless.  It was beautiful to watch.
We're having no trouble getting around or communicating. The people here are very friendly.  We were also lucky to have good weather all day.

There are lots of Tsunami warnings on the news, but think that's going to be hitting Kyoto, so there's no need  to worry for the time being.

We're off to a sit on the floor kaiseki dinner now.  I'll write again when I can,


Saturday, February 6, 2010


This is the last day of my 20s.  It's both awesome and awful at the same time.  It's a strange feeling.  Anyway, here's some stuff that's on my mind.
1.  AT&T commercials.  These are probably the worst commercials I've ever seen.  As a verizon customer, they actual anger me and make me hate AT&T.  Before, I had no hatred for them, I was just a customer of a different provider, now I hate them because they're telling me I'm stupid.  I'm naive for believing that Verizon has better coverage.  I'm uncool for using a droid instead of an iPhone, and I'm utterly crippled by the fact that I can't talk on the phone and surf on the web simultaneously.  Now, I'm not really a Verizon fanboy, but these Luke Wilson commercials are really going to turn me into one.  Whoever is coming up with these ads is ridiculous.
2.  Downsizing.  As my 30s approach, it's time to make a few changes to the gear situation.  I having my rack with me on gigs, but after tonight's gig at the red lion, I think I really need to consider going a lot smaller.  I'll keep the rack setup for gigs where I can actually get use out of it, but I need to rethink everything.  I don't know if the answer is going back to a combo, or maybe doing something like a floor pod.  I gotta make some changes.  I'm tired of carrying all this crap with me.  My current rig is 2 racks, 2 bags, and a cabinet.  Other guys bring and amp and a guitar.  I used to do that.  It was cool, but I got caught up in effects and advanced switching.  I actually have a lot of fun trying to nail the sounds I hear on records or in my head.  It's probably my favorite thing about playing live.  But tonight for example, my foot controller broke, and I couldn't do squat with my rig.  It still sounded good, but I couldn't switch channels or add effects.  It was just frustrating to think that I lugged all that gear around and I couldn't even really use it.   I will be getting an alternate rig with smaller and lighter gear, very soon.  When I figure out what that rig is, I will post it online.
3.  Earplugs.  I have ear plugs. I put them in my ears. I sing 2 notes and take them out. It's bad. I get really angry with myself for not keeping them in.  On BOC gigs, I have in ear monitors.  Those are amazing.  They're like ear plugs with a little audio added inside for the stuff that the ear plugs cut out.  I have a choice to make.  Wear earplugs on every gig, or bring in ears to every gig.  It seems like ear plugs are the inexpensive and sensible solution, but I'll probably end up using the in ears on every gig.  I'm an idiot.
4. Star Trek Online.  Ann Marie got me Star Trek Online. It's a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG.)  I used to play these kinds of games a lot, but I stopped when I realized it was getting out of hand.  After a day of playing this game, I have that fuzzy feeling like someone just draped a warm and soft blanket over you.  I swear that these MMORPGs stimulate a different part of the brain than other games.  I can play Grand Theft Auto for an hour and be satisfied, but this game is different.  After 4 hours of an MMORPG, you just want to play more and more.  They are definitely addicting.  My dad plays an MMORPG for at least 6 hours a day, every day.
Going to bed now.
good night,