The Black Friday Bloat

FullSizeRender (2)So here I am, relaxing in my easy chair and typing away. It’s been over a week since I’ve checked in here at and I have to admit it feels weird. I can’t remember the last time I went a week without writing. Now, I have done some writing since then but nothing I could post at the moment. But I bet it’s been a couple weeks since I’ve just sat and put thoughts to digital paper. I feel like I’ve been lacking in coherent ideas. Work has drained me, to be honest. I think that has a lot to do with it. I’ve also been off work all week, so in-between working out, reassembling my pedalboard in the studio, preparing for the great Thanksgiving feast, and getting the house decorated for Christmas I haven’t really had time to sit and reflect.

Well, it’s time for that reflection thing.

So last weekend, my daughter took part in an Honors Band Concert. They take the best from several schools and the kids get together and practice all day on a Saturday. Then on that Sunday they perform a concert for the parents, grandparents, and complete strangers that could just walk on in to the school. She did this last year and it was great. This year, the kids again did a great job. It was held once again at the Dekalb High School auditorium, located in the town of Auburn. After the show the wife and I took our daughter out for dinner before heading home. This was the beginning of my week-long vacation from the pit I call work. Not too shabby.

On Monday I put together my own, homemade pedalboard for my guitar pedals. I’ve wanted to get one for sometime, but just couldn’t justify spending the money on one. It seemed like it wouldn’t be that difficult to build one myself, attach a power strip to it, and adhere some kind of covering. So I bought a 36x16x5/8 in piece of pine. I stapled some non-slip covering on it, and then drilled a couple holes where I ran cable ties through. I then attached a power strip with the cable ties. Boom! My own pedal board. The week before I headed to Fort Wayne to pick up my wife from the airport. She had just returned from a business trip. Before I picked her up I stopped at Sweetwater Sound and picked up an MXR DC Power Brick that would power all my small pedals. I also bought an MXR Carbon Copy Delay pedal from a guy I know that works at Sweetwater. My Boss Digital Delay has been on a slow decline for some time now, so this was a perfect time to snag a new one, and an analog delay to boot. I’m happy to report that on Tuesday I reassembled the new and improved pedal board and it is AMAZING! I haven’t had all my pedals hooked up like this in years. Now I can easily build another when I continue to add to the stompbox arsenal.

Shoegazin’, babe. Shoegazin’.

Another great thing about my trip to Sweetwater(and my wife’s flight’s delay), was that I had time to mess with a slew of incredible analog synths. I loved playing with the Moog Sub Phatty. It was a blast, even though I had no idea what I was doing. I found one synth that was in my price range and had some amazing sounds and was user-friendly. I think this could be an amazing thing for me to pick up in my middle age. Instead of learning another language, taking up martial arts or jogging, or getting into sports cars, I just need to pick up an analog synth and make that my middle age goal: learn and conquer that instrument.

Anyways, that’s just what I was thinking.

Wednesday was spent cleaning the house, baking pies and rolls, and getting the Christmas decorations out. When the kids got home that was their main objective: decorate the tree. As I get older the decorating of the house becomes more and more of a chore(sorry mom and dad for all those Christmas’ I whined about getting the tree out…I get it now.) But not to stunt the kids’ excitement for the season I comply and get it all out. They had a blast. My eleven-year old daughter made cake pops for Thanksgiving as well. If you don’t know what cake pops are, just google it. They are quite tasty when done correctly. She does them well.

Thursday was Thanksgiving here in the States. It’s a day we give thanks for people and things that we should give thanks to all year round, but I digress. Anymore I feel like a hypocrite for celebrating most of the big holidays(Christmas, Easter, Arbor Day), as I’m not a religious person. But, like my parents did for me, I will keep an open mind and a closed mouth and allow my kids to figure out the idiocy of these holidays for themselves. If you raise your kids right and they have enough common sense they’ll figure these things out for themselves. As it stands, I still enjoy Thanksgiving. Not so much for the whole Pilgrims and Indians getting together for some tasty digs and some awesome NFL goodness, but for the mere fact that it’s a holiday where nothing is expected other than sharing ones home and food with others. It’s that one holiday where we can just appreciate each other’s company. Yesterday was a great day, filled with good food, tasty desserts, many laughs, and enjoying the company of family we don’t see nearly as much as we should. Davis and Coltrane played quietly on the stereo as we hung out and gorged ourselves. We played Apples To Apples, watched some tv, and then cued up Elf to end the evening on. Great times.

As many of you know, today is Black Friday. I could give to craps about it as it’s just kinda gross anymore(hasn’t it always been?) But one aspect of Black Friday I do take part in is Black Friday Record Store Day. For the past two years I’ve gone to my local brick ‘n mortar and bought a couple RSD goodies. This year I wasn’t that impressed with the list to be honest. I didn’t even get up to go when they opened. After a couple cups of coffee and some Christmas shopping via Amazon, I did head into Karma Records to see my friends John, Shane, and Tyler. I ended up snagging the Miles Davis’ The Prestige 10″ LP Collection Volume One and the Flaming Lips Imagene Peise Atlas Eets Christmas. I don’t regret either purchase as they’re both pretty stellar. The Lips album is under the guise of some lost album by a female pianist named Imagene Peise. It’s really just the Lips putting out a strange Christmas record. I didn’t know what to expect when I put the red vinyl on the platter, but what I heard was a strangely pretty Christmas record. It sounds like Vince Guaraldi Trio recording the Peanuts S/T with an Arabic flavor to it. It’s quite lovely. The Davis 10″ collection wasn’t something I was particularly interested in, but once I saw it in the store I had to have it. I’m personally more interested in Davis’ late-60s and early-70s output, so his early Big Band recordings from the early 50s wasn’t really my bag. I’m one record in and it’s really pretty good stuff. Still more in the Big Band style, but it’s a great look into a true artists humble musical beginnings. Plus, the packaging is absolutely wonderful.

So what about the rest of the weekend? Well, come Tuesday I’ll be turning 41. Yep, I’ll be turning a year older. With it, I feel a year wiser and more prepared for what 2015 has to offer me. I’ve learned a lot about limitations, not overdoing it, and just stopping and enjoying the now. Not lurking in the past, or worrying about the future. Just stopping in the moment and breathing. Letting my shoulders sag and my mind wander into the clouds. So since my birthday is in the week, we’re gonna go pick up some New York-style pizza from Milano’s in Elkhart, IN. They’re like 40 minutes away, but it’s worth the drive for carry-out. I’ll probably snag some tasty brew and enjoy the weekend that way.

So that’s that. Hope all is well with you and yours.

paige and claireIMG_1357IMG_1359pietreelips christmasmiles


4 thoughts on “The Black Friday Bloat

  1. Good work on that pedal board, there.
    … and cheers for highlighting this latest Lips release. I’ve been a bit too disconnected to learn this was being released. D’oh.

    Liked by 2 people

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