Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bing, Bang, Boom. Three years down the road and we're still fucked

You break up, you do the friends with benefits thing for a while, and then you realize that whatever you had is broken and cannot be fixed. You call it quits, and you grow apart. After a lot of sleepless nights, and a few angry phone conversations it's end of story, right? Wrong.

When you build a relationship you build a life together, especially when it's long term. Along with this life you build a lot of subconscious reactions and interactions with each other, that, no matter how far down the road, are going to be used whenever you see one another.

Like a relationship, a post-relationship friendship consists of having to work together to find a middle ground where both people can stand confidently and individually. It makes a lot of sense on paper, but it's really tough, and most of the time best left untended since one party is probably not into it... or even aware of these notions.

Bummer... but there's no reason to bum ourselves out about it. The past is the gone. It really sucks that we no longer have anything to say to someone that we once shared many intimate moments with. But really, if we have nothing to say to them, what's the point?

Friday, December 21, 2012

I heart Metal, I heart Wine

Well, it's been a while. It's amazing what being happy with your life does to you. It's kind of crazy what happens when you change who you are, what you do, your lifestyle, ambitions, and pretty much everything under the sun.

Now as I sit on the morning of the apocalypse, I finally have found the ambition to write as myself again. I have been working to take a direction as sort of an indirective 'guiding light' in the path to a greater existence. For lack of a better phrase, I have run into a dead end. I have found I have only traveled so far, and I have much farther to go before I can say more.

I have retreated to living in music, working, and figuring out my next move. It's interesting taking such big leaps, and then taking small steps. I guess that's what life is about, huh?

It's not often, I can be unethical in a social network setting anymore. It not often I can say I enjoy a few strong drinks and being a dumb kid. I can honestly say I miss the fuck out of it. Social and Ethical constraints are a bitch, and finding the balance is really hard.

I like to have a drink, I like to listen to music, and I like to experience life through the eyes of many venues. It's hard to be in the mental health field in your 20's and still do everything you want to do. There's a good reason why I'm where I'm at now, not going head-first into my career, not being incredibly serious. It's because when we're our age, you're not supposed to. We're young and trying to figure it out.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Wine Stained Thoughts of a Twenty-Something

I've been waking up every single morning these past few weeks going "What am I doing with my life?"   There's been many existential thoughts running through my head as of late. "What is life?" or simply "Why?"

Where have my thoughts been running off to? I have been thinking. We are grounded in reality, yet we yearn to escape it every single day. Some of us cope with mood altering substances, some of us 'cope' by becoming depressed. Why do we become depressed? This is a thought that's been running through my head and into the ether constantly.

I have come to the conclusion that depression stems from the want to learn. The need to experience. The drive to get out and see what this world has to offer. We sit at our desks, day in and day out, crunching numbers, helping people that are incapable of helping themselves just so we can get by. Just so we can live in our fucking houses and drive our cars, and live one more day where we can escape this harsh 'reality' that we call our home.

Pessimistic? Yes. But why must we live inside these social norms that we have built around ourselves? If you don't like what you do, then don't do it. Do what you love, what you feel you must be doing.

I feel like this can be a radical, and even detrimental statement to most. We must always do things we don't want to do to live in this place that we have built for ourselves. Is there a reason? Absolutely. You have to make money to live. It sucks.

Make the most of your life. Every single day I've encountered this statement: "I wanted to do this, but life happened." Take a risk, fuck. Everyone that has told this to me is young, ambitious, incredibly talented; and most importantly... educated! There is no reason to piss your life away and wondering what could've been. Stability is enticing, but not necessary. It is only to fit into what our lives have been shaped around. Go to college, get a good job, support your family.

I understand the need; but not the want. I yearn for success, but what does success mean in your eyes?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The expansion of horizons

I don't know about you guys out there, but I've gone through so many musical changes, expansions, and realizations that it could be deemed ridiculous. I never realized how closed-minded that one can be when it comes to music. "Hate" is such a strong word while describing anything, and there are a couple of bands that I always found myself saying "I just don't like their music" and in some scenarios saying "I can't stand (insert band name here)'s music" One of these bands was The Smiths. I just couldn't stand Morrisey's voice. 

Nevermind the fact that The Smith's music has been described as influential for many of my favorite bands; I just didn't get it. 

However, there comes a point in every music lover's (or anybody for that matter) life that you just have to let go and decide to listen to some music objectively. And... Damn. I let go tonight and listened to The Smiths for the first time with an open ear. 

It's good, really good. Like anything and anybody, we are afraid and threatened by something we are unsure of. I've done the same thing with pretty much every band that is considered as one of "my favorites" to date, and I am grateful that I've had so many people around me that gently push me out of my comfort zone and into musical greatness.

So cheers to expanding our musical tastes!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fighting Complacency

This morning as I woke up to go to work, I read possibly the most disturbing and depressing thing that I've ever heard. A few simple words stated as follows: "The key to success is complacency". Uhhh, what the fuck? Who says this? More importantly, who believes this?

This gave me quite the run for my money and got me thinking that I am, indeed, following this utterly disgusting guideline. The idea of doing what I'm not passionate about. Going to work everyday without a fire,  a drive, or any sort of idea about where this is going to take me next. I decided not to go to work today to think and reset.

A few factors are revolving around a rash, and most likely idiotic decision to leave a well paying job, where I like who I work with, have a great support system, and a friendly environment in which I don't mind going to 5 days a week. In all honesty, I have a great job. But to what standards?

Through life's experiences I would consider myself an artist. I know, a lofty statement to say the least. I appreciate making progressive and new music, and I enjoy making art in any medium. Sure I have a nice job with some killer benefits, but the hollow space where you're unable to stay creative has taken a huge toll on happiness, love, and finding more in life.

I had a long, and incredibly real conversation with one of my greatest friends last night about staying happy, and guess where we ended up? Do what you love, and love what you do.

The strive to stay passionate, the want and need to be creative. This is all I want from life. I don't want or need a ton of money. In every sense of the phrase "money does not buy happiness" I have realized this to a greater extent than I knew possible. When you have a truly fulfilling "job" is when you have achieved true happiness. Everyone's cup of tea is different, and finding just the right cup for me is where I'm at. I need a change, I need to thrive.

So complacency doesn't breed success. It breeds, well, complacency.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


The trials and tribulations of life. There are ups, there are downs; and there is inevitably a soundtrack to every single moment. The association of music to feelings plays a much bigger part to our lives than we know. It takes some objective thinking and digging into our day to day lives to realize this and find this pattern; and to see how our musical tastes partner with our feelings.

Our music tastes change throughout our lives, and most of the time this caters to how a song or album attaches itself lyrically and emotionally to meaningful events. I was just happening to be pondering this idea in my head for a number of reasons today.

Today; being my birthday, has been barraged (in a very good way) with many people wishing you the best. A happy, healthy, and joyful year ahead that will be better than the last by at least tenfold. While in many circumstances this may be true, today has seen a little heartache from none other than the opposite sex. It's never fun when communication breaks down, and it's really not fun to get blown off on your birthday; whether it is intentional or not.

Why am I upset? There's really no factual or quantifiable reason; just making plans and having them broken sucks. Especially when you're interested.

Where am I going with this? Well I woke up this morning finding lyrics in songs much more identifiable. Much more close to where "My Heart" is at in the current moment. It's amazing how I thrived on being alone for so long, and now I cringe at the thought of another second of it! Listening to Brand New, Afghan Whigs today it's amazing how identifiable all these subjects are when you're looking for it. Feeling of loss, loneliness, and also being close to someone are all heavy themes in Brand New's music. However I have failed to take these to heart until this very moment when I'm feeling it. While Afghan Whigs lyrical themes are a bit more brash and blunt, the idea is there. I have loved Brand New's music for a long time, but a lot of it was more of the emotion in the actual instrumentation. The lyrics are just great.

I find myself listening to "Jesus" on repeat today for these very reasons. The heartache and emotion that went into that song is incredible; and it's simplicity continues to intrigue me every time.

Enough heartache though, we are almost forgetting the other parts of our lives, the amazing ones! While Brand New plays heavily into that as well, I definitely find my self either attaching to different aspects of the music or reading into lyrics differently. There is definitely much more Blink 182 involved in the mix, and quite a bit more NOFX as well.

I just find it pretty interesting and in fact amazing that our minds will automatically change gears and find different themes in the same songs. Our minds are a crazy thing, and the thought of cracking open and deciphering our own thoughts is one that is a career in itself.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Like a Paintbrush to Paper

Whatever place music plays in our lives, in some capacity we draw inspiration from it. From having a bad day, to having the most incredible day of your life, there is undoubtedly a soundtrack to our experiences.

So what is making or breaking my day?  After a lengthy and trying day of work, there was nothing better to cure my ailments than Thrice's 'Vheissu' which contains the exact amount of heaviness and melody that made me want to go and throw some punches in the mosh pit; not to mention geek out and lament over the fact that Dustin Kensrue can write better melodies than I could ever think of. 

Music is always such a great way to vent how we feel. It's like the comfort food to our feelings, hopes, dreams; and also nightmares. It can get you through the most trying times, but luckily right now music is the soundtrack to a great chapter of my life.

The strangest thing about finding inspiration for writing music has been trying to translate that feeling of happiness without sounding corny and short-handed. It's always been a good way to vent a general dismay for a current situation, but what happens when artists that draw from that unhappiness inevitably become happy? Almost every one of my top artists have been known to be severely depressed, or at least are going through something that permits drawing from poor situations. It seems to create this heavy, almost crushing atmosphere in the music and art that truly translates how the said artist is feeling at the moment.

So I pose the question, does an artist have to be in a shitty situation to create some of the most memorable art? There was a recent story I read ( that brought Vincent Van Gogh's life to light for me. One of the most revered painters of his time, Van Gogh was known to have suffered from depression after being rejected by the love of his life, and suffered increasingly from schizophrenia as he got older; the article leaning towards the notion that when he painted "Starry Night" he was actually painting what he saw. Elliot Smith, one of the most underrated songwriters of our time, was known to suffer from severe depression; and his music painted a picture of that beautifully; however very tragic.

Kurdt Cobain, Jim Morrison, and countless other memorable songwriters suffered from alcoholism and drug addiction with co-occuring depression symptoms.

So why; I ask, does this make for such good art? We have struggled for a long time with trying to channel our emotions and describe what we see, how we feel, and how were dealing with it. It's comforting to know that in some regard, others feel exactly how you do.

Another point is the amount of passion that goes into this fringe of songwriting. When you feel so down and out, and disparaged the amount of heart that goes into making something beautiful is exponentially increased. That paintbrush becomes something more than a paintbrush, those guitar strings also become something much more than steel tuned to EADGBE. They become a an extension of self, an extension of your own eyes into a canvas or into an amp and microphone. For many this can be the ultimate therapy, a complete window into one's soul that can not quite be described but incredibly understood. It's amazing to me to listen to these people speak about their art and how they don't think much of it, it just being something they do on an everyday basis.

To liken music to life in general, out of tragedy and despair often comes the best part of living; or in this case songs. Is it fun? No. But does it pay off? Absolutely. I wouldn't trade any of my bad experiences for an easy life, and I hope none of the amazing artists that created so many amazing things we appreciate today would either. Inspiration can come from the strangest things, but the strangest things can be the best.