One Word: Katahdin

“When do we start? ;)”

…the text that started it all.  The one that meant that there would be mere hours between me and :: pauses :: A Whole Lot of pain!

See, my friend Ed has been climbing the beast that is Mount Katahdin for about ten years or so.   I’ve always wanted to go, but I was either never free when training time was going on, or I just didn’t have the guts to “pull the trigger”.  Over the last few years I’ve been slowly building the cahones to make this happen though.  But like any “extreme challenge” in life that first step is a doosie and this sure as hell was no exception.

I don’t know what it is.  I mean I have jumped out of a plane at over 10,000 feet so this should have been an easy choice right?  Well as I look back upon skydiving that first step was actually pretty easy…Sure, once you’re up in the air, there is no turning back; but the actual first step was only a step onto a plane, something that I’ve done many many times.   Even the actual jump out of the plane was easy  :: pauses :: although that was more about the instructor telling  me that we were going on three, counting to three, but subtly only rocking forward twice before hurling us both through the sky Johnny Utah style,,, but I digress!

There were really two things that made the choice to climb Katahdin easier.  The first was knowing that my friend Wade did it.  I didn’t really consider him to be much more or less fit than I, and I figured that if he can do it so can I.  And then when I recently saw some pictures of another friend of mine dominating some massive peak…. the text had to be sent.

So there I was in the middle of the first of three training sessions to prepare me to climb what has been hailed as the most difficult climb east of the Mississippi.  Barely able to move my legs at times, and just feeling what can only be described as almost a frustration that it was taking all that effort to move over a rock that some 3 year old could climb over with ease…when my dreams were almost dashed… See I got a little more insight into that trip with Wade.  Turns out that it did not go smoothly at all!  A third of the way up the mountain Wade had drunk all the water, and Wade’s feet were so blistered that as the were coming down every thousand feet or so Wade had to take his socks off and ring out the blood.  :: gulps to himself ::

Well, after 4 hours of climbing I had finished the training, gone about 35% of the distance that we would have liked to go, and had been given clear instructions to do some training during my “off time”….the off time that starts tomorrow!  My end goal is to climb about 8 miles in about 4 hours (about 30% faster then the other day).  but we shall see what happens.  When I do my final “guided” training with Ed, I’ll give him a pretty big say as to how well my level of fitness fits with the task at hand.

So will I be dominating the Knife Edge in a few weeks?  Time will tell!

Something about winter or is it summer (working)

Well hello there!  This was supposed to be about mountain climbing and it just kind of morphed.   It’s got potential, but if you want to see what by brain “spews” out before the final draft here it is.  Sometimes it all just ends up on the page pretty quickly, but today it just seemed like I was missing something.

:: busts out his spice rack ::

“In the depth of winter”, he said.
Ice all around
Crashing and steel
As it pounds through your drums

And as if by magic
You feel the first drip
You see the first ray
And ponder the past

You ponder what was
And of what could be
As her winds blow cold
In the depths of this snow

A drip
Drip
And another Drip
Gives way to Drips
As it melts all around

Slow as may be
The rivers they flow
As if almost too deep
Yet just wide enough

Have I found my “Invincible Summer”
Now tropical island
I’ll have a beer

The tallest peaks
Are always the ones
That take the time
To Build your soul

Behind the Eight Virtues

Hi everyone!    Pardon the silence as of late, but I’ve been toying with the idea of writing on here about the character traits and well the “personal code” that I have. My “Eight Virtues” if you will.  Well the first post is turning into a pretty personal one and wasn’t quite sure if I should post it.  Now I should say that this whole concept of eight virtues isn’t my idea at all, but it was something that I heard and really identified with then I was a kid.

As you may now I am a recovering addict… a video game one that is! :-P   Ok ok  I’ll be serious.  That was actually true though, but I deal with it well, and for some reason I have found it pretty easy to ignore “the stuff” most of the time. (it helps that the closest real arcade to me is in NH)  Well, I got to playing this one game series called Ultima.  The first time I saw someone play Ultima IV I fell love and really wanted to play it.    The game was genius.. y’see it was an RPG (role playing game), but it wasn’t about stopping the evil thing that was about to destroy life as you knew it.  After the 3rd one, the evil was pretty much gone.  Instead, in Ultima IV, the king at the time was trying to join all his peoples together in hopes that they could rally behind one great virtuous person….”The Avatar”.  In it you played as the hero travelling across the lands, and trying to figure out how to become the most virtuous person in all the lands.

In this game there were eight virtues.  Honesty, Honor, Valor, Justice, Sacrifice, Spirituality, Compassion, Humility.  Each virtue was part of one of the principals of Truth, Love, and/or Courage. Your goal was to learn these virtues in and out and meditate at that virtue’s shrine with a particular mantra… once you were virtuous enough you’d get an eighth of an ankh.  Once you had a full ankh you could go to the biggest dungeon and get the book of ultimate wisdom to finish the game.

I don’t know what it was, but I took all of those virtues to heart in one way or another, and i still do today.  Some more than others of course…Either way I find each of them blog worthy.

It was kind of cool as each virtue had its own color, and as the primary colors mixed you’d get other virtues.  Spirituality was white (the combination of all the virtues), and humility  (opposite of pride)  was black as pride is the absence of virtue.  Humility is the foundation of all virtues.

So that’s my background on that… eventually I’ll get to them all.  I’m almost done with Honesty… :: gulps ::

Hope to have it done soon!

(Not So) Deep Thoughts By Smashing Happy: Cell Phones

Someone should do a web series called “If they had a cell phone” where they remake classic movies and/or TV shows like The Blair Witch Project, Halloween, Panic Room, or I dunno Lord of the Rings…and imagine them if they had cell phones. I think it would be Awesome! Oh wait someone kind of already kind of did that…

http://youtu.be/yH2B9F-GPm0

So instead, how about someone remakes new movies and/or shows imagining the cast without being able to use cell phones…like 24, James Bond, or Burn Notice.

Platinum Records in the Oval Office: Livin’ the Dream Part 2

“Previously on Smashing Happy…” My last post was about how I have this little dream of changing the world.   Not like I’m an overachiever or anything haha In all seriousness, it has been my goal for a long time to help inspire people through music.  I shall blog about it later, but there was a “let there be light” moment in my life that I can directly attribute to music.  I ‘m not going as far as to say that music saved my life, but it had such a profound impact on my world that I happily felt obligated to do what I could to recreate that moment for as many people as possible. It was slow at first. :: inserts comment as to how Rome wasn’t built in a day here :: There was broadcasting school and then commercial radio… and then the point where I realized that commercial radio had no room/potential to achieve my goals.  Long story short, I have spent the last fourteen  years of my life in the trenches, passing out/mailing/posting flyers, writing news articles, hosting a local college radio show, booking bands, oh yea and I may have kinda-sorta made a several thousand band t-shirts at some point in there. So as I’m looking at my resume last week I started to think that I might actually be “livin’ the dream” right now.  I started thinking about all those bands that I helped out in college, how some went on to play all over the world, and how some bands I have worked with over the last seven years have gotten to play huge-multi thousand seat venues. But as I write this now I sit here and contemplate on whether I even have the right to be thinking that I had an impact on any of that at all.  I start trying to quantify my “help” in comparison to the ass-kicking, hard-work, the blood, the sweat, and the tears that all those bands had to put in just to make it to where they are (or where they were if they have broke up by now) Well. think I have an answer.   I came to the conclusion that to give myself credit for something  like the Rationales playing The Pavillion, simply because I made shirts for them over the years is well, to say the  least, “absolutely absurd”.    I dunno, I guess I just have to look all the different things I have done and understand that they all have different levels of impact.  Sure, I have made shirts for a multi-platinum selling artist (and on a side note The President of the United States as well), but I’d be sure as hell to bet (that as minuscule of an impact on their careers it was) that the shirts I made for The Rationales had way more of a relative impact than the much larger runs I did for Paula Cole.  Or to be a little more realistic, booking bands like Harris and Aloud in the Fox Common at UMASS Lowell back when they were just getting started had a bigger impact on their careers than tons of of other things I’ve done. I guess there is no real way to tell when, or if anything I have ever done, has been big enough to have  had an impact…but I sure as hell am giving this world a run for its money! I was going to end this post with that last line , but I just want to say thanks to every band I have ever worked with/for over these years. From Will Brierly and the Roller Holsters and Will Dailey, to  Life Electric and elusive Evil Us’s.   I actually pay myself sometimes to do this, and I couldn’t have done it without them…and yes even the crappy “something-big-has-come-up-so-we’ll-tell-you-when-our-set-is-going-to-be-and-how-long-we-play” type bands. I guess after reflecting on this I can say I am half living the dream… I mean I’ll never really be able to tell if I’ve had any serious impact on much, but I feel great knowing I’m trying to do my part, and that I’m closer every day to the point where all that effort is paying for itself. Thanks for reading this… talk soon!  I think I’m going to tackle one of the 8 virtues I hold to heart….either Honesty or Humility… if I get any request in the comments I’ll just do whatever gets the most comments will be the one I do. Till then… Buenos Nachos! :)

Cause Every Hands a Winner And Every Hands a Loser: Livin’ the Dream Part 1

Just call me “Mr. Obvious” with this one…. but it leads into another post, seemed to fit and well  :: pauses ::  you’ll take it and like it!

There are things that are just part of who we are as individuals. Everything from the accents that we have to style of music that we like. But there are also traits and things that just about everyone carries are the same no matter who you are…. think bruising, the desire to shave, we yawn when other people yawn (don’t you dare yawn….or else! haha).

There are some traits however, that you have that you think everyone has…but they don’t. Those are the ones that really make you who you are. It’s just sometimes they are just the hardest ones to find.

I realized this phenomenon for the first time when I after I was at least 10 years old. Although this doesn’t really define me as a person, it is something that really surprised me to find out. See I have a ringing in my ears all the time. But it took me over 10 years to realize that that the rest of the world doesn’t have a ringing in their ears 24/7. So I just never knew…

Well I dream of changing the world for the better… and I think I’m starting to realize that not everyone really cares to do so? Am I wrong here? I sure hope I am. Damn it!

The One Sure Bet

The countdown’s on
For the one sure bet
That Ace in my pocket
The one that you dreamt

The one that will pierce
Through the armors of kings
The one that will steal your diamonds and rings

It’ll leave you raw
No matter the cost
No matter the caste
Or the dirt on your soul

As we lay them all out
The eyebrows they raise doubt
Just like the size
of my stack seen on the floor

One day we’ll get two seven
And pay it all right back
This kid can only hope
His luck don’t change again

Will Chapin sing “The Cradle”
As we stand up from the table?
Will we just break even?
Or will I leave a mark?

2 More Than Averagely Awkward Moments in Cover Song History

1. Easy – Faith no More: The moment when Mike Patton made some strange ewww sound…

I’m not quite sure what to think about this one…did he really just “drop a deuce” on the audience?… cause there, right before the solo starts good ole MP just busts out a big ‘ole nasty, right out of an Ernest Movie, “ewww”  was he just disgusted that he had to sing as wussy as he did in this one?  That The Commodores actually broke up in the first place?  Maybe it was that he wished he got stuck with better looking crossdressers in his video… oh wait?  Did I just see Dee Snyder in there?

Whatever it is, does anyone else find it odd that when he sings it that he looks like he’s actually taking a crap on the audience?  Oh GG Allin would be rolling around in his grave if he ever saw this one!

If you don’t want to watch the whole video click here for this pretty much cued up More Than Averagely Awkward Moment… although I will say that this cover is pretty fantastic and worth the listen!

2. Johh Hiatt and Matthew Sweet – Girlfriend: John makes it obvious that he really has no clue as to what he is singing

Ever have that moment when you’re talking at a show and all of the sudden you sound like the biggest idiot cause the music stopped and whatever you were saying was obviously taken out of context (NSFW).

Well this was John Hiatt’s (and Matthew Sweet’s) moment when they were “covering” Sweet’s “Girlfriend” as a duet.  Just like on the record the tempo slows for the last vocalization of the song’s title word.  Hiatt tries to slow down, but only after it is awkwardly too late…. he’s left hanging on a prime-time mid 90′s VH1 special, and Matthew was left to share a laugh between he and his drummer at John’s expense.

The whole song is below, but to go right to the scene of this More Than Averagely Awkward Moment just click here

So What More than Averagely Awkward Moments in Cover Song History make your list?  Any Ideas of other bastard lists like this one?  If you do just put them in the comments!

Thanks for checking this out enjoy…you guys Rock!

Game Review – The FPS to End ALL FPS’S (for only 99 cents ;)

So for the next 10ish days, for under a dollar,  you can get the game that is taking the FPS genre to a whole ‘nother level, of fast paced, in your face, blazing action and….w-wait?
Carbonation?!?!

You heard it right, Soda Drinker Pro has been dubbed the most fluid First Person Soda to grace the screens, and quench the thirst of players world-wide.

It all started one night, and creator Will Brierly got up and was really thirsty for a soda. He had none in the house and it being around 4AM he wasn’t really able to get his own….so he did what any sound minded game developer would do and he made one! After a bunch of hours, soda, and coding like a madman the first five levels of Soda Drinker Pro was born.

And then it happened. Will got asked to do a presentation about the game at local drinking convention that the Providence Soda Club (yes it’s real) was putting on. Well that was SDP’s “tipping point”. Within a week, the game hit the front page of mashable and the video game landscape as we know it would be forever changed.

Since that day, Will has played his cards right, done the conventions, connected with fans, and other small things like making the game fully compatible with the Oculus Rift virtual reality hardware, and making 95 more levels of 100% pure soda drinking simulation. He did things so right in fact, that within a year, everyone from Indie Impressions to CNN was talking about this game, he announced that the game was coming out for the Xbox One later this year, and was popular enough to have even had some cosplay “bonus sodas” stop by his booth.

Now I totally :: pauses :: “get this”. It is just some random “I can’t believe someone made this” type of thing like the Perfect Strangers game or Christmas Vacation 2. Actually, it’s different that that…the people that made those things actually thought they were good. It’s more like John Cage’s 4’33″ or those people that move their bed into an art gallery and just sleep while people watch… is it art or are we just standing around like idiots wearing the “Emperor’s New Clothes”? Whatever the case, Will has done an amazing job of finding that fine line and drinking an entire cup of soda while he walks it!
:: pauses ::

Oh wait, you’re still here…

Well in that case check this out… if you stand next to a rock on level 2 of SDP for a minute or so, you get engulfed by this ominous cloud and randomly end up in an entirely different full game called Vivian Clark [old footage]. I’ve played it, and can say that although this too walks the line :: coughstarwithafacewearingahatandrollerskatesoncollectingwatermelonscough :: the way more than fun gameplay just makes it that much sweeter when “stumble” upon a level and all of the sudden you’re a snake in a hot air balloon watering plants.
Thanks again for reading guys… and for $0.99 you’d be silly not to check this game out! (www.sodadrinkerpro.com)

Note: Vivian Clark is in the process of being remade and it looks awesome!  I put the old footage in this post as it is a more of a  proper “trailer”.  I’m not sure if you still get access to that version but you will at least get the better one once it is released.

Kevin

“55 Pockets to Make You Feel Like a Guy That Can Go Out With a Jacket That Has 55 Pockets”

Singles anyone?

I write for lots of reasons, and one of them is for me.  Now I know that starting off posts with a long(ish) sidestory isn’t the best way to get people to read to the main topic, but I honestly wrote this post that way because I personally think it rocks!  If you wanna skip down you can…you make the call haha!

So I know this guy, (my friend’s dad actually), who lives a structured life.  He’s the guy that will put his bowl, spoon, napkin and cereal box out the night before, lay out his clothes, the whole nine.  I’m talking his car tires cross the train tracks and first drop of water from the shower hitting his body at the exact same time every day kind of structured!  He was a marine and it shows.

Well get this, he even planned his child conception.  Three kids, five years apart.  The reason?  For years of college and one year to save!  I suppose I should mention that they all were born within 2 weeks of each other (starting on Halloween)!  Believe it or not there was a reason for that too.  See when you’re a parent looking to get your kids in school, if they are born at that time you can get them in a year earlier than everyone else, giving them a jump start on  their entire life!

I can only imagine it, “Ok honey, are you ready?  T-minus 37:00 hours and 16.7 Seconds!”

Well his son can be just as organized, always preparing for things and making sure all his bases are covered.  He’s got water and trash bags in his car for emergency hangover relief/containment, does his due diligence to acclimate himself to the altitude when skiing when the risk of danger is reasonably low.  Hell,  we were in Florida during a hurricane,  he slept in his shoes, away from shelves just in case of an freak tornado.  A little different from his dad, this kid loves the extreme, he’ll ski the tallest peaks…in a blizzard, and will pretty much scale whatever mountain you challenge him to.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being organized, but sometimes it is just funny.  Well a few years back I found this video of a guy unpacking his “41 lb suitcase”, and he had my friend matched to a T!  Right down to the room selection being on the first floor (closest to the conference room) and extra laptop charger,   to his “tighter than a frog’s butt” waterproof laptop case and elastic waisted jeans that would expand and contract based on the quality of food.  This is just a funny video.

This guy cracks me up so below that I posted another video about this guys amazing business card and why (your and everyone else’s business card is crap) haha too funny.

While this first video is way more funnier to my friends and I.  Here are some general highlights if you’re just skimming through it:

  • 0:50 Watertight like a frogs butt neoprene laptop case
  • 2:56 Elastic waisted jeans
  • 8:16 Mary Poppins
  • 8:30 Jacket with 55 pockets, that hold 35lbs of gear, including a “4/4.5lb laptop”, isolated hood, and removable arms to turn it into a vest…and even a “high tech” pocket,… “cause…travel is an art form”
  • 11:04 “Juvo” a food with more vitamins and nutrients that you receive in a year of what you usually eat.
  • 12:20 Speech to us about how thanking the camera guy, assures us that although said cameraman  may go through life thinking his job and how he is spending his life is pointless/mundane that he actually “is” valuable.
  • 15:56 Travel sleeping mask and neck brace/bag buffer

Here are the highlights of the second video I tried having it start 1 minute in, but it wouldn’t let me… either way it’s pretty funny:

  • 1:09 business card that took 25 years to make
  • 1:50 and yes friends it’s a pop-up book….

“…and hey it doesn’t fit in a Rolodex because it doesn’t belong there!”

Man,  all I know is that if it doesn’t fit in the place where you normally would keep a business card like a wallet or Rolodex, someone is either going to throw it away or lose the damn thing.

I’m all about foil, embossing, color, whatever you gotta do to get your message across, and stand out from a stack of other cards.  Hell if I could find a way to make an affordable neon sign business card I sure as hell would do it,  but to me a business card just HAS to have 2 qualities…. it’s gotta fit in a wallet so people won’t lose it/remember where it is, and you have to be able to write some info on it somewhere so it is more personal and/or the person getting it will have or see more of a personal connection to it.

But hey that’s just me!

Alright I’m off!  Thanks again for reading!

Originally Packaged Question: Would You Eat a Perfectly Wrapped Cheeseburger….

perfectly-wrapped-cheeseburger

…if it were just sitting on the side of the road?

So thi guy Stu I know has a very , “if I’m hungry why wouldn’t I eat it” attitude.  He is the type of kid who (if hungry), would only see one problem with eating the unfinished plate of pancakes  at the now empty table nearby at his local Bickford’s…..”not knowing where it stops”

Meaning that he realizes that it’s a bold thing to do, but what is stopping him from just grabbing a steak off of some guys plate as he walks by.  I mean, aside from the person potentially getting upset enough to smack him around, (which I’m doubting would be a common response)  what would anyone really do about it?

So a few years back he was on tour with my friend Will.  Things were tough, they were sleeping in the limo (yes Will bought a limo for the tour), and they pretty much had no money.  The tour was a book it as you go kind of thing that coincided with the Warp Tour.  They kew a band on the tour and were able to get in to any show.  The idea was to just sell cd’s, play whenever they could, and if they got lucky maybe even play a date or three on the tour.

Well the legend has it, that one day they were broke as all hell, hot, and hungry and at some point during the day while they were out and about Stu sees this perfectly wrapped cheeseburger, and without a thought just ate the damn thing.

What would you do?