Category Archives: Things I Wrote Today

The posts here are just general posts and thoughts going on in this oh-so amazing brain of mine!

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.

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?

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!

Some Fossil Music, (insert kireji here), While I Write in Haiku

Autumn. Great Salt Lakes
The reflections in our eyes
Leaves fossils lie still

So this one is going to be a twofer?  What’s a twofer you ask?   Why for counting silly… wah wah waaaaaaa

So this post is going to be about a poetry form,  a band, and the place they both snuck off to when the teachers weren’t looking.

So boom… the band is called Fossil, and back in the mid 90′s this powerpop/pop/rock quartet put out an EP then LP on Madonna’s fledgling (offshoot of Warner) Maverick Records, annnnnd were never heard from again.

I first saw them on an episode of 120 Minutes that Matthew Sweet was hosting.  The song was Moon, and video is made out to be like some old sci-fi “rescue the damsel in distress from the aliens” story.  Although it had some lo-budget aspects to it overall it was a pretty solid video.  Solid enough to make me buy their album.  Well, when i was listening to it, I  heard something that you don’t hear very often with really awesome tunes…. awesome poetry!

Sure there are tons of bands that have great lyrics and music… but there aren’t many bands that turn those dials to eleven and really pull off this elusive combo (if you know of any please share).  Ed Sheeran comes close but he has a pretty “thin” style sometimes.  It works great for a song like Wake Me Up and All of the Stars  (such good songs), but the thinner the tunes, the closer they become to just plain ole poetry.

Anyway, back to Fossil!

The tunes had “meat” to them, were dynamically soft and loud when they needed to be, and overall are songs that I still find myself going back to today.  What can I say I’m a sucker for a pop tune… yet as poetic as they are i didn’t really notice it until I heard their song Fall and then Ocean the second time through.

Ocean is a tale about a lost love, and the ocean.  On the surface it is about a man’s dying wish to be buried in the ocean when “his body breaves him”, and although there are lyrics relating to lost love, try and peel these ones back and tell me what you see:

Now the sea is my kingdom
My benevolent wisdom
Stretches over the globe, 
embraces every coast
I move with greater conviction
than I ever did living
My remains are in motion
Bury me in the ocean

As mediocre as I think I am as a poetry anaylizer, I’m going to take a stab at this one.   I see so much more than a the last wish of an unrequited lover, I see so much more than what is even written on the page.  Either it’s a moment indescribable freedom, or one trying to fool themselves in to thinking they are free, yet no matter how many times the singer attempts to describe the feeling you never feel like he gets there…you feel like he’s still searching.

Moon also kind of does this, just in a different way.  The first line is “How can I presume to sing about the moon?”  and the next  3/4 of the song is about how the singer is beside himself with feelings of woe about not having the right words to convey the conviction of his feelings towards the moon..

Fall on the other hand, ties into the haiku theme of this post.  I hadn’t heard the song in a while, and although I was familiar with the lyrics, I never made the connection, until yesterday.  For some reason I decided that I wanted to write a haiku, so after brushing up on my Haiku “rules”  I started getting into a 5 syllable “zone” and as I was thinking about nature and leaves this song just came to mind.  All of the lines are 5 syllables  ending with the lines.

“It’s so logical – death is beautiful”

And while the traditional Haiku has a 575 meter, these poetic lines not only reference nature, they are specifically about a season, and they also have a clear  “kireji”.

A kireji is defined literally as a cutting point and it is considered to be the most important part of a haiku.  Think of it as a pause between two independent ideas that brings emotion to the reader, in a way that sort of connects the two phrases.

So yea, I just learned all that, it is really fascinating.

With that, take a listen, and see how this band handles the balance of the lyric and the music:

Thanks again for reading…. This post was waaay on the serious side and was almost even a little… dare I say “intellectual“.  Alright that settles it… the next post is going to be about bar brawls or something haha

Talk soon everyone!

Casey Kasem/The Beatles/What’s Your Three Minutes and Forty Seconds?

Casey KasemSo I was about to share the “Maury Finkle, on meeting Casey Kasem” article on my Facebook timeline and it got me thinking about how music can inspire people…well my little blurb about the post just kept getting bigger so I just brought it over here.  Hope you like it! (the first part was the description of the original Finkle article link I was sharing)  :)

Maury Finkle, on meeting Casey, and of course showing some of that stylish Finkle respect!  Read it…seriously do it! haha

Sure it would rock if you read this,[The Finkle article] but in all seriousness that Casey  was indeed a cornerstone in American Pop music for decades. And while with the pop, you’re bound to get a whole lotta MMMM Bop! (and even more sweet Nickleback tunes). Pop Music was, and is the inspiration that has gotten, me and tons of people I know to want to make music some sort of career, or at least a big part of their lives.

Although the following story was a little before Kasem’s  time, I’ll never forget the time I overheard my first Music Business teacher (and singer in that 80′s/90′s Boston band Knots and Crosses) talk about what got him hooked/inspired to do music for a living.

If I remember it right, he was talking to a colleague at a conference I was at about how he kept finding, that in addition to himself, lots of other people at that conference got the itch for music after hearing the exact same chord at….the exact same time.

:: pauses ::

Right after a “Griffin Liquid Wax Shoe Polish” commercial. haha

The chord was F#m, and it was just after 8PM on Feburary 9th, 1964.  It was then the Beatles took the stage of the Ed Sullivan Show, and the hearts of this nation.  Sure the 700 screaming girls in the audience might have had something to do with it, but either way, there were more than just a few people at that conference that bought their first guitar/drum set after that night…and well you know the rest.

As with Casey, Ed brought the music to our ears, and although Sullivan had video,  The Beatles premier, and about a year longer as the host of his main show than Casey did.  Casey had him beat with an all music show that broadcast to a wider audience, and is still running strong after an almost continuous 45 year run!

I know this, there is no doubt in my mind that Casey Kasem’s time as host of AT40 (and the voice of Shaggy from Scooby Doo) had something to do with the the three minutes and forty seconds that inspired me to do what I do….and well I guess this is sort of my way of saying thanks.

Did any of you have a “moment” like that?  If so, comment about it!

I’m leaving my answer for another day, as it deserves a whole post, and, well face it, I just want to keep you coming back for more :-D

Thanks again for reading!

…And Get a Real Job! Part 2: Grab That Cash…And Make A Stash

Last we saw our hero sitting in his bosses office about to get exactly what he had coming to him…..

an Employee of the Month Award.

Was he serious?!?

The irony, is that part of the reason I got the award was because I thought I sucked.  I personally think it takes me longer to grasp a new job, and since I felt I wasn’t getting it, I just tried harder.  Well, I went on to do some pretty cool things with that company with regards to retail, some corporate office work, managed millions of dollars of inventory, and in general just kicked ass and took names for a part of my time there.

The thing that was this…later in life when I went on to build my music business resume,  just as at that other job,  I didn’t have the self confidence to make it happen.  It was like in 6th grade… there was no way I was going to talk to that girl Liz, until someone told her that I liked her.  What made me really think that someone was going to pay me when I  was already working for free and didn’t have the cojones to even step up to the plate?

Well, this happened all through college, with my only real pay coming from my retail job at the shoe store (and this one time I sold knives… but we won’t talk about that).  I graduate,  took a little pay cut and got a better position at another sneaker place, and then eventually got a couple of $15 or so an hour jobs to get me started with this whole “real world thing”…well those didn’t work out.  One was a temp job with a giant software company doing database integrity work, my boss didn’t like me, and I didn’t really like the work.  After that I was a merchansider at a beer manufacturer, where I did merchandising with a crew that I totally didn’t fit in with.  (as an example one guy had a sweet little nickname for his girlfriend…”Slutface”… yea real mature), either way I could have been faster and on the last day of my initial probation period I was let go.

Well the whole time I was working at those jobs, I was still working retail on the weekends, I then went back to full time, and with the flexible schedule decided to hook up with my friends who designed t-shirts and  Audio Cotton was born.  AC started off a little rocky in the finance department, but in an effort to “push it over the cliff to eleven”  so I could Finally be able to spend less time on the operational stuff and more time doing what I love I decided to bump back down to being a part time retail associate.

Well my friends, only working a part time job, and running a business that pays for itself only most of the time and pays you a hell of a lot less of the time can only go on for so long.  So I have decided that it’s time that…  I “get a real job”.   Having realized that things need to change with AC have made me really work towards tweaking things, but the new concepts I have in the works aren’t coming soon enough.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m back at the first shoe place part time, and it is great, but it does not really pay my bills.  So I’ve decided to make the sacrifice and instead of having my dream oh so amazing super bad-ass job,  I’m looking to do something that I think is just a regular bad-ass job.  So far I am  going to at least apply to work back at the corporate offices in footwear.  Not sure how it’s going to work out…we’ll see.

It’s kind of funny, I started this in post part to put off having to write my cover letter, I’m pretty damn nervous.  But I have to get over the mental block/lack of self confidence, that tells me that I don’t have the skills to succeed…. because if that stops me from applying then I just made my worst fears come true…and failed!

I guess my new mindset should be one of not wanting to fail so badly that “I would do anything for a job (but I won’t do that)”, haha!  What I mean is that I should just have to feel like I need to prove to the world that I can dominate the scene.

So with that, I am off to finish said cover letter, and “dominate said scene”.

———

Oh, and if you actually read all of this.. you are so ah-mazing.  I ended up finishing that cover letter and have spent some time tweaking my resume to be more general.  I plan of making two kind of general ones depending on the job.    Either way, I kind of feel like this was just me rambling, so thanks!

These are going into the “Things I said Today” area, I put posts there that are just about me personally (among other things), and this is one of those.  But for all those that did read this… even if it is just 1 person, I appreciate it more than you could imagine!

And if you haven’t voted on “Get a Haricut“….” Do it!  Seriously, do it…vote on that puppy  we’ll blow it away” haha

Talk soon everyone and thanks again!

-Kevin