jam session jokes

i've tried to do a much better job with relaxation lately.  usually, i push push push until i can't seem to do anything at all, and then collapse into a woe-is-me pile of lazy.  i remember reading somewhere that you create the environment that you want to maintain at home, in the bedroom, at your desk, whatever.  they say don't read in bed because you won't go to sleep, don't eat at your desk because you won't feel inclined to get any work done (fine with me) and make your home comfortable so you can chill out and enjoy the world.  sonja and i are thinking a lot more about this these days because our boys are incredibly busy with stuff and we want a positive, encouraging and stress-free environment to be their safe haven.

in the evenings, i usually cleanup the dishes while listening to some talk radio, pull on some pj pants, put on my slippers (a sign that i'm getting old?  back off...) and watch a couple of tv programs.  no computer, no phone.  my friend jackie, married to my pal jim, suggested i get "unplugged".  i soon found out she meant that i should shelf the electronics at night, not do an acoustic set.  

i watch the news.  can you believe it?  mostly local stuff.  the national scene is a bit overwhelming.  i like my news people.  they are earnest, funny, and professional.  i tape (is that what you call it when you record something on the dvr?) my favorite show, which appears at the same time.  chelsea handler has got a gig on E! called "chelsea lately".  comedy, junk social news, and an interview with a celebrity from tv/film/music whom i usually don't know (big surprise).

she's got this thing during the first couple segments where she reads news stories out loud and a panel of comedians make jokes about it.  chelsea lines up these softball topics and the comedians try out their material, which they have seemingly planned in advance.  the jokesters are usually pretty funny, laughing at each others' stuff and bringing a lot of energy.  i just realized tonight that the format is similar to a jam session.  these comedians are sitting there, waiting to weigh in on a topic that she provides.  she starts it, throws it to one of them, and they try to knock it outta the park.  you can tell who is going to go, and you wait to see if what they have to say is funny or not.  that's a lot of pressure i think.  i gotta hand it to them - most of these folks are pretty freaking funny.  laugh out loud funny.  try to remember what they said so you can laugh at it again later funny.

jam sessions, which totally suck, are eerily similar.  somebody calls a tune, everyone gets ready to play it, and musicians and listeners alike watch each person stride forward and attempt to do something phenomenal or tasty or historically significant or original (the most daunting of them all).  you know it's coming, the performer knows it's coming, and you're supposed to be great right out of the chute.  these comedians are supposed to be funny immediately.  no one will claim that they judge on that kind of stuff, but we all do it.  that joke wasn't funny, that solo started out pretty stock, i didn't get that joke, what kind of harmony is that supposed to be, he's trying to sound like richard pryor, he's trying to sound like sonny rollins.  tough stuff.

we quit watching the heavy law and order episodes before going to bed.  nothing but rough sleep and bizarr-o dreams after that shit.  bring on the syndicated sitcoms, the late night variety shows, the hilarity.  i say - laugh away the day, come what may, horses eat the hay, i don't wanna pay, one horse open sleigh, witty repartee, no more nick lachey.


being good to me

so, here we are - almost a full three months since my last post.  i have determined that i get busy with a lot of the wrong stuff, keeping me that much further from reaching the right stuff.  it's the obsessive/compulsive side of me (coupled with a mediocre work ethic and way too many full moons) that gets my mind fascinated with something while ignoring lots of other things.  i have had some time to myself to chip away at discovering what is important to me.  i realized that writing is one of those things.  

i also figured out that, after having a birthday this summer, i'm not getting any younger.  i decided to take my health more seriously.  by that, i mean take it seriously.  you know, have someone else look you over and break it down.  i began visiting a chiropractor, and that's been good.  i've started taking some of their supplements (not the sammy sosa stuff) and that's been good too.  i've tried to eat much smarter and much less, both proving to be good moves.  i am drinking way more water and, aside from the fact that i pee all the time, has been good for me. 

i began doing P90X, this workout dvd thing that i've owned for about two years and never opened.  it looked hard.  i was right - it is hard.  i have a small gym in my house (truthfully - a room devoted to weights and cardio only... free weights, bench, bike, yoga stuff, tv, big mirror) and have always thought i was taking care of business.  well, the dude in the video made it pretty clear on day #1 that i'm in some sad shape.  i have stuck with it.  i never miss.  i think about exercising, form, sweat, water, discipline, and pushing that last 10% when i would normally mail it in.  it's been good for me.  physically - yeah, i can do a bunch of pullups now, got the six pack in transit, and know what these yoga moves are actually called.  but mentally - i think i've learned how to be more focused.  

i'm trying to transfer these principles to my teaching and my own personal musicianship.  i took a gig that has flute doubles on it.  i own a flute, i can sort of play, i'm married to a world class flutist - i can do this.  i've eliminated some extra time commitments from my life that, although they do pay extra cash, deduct from my personal happiness.  i'm trying to cook healthier food, which means a racking up a bigger grocery bill and putting more forethought into what goes in the cart.  if i can make these types of changes in my life outside of music, i should be able to do them inside too. it'll be good for me.

and yes - i took some pictures before i got started.  if i'm brave enough and satisfied with the results, i'll post the before & after, which may not be good for you...