San Luis Obispo

Media-thon Monday (1st Edition)

Hold on to your hats, or bifocals, I’m trying something new. This new thing, it’s called Media-thon Monday.

The goal is simple: to devote a spread to awesome art/media finds and/or pop culture. While I don’t ever see myself breaking into the pop-culture blogosphere (nor do I wish to), it’s my blog and I can post if I want to.

Depending on discipline, demand, and response, the frequency is yet to be determined. On with the show…

picstitchDenison Witmer

All of my close friends know how obsessed I am with this Denison Witmer guy. He was the first to inspire me to sing and write songs of my own on the acoustic guitar. He has a new self-titled album out, which you can stream for free on bandcamp. So far, my favorites are “Born Without the Words” and “Constant Muse.”

The album features many prominant folk artists, including William Fitzimmons, Dawn Landes, and Sufian Stevens. Here is the first single, “Keep Moving Brother, Keep Moving Sister.”

Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 was fantastic. Megan and I saw it at the Sunset Drive-In in San Luis Obispo this weekend. I was floored. (Drive-In joke?)  I’ve heard fans claim 3 as their favorite Iron Man of the franchise. I’m not sure I agree—as the first installment holds a special place in my heart—but the argument is valid.

For me, the pacing of the film made the storyline a little hard to follow. I wasn’t as big a fan of Guy Pierce as everyone else seems to be; he was good, not great. Robert Downey JR. was the man, as usual. There was a great twist (which I wont spoil) and it genuinely surprised me. No small feat these days in Summer/super hero movies. Go see it, you’ll love it!

iron_man_3_poster_final

Weird Japanese Condiment Picker Upper

I would never use it; I would probably break it; still, I must have it. The first time I watched this video straight through, I felt like I awoke from a coma. Then I watched it again. It’s strangely soothing and addicting, no? Just me? … I was just.. joking.

Uh…hem. When will the Japanese invent what we really need: a scooper for mash potatoes off of t-shirts!

My Uncle’s Band is Actually Pretty Darn Good

My Uncle Steve plays drums for The Scarlet Furies. This live performance video, filmed at a show in Pennsylvania, is just fantastic. It’s a cover of “I Put a Spell on You.” Check it out!

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Well what did you think? Should I continue with Media Mondays, or has this dead horse been turned to glue? Did you see Iron Man 3; what were your thoughts? For any interested, I also posted a new song on my Music Career page. Check it out, it’s called “Beyond Measure” and it’s weird.

Guest Writers Wanted for Media-Thon Monday: 

  • Write a short feature on a favorite album of yours and/or new artist
  • Movie review/write up/Netflix Instant recommends
  • Book review/genre write up
  • Youtube/art finds

(Contact via email on About Me page)

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Fearing Fear and Then Punching Fear in The Face

origin_2768351879I remember standing in line at Space Mountain, Disneyland—six years old or so. My older brother and sister were there, maybe my mom. Yeah, definitely my mom.

Knees buckling. Tears building. Fear grabbing.

Space Mountain? Could there be so terrible a place? My brother was pushing me along in line; this was not a good sign. He was always trying to get rid of me. What evil plan had he concocted now?

Escape. I had to. Closer and closer we inched, past the TVs and the red, terrifying flashing lights. Finally, it came. The exit door. After an hour, we were so close to getting on the ride.

I could just do it, I thought, go on the ride. Would I really fall out?

I looked left and saw the exit sign, then to the right towards a deeper entrance to the ride, then to my brother who was evilly nodding his head. Now or never, I thought.

Tears bottled up, I went for it. Running as fast as I could towards the door, kids laughed behind me and I heard my brother yell. I bursted through the exit; bright-white concrete sun blinded my eyes and I collapsed on concrete—crying my head off.

New Fears, Old Chum

For those of you who may have missed the news, Rochester, New York is now officially in our sights. Scholarships and grants came through in a big way from the University there. We’ll be moving sometime in summer.

See kids, dreams do come true.

It’s bittersweet, really. We’ll be leaving San Luis Obispo—SLO town—and I love it here. I grew up here. I moved away for a number of years; since we, my wife and I, moved back, our time here has been well spent and well loved.

Old chums, new pals, boogie boards, farmers market, breakfast burritos—reconnecting.

All good things come to an end? I guess; new things can be good too. Also scary.

Fear, get out of my face. 

It’s too easy to fall into fear’s trap. We listen to the negative over the positive; we cave in and take the easy way out. The greatest, most terrible side-effect of fear is that it keeps us from doing what we love: accomplishing goals, moving across country, or say, eating octopus.

What if fear was just a tool that we could use for our gain? Recently, I’ve come to terms with fear. Well, I’m trying to at least. See, fear isn’t some trick of the devil. It isn’t Satan’s test. It’s just a test.

Without fear, personal cost couldn’t be measured. For example, would the water be as sweet if I didn’t fear jumping off the rock? Would it even be worth it? I’m starting to wonder.

I encourage you to embrace fear for what it is: a mere tool. Use it for YOUR gain. Mark your dreams by how much they scare you, then reach for the scariest one.

When fear over steps its boundaries, punch it in the face and go on the ride. Space Mountain is totally worth it.

medium_47529326Photo Credit Top [http://www.flickr.com/photos/disneyworldsecets/2768351879/]

Photo Credit Bottom [http://www.flickr.com/photos/joeandy/47529326/]

Consumer Zombies on Record Store Day

picstitchRecord Store Day. I participated this last weekend—April 20th, 2013; it was great. My fourth year partaking, this “holiday” has become quite the tradition for me.

I walked away with an Avett Brothers/Randy Travis single, and just barely got my hands on a Bowie 7-inch; that sounds dirty.

What’s that? You don’t know what Record Store Day is? (loser). Let me explain.

It’s a one-day celebration of local record stores. Artists release exclusive, limited vinyls and CDs that can only be sold at mom and pop-local shops. SUCK IT iTunes.

Kids like me eat this stuff up.

We get there early. We line around the block and talk to each other about music. We rush inside and spend way more money than we ever normally would. Our wives make fun of us…

You get the gist.

Record Sales

I didn’t get everything I wanted. In fact, I barely got anything I wanted. This year was insane. Since I’m in San Luis Obispo this year, I lined up at the famous Boo Boo Records. The last few years were in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; people there are just getting around to iPods so you couldn’t expect much from their shops.

Simply, RSD isn’t as big of a deal in Idaho. A few collectors maybe show up. Not many.

Down here, people care about this stuff. Boo Boos gets almost one of every release. That’s unheard of!

My wife dropped me off early so I could get a good spot in line. She left for a Breakfast Buzz Burrito, and I squatted. RSD is kind of more, my thing. Shortly after, the line inflated. People wrapped down the block and curved beyond my line of sight. Luckily, all behind me.

Good timing, I thought. That White Stripes LP rerelease is mine!

Record Hells

Oh what’s that? They’re letting everyone in at the same time? RUN!!!!!

Don’t worry, I thought, maybe they’ll spread the records throughout the store to keep people from swarming in one small area. This should be easy, in and out. 

Nope. Definitely not easy. Almost died.

There was one little bin of records for three hundred little hands. Standing in line was absolutely pointless. I could’ve arrived last and elbowed my way to the front. Before I knew it, I was completely surrounded in hipster hell.

photoHands, elbows, knees, eye-glasses, beards. People yelling. “Give me one of those, bro.” “HAND ME, ME, DUDE.” I looked  behind me to see my wife, white eyed, backing away slowly. I hope to see her again, I thought.

People pushed and pushed. The crowd became bigger and more intense. Worst yet, there was nothing in my hands. White Stripes was gone, duh. The LPs, the good ones, they go fast. What did I want? What was my back up? 

Get your hands in there, I thought. So I pushed back and reached in. The singles, I thought. Go for the singles. I pulled out two that were on my list. The crowd was getting worse. The pressure grew higher. The air tighter. The people. Pushing. Screaming. Fingers reaching. Are these people going to eat me? 

I have got to get out of here!

Good thing too, because I couldn’t. Boo Boo Records has one of the largest shops I’ve ever seen; yet, they placed all their exclusive albums in one small bin near a corner in the back. Thanks guys. There was no way out.

If I knew I was going to be trapped, I would’ve brought a snack. Also, a good thing, these people all were magically sweaty in a matter of minutes.  

The Walking Sales

Needless to say, I lived. Boo Boos could’ve planned the day a little better, but they did give donuts out to those who waiting in line. All is forgiven.

This day made me think a lot about consumerism. I remember being in the middle of that giant crowd and thinking, I don’t really need any of this. It’s not really fun when it gets cut-throat.

Am I just getting older and growing out of the whole “consumerism” thing?

Maybe I’m just a poor sport and need to bring snacks next year. And spike studded shoulder pads. roadwarriors_zps7fc9c0c4

Did anyone else partake in Record Store Day? I’d love to hear some other stories of crazed consumerism. 

That Dam Lopez Lake or: (How I Learned to Drive a Boat)

I’ve been boogie boarding quite a bit lately. Getting back into the water has been an enthralling adventure—even despite the Pacific Ocean’s three constants: it’s always cold, it’s always windy, and it’s always cold.

Sometimes, a feller just needs a warm lake and a boat.

Megan and I moved from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to San Luis Obispo, California this year. North Idaho has no ocean (which I hope you know), but does have close to three-billion lakes in it’s vicinity (mildly exaggerating). Needless to say, visiting lakes was not a priority for us.

A friend of mine recently purchased the Lopez Lake Marina, and I’ve been desperate to see what he’s done with the place. So we went to a lake.

Orcutt Road

Our day started with a beautiful drive on the backroads of San Luis Obispo. There’s a great little curvy road which takes you straight (well, curvy) towards the lake. We call it old Orcutt road.

Wineries have blossomed on just about every hillside. My friend Aaron put it this way, “at least they’re covering hills with grapes and not with houses and Costcos.” It’s true. Despite my reservations regarding these fast-expanding wineries, the beauty of these old SLO roads are protected. (more…)

Beach Body: The Boogie Back-Break Blues

photo

The Pismo Beach Pier

Some of my favorite memories revolve around the ocean.

In high school days, my friend Tim would come over and wake me up at 6am or so. He’d pull me out of bed and we’d drive to Pismo Beach and hit the cold ocean waves.

I was a boogie boarder; surfing was too much of a commitment.

When Megan and I moved back to the area, I knew sooner or later I’d have to face Poseidon.

Beach Body

There are many beaches in San Luis Obispo County. Pismo is famous; Avila is second best and pretty good for boogie boarders. Grover has a lot of people, and Shell is just too rocky. There’s Oceano, but it’s choppy and nobody goes to Oceano.

The less people to embarrass myself in front of the better; I went to Oceano.

First, there is the issue of the wetsuit. If you’ve never put one on before, let me explain. It is the single most difficult thing you will ever do in your life. It’s like putting on someone’s skin who is two sizes smaller than you.

For shy kids like me, Oceano has bathroom stalls to change in. They’re tiny, lightless, and the locks are all broken. The door may or may not have swung wide open with the wetsuit stuck around my ankles.

Boogie Time

531646_309924065803806_274447830_nAfter taming the wetsuit for what seemed like an hour (think Tommy Boy in the airplane bathroom), I met my wife back at the car. “How’d it go?” she asked.

“I think hurt my back.” She laughed. “No seriously,” starting to stretch, “I think pulled a muscle.” She laughed louder. Somehow, yes, I managed to hurt my back while pulling on a wetsuit. A new low. I don’t want to talk about it.

“Well don’t go in the water,” she warned. “It’ll make it worse!” I looked over at the choppy blue surf. She had a point, but I was already here, and my wetsuit was on. It’s not like I’m getting it off anytime soon. If I didn’t do it now, I never would.

So I ran towards the shore. And I ran. With each step, the sand felt colder and the air tasted sweeter. I reached the waters; my feet burned from the cold, and seized my thoughts. Soon my waist was covered, then higher.

So cold. So cold. Don’t think about it.

I cursed myself, the waters that now held my life, Obama, anything I could think of. The first three minutes dragged; I needed to go numb.

Soon, my thoughts became verbal. I started yelling phrases that didn’t make sense. Fart Cough, poop magnet. Cold help Siren Tonk! AHHHHHHH!

A wave slapped my face, and a rush of memories came over my eyes.

Kevin Glasses

the post beach, triumphant Kevin

I saw Tim; we laughed over waves and cursed the cold water together. I watched the sky, from years ago, turn to day as seals broke the surface of the water, right next to me. For an instant, I saw who I was five years ago.

I saw what was important, and what wasn’t.

Reality returned, and happiness came with it. For the first time in my life I was proud of where I came from. More importantly, I was happy with who I became. I was happy with what I’ve chosen to love.

My wife, our future, God’s plan, the ocean.

I caught my first wave. As it did so many years ago, everything made sense.

The Intern Whoop: Taking a Local Day Pt. 2

Last year, I discovered newness inside my town and wrote a blog detailing this adventure: Local businesses and new people; I got outside—it was great. Check out, “Taking a Local Day” HERE.

Part Duex

On the first of the year, my wife and I moved from snowy Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho to sunny San Luis Obispo, California. I grew up here in SLO county, well south county, I guess.

Despite my history here, everything seemed new; the mountains had never looked greener and skies had never been bluer. The local troves held new names and faces, while their sidewalks ferried fresh bodies to and fro.

We were in a land of newness and I was bound to explore it.

Then we got jobs. Well, I got an internship and she got a job.

Makin’ Copies

My internship so far has been ideal. There isn’t much grunt work, and I’m treated as an employee with as much to say as anyone else. Though yesterday, I made copies for five hours.

Five hours. I can still smell it. The copies.

In the middle of my copying madness, I was given a quick job to distribute a notice to all the local businesses in our strip regarding a meeting of some sort.

I welcomed the break.

Makin’ Discoveries

strip mall

outside

There were twelve of these notices to hand out. I peeked outside, “there’s twelve shops here?”

For over two months I’ve worked here. Besides the coffee shop, I had no idea who my neighbors were.

“There’s twelve shops?” I repeated.

So once again, I ventured out; I took a local day. Shaking hands, I discovered business owners, employees and their products.

One shop offered full car-audio installation, with a contract for city police vehicles (two were inside). Another shop sold used baby clothes, and right next to it, golf gear. Further down, I met some kids working in a skateboarding warehouse who specialized in online sales; further down, there was a Muay Thai kick boxing ring.

Like us, they were all just trying to make their mark and tell their story. Before yesterday, they didn’t exist. At least not to me.

Reminded

It’s terrible, our bubbles. We hide inside and shut out the world—sometimes on purpose, most times unknowingly. Like a horse race, we focus on the goal and miss the uniqueness that surrounds it, even if the goal is just a parking spot.

Culture is a beautiful thing. Sometimes, embracing it is as simple as walking outside.

Any good stories of meeting your neighbors? What else can we do to break our daily routines? Are all routines bad? I’d love some feedback.