I remember playing the first game, nearly obsessively, exploring the town, searching for every power-up, trying to get all of the five different endings. At the time, I was living at my parents house and kept most of my possessions in my small room, including a chub pack of Irish Spring soap. I didn’t notice until after my obsession calmed down enough that I could move on to a different game, but when I took a shower with that soap, I would flash back to the world of Silent Hill. The game created such a fearful atmosphere of strange creatures and nightmarish environments that all my senses were on high alert. Spending all those hours fused the strangest bond between that Irish Spring freshness and the decaying world of Silent Hill to the point where it became a part of me. I still can’t smell Irish Spring without thinking of that first Silent Hill game.

Silent Hill 2 is one of my favorite games of all times, mostly because of the story and characters. The story is as good as any thriller/horror movie and sets a somber and suspenseful tone throughout. I’ve played the game through so many times and I’m really good at it but I still have to save often and I still can’t play too long in a session. The tension and fear are like a faucet running water into a mug; at some point the mug just can’t hold any more. I know where the enemies are and can easily get past them but there’s always a vulnerability aspect to your character you can’t help but be fearful for.

The concept of Silent Hill 4 was so fascinating to me that I was able to look past the changes the game made from it’s predecessors. The main character, Henry, is locked in his apartment from the inside and he has no idea how it happened. He can see his neighbors through the window and through his front door’s eyehole but he can’t communicate with them. Then a hole appears in his bathroom that leads to an outside filled with ghosts and strange creatures. He has no other choice but to go. I’m a big fan of limited storytelling so this game really appealed to me.

The other games, while not as notable, all contain the same creepy atmospheres, the same tortured and complicated characters, and the same fucking with your sense of fear of the unknown. They’re just games, I know this. But by putting the controller in my hand and making me control these characters, it puts me into that world just enough that I feel a part of it. And that is fucking scary.

There are several games now and each one





Reading List of 2016

2016 was dominated by child rearing books for obvious reasons. And while I didn’t get through as many books this year as 2015, there were some standouts. 

Room by Emma Donoghue was a great listen. The voice acting was spectacular and made the experience memorable. Finishing up Stephen King’s Dark Tower series was bittersweet if only that there are no more adventures in the series to experience. New series Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson was slow getting into but I’m looking forward to listening to the last book in the trilogy. Ready Player One by Earnest Cline and Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski were other favorites. 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern didn’t connect with me like I thought and The Haters by Jesse Andrews was a subject I was really excited about but went in a direction I didn’t quite want. 

Here’s the full reading/listening list for 2016. Any comments, questions, or recommendations are welcome. 

Books Read in 2016


1. Tell Your Dog You’re Pregnant by Dr. Lewis Kirkham – Very useful and full of tips for dog training. How accurate it is has yet to be seen but it gives me hope. 3.5 stars. Audio.

2. Lights Out by Ted Koppel – Interesting following the investigators approach to a apocalypse-style situation where the electric grid is taken out by terrorists. Of all the roads Mr. Koppel investigates (preppers, Mormons, scientists, military), none of them give much hope in long term survival if our nation’s power goes out for an extended, or even short amount of time. Offers few solutions because there really aren’t any. 4 stars. Audio.

3. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy – Not one of my favorite Hardy novels but the only one I’ve read so far with a happy ending. A romance story you know how it will turn out, even with Hardy’s penchant for tragedy. 4 stars. Audio.

4. Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks – Descriptions and stories about the relationship between ailments and music. I enjoyed listening to descriptions of cases where music can be one of very few things that can stabilize a person or cut through their ailment where even loved ones cannot. Inspirational for any musician or one who puts a great importance on music. Can get technical with anatomy and medical phrases. 4 stars. Audio.

5. Witches’ Brew by Terry Brooks – One of the most enjoyable scenes in the Landover series so far involving characters from the fantasy world being transported to Seattle – Bumbershoot to be exact. A fun adventure, but not my favorite of the series. 3.5 stars. Audio.

6. The Big Disconnect by Catherine Steiner-Adair, EdD – An informative but scary view of children being raised in a society and family structure immersed in technology. Gives helpful hints about the amount of tech time an infant should have (zero) and also stories about the negative effects technology can have on older children’s higher functioning. Also, a teaching tool for parents and the importance tech should have in the family. Parents should NEVER choose a piece of technology over their child. 3.5 stars. Audio.

7. Indomitable by Terry Brooks – Better than his other short story about Allanon but still added very little to the universe of Shannara. About Jair adapting his magic into a more formidable weapon. 3 stars.

8. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – For whatever reason, I couldn’t really get into this one. The circus setting was fun and the idea of pitting two magical students against each other without them knowing whom the other was felt like a novel premise but I didn’t have much patience for it. Full of bright but uninteresting characters. The climax elevated the story but wasn’t enough to make me want to go back and read the parts I glazed over. 3 stars. Audio.

9. Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman – One American reporter’s observations on the way the French raise their children from newborn to kindergartener. There were useful tips about feedings every four hours four times a day, the “pause” when a child cries, introducing them to different foods, and discipline. More statistics or doctor interviews/advice would make this book a virtual bible of French parenting but it loses points for not citing more studies. 3.5 stars. Audio.

10. Room by Emma Donoghue – A strange tale about a mother and child living in a room told from the boy’s perspective. Sad how the boy interprets things when all he has ever known has occurred within his four walls. Where the story went took me by surprise but there also wasn’t a big climax at the end so the fact that it was ending took me by surprise. Maybe it says something about me that I could follow with great ease this novel told from the perspective of a well-versed five-year-old. Oh well, I still enjoyed it. 4 stars. Audio.

11. Paladins of Shannara: The Weapons Master’s Choice by Terry Brooks – Like his other short stories, it could have been longer. That said, this short story feels more complete than his other short works. It helps it is about one of his most memorable characters Garet Jax and his willingness to help woman looking to save her village from a brutal warlock. A decent prelude to the full novel The Wishsong of Shannara. 3.5 stars.

12. Wolves of the Calla: The Dark Tower V by Stephen King – Another fine chapter of the Dark Tower series. A very western setting with fantastic elements thrown in and surprising characters surprise. This novel, maybe more than the previous novels in this series, stir my curiosity about some of his other novels. 3.5 stars. Audio.

13. Song of Susannah: The Dark Tower VI by Stephen King – Contains one of my favorite scenes, maybe in all fiction. Much of the novel is confusing in its complexity but still fun to read. 3.5 stars. Audio.

14. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison – What I got out of this novel was that it isn’t a good idea to try to please everyone. You end up invisible, in a hole, isolated because you end up feeling apart from everyone. You will never do everything another person wants. You must live for yourself. The story follows a young black man as he navigates the racial tensions of early 70’s New York. The episodic nature of the story is read with glee by actor Joe Morton. 4 stars. Audio.

15. The Dark Tower: The Dark Tower VII by Stephen King – The conclusion to the epic series, this novel serves as a fitting end to the adventures of Roland. While the final confrontation with the multi-book villains feel anticlimactic, the end left me with an empty, frustrated feeling. The ending was as epic as I wanted as it resonated with me long after I finished. 4.5 stars. Audio.

16. Expecting Better by Emily Oster – A book meant to answer some common questions and concerns about pregnancy. Instead of relying on doctors and books, the author goes straight to the studies on each topic and lets the reader make their own decisions. I found it interesting and helpful for some things. I wish I would have read this sooner as it would have been useful to know about sushi or wine consumption early. Although several issues were addressed, there were numerous subjects that were not. 4 stars. Audio.

17. The Expectant Father by Armin A. Brott and Jennifer Ash – A treasure trove of information for expecting fathers. The book is set up by month, explains how you, the mother, and the child might be doing. And most of the time was pretty close. The information helped me get the upper hand on some discussions. A must for expectant fathers. 4.5 stars.

18. The Wind Through The Keyhole by Stephen King – An 8th book in the Dark Tower series that takes place between books four and five, this novel is a story within a story within a story. As such, it doesn’t add much to the story of the Dark Tower but it would have fit nicely if I had read this in the chronological order it was intended. 3.5 stars. Audio.

19. The Gunslinger by Stephen King – A reread with new passages to go with the completion of the Dark Tower saga. Maybe the most dreamlike story of the series. 4 stars. Audio.

20. The Haters by Jesse Andrews – A book I probably really would’ve liked five, ten, fifteen years ago. Follows three friends as they try to get their fledgling band going. I wish there were more storylines about how they got gigs, wrote songs, etc. instead of the relationship issues. Still, a fun novel. 3.5 stars. Audio.

21. The Langoliers by Stephen King – Very similar to the TV movie from the nineties. In fact, I think most of the dialogue is the same, word for word. A solid short story. 3.5 stars. Audio.

22. Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson – The first book in the Mistborn trilogy. The magic was handled in a practical way that made the story seem to have higher stakes. The climax felt a bit manufactured and events seemed to happen out of nowhere but overall the novel was compelling – in its handling of magic, not the “let’s overthrow an oppressive dictatorship” plot. 3.5 stars. Audio.

23. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen – Slow to start but I really got into the troubled and flawed characters and their relationships to each other. The story dissects their lives and choices, their past histories and why they do what they do. Engaging and while some events could be predicted, others seemed to happen out of nowhere. The literary machine in full effect here. 4.5 stars. Audio.

24. Cesar’s Way by Cesar Millan – A decent intro to how to train dogs. I liked hearing about his background, how he was raised, how he came to America and got his start. He gives good advice in some areas but reading some reviews of this book made me question the validity of his advice. Also not as much actual advice – more stories as examples then anything. 3 stars. Audio.

25. The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub – Similar in tone to King’s Dark Tower series but not as engaging. Maybe because I read those first. Or maybe because the storyline is very jumpy in places, possibly because of having two authors. 3 stars. Audio.

26. A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin – Epic. Long. Not as engaging as some of the other novels in this series but there were some exciting developments like Bariston’s chapters and Cersei’s walk of atonement. Plenty of this novel, however, is lost to minor characters and others that end up adding very little to the overall story. 3.5 stars. Audio.

27. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – A really fun read for nerds, geeks, and gamers who grew up in the eighties and nineties. I couldn’t help but get giddy from the geek culture references. This definitely helps get over the somewhat cookie cutter plot. 4.5 stars. Audio.

28. The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley – Fairly boring and took roughly half the novel for me to become interested. Reminds me of something from my college literature classes but less entertaining. 2 stars. Audio.

29. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch – Gets off to a creaky start but it is engaging enough to be entertaining. Some predictable plot, mixed with some surprising twists, make for an overall fun novel. 3.5 stars. Audio.

30. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom – Sentimental and corny but moving nonetheless. 4 stars.

31. Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski – Some of this dialog was hilarious! The reader helped with a fun and almost casual interpretation of the story told from the perspective of a boy on his journey to manhood. All centered around the way violence shapes his life. 4.5 stars. Audio.

32. Defenders of Shannara: The Sorcerer’s Daughter by Terry Brooks – Short but a decent finale to the Defenders trilogy. First Shannara book I listened to. Good characters but still lacked the element of exploration that define his earlier books. 4 stars. Audio.

33. The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson – More political drama than the first Mistborn novel but better, more satisfying action. The battle finale and mythos finale were both great. 4 stars. Audio.

34. Based On A True Story by Norm MacDonald – Not really a memoir and not really a humor book, this one confused me. There were plenty of funny moments as I count myself as a fan of Norm, but the jokes would be lost on most people. Some were even lost on me. But it was entertaining as he read it himself. 3 stars. Audio.

35. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – A second reading for fun. The voice acting was great and the story was just as good as before. It’s the little details of this novel that really set it apart from the rest. 4 stars. Audio.

36. Under the Dome by Stephen King – A fun novel that feels like an experiment for the author as well as the characters. Meta. 3.5 stars. Audio.

Gone But Not Forgotten

It’s been a rough week for inspirational people. 

The first came when Lemmy from the metal band Motörhead passed. Although I was never big into metal, I couldn’t help but get caught up in the bands sound. Ace of Spades was a perfect metal song for me: fast, loud, a gravelly voiced singer who actually sang with the right amount of edge-of-his-lung-capacity breath that really let the people know he was putting his heart and soul into it. The Ace of Spades video: http://youtu.be/1iwC2QljLn4

Second was David Bowie who not only influenced dozens of musicians and performers, he released his final album only days before he passed. The fact that he KNEW he was soon to die and infused his album with all the thoughts and feelings that go along with that makes me idolize him all the more. And it’s actually quite good on top of that.  Here’s the first video from his final album: https://youtu.be/y-JqH1M4Ya8

Then there is Alan Rickman, an actor so diverse and compelling on a Christopher Walken level that it brought a smile to my face any time he appeared on screen. From Die Hard to Galaxy Quest to Dogma to Harry Potter, he brought a unique authority to his roles that set him apart from other actors of his ilk.  

These three men have been an important part of our cultural lexicon for so long that their absence cannot help but be felt. 

My Reading List From 2015

2015 was a good year for catching up on books. I discovered the Overdrive app which, when connected to my library card, I can download a bevy of books, in eBook or audio versions. Since my job is fairly mindless (a drunk monkey could almost pull it off), I was able to enjoy books that I hadn’t gotten around to yet, was curious about, or was recommended to read.

As you can see from the list, I didn’t start keeping track of what I thought of each book until about halfway through. It’s just a way of recording my initial impressions.

I also wanted to address what I noticed about the list. Plenty of the entries were series that I hadn’t gotten around to yet (The Dark Tower series, the Landover novels, Game of Thrones), while others were old favorites (The Road, On Writing). I read/listened to a couple because they were favorites of some special people in my life (Redeeming Love, The Tale of Desperaux) and plenty of others I had little to no knowledge of before hand (Robopocalypse, Gamify, Death’s Apprentice, Never Let Me Go, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl). Most of these I didn’t care much for but the beauty of listening for me was that I could get through a book in far less time. The last thing I’ll mention are the new favorites (Vertical, Wild, Quiet, The Examined Life), which proved to me that listening to books can have just as much value as reading them.

Have any recommendations for 2016?? Leave a comment and let me know! I’m always open to trying a new book.


Books I’ve read in 2015

1. Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson

2. Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg

3. The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King

4. The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King

5. Crap Kingdom by D. C. Pierson

6. Write Songs Right Now by Alex Forbes

7. The Wastelands by Stephen King

8. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

9. Magic Kingdom for Sale…Sold! by Terry Brooks

10. The Alamo by John Myers Myers

11. Wizard and Glass by Stephen King

12. 10% Happier by Dan Harris

13. The Black Unicorn by Terry Brooks

14. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

15. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate Dicamillo

16. When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David Sedaris

17. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

18. Wizard At Large by Terry Brooks

19. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

20. Angry Optimist: The Life and Times of Jon Stewart by Lisa Rogak

21. A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

22. The Tangle Box by Terry Brooks

23. Gamify by Brian Burke

24. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

25. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin

26. The Defenders of Shannara: The Darkling Child by Terry Brooks-Solid storytelling but lacks the journey into the mysterious unknown that makes his other tales so compelling. Musician character and complex villain are the highlights. – 3.5 stars

27. The Examined Life by Stephen Grosz -Cases a therapist acquired over the course of his career. Many of the cases were relatable for me, which made the material very interesting to me. I might buy a copy, I liked it so much. – 5 stars

28. Death’s Apprentice by K. W. Jeter -A stygian tale that feels like a noir set in hell. Interesting ideas for some characters but others are basic and uninspired. Unclear where the settings are and how they connect with each other. Video game type action. – 2.5 stars

29. Clockwork Fairy Tales: A Collection of Steampunk Fables by Various Authors -Didn’t really feel many of these stories and what ones I did start to like were ruined by poor endings that added nothing. – 1.5 stars

30. Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir by Eddie Huang -Read by the fast-talking but funny author. Plenty of street slang and personal values. Inspiring tale of finding oneself amidst family abuse, racism, and society (the bamboo ceiling). Interesting to see the changes made for the family sitcom of the same name. Highly enjoyable. 4.5 stars

31. Orange Is The New Black by Piper Kerman -An interesting look at the inside of a women’s prison, mostly because it explored the friendships and bonding between prisoners and didn’t get into the dangerous conflicts loaded into other prison stories. 4 stars

32. Wild by Cheryl Strayed -About a girl trying to find herself on a three month hike. A simple premise with heart-wrenching realizations and personal hurdles overcome. Deep and honest. Better then the film. Makes me want to take a similar trip. 5 stars

33. Goosebumps: Horrorland – The Scream of the Haunted Mask by R. L. Stine -A silly horror tale for tweens. An entertaining audio performance elevated the childish story. 2.5 stars

34. The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy-Like Hardy’s other novels: a mix of interesting characters and societal pressures/rules that have tragic consequences. I like how he really enters the minds of each character so we know their sometimes strange reasoning for acting the way they do. 4.5 stars

35. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert -A more spiritual look at the creative process. Inspirational and supportive like others of its kind with some good stories to emphasize her points. Show appreciation for others without expecting anything back. A book to buy. 4.5 stars

36. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro -I liked how there were hints at a sci-fi element here but it was never the sole purpose of the story, which centered on the relationships between a girl and her two friends as they grew up together. I still knew what was happening so the reveal toward the end was not a big surprise – but maybe it wasn’t supposed to be. 3.5 stars

37. Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon -A short and sweet book about borrowing from things you like to create your own art. Feels a bit for the fledgling artist/creator but has several good tips and reminders for the seasoned artist. I read it on my phone and took several screen shots to remind myself of some of these tips. A book to have around on your bookshelf. 4 stars

38. The Road by Cormac McCarthy -One of my favorites. The lengths the man goes to save the boy is awe inspiring and touching, all while trying to teach him the skills he needs to survive in such a harsh world. The religious overtones/reading is interesting but this is one of the few times where I don’t like that deeper reading. The relationship between the father and son is more than good enough for me. 5 stars

39. Quiet by Susan Cain -Examples and reasons for accepting an introverted lifestyle in a culture that exemplifies an extroverted personality. There are enough examples of most situations that the book feels balanced. I found the subject matter hitting me on a personal level as some of the stories used could have been taken from my own life, about what to do as well as what not to do. One of the main points I took away was how my introvertedness seemed to be treated as a problem rather than an accepted part of who I was. I’ll read this one again for sure. 5 stars

40. Paladins of Shannara: Allanon’s Quest by Terry Brooks -A short story set just before the events of The Sword of Shannara. Despite Brooks being one of my favorite authors, this felt clunky and added little to the Shannara world. It was fun reading about Allanon again though. 2 stars

41. Vertical by Rex Pickett-The sequel to Sideways (one of my favorite films) is just as good, if not better then the original. While the author seems to go out of his way to showcase a deep and extensive vocabulary, he also creates a fun and joyous world with strong and interesting characters. The same comic yet melancholy tone of the first novel returns here while exceeding both. I can identify with the lead character Miles the most but the other characters are so detailed and real that it was difficult to not enjoy them also. As riotous as some of the events in the novel are, the ending had me tearing up, and almost felt like it belonged in another novel. But it worked and I loved it. 5 stars

42. A Feast For Crows by George R. R. Martin -The fourth in A Song of Ice and Fire series, it didn’t have the excitement of the previous entries. The story was more plodding and built through character rather then action. Some of the more interesting characters were absent but others stepped up. Still, the focus on a new set of characters and new environment only partially related to the bigger story was difficult to get through. 4 stars

43. On Writing by Stephen King -Inspirational and practical. My second “reading”. The advice that really stuck for me writing daily at the same time, celebrate when the first draft is finished then move on to something else right away, come back to that first draft with fresh eyes – a few weeks after finishing, write the first draft behind closed doors, cut out stimulations from writing area. I like his advice and also the straightforward way he tells it. He is very relatable and realistic. 4 stars

44. The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae -Didn’t like it. Maybe I was missing something by not knowing who the author was before reading. There were some awkward stories but not nearly enough to warrant the title. Many of the stories had little awkwardness in them and were instead examples of how she felt after the fact. I wanted more awkwardness! 2 stars

45. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury -Creepy in parts, humorous in others, a story about two boys, a father, fear, and growing up. And a really creepy carnival. A horror story with a deeper meaning. 3.5 stars

I feel useless tonight

A confection that’s stale and might

Break a tooth if indulgence succumbed 

Better to leave me alone
I feel horny tonight

Anxious and longing cause the moment is right

Driven from terrors of quieted rage

Trapped inside a locked cage
I was searching

I was searching for my soul

Cause I was sent here

I was sent to rock and roll
Someone save me tonight

There’s no reason, no wrongs and no rights

Just a sad lonely ghost

Trying to make the most
Someone save me tonight

I’m a little boy lost to the night

With no light source no one for a guide

Someone save me tonight
I was searching

I was searching for my soul

Cause I was sent here

I was sent to rock and roll
Someone save me tonight

A thought about flushing

     There’s been a problem recently at work. A few months ago the company revamped the bathroom. Nothing huge, just a change.
Before, the urinals were automated. They had switched to the hands free model in an effort to save water as most people apparently needed to double flush their frothy brew and the company wanted to save money. So, the automated flushers were installed to deliver the exact amount of fresh water needed to eliminate the urine as well as refill the receptacle with water you would consider drinking during the apocalypse. The problem with the automated urinals was the sensors. They would go off when people hadn’t stepped away or even if they stood in front of it at a ten foot distance. I don’t know about my coworkers but I couldn’t deliver a ten foot stream on my best day. Maybe if I had a step stool and a steep drop in front of me…
   So with all that extra unsanctioned flushing, the urinals would overflow and make a mess in an already dirty as hell bathroom. The company was once again losing that sweet water profit while gaining a certain musty smell as urine soaked into the cracks of the tile floor. Needless to say, they switched back to the manual flushers.
    Now here’s where it gets gross. Imagine stepping up to one of these receptacles and instead of seeing a pleasant dollop of neutral water, there is a bubbling witch’s brew of steaming urine to gaze at. If you’re into that kind of thing, good on you, but for me and at least a few others I know, we find it disgusting. And try peeing in that without getting pee-body splash-back. 
    Why are we seeing this split pee soup? There’s some speculation that these non-flushers haven’t realized that the urinals are no longer automated but I doubt that. No one is blind. Some people just don’t want to flush because they don’t want to touch the germ invested handle.
    Look, I get it. Touching something in the bathroom that everyone has laid wiener covered hands on can be mildly disturbing if you think about it. Just thinking about the six degrees of penile contact brings to mind some people I would rather not have anything to do with. But leaving your waste water for the next person who needs to relieve themselves is selfish. It’s annoying. And gross. And after a few hours of stagnation, the smell is vomit inducing.
    I appreciate the fact that bathrooms are gross and touching anything in them can be creepier than anything in a David Lynch film but let’s work together on this. No one wants to see, smell, or feel another person’s piss water. So for the sake of all of us, take the half second to flush. All those germs will be gone from your person anyway because you’ll be washing your hands afterwards anyway right? Right? Blaaaaaaaaaaagggghh!!

  So, I’ve had some people ask me if I’ve been writing music lately. It’s been a while since I’ve released anything and honestly, that’s a little difficult for me to take. I love writing music and during the year and a half since writing and recording my last album, Suckerfish, I realized how much. It took an absence of writing for me to figure it out as well as a listen back to all the song ideas I had recorded on my last phone’s recorder. I listened to everything I recorded, from four second vocal ideas to fully formed songs that for one reason or another didn’t make it into my band’s setlist or onto my last album. Some of these I had zero recollection of. But I was blown away by some of them. Listening, I could see why I had recorded them in the first place. The sparks of a good idea, the excitement of discovering a new chord progression or riff were apparent in many. I could remember feeling like I had discovered gold, that a series of notes, energy, rhythm, tempo, and tone came together to form something so great that I knew it needed to be recorded.Creativity comes to me in waves, it seems. Sometimes only trickles of songs come while other times I nearly drown in them. The last few months have been the latter and it feels great.

So, to answer those people that have been asking, “Have you been writing?”, the answer is yes. Very much so. At this point, I have enough new material to record an album. My dilemma though, is the tone of the songs. They vary quite a bit and I’ve always appreciated albums that have a similar vibe throughout. 

So, what to do? That’s the question I’m working through right now. There are several other factors I need to take into consideration but none are as immediate as this.

I will keep posting updates about my progress, as well as other surprises and such. In the meantime, take care!

Evil Dead The Musical

There’s always a well of playful joy that courses through my body anytime Evil Dead comes up. Whether it’s rewatching the original films or watching previews for the upcoming show (Ash vs Evil Dead!!), a part of me regresses to a fifteen year old, all giddy with excitement. Even the subpar video games were playable because of this.

And it was with this excitement that I sat in an old, uncomfortable seat in Renton, Washington for Evil Dead the Musical.
For a musical I’ve seen four times, I was still able to easily find enjoyment in the production. While it wasn’t the best production I’ve seen, it did manage to surprise me with some creative dialog, and even adding a character. 
The vocal performances were not great, however. Cues were hit and the dialog was funny but with the exception of one or two performers, the singing was average at best. The actors could hit all their notes but the harmonizing was off, perhaps because of the changing of ranges needed to accommodate the differing styles of the actors. The acting was decent and silly when it needed to be and serious for the few moments of poignancy. The performers and crowd seemed to be feeding off of each other, the latter of which loved it. This was perhaps due to the subject and knowledge of the source material rather than the performances. Or perhaps it was the copious amounts of fake blood that was unabashedly thrown and splattered onto the pre-warned crowd. Squirt bottles, small balloons, and even a hose were used within the “splatter zone” (roughly the front half of the theater). The end was especially messy. There was so little pretense that the actors, supposedly in the midst of a climatic battle, would bring out buckets full of red liquid and dump it over the heads of select audience members. Not the most verisimilitude for a show but the crowd couldn’t care less.
This musical has become almost a tradition for me. Whenever it’s playing at a theater in town, I try to see it. I’ve never regretted that decision. I had a great time, as did my wife who, never having seen the movies, found the experience a good one. I just need get her into the splatter zone next time 😉

Mindfulness Retreat

  As experiences go, I’ve always looked to spreading my wings, flying off to some foreign land to experience the food and culture of a society I had little to no connection with. Or if not, a far off place, an activity I never got around to doing within driving distance of my home. I never expected to be a part of something that actually required NO action. At least not in a way I had previously thought.
Last weekend, I participated in a mindfulness retreat.
I had heard of these retreats and thought they were relegated to yogis or naturalists looking to reach the next echelon of higher understanding. I want to know things as much as the next person but that’s what I thought school was for. Not sitting in a room with dozens of others, not speaking and barely acknowledging each other. I respected people who did but it didn’t seem like something for me.
I have one of those brains that has been shaped and saturated with T.V. and internet signals so any moment of silence feels awkward and harsh. I check my phone constantly like a little kid tugging on his momma’s pant leg in need of attention. I listen to music and/or podcasts/audiobooks like I have an IV attached to my eardrum. Silence is something that almost hurts.
And silence was something I had to embrace.
For six hours, including lunch and bathroom breaks, we practiced mindfulness. We alternated mindful breathing, yoga, walking, eating, and sitting. During each one, we attuned our thoughts to only our bodies. Whether it was the movement of our lungs as we breathed or the movement of our ligaments as we walked, we focused our thoughts on the present moment of our bodies.
At least we tried. While I could focus on my muscles during the more active of the meditations, my thoughts wandered profusely during the sitting and laying positions. Focusing my thoughts on my breath became boring.
The first half of the day was a real struggle, concentration wise. Then, roughly three hours in as lunch time approached, my hunger pains became another cause of focus loss. I was beginning to think I wouldn’t make it.
But something happened after lunch. After another unfocused sitting meditation, I seemed to get my second wind. I was somehow blocking out my extraneous thoughts. Somewhere between lunch and another walking meditation, I had managed to settle into a clear and focused mind. There was no internal chatter. I didn’t think about it at the time. Only after we talked in small groups afterward did I realize how mindful I had become. My wife even noticed, pointing out how mindful and slow I had been walking. I had also noticed how energized I felt compared to how I started; in a haze of lethargy. By the time our teacher rang the final bell, I felt as if I could do another couple hours of mindful practice. 
I was still glad to be done.
When speaking about it later, I told my group that the day had felt like running a marathon. The beginning was spent tired and finding my pace. It wasn’t until getting my second wind after lunch that I settled into my body and mind. It was then that I found my true enjoyment in the day. I had accepted where I was. I had accepted my occasionally wandering mind. I had accepted that I would be there until seven o’clock and I might as well give myself over to the process. 
The experience was so different and unique that I would encourage anyone interested in the subject, or not interested for that matter, to give it a try. I’m glad I did. 

  Still standing after nearly three hundred years, The Alamo is an experience to walk into. Having known very little about The Alamo other than there is NO basement (Pee Wee’s Big Adventure anyone?), I enjoyed standing in a building that played such an important part in the history of the United States. That being said, there wasn’t much to look at. Much of it was closed off although the previous day I had seen a line going into the back so maybe we went at the wrong time. What I really enjoyed about the building is that it is nearly three hundred years old and standing downtown amidst hotels and malls containing Taco Bells and Hooters. I may be wrong but I don’t think the history of Hooters is quite as grand as The Alamo. The juxtaposition of the different eras is something I don’t get to see often so it stood out to me. I’m from Seattle. There is very little that is three hundred years old downtown. 

 Around the corner from our hotel stood La Villita, a small village of local artist’s shops. Several were closed, or closing when we got there. It was late in the afternoon so we were prepared for some of the closures. Even so, we were able to see lovely art and craftwork that, had we the money, we would have cleared out half the stores. Even though we didn’t have the money, we had a fun time walking the village and seeing everything. 

 The Historic Market Square stands in the heart of downtown and takes up half a city block. Within its walls awaits a series of small shops, many with similar inventories but unique treasures can also be found if one looks hard enough. Fedoras of different colors, small musical instruments, stone carvings, artwork and sculptures, hot sauces and seasonings, knick-knacks, magnets, and other souvenirs can all be acquired. But look sharp! Items can vary in price from store to store so a thorough search is needed to obtain the best deals. For example, I wanted a small guitar to take back home. The price between the various shops ranged from $10 to $16 – not a small difference and well worth the extra time it took to check out every option.  

 The Briscoe Western Art museum is a three story museum containing artifacts and relics from the old west that stands just off the Riverwalk. With its air conditioning, it was a great place to take refuge from the Texas heat. Within its walls were displayed weapons used in the Battle of the Alamo, every kind of spur throughout history, and authentic artifacts from hundreds of years ago. These included old banjos, uniforms, and saddles. I had no idea how adorned some of these artifacts were but seeing them in person, I really saw that the art of pimping one’s ride was around looong before the MTV show. For those that need a little more description about the specifics of the actually Battle of the Alamo, check out the scale model. It shows in detail where Texas’s favorite heroes, as well as villains, were positioned in the battle, as well as Calvary placement, cannon placement, and attack and defense patterns. The last thing I’ll mention about the museum is that it was free! Between 4pm and 7pm on Tuesdays the museum is free to attend. One only needs to sign in at the front desk. You can’t beat that! 

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my thoughts about my few days in San Antonio. I wasn’t able to do everything I wanted but I’m glad for the things I did. Please leave a comment if you are so inclined. Thanks! 


  It’s my first time in Texas and I’m seeing far less sunshine then I expected. An omnipresent cloud has covered San Antonio since our arrival Saturday night and the only glimpse of sunshine occurred last night while we were visiting the Tower of the Americas. It made for some great pics but as we’ve entered the first days of summer officially, I expected more. As it stands, we’ve seen more rain and clouds then Seattle has seen in the past month.

Unfortunately, it’s put a delay on some of the things we wanted to do and because our stay is so short, there is a good chance the delay will be more then a few days. Hot-air balloons, rodeos, caverns…will have to wait. Between the weather, my wife’s conference meetings, and short duration of our stay, some things just had to get cut.




 What I have been able to see has been well worth the trouble and a must for anyone visiting this beautiful city of San Antonio. First, the San Antonio River Walk is something for anyone from out of town to experience. Located in the heart of San Antonio, the River Walk boasts a number of restaurants, gift shops, and boutiques that a traveler could spend an entire day exploring. In several hours, I still only managed to scratch the surface of what the River Walk had to offer. I plan on going back. 




 One of the other activities my wife and I were able to try out was the Tower of the Americas. Also located downtown, the tower stands against the skyline with an observation deck that gives a three hundred and sixty degree view of the surrounding area. Though it stands nearly twenty feet taller then Seattle’s Space Needle, the Tower is not nearly as visually pleasing (sorry Texans!). However, some of my favorite pics came from here. One thing I found surprising about the tower is that I enjoyed the view from the elevator’s west facing window more than from the observation deck. This was most likely due to the overcast day and the tinted glass of the observation deck where the elevator glass was completely limpid. As a result, the clear view of the setting sun was a sight to behold. Also included with our ticket price was a screening of a 4-D short film called The Skies of Texas, a ten minute commercial for the state, which was humorous in a cheesy, forced-fun kind of way. The floor moved, small air jets whipped our legs when a snake slithered away onscreen, and light water sprayed our faces when a bull snorted. I don’t think it’s what they were going for but I couldn’t help myself from cracking up. That being said, both were well worth the price of admission.

We still have a few more days in the city and I am excited to experience what there is to offer. I will report back on The Alamo, free museum Tuesday, and a possible surprise or two. Happy exploring!