Dec 15, 2011

Stay at home

Posted by Filiberto Garcia

Being a stay at home mom has been great for my kids and my family but terrible for my relationship. I know it’s all me but by the time my husband gets home I’m just exhausted from watching DIRECT TV all day and dealing with screaming kids and not really having any adult interaction – it’s no good for any of us. I know my husband really misses the extra income I used to bring in but for now I feel like this is the right decision for all of us because I can give the kids the undivided attention they really need at this young age. But there are definitely times that I wish things were easier between Mark and I and I surely hope we can make it through this tough time. It’s hard being a mom in this day and age and sometimes I feel like I’m totally dependent on my husband or that I’m supposed to be able to do everything AND be a great mom. It’s a lot of pressure for a woman.

Nov 19, 2011

It's About Time to Let That Music Flow

Yes, it's about time for some music creation to hit the front burner. I've always wanted to be super productive and create music that I'm proud of and people will enjoy, but I've never really put in that true commitment. Now is the time. I'm taking an online course that is going to jumpstart this brain of mine and the music will soon follow. I can't wait to get rolling.

One of my first exercises is to fuel my unconscious brain. To do this I've simply been listening to music. For starters I stuck in my favorite album "Clumsy" by Our Lady Peace. I strapped on my Bose headphones, laid down on the couch and pressed play. It's an amazing feeling to just lay back with nothing else on your mind but the music that is pumping into your brain. You notice all of the little details that you might never have noticed before. You feel the emotion, you picture the raw sound behind your closed eyes. Such a great feeling, especially when it's your favorite album. You truly get lost. It was like Raine was pouring out that signature falsetto just for me and as Big Dumb Rocket had it's turn, it took all of me energy to stay relaxed and lay there, just appreciating my favorite tune and not rocking around the room belting the lyrics.

Next I picked another album from my cd shelf. I dug a little deeper for this one. I searched for a disc that I hadn't spun in a real long time but still had that way of tugging at my internal rock strings. I came across "Lemon Parade" by Tonic and knew I had to give it the treatment. Man, was it worth it. You tend to forget sometimes how good music is when you haven't listened to it in a long time. As Open Up Your Eyes, Mountain, and Wicked Soldier blasted through my headphones and drove it's way into the pleasure centers of my brain I was taken back to high school when this album was on constant rotation in my cd player. The heavy guitars, full acoustic strums and soaring vocals had me floating in musical bliss. No offense to Tonic, but I was so relaxed I even fell asleep for half a song. Considering how loud it was in my ears I see that as a compliment anyway.

The third and final album of this exercise is going to be something a little different. It's going to be an album that I've never heard before from a genre that isn't usually my cup of tea. I combed through Grooveshark for a few minutes and decided on "Hands All Over," the newest album from Maroon 5. I enjoy their radio singles for the most part but their music has never really driven me to keep listening. Hard rock has been my thing ever since I picked up "Sunburn" by Fuel and "My Own Prison" by Creed back in my high school days. But I'm excited to give it a shot and feed my brain with something that I would never listen to otherwise. I'm hoping moving to another genre and taking in the music for the experience of doing it will truly be a good step in making my own music that much better.

So now it begins. I can't wait to get this program going and get some music pouring out of my head, hands and throat and out into the world. I don't think I've ever wanted anything so badly in my life and there is no stopping me now. I mean come on, if my current homework is just chilling and listening to awesome music how can I complain? I can't, that's why music is so incredible and I'm itching to make some of my own. I look forward to giving updates of my progress.

Rock on!

Nov 4, 2011

Mom is Tough

Guest post from: Bruno Smith


Moving was tough but the hardest part of all was having to redo this house. I was worried I wouldn’t know enough about carpentry and stuff like that to get it under control but I tell you one thing, when you’re in that situation you really do learn fast! I wish I knew more but I’m learning as I go and I already feel better about being able to do things like put up bathroom tiles and lay carpet. My husband is more concerned with things like adt Nevada and getting the surround sound hooked up but you know, that’s all superfluous to me. I just care about getting this place livable compared to what I’m looking for which really isn’t all that much. We’re both getting better at contracting and I’ve gotten really, really good at hiring people to do the stuff I can’t. This place looks totally different than when I started with it and I count that as a success at the end of the day, I think!

Aug 1, 2011

Like A Broken Record

My songwriting goes through quite a few stages. Some of the stages are consistent while others come and go depending on the song. But no matter what, every song I write goes through this specific stage that I call "the broken record." I'd say it is the most frustrating step of them all, even more difficult to overcome than working from the original idea at the birth of a song.

Basically, this step in the process involves playing a completed section of a new song over and over again. And I mean over and over and over and over again. The drive my fiance insane give myself blisters kind of over and over. For example, I'm working on a new tune called "Set You Off." I have a concrete main riff on the guitar, a first verse and a chorus. I have been looping this section over and over again in it's entirety day after day, week after week.

Logically, I'm replaying it to eventually add on and complete the song. Some of my best ideas have come while just playing and fumbling upon something.  Yes, there's always the option of recording that clip and listening on my headphones, in turn, not pushing my finance and neighbors into madness with my incessant strumming and screaming. Even though I always do record my progress, it's never really worked well for me to write without my guitar sitting in my lap.

The most frustrating part of this stage is not knowing how long it will last. Sometimes a song comes together in a day or a few days without having to play the riff into oblivion. Other times, like this new song, weeks go by with the same riff, the same melodies, the same lyrics going unchanged, rolling on like a broken record from hell.

Especially lately, things have been working out for the best when it comes to this monotonous stage of my songwriting as I've written more songs this year so far as I did all last year. (Good songs that I feel confident and proud of to boot. Like "Forbidden.") Really I just need to push through, concentrate and continue to do what I love doing, not worrying about what people think. In fact, right now it's time to stop typing and grab the guitar and play this riff a couple hundred more times before bed time. This song isn't going to write itself. Sorry honey, I'll try to keep it down.

Jul 12, 2011

Making Money In Music Production

I've been writing a lot and I've been working a lot. Those are the two things that are on my mind constantly these days. Most of the time, thoughts of music tend to win out. I find myself humming melodies and jotting down lyrics during the work day while having the overwhelming feeling that I need to get home to my guitar before I lose that precious inspiration.

Whenever there's actual thoughts of work that clog my head, those thoughts wander toward getting out and doing work that I would enjoy in the long haul. As much as I've been writing music lately, the idea of making a career in music production haunts me, whether it be making music in a band, writing songs for other artists, or working in a studio helping other people create music. Where I would even begin is mind boggling and how to make a career out of it seems beyond fathomable. 

Today was one of those days that I truly had to get out. I left my job as a screen printer early today in a haze of toxic solvents and exhaustion wondering what I could possibly do to get out my rut and take a leap toward doing something that I would love to do instead of just being content. I've thought about dabbling in video production. My mediocre knowledge of computers aside, I've always enjoyed making videos that involve my music. I don't see any money in that at the moment, more than anything it would be a chance to branch out and try something a little more creative. Though it steers away from my music a bit, I've also thought about things such as voice over work. I've always felt I had a really decent singing voice but the main challenge with doing voice overs would be becoming more confident in the sound of my speaking voice. 

Overall, I'm getting more confident every day in my skills as a songwriter. Turning my love for music into a career would be a dream come true, even if it only played a supporting role. Anything would beat how I feel about my current job sometimes and I definitely look forward to taking the risk. For now, with money tight and a wedding in the near future, money is my focus. So as long as I can keep writing my songs in my free time, I am content with being content, getting paid and daydreaming about all the things that could lead to a career in music. 

Jun 20, 2011

Bedtime with Letterman

Thanks to Roman May

When getting ready for bed, I enjoy turning on the television in the bedroom and watching "The Late Show With David Letterman" on my satellite TV from BestChoiceTV.com. I usually change into my pajamas and brush my teeth during his monologue. Letterman is so funny and quick. I love his dry delivery and how he makes fun of himself. He has definitely seemed to soften his personality since having his heart attack and after the birth of his son. Letterman also has a good report with the musical director Paul Schaffer. 

I'm usually snug under my bed covers by the time the first guest comes on stage, but sometimes I am still folding laundry or straightening the room. The Top Ten List is usually entertaining with at least few hilarious entries but most are not very funny. My favorite regular segments are the Stupid Pet Tricks and Stupid Human Tricks. The acts are usually pretty entertaining plus it is fun to watch the animals react to the audience, lights, and Letterman. My favorite guest is animal expert Jack Hanna. He and Letterman play off of each other so well. Also, Hanna often brings on unusual and exotic pets which can be unpredictable. Recently, I enjoyed the appearance by singer Justin Bieber reading the Top Ten and how Letterman teased Martha Stewart. He has such good comedic timing!

May 11, 2011

New Song and Video - "Up The Down"

I finished this song a few weeks ago then my computer died. So in turn I totally forgot to post it up here. Overall, I just was just too lazy to do a decent multi track recording so I just shot a quick video.

The title came from an always growing list of song titles I have kicking around. I had a couple of good friends pick from the list to give me a challenge and "Up The Down" is what transpired. Enjoy.





Rock on!

Apr 19, 2011

Guest Post: Have a Great Super Bowl Party

Guest post from: Bruno Smith

How do you have a great Super Bowl Party? One of the first things you need if you want to have a great Super Bowl Party is a nice television. My guests enjoy the game on my satellite tv from CannonSatellite.com. They also love the large and crisp display. I believe that when hosting a Super Bowl party you need a large screen television. The experience just isn't the same with a room full of people trying to watch the game on a smaller screen TV. The display should be over 50 inches and in HD.

Guests are going to be hungry. I make sure I have plenty of food. I'd rather have too much to eat than not enough food. Try to mix it up a little so guests have a variety to choose from. I usually put out a table with plenty of chips on it. I have different flavors ranging from regular to sour cream and onion. Can't forget the dip.

At one Super Bowl Party I put out a do-it-yourself taco salad option. A table was set up with all the ingredients and you could custom make your own taco salad. People loved it. I think I might have that set up again this year.

Don't forget the beverages. People will be thirsty. Get a variety and have a great Super Bowl party.

Apr 16, 2011

Video: Foo Fighters - Rope

I picked up the new Foo Fighters album, "Wasting Light" on Tuesday. I'm really digging it. You can watch them perform the whole album live on YouTube. That's not something you see...ever, so definitely check it out. Here's the video for the first single, "Rope".


Mar 1, 2011

Taking The Vocal Cords For Granted

I stayed home from work today, not something that I like to do, but considering I can still barely get an intelligible word past my lips from my seemingly destroyed vocal cords, I thought it was fitting. Especially being a musician and singer, it's beyond explainable of how frustrating it is not to be able to sing let alone talk. You never truly realize how important something is to you until you don't have it anymore. That goes for so many things in life, but when it's something that you dream could be your livelihood someday, it makes it even more unbearable.

It's not that I haven't had laryngitis before in my life. I can remember two occasions quite clearly that overtake this one in a heartbeat. The first occasion was during one of the first shows my former band Now Transmission played. Only a few songs into our set my voice completely gave out. Mid song, out came nothing but a high pitched squeal and nothing but silence no matter how hard I tried from then on. It was a pretty embarrassing moment, and luckily I've been able to relive that moment over and over as the performance was being recorded.

The second time was due to sickness rather than strain although it did have an adverse effect on the band as it was only a couple of years later. We had signed up to play a battle of the band in Boston, quite a big deal for us as we didn't travel to the big city very often because it was quite a long trip. My squeaky voice box forced us to switch up the lineup a bit; our bassist moving to vocals, our guitarist playing bass, and me playing guitar. We only played one song, actually made it past the first round (due to a couple of bands not showing up) and played the second round in the same configuration a couple of days later. It wasn't the most successful venture ever, but it definitely could have worked out a whole lot worse.

That brings us today. I'm not in a band anymore, just writing and playing music on my own. But especially now, as I'm trying to write and practice as much as I ever have, not being able to do simple things that I do everyday like practice my new songs in the living room, sing in the car, yell at the guy who cut me off, or talk to my fiance is maddening. I'm sure my voice will probably come back to me in the next few days, it's just moments like these that make me realize how much I take things for granted sometimes. As if I wasn't motivated enough to work on my music before, now, once my throat heals, I want to be busting out the music like my life depended on it. 

Who knows when you could lose that thing you love for good, you have to appreciate it while it's here. Cheesy, of course, but oh so true. Rock on!

Feb 20, 2011

Guest Post: Favorite TV Show About Animals: Animal Cops

Contribution by Michale Greer

Animal cops is one of the best shows that airs on Animal Planet. This amazing show reveals how cops work to free poor animals from horrible owners. As someone who has witnessed animal cruelty and violence in her own life, I am someone very dedicated to the cause of protecting animals. I always watch this show on my Satellite TV from expertsatellite.com with my own two puppy dogs.

For anyone with a passion for animals, then Animal Cops is surely a great show to view. This show makes anyone feel compassion for the suffering of animals. This show also makes one aware of just how many animal crimes happen in the United States on a daily basis. One will truly be stunned to learn how much crime happens on a daily basis here. However, one can also learn the steps necessary to protect animals that may be victims of crimes from abusive owners.

If one wants to help animals, then one merely need call the cops, just as this show reveals. This show inspires people to take action in order to protect animals so they can be given a loving home. There is no greater show that encourages the proper treatment of animals than this one. This show is one in a million and will inspire any person to help animals. I love this show so much!

Feb 12, 2011

New song: "Proud"

In the effort to keep the ball rolling here's another new song. Well, new to you anyway. I started writing this song back in 2006. It began as a simple as hell guitar riff, a first verse, and a nonsense words to get a melody chorus. Thanks to the Word Box and some awesome encouragement it officially became a song this week after 5 years. Hit it up in the player below.




My project this week is to start a song from scratch from a short list of old titles that my friends picked out for me. Should be interesting. Rock on!

Feb 6, 2011

New Song: "Forbidden"...Finally.

Thanks to some friendly encouragement the long drought has ended. I honestly don't even remember the last time I posted a new song but last night I finally uploaded my newest song, "Forbidden".

It's not that I haven't been writing, it's just that the concept of recording and getting the quality I want out of it has been insanely overwhelming, especially considering my recording limitations. (The internal mic of a iMac G5 isn't exactly top of the line recording gear.) But I've tried to deal with what I currently have and focus on the main goal of getting these songs down and out there for people to hear.   Feel free to give it a listen in the player below. Rock on!



Jan 14, 2011

Down the Dark Stairway

Maybe this post is a stretch or just a poor excuse to create a metaphor, I don't know. Maybe it's just an excuse to write something in this sad example of a blog that has seen posts few and far between. Maybe I just saw this picture, which has been sitting in my phone for a couple of months and it flicked a switch in my brain, somehow reminding me of all things that I've wanted to do and haven't; that I want to do but can't seem to get started.

I took this picture leaving a club on a cold, November night. I don't go out much so it was kind of a big deal for me. It must have been, I don't know, 11:30. (Whoa, party animal.) I looked down the dirty stairway that led directly to the street and it seemed a bit creepy. Narrow and dark, walls covered with posters and pictures; bent metal and matted carpet on the risers. There's nothing really special about the stairway, just an ordinary, if not a little too steep, set of stairs. But being the cell phone photog that I profess myself to be I was drawn to the view and just had to snap the pic.

That leads to today, the second week of 2011 and I happen upon this picture in my phone while sitting in front of the TV, wasting away another perfectly good night that could be spent doing something useful. It's like I'm stuck in my head, waiting at the top of the stairs, looking down, not exactly sure why I don't dare take those 20 or so steps down to the street below.

Will I trip on the first step and tumble down the narrow stairway, smacking my head on each step along the way? Will I get halfway and realize down those steps is not the direction I want to go? Or will I get to the street just to get caught in a torrential downpour, to get mugged or hit by a car, or simply not know which direction to turn?

That dark stairway taunts me daily. Some days I take a few steps down, look back at up to the top and retreat. There have been days when I've made it to the bottom step, only to smell the sour scent of rain and car exhaust waft through the doorway making me turn heel to the stench of failure and stale disappointment.

You'd think it would be easy enough to just go down those stairs and do what I need to do. Unfortunately, it's not. But maybe it is just that simple. Stop over thinking, take the stairs two at a time, burst out into the street and pick a direction, damn the consequences. No one ever got anywhere without taking that first step. But they also got nowhere from taking that first step and failing to take the next 19 after that, and the next 100 after that, and so on.

I really don't know what's going to happen down the stairway, if I make it down, if I make it through the door, if I get the chance to turn and walk away from the dark stairway, but I think I'd rather find out instead of waiting at the top, worried what will happen.

Metaphor, complete. Let's write some songs quit being an excuse creating procrastinator and get on with life.
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