I remember hearing somewhere that the difference between a $100 guitar and a $2000 guitar is the percentage of quality instruments made out of 1000. 1 out of 1000 guitars that cost $100 will be exceptional; the rest will fall somewhere between adequate and downright terrible. However, out of 1000 guitars that cost $2000, 980 of them will be exceptional and 20 of them will be less than that... but still way better than a $100 guitar. And that's what you're paying for... the ability to control the type of quality you'll be receiving.
Damn... there's gotta be some sort of nifty graph or pie chart or graphic that I can find to support that last paragraph... GOOGLE QUEST!!
Wow... I never took statistics, and I'm damn glad. Let's just say my google quest led me to pages that probably related to what I'm talking about, but I couldn't possibly understand them or hope to utilize them for this blog post...
What was I saying? Oh yeah... quality control, difference between $100 guitar and $2000 guitar... blah blah blah...
It's kinda like the difference between community theater and Broadway.
You're paying $5-$30 for a community theater show. You're paying anywhere from $110 to $260 for a Broadway show. There will be issues with the community theater show: lighting cues will be off, the costuming or set design or direction or acting might be sub par, sound might not be done very well. The Broadway show is going to be on point with everything. The determining factor with whether or not you enjoy the show will pretty much be a matter of taste. There won't be any logistic issues preventing your enjoyment (at least there shouldn't be).
It's kinda like the difference between being an amateur and a professional.
Amateurs are hobbyists and do things because they enjoy them but don't get paid to do them. Professionals enjoy what they do (hopefully), and people pay them for the services. And professionals had better provide those services error free close to 100% of the time... otherwise they won't be in business for very long. Whether you're a professional plumber, doctor, actor, musician, basket maker... people depend on knowing that you'll deliver exactly what they want when they want it.
Seth Godin is a brilliant man whose blog I've been following for about 4 years. Every day around 3am a lovely little insightful email populates my inbox with ways to better myself, to change my outlook on life, to push the boundaries of what I think is possible, to take steps towards the job, career, life that I truly want.
From all of these hundreds of emails, a couple stand out...
Valve is the software company that gave Half Life to the world. Now, I'm not even that big of a gamer, and I know about Half Life. In fact, I have a feeling almost any male between the ages of 14 and 50 would at least partially recognize this picture:
I don't know what the game is about. All I know is it's a first person shooter and is supposedly one of the greatest video games ever made in the history of ever.
Anyways, the Valve Handbook for New Employees is one of the most amazing things I have ever read in my life. As Seth Godin describes it, it is "about the post-industrial method of management." It describes the company as having a "flat structure" where everyone and anyone can work with anyone else, where there are no managers and no "boss", where desks are on wheels so they can be moved and organized into various cabals created to complete employee projects, where the customer truly is the boss.
It's inspiring. It's simple. It's honest. It's supremely complicated. It acknowledges the company's strengths and recognizes their weaknesses. It's totally serious. It is the butt of its own joke.
It is dependent on a singular belief that better people make a better company... that "hiring is more important than oxygen".
Please read it because anything I have written here has not done it justice.
It gives me hope for the future... because if one company can do it this way... why not more?
Why not... EVERY company...?
I'm certainly set in a lot of my own ways, ways that have been borne out of 30 some odd years of repetition, ways that are deficient and that are begging to be changed.
The Valve Handbook is now part of my personal manifesto to initiate and perpetuate change within myself. Change for the better. Not just for me, but for my wife, for my son, for my family, for my friends.
Remember this feeling, Glynn. It is not sappy (it's totally sappy). It is (hopefully) not fleeting. It is important enough to hold on to... Read: "so important that you should never let it go."
A Personal Manifesto:
Every day I will strive to go to sleep a better person than when I woke up in the morning.
It's about re-creating a feeling. Capturing a moment in a life, any life, mine, yours, theirs, ours.
Because we all have the same experiences, the same hopes and dreams and fears. Everyone just wants to be happy, to find something that makes them get up in the morning.
There are songs that do this so well...
I remember sitting in the back of my parent's 1995 Honda Civic with my sister's Sony Discman in my lap, headphones blaring, on the way to San Diego for a reunion for my dad and his fraternity brothers, or on the way home from school on the 60 freeway passing Montebello golf course, or on the way to Griffith Park Observatory during Christmas 1996 with some cousins from the Philippines...
So many memories just from listening to one song...
Work at it, Glynn. Write ten songs. Then a hundred. Then a thousand. And make each one capture a moment in a life. Yours. His. Hers. Theirs. Ours.
Write. Go play guitar right now. It's not as if you're actually going to go to sleep...
What do you do when you have too much to say? Where do you start? How do you wade through all the bullshit and get to the really good stuff in your brain, the stuff that inspires, that stuff that captivates, the stuff that you're most proud of sharing?
Well... you don't do it by doing nothing.
Say too much. Aim too high. Stretch too far. It's easier to pull back than it is to push farther (farther or further?).
The greatest ideas are like that. It's as if they've always existed and someone just needed to come along and articulate them.
Great songs are like that, too. "I'm right here. You just need to play and sing me. I've always existed. Just come and find me, bro."
And this post has morphed into a ramble.
No. Wait. Focus. Focus. Getting it all out... the name of the post is "Getting It All Out".
Get it on the page. All of it. Every single thing you can come up with. Get it on the page.
But that's not how I do things. I do very little editing. It's all about... feel.
How does it feel? Does it feel... "right"? Because feeling right is almost better than feeling good and the two feelings are not always synonymous...
When I write a song, I don't get it all out and edit. Wait... I have done that before. With one song in particular. I auto-wrote and recorded live version after live version and then finished the song... wait... songs. There are multiple songs I've done this with. And they are "finished" or as finished as they can be... but at the same time they're never finished.
That's what I want to do. I want to write songs... that are never finished... because they are different every single time I play them. They are based on that singular moment, on how the audience is reacting, on how much I've had to drink, on if I've had a bad day, on if my guitar is out of tune.
Wait... any song that's performed live is like that. They are never finished. The audience listens and brings their own baggage to the song, their own point of view, their own customs and morals and connotations and individual understandings of language, spoken, instrumental, body...
And you change, too. You play a song that you wrote 4 years ago, and it's the same song, but it's not the same song because you're not the same person. 4 years pass and you're in a different place and you don't even remember the actual meaning of the song but you perform it and bring your current self along for the ride.
All of this has led me to one conclusion.
I need to play live again, more, weekly...
And I shouldn't title my blog posts before writing them...
In the beginning, things are difficult. You can barely run for 10 minutes straight without feeling completely winded. Your form isn't the most efficient, you're still trying to figure out what's comfortable, there is plenty of trial and error, you are motivated to get out there and run and train, but you might become impatient, anxious to see results, to see some sort of evidence that your effort isn't all for naught.
Then you fall into a groove. 2 miles in 20 minutes? No problem. Bring on some speed training. I'm gonna finish that 5K in under 30 minutes. Man, make it 29 minutes. No, 28 minutes. My goal's will be reached. I've lost some weight. Yeah! Clothes are fitting me again!
Damn. I can't just run for 40 minutes and continue to lose weight. I have to watch what I eat and add some strength training and maybe swimming would be a good idea and shouldn't I hop on the bike, too, yeah, that would be good and keep me well-rounded and motivated and I can fight through this plateau.
And that's the secret. You have to realize that you need to fight through. That there will be times when you see minimal gains, but you have to recognize that a baby step forward is still a step forward. Fight through the plateau, keep your legs moving, keep your spirits up, stick to the plan, keep your goals in your sights, because once you fight through the plateau, you'll be that much stronger, that much more ready to fight even harder and soar even higher.
Hmmm... when did I become a motivational speaker? :)
Dodgers are 13-4. Yeah, it's a long season, but you gotta take the easy ones when you can get them, and if Ethier and Kemp keep it up and the pitching staff holds it together, this could be a fun season. Hell, it will be fun anyways.
I think the Camp Pendleton Triathlon might be smarter because it's less expensive and saving money is always a good thing. It's in August, too, which might mean I can get a sleeveless wetsuit, which will also be less expensive.
I'm lucky to have worked with so many talented people. You people are fun and generous and talented and amazing and selfless and a pleasure to share time and art with. There are really no words to express how much I have enjoyed sharing the stage, studio, microphone, writing notebook with all of you.
I am humbled... and I can't say "Thank you" enough...
If you need to trash talk, you're most likely trying to make up for some sort of inadequacy on the field, in the ring, on the ice, on the court, on the track, in the pool, on the road...
I mean, sure. Different strokes for different folks. But I'll take nice and quiet over brash and loud any day.
Wait... I take that back. Do all the trash talking you want. Just make it seem like you're a nice guy. Or trash talk and be the best.
Reggie Miller trash talked a bunch. So did Michael Jordan. But Michael backed it up and won 6 rings. Reggie only made it to the Eastern Conference Finals a bunch...
Amendment: Trash talking bugs the shit out of me... if you can't back it up.
Floyd Mayweather trash talks so much I half expect a Waste Management truck to fall out of his mouth. But the man is undefeated, so there's not a lot of arguing to be done. Sure, he supposedly ducks fights. Yes, he's pretty classless at times and downright arrogantly ignorant at others. But the man is undefeated. So until someone makes the 0 a 1... you can't really fault him for trash talking.
Upon opening his eyes, the regret was nearly instantaneous. He shut his eyelids tightly, willing himself back to that empty hallway, lined with lockers, void of classmates, occupied by her, those silver eyes, that long blonde hair, twisted above her head in a bun, revealing her tiny ears that were actually listening, listening to him, his words, his fumbling, mumbling, inadequate words, professing his love, undying, immovable, unrequited now that he was awake and painfully aware of the impossibility of that perfect, perfect dream...
And later that day, while rushing through the halls to geometry class, he saw her, her swollen eye covered by makeup, her bruised wrists hidden by the sleeves of his letterman jacket, a disguise that fooled no one, failed to cover the evidence of another fall down the stairs, another volleyball to the face, another slap and grab and why won't she leave him, why won't her parents say anything, why did the teachers pass him, why did the school give him that full ride, why is she still wearing that jacket when he's across town in a dorm, waiting for his big debut against Hawaii, sleeping with 20 year old cheerleaders, 26 year old TAs, 41 year old professors, ok, maybe not with all those girls, but he still hits her and treats her like shit and makes me wish that I wasn't 15 going on 12, 127 going on 110, 5'6" going 5'2", weak going on weaker, smart going on weaker, in love, in love, in lust, in love, in pain but not as much as she endures on a nightly basis...
And then he remembered why he loved the dream so much. It wasn't because he finally had her. It was because she was finally safe. And he was sad. Sad that he realized it was pity that he felt, not love.
How many blogs am I going to write about not having anything to write about?
When will it become easier? Not overnight, that's for sure. Or maybe it will be overnight? Go to bed and wake up the next morning an amazing writer...
Yeah, that's how it's going to happen. It will have nothing to do with hours and hours of work put in or years of astute observational experiential knowledge acquisition or decades of dues paying or a lifetime of falling flat on your face.
They say that men don't like to ask for directions ("they" being most people, "men" being the male species, "directions" being help in general).
Is it a machismo thing? A bravado thing? An "I'm the man so I should know everything and I can't show weakness" thing...?
My dad still keeps a Thomas Guide in his car. If Rachel's dad ever gets on Amazing Race, he says he wouldn't hesitate to ask for directions. I don't think I know two wiser men than my dad and Rachel's dad.
We all need help. It doesn't make sense to continue to go it alone, if you can reach out for help and build a relationship and leverage the power of two minds are better than one is the loneliest number pushers can isolate but the rest of us would do better to work in committees.
I'm selfish. I want to do it by myself. I'm arrogant. I feel like I can get it done all by myself. I'm wrong. I'm stagnant. I need help. Help developing better swim technique. Help capturing the aural ideas in my brain. Help developing projects at work. Help raising my son. Help balancing everything in my life.
I need help. And I have it. I'm a really lucky guy...
An iPhone box. Hand sanitizer. A clip of three of my business cards. Burt's Bees lip balm. A bag of personalized guitar picks with my son's face on them. A FedEx branded chocolate mint. A SanDisk 2GB memory card. A 2010 nickel. An Eric Karros Upper Deck rookie card.
These are all items sitting in a cubby hole. The cubby hole is part of my wife's computer desk. The computer desk houses the computer upon which I type this blog post. The blog post is part of the internet. I'm not sure where that progression was going, but it appears to have gone to wherever that is.
Unrelated items? Yeah. Or maybe not so unrelated.
After all, they occupy the same space now. They're all neighbors. Some of the items are touching. I'm sure some of the items were probably manufactured in the same country.
They all cost money. To produce. To purchase. They're all commodities. Well, except the nickel. But isn't money a commodity nowadays, too?
Why am I writing about items on a desk? Am I that lazy? Or am I that genius...?
Unrelated and unimportant and uninteresting are the new related, important, and interesting, are they not? If they're not, they should be. Because I say so.
It's a pattern, you know. Starting with some sort of vague intention and then devolving into a nonsensical BLob Of Gibberish. You're frustrated. You're annoyed. You're bored. Reading what you've written has made you bored. Listening to the songs you've written... bored. Or unintentionally entertained because you're biased. Bias is not good. Bias blinds you...
Bias can blind you
Especially when you are
Creator and crowd
Why do you like haikus so much? Because they're easy? You like a lot of things that are easy, don't you? Don't you ever want to push yourself? Don't you ever want to set out to do something where you expect to fail... so you can prove that expectation wrong? Aren't you capable of that? Can you answer that question without pushing yourself to that uncomfortable place? Is this paragraph of questions Socratic or another symptom of you liking things that are easy...?
Pretentious. Lable this... pretentious...
I used the French spelling of label because I'm feeling cultured tonight. Fine dining at classy joints can do that to a man... make him feel cultured.
I figured it out. Why this blog feels forced. It's because I can't see the ending. Because I couldn't see the beginning, and the middle is definitely out of sight. Because I can't see the moves. Am I even making moves or am I just treading water, waiting for a lifeboat, taking in water and gasping for air and endlessly moving my arms and legs to barely keep afloat.
I need to learn the moves. Which I guess is the whole point of this blog, this job, this life.
I just wonder... when do you stop learning and start doing?
All this from items on a desk? Am I that lazy? Or am I that... genius...?
1.13 miles in 11:31... a numerical symmetry that's almost poetic.
At the time, I remember being slightly disappointed. It was a pretty brutal wake up call. I was 28 years old and really out of shape. It felt like I would never be able to run a 5k in under 30 minutes, never consider a 2 mile run to be short, never contemplate a sprint triathlon as a realistic goal.
Well... it's almost 21 months later... my 5k personal best is 24:57, a 2 mile run is shorter than my "normal" run (3 miles), and a sprint triathlon is very much a goal for me (this one on 10/21/2012). And all this with two different extended "off" periods (6 months from 11/2010 to 5/2011 and 3 months from 12/2011 to 2/2012).
I'm proud of the progress I've made, but I have to work to stay hungry, work to push myself to get out there and hit the pavement, work to stay focused and find fun races to keep me motivated.
Keep it going, Glynn. Let's see where you are in another 21 months...
About staying up until 1 in the morning playing guitar.
About trying to comfort your son after he's hit the back of his head and there's a huge bump and he doesn't want to keep the bag of frozen vegetables on the bump because it hurts and there are tears streaming down his face and chewed up bits of peanut butter and jelly sandwich oozing out of his mouth and he still has the wherewithal to laugh at Lightning McQueen.
About how much you love watching your wife while she's sleeping...
About how your tiny cat can take up what feels like the entire queen mattress.
About how the big swedish fish are better than the smaller ones.
About how there are people in the world that argue for the sake of arguing, people who take pride in cutting down others, people who feed off of negative energy and can't wait to nay-say and criticize and poke holes in everything you hold dear.
About how there are people that are nothing like that.
About how when your son was born it made you realize how much your parents love you. And it made you feel sad, guilty, humbled, loved, happy, proud, amazing all at the same time.
About how you hope your typing won't wake her up...
But ideas aren't really much of anything until there is some sort of execution behind them...
So in 10 days, part of the execution will get under way.
I'll be recording an acoustic EP with Lexy Baeza. She's amazing, talented, and amazingly talented.
And my engineer, producer, mixer, aural master extraordinaire Mark McCombs will be manning the levers and knobs, which leaves me relaxed and excited and stress-free and pumped and ready to capture lightning in a bottle.
I think the only song I know I'm recording for sure is below. It was written with a whole bunch of people in mind, and I feel like it captures a feeling that all of us have had or will have at some point in our lives.
I have a lot of ideas. It's time to get to the execution...
Storytelling is challenging. How much information is enough? Do you want to spend time on exposition or should you just let the audience figure it out on their own? How deep do you need to go when you create and portray the characters?
Drive is a beautiful movie. Yes, I'm late to the party. No, I don't mind. Yes, I waited long enough for the hype to die down, which also means my own expectations for the film went down, and it's always a good thing to experience art with as little expectational baggage as possible. No, I didn't wait long enough on purpose; I just never got my hands on the movie until tonight...
There are so many lessons to be learned by examining the storytelling of Drive. You can tell a story with very little dialogue. The mood of your story is paramount as is the ability to disrupt the mood. Specifics are important but being vague and allowing the audience to fill in the specifics can be even more important. If the execution is spot on, holes (or cheap convenient tie ins) in the plot can be forgiven. It also helps to have two really attractive people as main characters...
The movie was really effing good. Reminded me of Scarface, especially the brutally violent scenes and the use of slow motion and music to enhance the mood. I kinda wanna watch it again just to point out all the beautiful moments in it. Great ensemble acting, too. Just... really, really, really good.
What is the science behind the brain "liking" something?
Nope. It's going to be impossible to write this post while Meshuggah's Koloss blares in my headphones.
Screw it. RAMBLE!!!
I ran the first official 5K of 2012 this morning. Didn't too horribly considering I didn't train very much for it, especially in the last 2 and a half weeks. About 8:34 a mile. I'm of the belief that if I truly focused on training and gave it a good 10 weeks, I could get down to about 7:50 a mile.
Man, I love running because you can either be completely detail oriented and geeky and mull over split times and personal records and the type of fuel you take in before and after running and the different shoes that you could be wearing and what about minimalist shoes or socks or no socks and would you ever truly want to train for an endurance run of over 100 miles or you can just run for the hell of it and not give a shit about anything but the burn in your lungs and the barriers placed in front of you by your own mind.
2 weeks away from recording. I'm pretty sure I know which songs I'm going to do, but it will probably change about 7 or 8 times before that day. Acoustic recordings!! Can't wait!!!
Been reading a lot of the @AdviceToWriters tweets. Good stuff. But I really just need to drop all that stuff sometimes and remember that above all else, writing is supposed to be fun.
This Meshuggah album is blowing my mind. It reminds me of math class and listening to Helmet on the way to football games and recording at the Wall with Tracey Brown and a whole bunch of other stuff and sometimes my brain hurts because I can't keep up with the time signature changes or the athleticism of the drumming...
Dodgers won again today! 3-0, baby!! Best start in 13 years I read somewhere... Long season, but it's a good start, boys. Keep it going!!
I'm sleepy. And will probably end up staying awake for at least another hour...
I'm proud to be a Dodger fan, somewhere between casual and die hard (it's in my nature to reside in the middle).
When it comes to the Boys in Blue, there are plenty of fond memories floating around in my head:
Meeting Steve Garvey at a church fundraiser when I was a little boy
Listing Fernando Valenzuela as my favorite baseball player on my little league playing card
Games at Chavez Ravine with my family
My brother Rick sitting in the stadium on his Walkman, listening to Vin Scully calling the game
Fireworks at Dodger Stadium on July 4th (coincidentally also my Dad's birthday)
Yelling "C'MON, BRETT!!" in unison with my dad about 20 times when Brett Butler came up to bat at a game (I was probably around 11 or 12)
Enjoying the Continental Airline seats along the first base line with Rachel and her family
Rachel's and my Trash the Dress Photo Shoot in Dodger Stadium with Ryan Caliendo (a surreal experience...)
So many amazing memories when I think about Dodger Blue...
We beat the Padres 5-3 today. Matt Kemp hit a 2 run homerun. Clayton Kershaw went 3 innings with no earned runs (he wasn't 100% due to some sort of illness). I wore my Dodgers shirt to work proudly, a daring feat considering our entire warehouse is full of Angel fans.
Great advice in the Shannon Labrie email. Thanks for getting back to music. Although I don't really mind the digressions. This newsletter/ blog is your world, and we're just living in it. People forget sometimes that if you don't like something, you can CHANGE THE CHANNEL.
Not sure if you listen to sports radio at all, but Colin Cowherd had some interesting thoughts on his ESPN radio show this morning (AM710 from 7-10am if you're curious). He said there might be a direct connection between socially vicious personalities like Steve Jobs, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant and achieving success. That the reason people perceive them as so brutal is because they are. Brutally honest. Brutally motivated. Brutally SUCCESSFUL. There's a reason Kobe has 5 rings and Lebron doesn't have any. A reason Tiger Woods was number 1 in the world for 9 out of 11 years and Phil Mickelson is often relegated to an afterthought. A reason Steve Jobs will be remembered as one of the most pioneering minds in history and Bill Gates will be remembered as... well... he's really rich, right? All three men have a refusal to compromise and brutal natures when it comes to delivering.
What he was saying reminded me of stuff you've said about rockstars. They live their lives beholden to nothing and no one. They live for their music to the point of alienating everyone and everything. It's not a popularity contest. It's about delivering what they hear in their heads no matter the cost. Go big or go home. If you want a balanced life, you shoulda gone into customer service (interestingly enough, where I am right now), but you wouldn't be playing to those sold out houses if you'd gone that route, now would you?
So many parallels between sports and music. I guess that's why I love both so much.
A lot of parallels between you and Seth Godin, too. And Derek Sivers. And Austin Kleon. Guess that's why I follow all of you on Twitter.
Damn... is there anything more pathetic than a newsletter subscriber name dropping people he only knows through their newsletters...?
The new Japandroids single, The House That Heaven Built. Coming out May 15th. Album dropping June 5. Yes, these guys were one of my inspirations for starting up a 2 piece band... Oh Girl!
Rubblebucket. An 8 piece band that I can only describe as an introspective dance party that has wedged itself into the wrinkles of my grey matter (because it's such intellectual music [Damn. It's true. If you have to explain yourself, it's not as effective]). I'm hoping I can sneak over to see them on Friday so I can bear witness to this...
Gethsemane by Paul Nolan. Yes, the song from Jesus Christ Superstar. Rachel and I saw JCS when we were in New York ten days ago, and it was amazing. I was a big fan of Paul Nolan's Jesus. Weird, but he had a country swagger that strangely fit.
Wow... I just spent the last 10 minutes watching JCS clips on YouTube... Go Music!!
I have nothing to say about the time when I woke up and my dad was getting arrested but he was in the right because he had parked on the street facing the wrong way is never the right way and if it was easier it would just be called t he way only at target i can't believe that i switched over to target is the spot makrs the x marks the spot and typs suck but are a necessity i guess when you free write it could be good or it oulcd be bad and maybe i don't know how to spell but it's always a good thing to slow down and take your time instead of trying to win the lottery you could just show up to work and collect a key to your own self absorbed and permittied maze of a a cage of a disapointment...
Two minutes of free writing was really hard.
And I don't think that I performed the exercise correctly.