LOOK OUT, JIMMY PAGE

I made a short video for my guitarist friends and brother that highlights the woes I am having with my barre chords for the song I am learning.  I thought I’d share this with you all, so you can see that I was being totally serious when I said that my eff barre chords sound like a cat regurgitated my guitar strings.

I really hate the way Youtube videos look on my posts because A. Youtube always pick the shittiest stills of you and B. posting a video of myself, even in self-deprecation, makes me feel like a total attention whore. So click on the picture below if you want to see it.  (I have this picture hanging above my drum kit, IT’S FOR INSPIRATION, OK?)

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Life’s Little Gifts

Hello, my dear three readers.  It’s been a little while, I suppose.  I adore writing in this blog but every so often need to take a step away.

Last week was one of those weeks where I needed to get away.  There wasn’t anything particularly stressful going on at work, but rather infinitesimal, meaningless hardships I had imposed on myself.  It was very nice to take a day off and spend a long weekend with my family and friends.  Plus, I treated myself to something nice.  Looky:

I was really debating buying a new guitar.  I had my classical guitar Aurora, but I had bought it off of amazon.com with a gift card for $40 – the quality honestly was not very good. I’ve been playing my guitar a lot (I think the tips of my fingers on my left hand will be permanently numb) and the sound quality was just starting to hinder my playing. Plus, THE STRINGS WOULD NOT STOP BUZZING. It was just a cheap guitar. I figured with the amount of time I’ve been consistently spent practicing it, a new guitar would not be a frivolous purchase.  I found a decently priced one at Guitar Center.  It is named Virginia.  It’s so pretty and sounds wonderful. And the strings do not buzz.

I’ve given Aurora to my little godsister, Raquel, who is five.  I was playing the guitar with her and teaching her that everytime I pluck the string, I am playing a note.  She seemed to take genuine interest in the guitar.  She would pluck a string, ask, “Am I playing a note?” When I assured her that she was, she would pluck another string, ask me the same question, and so on.

When I returned to work on Monday, refreshed and recharged, I found a little tiny Easter egg filled with jelly beans.  We still don’t know who dropped the eggs off for us.  I suppose all my years of watching Forensic Files and crime shows should have made me suspicious about eating the jelly beans, but whatever.  I ate them, they were delicious, and I did not drop dead of cyanide poisoning.

I got a big shock that same day that my project manager, Liz, was leaving the company to go work somewhere else.  Liz was the person I strove to make happy during the three years I spent working with her on a recently completed project.  I learned a lot from working with her, and the thought of not having her around anymore was strange to think about.

After returning from a meeting, I saw a small card left on my chair.  I opened it, recognizing her handwriting immediately.  The note said how much she had enjoyed working with me, and how I’m a gem and that I should never forget that.  She said I always exceeded her expectations and that if I ever need a job, call her and I’ll have one.  I was stunned by the contents of the note and wondered what I had ever done to receive something so wonderful.  “Duh, Jenny,” you may be thinking, “Obviously you worked hard or else she wouldn’t have written all those nice things.”  But I have a difficult time perceiving my strengths and always focus on my weaknesses. I define myself by the mistakes I’ve made. Perhaps this is why Liz told me that I should never forget that I’m a gem.  I went to find her, and gave her a big hug.  She was cleaning out her office.  I feel like a chapter of my professional life has closed.

I am tired this week because I have been increasing my weekly mileage.  I ran 6 miles on Saturday with my dad, 4.75 on Monday, .5 yesterday (along with a short core workout), and am doing the dreaded hill run (approximately 4 miles) today.  My body craves sleep but I know that what I’m doing will ultimately make me stronger in both body and spirit.

And, if these gifts I’ve received this week weren’t good enough, my dear cousin Amanda and I have started planning the next time we’re going to see each other.

The older I grow, the more I realize that your life shouldn’t be defined by material wealth or money.  It shouldn’t be defined by the mistakes you’ve made.  It should be defined by the time you spend with family and friends, and the time you spend doing something that makes you proud, be it work, running, or plucking away on the guitar.

Life could be full of misery if we let it.  We just have to let the sunshine in as often as we can to make the cloudier days more bearable.

What I Did This Weekend

Drove to San Antonio, played the crap out of Tap’s new drum kit, made a parody of Rebecca Black’s “Friday” like everyone else already has, saw a David Ives play (All In the Timing) for free since Tap knew the director (it was hilarious), and wielded a machete.  Cautiously.  I also did some work and ran close to four miles.  It was a fairly productive weekend.

I also listened to Wasting Light about 10 times. I love every song on that album, but here are the ones that really affect me the most:

Oh God, it’s already 12:32. I need to sleep.

Why March is Going to Rock

I’m so happy it’s March, and here’s why.

1.  Winter is over and summer is around the corner.  This winter was pretty damn chilly (for Texas, at least), and we even got a little snow.  This winter wasn’t as bad as previous ones have been, because I kept up with friends and had a relatively consistent workout schedule for the first time since…college? So I didn’t turn into a zombie like I usually do in winter.  Still, I absolutely love the warm weather and the promise of longer days ahead (I will never again complain about losing an hour for Daylight Savings Time). 

2.  SXSW.  Man, I am so excited about it.  I don’t have the wristbands because they are way too expensive. They don’t even guarantee your entry into a show (which I think sucks.  Too bad the badges are almost as much as my monthly rent).  The best friends and the brother will be in town too, so I’m just looking forward to hearing some good music at whatever free shows we can find.  I know for certain that the Strokes are playing a free show.  Not that I’ve followed the Strokes much after their 2001 debut, but my seventeen-year-old self would be giddy at the thought of seeing them in concert.

3.  The word on the internet is that the Foo Fighters are playing a secret show at SXSW. This has caused great excitement between the brother and me.  We have seen Dave Grohl in concert twice (once at ACL in 2008, and once with Them Crooked Vultures in 2009) and both were life-changing shows for me. I hate how dramatic that sounds but it’s true.  I will have to blog about why one day, but the first basically changed my general attitude towards life.  The second is the reason why I started drumming. 

The problem is, we don’t have the badges that would guarantee us entry to the show.  Even wristbands aren’t a good guarantee in.  Our choices are camping outside the supposed venue (which I’m sure won’t be a secret) for hours, or attending the premiere of their documentary (which is only $12 each).  I’m wondering if the Foos will do something at the premiere.  The show starts at 6, and doors for the next movie doesn’t even open until 9.  I highly doubt the documentary will be 3 hours long.  This is something to consider…man, I’m just not going to get excited about it.  I am just going to accept the chances of seeing them live in two weeks is very, very slim. 

4.  Speaking of music, this month marks a full year I’ve been a drummer.  Fittingly, I’m learning the beat to Nirvana’s “Scentless Apprentice.”  Take a look at this beat:

It’s been a bit challenging to learn but it’s been fun to practice.  Take a look at line C.  The bottom notes you see are all on the bass drum (the drum I hit with my foot), all played very fast.  WHY DAVE, WHY?

5.  There is a group on Facebook that me and the boys have – we just post music, funny links, or videos of us playing music.  It’s a really nice collaborative environment to have.  Patrick posted a brilliant idea yesterday – that each of us perform and upload a cover song.  The catch is that we cannot decide what artists we will play – the others will have to vote on that.  I was assigned Nirvana, since I’m still a very beginning guitar player.  I’ll be doing “About a Girl.”  Patrick will be doing Radiohead, Tap will be doing Jimi Hendrix, and Shark will be doing David Bowie (my suggestion).  I can’t wait to hear the results…we have a week and a half to prepare it.  Which means I need to start learning both the guitar and drum parts.

Time to go back to work.  Ciao ciao.

How I Spent Friday Night

Tonight I just wanted to decompress.  It has been a stressful couple of days at work and I just wanted an escape by not thinking about it.  My back is still ehhhhh so I wanted to rest so I can have happy fun times with my friends tomorrow.  First I went to Half Price to see if they had any GMAT practice books, but they didn’t.  I bought only one book for $5 and was very pleased with myself.

I came home and spent the rest of the night practicing my guitar.  I have decided to focus on this song:

My drum teacher told me yesterday that my voice has a Norah Jones quality to it and that he likes the way I sing (I’m always amazed when someone likes my singing because I think I sound horrible).  I can do a semi-passable impression of Norah Jones so figured it would be appropriate to learn one of her songs first.

I wanted to learn to play “Don’t Know Why” but the guitar part is more melodic and challenging.  “Come Away With Me” is one of my favorites from her, so I figured I’d try this one instead.  The chords for this song are pretty easy, but I am taking a break tonight because I hit the F chord.  The F chord is the reason why I gave up guitar back when I first tried it in 2004, but I will learn it.  Tomorrow.