Friday, February 1, 2019

Bum Knee

Well, considering my late blog is close to my "monthly dead line." Here I am trying to stay on top of things.

Not much to report on since my last entry (being that it wasn't even two weeks ago).  The only new and current thing in the life of Brian is that I had an MRI appointment and subsequently found out that my ACL is pretty much gone. Reconstruction surgery will be on March 15th! Yay...

I did manage to record one Instrumental Guitar Cover video like I threatened I would


See you in March!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Better Late Than Never, 2019 Here I Come

So my monthly standards diminish yet again.  Surprise surprise.

Well... since October 1st [the date of my last entry] three months have past.  What has happened...?

Some friends from Japan were in town for a little bit during the start of October, so we raged one night.  It's so nice to have international friends!


Console -- The VGM Band had its first non-open mic gig on Oct 18th!  I was hoping to get some very valuable footage for promotional purposes (getting better gigs), but, due to time constraints (couldn't set up my lap top for video recording) and technical difficulties (GoPro wasn't working), and having to perform (who would of thunk), none such footage was captured.  The only decent video I got was from a friend of mine who I happened to have guilt-tripped into coming earlier.  Luckily, even without being prompted, he recorded a couple minutes worth of performance.  Here is such video:


At some point the director of Hitbox Music Ensemble booked me for a gig in December and referred me to the band that we would be opening for that night.  The band -- Rock Opera Theatre -- had been looking for a second guitar player for a while (months/years) to join them and has had no such luck.  Prior to this, I actually witnessed their listings on www.craigslist.org on my usual perusals through the years, but never really had the notion to respond to them.  Trans-Siberian Orchestra music seemed like a lot of hard work at the time.  Anyway, I happened to have finally found their initial contact email deep in my spam filter weeks later, and agree to meet them on October 23rd.  I approached the whole thing as a temporary session guitar player, and initially, the only reason why I was tolerating the commitment at the beginning was that I was already booked at the same show with an earlier act.



A couple days later, I tried having a initial meeting with prospects interested in the Hawaiian Punk Rock Band concept on October 25th, and although the persons involved seemed interested, due to the drummer canceling last minute, that quickly lost steam.  So, still on the hunt.

I also got asked to join a Coheed and Cambria tribute band towards the end of October.  I quickly transcribed like four songs in order to stumble my way through audition/rehearsals.  Although I haven't heard from them, I'm pretty sure the band has been disbanded (always the last to know).

For Halloween I dressed up as Proto Man from the Mega Man series.  A bit more obscure than the blue bomber but, my plan is to re-purpose the costume for Console performances.



About a week later on November 8th -- as planned -- Console did indeed have a gig in which I dressed up, and we were able to play through our entire catalogue marking it as our second non-open mic gig! Yay!  It went decent, but there was some things that I wanted to improve upon, so I called for a band meeting (which I extremely hate doing) for later in the month.



The meeting, it didn't really resolve much I guess, I even spent an entire evening commuting over the mountain to a gig talking into a recording application on my phone ranting about stuff in order to prepare discussion topics when we would meet.  Anyway, I reluctantly had to cancel a potentially huge gig that I moved heaven and earth in order for Console to get in the first place.  A real travesty... I hate that shit.  Since then, I've discontinued heavy communication via the FaceBook chat we had used in the past because it was getting way to noisy and many of the things I was trying to discuss/resolve online (to save precious time in reality) was getting lost in the flood of chat noise.  Anyway, now we're looking for a new drummer... which, has been a headache logistically.

During this whole fiasco, I've been inspired to invest my time in constructing backing tracks.  I've already been working with MuseScore for various things, but most heavily with Aloha Karaoke Band 's huge repertoire.  So the timing is just right; this isn't the first time I've had to cancel bookings because of whatever fucking-weak reasons my band mates would have, so, upon watching the effectiveness of backing tracks with working alongside Rock Opera Theatre, I've decided to say "fuck it," and open myself to the possibility of playing to backing tracks.  No longer will I have the wind taken from my sails cause of dumb band mates lack of professionalism.  Now, at the flick of a button, I have a stand-in source of audio that (although no where near comparable) will always be there if needed.  Can't make it to the gig cause your girlfriend wants to spend time with you?  Fine, don't come.  You have another gig with some lamer band.  That's cool, go to that instead.  At this point; whatever.  Stay tuned for that, I'll be bombing the open mics with myself and the cellphone pocket band in the near future.


Last Resort -- the band that I had been corresponding with for months and finally starting rehearsing with -- had their first gig November 10th at 4Four in Kaneohe.  It went pretty well all things considered.


I spent Thanksgiving with my family for the first time in decades.  And, much to my shock, it was actually pretty nice.



At the end of November, one of the people I met in Japan who graciously showed me around, came to visit Hawaii.  He happens to be a regular student at the surf school -- which is how I became acquainted with him -- and so, to return the favor of him guiding me in Japan, I took some of the surf school to dinner with him at Little Village (being that he mentioned he liked Chinese food, but couldn't get good Chinese food in Japan).



I had my first real doctors appointment in over a decade during the start of December.  I got screened for prostate cancer; which, I'm in the clear (for now...).  More importantly I got referred to an orthopedic doctor, who diagnosed that I have a torn/damaged ACL.  So, 2019 is looking like it's gonna be a year of surgery and recovery.  Currently I'm doing physical therapy once a week in preparation for surgery...

Another first in decades; I had a birthday party dinner for myself at Doraku and had many of the people who I like in my life there for it.  It was kind of nice actually.  I might do it again next year?

On December 15th the Aloha Karaoke Band had it's first prototype show.  We rented a rehearsal room and just invited some friends to come be our guinea pigs for the live band karaoke concept.  It went pretty well all things considered.  I took some video; so hopefully we can get a stand-in promo video in order to land a gig at an actual venue here in the near future.

       

The very next day I did a double gig with Hitbox and Rock Opera Theatre.  I was slated for a triple crown with Console to play the same night too, but was forced to cancel that group (read above).  Anyway, we played and the performances went well, I'm glad I practiced!  We also got some very valuable footage too!  So hopefully a promo video for those groups will become available some time this year.






As the holidays approached, it was decided that my partner would spend time on the east coast with her family during Christmas.  I was mentally preparing for another annual 30 day surf school work-a-thon, but, my partner's family sponsored airfare for me, so, how could I refuse?  The cost opportunity was nominal, so, this was the first time in 5 years that I hadn't done the winter work-a-thon.  Much to my (EGO) surprise, the place didn't burn down hahaha.


This passing New Year's Eve was the first New Year's Eve that I mostly slept through.  #SeniorCitizen


Then we entered the new year.  Upon entering 2019 I decided to take better data collection on different things, mainly health and study habits as well as BRGA enrollment statistics (things like enrollment levels, drop outs, etc.).  Speaking of which, I recently opened another evening up for lessons, which have quickly been booked, so I'm getting pretty busy!  Which is a good thing.

I'm now subscribed to guitar world magazine again.

I also started stock investing with the company www.Robinhood.com I figure it's about time I start doing some adult things with my money versus drinking it all away or spending it on dining out.  I'll be looking to invest monthly...?

Last Resort got invited back to 4Four, this time for more pay! Yay.  We were a bit loud... but, other than that, we pulled it off!


Yesterday I had two auditions.  One of which went well, one of which was... interesting.  That's all I can say on that, for now.  Haha.  Also, there was a lunar eclipse which was really ominous on my drive home from the rehearsal studio.


Today I found a computer monitor in the neighbor's trash as I was throwing out some rubbish.  After testing to see if it works, I quickly bought a cable off Amazon and staged the new monitor for installation.  Soon I'll be joining the dual monitor world, on Friday in fact, according to Amazons projected delievery date.  This will come in real handy with all the transcription I've been doing lately with MuseScore, I've found myself really wishing I had more monitor space, and it seems my cheap-life prayers have been answered by the eviction spirits.  I am excited.


Lately, I've also been thinking about the idea of possibly expanding BRGA and how to go about that.  But the main piece of the puzzle for any kind of expansion is finding someone that I can trust and that can deliver a comparable teaching experience who would like to work with/for me.  If I find that, then I can take the risk of renting a mutli-unit office space in order to offer more time slots during the hot time zones (3:30pm-8pm).  Another reason why I'm taking the data collection more seriously for this year.

The foot wart is still here, but far better than it once was, hopefully that's a good sign.  At least it's no longer plural; wartS.  Before / After.


As for tomorrow and beyond, I got a Vegas tripped on the books for the near future.  It'll be my first time back since October of 2017.  I'm gonna continue practicing my BlackJack basic strategy Anki cards, and start saving as much money as I can now to improve my chances of recurring some of overall losses... grr.

Rock Opera Theatre seems like they're wanting to have me work with them again for 2019's winter concert.  It looks like they're adding a few more songs to the repertoire, so, we'll see how that goes.

Hitbox has invited to join them again for the Kawaii Kon gig this year (April 5th - 7th), so there will be some time devoted to preparation for that.  I've been emailing the director back and forth about some suggestions, so, I'm hoping to help instigate a little bit of improvement with the enterprise.

I'll probably be headed to surgery some time soon, and, as a result, will be visiting my "upon being bed-ridden to-do list" here in the near future (things like "watch Breaking Bad," "continue writing BRGA Guitar Book," etc.).  I was also thinking that if I do have the surgery, that maybe I could buy a stronger computer on credit in order to edit videos during the recovery process.  I'm sitting on a large amount of back-logged footage that I haven't been able to edit due to hardware restrictions.  Either way, I need a new fucking computer.

Console will be looking for a drummer, hopefully we can get a good one in time for the Kawaii Kon, but if not, this might be a maiden voyage for the backing tracks kind of gig; yikes!

I'll still be diligently looking for interested applicants for the Hawaiian Punk Rock Band concept.  There's bound to be at least some ONE who would be a good fit and interested here on Oahu right?

As soon as I complete my backing tracks, I'll be testing the waters with Hawaiian Punk Rock Band and Console tracks at open mics here in the near future as well.  I'm hoping I'll garner some attention and hopefully attract some legit band mates by doing so.

After I finish the backing tracks / transcriptions (which are extremely pressing at the moment), I'm hoping to start hitting the YouTube circuit again, and start creating content!  It's been years since I've released an "Instrumental Guitar Cover" video, and I'm thinking of re-branding it as Guitarded (I know, risque, but, I'm fucking punk rock okay!).  Even without a new computer, I can at least use a single angle shot with my cell phone.

Till then, stay tuned!

Future gigs and dates of interest:

Feb 7 - Last Resort Gig on Base
Feb 10 - Da Swell Blue Tropix
Feb 15 - Imua Lounge Shar
Feb 16 - Da Swell at the Shack Mililani
Feb 23 - Da Swell at Chez (first 3 hour gig)
March 23 - Breaking Anchors Battle of the Bands
April 5 to 7 - Kawaii Kon gigs with Hitbox and Console