Monday, October 12, 2015

Back to the Beginning

So I did indeed make it to Vegas.

I stayed at the El Cortez, and for the first day I was doing okay. I had to spend an exuberant amount of money to stay at the hotel however due to some motorcycle rally in town that weekend. By the end of the first night I was +$300

Marty Friedman was off the hook!

And I had the worse luck I've ever had in Vegas. Luckily I didn't mobilize as much money as I had in the past, but still. I am in recovery mode like months past, for months to come LAME! July will be my next chance for revenge.

Number 1 baby. Holy shit. Found out last week when I curiously typed in guitar lessons for Honolulu on yelp. I am pumped on this.

In addition to seeing Marty Friedman, I got to watch Dustin Kensrue preform at the Republik. For those of you who do not know, Dustin is/was the singer for the group Thrice, which is my favorite band. Seeing him, then, and in such an intimate setting was raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaddd!

And here I am at the Women's Volleyball game at the 4th row. Pretty awesome.

So, it's back to a fiscal beginning. The universe does this. Many things are breaking down and I have very little financial warriors to combat these monetary invaders. I even got a bull shit parking ticket the other day. So annoying. That's all for now.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


The Blow N' Go saga continues. I carved out a full day dedicated to "DMV Quest," and went armed with permit-passing knowledge in order to legally drive with a 21+ year old passenger, but I left empty-handed. Sad...

The Circa Survive concert was fun. I go to a lot of these shows solo, but always seem to run into many people that I know through the music scene so I'm never truely alone, although I still seem to find an empty corner to myself.

The bartender there is a former co-worker of mine at the restaurant I almost got fired at for smiling at. That'll be for another blog entry...

I have an impending Vegas trip, I'll be airborne in two days time. Looking forward to watching Marty Friedman, a guitarist who is very much as an idol can be to me. I told my college professor I'd be leaving for work. And, albeit sort of true, I didn't want it to seem like it was uncomitted to the quest of learning. I plan on doing some mad work on the laptop on my flight to Vegas. hopefully the plane has usb power. Otherwise... I'm screwed.

Leviathan has two gigs lined up and I'm very excited about this. Only thing is I have to sell 25 tickets... lot's of work, but I have a trick to convert my guitar students into patrons. Muahaha.

Quick and easy this week, no big production, catch ya next time!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Blow N' Go No Mo'!

It's official, the ignition interlock device has been removed. I have been starting my car like a regular civilian for about a week now. It feels good mostly because the waiting period it took for the thing to boot up felt like an eternity every time.

Figure A - First Solo Acostic Show in Over 8 years

Did my first solo acoustic gig in over 8 years just a few days ago. It wasn't  pretty, the vog has destroyed my voice, but I persevered!

Figure B - Volleyball with Ikaika sensei
After months in the making, I played volleyball for the first time in over many years as well. That was too much fun, and the underside of my big toes are hurting for it. I managed to develop two huge blisters there from the matches that were had. It's been a while since I've had to pivot from side to side on concrete.

Went to China Wall's for the first time as well, it was a bust. I wasn't probably equipped with the right kind of board, and the right kind of knowledge for that place. Just another reaffirmation of the "hold my hand" technique for going to some place for the first time...

Schools been kicking my ass, I've been falling behind and it hasn't even been a month. I gotta get more motivated again but I've been having the strangest sleep patterns and energy swings at the moment. I'm going to blame the shitty weather.

Planning on heading to Circa Survive at the Republik after my guitar lessons this evening. Should be fun. I can't remember the last legit show I went to of my choosing. It was probably Hatebreed... I can't remember.

That's all for now!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Post-Summer Update!

Much has transpired since my last entry. I am referencing my holy calendar to ensure that I don't miss anything. Often times when such a span of time has passed I forget some of the gems along the way that have fallen far from my immediate memory. Such is the case with my podcasts when it hits a streak of unfortunate back-to-back cancelations.

Figure A - "Large Grid Calendar" the only way I can cram all my shit in.

According to the calendar, the fourth week of April was spent being sick. How do I know this? I actually write that kind of stuff down on this holy calendar. It may sound silly, but my calendar is my secret weapon in successfully orchestrating the lovely chaos that is my life. So, if/when I look back I can see the circumstances as to why there was so much white out (cancelations) on my calendar: I was sick.

Figure B - The Good, the Bad, and the Haole, costume that won me a free tattoo! If you zoom in behind the right side of my hat you can find porn! Hello Easter egg!

Apparently on the 30th of April I got tattooed, so that must of been my ode to the vegas shoot out. I won a tattoo from tattoo artist friend for winning his costume contest for his dirty 30 birthday party (it was around Halloween). Shout out to Little Chris.

Figure C - Gettin' Ink Done!

In early May for Japanese Golden Week my home-stay friend from Japan visited me with his family here on Oahu. Last time I saw him was in Seattle like 5 years ago! That was a lot of fun and I got to practice my Japanese. His English has much improved too. I think we're the only two of the homestay exchange program from Kapa'a High School that still stay in touch with each other to this day. Now more than ever I want to go to Japan!

Figure D - 2015 in Waikiki
Figure E - 2009 on a bus in Seattle

Shortly after this little stay-cation with my JP friend, I was off to Kaua'i for a gig and a mother's day hello to my mom. Only reason why I'm mentioning this is because I mentioned it in my last blog entry half a year ago. B.R.G.A. has been expanding!

Figure F - Number 4 baby!

The podcast has been fun and interesting. As of the episode on May 24th, 2015 the podcast now has visual content via the webcam I bought to expedite my video upload process for my guitar lessons. Yeah, after the "straight to YouTube" fail of the samsung camera I bought and then returned, and extensive research for cameras, a higher quality webcam was the best bet. So, dual purpose now at this point.

Figure G - N3 Podcast Radio episode 11 staring Reid and Ikaika

I now know that the show has a maximum capacity for coherent dialogue movement. That number is 5, because with 5, you can only have as many as 2 independent conversations going on which is much more manageable than 6+ which could theoretically hold 3+ independant conversations; not good for singularity. One day I can be the Hawaiian Howard Stern. The King of all Coconut Wireless.

I also came to find out that my podcast did indeed have a listener at one point much to my own disbelief. This listener didn't like what was heard and we have since stopped meeting eachother. So, for better or for worse, the show has indeed become a part of my life!

Figure H - The last the listener was every heard or seen of again

Ikaika sensei (a friend turned language tutor) has been loosely training me weekly in the way of Japanese conversation to supplement my academic study of the language. In addition to the tutoring, he jokingly has "field days" wherein he has Japanese friends visiting and I get to meet and practice what I've learned in a real conversational setting! Too cool!

Epic meal planning / once-a-week cooking!

Summer came and took a shit on me in the application of a surf instructor at the surf school, as it does every year, but, this year wasn't so bad. Get paid to dork around with tourons and get some sun and extra and keep up on my surf chops. Not so bad.

Figure I - The signature shaka

Vegas had appeared on the horizon once again, and this subsequent trip was to be a pivotal one. My previous trip was dismal. I got pounded, and had been reeling from that defeat till this point. I was either to return with my shield or on it. It was either going to be my last gambling venture, or, the reignition of global domination.

Figure J - "Come back with your shield, or on it." All or nothing...

I had traveled with some friends of mine from back at home this time, so at least I had witnesses to the madness that is blackjack Brian, and I was able to put those casino comps I earned for sitting at a blackjack table for 20 hours straight to good use. I hooked my boys up with a hotel at the MGM Grand and, I, of course resided at the the cosmo, which was rad, as always.

Figure K - The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
I had fought tooth and nail, and I was able to regain some financial territory that I had lost on my previous Vegas campaign. And so now, blackjack Brian returns, and I have my next trip slated for early October where I'm going to watch my ATF (All Time Favorite) guitarist Marty Friedman! I got 2 tickets if anyone would care to join me!

Figure L & Figure M - Epic Marty Friedman song and Tickets!

Leviathan Hawaii my heavy metal hard rock band successfully played a show at Hawaiian Brians a couple weeks ago. It was a great success for how marginalized the rock scene is here but that's okay. Labor of love! Doing it for smile(s).

Figure N & Figure O - Leviathan Hawaii live at Hawaiian Brian's on August 14th, 2015

With this impending show however, I was in full blown recording mode! I was able to record the entire catalogue of current originals and get everything tracked with drums. For those who don't know, recording is an incredibly tedious, meticulous and frustrating process. but yet again; labor of love.

Here's the download link to the demo catalogue if ya wanna rock out!

Figure P - Tracking Andy on bass

A week later I was on Kauai for a gig at PMRF. PMRF!? WTF? I hadn't been there since the Bernabe brothers took me there fishing. It had to been in 1997 or something. Stayed on Kauai for 4 days, just enough. Saw some old friends. Went on the Na Pali coast Kayak tour, something I hadn't done since 2005. Overall a very fun and enjoyable trip in light of it being a "work trip."

Figure Q - Na Pali coast kayak adventure with "Island Style" as performed by ME! playing in the background.

And now, it's my second week of taking Japanese 201 at UH Manoa. Much more expensive, much more difficult, but much more convenient! Summer has come to an end. Guitar lessons are booking up, and the Blow N' Go get's removed next week!

Phew, now that I'm all caught up I think I can stay on top of the blog more easily now (I hope).

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Blow 'N Go

I reluctantly took my car to the auto glass repair shop the other day to replace a windshield in order to pass safety check inspection. I had gotten a ticket for my parked car for an expired safety check, which then resulted in my paying the $70 fine as well as prompted me to take the car to the shop. I've been apprehensive to do so mainly because I've been worried/ashamed that the mechanics would improperly use the ignition interlock device, so I was hoping to wait for it to be removed, then get my car officially legal. During this "waiting" time of nearly 7 months, I'd often bicycle by a weathered looking "Auto Glass Repair" shop, and thought to myself this would be a perfect place to get my car fixed because it's so close by. Anyway, I got the ticket, and a few weeks later I was dropping my car off at the weathered looking Auto Glass Repair shop. This place was totally vintage Hawaii! There was this old uncle running the operation, complete with 8 ulua poles sitting alongside an industrial car battery charger from the 70's and a dog tied to a piece of rope (not a leash). I was like, all right, back on Kaua'i and to a time-style that resonated well with me. I dropped off my car, gave a brief tutorial on how to operate the unfortunately nick-named Blow N Go device, said good luck, and was on my merry way. Quick turn around, 3, 4 days later, I get 3 voicemails from the man running the shop informing me that my car had been fixed and that it was ready for pick up, so I showed up later that day. I hopped in my car, all systems go, hit the ignition, "CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK" of a unpowered solenoid trying to work. My battery died. The repairman was shocked (pun) and used his vintage charger to give me a boost. As I was waiting there for a few minutes, come to find out that my fears had come true. It took the repairman, and 4 of his buddies many attempts before they could finally start the car, which then drained the battery. As I waited, another older man arrives, a friend of the repair man, and sits with us. After ranting for a little while, the newly-arrived man then goes on to talk about "this ass hole with a piece of shit car that has an ignition interlock that takes 5 guys to start for a car that isn't even worth the payments for the upkeep" or something along those lines. I laughed and agreed. He had no clue that piece of shit was mine, until the repairman said "EH! That's HIS car!" The car started fine and I was on my way. It was funny.

So I've been in the process of trying to streamline my guitar lessons business. The primary source of unproductivity is the recorded lesson video service I provide. It takes five steps to complete the video to YouTube. 1. I have to record the video (which gets recorded as two files because I'm using a digital camera). 2. I upload the footage from my camera to my computer. 3. I splice the two files per lesson through editing software 4. I then upload to YouTube. 5. I email the link. A little tedious and time consuming. My initial thoughts were to upgrade my camera to a camcorder that simply records 1 hour long blocks that I can also plug into the wall while it records, eliminating the hassle of swapping batteries and splicing videos. Upon scouring the internet for a suitable piece of a equipment, I stumbled upon the "smart camera," that uploads straight to YouTube. I was elated. Not only could I bypass the editing process, I could bypass the uploading the footage to the computer, and the drag and drop to YouTube! Or so I thought. After a long series of events of budgeting and coveting, I bought the camera and found out that yes, it does upload straight to YouTube but the video has to be less than 30 seconds. What a let down.

I've gone back to gauge .10's on the guitar, and I've made Narsil my primary instrument. Now I have but one instrument to be my main. I've gone from dual wielding, to 2-hand gripping one ax.

The podcast is back!

And another gig for Kauai has been slated on May 9th. I'm headed home!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

No More Restaurant

Today marks two weeks of being free from the restaurant world. After two grueling years of slowness and hoping for a break at the restaurant, I have quit. Now, I am completely self-reliant on my own. Relying solely on my skillzzz!!! And nothing on the radar, which frightens me a little bit.

I was winning, then I lost it all. Vegas finally got me. The house always wins. Down and out. I am now back to square one, except now I have a shit ton of comps everywhere. I'm going back for vengeance during the beginning of summer. If I can pull it off then, then, the dream of being a pro blackjack player will be reignited, or, it'll finally be extinguished. Hopefully being armed with more experience, a comparable bankroll, and the shame of defeat will be the exact ingredients to propel me into the stratosphere.

The second installment of Japanese (102) is kicking my ass at Kapiolani Community College. Luckily Anki is keeping me afloat, but only barely. The most recent test results, and I was the highest grade, a humble 81%. I am getting wrecked compared to me near perfect results last semester. It's pretty sad considering it's my only class. Although it may seem like the slowest way possible to get an "education" (piece of paper), I'm pretty happy with taking one class at a time; I can really concentrate and focus my time on one specific subject and really learn it, opposed to cramming and putting out fires as different subjects reer themselves and draw focus away from each other. I say I'm trying to get a degree, but I'm really going back to school to actually learn stuff. Weird right?

I cleared out my ear, I had a bunch of sand in it. Cost me $180 to get some nurse to pump/flush fluid into/out of my ear to clear the sand. I can hear again, so that's cool. My knee, was healing, then I decided to play soccer, and I fucked it up again, so now I'm only now gingerly returning to jiu jitsu for the second time, and I'm going to hold off on soccer for probably three months or so. Shoulders doing better, I've starting developing an ambidextrous throw at the surf school so I don't blow out one specific shoulder, sort of spread out the load, and also save myself from potential "leash wraps."

The B.R.G.A. (Brian Roberts Guitar Academy) is climbing the yelp charts! I am now number 5 in Honolulu. Started at number 17! Slowly creeping up my rates, as the students enroll and quit. At one point I had 20 students enrolled. Now I'm down to 15 and probably dropping. I made more money doing that than gigs last month! Trying to find that perfect balance. Also looking at ways to keep my "hourly" high, streamlining all the steps in the process that is my lesson. It seems my biggest time vac is getting the videos uploaded to youtube. I did some research and apparently they make "smart" point-and-shoot digital cameras that upload straight to youtube. I think that'll be my next purchase as far as the B.R.G.A. income is considered. Save me a whole lot of time! Increasing my hourly retrospectively.

The rock band is still in its perpetual state of auditionees, quitters, people who suck, lack of consistency, and whole bunch of other bull shit. Still, I love it, so on it goes, shelling out $50+ a week just to make really loud music/noise for a couple hours once a week. Why is it so hard to find a competent singer, and a not-suck bass player?

THE REFORGING OF MASAMUNE! (Chrono Trigger reference) Holy shit. I cracked out on my original RG. The maroon one. My first real guitar. I completely gutted it, scraped off  15 years of finger gunk off the fretboard. I'm debating as to whether or not to replace the whole neck, or just live with the shitty worn frets. It'll probably cost around $500 to completely overhaul (new wiring, new pick ups, new pots, new switch, new output jack, a tremol-no, allen wrench holder, and the labor to install these things). Why bother? It's an Ibanez RG without the edge zero, where I can install a tremol-no, which is the most fucking awesome invention ever! I'll then make "Masamune" my practice guitar, and a great practice guitar it'll be because it's exactly the same as my performance guitars.

Last night I jammed with this keyboard player neighbor of mine. We did a game I invented; trying to score video game/movie s in real time as the game/movie is played without sound. It was pretty fun. I gotta film it next time.

I threaten it always, but who knows, it'll probably not be the case; I'll try to do these more often.