Thank You 2014

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Here again I sit with another year creeping ever closer to coming to a close. 2014 was a pretty decent year for me with more peaks than valleys and a hell of a lot more silver linings than I was expecting. But aside from all that this post is going to be brief and to the point. I wanted to say thank you to everyone for everything this year. Thank you to the people who have been long time friends and have helped me through thick and thin and for better or worse. Thank you to the people who would briefly step into my life and tell me I have a nice jacket on or that they thought I had pretty eyes and then would vanish out of my life just as quickly. Yes that has happened. Thank you to the new friends I have made this year and work colleagues who have helped me out and taught me new skills or helped me polish up on old ones…even if I hate you you whiny piece of shit (you know who you are). Thank you to the people I know and love that never change and thank you to the people who have accomplished the astonishing and changed themselves. Thank you readers, bloggers, likers, followers, graze overs, fishers. Thank you mom and dad for being there as best you could even if not together most of the time. Thank you to my friends in Jersey. Thank you to my friends in PA. Thank you to my friends in Maryland, Michigan, New York, and Connecticut and the rest of the world. I appreciate each and every one of you for what you have done for me either knowingly or not. This was a large year of growth for me with some growing pains but I wouldnt change any of it for the world. I’m ready for this 2015 because of you guys and you deserve all the credit. Thank you.

P.S. I’m getting new boots tomorrow and I’m really excited.

Cheers!

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Bringing it back from the brink

We have all of those days, weeks, months, and even years where nothing will ever seem to go right for any of us. It seems like its just one disaster after another, one misfortune that dissolves into something worse or lingers forever. Its a struggle everyone has dealt with at some point in time. Its a view of the darkness from the very fringe of the earth while looking down that seems like an endless drop into the blackness of hopelessness. This point depicts itself by many faces such as rock bottom, depression, failure, loss, heartbreak, end, negative, wrong, irrelevant, and others. Its the experiences of these faces and descriptions that spell out the same result. It’s discouragement that zaps every single ounce of motivation and hope that you feel will never return ever. You will run into the same people who will try to pick you up with their useless advice and other people who will write you off by saying to just try and be happy about it. Those people, while may be in good spirits about it, have no idea until they experience it which is truly impossible since everyone experiences things differently. It’s hard and upsetting because its so hard and at that point it seems impossible because of the weight alone you have to deal with and no reserves to toss at it. How does anyone recover from this? How does anyone recover from this pressure that is enclosing around you. Here’s my method. You grab what dwindling amount of strength you have and you push the fuck back!

You heard me right. You push back, you get up, you dust yourself off, and you crawl out of that pit of darkness inch by inch. When this happens it is time to turn your brain off to making yourself happy and switch your gears into turning into a solid rock of fuck you. Happiness is a reward you achieve from discipline and it will not be handed to you easily deep down in that pit. Motivation is an unreliable emotion, while enjoyable when experiencing it, it is fickle and easily dispersed. Discipline is what is needed to rebuild yourself and bring yourself back from the brink. Start working again, compose, build, brew, write, design, date, love, listen, help, pickup every chance you get. Keep going and I promise you that happiness will follow. Discipline and stubbornness are your strongest weapons at this point, while happiness and motivation are power ups to help you feel invincible. Now you may wonder “Why discipline?” Well this is a simple answer. Why do you go to work every day? Why do you eat every day? Why do maintain your car? Why do you pay your bills? Because you fucking have too and those things consistently stay maintained because of it. Make your happiness one of those things that must be maintained, regardless of the pitfalls, and your life will kick ass and take names all while talking in a Clint Eastwood voice. Oh and one more thing, this recipe is rinse and repeat so each time life tries to smack you in the face you better reward it with a five fingered fisty style discount. Show it who’s boss and take a few teeth with it.

Cheers! I’m back!

Hot damn can she sing!

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It takes a lot for me to be impressed by something. As time goes on with the evolution of advertisements, TV, video games, blinky, flashy, brighty, and all the stimuli we encounter I believe that many of us have become desensitize. So usually when we do find something that moves us it quickly builds up our spirits and then is forgotten equally as fast. Well something similar to that has happened to me except I keep finding myself watching this new discovery and am having a hard time becoming bored with it.

First off, many things inspire me to a certain degree but what most commonly knocks me off my feet is a fantastic visual. It usually consists of a heavily detailed image that I cant seem to take my eyes off of and allows me to translate the image into a thousand different definitions. These images can range from computer generated, photographs, illustrations, and most frequently natural (vistas, overlooks, etc.) When I encounter a visual that truly gives me spark  its like a breath of really fresh air and it makes me feel very illuminated. This frequency changed recently though and I was engaged with a new stimulant that I have been experiencing for the past few days now. I actually HEARD something awesome.

One of my favorite songs is the song ‘I wont give up’ By Jason Mraz. Now whereas that is a pretty awesome song in itself I stumbled across a cover done by a girl named Christina Grimmie. Before I continue, let me take a quick tangent here and tell you I am not connected into cable TV or anything for that matter, except the internet. So I am usually very behind on fads, shows, and other things that would usually be pumped into your brain on a day to day basis. Apparently, this girl was on the show The Voice a while back and, unfortunately, didn’t win, bummer. But she did manage to gather a pretty ridiculously huge fan base and she ventured out on her own making internet covers, show appearances,  and even making some of her own music videos. Well I’ll tell you that this girl can freaking sing and her cover of ‘ I wont give up’ is pretty remarkable. She performs the entire song, in the video, on piano and adds her own pitch to it with a heavy dose of variety. I didn’t believe it would work so well considering the calmer pitch that Jason Mraz usually sticks to but she pulled it off with guns blazing. It blew me off my feet and made me recite a ‘holy shit’ out loud in my living room. She dissects the song with color, passion and inspiration that, I believe, only a person who truly loves music could pull off and turns it into a roller coaster ride that hypnotizes you enough to hit the replay button a couple of times. It was a pretty cool experience.

Needless to say after that performance she has managed to find her way into my music library along with a few of her other covers I dug up that she has performed. I know it doesn’t sound like much but my media library is finely tuned since I basically live out of my car on a day to day basis. If anyone would like to listen to her music I have provided the link below and wish her the best of luck in her adventures because hot damn she can sing!

Till next time. Cheers!

Re-taking the hardest step. The first one.

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Bob Ross once said “Talent is a pursued interest. Anything that you are willing to practice, you can do.” While growing up I always had a small knack for artwork and design, I liked creating cool things with my hands out of thin air and making them a reality. When I was younger, the motivation to create was overwhelming and almost bursting at the seams at all time. I would find the most unorthodox materials to create something. Even if the work was junk, as long as I liked it I didn’t care. On a side note that saying that you are your own worst critic works both ways. If you really enjoy a piece and no one else does you will find that it doesn’t bother you too much. Back to what we were talking about though, as I got older though and the real world finally reared its ugly head it became more difficult to find myself motivated to create new and unique work. Grant you, creativity is not created in a vacuum and you will need something to inspire you from time to time. Sadly that inspiration light dims out as well and I found that not much inspired me anymore either. I had a side of  my brain recognizing the problem and said that I was in a slump and I just needed to sit down and get started doing whatever but my other half had me paralyzed and realized that Netflix and beer was just easier. So the question was. How do I get over this and get going after my creative engine had clearly stalled.

Three things fixed this problem for me. Now as usual I cant guarantee this is going to work for everyone but it finally pushed through for me. First, whatever lingering talent you have a from a previous hobby will resurface if you jump back to your roots. What I am saying is brush off the rust and slowly or quickly everything will come back. I’m talking about dusting off the old textbooks, listen to the old music, or turn on the endless Scrubs marathon that would tun in your focus for some strange reason. Second, take your newly polished skill set and step right outside of your comfort zone. When I went back into drawing, either on the computer or physical, I would give realistic drawing a very wide berth. I had difficulty gaining proper perspective and making whatever I was drawing look like the subject matter. It pissed me off because I felt like I was starting all over but in a sense that’s the point. Kinda like sharpening a knife you never used. You know how to use a lot of knives but not that one in particular. It’s okay to get frustrated and angry and annoyed but don’t let it discourage you. Learning something new is never really easy but it will get better. With this in mind it rolls into our third and most critical step. KEEP GOING! You are going to have days where you wont even want to engage into your hobby let alone work on it. Jump in. Did you just walk in the door from your job after a bad day? Jump in. Fight with your girlfriend / boyfriend / sheep? Jump in. Sick? Jump in. You are not going to be motivated or excited of every hour of every day to pursue your hobby or your talent. You have to keep at it, you have to force yourself, until it becomes habit and you cant go a day without doing it. KEEP GOING! Because you can do it and rock the world with it.

As of right now outside of work I manage to keep this blog going, started drawing again, and broke open three of my design textbooks. I hate it during the week but because I stick with it at the end of the week it feels awesome. I feel productive again and my gears are constantly turning with copious amounts of inspiration. I haven’t felt this way in a long time and I can tell you, it feels great.  Remember the three and KEEP GOING. Results will follow.

P.S. It doesn’t hurt to ask for help either

Cheers!

The Escape

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This weekend is a weekend to behold indeed. I am finally, for the first time and probably last time, going camping for this summer. The spot my friends and I usually pick out is nothing short of special. Its based out in the middle of Bald Eagle State Forest in the crevice of a small valley with a nice creek running through it. The forecast is expected to be in the range of the mid 70’s so that most likely means we will be sleeping in somewhere around the low 50’s. Its a glorious experience when everything finally settles down with the arrival, setting up the site, building the fire, and gathering up supplies. The silence that overcomes the site when your butt finally hits the lawn chair with nothing but the sound of the of nature all around you only to be accented by a small fire crackling and being bathed in its warm hypnotizing glow. It’s almost poetic, its like watching a movie in 360 degrees and all the colors change as each second passes in front of you. I often wonder sometimes how people dont enjoy going outside but it helps me reset the scales easily and I couldn’t ever see myself without it. I recommend it to anyone and if you don’t believe me, try it. Find that random dirt road into the woods or that path less traveled by and venture down it for whatever distance and let it all just blank out for about an hour. You’ll feel better than ever.

Cheers! I’m outta here!

The Price of Admission

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About a week ago a separation had happened and an important piece of my life had bowed out due to uncontrollable circumstances. She was a wonderful person with a big heart and I wish her well on her life ahead of her and show her no ill will. Our ending was unstoppable despite our best efforts and we found that we would be better off being separated rather than continuing on together. It was mutual and accepting with explanations given on both sides that would be answers to questions we had both been dying to ask but were too afraid too and with that I can safely say I am at peace with the whole ordeal. The breakup though did give me some insight and a few lessons learned regarding the relationship. It was the price of admission. 

This relationship was beyond anything I had ever experienced in the past. My entire playbook was obsolete or didnt fit any scenario properly so you could say I was flying blind most of the time and bumping into walls. My expectations of her also kept getting in the way which would cause heavy confrontation which, in turn, would lead to a couple days of awkwardness or just straight on pure silence. This was poisonous considering our time together which consisted of mostly weekends. Before long we began finding ourselves walking on eggshells when we would see each other or bringing up certain topics. It was no way to be with someone you loved and something dramatic needed to be done. So, I did something I had never done before. I tossed out my playbook and all of my expectations and stopped trying to steer us into the direction I thought we should go. Most of these expectations weren’t fair in hindsight since nobody should really have to change, act differently, or alter themselves just to continue a relationship that just makes YOU comfortable. It’s a team sport and I wanted her to enjoy my company as much as I enjoyed hers. It worked great, kinda like pulling the thorn from the lions paw and finally letting that old wound heal. It was my price of admission. If I wanted to be in her life I had to let her be her and keep on trucking. 

Unfortunately though with the damage that had already been done and a few life altering changes such as new jobs, moving, personal things, etc. we just couldn’t manage to get back to what we once were. Exhaustion had taken its toll and we finally decided to just let us go to the wind. There were tears, laughs, a goodbye and before either of us knew it we were back to being on our own where we started. I wish her well and thank her for opening my eyes to a new way of treating someone I would see as special. I also agree with the last words I heard from her “We’re gonna be okay.”

 

I came across this video nearly the day after, which was the inspiration for this post along with her suggestion. I present to you The Price of Admission By Dan Savage. Click the link below. 

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/08/28/the-price-of-admission-dan-savage/

 

 

 

Cheers

 

A sad occurrence and and crystallizing realization

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As I am sure that everyone knows Robin Williams passed away last night at the not so ripe old age of 63 years old. He was a staple to many generations comedic standings and he will be sorely missed. From good morning Vietnam, to Mrs. Doubtfire, and Aladdin the man could speak on the level of many generations and produce a good strong laugh out of each of them. But despite his sense of humor and the giggles that all of the pictures the magazines show it was revealed that this titan of happiness and humor struggled with himself just as any other normal person does. With this in mind I have come to a crystallizing realization. We are all human and we all struggle.

Think about it. With every page on facebook, twitter, tumblr, blogger, etc. we are displayed  with each and every person showing the good times they had out with friends, vacations, award winnings, new cars, and life changes. They dont regularly show the struggles that these people could still be going through despite what they allow people to see. Its sort of a behind the scenes concept. I’m not saying we should all go prying into everyone’s dirty laundry by all means and some people just plainly don’t want help or to reveal their inner demons. What I am stating is that this constant display of a perfect and happy life that today’s world has to show off doesn’t always seem to work out for the best and we could be missing the bigger picture.

To the people that do express themselves behind the scenes, we should listen and sympathize. And I know that listening to someones issues is exhausting but sometimes even listening, if only for a moment, can help in a big way even if its from a stranger. And an attempt at some form of helping that person could make that person hopeful for another day. Also, believe it or not we could learn a little bit more about ourselves and maybe it could help our inner struggles as well. I believe this is how we could see each other as human beings on a more relatable level rather than seeing our successes. Because not everyone is going to reach those points that we see online or in the paper and I’m not saying we shouldn’t display those successes but every now and then if we view the other side of the coin it could give a lot more perspective and a higher understanding of one another.

 

 

“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone”

-Robin Williams

 

Till next time folks and Cheers