The “Subjectively Positive” One

This is gonna be another really long one… it’s more fun for me this way. 😏 Settle in and enjoy.

Now, this is something that’s almost impossible to explain to someone who doesn’t or hasn’t experienced severe social anxiety. πŸ€” But last Saturday, after spending about a week and a half without even leaving my house, while trying (and failing) to adjust to a new medication, and still tending to my gimpy knee… I had to go to a concert in Columbus. 😐 At the Schottenstein Center, which holds about 18,000 people. 18,000 loud, screaming, drinking, super enthusiastic, having an awesome time, concert-goin’ people. 😏 (God bless ’em… heh) Oh, and we had “Meet and Greet” VIP passes for Debbie Gibson and Tiffany after the show.

The story begins last year, when my friend Jim got us tickets to see Phil Collins at Nationwide Arena. I had seen Genesis before, but never Phil on his own… so it was a bucket list thing. We had a great time, so in the fall of last year when “The Mixtape Tour” tickets came available – I went ahead and got our tickets, sort of as a birthday gift / way to pay back his generosity re: the Phil Collins tickets.

Flash forward to last Saturday… and it took every ounce of oomph that I had to make myself get up, get ready, and go to the venue to meet Jim. πŸ₯Ί My anxiety was so bad that up until the minute I was finally able to make myself get in the car, I wasn’t even sure I was gonna be able to do it. 😬 But I had already cancelled on Jim on a few other things, and I would feel like a giant shit if I bailed on him again, and he ended up just going by himself. So I honestly went more because of Jim, rather than a desire to actually go. Well, no… that isn’t entirely accurate… because I absolutely wanted to go… heh… like I said, it’s hard to explain how anxiety can overrule anything that you think you might want or be able to do. πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Heh… I’m realizing that this isn’t gonna sound like a positive experience, so let me go ahead and interject here to say that I did have a good time while I was there, and was glad that I went. πŸ™‚ It was the getting there and getting home that were the biggest hurdles for my uncooperative brain. And of course there had to be construction all along the freeway on the way there, which is always fun – anxiety or not. And then when I got there, because I left so late, I ended up having to walk… *consulting google maps* … I had to walk “Total distance:Β 2,885.24 ftΒ (879.42 m)from the parking lot to the venue. 😧 But I had my cane, I took my time, and didn’t die too much. 😏 In fact, not only did it help me to unwind from the traffic, but it continued my DIY physical therapy that I’m trying – to avoid the costly, painful, inconvenient, time consuming, real thing.

The thing that probably saved the night for me, once we found our way to our seats, was that we were at the absolute top of the seats. Literally everyone in front of us, with the backs of our chairs being against the wall. 😊 Plus the seat next to me was empty. 😁 I can’t stress enough how much of a difference it makes to be “outside” of the humans rather than surrounded by a sea of them in every direction. So for the duration of the actual show, I was golden. πŸ™‚ Me and Jim, catching up on shit, no assholes around to be a nuisance, a decent view of everything due to the big LED screens, despite being in the very definition of “the nosebleed seats” for the concert… and it was awesome. I was glad that I “made” myself go.

Then the show ended. 😳 At which point we had to navigate through the herd of exiting humans, trying to figure out where we had to be to do the Meet and Greet part of our experience. 😬 Buttloads of people, slight confusion of where to go, the prospect of meeting a couple of celebrity singers… so, again, I found myself *this close* to just walking out one of the nearby doors and just waiting for Jim to go and do that part on his own. But he said the right things I needed to hear, I took a few woosah moments, and once a lot of the people were gone we found our way to what was essentially the basement under all of the seating. 😯

Sorry, I’ll try to tighten this up a bit. 😏 There were different M&G packages, some with just Debbie, some with just Tiffany, some with both – so thankfully, even though they had us all crammed into a relatively small waiting space, we got to do our thing pretty quickly since we had the dual package. Got a hug from Tiffany, they both autographed my lanyard, and while there was a little confusion with the official person taking the photos – it gave me some time to actually talk with Debbie while we had a short wait.

She asked if I had a good time and I told her “Oh, absolutely…” with a smile, but since other people were distracted I was able to lean over to her and kinda quietly say “… but man is my social anxiety kickin’ right about now.” Heh… probably a little weird, but it would have been awkward just standing there silently as we waited for the photographer to get ready. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But she just smiled back at me and said she actually knows what I mean, and that before each show she usually stays in her dressing room with her piano and just plays some random jazz or classical to help her get rid of herΒ pre-show anxiety. πŸ™‚ And that was a comforting thing to hear… since rather than her thinking I was a weirdo, she could actually relate. Then we got the pic, I got a hug from her as well, and that was that.

Well, that was it for me I mean. 😏 Jim still had to get his picture with them… but keep in mind, Jim wasn’t Jim for the night… he went as Squirtman. πŸ˜³πŸ˜„ The orange body suit, the cape, the Squirtman puppet, flashing LED glasses, the cowboy hat… heh… the whole deal. That was actually another good thing throughout the night – because when you’re next to Squirtman, you’re essentially invisible – which was perfect. πŸ‘πŸ»

He got there an hour before the doors even opened, so he was parked right in the first lot and was able to give me a ride out to my car – since all of the walking and stairs and such did finally take its toll on me. πŸ˜•Β I did have the typical “I need to be home”Β voice repeating in my head as I was driving, but the goody feeling from the concert buzz made the long drive home much more bearable than some drives I’ve made in the past. πŸ™‚

So yeah… yay me. 😊 I did a thing. 😏

If you remember any of these bands or singers and wanna check out some clips, here ya go:

Alrighty, that’s about it. Congrats if you made it through all of my (hopefully) descriptive weirdo rambling. πŸ˜‰

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By The Numbers? Not So Quick…

I can’t remember the last movie that I saw in a theater. πŸ€” I mean, I still haven’t even seen Avengers Endgame… even though a bunch of us had a plan to basically reserve an entire rowΒ of our own for that movie, but then Bri had to go and delivery a baby… 😏 I guess that’s a sufficient excuse.

So I’ll be anxiously awaiting for Rocketman to come to Redbox or available through Video-on-Demand or whatever. It’s not fair though… Mom has loved Elton forever. Like, really… for as long as he’s been Elton, Mom has loved him and his music – and of course by musical osmosis during by baby / toddler / kid / teen years, he became one of my favorite artists as well. πŸ™‚ But man, what I would give for me and Mom and Dad to all be able to go and watch this movie together on one of the big, loud screens. πŸ₯Ί

To be honest, it’s still difficult to listen to any of his songs when they pop up at random while I’m driving. Some days it makes me feel good and smile, but most days it’s just too much and I skip to whatever song gets served up next… heh… which is sometimes another Elton song. πŸ™„πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ But this guy’s review… I almost always agree with the things he says about movies that I have seen, so to hear him give such a glowing review makes me feel that if it’s that good for the “normal” folks, then it’ll probably be something special for those of us who’ve had him as part of the soundtrack of our lives for the better part of five decades. 😊

Phil Collins: Not Dead Yet

Last night was concert night in Columbus, seeing Phil Collins with my friends Jim and Adam at Nationwide Arena. 😊 I was already nervous the day before, thinking of the handful of things that could make my day difficult, and despite doing my best to screw it up from the start – waking up at 4am and not being able to fall back to sleep – everything ended up alright and the show was great.

For anyone that’s a fan, it’s common knowledge that Phil is pretty gimped up from a failed back surgery and a “fucked foot” as he put it, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. 😳 But despite remaining seated for almost all of the performance, he seemed to get along reasonably well with a cane, so it didn’t feel as… um… I guess I was just worried that it would feel a little “Wheel the old man out and make him sing.” but that wasn’t the case at all.Β πŸŽ€πŸ‘΄Β It was a relatively long show too, playing his stuff and some Genesis songs, and he seemed to be enjoying it all. (And another “bucket list” concert checked off for me.)

Since he’s unable to play the drums, his son Nic filled in for him.Β πŸ₯πŸ˜Ž The kid is pretty amazing… he’s 17 now, he was 16 when the tour started in the UK, which means he was probably learning and perfecting all of his dad’s songs by the time he was 14 years old… knowing that he’d eventually be going on a huge tour like this. 😯 (Oh, and he plays piano too πŸ™„) It was all the way back in May of 1992 that I saw GenesisΒ in The Shoe at OSUΒ (26 years ago… holy shitballs)Β but I never thought that I’d get to see him perform his own songs solo, since he swore quite a while ago that he’d never tour again.

Jim’s an awesome friend, surprising me and Adam both by getting us all tickets.Β πŸ˜ƒΒ (Five years ago this month we were in Kansas thanks to him as well) And like I told him, I have enough “concerns” about myself that I wouldn’t have even thought about buying a ticket for myself if he hadn’t. The neck and shoulder pain, the thyroid stuff, the random back stuff, the anxiety that comes in times and ways of its own choosing… I don’t think I would have trusted myself to be able to go – but when a friend makes not going not an option, you just put your head down and keep moving forward.

Oh, there were moments that I still wasn’t sure… even up until the point that I was standing in line, waiting to get in…Β πŸ˜³πŸ˜¬πŸ‘«πŸ‘¬πŸ‘«πŸ‘­πŸ‘«πŸ‘«πŸ‘¬πŸ‘«πŸ‘­Β … but I’m absolutely glad that I went.

I’ve been a mess since getting home last night around midnight though.Β πŸ˜• The “post-concert buzz” ended up keeping me awake until about 5am, and man did I hurt. 😣😒 It’s mostly better now, but between the cold, the sitting, the standing, the singing, the recording of video, the crowds, the traffic… as usual, my body and brain eventually weren’t having any of that nonsense, and they let me know as soon as the show ended. 😟 I think Jim and Adam could see it in me once the lights came up, so we all sat for a bit and let the crowd clear. After we left the arena they walked along at my pace until we parted ways at the parking garage. Luckily Jim gets me though, so he knows that all of that “beat-up old man” stuff doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t do it all over again.Β πŸ™‚

Saranghae, Naleul Tteonaji Mala

Cassi is starting to become a fan of South Korean pop music, of all things… heh… and every now and then she’ll suggest a song or video that she thinks I should check out, to see if she can get me to share in some of her excitement. 😏 Normally it’s something okay but ultimately forgettable – but with this video and song, she found a winner. πŸ˜ƒ I can’t understand a damn word of what they’re saying… but thanks to the story of this video, and the 90s pop-rock sound, I love it.

I was confused during the first part of this video, so I’ll give you a hint as to what I think’s going on… πŸ€”πŸ€¨ He’s attending the funeral of a girl that he had gotten involved with about a week prior to her passing, and at some point during that time she had gotten him a watch. At the funeral, the watch causes him to jump back in time to a point right before they originally met. See what you think…

This band… and they are a band, unlike a lot of K-Pop groups… they cover nearly every genre that you can think of throughout their discography. Their lead singer has a voice that lets him handle anything he’d want to sing, from ballads, to pop songs, to actual rock/metal tunes. FTIsland doesn’t have a cult following since they don’t stick to a single genre, but I can respect a group much more when they play what they want to play, and because they can play any instruments in the first place. πŸ˜†πŸ€˜πŸ»

It’s nice to find new music that gives you the feels πŸ˜… even if it’s in a language you can’t understand. I like these guys, and I’ve added some of their tracks to my Spotify playlist, but it’s also encouraging me to try and find some new music like this in my native language. πŸ˜‹ Sure, I’ve got a couple thousand songs on my car’s USB drive, but there’s just something about experiencing new music…

Roberto’s Amigatized Tunes

That’s what I called my music back then… so that way when they were sold in “public domain” disk collections, they could be called “RAT” disks. I’m not sure how much they ended up spreading, but I know they ended up in at least three catalogs back then – when you still had to get things like this by ordering and receiving physical floppy disks in the mail. 😏

The videos that I uploaded to YouTube yesterday show my original tracker songs being played by Modizer, an app for the iPhone. But if you view the videos full screen, you’ll still be able to see how the whole thing works. You’ll see which track is playing the drums, which one does the vocal, etc… and that’s what got me interested in creating music this way in the first place. πŸ€“ When I can see how something works, I can almost always then use it for my own means.

Okay, so let’s pick my favorites from the songs I’ve done…

  • Keep Feelin’ Fascination – I’m probably biased towards this song because it was one of my favorite songs from the time back then. That and it’s fairly simple, so it didn’t require much extra work to get it to sound similar to the original song.
  • Pyro! – This was a song that I created for the guy who ran the Pyro! BBS in Canal Winchester. It uses samples from other songs, to go with the pyro theme, plus it was basically just a “jam” song where I sat and came up with a few different beats, a few stolen bits of songs that I recreated… I dunno… I guess I like that it allowed me four or five musical varieties in a single songs. No rules.
  • Howard the Duck – I’m one of the few dozen people who actually liked this movie back then, and still like it today. You might have read here in the blog a few entries ago about how I gave props to Lea Thompson (on Twitter) for her musical performance in that movie and she actually replied and thanked me.
  • Obsession – This is another track that I did because is was rather simple and easy to emulate, plus it was one of my mom’s favorite bands of the moment back then – Army of Lovers. A very visual band, but the music was still good as well.
  • Mu – This is another “jam” song, where I didn’t have an idea when I started, but just sat down and started banging things out and ripping off bits of other songs to throw into this amalgamation. Experimenting with songs like this was as much about learning the software and methods as it was about creating a song.
  • Man on The Corner – Since Phil Collins and Genesis were two of my favorite artists back then, of course I had to make some attempts at covering their music. I think I actually did four of their songs in total… and I think this is my favorite mostly because of the odd beats and percussion sounds. (See also: I Don’t Care Anymore)
  • Myself – This was a track that I did after I bought my own sampling device for the Amiga 500. I wish I could remember the name of it… but imagine, back then, being able to sample my own voice and then use it to create a song. It was almost unheard of… heh… but yeah, every sample you hear in this one was created with my mouf.
  • The Best is Yet to Come – Samantha Fox was another artist I loved back then (and still do) so I actually did covers of a few of her songs. This one was simple, but it had some harmonies and I hadn’t done any slow songs, so I gave it a shot. (See also: True Devotion)

You can click here if you wanna see the entire playlist of 21 songs that I uploaded. I probably have about ten more that I didn’t upload, as they were basically my earliest practice songs or almost exclusively looped samples. But yeah, working on these songs back then, it actually helped my ear become more trained to isolate individual instruments in every song that I hear to this day. To build a song you lay down the drums, then sit and listen to just the bass in the original, then just the melody, etc. You literally dissect the original and reassemble it via the program, unintentionally learning how to identify and recreate chords, “slide” bass notes up and down, etc. In one way it could seem like a pointless exercise, but I’m glad that I did it.

I’ve got a Windows 10 tracker program, which I think can have up to 64 tracks to use, and there have been times when I’ve thought about trying to build a few more songs… but man is it hard to jump back in to something that you haven’t done for decades, and having to learn a different program to do it on top of that. (Despite the basics still being quite similar to how it was done back in the day.) Never say never, I guess.

Lurking Celebs

Having some difficulty getting moving today. Just taking it easy and letting it come to me. I’ve already got a few things that I know I want to get done later today, and I think once the sun is completely down it will get easier.

Wandered around on Twitter for a bit when I woke up, and noticed that I got a reply that surprised me on a tweet I had made last night. It’s always a bit surreal when someone famous replies to or likes one of your tweets, but even more so when it’s a celebrity that you’ve always liked. I mean, who would think that I’d get a reply from Piper Perabo the other day when asking about a House Resolution / Senate Bill regarding gun control. I try not to internally fanboy about it too much, remembering that they’re just normal folks like the rest of us.

I’ve been making a ton of progress with my new police scanner. I’ll have to maybe put some screenshots of the various frequencies I’ve got saved in various “favorites” files for it to use. I mean, it can search whatever you want based on your zip code, but it’s always better to customize some lists to get exactly what you’re looking for at any given moment. And it has a recording features which not only names the WAV files according to the department / system / channel it was recorded from, but when it records – it also skips the “dead air” bits… resulting in a complete recording, but somewhat time compressed.

Alright, I’m gonna hop off here and see if I can make something of this day…

EDIT: Increased the font size for the blog entries. I know I ramble, and small text would kind of hide that “feature” of my writing, but it’s just easier on the eyes and also helps my various emoji be recognizable for what they are pretty much.

Let Them Words Out

Feeling a little better, even though my sleep is still really screwed up. I really do give credit to the sunlight that was coming in through the picture window all day today… until I unintentionally fell asleep for four hours in the recliner. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I had a really amazing dream though, and I did need to catch up on my sleep, so I can’t be too upset I guess. Hoping that means that I’m coming out the other end of this recent bleh, but I don’t wanna get ahead of myself on that. Heh… it’s quite the balancing act.

So anyway, probably a bit over a year ago I was dealing with a weird thing where I’d be listening to all of my favorite songs, yet not feel a damn thing. Nothing. And this was with any of the couple thousand songs on my car’s flash drive, all of which I selected to be on there for a reason – so of course I should feel something. Well, now that’s completely flipped. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I can’t listen to anything without being instantly transported back to the moment where that memory was formed with that song… and unfortunately nearly all of those times feel a whole lot happier than “now” feels. 😞

So rather than torture myself with memory-filled tunes, I’m gonna try something different. I’ve got satellite radio in my car, and it has a ton of stations and a lot of options, but it’s still like traditional radio – they play what they want, and you listen as it comes. πŸ˜’ That’s no good anymore. Not when there are cheaper options for music like Spotify. Ten bucks a month and you can basically listen to any song you can think of, within reason. So that’s what I’m gonna do… drop the SiriusXM and just use Spotify and bluetooth with the car.

Oh, and unlike XM I’ll be able to use it anywhere. (They’re really gonna have to re-think their business model if they wanna be viable in five years.) And it’s funny, the thing that finally prompted me was when I watched someone’s long-form abandoned exploration video and they had several songs that I had never heard, from bands that I’m completely unaware of, but that I absolutely wanted to hear again. πŸ˜ƒπŸ€˜πŸ» Heh… this is a new thing for me, because I’ve been so content for years to listen to the songs I already like, with maybe a few new ones sprinkled in here and there.

(It’s a shame, this deserves more than 150 views in well over a year.)

I read an article long ago that said once a person reaches a certain age, their brain is no longer “open” to new music. That’s my poorly worded summary of what they said… but they made it sound biological. πŸ€” Like true enjoyment of new music just doesn’t really happen… not like when you were a kid. I can see where is is psychologically difficult though, because when you are young you aren’t jaded or worn down by the world. πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ The lyrics you hear, the hope, optimism, happiness, etc… it all seems absolutely possible. The older you get, not so much. 😏 Of course one person is different from the next, but when you’ve been through some shit – sometimes those songs with hopeful upbeat lyrics can be almost annoying.

But, and especially now due to digital media, I think it’s more that we grow up liking what we like and then as we get older we just tend to stick to that. The stuff we know, the stuff we really did feel back then. ☺ Now that everything is just a click away, I don’t know if that will continue to be the case with most people. For example, when I get Spotify and click on Fly by Sleeping With Sirens, after that it’ll probably suggest other shit like them or by them. Same thing when I listen to tracks I already know and like. It could and should keep expanding my range… giving me new shit I like, without the annoying attachment of some other place and time.

And hey, ten years from now when I hear all these new songs I discovered “back in 2018” I’m hoping I’ll look back on them with the memory of “Whew… glad I don’t feel like that anymore.”