practice.. 2023 Jul 31 Mon.. sustain..

3pm.. connect..
I hung out with Trapper and Henry. They're borrowing the car tomorrow, so after we ate at McD's, they dropped me off at home.

afternoon.. fix room
When I got home, I was going to lie down and needed to make my bed. I couldn't reach the back corners and asked Ken for help then spent the rest of the day rearranging the room. I like it. I'm still stuck with no piano space. I'll work on that and survive until I work it out.

10pm.. listen
I caught a little bit of the open mic tonight from Rhythms Coffee up in Olympia. I'm feeling a bit like I'm not even trying.. haha! It was inspiring, not condemning or overwhelming like that thought can be sometimes. Good day!

practice.. 2023 Jul 30 Sun.. new songs

8am.. early breakfast
Well. earlier than normal for me. It was at McD's for the first time in a while. Nothing much happened there.

noon.. Soul movie
Disney put out a little animated show called Soul about a jazz pianist who refused to die and then talked a new soul into trying out Earth. I've seen it a few times now. Today I got that there might not be any more purpose in life than to just live it. Every time I put meaning into a thing or try to base my worth on a thing, I end up disappointing myself or others. I'm happier when I just do things and somehow just love doing them. When I tell a story that I know and love, I can just relax into it and disappear. When I try to push a message or I'm worried about how the audience is reacting, I stumble and flounder. The movie and my recent experience is in music. When I just play, I almost can't mess up. When I worry that I'm trying something new, I flounder. When I just vibe with life, I'm happy.

The other thing I got from the movie was just from the closing song.. It's Alright, by Jon Batiste. "It's alright. Have a good time, because it's alright." I think it's the same message as above. I can just do my thing and I'm entirely allowed to enjoy it. I don't always have to be worried that this is the right thing. I steal my own joy of doing anything by keeping part of me looking for something better or even judging whether I'm supposed to be happy doing this thing I chose.

3pm.. practice..
I played the harmonica along with It's Alright a few times, then tried it along with Don't Worry Be Happy, as well. I'm feeling better about letting myself dive into stuff. There are still plenty of days and things when I'm scared to let go. I think it's when I have high expectations and I find or judge myself to be lacking. Really, though, I'm always just in the middle of the ride, which is the best part of the ride. bleh.. I don't know.. haha!

practice.. 2023 Jul 29 Sat.. jam session

10am.. jam session!
That's pretty much all today! It was enough. I felt pretty good most of the time.. haha!

practice.. 2023 Jul 28 Fri.. renew

10am.. breakfast
Ken and I ended up at Walmart and I had breakfast at the Subway there. Then I came home and slept through movies all afternoon.

11pm.. music!
Now I'm watching the live feed from the Rhythms Coffee show up in Olympia. I'm going to play some harmonica in a bit, as well, so there's just a little practice going on today at the very end! woot!

practice.. 2023 Jul 27 Thu.. listen..

4pm.. listen.. connect..
Today I just hung out with a friend. He's young and kept me really busy. I just had a great day. We got him a bike and we also ended up pretending we knew what racquetball was all about. 

practice.. 2023 Jul 26 Wed.. jam session!

10am.. new tires
That's all there.. just had breakfast and headed to Les Schwab for some new tires. They quoted me all 4 then they couldn't find but three of them so I will just head back later for the others. The new ones will help me feel better going up to Washington next week.

6pm.. jam session
My homework paid off! The mic worked tonight at the jam session! I have been watching it again I'm so amazed! Then halfway through, the battery died on the receiver. bleh.. haha! Here's a link to the whole 4 hours, though you'll have to speed through the beginning while they first set up stuff.

practice.. 2023 Jul 25 Tue.. literary rug

7pm.. literary rug
It was a nice one tonight. I told some little bit about how I grew up in the same small town from 1st grade to graduating from high school. I never really had bullies, and I think it's in part from meeting all the kids when we were so young. We got done in time for a writing prompt exercise where we talk about a character and how we would interact. Here's what I wrote..
"Am I scary?" he asked.

"Of course not!" I replied.
"aww.." he sighed.

I completely misunderstood his idea of the right answer. He was afraid of being too adorable. I was afraid of scaring kids or anyone so there was some fun catching up.

I had never considered this way of being. What if I was scary? What if I owned that and played with people? What if I went to church and made people deal with my awkward looks and ways of being? What if I went to open mic and demanded they let me play the piano? What if I talked my friends into selling me new arms at the Vaudeville show? What if I got used to all that and then tried it all again far away barely on the other side of the continent.
 I called it Rex and I.

practice.. 2023 Jul 24 Mon.. writing

7:52pm.. never meant to stop..
That's all there in the heading. Occasionally, I still want and need to write a nice long post to check in and take note of where I am and where I think I'm headed. One of the really great benefits of writing daily before had been along the lines of complaining I was going nowhere at the start, then realizing by the end that I was both further along than I thought I was and also realizing that I am in the middle of a journey. I'm just fine, I would conclude, and the next day or even the rest of that day would flow freely again with energy and purpose. This is sort of what happened yesterday. The cycle is a part of me now and this paragraph did the same thing.

I did a little speech the other day about calling myself a wanderer, listener, and storyteller. It's been helping me feel organized in this chaotic place we're all in. We each make sense of all this stuff we experience differently. Even people in supposedly set organizations like religions or political parties experience those groups differently. I finally laid out my own take on life and who I am by calling myself a wanderer, listener, and storyteller. Over the last few years of writing daily, I have many entries where I clarified and defined those terms and built up a system of practices around being a wanderer, listener, and storyteller.

Wandering has become mostly about how I am in the physical world. The broad practices there are to sustain, explore, and play. I sustain by keeping things going. My health, my car, my laundry, my eating and exercise practices are all things I do to stay well and thrive in the physical sense. I explore as everyone always has, by being curious and trying new things and new ways of doing old things, and finding new places and new ways of getting to old places. I play like we all do. I play more than most people consider appropriate.. that is.. I get told to stop playing more than I get told to loosen up.

Listening is about my connections to others around me. The broad practices there are to learnconnect, and renew. I learn like we all do, through reading and study and watching others do things I want to do. I connect with others by being a friend and helping those around me even by just sitting and listening at times. I renew by taking time to connect and listen to myself. I play good music and watch touching movies and read books and let myself really rest.

Storytelling is about giving back to the universe. It's telling stories, sure, and it's playing music and dancing and being with others doing the same.. creating things for the joy of other people. The broad practices there are to practice my art, build up a portfolio, and participate with other artists. Those are self explained, mostly. Many of my activities are doing all three at once. Open mics are that way if I record my set, and stick around to support the other folks. I can also practice on my own. If I record those sessions, I can build up a portfolio here in this blog and eventually other more profitable places. Networking and keeping in touch with my artist friends and attending their events are all ways I participate and build up the arts generally.

These all intermix and are never quite their own activity. Going out to eat is a great time to  exploreconnect, and practice while simply trying to sustain my physical body. When I participate with others online, I often explore, and learn at the same time. Dancing, in particular, is a way for me to be all of the three at once.. wandererlistener, and storyteller.. practicing all nine practices.

Writing this tonight wasn't exactly meant to endorse or preach. I said at first that this is my way of facing the chaotic place we're all in. These are just words. I hold my own self accountable to keep my focus broad and balanced. Writing this tonight was my way of reminding myself that I do know who I am and what I am trying to do and be in this little bit of time I'll be here.

practice.. 2023 Jul 23 Sun.. renew and connect

11pm.. long day
That's all today. People hit me up at just the right time and I got some good crying done about life and things. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself and may still have some stuff to deal with. A couple good movies helped all that as well. I am am blessed no matter how much the depression it whatever tries to get me thinking otherwise.

practice.. 2023 Jul 22 Sat.. jam session

10am.. jam session
That's just that today! I got a little chugging in on a few of the songs and I got myself really lost a few other times. That's what practice is all about!

4pm.. physical activity mission
I made it to the gym while I was over in Lander. I got in 10 minutes of rowing machine time and then another 15 minutes pedaling and stretching on one of the recumbent bikes.

practice.. 2023 Jul 21 Fri.. chugging!

8pm.. new skill.. chugging
Not beer chugging.. a huffing sound on the harmonica. I looked up how to do that and how to play faster since most chugging is really fast. Both are exactly what 6 expected.. just do it  then do it faster and faster, so I started and got some good time in while friends were at this carnival thing in town.

practice.. 2023 Jul 20 Thu.. homework

all day.. homework
That's it.. I drove to Lander and talked with people at the music shop and Radio Shack and I think I'm on the right track getting something that will transfer an audio signal to the sound board at the jam sessions and then pretty much anywhere I'll go after that. I also did my thing and got in a physical activity mission while I was in town. woot!

practice.. 2023 Jul 19 Wed.. jam session

6pm.. new mic! fail.. 😭
Nope! It wasn't quite right. The mic works, but the plug I got at Walmart wasn't the right one to get sounds from the new mic gizmo to the sound system. I have another adapter on order and I'm thinking about other ideas.

On the other hand, I had a really great solo at the last minute on the last song. I'll try to grab it off of the video from the Facebook live stream they had running and post it here.

practice.. 2023 Jul 18 Tue.. literary rug!

7pm.. literary rug
This was just the usual Literary Rug event we do every Tuesday. After the main event, we had a writing prompt and I came up with this little ode to my.. well guess, and I'll tell you at the end..

I sit waiting in the car
Most of the day every day.
I'm comfy and protected.
I come out when I'm needed.

Oh, those are the moments!
We vibe together singing out!
I like the sad songs.
I like the fast funny ones too.

I'm not magnetic, so I'm played in his hand.
I won't stick to the stand and can't join the band.
When I come out, it's to learn a new tune or
Lighten the burden of life and all that..

("all that" is a big paragraph!)

So yeah, I sit waiting in the car
Most of the day every day
I'm comfy and protected.
I'm happy when he needs me.

It's my little  Fender harmonica in the key of G. It doesn't have a stainless steel casing so it doesn't stick to my magnetic neck holder.

fender in G

Below was the stuff from the main event. I got my part recorded and now share it below. I split out the good parts. First, the story I practiced, then some thoughts on how I organize my life into parts or focuses that help me see if I'm staying balanced. The whole recording is the last link below. These are all audio files from a podcast where I just stash these little snippets on Spotify.

story.. let's get death

wanderer · listener · storyteller

full presentation

practice.. 2023 Jul 17 Mon.. a day

10am.. breakfast with Ken
That was just what it was. We ended up at Taco Bell and it was fine. I started watching Weird: the Al Yankovic Story.. as much a farce as any of his songs.. while Ken got ready for work. It was cheesy and funny. It also reminded me to just be myself.

2pm.. practice harmonica
I didn't record anything I spent a half hour or more working on playing in third position.. playing A minor songs with a key of G harmonica. Then, I played some key of D songs.. so the blues scale.. on the same key of G harmonica. The playlist I found had a lot of classic harmonica players. Once again, I was left with the feeling I haven't even been trying. Except there I was, trying to play along. haha!

11pm.. open mic!
While I write tonight, I'm listening in to the open mic up in Olympia at the Rhythms Coffee place. I'm missing all those people a little every time I peek in at them over the live stream they offer up on Instagram. It's been a good decent day!

practice.. 2023 Jul 16 Sun.. sketch

morning.. eat and read
I slept in and had a nice lunch at Taco Bell. Then I off and on listened to Revival by Stephen King.

11pm.. sketch
That didn't seem like enough, so I made this dad joke..

practice.. 2023 Jul 15 Sat.. jam session

 10am.. jam session
Today was a lot of fun. I tried the song by Roger Miller called You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd. I also sang my compact version of the Ode-ious Vampire song. We played a couple of minor key songs and they felt really smooth using third position on the harmonica.

1pm.. physical activity mission
I've challenged myself to go to the gym where my insurance is paying my membership every time I make it to Lander. Today I got in 10 minutes on the rowing machine. I weighed in at 212 pounds. That's where I have been holding for a while.

3pm.. new mic!
At the gym Ken sent a message that he was leaving to take Kayden to Utah. He told me a package was delivered.. my new microphone. I ditched the gym sooner than I planned and came home to try it out. I think it's going to be just what I needed. We'll see for sure on Wednesday at the other weekly jam session. Maybe I'll play a little something tomorrow into the new mic.

practice.. 2023 Jul 14 Fri.. finished Good Omens

 morning.. physical activity mission
Just a little drive to Lander to get in a few minutes on the rowing machine and then stretch out using the recumbent bike.

rest of the day..
visiting with friends and finished listening to Good Omens by Neil Gaiman.. Next time I finish a book, I will write up a little book report.

practice.. 2023 Jul 13 Thu.. chilling and reading..

morning.. chill..
Before I was really fully awake and ready for the day, I got a call from a friend asking for a ride to run some errands. We hung out most of the day. We saw a truck and trailer take a right turn too tightly and bump into a stop sign. I found out another friend's dad is dying. I tried to reach out and we haven't talked yet.

8pm.. reading..
Here's another thing I never really gave myself credit for.. reading a book. It always felt like leisure time, especially if I hadn't written 1000 words yet that day. I'm listening to Good Omens by Neil Gaiman while I play simple puzzle games. The games are like knitting for me. They keep me alert and listening better somehow. In fact, I'll even remember bits of the story next time I play this or that game.

practice.. 2023 Jul 12 Wed.. jam session

6pm.. jam session
I've been trying this thing called third position on my harmonicas. It's when I play a key above the labeled major key of the harmonica.. so I would use a key of D harmonica to play along with a key of E song. It was working well tonight, so I recorded a little bit of it.

practice.. 2023 Jul 11 Tue.. harmonica and literary rug

morning.. breakfast and harmonica
After a stunning breakfast at Taco Bell I got the house to myself for a bit. I cranked up a playlist with all genres of music but all in the key of C. I played for some 30-45 minutes loudly and it didn't bother anyone. haha! No one has actually claimed it bothers them, I'm just shy when I'm trying new things.

3pm.. physical activity mission!
yup! My buddy Remington came over and we ran the Big Green Mountain Bike and the Little Yellow Turbo Trike over to a paved trail just west of the neighborhood. I have been thinking of trying that and it seems quite doable for getting myself to breakfast on a bike! Will I follow through and do that? hmm..

7pm.. literary rug
That's the poetry night thing at the Lander Art Center. I read the Nothing Seems Right poem I worked on here last week. I also got to tell the story where a witch cursed my hands after I killed her cat in a biking accident. Ask me.. I'll tell it to you sometime..

practice.. 2023 Jul 10 Mon.. song book!

 all day?
I was thinking about it all day. I'm not very far into it. It's looking like it will be a database in or some other place. Most of the documents are in Google Docs, so there's still a little chance I try sticking with things that work with that. bleh..

practice.. 2023 Jul 9 Sun.. travel and song

11am.. brunch?
That's what I said on my way out the door and ended up at my red headed girlfriend Wendy's, where I had a burger and chili.

2pm.. Thermopolis revisit
We picked up Kayden yesterday and wandered back to Thermopolis this afternoon. I swam a lot. at least a half hour and then rolled around the area even longer. We stopped at a few places and I got out and rolled around more. This is on the dancing wheels that are now pretty much just for getting around with.

This is a good spot to talk about my wanderer · listener · storyteller identity aspects. Friendship is one area of being a listener and this was a perfect example of something that I wouldn't have given myself credit for under the 1000 words a day practice.

10pm.. building up a song book
Mostly I just copied lyrics and chords for the old funny Roger Miller song called You Can't Roller Skate In A Buffalo Herd. Fun day, actually!

practice.. 2023 Jul 8 Sat.. travel and homework

9am.. travel with Ken and Kayden
We went to Utah to pick up Ken's friend Kayden. It was a fun day. I didn't take any pictures or anything. We listened to Stephen King's book Revival when Kayden wasn't playing us his music. I got a decent amount of walking done, during breaks.

10pm.. looking for mics
This evening after we got home, I spent some time looking at lavalier mics that I could attach to the harmonica stand I wear on my neck. I think I'm settled on a cheap one.. $16.. to use as a first experiment before I try throwing much more money at it. It's all good. I'll say more tomorrow.

practice.. 2023 Jul 7 Fri.. nothing seems right fright

9pm.. update the backup in

This was just a little slog game.. An activity I do instead of doing the thing I want to do because there is a thick slog surrounding the thing I actually want to do. It did give me an idea and that's here below.

10pm.. revisit a poem..

Watch below. You may recognize this poem from a week or so ago.

nothing seems right
and then there are days when no option seems right.
I try not to panic and wait for the night.
I can't pick just one, all these choices appear.
I don't know what to say.
I just wait out the day.
It's finally dark, only one option here..
I'll just go to bed and it soon will be light.
Tomorrow. I'll face it! I promise I might!

OK! I will say, and again. It's okay!
It's Fear! It's just Fear, here to mess up my day.
It takes over life! It is all I can feel.
I once faced such a fear
Scared that death was quite near.
I turned and I looked, though it seemed awf'ly real.
A tiny first step! Still the ultimate way
To prove Fear's a shadow and send it away.

yup.. That will do for a second stanza or verse or yeah.. ahh..

practice.. 2023 Jul 6 Thu.. just practice.. and a little homework

1pm.. just practice

I played along with the usual backing tracks in the key of G, and then in the key of A minor, still using the key of G harmonica. It still sounds pretty rough to me. It is getting better, though, so I'm going to keep at it for a while. I also found some information about music theory and the harmonica. I listened to a podcast episode with Howard Levy about being confident and keeping going in the middle of mistakes. There is more to learn. I will keep adding interesting notes I find as I go.

8pm.. physical activity missions?

I went looking for dinner at the casino and ended up playing a few more dollars down than I intended. I did walk quite a bit further than usual. I then topped off the physical activity missions with a long rolling stroll around Walmart. It's going to hurt just a little, but I will take it.

practice.. 2023 Jul 5 Wed.. jam session!

5:30pm.. dinner and jam session

okay.. There was more to the day. There was a lot of resting and a little harmonica practice. That was all a very nice warm up for a pretty cool jam session at the Holiday Inn. Tomorrow, I'll get online.. or maybe today.. but tomorrow I'll choose a mic setup for the harmonica. It will be useful wherever I go to play. I'm generally feeling more confident playing second and third position songs, as well. That's playing a 5th above the marked key for the harmonica or a step above for third position. I felt better than I had the last couple of jam sessions. I'm thinking it was generally feeling more rested.

practice.. 2023 Jul 4 Tue.. watching and fireworks

noon.. a couple good movies..
Today I did a type of homework. I watched movies I have come across that seemed important to watch based on the things I'm telling myself I want to accomplish in the near future. This afternoon I came across I've with Patrick Stewart as a pianist with stage fright after his wife died and then again after a new person in his life also died. After that I watched Billy Elliot again.. I can watch that one millions of times. There was a strange third movie today called Breath about two Australian boys learning about fear, of all things. It was a lot to now put into any real thoughts. The idea of fear was likely the thing I most needed to think about. I'm getting terrified of trying things. The last few days of my daily practice thing have been feeling pretty weak. Weak isn't the right word. What I'm really feeling is reactive when I'd rather act more intentionally and move in chosen directions rather than acting only when opportunities arise. This may not be a thing in this life. As soon as I tell myself the above, I remember how I ran into the right people at Vaudeville and then at dance and then at open mics. This organic random growth has been just as rewarding if not more so than me trying to consciously choose a path to creativity and expressing myself. yeah.. There may be more on all that.

10pm.. fireworks
Now I'm going to watch the show and go home.

practice.. 2023 Jul 3 Mon.. just practice

11am.. private harmonica practice
I tried the thing.. I didn't record anything, but I played along with some of my favorite songs including Yanni's Santorini and the Hans Zimmer version of the Top Gun theme.

afternoon.. movies with Ken
I can't remember all of them but the general theme was comedy horror.. haha! good times..

practice.. 2023 Jul 2 Sun.. adventure!

 all day..

Today was just a fun adventure day. I got a physical activity mission done, and just finished a creative practice mission putting together the following images into a funny little collage thing..

practice.. 2023 Jul 1 Sat.. jam session!

 10am.. jam session @ Lander Art Center

yup! That was fun. I played some songs in third position.. so the minor key above the key that is labeled on the harmonica.. D minor on the C harmonica, for example. It worked out well for single notes. I wasn't quite ready to try a solo from that position. I will next time, though.

4pm.. physical activity mission!

My part time roomie Henry and I got to the gym in the afternoon. I did the rowing machine for 10 minutes and the bike for another 10 minutes with some 5 minutes of really good stretching on the hip and lower back in there, as well.