Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Living In Stereo - Headphones, That Is

It's something I've noticed lately - I always seem to have headphones on, or earbuds in, listening to something. All the time. It's a fact of life when I'm onstage. When I'm playing with Steppen Stonz, just off to my left, hiding behind my hi-hats and the drum pad that I use for, depending on the song, rim clicks or tambourines, is my little command center, where I place my Simmons Hybrid drum module and a Behringer Xenyx 802 mixer. I use the mixer to create a monitor mix for headphones, with the first channel coming back to me from Mike and Arthur's mixer, basically what's going out to the crowd. The second channel is the right-channel feed from the Hybrid, the left/mono channel going to the main mixer. When Cliff was playing keyboards and mixing the sequences, I took the headphone jack from his mixer and put it into a third channel on my mixer, so I could hear the sequence as well as what playing Cliff did. I stopped that when Miguel joined the band, because sometimes his playing overwhelmed the mix he was sending to the main mixer. Now that Alex is manning the post, I may go back to having that third channel in my mix.

And I always have my earbuds in when I'm setting up and tearing down my kit, listening to my mp3 player. When I'm in front of either of my computers, I'm listening to iTunes, or whatever video I'm watching through those earbuds, or the comfortable Sennheiser over-the-ear headphones that I bought at the Guitar Center in Sacramento while on an expedition with Joy for some other reason. I even use headphones when I'm running my Xbox 360 through the little TV I use when I'm camped out in the trailer, and at the Nugget and Atlantis, where I just cant get the 360 to work with their hotel TVs. I just don't want to make too much noise, bother Joy in the hotel room, Mike and Arthur in the bandhouse, or the neighbors behind Michelle and Bill's house up in Sun Valley.

The craziest thing is that I've started to notice that I occasionally have the phones or buds in place and plugged into whatever device, even though I'm not listening to anything. Joy's started to tell me that I'm wearing them too much during the day, as though I'm doing so for the purpose of not having to listen to her. Even I'm beginning to think that maybe I'm wearing them too much. Perhaps it's a sign of something. Some unconscious desire to shut out the world, perhaps. Though given my current situation, maybe it's not such a bad thing. Right now, the cold hard reality I face is something I really don't want much to do with any more. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

In The Dark

It's times like this that I seem to be at my most reflective. It's damn near six in the morning, and I just can't sleep. But I can't just sit on my ass and do nothing. So I sit here and I type this out, or cruise Facebook and play SimCity Social - my favorite FB game, please try it! - or play games on my 360 until drowsiness finally comes. But I've got shit on my mind, and that's why I don't sleep well.

In a little over forty-eight hours from now, Joy and I will be headed down to Sparks for a quick four-night run at the Nugget. Note that I said 'Joy and I'. This is one of her few opportunities to come south with me, and while I enjoy her being there, it can also be a massive headache. Dealing with her health issues on the road is doubly more difficult when we're eight hundred miles from her doctors her in Port Angeles. But that's a fair trade-off for having her be able to spend time with the grandkids - can't really call them 'grandbabies' any more, since Cody is nine and Ellie is a month away from eight. She doesn't get to see them much because travel is so difficult for her.

And while we're heading down that way, we'll be stopping to see her sister's family in Bend. I don't really think that they've ever forgiven me for putting all of Joy's family on full blast in various locations online for what they did and said to her, about how they think she fakes being sick for attention. Cindi and her husband Bob were never a part of that, but refused to side with us, so I cut ties with them as well. I could still give a flying fuck about seeing them, but I have other friends in Bend that we both want to see - now if I can only remember to call Calvin to get their phone numbers....

And I'm still broke.

And Ron DeFrang is still dying.

And Joy is still sick, where maintaining the status quo is all she can really hope for, and 'getting better' is more fiction than fact.

No wonder I'm stressed out and can't sleep. Thank the spirits and totems that Joy lets me have some of her antidepressants that double nicely as sleeping pills. I try not to take them that often, but I think tonight is going to be one of those nights.