Rocking Horse

It’s almost 1 AM and I’m not sure why I’m still so awake. I do have work tomorrow…at 11. I still need to be up at a respectable time. But damn, I am up and alert.

I know it’s been a little bit since I’ve hit up the ol’ blog. Not sure where we left off…but I bought a Gibson Les Paul, work has been busy but great, and I’ve fallen off my yoga game. Haven’t been in a bit and really need to make the time to go back and getting into a routine again. Might go Saturday morning. Balancing yoga with work has been tough lately.

The Gibson plays great, though I still swear up and down this thing needs a neck adjustment. I’m starting to hear a little buzz on the 1st and 2nd strings at the 1st fret. Like I’ll pay the damn $65 for the setup, I’d just like my strings not to buzz, thanks.

I wrote a new song tonight. It’s one of those songs that as I was writing it, I wasn’t sure what the hell I was writing about but I kept going with it ’til I finished. It’s kind of like sculpting in that way; Like, I don’t know what shape I’m going to end up with, but I’m following the marble, you know? It’s part improvisational, part intuition(al?). But yeah I wrote this song about sex and money. And then after sitting with it for awhile, I realized another way to read it is that it could definitely be about heroin. Which kind of makes sense if my subconscious was at the wheel writing this thing; This past weekend I finished up a podcast called Crimetown, and Season 2 talks about the history of Detroit corruption and drugs (namely heroin) is a big part of that story. It’s kind of been in my mind, rattling around. Here are the lyrics:

[Verse 1]
Rocking horse and Canadian money
Gonna make it out of this one fine
Rocking horse and my sexuality
Baby, baby won’t you help me cross that line?
[Verse 2]
Fill the bag to the brim – don’t question me
Cash and carry and I don’t wanna know why
Your driver’s seat with the window open
Now ask me what it’s like to feel alive.
[Chorus]
I live on the edge
I’m dangerous
And I’ll never forget
The way you touch
me in bed
and give me head.
Expensive memories.
Shallow regret.
[Verse 3]
Silver stallion in lucrative industry
I feel the groove of the saddle against my thighs
“Rebel Rebel”, but you ain’t foolin’ me.
Making it look so easy, you don’t even try.
[Verse 4]
And you’re a sweet ideal. Automatic love affair.
Expert level all the time
Back and forth in arbitrary movement.
But he’s not a poet, he is just some guy.
[Chorus]
I live on the edge
I’m dangerous
And I’ll never forget
The way you touch
me in bed
and give me head.
Expensive memories.
Shallow regret.
[Outro]
Rocking horse and Canadian money
Gonna make it out of this one fine

But anyway, you don’t have to take my word for it – As a songwriter all the songs I write will usually have purpose and meaning particular to me, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have more than one meaning, or a different meaning to someone else. It’s all kind of fluid in that way, IMO.

So the last time I was at yoga was actually two weeks ago I think. It was this self-love workshop which incorporated crystals and reiki and a light warm vinyasa flow. And I had this really awesome transcendental experience I’d like to write about. But I don’t know if I have it in me tonight to do it. Perhaps another time.

Going to see if I can fall into a good night’s sleep. I’m starting to yawn, so maybe I’ll just roll with that too. See where it takes me. More soon.

-RKB

Fender Zebra

It’s a little after 1 PM and I’m starting to feel a little sleepy. I’m still in my PJs – That needs to change soon. I’ve had an interesting Sunday morning; spent mostly posting some things on eBay. Things that have been piling up around my space. I feel like the Sisyphusian Minimalist. That is 100% not a thing, but I am making it a thing – I strive for the minimalist life, but it’s often like a pushing up a boulder up a hill only to have it roll back down. But that’s alright. I hate throwing things out that other might like and appreciate. So I eBay them. If they don’t bite, then I toss ’em. It takes a lot of time to post things up there. You have to make sure your photos and description are good. It’s quality control, really. Because you want attract your potential buyer as much as you want to accurately convey what they’re getting.

There was once a time when I was not working when I was eBay enough per month to make my student loan payments. Those were interesting times. Also during those times I was a really in a dark and deep depression. I’ve been finding old songs everywhere and I’ve been attempting to catalog them in a very large binder, putting them in chronological order and wow – I was really really really depressed then (around 2014). A lot of my lyrics during that time were dark, often contemplating death and mortality. So glad I was able to pull myself out of there.

My ankles are feeling better since last week. My left hip is still not 100%, but I think I may be well enough to hop on the elliptical machine. And boy, do I need it. I went a little over my calorie limit yesterday because my mom brought home empanadas (!!! surprise !!!) and they were so good. If I had restrained myself, I would have eaten within my limits (but then I wouldn’t have enjoyed those tasty lil’ pockets of deliciousness). Still, I still feel kind of full from yesterday and I’m sure my body would appreciate some endorphin release today.

It’s supposed to snow really hard. Which is wild because the sky was blue and sun was out minutes ago. It’s starting to get overcast but still no snow yet.

No guitar updates today. I’m still torn with no end in sight. Still shopping and researching. However I will say this: I was looking up pickguards for my Fender Squier Affinity P-Bass and I found one with Zebra print which looked fun, so I ordered it. I also then found a Planet Waves Zebra strap. I bought that too. But when that pickguard comes in and I put it on my bass, I’m going to take Zebra duct tape, tape over the “Squier” part of the headstock (sorta like I did with my “franken-Strat” and get some alphabet stickers and spell out “Z E B R A” over it. So move over Fender Mustang! Here comes the Fender ZEBRA. Ha! It’s gonna be great. I think because these guitars were so cheap, but are also in good working order and I don’t want to part with them, I’m just having fun with them. I’m making them unique and fitting to my personality. No guitars are ever going to look like mine. And I like that. This isn’t something that came off the factory assembly line. This has been Roe-ified! And it’s great and amazing and I’m so glad I can express myself creatively in this way.

Hope y’all have a great day. Think I’ll start getting ready to work out.

Peace –

sold

Well folks, I SOLD THE TANGLEWOOD. Ugh, and it feels so GOOD. I was really over that guitar.

I did it all on Wednesday. Also sold two guitar pedals (Electro-Harmonix volume booster and a BOSS Overdrive / Distortion pedal I kinda bought by accident on eBay) and the amp (a Fender Combo FM25 Amp) I originally bought for my Squier Affinity Stratocaster when i was FIFTEEN (yes, the “franken-Strat”, which after some research I believe was made in 2003 in case anybody cares). I remember buying it too; the amp, that is. I went to Guitar Center with my mom and a friend of mine and saw the price point (I think it was less than $200) and decided right then and there to buy it (without even trying it! Just bought it on the spot. Whoops). I had bought the Squier within that week or so and realized I didn’t have decent amplification for it (I only had a small Fender Bass practice amp at the time). My mom likely paid for it, but I liked it and wanted it because it all these cool effects on it like Chorus, Flange, Delay, Reverb and all these tones like British (distortion, Zep kinda tone), Blues, Jazz, Clean, yada yada. But to be honest, I’ve grown bored and tired with that amp. And I don’t feel like I need those kinds of features anymore; I’m a more seasoned guitar player now who more or less knows what she wants, or at least can intelligently (attempt) to craft her tone the way she wants it. I’ve been playing guitar for about 14 years now. So while in the store, I ordered an Orange Crush 35RT amp as my replacement for the Fender. It’s about the same size, but more wattage, better tone, and looks sooooo cool. I actually did play it a little bit in the store (because it’s an Orange and it caught my eye) and I really liked what I heard and saw. I mean, I truly think the real test will commence once I get it home (they had to order it to the store because they didn’t have any left in stock – Should be coming Tuesday evening!) because that’s when I’ll have the freedom to really tinker around with it. But there were a few reasons why I really liked this amp:

  1. First off, it got really good reviews online. I did a quick search while in the store and this think got like, 4.7 / 5 stars. Even 5 / 5 in some cases. That’s really good. Some musicians said they’ve even gigged with this amp. I don’t gig often, but that factoid was important to me.
  2. There’s a clean switch and a dirty switch. That’s seriously all I need. I mean, of course there’s EQ on there too to shape the tone, but I liked that a lot. No frills. Simple.
  3. Then, there’s a TUNER on the actual amp. I LOVE that. No pedals, no Snark to clip onto the headstock. All I need to do is look at the top of the amp to tune. And there’s a reverb knob, which I think is a really nice touch.
  4. I liked the tone. I also liked the outrageous orange color.

It ran me about $250 and I’m going to be getting a 10% discount when I pick it up (they forgot to give it to me when I ordered it), since I was there selling stuff. That’s a bonus Guitar Center gives you in return.

So naturally, I’M STOKED. Still super undecided about what guitar to get next, but I’m feeling really good about this amp. I made a little over $400 with what I sold and I’m hoping to use that toward whatever guitar I get!

Updates to follow!

but also, guitar anxiety

It’s a kind of early in the morning and I’m listening to my coffee brew (Stumptown coffee makes me so happy) and hugging my robe a little tighter around me. This a robe that used to belong to Nonna that I ended up with after her passing. It’s a really good robe. Warm and spacious.

I woke up this morning having overslept a bit because I was supposed to drive my dad to the bus stop (he has a conference in New York where he’s supposed to be speaking on a panel with some technology bigwigs) because I wanted to use the car today. But I kept snoozing my alarm and when I looked at my phone it was nearly 6:30 and he was headed out the door. I wish he would have woken me up. But it’s fine. He got his bus and where he parked isn’t that far away from where we live. My mom can likely drive me to the car to pick it up since we have another set of keys for it. Because I wanted to go to Guitar Center to sell some stuff today and I’m definitely going to need a car to transport it all (and also to get there – it’ s not exactly down the road). But my mom may or may not be going out today, so I may just use her car if she’s staying home.

To add, I woke up with a feeling like I have a sty in my left eyelid, which is kind of uncomfortable. It doesn’t really hurt unless you press on it, but it’s annoying just the same. My eye doctor said I’m predisposed for them. I guess I’ll have take extra care today. I have these special eyelid cleansing cloths I should be using more often I guess, though I do regularly use eye drops and have been taking Omega-3s – all good for eye health.

Coffee tastes good.

I have a lot of anxiety right now, which funnily enough I think has to do with my guitar-purchasing indecision? I don’t know which guitar is right for me! I want it to be a Harry Potter wand-selection moment and its not because Guitar Center for me is a strange purgatory. I’ve been feeling a Les Paul, but I’ve been using this Gibson hollowbody in the studio and now I’m wondering if I should look into Gretsch hollowbodies because I’ve always loved Gretsch guitars. They have a really nice look and feel and tone. And I’ve been reading articles and watching videos and it’s like that line from “Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too” by Say Anything where the lyrics go, “I don’t know what I want. I don’t know what I want”, but over and over and over in my head. (Luv u Max Bemis.)

There’s just something about committing to it. Like, beyond the price point itself, there’s something about committing to a guitar and taking it home with you. And to be honest, I could probably never tell if the guitar is going to be right for me unless I take it home and play it privately; spend time with it. Because there’s such a weird performative aspect to trying out guitars at Guitar Center. Someone is always wailing away and showing off, I feel embarrassed to try a few chords or it’s so loud, I can’t even hear my own amp. That happened to me yesterday. I was in the special Gibson / Fender room and some guy just comes in plugs in and is literally playing every classic rock lick he knows. I wish they would have private rooms for that shit. Maybe they’d pay by the hour and they can go into a soundproof room. It’s just so difficult for me to concentrate and actually focus on what the hell I want to buy.

And then I was playing my acoustics last night because I’m really looking to sell my Tanglewood (which I never should have bought and am kind of bitter about, but live and learn, right?) and I took out my Takamine G-Series (its a black G320 Dreadnought), which I haven’t played in a while and couldn’t believe I still felt a little soft on this guitar. I wrote a lot of songs on that thing and it still plays nice. I think my mom spent less that $300 on it. And yeah, there’s definitely better guitars out there, but I don’t know if it’s worth giving up. I probably couldn’t get anything for it anyway. It’s one of those budget-friendly acoustics. I actually don’t think they sell it anymore. It has a spruce top, mahogany back and sides, and a rosewood fretboard. And it has this laminated finish on it. I was actually ready to throw it away at one point. Back when I didn’t know how to take care of my guitars, I had the thing right next to a radiator and a window in my dorm room in this common area where the two suites met. But between the heat from the radiator and the cold from the window we’d sometimes open, the wood started to warp a bit and I noticed the intonation, especially on the higher frets, was really off and would often buzz. Thankfully, through a friend (and one of my suitemates), her father introduced me to a guitar technician who fixed that thing UP. Like he turned this guitar around and actually made it playable again. He was such a great guy who taught me how to care for guitar, that the guitar is a living, breathing instrument, the wood its made of is a living breathing thing. He taught me how to change strings too. But he’s since moved away a couple years ago, so I haven’t seen him in a bit but I’ve never forgotten what a strong impact he had on my musical life. But before this guy fixed it, I considered it dead and went to buy the Tanglewood at some Seton Hall musical instrument sale, which is an acoustic-electric, but now I wonder if those guitars are just hype – Like they’re more expensive because of the electronics and at one point getting an acoustic-electric was really important to me – because any time I played an show or open mic, it was always a pain to either put the pickup in the sound hole, or arrange the microphone just so to pick up the guitar. And I play hard and wild sometimes and would occasionally knock into the guitar mic, which is never a good look. Plugging in just looked so easy. But in my mind now I’m like, if I ever play solo from this point forward, using a hollowbody (or fuck it – even an solid body electric) would be GREAT. Who needs an acoustic-electric as long as you have a clean tone?

So I think I’ve made my peace with not selling the Takamine, but I am the self-ascribed “Queen of Indecision”. And I am a Libra after all, which is likely the root cause for all this anxiety because it’s how my brain operates. I would love a new acoustic though. But I’m trying to convince myself that my priority is studio recording right now, so I should prioritize that purchase because I buy anything else.

We’ll see what happens today –  Hopefully there’ll be no one wailing away and after I sell my stuff I can try to play a few more things.

 

saving up

My dad’s in the other room listening to Whitney Houston while my mom is in the kitchen preparing dinner. John’s upstairs working on a paper, I think. And through the house pulses a peaceful current.

I went to Guitar Center today. It was my first time in a very long time. I’ve finally decided to take the step to inquire about selling some gear and am really looking into buying a Les Paul. I’ll have been playing for 14 years this April and I’m just ready for a change. I’m ready to start loving my gear, using and playing things that I like. Not using and playing things because it just happens to be what I have. And Les Pauls can get pricey, but I’m working a steady job and would likely make (interest-free) monthly payments on it instead of paying for it all at once. So I think it’s a possible purchase. I’m also working on cutting back my spending. I’m actually on the phone with AMC now working on canceling my monthly A-List subscription. It kinda breaks my heart to do it, but $24 / month while working mostly 4 day work weeks and going to yoga makes it very difficult to fit going to the movies at least 2-3 / month in my schedule. Since I’ve gotten A-List I feel like I’ve been forcing myself to go to the movies instead of genuinely wanting to go. Also with people using their cell phones so frequently in the theatre…yeesh. Read a post a wrote not too long ago on that. I’m on the fence about canceling Netflix, only because I don’t use it as frequently as Hulu…I also need to stop spending so much money on food and coffee. Maybe coffee’s not so terrible (I drink it black 99% of the time), but food adds up! Especially in New York! I really need to start making my lunch…I just paid off my credit card today, and let’s just say I had to pull some money out of my savings to make that happen. It sucks. I know the paycheck I’m getting at the end of this week will be significant (I had a really busy week last week), but the same day I get paid, I have to pay for my health insurance and it just goes on and on. My side job starts back up again soon though. So that’ll be more income, but less free time (hence the A-List cancellation).

Oh – And the reason why I’ve really been thinking about getting this guitar is because this past weekend I was recording in the studio and it finally started to dawn on me why Gibsons are so great. I hear it in the tone and sound quality. Side by side with my “franken-Strat” (my Fender Squier Stratocaster that’s had some work done to it), there’s no contest. I mean, I love that guitar, but Gibson guitars just bring another level of quality that the “franken-Strat” doesn’t have. And of course I can’t speak for all Strats, but mine I can speak for. It’s a great guitar and I love it and all the memories associated with it, but it’s time for a change. It’s time to start putting those wheels into motion and make dreams come true.