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.

anxXxiety

WOW, so I have been working (HARD and) irregular hours ALL WEEK. And I kinda like it cuz it’s different and it’s been keeping me on my toes – but simultaneously, I’m SO TIRED. Exhausted. I’m a tiny bit sleep deprived. I got less than 5 hours last night. That’s not normal for me. I need 6 more I think to be fully-functional in the morning. Ha! I came home tonight at a decent hour though.

So here I am, post-dinner, typing away, sipping the last remains of a Oskar Blues’ Dale’s Pale Ale (my first beer since…Super Bowl Sunday maybe) and listening to “Silly Love Songs” radio on Spotify.

I’m behind on a few TV shows I’ve been watching (This Is Us, Star Trek: Discovery, maybe The Orville)…I’ll probably catch up on those tomorrow morning. I also need to start getting into the last season of Broad City. I saw the first episode, but I don’t have Comedy Central with my cable provider, so I can’t watch it proper. Homeland too. Need to catch up on that last season. I tried to catch up on work during some downtime on a late night shift, but a scene came up which looked like it was going to get sexual and I was like, “Hm, I’m not comfortable watching this at work”. Ha! But I don’t get Showtime with my cable provider either.

So the past couple of days, I’ve been carrying around a lot of anxiety. And I think it’s due to a few things. Namely, that I haven’t been exercising at all because I’ve been trying to rest up my ankle (which has been getting better). But I haven’t been releasing those endorphins like I’ve been and my body knows it! I have to say my eating as been okay though. I’ve been logging everything and doing a fairly good job at staying away from unnecessary breads/carbs. But when I get anxiety it’s all in my throat. It feels hard to breathe and it suuuuuuucks. I feel edgy and panicky and I can mask it and hide it pretty well, but it’s one of the worst things ever.

The other half of this anxiety root is the fact that I kinda had a falling out / weirdness with a friend a few months ago – someone I considered to be very close to – and I’m still very upset and traumatized by it. I don’t want to get too much into it on this sort of public, written medium but it cut me deep and still hurts and it’s one of those things where I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel or the hurdle that will allow us to overcome this impasse. It makes me really sad. And I don’t know if feeling these emotions like this is part of the healing process (I hope so – because then it means I’m on the road to finding peace), because I wasn’t feeling like this earlier. I mean, I was still upset by it, but it wasn’t affecting me like this – This tightness in my throat can’t breathe anxiety from the time I wake up to the time I lay my head down bullshit. I know I need to meditate more. I know I need to focus on my breathing more. But it’s hard, you know? I keep going over and over and over and over the events that transpired leading up to this moment of disjuncture and asking myself if I was wrong? Could I have done things differently? Could I have said something or acted differently than I did? And I don’t know. But know what happened happened. And I stand by my words and actions concerning the situation. But it still breaks my heart. This person was such an important part of my life and I feel like that era is gone now and I feel like someone kinda ripped the foundation from my proverbial house. I should move on and make new memories with new people, but I’ve never been good at completely letting go. What’s more is that this friend taught me so much about life, and whether they know it or not, they taught me how to be myself, how to be at ease with myself, and so so so so so much more. I would tire myself out attempting to list everything. So much of myself, the way I am now (compared to 10 years ago), is owed to them. And by acknowledging that, I feel like I can never fully move on and forget them. And that’s what’s making it so difficult – Because they are indelibly a part of me. I have so many memories in my brain…it gets hard to sort through them all, but they’re with me all the time. Writing new songs has been helping. And strangely enough, I feel like that’s become…easier lately? I’m heading into the studio on Saturday. So excited. I welcome the creative juices and catharsis that will unfold.

But what do you do when you feel you’ve lost someone you love? How do you move on from that? Because I can stick out my upper lip and pretend to shrug it off as good as the next person (with a tri-state attitude),  but that wouldn’t be real; it wouldn’t be how I truly feel. Are there ever true resolutions with things like this? Should I just calm tf down and know that everything will be okay in the end? Yes (probably). It will (likely) all work out. But it still hurts. It’s still painful. It still feels like I should be doing something more. It sucks to know you have the power to reach out, but can’t – or shouldn’t – and won’t. And I won’t. I can’t.

I’m probably not done talking about this. But I think I am for tonight.

I’m done with my beer. It’s time to move on to the next thing.

Good night, friends.

-RKB