"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." - From Shakespere's Hamlet
That quote has been a fantastic driver of good feelings for me.
There's a pretty large category of things that are aggravating if you let them aggravate you, but not bothersome if not.
I've left Mongolia now, but my last week in town, there was some pretty serious construction going on right next to my building.
I'd be trying to grab a nap or concentrate and the BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG would continue from next door.
At first, that was really bothersome. But I sat and thought on it for a while.
Hey, this is the sound of a civilization getting built up more. People are immigrating away from nomadic life out in the countryside gers and moving into apartment blocks. Construction is the sound of that process underway.
The noise still wasn't *enjoyable* after that, but it became certainly a lot better. Rather than just noise, it was a civilization building and modernizing more. Sure, it's noisy, but it's a good thing.
I've had a jackhammer right outside my window for the past two days, so perfect time to put this one to the test. I think they're repairing pipes. Now I imagine what would happen if pipes never got repaired... OK, it's working a little.
This is great.
There is constant pounding in Saigon too, all seemingly around my house. Great way to change the "meaning" of a thing in a positive way.
Perception is all in one's own interpretation of a situation.
It isn't good. It isn't bad. It merely is.
Geez man, where were you when I needed a new way of looking at things like this?
I had some awful construction going on outside my place from 2am-4am. It was terrible, but yes, it's the sound of progress, right?
Anyways, I like that perspective. Nothing good or bad til we think it so.
If I ate the finest cuisine every meal, every day, for 10 years straight - it still wouldn't be as satisfying as the joy that comes from creating something worthwhile.
Building things that matter. Doing things that matter. This is so much more satisfying than consuming.
I eat plain oatmeal, brown rice with tunafish on it, drink black coffee, eat some fruits and vegetables, and try to eat light. Nutrition, not pleasure. But still - there is quite a lot of pleasure in a simple bit of tuna on rice or pasta. That right there is pretty enjoyable - it gives me fuel, keeps me going, gives me life.
How much better is the finest chef's meal than plain tuna on brown rice? Somewhat better, I guess. I've eaten really, really nice food. My favorite is chutoro nigiri, the slightly fatty part of the tuna. It's a delicacy. I had a $15 piece of chutoro once. It was great.
But was it much better than plain tuna on brown rice? Not so much. Creating, producing, building - that gives so much more satisfaction.
As I continue to do more shows, I've decided that I want to do a written record of each performance and how I think it went. My goal has always been to make each show either as good as or better than the last. Here is the first installment of this series. [caption id="attachment_635" align="aligncenter" width="229" caption="View of Cafe Coco from the bar."][/caption]Venue: Cafe Coco Date: 2/20/09 Start Time: 8 PM Opening Act: Vesta Rose Last night's show went pretty well. We managed to fill every seat in the room. I dressed up a little for this one and wore a very pretty dress shirt with slacks and shiny shoes. I wonder if people noticed my strange striped socks. Who knows? Maybe I'll start a trend. The band Vesta Rose started things off. Their sound has more of hard-rock edge and is pretty much a completely different vibe from what I do on stage. Quite a contrast really. They brought in close to half the crowd, and two of their members drove down from Bowling Green, KY. I was happy to split the small profit we made from the cover charge. The lead singer's vocals needed to be turned up. Than I came up just after 9 PM with my drummer David Sutton. Here is the setlist from last night's show . . . 1. Mr. Stranger 2. The Devil Prayed 3. Arabesque 4. This Is Love 5. The Gardener 6. Tears In Savannah 7. Karma Police (by Radiohead) 8. Villain 9. Shadows Dance 10. Fear We added drums to 'Tears In Savannah", and it sounded absolutely stunning. I wished I'd done this sooner. 'The Gardener' is one of those songs in my repertoire that I rarely ever play. For whatever reason, I always have trouble performing it. Last night, I decided to slow it down and scale WAY back on the end. It turned out beautifully. I think it's the best performance of this song so far. I'm glad I played 'Arabesque' last night because I think I know now what it needs. It sounded terrific with drums. The Radiohead cover was a scary one for me. 'Karma Police' is one of their iconic songs that is sacred ground to Radiohead purists and enthusiasts. I think it went over pretty well. The original arrangement of the song calls for several unusual chords. For my version, I went with a very basic and more melodic chord structure that was more aligned with the song's vocal melody, and I put more emphasis on the lyrics. Thom Yorke writes fantastic lyrics, and I wanted to highlight that. My drummer David did this really badass drum solo at the end. He totally rocked out. Somehow, I had trouble hearing my vocals from the monitor on stage. Fortunately, the audience heard everything very well, and so, I'd rather this scenario than the reverse. I ended the night with a humble request that everyone try to live with a little courage every day. Finally, I ended it all with a bang by playing 'Fear'. I really only should play this song with a drummer. Seriously. Well, that's a wrap. I love playing at Cafe Coco. It's always felt like home base to me as far as my music is concerned. I'd like to play a couple more shows out there before the end of the year. I wish I had some pictures from last night, but only one of me that I know of was taken. I'll try to get my hands on it soon. Up next, my show with Vincent Todd at Revive Coffeehouse in a couple of weeks. Have a great weekend folks. -gordo