A year ago I was incapable of imagining a future where I could be happy. The mere idea that I could be happier than I have ever been was so far off the radar that that idea didn’t even know what a radar was. But here I am. Teaching idea about radars, and with a capacity for happiness that I have never known.
I still have tinnitus and hyperacusis, though it isn’t as severe as it was initially. That counts for a lot. Having dived deep into the community of people who are afflicted with these issues, I believe that the severity of the symptoms can directly correlate with the quality of your life.
I can’t overstate that my recovery from this crisis was the result of the work I put into it and the support I received. There were so many people, modalities, and events which contributed to my recovery. The love I got from my family and friends was what propped me up.
Discovering that I could still work on my music was a pivotal point for me. I believed for a while I had to leave that part of me behind. I probably would have eventually grieved sufficiently and moved on, but it would have taken a lot longer.
I’m not physically strong. For the first time in my life I do perceive myself as weak. I’m learning how to show up powerfully. After putting so much work tearing down the barriers that separated myself from my emotions, I’ve discovered that life is so much richer. It’s not always happy and easy, but it is intense and fulfilling.
Through The Men’s Circle I discovered that connecting deeply with people, being authentic, vulnerable, and opening deeply nourishes me. It was missing in my life, and I didn’t know it. These skills need to be modeled and practiced over and over again to develop fully. I’m improving at respecting my limitations and undesirable reflexive behaviors. I was also lonely, and now I am not. I feel seen. I’m so lucky to have found this support structure, along with my amazing coach, Adam Coutts. I’m also extremely grateful to have a partner in life who supports me in these investments.
Due to this personal growth, I’ve started showing up differently for other people. And to be honest, some people don’t enjoy it. It’s a new muscle I’ve started to develop, and I need to learn when it is appropriate to flex it. On the other hand, when it is well received, the richness of these experiences fills me up.
I still find myself getting angry or depressed about tinnitus and hyperacusis. What I’ve learned is that the healthiest thing to do is to feel into in those painful emotions instead of reflexively pivoting away from them.
There are still limitations and sacrifices in my life due to my hearing issues and physical pain. It sucks that I have to wear earplugs or a headset in most situations outside of my house. I unlocked something critically important about my life though, and I doubt I would have gotten there had I not been through this crisis.
If nothing else I want to be an example of someone who was transformed for the better from getting tinnitus and hyperacusis. I’m shocked as anyone else, but there it is. I know what it is to feel broken. I know what its like to simply have to put one foot in front of the other, because people depend on me. A little hope during my descent into darkness would have been very welcome.
With great pride and pleasure I’m releasing my sixth general fuzz album, “miles tones”. As always, it’s available as a free download off my website: http://www.generalfuzz.net.
Its been over three years since my last release, and during that time I became a grown up. My 1.5 year old son now takes center stage in my life. There are many musical references in this album reflecting the anticipation, arrival, and development of my son during the past few years.
This album turned out to be sort of a companion album to “soulful filling”. It has that same mellow vibe and melodic sensibility. I’ve decided to attempt to release albums with a more consistent vibe, so all my latest mellow tracks ended up on this one. As a result, the next album will have significantly more bump to it.
I was lucky enough to work a whole mess of truly amazing musicians in past couple years. It was an absolute honor to have Audio Angel, Josh Clark (the guitarist Tea Leaf Green, a band I have seen 20+ times), Ryan Avery, Phoebe Jevtovic Alexander, Jesse Ivry, Emiel Stöpler, Shakiban, Peter Medland, and Ryan Hughes in my “studio”. I’m particularly grateful to Ryan Avery, a stellar violinist and electronic music composer, who generously came over to my studio many times to help flush out some tracks. If you dig my music, you should definitely check out his – its in a similar vein to mine.
I decided not to make any CDs for this release, since its wasteful, expensive, and, really, its sorta pointless in this day and age. I’m always very grateful for donations, and the money always goes directly back into my music. I’ve added 4 awesome new “locked” bonus tracks to my website. If you send me a donation, and I’ll send you all 7 locked tracks. It’s like a whole bonus general fuzz EP. I also built a “song unlocker” on my website to incentivize folks to spread my music on the internets. If you simply post my website anywhere on the internet (facebook, twitter, google+, blog, etc), let me know, and I’ll unlock a bunch of tracks for you.
Many thanks to Chris Brown, Nora Barrows-Friedman, Dave SG, and of course my incredible supportive wifey, Stiners “the pants” McGee.
The album art was a photo taken by Sophie Thouvenin.
I do very much hope you enjoy this release. Feedback of all kind is always welcome.
Thanks so much for listening.
We were invited to the Tuteur family reunion (my mom’s side) in Germany. There was no way we were going to go. The Ruddens, on their own volition, offered to fly out to CA and take care of Jasper if we went. All of the sudden, the family reunion sounded like a good idea, especially if we used it as a jumping off point for a European adventure. So Stiners and I headed east for 2.5 weeks sans Jasper. I went through the emotional wringer prior to leaving, but settled into our vacation as the days slipped by.
We kicked it off in Germany (Bad Kreuznach), with an amazing tour through the places where my ancestors roamed 100 years ago, drinking tasty beer at every meal. We then departed from our extended family members, and headed our way down to the Swiss Alps. We toured through Switzerland for almost 2 weeks. Getting around in Switzerland was thick savory pie. Trains ran often, and where the epitome of comfort. I love trains. Jasper will soon.
There’s nothing quite as awe inspiring as the Swiss alps. And who doesn’t love a gondola ride? Nobody.
Why go to France, when you can go to the french part of switzerland and be equally as confused? Same with Italy. People were stylish and beautiful, but I wouldn’t call them friendly.
Mostly I’ll the let the pictures do the talking. It was quite a experience. Good times were had.
We connect with my old co-worker Joerg while we were in Zurich. That was fun.
We are deeply indepted to Lolo and Lola for taking such awesome care of our son.
Thanks for cleaning the shit out of our house as well.
We were apprehensive about how Jasper would react to our return. To our delight he was crazy happy to see us, and laughed for an hour. We missed him terribly. Arriving home to him was a terrific reward for staying up for 20 hours straight.
We’ve had a really fabulous run of awesomeness for the past decade or so. We’ve been super blessed in so many ways. In the last few years though, it sometimes felt like we were going through the motions. After eating so much cake, it became less exciting to partake in life’s chocolaty goodness. Time oozed on and often slipped away.
Time sure got a kick in the pants once the happy circle on the pee stick entered out lives. Since then we sourced a house, moved in, acquired a plethora of baby accessories, threw several parties (housewarming, superbowl, an epic baby shower), formed a small army of doctors, experienced many different styles of yoga, and connected with tons of people. We’ve had visitors stay in our fancy new guest room, built a ton of IKEA furniture, and made the house our home. I got to watch Stina experience life differently every day. The previous pattern of life was obliterated. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve crammed in too many concerts (highlights were Big Organ Trio and Leftover Salmon), toiled down on some serious general fuzz tunage, and started to really venture out in the the east bay (buying relatively high end baby gear on craigslist results in visiting the many suburbs of the east bay). I’ve managed to really savor almost every day for the past 9-10 months. Life has that sparkle again.
We’ve been approaching this whole baby thing fairly non-traditionally, which is true to form. People knew we were pregnant a few days after we did. Fortunately the baby stuck, but we wanted our community to rally around us if it didn’t. Our large scale co-ed baby shower was really a party that was baby shower themed. I’d like to think that our shower takes the prize for amount of alcohol consumed. Our community is having a huge hand in helping us name the baby. I’m really happy when we buck the trend.
On the other hand, OMG WE’RE ABOUT TO HAVE A BABY!!! This is no longer an abstract concept. We’re in the end game now. We just learned that the baby is currently in breech position (feet first). We’re going to attempt an external version (where her doctor attempts to push the baby around) on Tuesday. If that doesn’t work, we’re having a c-section in nine days. Single digits, people.
When we talk about the future with our son, I have no concept what it will be like. Its no fun thinking about letting go of all activities that bring me joy. On the other hand, the concept of not doing these things can only be referenced in a life where everything is exactly the same except I’m not writing music, being social, seeing shows, and being goofy with Stiners. Well that last one will be omni present in our lives, but it will be a more, “I’m so tired, I’m going to vomit” kinda goofing around. I can’t conceptualize what life will be with child. I know there’s going to be a lot of love, challenges, and personal growth, but its all really abstract right now. People say everything will change once you see/hold your baby. I’m curious if thats true. I won’t consider it a failure if its doesn’t happen. I’m wagering the whole process will be a rewarding experience, one way or another. It would be astonishing if everyone was lying. I guess that would be worth finding out too. Then I could expose the great parent conspiracy on this blog.
Words cannot describe how much fun I had at this year at Burning Man.
An epic year by all accounts, leaving me with joy in my heart and the fire to return. I’ll be back, one day.
I thought this video did a good job summarizing 09:
Nothing’s quite like the ‘ole 48 hrs whirlwind Michigan adventure weekend. Life’s been quite a blur, and it was surreal to find ourselves back in Ann Arbor.
I’ve become a big fan of the all-inclusive wedding at the hotel where we’re staying. I had an hour to kill while Stina napped before the rehearsal dinner, so I wandered over to the mall across the street from the hotel. This is something I’d normally avoid at all costs, but I had nothing else to do, and it turned out to be a critical decision. There was a lot to celebrate, and it was also a bit of a SF reunion – Dave and Erin flew directly from their insane Latin American honeymoon to MI, Angel came in from NY, Tom and Yuko flew in, and we haven’t seen Tony in like a MONTH. Tony generously procured crazy amounts of top shelf alcohol. It was a solid way to ease into the main event.
The next morning, I forced everyone to go to Zingerman’s.
As I did the next day as well. Its like a pilgrimage to me. So f’n tasty. There was some walking around Ann Arbor that Tony and I bailed on to go play pool and video games. Then the wedding.
I was dashing. A-Town showed up. Stina gave a reading. A Baby cried. Wedding completed.
I reprised my role of DJ from last weekend. One thing I neglected to do was sound check prior to the wedding, but all I needed to do was plug in my laptop. How difficult was that going to be?
I dash into the grand hall during cocktail hour to discover they only had a mono jack going into the microphone mixer for me to plug into. This was unacceptable. Did they have a mixer? No. I was appalled. A giant hotel with two full PA systems did not have anything besides a mic mixer. The A/V room has nothing useful. I found one cable which would help me along my path. I ran across to radio shack to piece together a hack into the P/A. On my return, I discover that the cable they provided me wasn’t quite right. A second sprint to Radio Shack (everyone staring at me running through Sears in my suit) to gather necessary adapter.
Then its steak time. I’m really not a fan catered food. Married to an event person, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to sample it. The dinner was full on delicious. I was shocked.
Dancing commenced, and the Joyce family LOVES to dance. It was wicked fun. After an hour or two, I went completely rogue. We departed from their song book and took a glorious journey though my ipod. It’s good to be the DJ.
We shut it down around 12:30. I jammed on their piano until the hotel staffed yelled at me. “Only people who are paid to get to play the piano.” Humor. We reveled deep into the night. Tony was deeply in love with his Satellite radio and sweet sound system in his rental Car. He brought the raging Carl Cox party to the mall parking lot at 2am. On our return, Angel and Tony stumbled into a Bachelorette party, and kicked it with the drunk girls from Toledo for another hour. Yes indeed.
Brunch was blurry, Zingerman’s round two was critical, and our trip home was long and uneventful.
Wedding sprint = over.
Good times = had, with gusto even.
The killer wedding shots were done by Nicole Landonne.
Summer is always a densely packed celebratory time for us, but I’m not sure if I can put into words how insane things are right now. I had a rather full 6 day east coast trip. Conveniently enough, work sent me there to top my brain off with knowledge. Saw all the family a bunch and caught up with many friends, and then raced Mike
back to SF. They won. I met up with them and my wife at the house of Krudden. We promptly headed south to participate in the celebration of Dave and Kerri tying the hitch knot.
They chose Big Sur to be their wedding destination, and there was coastal nature everything. Go figure. During the few moments of unplanned activity, the Ducey’s and I headed south without a destination. We happened upon a trail which led us down down down through a tunnel in a mountain and eventually to the ocean. I heart California, even though it’s broke.
The wedding was cause for another mini Newton North High School reunion, now familiarly embellished with all of our significant others.
Dave was not an organized little duder back in high school. Sometime during college, his brain snapped like a glow stick, and he became extremely anal. That was about as predictable as Angel working for the IRS. It means that Dave and Stina connect in terrible ways that frighten me. Of course he tapped Stina for her extensive “knowledge”. Everyone had different jobs, and with each job came a different title. I was the Music Monkey. Dave’s brother was Best Monkey. Stina’s minions were Monkey Bitches. And so forth.
Then they got married.
I know how much Dave dislikes to be the center of attention, so its was more then a little amusing to watch him take it and like it. I was honored to give a short reading and be the appointed DJ for the evening. This meant pressing play on itunes at various points of the night. I was under strict orders not to touch the playlist, but the Music Monkey has a mind of its own. I also appointed myself MC for the evening, which amused me.
Dave’s had a long history with knives in my house.
Dave’s fully responsible for my love of music, and his dance setlist did him justice. I really appreciated the table decorations, since I watched Kerry painstackingly assemble one when I visited for of our Grateful Dead junket. We really had a fabulous time. I’m quite pleased that Dave and Kerry found each other.
Then we headed north, hit the brunch,
and made it back to cold cold Frisco. We wandered around the park until we found the tube fighting championships.
It was pretty Epic.
The Ducey’s had to sadly depart on Monday morning. Stina’s Cousin Carmen and brand spanking new husband Andrew arrived Monday night.
They took of on Wednesday afternoon. That evening we got to hold Jason and Lindsay’s one day old baby. Intense much? Huge congrads to the new parentals!
Now we’ve finished packing our bags for Michigan. Let the celebrations continue.
We celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary in a three day orgy of gluttony and whatever else you do at orgies. I guess you mostly attend weddings and Broadway shows. Whoohoo for orgies!
We kicked it off on Thursday night with a surprise (to me) evening out to see Spam-a-lot. I’ve really come to terms with my dissatisfaction of the stage adaption of movies, and was only mildly amused during reenacted scenes from the Holy Grail. Fortunately, they added lots of new material and created an amazing stage production which was super funtastical.
Friday, the day of our anniversary, we cruised the coast down to Half Moon Bay for some ritzy lunch and beach time.
Then epic napping, dinner at our new favorite Italian place in the Richmond, and too many hours of Battlestar Galactica. I started rooting for the robots.
Saturday was celebrate other couples day. Lars and Kate had a pre-wedding celebratory BBQ in the park for Bay Area folk.
It was fantastic catching up with so many folks.
Then is was off to Josh Adler’s and Katriene’s wedding celebration in West Portal.
This celebration was the perfect marriage of extraordinarily delicious food (Josh is the wine buyer for BiRite, a high end food store) and a super relaxed environment. They performed the ceremony when they felt like it, and the food kept coming. I sat next to some of Josh’s co-workers, who walked me through endless barrage of delicious offerings. It was a really special wedding – so chill and overflowing with positivity.
Then today, I went to the Fillmore to go pick up tickets for a show to discover that the ticket office was mysteriously closed and the Fillmore street festival was going on. I’ve never been to the Fillmore street festival, and that is a damn shame. It’s enormous, with four or five stages, and stellar jazz, blues, and funk music. I caught at least five bands today, some whom I’ve been meaning to see for a while now. A great, totally unexpected day.
The surreal moment of the weekend award goes to Saturday night post wedding. Around 11pm, still rather under the influence from the aforementioned celebration, I was working on some fuzzy tunes when out of the corner of my eye I think I see a flashlight on our private deck. I take off my headphones to hear someone saying “hello?” from the hallway. Thinking its possibly my downstairs neighbors, I’m surprised to discvoer two police officers peeking into my apartment. Apparently, someone had called saying they had heard someone walking on their roof, and the police though it was me. I explained that I had not called the police, and being the top apartment, had not noticed anyone on my roof. I then go to my deck to discover three additional officers. I explain that I didn’t call the police, and invite them in so they can walk down the stairs (instead of the fire escape). They call up to the roof where there is yet another officer on top of my apartment. The four officers gratefully come in, compliment me on the killer posters, and disappear down the stairs. One asks if I’m a producer and gets a CD, cause WTF just happened?! That was some seriously random shit. Were there really just 6 cops in my apartment? Was that many officers needed for the call? And how did they get in my building?
For the vast majority of people, planning a wedding does not lead you down the path to your chosen profession. I happened to marry the anomaly, which has worked out real well for me so far. I now get to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah. After our big day, I secretly harbored the belief that no wedding would ever top the level of personalization and complexity that ours did. Now I know better.
Dave and Erin’s wedding was what happens when extreme creative forces and milestone life changing events decide to party in the woods. The scope of this wedding was insane. The logistics were challenging, to say the least. There was a meeting in the morning where the all days tasks were divvied out those who had been camping on site. Lots of creative problem solving ensued. Every single person who was working the wedding was a friend of theirs. It was a celebration that will never be forgotten. And now, some delicious bullet points:
My major contribution to wedding was that I composed their processional for piano and guitar. At 5pm, when we were supposed to be providing background music for the arriving guests, Andrzej (the guitarist) hadn’t appeared yet. At 5:15, while I was merrily improvising away, Andrzej shows up out of breath, guitar in hand. Since we had no time to sound check, I plug him in, he tunes up, and then I get the signal to start the processional. That was the most amusing moment of the day for me – I had assumed I was going to do the processional solo at that point.
I spent almost half of my time at the wedding working my butt off with the various tasks at hand, and I performed only a tiny fraction of what needed to be done. It took a lot of their friends giving it their all to pull off this celebration, and because of that, we really got to know each other much more then they would have naturally. We all came together and really felt connected to the celebration at at hand.