Camera Dump Day

December 27th, 2008 |

First of all I want to wish my brother Taylor a happy 19th birthday today. He’s going to be a famous actor some day so get his autograph now while it’s still relatively cheap.

I dumped all of our pictures from Christmas today so I’d thought I share.

Here’s Riley helping Angel decorate cookies…and the table…and the floor…and his clothes.

Here is some of what they came up with.

Riley’s bribe for Santa.

Here we are at my Mom’s house. You might notice that Angel and I are wearing the exact same clothes as we were in the pictures from Thanksgiving. That’s only an optical illusion.

The only thing that could make Riley look any sillier than these antlers is that he’s also wearing a Ram’s shirt.

This is me and my step-dad wishing we had engineering degrees.

Here’s the key to smelling like Angel.

This is Riley trying to look happy as he ponders the idea that mom and dad only got him this stinking snow globe for Christmas.

This was right before I got out my chainsaw to open these stupid, bullet-proof, toy packages.

This is Angel trying to figure out how to build a 35-point word using only vowels.

This is her failing.

I was backing up our server the other day and came across some pictures from when Riley was a baby. Here are a few that I really liked.

Does this butt make me look fat?

Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he’s old he’ll wish he would have finished college.

1st birthday.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas

December 25th, 2008 |

Merry Christmas everybody. I considered recording another Christmas song to post today like I did last year but I’ve been too busy gaining back all of the weight I’ve lost. Sorry.

Preparing the Pipes

December 22nd, 2008 |

I’ve been practicing my guitar incessantly lately in preparation to go into the studio and start on the album. All of the hours I’ve spent with the guitar got me thinking about the fact that I’ve been spending very little time working on getting my voice in shape. My routine for getting my voice in shape has always been something like downing a cup of scalding hot water and them humming for a couple of minutes. I figure I’d better come up with a little better approach than that.

I started looking around on the web for some simple vocal exercises and techniques for getting my voice up to speed. I’ve found a bunch of stuff and have begun to put these things into practice. One of the guys who seems to show up the most often in a web search for vocal training is Brett Manning. After seeing what this guy is capable of I can easily understand why he is so popular.

Check out this video. Fast forward to about 1:28 and check out this mind-boggling display of range and control.

Suvivorman and Pixar

December 19th, 2008 |

Tonight the Johnson family gathered around the television to witness one of the saddest events in television history: the final episode of Survivorman. Not just the final episode of the season, the final episode period. Why?!?

The only show that could even remotely attempt to fill this vacuous void in our lives is Man Vs. Wild. You know, the show where the guy drinks his own urine at the drop of a hat. The helicopter drops him off in the desert and not ten minutes later he’s drinking pee because it’s the only way he can possibly survive. Yeah, that show.

Speaking of drinking urine, I think the folks at Pixar are geniuses. We rented Wall-E the other night and there is one of their “shorts” on that DVD and it is absolutely hilarious. It’s called “Presto.”

Check it out, along with a couple more of my all-time favorite Pixar shorts.

The music in this next one is incredible.

What You’ve Missed

December 17th, 2008 |

Sometimes when I forgo blogging for a while it’s not because I don’t have anything to talk about, it’s because I don’t have the time to talk about it. If I would have been consistently blogging over the past few weeks here are the things I would have talked about.

I had my root canal this past Monday. I intended to write about it as soon as I got home but I could only type out of one side of my mouth and I didn’t want you to laugh at me. He was able to do the entire procedure in the time it takes to listen to Fortunate Son, Come Together, and Bohemian Rhapsody. I know this because I was concentrating intently on the radio so as not to wet myself from all of the skull-grinding ferocity.

There have been two days in the past week where I worked twenty of the twenty-four hours available in a day.

I hope to get some Jason Loller pickups for my Strat for Christmas.

I now weigh 199 pounds. That’s twenty-four pounds lost so far. I had hoped to break the 200 pound mark by Christmas. Mission accomplished.

Whenever I play finger-style acoustic guitar while sitting in the standard playing position my right hand cramps up by the end of the first chorus of whatever song I’m playing. If I’m sitting on my couch with my feet propped up I can play indefinitely. It looks like I’ll need to take my couch and television into the studio when the time comes. And the time is coming.

I met with an incredible producer/engineer who has agreed to record the next album. We’ve been talking a lot about which songs should go on the record and have started to make decisions on arrangement and instrumentation ideas already. I’m very excited. I’m sure I’ll be talking about this more over the next few months.

That should bring us up to date for the time being.

An Early Christmas

December 4th, 2008 |

I went to my dentist today for my six month cleaning and check up and for no extra charge (yet) she informed me that I’ll be getting a root canal for Christmas. Yay!

Weight Loss Update #3

December 3rd, 2008 |

It is approximately 45 degrees in my basement right now so I’ll be a teeth-chattering money’s uncle if I’m going to sit down here and write some long-winded post.

In the last three weeks I’ve lost five more pounds. So that brings me to a total of 20.5 pounds lost over the past nine weeks. I started at 223 and I’m at 202.5 now. 180 is the goal. I’m getting there.

John Mayer Made A Stinker

December 2nd, 2008 |

There is a part of me that bristles at the thought of publicly admitting to the fact that I love John Mayer. I think it’s the part of me that is the financially unsuccessful musician. It could be argued that that part is actually the whole. Whatever. I love John Mayer.

I love John Mayer though he is immeasurably arrogant. I love John Mayer though he is far more handsome than I am. I love John Mayer though his guitar playing buries mine. I love John Mayer though he is wittier that I am. Maybe I love John Mayer because of those things and not despite them. Whatever. I love John Mayer.

John Mayer’s album “Continuum” is one that should be in everyone’s collection. The song writing is (by and large) far above average, it sounds absolutely stunning from and engineering and mastering perspective, and the guitar tones sound incredibly expensive. But, with all that said, there is one song on that album that shouldn’t be.

A few weeks ago Angel and I were listening to “Continuum” and the song “In Repair” came on. I told Angel I was very surprised that song made the cut. Among a bunch of really good songs this one really stuck out as a stinker. It just sounded thrown together.

Last night I found out that it was indeed thrown together.

There is a two part documentary on this song on You Tube. I found it very interesting and entertaining but after watching it I can understand why this song doesn’t really work. It was written and recorded in one day.

Now, I’m not saying that great songs can’t be written in one day. I remember hearing Elton John say that “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” was written in less time than it takes to play the song. Great songs can certainly be written quickly but I would argue that this is the exception rather than the rule.

Check out this documentary and dig Mayer’s pride in all its glory. I love John Mayer.

Back from Georgia

December 1st, 2008 |

This past week we went down to Atlanta to spend Thanksgiving with Angel’s family and to learn how to talk funny. I’ve been in the family long enough now that the jabs about me being a Yankee have abated for the most part. Their feelings that I stole Angel from the south just to make her get a job and feed her nothing but hamburgers have proven to be untrue so that’s good.

Here are a few pictures from the trip.

We always celebrate Christmas when we go for Thanksgiving. Angel’s grandparents just so happen to be close personal friends with Santa and Mrs. Clause. I’m not kidding. These folks live as Santa and wife all year long. His licence plates say “Santa 0”.

This next one is Riley still trying to figure out the correct method for picking his nose. I happen to be an expert nose-picker myself but Riley hasn’t really taken to it as well as I would have hoped.

This is Angel feigning avoidance.

This next one is Uncle Matt and Riley breaking the wishbone. Riley is clearly favored to win in the strength category here.

On the drive home just past Monteagle.

Lilly hates our car.