40 Days of Drumming!

It’s time.

 

It’s time for me to make the Big change.  In myself, in my life, in my drumming.

 

This year, I just turned 40.  The Big 4-0.  To celebrate, and to help invite that change into my life, I’m going to undergo 40 Days of Drumming.  I will eat, sleep, and drum.  That’s it.  I will not be logging on to Facebook, I won’t be texting anyone, I won’t utter a word to another human being.  I will be in isolation from the rest of the world, alone with me and my drums.  My mom and dad have graciously offered up their home, and to help out with my food during this time.  We still have to work out the details, but in a sense, they will be providing room and board.  So I can simply go to the fridge and grab something to eat, then get back to drumming.

 

I want to re-invent myself as a drummer, re-invent HOW I approach the drums.  I want to learn to play the drums in such a way that I can still play when I’m 80.

Continue reading “40 Days of Drumming!”

Part 2: Zombie Meditation Camp

 

When this whole thing started, I kept thinking of it as Zombie Meditation Camp.  Everyone wakes quietly at 4am, while it’s still basically night out, and gets ready in their own way.  Some shower, some stay in bed till the last second, some brush teeth, but the wake up call is obviously not easy for most of us.  Then the hooded zombies silently, and in single file, shuffle our way to the meditation hall.  In this darkened hall, we all have 24″ square cloth-covered foam meditation cushions arranged neatly in about 12 rows front to back with 3 per row on the left for the men, and 4 on the right for the women.  Our names are printed on pieces of paper where our assigned position will be for the next 10 days.  We receive recorded instructions through a speaker system by the creator of this particular course, S.N. Goenka.  Most meditation sessions begin with a recording of Goenka chanting the words of Buddha in the old language of India.  He has a very low, resonant voice, and again, it’s more chanting than it is singing, so at times the sounds are unfamiliar, (“aaaaahhh, at the back of the throat”), and some of them almost very guttural.  I begin to hear words that sound like english words pop out of the chanting….   “naked,” “Johnny say a hey hey,” some Japanese words, “manko (vagina),” “ato wa (next),” “anata (you)”,    and a couple of things sound like Ewok speak: “Gu Du Gu Du,”  “wally wally, jup jup”.

Continue reading “Part 2: Zombie Meditation Camp”

Meditation Retreat Pt. 1- getting there…

Here I am, on the other side…

 

It’s 2:21, in the Philadelphia Airport.  My flight leaves at 6pm for Boise, Idaho, where I’ll spend the next 6 days with my parents.

 

The better part of 2 weeks ago, I sat in a different airport, a different man.  I’ve now experienced things that have changed how I view the world, and my relationship to it, and it’s all good.

 

Continue reading “Meditation Retreat Pt. 1- getting there…”

facing my fears

It’s as if I can feel all my fears coming to the surface…

 

I’m sitting in the Savannah, GA airport.  The time is 5:11am.  I haven’t slept.  Stories of child murders, Boston bombings, and other stories in today’s horrific news resonate through the nearly empty terminal.  Last night I sent one suitcase, and my trusty ‘tour’ bike home with Wes Day-  one of the blue men here on tour, who was driving back to Orlando, and in fact is probably already there.  I’m headed somewhere different…

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ahhh patience

Hello Patience-  

You’re quite a lot to deal with.  So persistent, and non-yeilding, yet your lessons remain true, again and again.  

You see, the world has gotten to a place now where so many people have forgotten you.  Our world, our media, our smart phones, our TV ads for “EVERYTHING YOU WANT- RIGHT NOW!” can cause us to forget about you, Patience.  

I’ve been doing yoga almost everyday now for about 6 months…  why am I not a sculpted Adonis yet? Why hasn’t this load of dedicated time brought my energy levels back to kindergarten levels?  Why do I still feel tired some days?  I thought it would all be better by now…

But, alas, Patience, you are here patiently waiting until I calm down to quietly remind me that “this is not an overnight process.  Everything good is happening, and it’s all coming.  Just be patient.”  

It’s amazing to me that at 39 years old, this is still such a hard lesson for me to learn.  But Thank you Patience once again for your lessons.  

last snow…

I had a funny thought about the last snow of the season…

When you’re the first snow of the season, you’re greeted with awe and wonder.  I was up in Idaho when we saw the first snowfall with my son Taiyo, and it was almost as if it was “magical!”   “Oh!  The First Snow of the season!  Wow!  How beautiful!”

But when you’re the last snow of the season, especially in a place where maybe it stopped snowing for a while, and people thought they were done with snow… then it snows one last time… that last snow of the season doesn’t get such a warm welcome.  “I’m so ready to be done with snow!”   “I can’t wait till the snow’s gone.”  “Bah!  Curse this snow!”

Those poor little snow flakes- they’re just as beautiful as the first snowflakes, they just got a bad time slot.  They lost the lottery for placement in the big Snow Show, so their display of snowy wonderment was booed off the stage, simply because they were last.  

So let’s give the Last Snow of the big Snow Show a break-  give them a little love too.

thanks for reading-

rion

Icy Erie

Made a cold trip down to icy Lake Erie while in Cleveland. I enjoyed seeing the Geese walking on the ice, and was really surprised by the beauty of the ice formations out on the lake. After losing my gloves in Buffalo, my hands were frozen numb, but I was there at just the right time, and caught an amazing sunset.

 

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20130227-022315.jpgContinue reading “Icy Erie”

The same, but different…

It’s amazing to me how different “the same” show can be every night.

Being on tour, we are playing, at least on paper, the same show, every night. But it never feels exactly the same. For myself, it’s not so much the specific events, or notes that get played that are so different. It’s how different it can feel.

Now, I’m very focused right now on getting myself in good shape. Mainly through yoga. Yoga focuses on alignment of the body, and symmetric movement, as well as breath, energy flow, and a clam state of mind. The Blue Man show by nature (at least for drummers) is a very asymmetric show. It’s very right hand and right foot driven. That’s just the way the parts are written, as well as the way a traditional drum set is designed. The way the hands cross over for the Hi Hat/Snare Drum combo, and the fact that the right foot plays the largest drum on the entire kit, while the left foot plays a dainty pair of light weight cymbals. That’s a very different workload.Continue reading “The same, but different…”

Graceland–

This blog is a little late…

When we were in Memphis, we took a trip to Graceland- I really didn’t know what to expect. Of course I know of Elvis, and have heard some of his music, but never really got into his music that deep. But I have to say that I was more affected by the whole experience than I expected. For the tour you wear a headset that plays an audio tour for each part of the house or property, along with some music, interviews with Elvis, or even home recordings. So you’re hearing that, and seeing his home- which for the time, I’m sure was elaborate- but by today’s standards is perhaps a little bit large, yet still a very cozy feeling place… And then seeing all the gold records that he produced, hearing his philosophies of writing music and performing, and seeing several of his live performances— it really made me have a new respect for the man, and his impact on music, and culture.
I want to go and see more of his live performances- he certainly wasn’t called The King for nothing.
So here’s my photo tour of Graceland…. There’s a ton of photos, and I haven’t figured out a better way to display them yet, but I’ll get there!!

Enjoy-

The house–

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…and a whole lot more photos….

just click below ….

Continue reading “Graceland–”