Sunday, December 30, 2012

Overthrow 2013 - A battle plan for the resolution-weary


  Are you ready for 2013?  Have you made your resolutions?  Well?  Well?

OK, I hear all the hipsters, cool kids, and well, just about everyone yelling back at me "I HATE RESOLUTIONS!"

  I used to be rather cool on the subject myself, but check it:

The new year is a fun time to set new goals, and cast an eye over the map of life to make sure your ship is sailing along nicely.  Instead of thinking of resolutions as negative (I'll work out so I'm not a shrimp), or even disciplinarian (I'll practice twenty eight hours a day), try to use them as inspiration - and make lots of them.  Last year, I think I made upwards of fifty.  Craziness!  I looked at that list recently, and while many went neglected, there were some triumphs:  Completing a tour (HELLO #JURT!), and learning to rap.  "HO HO SANTA STYLE."  (Yes, yes, I'll tell the story soon about how I rewrote "Gangnam Style" to "Santa Style", sang the song and danced the dance, while dressed in a Santa suit for the local elementary school.)

"'Cause I'm Santa Claus, oh yes I rock this suit of red, 'cause I'm Santa Claus, I know how to fly a sled..."

Instead of resolutions as pressure, think of them as a mini-bucket list.

I'm very excited about 2013, and I'll get up in your face to make the radical statement that YOU SHOULD BE, TOO!

Here's a bit of a template to help you get started on your own set of 2013 resolutions. Feel free to modify, of course - but whatever you do, write them down.  They're written for guitar players, but are easily adapted to other fields.

General Josh's New Year's Resolutions for a soldier of the Revolution  

In 2013, I want to learn to play ______ song by _____.

In 2013, I want to meet _______ .

In 2013, I want to write and record a song about _______.

(you get the time frame we're working with here)  I want that said song to have _____ many plays on Soundcloud/Youtube.

I will improve ____ skill on guitar.

I want to play in the town of ________.

I plan on creating accounts on these social media sites _______ and getting _____ new connections.

I want to learn more about the style of _____ music.  (Example:  Latin.  It's what Jack Black teaches.)

I will learn to sing!  (Learn, comrade, learn!)

I will write, record, play a song, or otherwise collaborate with ______.

Fitness is good!  I plan on being able to do ____ push ups in a row by next December 31st, and ____ pull ups, to fit my rockstar image!

I want to have a tweet retweeted by: ________.

A big musical goal (tour, EP, first gig) I'd like to accomplish in 2013 is:  _______ .

I want to have ___ Facebook fans, ____ Twitter followers, and ____ YouTube subscribers by next December 31st.

Why limit inspiration to music?  An art museum, park, city, or industrial wasteland I want to visit in 2013 is ______.

I want to learn how to ______.

I want to read the book ______.

The non-optional silly resolutions of the State

- Learn a magic trick.
- Try green olives.
- Watch a train (but stay away from the tracks, especially if your name is Anna.)
- Learn something about nature.
- Listen to all 6 of J.S. Bach's Brandenberg Concertos.
- Wear a silly hat at least once, and when someone balks, exclaim in a booming voice "Are you not entertained?"  

Now - go get ready for a superb 2013.  And write your plans down!

As a matter of fact, feel free to post them in the comments as a way to share, connect, encourage, and state to the masses that you are ready to overthrow the  new year.

Speaking of years - thanks for a stupendous 2012.  Here's a bit about how cool my year was, and some thanks to you comrades:


- Josh  

Saturday, December 15, 2012


By now, I'm sure you've heard of the great sadness in Connecticut.  I had heard a flickering of the news in the morning, but didn't realize the extent of the tragedy.

  Battling a sore throat, I hosted a "DJ hour" at the local nursing home, playing and introducing holiday classics to the old folks.  After much great music and joy shared, I was tiredly lugging the speakers onto the elevator after the show.  I heard the nursing staff talking about it.  "Twenty kids."  "Twenty kids?"  I asked, a sickening feeling creeping up.  Last I had heard, it was just the shooter.  Unfortunately, the rumors were right this time.

  It had been an unusually busy week, and I guess I had run too hard, because there I was, nursing a cold on a Friday evening, AND - there wasn't a Christmas tree up.  I resolved to clean the house and put up the tree.

  If you think I'm an energetic person outwardly, you should just see my mind.  The evening was no exception, with plenty of pondering and thinking on the massacre.

  To top it all off, it's the holiday season.  It always brings it's own set of thoughts and feelings with it.  There's the fond memories of Christmas past, the yearning for a simpler time when Santa brought such joy.  The memory of my Grandfather's death a few days before Christmas, the reminder of my cousin who died by her own hand, friends who have died, friends who are dying, and much darkness.  There's the stress of the season, and the kindness of strangers, the magic for the children, and the cold reality of being an adult.  I've discovered the joy of giving, and have come to appreciate the thoughtfulness of gestures of giving.  To top it all off, here's almost thirty people dead at a madman's hand a few days before Christmas, and an indelible stain left on multitudes.  I pictured the mothers finding the carefully wrapped presents for their dead children in the closet, the "Santa staging area", and wondered what they must be feeling.  I pictured my own mother holding such a present and crying.  I wish there was something I could do.

  I avoid talking about my faith when possible, as I have friends and colleagues who I respect highly and who's views are different from mine.  However, it's fairly obvious that I'm very, very agnostic.  As the years have gone by, I've gotten more so, and the holiday season is an interesting one for me.

  I decided last year that since I'm about as Jewish as I am Christian, I'd light a menorah this year in addition to decorating a Christmas tree.  So there I was, in my living room, putting up the tree as the menorah blazed on the mantelpiece.  The Choir of King's College sang softly in the background as I thought about the kids, Grandpa, Kyleen, and life.  There is something so haunting and holy about a congregation of human voices, especially on a day of such sadness.

  I was all alone, it was dark outside, and it seemed like I was surrounded by echos and light and darkness.  Easy answers had gone the way of Santa and the sun for the day, replaced by the darkness of night and grief.

  The thought knocked gently at the front door of my mind.

Perhaps all we can do is put up the Christmas tree and light the menorah.  

 If life is choices, will I choose to shine light into the darkness?    

Keep the fire burning, friends.  Keep it burning with your kindness, your howling wind of intentional music, your art, your compassion.  Light up the world with a guitar, or a violin, or a menorah.  Will we be able to look out into the darkness, and like the glimmer of a neighbor's Christmas lights, see the fires of light in the darkness?

Life is choices...

- Josh