GRADUATION

March 31st, 2010 | Full Page

I miss graduating. Elementary school, Middle School, High School, College, Law School — and then it stops. After getting used to living life in 3 – 5 year increments, all of sudden it ends. The carrot is removed from the stick and you’re left to roam free. It has been 6 years since I graduated from law school and I have to admit, I miss the carrot… and the stick for that matter. With graduation you knew two key things: (1) you had accomplished something, and (2) something new and different was upon you the minute you walked off that stage.

I have found that those 2 important things can be elusive once schooling is over. Sure, there are promotions, job changes, moving cities, and a number of other changes you can bring to your life. But few of them have the same kind of anticipation and certainty that graduating has. And after 6 years my mind is craving it. So I have decided to reinstate graduation into my life.

I have set a date for myself on which I will graduate from where I currently am in life. On that day I will make myself a diploma, walk off a stage (even if I have to build it for myself), and thereafter, I will ensure that each following day will look entirely different than the days before — until my next graduation.

I now have a renewed sense of anticipation and excitement for what graduation holds for me. And like every other graduation I’ve had, it comes with a host of uncertainties. But those inevitable uncertainties are the very things I’ve missed being certain of.

PICKING A BAND NAME

November 10th, 2009 | Full Page

After 2 years of being bandless, I have serendipitously found myself a part of a new band that I’m really excited about. But whiskey, 5-minute guitar solos, and compliments like “dude that was awesome” can only take you so far. The next key step to any band is picking a name. So vital is this process that it can make or break a band before they’ve even had a gig. Take Maroon 5 for instance. Before they invested in the classic “color + number” formula, they were called “Kara’s Flowers.” Clearly that wasn’t going anywhere, however, I’m sure the flower shop down the street was ecstatic to get so much additional business. Matchbox 20 is another great case. Following the tried and true path of “word-ending-in-’box’ + number” they were able to overcome the hurdles that their first band name, “Tabitha’s Secret”, presented. Most of it was due to a second trademark lawsuit brought by Tabitha after they lost their first battle to Victoria.

So here we are, at this vital crossroads in our band career. We must choose a name. And not any name. A GREAT name. A name that can be plastered on billboards, television teleprompters and panties. My first suggestions were:

Babies Taste Good
Oops I Dropped The Soap
Damn, I Thought That Jalapeño Was An Olive
Hot Tubs At Midnight
I Thought I Told You I Changed My Number
Actually You Are Pretty
Exxon
Panic In The Cubicle
&
Vital Breathe
[choose any color][choose any number]
[word ending in "box"][choose any number]
R.T.A.B.F.G.T.
We-Tried-To-Think-Of-A-Witty-Somewhat-Topical-Band-Name-But-Ended-Up-Passing-Out-From-Our-Own-Pretentiousness

But these left bandmates feeling dirty and confused. So the next stage included the following suggestions (and yes, these are real and still technically possibilities):

Hidden Planetbut I don’t use enough space echo delay for this band name
Early Morning SundayI’m always asleep at this time, making music playing difficult
Lion RedI fear this would make us seem dislexic
Based on Reality(1) My life is based on the imaginary, (2) I hate reality TV shows
Kill the RadioRadio is already dying, we don’t need to kick it while it’s down
Misfit GenerationWe’re not a punk band. And even if we were… well, no.
Social TensionDistortion, Tension, can anyone really tell the difference?
Balking at the SubjectToo “baseball” meets “middle school” for my taste
Original SubjectA bit too “dorky-kid-wants-to-feel-special-in-middle-school” for me
Planned ExcapeNot sure where the “x” came from, but I might reconsider this if I were opening a titty bar
The LionsWe’re simply not good enough at this point or indie enough to have a name like this
Oakland Street Band…except that only one of us may have spent any time on Oakland Street
The LocalsDifficult application when touring to other cities we’ve never been to
Reality BitesI try to avoid law suits with 90s movies at all costs
Half-Baked ideaI don’t even think any of us smoke weed…
Bane’s Daughter BandNone of us are girls or have parents named “Bane”… that I know of…
Case of the MondaysNot quite ready to be that cubicle-bound-suppressed-tie-wearing-office-worker-who-also-plays-cover-songs-at-Chili’s-on-Wednesdays guy
Back Stage WestCardinal directions confuse me when I’m drunk
Kanye West Meltdownmmm, topical…but where will be in 20 years?
Vegan TuesdayI don’t like vegetables or Tuesdays enough to latch onto this
Found Suspension WHAT?!? Why in God’s name would we want to suspend food? Oh wait, that says “Found”, my bad, I see where my head is at.
Regular Unleadedthat’s like saying “we’re not quite hard enough to be called ‘Diesel’”
AmsterdamCity names are always a solid bet… follow in the footsteps of Chicago and Boston. But I’m not sure my love of absinthe is enough to keep this one in the mix
Echo DistortionToo many effects… clean tones are where it’s at
Indie UndergroundWe are neither.
Lion RogueAgain, some fear of being labeled a dyslexic, but maybe if you reverse it…
Calico CollectiveI prefer Persian cats.
Calico PerspectiveI still prefer Persian cats.
Woodland War HeroesYES! And our first gig can be at Dragoncon 2010!
Devon HeraldI don’t know who this is, but he’ll probably sue us.
Emblem Vague, dark, brooding. Can’t live up to that.
The Amber LionsWhew, proper adjective-noun placement. But I don’t like the color amber.
The Scarlet SoundWhat if “sound” was actually “letter” and we wore matching sweaters?
Loose Neck BabiesMaking fun on babies born without spinal cords is neither funny nor practical.
DavenportFirst I would need to know where this city is located.
Author’s Architectthis just confuses me
Channel 71shit, what if there’s already a band named “Channel 72″? Then what??
Canal SweepersThis is an impossible task. Chimneys are more doable.
Drifting Woodies (haha)……ha ha indeed. That means “no”
The Contortionistonly if we could hire one to be on stage with us at all times
Frankincense & Spursooo, Jesus meets Basketball meets Cowboys… both sexy and intriguing…
Winchester Derby Paradewe could play the NRA-sponsored tent at the next horse race… but then again, I don’t look good wrapped in a confederate flag
Castle BaileyWho is Bailey?
Seascape Conductorif I were a retired train buff, this would be perfect
SecateursI have no idea what this means, but I think I like it

So that’s where we are. We are open to taking suggestions. And I suggest you make some. After all, if you’re reading this, you’re going to be seeing this name frequently in my status updates and live news feed… and yes, I know if you’ve hidden my live news feed.

Peace,
Mars

“I’LL PICK YOU UP” LIVE CLIP FROM EDDIE’S ATTIC

September 22nd, 2009 | Full Page

FAN APPRECIATION PROGRAM

September 16th, 2009 | Full Page

New Fan Appreciation-Make-You-Feel-Like-A-Unique-Snowflake Program

OK everyone…I’ve been promoting my music for nearly 5 years now, and it JUST occurred to me that I have never initiated any type of program that says “thanks for being a fan.” Which is downright shameful. So welcome to the brand new Fan Appreciation-Make-You-Feel-Like-A-Unique-Snowflake Program. By signing up on my mailing list, you get access to the following stuff:

• Every fan – DISCOUNTED PRE-SALE CONCERT TICKETS

• If you bring a friend to a show* – CHOICE OF FREE EP OR FREE SAMPLER CD OF UNRELEASED TRACKS

• If you bring 3 friends to show* – CHOICE OF FREE T-SHIRT OR HAT

• If you buy a CD – FREE CHOICE OF STICKER, GUITAR PICK, OR BUTTON

* = based on pre-ordering tickets

JOIN THE MAILING LIST NOW:

MUSIC SUBSCRIPTION PROGRAM

September 16th, 2009 | Full Page

In this world of iTunes, Napster, MySpace and bagillions, yes that’s right bagillions, of other ways to purchase music, I’ve come up with my own way. For just $12 a year, that’s only $1 per month!!, you can subscribe to my music program. With your subscription, here is what you’ll receive:

• You get every CD I’ve ever released immediately, right up front for FREE!!

• You get every new CD I release (regardless of length), for FREE!!

• Every month, you get something new. This could be any of the following: live recorded track, unreleased acoustic track, demo track of new songs, swag, artwork, free concert tickets, free raffle entry, cookies, and other cool or edible stuff.

So join up TODAY!! I promise you won’t regret it!

Email Address (required)


TWITTER = BEING HUMAN

September 16th, 2009 | Full Page

I was skeptical about Twitter at first. Very skeptical. An entire website based on the question, “What are you doing right now”? Seriously? My life isn’t that interesting. I don’t feel like writing:

“Working.”

“Still working.”

“And yet still working.”

I slowly eased my way in as a way to update my Facebook status. Then I started following some news feeds as my way of keeping up with what’s going on in the world. Which was fine. I’d look at it about once a week and go on my merry way. I’ve noticed that a lot of celebrities and companies use it to answer the question: “What are you promoting right now?” I can see that. Good way to get a little advertising done. Or at least brand awareness. But after a couple months of using Twitter, the real power of it finally hit me. The most powerful question Twitter can be used to answer is not “What are you doing right now,” it’s:

“What are you thinking right now?”

What am I thinking? Well, that’s far more interesting than what I’m doing. And far more me. I am not my job. I am not my products. Really I’m just my mind and soul. And our minds and souls don’t typically express themselves in well-thought out blog entries or stories. They express themselves in random thoughts that pass through us like energy. The internet began as a massive connected world of anonymity. But it has grown to be just the opposite. It is now breaking down the barriers of anonymity and connecting the world by who we really are. Take John Mayer for example. Prior to Twitter you could listen to the songs he wrote, interviews he did, blogs he wrote, etc. Not bad for a glimpse into someone’s life. But still, all those things were planned out to some extent. And who we are is not planned. You saw John Mayer the recording artist, not John Mayer the person. But with his recent addiction to Twitter, you see what he is thinking multiple times a day. It makes us all seem more human. What is more human than our thoughts? Some say our actions define who we are. But more than that, I think our thoughts define who we are and our actions are an extension of that. Twitter is bringing people’s thoughts together on a second by second basis. It’s powerful. Intimate even. And a bit scary at times. But overall, there is something very liberating about sharing your thoughts with the world. It can make even the loneliest person feel connected. People are giving up more and more of their privacy in this age. Where past generations have viewed this as a heresy, I believe that it will be what joins us together in a larger community. I’m not afraid of the world knowing who I am. If anything, it challenges me daily to continue to be who I am and share that with the world. The good, the bad, the ugly, the funny and the not-so-funny.

FIGHT AND LIE

September 16th, 2009 | Full Page

We fight and lie for different reasons,
but we fight and lie.
We fight and lie in different ways,
but we fight and lie.
We want different things.
We feel like we need different things.
But really we’re all looking for the same thing in different ways.
At times we find it.
But when we don’t,
we fight and lie.

SECURITY

September 16th, 2009 | Full Page

I need community, purpose, and security. But what is security? North Highland is as secure as they come. But we’re hurting. So have countless other companies. Companies are considered separate legal entities. And just like their human counterparts, they fail. Security feels like a paycheck and backlog*. But security only lasts so far into the future. You always have to come back to your roots. Your skills. When all goes wrong (or when all goes right for that matter), you’re left with your love, passion and skill set. Those are your security. If your passions don’t align with your skills, that is when you won’t feel secure. So build the skills you’re passionate about. Love them. Security is not a boss. Security is not a paycheck. You are your own security, and you can do anything.

* By “backlog” I mean money/work that someone wants you to do, but you haven’t had time to do yet.

WHY DO I BUILD WINDOWS?

September 16th, 2009 | Full Page

Why do I build windows
when the world offers none?
Why do I build windows
creating a shadow
blocking my view of the sun?
Guiding my vision, framing with precision
and keeping me locked on the pane;
It hinders my gain, blocks out the rain
and gives me a view to rely on.
But without a door and without a floor,
without a roof or a stoop;
I’m left with a window
that’s casting a shadow
and blocking my view of the moon.

THE VASE IS BLOOMING

September 16th, 2009 | Full Page

The vase is blooming,
but the flowers are screaming;
The vase is blooming,
lost in the dream.
Viewers are looming,
but the flowers keep screaming;
Viewers are looming,
forcing their dream.
Silently, stoically, subtly, statically
the vase keeps on blooming.
So I will wait in this room,
watching it bloom,
until the flowers stop screaming.

MY VERY OWN ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE

September 16th, 2009 | Full Page

Inspired by Obama’s passionate love for AIG and the influx of hundreds of billions of newly-created dollars into our economy, I have decided to offer the public my very own stimulus package. Such generosity cannot be born alone. We all must make sacrifices and help everyone who is suffering from these tough economic times. It is not just the filthy-rich-Wharton-MBA-catered-lunch-bad-business-decision-making corporate titans that need our money, it’s also the little guy that lost his job. Mom and pop who just had to hang the “closed” sign permanently on their cute, old-fashioned stationary store. So here is my offer to the United States of America:

Step 1: I am piling all the crap I don’t want anymore into a box. Potentially multiple boxes (depending on the size of the box)(No, I will not cut a hole in the box).

Step 2: I am going to give this box (or boxes) away.

Yes, that’s right. I am just going to give it away. I have been blessed to keep my job, so I don’t feel the need to profit off this extraordinarily generous offer. Potentially BILLIONS of dollars of goods are being simply given away by me. The lucky person (or persons) who receive this stimulus package will be able to do whatever they want with everything in the box (or boxes). Keep it, eat it, store it, throw it at Obama, throw it at Bush, or even SELL IT. Yes that’s right, sell it. America was built on the little guy’s wife making aprons and the little guy selling them in the street for a profit. The beauty of my stimulus package is that the woman is not enslaved to making aprons. I’m giving them to you for FREE!!! (legal notice: no promise of aprons being in the box is made) You can choose to sell the box as a whole for some obscenely high price, or you can break it apart just like a Wall Street M&A mogul and sell off the pieces to make even more! The sky is your oyster when it comes to my stimulus package.

I know what you might be thinking, but no, you have to be dead before you can be deemed a saint. Good luck America. I will do my part. I just hope everyone else will follow my lead.

Special Addendum: I am pleased to hear that my economic stimulus package has sparked others to do the same. However, I am getting reports of difficulty with Step 2. Allow me to offer a few tips that may help make this a bit easier:

1. Carry box with you to a street corner. Look for a car that was made prior to 1993 (most cars built after this year have doors that automatically lock once in the car). When such a car comes to a stop, open the passenger side or back seat door (for more details see Grand Theft Auto IV), then throw the box into the car. Shut the door and run away. If you hear loud honking, that’s just their way of saying “Thanks fellow American!”

2. Dress up like a Publix employee. Bring the box to Publix and place it underneath the bags at a cashier’s lane. When you start bagging someone’s groceries, first place the box in the cart, then place the groceries on top of the box. Just imagine how thrilled they will be about your economic stimulus package when they get home! Go get ‘em Joe America!

3. Next time your mailman comes around, bring the box down with you to greet him. Give him a hug and thank him profusely for serving our country. When he goes to the mailbox flustered, place the box inside the mail truck. Be sure you have taped the box up with USPS-approved masking tape and write “Anybody” in Sharpie on the top. Who knows who will get the package. Lucky bastard.

25 THINGS I WOULD NOT BUY ON THE INTERNET – CRAIGSLIST EXCLUDED

September 16th, 2009 | Full Page

1. Laughing gas
2. Weaponry
3. Bacon
4. Kidneys
5. All-You-Can-Eat Thrashers Tickets
6. All-You-Can-Eat Braves Tickets
7. Money
8. Pets, particularly birds
9. Anything from someone named “Scooter”
10. Anything from someone with an online nickname that includes “sexi” or “dajim”
11. A Piano
12. More bacon
13. Over 20 pounds of bananas
14. Winter Olympic Tickets … been there done that, not a pleasant experience
15. Trees
16. Potting soil
17. Anything that involves more than one scoop of packing peanuts
18. A penis mightier
19. Brides from Russia
20. Live Maine lobster
21. Perishable food items
22. Snuggies
23. Tater mitts
24. Advice regarding Rules To A Flat Stomach (especially from someone wearing a pink, argyle, tank top)
25. Plates with some historical figure’s face painted on it