A series of events at the start of the year derailed my publishing schedule, and I had pretty much written off 2019 by the summer.
I usually write a few entries in one sitting, then dole them out over the course of a month. At my peak productivity, I stockpiled enough to last two months.
I lost that momentum and couldn’t get it back. Sometimes, I would come up with a story idea, only to realize I’d already written it. Other times, I felt restricted by the tag line of this blog: Music and memory. What if the memories keep rehashing the same story?
When I changed the focus of this site 5 years ago, I thought my days of discovering new music was behind me. What I didn’t anticipate was the amount of music from the past still unfamiliar to me.
So in 2020, I plan to tweak the focus of the site. I don’t know yet what that entails, but I know I want it to reflect my listening habits today.
If the Purchase Log entries of the past year have shown, I’ve done a lot of exploring, and I have a lot more to do.
For 10 months out of the year, I try to post entries every week on this blog. I give myself two months out of the year to take a break.
I’ve done pretty good in keeping with that pattern, but 2019 proved a bit disruptive. So here’s a personal overview of the first half of this year, which should explain why I haven’t been terribly productive.
I took a quick trip back home to Honolulu in January, and it was something of a surprise visit for both myself and my family.
I switched jobs in 2018, and for the first time in 7 years, I got a year-end bonus. It was sizable enough to pay for a plane ticket, and I went back home with one goal: to retrieve a stash of vinyl records my mom found in a box.
I hoped it was the mother lode — my brother’s collection, which contained albums by AC/DC, Prince, Madonna and other bands on which we don’t agree on matters of taste.
The stash did include a fraction of my brother’s albums, but it was mostly my dad’s collection of pre-rock era crooners. My sisters had bought a few albums, but they are completely lost.
I had hoped finding this stash would inspire me to explore my family’s relationship with music. I didn’t really reach any kind of revelation. In fact, the stash is still sitting in a corner of my apartment, mostly untouched since it arrived in the mail.
I did play through a number of my brother’s records. I thought they had warped a bit because most of them skipped. In fact, my needle needed changing, so I might play through them again.
February was an uneventful month, and the only month where I managed to prepare entries for March. It would be the only month I would produce any meaningful content for this site in the first half of the year.
I came down with the flu at the start of March 2019. At least, I exhibited flu-like symptoms, and while I received a shot back in October 2018, the Seattle area was hit with a strain not covered by this year’s vaccine.
At first, I thought I had recovered by the time Friends of the Library Book Sale happened in the middle of the month, but toward the end of the month, I had a relapse that kept my body temperature above 101 for four days.
The fever broke only days before I had to board a plane for a work function in Washington, DC. Once again, I thought I was well enough to go about normal life. I was mistaken.
When I landed in DC, I noticed a pain in my neck. I thought I twisted it. When it persisted by the third day of my trip, I discovered a lump by a lymph node. I remember a similar kind of lump during college, and it turned out to be a bacterial infection that could be treated with antibiotics.
I took ibuprofen all week to deal with the pain until I could return to Seattle and get an opinion from my primary care physician.
I didn’t make it that far.
By the end of the week, I had lost my voice, and swallowing food was difficult. The lump had grown. I went to a clinic, and the practitioner told me to go to the emergency room at Virginia Medical Center in Arlington. She was concerned the lump would start to block my air passage.
So I took the DC Metro to the ER. The doctors did a CAT scan. They didn’t like what they saw. I was admitted into intensive care and stayed in the hospital for three days.
I missed my flight back to Seattle.
My company rallied around me till I was well enough to fly back two days after I was discharged. The antibiotics did the trick, but boy, I was wiped out for the next two weeks. I did, however, regain enough of my strength for a trip to London I had booked last year.
When I planned my London trip, I thought I would be in normal health to handle another trip three weeks later to Austin for the record convention. I so I booked that as well.
I hadn’t planned on getting sick and falling behind on work.
While the trip was also restorative, it pretty much meant I would neglect this site for yet another month. Between recovery and travel, I had little time and no energy to write.
So now we’re here in June 2019. Of the past six months, only one has had regularly-scheduled posts. To be honest, I’ve rather enjoyed time away from this site, but I do feel self-conscious for post nothing but Purchase Log entries.
That got me thinking about my recent listening habits. The volume of albums I acquire from week to week has resulted in much shallower listening. Before 2012, I bought fewer albums but listened to them a lot more deeply.
I’ve found myself juggling multiple story ideas without the time or energy to turn any of them into something readable.
I’m not going to promise an actual return to regular updates. It will happen when it happens. My calendar, however, has cleared up significantly. No more flights for the rest of the year. I’m honestly tired of airports.
So any return to regularly scheduled updates would happen in the second half of this year. I’m still trying to catch my breath from the first half.
It looks like the January break is going to last for a bit longer.
At the start of January, I took a trip home to inspect a box of records my mom discovered. It turned out to be most of my dad’s records and a fraction of my brother’s collection. My two sisters’ meager collections were nowhere to be found.
I shipped everything worth taking. (A number of Disney storybook records were unsalvageable.) Alas, I had run out of shelf space to accommodate the new arrivals.
So I spent a weekend assembling new shelves and moving old shelves around, all the while listening to some my brother’s penchant for hard rock and light metal.
By the time I was finished organizing everything, the month had ended. So I’ve written nothing, but I’ve listened to a lot.
And I’ll share it with you once I make sense of it.
That sure was a lot of writing I did in November and December. So much so that I’m taking a break for the month of January. Purchase Log entries will continue in the interim, but new entries begin again in February.
I don’t write about my music projects here on Musicwhore.org because that’s not the intent of the site. It’s all about other people’s music that I admire.
But I have to say I’m really proud of the album I released at the end of March.
It’s titled Travis, and most of the songs were written around the time I was preparing to leave Austin, emotionally if not physically.
I actually finished recording it back in 2016, but I had other things I wanted to release before then. So I’ve had two years to live with the finished product, and it’s so far the best-sounding album I’ve recorded. Upgrading some components of my home studio to use a better class of software helped a lot.
I also stretched my abilities as a self-taught audio engineer, relying slightly less on computers to make up for my faults as a musician.
Somehow I managed to keep up a publishing schedule through one of the busiest quarter’s I’ve encountered in my remedial academic career. Yes, that’s right — I’ve been juggling school, work, music projects and this blog.
So now it’s time to recharge a bit and give 2018 a chance to unfold its musical offerings.
Musicwhore.org is going on a break for the month of January. That is, I’ll take time in January to write new entries that I hadn’t been writing in December. And those new entries won’t show up till February.