Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bad TV Made Me Do It

When I was in college, I went with a bunch of my buddies to camp out on some property near Kokomo, Indiana.  We did what you'd expect a bunch of college dudes to do on a camp out - we drank a bunch, passed out in our tents, then got up and ate breakfast at my buddy's parents'  house.  When that was done - when the stale, cheap beer was farted/shat out, there was interest in target shooting with some hand guns.  I said no thanks and opted to stay in and watch TV - hardly a surprise to anyone who knows me as I have no use for guns.  Heck, I actively hate guns.  There was no way I was going to participate no matter how much ribbing I had to suffer.

I found myself staring blankly at the TV after about fifteen minutes.  Laps and laps around the channels, nothing but soul-sucking trash.  I couldn't find anything on those channels that engaged any part of me in the slightest way.  I was so bored/annoyed that I actually went out and joined the shooters in the cornfield.  It was the first (and only) time in my life I have ever fired a handgun, a device that dispenses only tragedy from it's barrel.*  And bad TV drove me to do it.

Fast forward to 2013.  Our household doesn't have cable; we pretty much just get the public TV channels.  Our current DSL set up delivers speeds too shitty to think about streaming, but with Netflix DVDs to compliment the public TV channels, we don't feel like we're wanting for anything.  There's no need or desire to "upgrade" to cable or satellite (although one day, that DSL is going to have to be upgraded).

But as anyone who listens to public radio or watches public TV knows, at some point you have to suffer through the cursed pledge drive.  Sometimes, this is okay - they might break out some of their best stuff to try and attract donors.  I remember one night watching a great nature documentary followed by Scorsese's Bob Dylan documentary.  It was an excellent, enlightening night.  Tonight, however, was not one of those nights.  Tonight was lots of white dudes in patterned sweaters telling me what I'd get for pledging at the $120 level.  Tonight was Julia Childs.  (Her food looks amazing; I just can't get into her shows for some reason.)  Tonight was a Frontline that I had already seen, and I was too tired to be worked up by it.  We were out of luck on Netflix DVDs because the next batch of new DVDs hadn't arrived yet.  I couldn't talk my wife into watching one of my favorite movies for the millionth time.  I decided to chuck it all and play bass.  I know - I shocked myself with that decision too.

I started by drilling with a metronome and was bored with that in about 15 minutes.  I decide to do a "shoot around":  picking songs from my computer and learning them/playing along with them.  I figured this would last another 15 mins and I'd get pissed off because I couldn't figure out something.  I imagined I'd be in bed before 10 PM.

I am delighted to have been wrong.  Every time I do a shoot around, I wonder why I don't do it more often. It's incredibly enjoyable.  I don't take it too seriously - I'm only looking to have fun.  I finish feeling energized having played bass on some great songs by some great bands.  I learn a little something and my chops get slightly better.  My mood is light and I can go to bed feeling like I didn't waste my night.  I gotta do this more often\lesson learned for the hundredth time.  If you're a musician (or aspire to be a musician), you've gotta do this now and again.  It's a helluva way to blow off steam.

Here's what tonight's shoot around encompassed:

* - I haven't had a desire to shoot a gun since then, and that was the last time I've shot any fire arm.  (Something like 15-20 years.)  That being said, I have to admit it was kinda fun.

[UPDATED] The Asia song is now linked to the correct video.  Even if you hate that song/band, you should watch the video.  It's hilariously bad.


  1. Judge me all you want, but that Passion Pit song is pretty awesome.

    1. I agree, Paul. Lots of 80s awesomeness with a modern sensibility. Freaking great song.