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Introducing a new podcast: High Resolution Life

I decided as a sort of “decade” resolution to start a podcast!

The topic or niche is almost a journal type deal; but not exactly. I want to share topics and things that I find interesting, and share those insights with you. So sometimes it may be classical music, sometimes it may be art, sometimes it may be history, sometimes it may be a short story about my own life.

This first episode introduces a little bit about me, where the podcast is beginning, and where I intend for the podcast to go.

Take a listen and let me know what you think!


Bad day? Here’s the time I rear ended someone’s car while laughing at talk radio

I’m a firm believer in never taking yourself too seriously. I know if I did, I would be one depressed puppy. If you’re having a bad day, welcome to this blog post. I’m happy to have one of my entirely airheaded moments help you laugh and find the strength to carry on (I say that tongue in cheek).

I’m a top graduate from a world renowned university (we are!), certainly by no means unintelligent… But, sometimes, my lack of brains never ceases to amaze me. I could cry about it and curse myself, or I could laugh. Laughing is more fun, so I choose the latter. I hope you laugh at it too and have a little more fun in this limited time we have on this crazy and bizarre planet.

Right before all this stuff went down with stay at home orders at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, I was making a visit to the gym. I flicked on talk radio, something I don’t ordinarily do, because I was trying to soak up some information about this impending pandemic situation. The rest of the stations were just Top-40 music loops.

The only thing I was able to find was Michael Savage, on one of the local radio stations. He was warning listeners about how people need to take Covid-19 seriously, and he was sneering at the fact that the political pundit Sean Hannity was downplaying the seriousness of the virus.

As I was happening upon this conversation, I was making a left turn onto Union Ave in Altoona. It’s a sharp right turn off of the exchange passing historic downtown Altoona; and your have to stop at a stop sign look to traffic coming behind you to the left before you merge onto Union Ave.

I look to the left, and know there’s a stop sign, but my brain is used to a car not being there ahead of me. As I’m checking for cars further up on Union Ave, Michael Savage, in his raucous fervor that he always rabbles on his radio show, proclaims that Sean Hannity is a “wallbanger” and graduated from “wallbanger university,” a pointed insult to Mr. Hannity’s intelligence.

Others describe me as a nice person, but I love a good insult. I love a good, unique, not oft heard insult on top of it. Wallbanger means other off-color things, but this is Michael Savage’s completely unique insult reserved for Sean Hannity; so unique, that it is listed with Michael Savage as the author as his unique insult for Sean Hannity. He even made it onto Urban Dictionary.

Anyway, stupid me, I start cracking up at this, not even because I agree or disagree, it’s just a hilariously unique insult. I was so entertained that I kept looking up Union Ave and not ahead to the guy in a Honda sitting at a stop sign.

CLUNK.

My heart momentarily stopped – my airbags didn’t go off, thankfully, I just heard that disgusting “clunk” that means you rear-ended someone as you were driving. Ugh, I didn’t even have a good reason for rear ending someone! I wasn’t having any kind of emergency, my brakes didn’t go out, I wasn’t arguing with someone on the phone, I wasn’t texting and driving.

I was the ultimate nerd.

NERD.

I was laughing at talk radio!

Are you KIDDING me?!

So, it figures, I had rear-ended a guy in a Honda SUV, the Honda was about as old as my SUV. He comes out all ticked off and angrily snarfing about how I wasn’t paying attention and pointing out how I put a crack in one of the reflectors, and I tried to convince him to calm down. What calmed him down was seeing that more damage was done to the front of my car. (He was probably a little satisfied). My Penn State plate was bend up and the license plate holder had cracked. I was relieved it wasn’t worse. But this was still rather embarrassing.

We agreed to meet somewhere up the street and pulled into a parking lot and exchanged insurance information, and I had told him how my biggest worry was how much my dad was going to either be angry or laugh at me for the reason I had rear ended somebody. The guy chuckled a bit (probably glad it wasn’t going to be him), and he assured me my dad should be understanding and that accidents happen.

This whole fiasco happened while I was on my way to the gym, so I finally arrived at the gym and made the dreaded call to my dad. Of course, at first, he was grouchy and wondered how I managed to rear-end someones car. I told him it was because I was laughing at talk radio.

Yeah, he found it hilarious. Not quite sure how I’ll ever live that one down. So, if you’re having a bad day, I guarantee your day was just about as bad as the one I had that day – or you are at least a smidge more intelligent, or not as easily amused when you’re listening to talk radio while you drive. (Like, really?)

By the way. I don’t listen to talk radio while I drive anymore.


From home back to… Home

If you’re like anyone else in the rest of the world right now, you’ve probably been sentenced to a life that will have to be lived at home. For some of us, this is a bit of a chore. For the other part of us, this isn’t so bad. Some of you may be the extroverted types (like me) that have to fight the temptation to chat it up with your mailman or talk the ear off of the grocery store cashier while you’re out getting your essentials. If you’re an introvert, you might not find this to be too bad, but you’re taxed with a bit of anxiety about a world free of extroverts out there making the world a safer place for you.

It’s not easy for either sides of the social orientation aisle at this time. Truth be told, I can understand dreading being at home for so long, especially if there are things in your heart and mind that haven’t been sorted out. How comfortable you are at home reveals a lot about the state of your heart and mind. There was a time I didn’t like having to be at home, and it sometimes felt like a prison sentence.

It was a bit unusual for me to be at home for most of my childhood life. I still get questions about my schooling at that time and what affect it had on me later. At the time, I was very used to it, and also at times, I loved being able to lose a couple hours of my week playing video games and being closed off to the world. But by the time I hit 18 and 19, I wanted to get out there and make my mark in the world and certainly self actualize, and see what all those years at home had made of me.

Life in social isolation as a pianist, 2013

Surprise: the profession I chose to make myself something with was being a pianist. Most serious pianists have to spend a considerable amount of their time alone. In a practice room. Away from other people. Sometimes I absolutely enjoyed being cloistered away from others in a windowless white room with nothing but the piano and I. Other times, it was torturous and I wanted to be back out in the world and see what was going on without me.

After college and a rough patch in my mid 20’s, I was especially tired of being at home, facing memories, some nicely stowed away mountains of clutter and unfair judgments against myself for a life that was reasonably lived. I worked 5 jobs, found as much time as I could to socialize when I wasn’t working, and essentially only went home to sleep. I did this for about an 8 month time span.

Then, I needed a new job. It ended up being a work from home job. So, now, most of my time was, again – spent in isolation and working away from other people. This is something that happens to me over and over again in my life, and this past year, I was able to get some insight as to what this is as a concept. 

Apparently, it’s the concept of circumambulation from Carl Jung. I was struck by this idea from lectures by Dr. Jordan Peterson, and it occurred to me just shortly before the United States was introduced to the “invisible enemy” of COVID-19, that I have a recurring theme of learning to be comfortable with myself in isolation. Going back home, when I don’t have a choice in the matter, is my circumambulation of the self. I’m always forced to go back to what I consider to be home; which is always away from others.

“I began to understand that the goal of psychic development is the self.

There is no linear evolution; there is only a circumambulation of the self. Uniform development exists, at most, at the beginning; later, everything points toward the centre.

This insight gave me stability, and gradually my inner peace returned.”¹

I mean, I spent the first 18 years of my life mostly in my home. It wasn’t bad. It just was. It made me feel different being homeschooled. I was sick of being called the “different kid.” So, I was on a mission to prove my difference didn’t mean deficient. I accomplished that, and I liked being out in the world, so I wanted to stay out in the world.

Then the world decided hey! You’re going back into your house, mostly, in order to eventually get back out into the world. But then the world decided to put me back into my house so I can process these formative years of my life and prepare for whatever is to come. I’m like the rest of you. I’m not thrilled about having to be home. But for me, I knew it was coming, I knew this was a theme of my life that I’m familiar with, and I know there’s some big adventures and exciting turns in life waiting for me after COVID-19 is done with us.

The thing you might be avoiding when you hate being home, is yourself. That’s the only thing that’s been different for me in this return home. I’m pleased with the choices I’ve made and bettering myself in the last 3 years. I’ve earnestly tried the best I can, now I have an opportunity to stay home, think, and sharpen myself up to figure out how I’ll be a better version of myself once the world opens up again. I wouldn’t be so thrilled if I had been avoiding myself and things I could have been doing better over the past 3 years. 

There’s a big adventure and challenge waiting for us all after this is over. We should stop avoiding ourselves and those close to us to figure out how we’re going to rise to the occasion. Home isn’t a prison. It’s a safe place to regroup and start over.


¹“C.G. Jung: ‘There Is No Linear Evolution; There Is Only a Circumambulation of the Self…”.” Jung Currents, December 8, 2013. http://jungcurrents.com/jung-chartres-mandala.


Sunday Work, Oct 4, 2019

Had the chance to play one of my favorite hymns this past week! It’s not an easy one and actually worked on some techniques to improve my playing on it, but take a peek. It is a fun job to be an organist.


New Projects

Happy New Year! To start off the New Year, I will be looking at the roles of Curra and Preziosilla from the opera La Forza del Destino by G. Verdi to perform with Center Stage Opera. The Current Projects link has been updated to reflect the new roles under study.

There is also more exciting news on the way with my own professional development, please stay tuned for the official announcement! Have a wonderful beginning to 2017!