Paul Gilbert : The Everyman’s Guitar Hero

It’s been close to 30 years so my memory may not serve me correctly, but somewhere in the vicinity of the spring of 1989 I got to see and meet Mr. Big guitarist Paul Gilbert. Why do you care? “Paul who? The Mr. Big dude? Yeah, so what?” Will you please let me finish? Thank you. So in the spring of 1989 my guitar teacher heard that Paul Gilbert was doing a guitar clinic at the now defunct Music Spectrum in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Spectrum was the who’s who or what’s what of local music stores. Neal Peart got kits from this place(check some of the late 70s/early 80s Rush albums for the liner notes “thank yous” to MS.) Gilbert was touring the country doing clinics at various music stores for Ibanez, and my guitar teacher Tim Bushong had the forethought to load a few of his in-training guitar slingers into his car and drive us 50 minutes to see Gilbert do some shredding. My older brother at the time was taking lessons from Tim as well, so it turned into a big brother/little brother bonding experience.

Photo courtesy of Paradise Artists

So to give you a little history into Paul Gilbert. Gilbert was from a small suburb outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was born in 1966, and by the time he was 15 years old he’d sent a tape to Shrapnel Records owner Mike Varney about auditioning for Ozzy Osbourne. Varney was blown away by the 15 year old from Pennsylvania. Gilbert moved to Los Angeles and attended GIT(Guitar Institute of Technology) and by the time he was 19 he was an instructor there. Soon after he joined the metal band Racer X and put out some premier shred albums. But in 1989 he left Racer X and formed Mr. Big with Billy Sheehan, Eric Martin, and Pat Torpey.

I owned one Racer X cassette. Second Heat was the one Gilbert album in my collection, and to be honest it was just okay. His playing was out of this world good, but musically it just wasn’t my thing. It was too heavy for its own good, in my opinion. Most of the Shrapnel Records roster was like that. Guys that grew up on Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, and most of the AOR-ready rock we hear on classic rock stations now, but in order to show off the speed and neoclassical riffs the band pumped up the metal. When I’d read that Gilbert was in a new band with David Lee Roth’s bassist Billy Sheehan I was pretty excited to hear what they would do.

So on a Thursday evening my brother and I headed to Fort Wayne with our guitar teacher, along with a couple other students, to Music Spectrum to see Paul Gilbert in the flesh and hear some virtuosic guitar playing and mentoring. We arrived and the place was packed. There wasn’t any open carpet anywhere in the place. Mulleted teens and men alike(even a few guitar-slinging chicks if I remember correctly) filled the place to its capacity. Gilbert had a stool set up in the front, along with a 4-track cassette recorder and some PA speakers.  I didn’t know what to expect from the guy, really. I guessed by the looks of him he was maybe my brother’s age(he’s actually a year older than my brother, born in 1966), but I’d never seen any interviews with him. After an introduction and some energetic clapping Gilbert walked to the front with his Ibanez guitar and so began the clinic.

Now I can’t remember specifics, so I’ll hit some highlights:

Gilbert played some pretty eye-popping licks for us all to guffaw at. There was a portion of “Name That Tune” where Paul displayed his array of music history knowledge. During this part my brother yelled out and correctly guessed The Beatles’ “Martha My Dear”, to which Gilbert was impressed. Gilbert also previewed a track from the debut Mr. Big album which hadn’t been released yet. With the 4-track cassette player, he played the backing tracks to “Addicted To That Rush” and perfectly followed along with the rest of the band trapped in the confines of the multi-track recorder. I believe there was a Q&A as well, but I can’t quite recall(a lot has happened in 30 years.) It ended with everyone getting in line so they could personally meet Gilbert and get his autograph. I brought along that copy of Second Heat and Paul kindly signed it. One of Tim’s other students brought his Ibanez guitar and Gilbert signed the back of the guitar neck. I thought that was kind of ridiculous, but whatever.

I walked away from that guitar clinic a fan of not only Paul Gilbert’s guitar playing, but of Paul Gilbert the dude. He came across like someone my brother might’ve hung out with and brought over to the house to listen to tunes with. The guy was as relaxed sitting in a room playing and chatting in front of a room full of hungry wanna-be guitar heroes as he would’ve been had he been chatting in a living room with a couple friends, strumming on his six-string. There was no pretentious, “I’m better than you” attitude coming from this guy at all, yet he’d earned it by being one of the best guitarists in the world at the time.

I went on to buy that first Mr. Big album and thought it was a great mix of superior pop hooks, prodigious playing, and pristine metal-lite that could be played loudly in one’s bedroom or on a family trip in the car without any strange looks from the parental units. The guitar/bass combo of Gilbert and Sheehan was a force to be reckoned with. Pat Torpey was a great drummer in his own right, while singer Eric Martin had the perfect mix of sweet and gruff in his voice as to pull off both great pop melodies and the come hither swagger needed to be a proper late-80s rock outfit. I bought their 1991 follow up Lean Into It as well and that one topped the debut. It had the acoustic singalong “To Be With You” on it, but the highlights were “Green Tinted Sixties Mind” and the hefty “Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy(The Electric Drill Song). That album made Mr. Big a household name(sort of), and I played that album for the most of junior and senior year.

And then that was it…for me, at least.

Seattle took over and I discovered The Kinks, Procol Harum, and Brit pop. The urge to be a guitar slinger was tampered by the urge to be a songwriter. The Shrapnel Records cassettes I’d amassed were designated to an old shoe box, along with those late-80s hard rock cassettes. CDs were in and so was a new era of music for me.

But I never forgot about Paul Gilbert. Despite changing tastes over the years, I’ve always liked Gilbert and his playing. I’d look into what he was doing every once in a while, but it wasn’t until last year that I’d really starting digging into my guitar slinger past and found a treasure trove of Paul Gilbert videos on Youtube. For the past 30 years Paul Gilbert has never stopped making music or doing guitar clinics. In the many that I’ve watched, these videos show a guy that’s never stopped loving playing for people. He seems to still be that 17-year old kid from the suburbs of Pittsburgh playing UFO covers in his room, or excitedly playing his guitar with an electric drill. He still has that urge to share and show others what he’s learned. He still comes across as a dude coming by the house to listen to records and jam in the basement. I love that.

I think one of my favorite videos that I’ve discovered is of Gilbert on a Japanese game show where guitarists name a band and another guitarist has to name the guitar player in that band and then play a portion of one of their songs in that guitarist’s style. It was Paul Gilbert, Marty Friedman, and a Japanese guitar player. Gilbert pretty much ruled the game. To me it shows just how much Paul Gilbert loves music in general.

I won’t be on a buying spree for Mr. Big and Paul Gilbert albums(at least not yet.) But it’s great I can jump into the wayback machine while watching his instructional videos or live performances and be reminded once again how much I like the guy. And you should check out his most recent album, Stone Pushing Uphill Man. It’s mostly instrumental cover versions of some of his favorite songs. It’s pretty great. His cover of The Police’s “Murder By Numbers” is particularly awesome.

 

Tea Leaf Dancers and the Bonus Beat

Flying Lotus, aka Steve Ellison, has been somewhat of an obsession of mine for the past couple of years. His beats are like these liquid-y flows that carry psychedelic melodies through the ether. His music is transformative. There seems to be a constant state of movement and reforming. It’s hip hop-based, for sure. But as his albums have progressed there’s a sense of jazz free form composing going on. It’s electronic music, but it sounds organic. Even the weirder stuff seems like if you threw it into the earth it would act as compost and come back as something newer, greener, and heartier. I also think that for a lot of folks only about 25% of what Ellison makes is something you’d want to hit repeat on. Maybe 20%. Me? I went all in with Flying Lotus after I bought You’re Dead! back in 2014. It was so out there at times, yet the underlying rhythms kept me going back. It’s like Ellison is the Zappa or Beefheart of the electronic/hip hop/breakbeat world. J Dilla kept it mostly with beats and groove, where Flying Lotus took it one(or two or three) steps further by adding this alien personality in it.

I’m sure I’ve said all this before in previous rants, so sorry.

This time I’m here to say that if you were ever on the fence with Flying Lotus or you prefer him in smaller doses, then the Reset EP is for you. I saw this one sitting at my local record store for the longest time and wondered if I should pick it up. I hadn’t done much research on it and wasn’t sure if it was an EP or single. Turned out it was Ellison’s debut with Warp Records and it came out a few months before his excellent Los Angeles(another album I think the “on the fence” crowd would really dig as a whole.) So a couple months back I grabbed Reset EP and am glad I did.

There’s not much to it, really. It’s 6 tracks and they’re spread over two sides of a 12″. What it lacks in songs, it makes up for in quality songs. “Tea Leaf Dancers” is a sultry, groove-heavy track complete with soulful vocals by Andreya Triana. Strangely enough I could hear a certain Thom Yorke singing this one, too. It snakes along at its own pace. This one really shows the genius in Ellison’s approach to building a beat and committing with some serious melody. “Vegas Collie” is just an absolute killer beat. It’s seems to be unraveling and reforming before your very ears. Wonky sounds and video game noises come in and out of the mix. It’s one of those tracks you see some slow motion kung fu fighting happening as this blasts your ear holes. “Massage Situation” is more languid grooves and expertly placed vocal samples. “Spicy Sammich” sounds like a galactic jungle rhythm Miles Davis might’ve dreamt up in a fever dream. It’s very moody and dark before the snare kicks in and things get very street level. “Bonus Beat” has a video game quality to it, like something Ellison would’ve come up with for his Cartoon Network music montages. “Dance Floor Stalker” sounds like its name. You can almost picture some weirdo heading out on the dance floor looking for some unsuspecting victim to gyrate next to. It’s a quirky 808 beat with wonky noises laid out throughout. Perfect way to end a debut.

Like I said, within months of this EP Flying Lotus released his second Warp Records release, the excellent Los Angeles. Reset EP is very much in the vein of that album. Ellison had yet to truly fly his freak flag on this one. Here he’s honing his beatmaking skills to the nth degree. It’s a swift shot of liquid beats and organic clicks and clacks with some serious street grit and groove.

Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a spicy sammich with my name on it waiting for me.

 

 

Not Enough Room In My Head

Sometimes it takes awhile for an album to find it’s rightful spot in my brain. It’s not necessarily a “grower” kind of album, as it may immediately be catchy and enjoyable, but sometimes there’s just not enough room in my head for those songs to live and breathe. Or maybe I may not be in the right emotional spot to really dig what’s coming at me at that moment. Or maybe five albums hit in one week and I didn’t really have enough table time with a record so it gets shelved prematurely. The latter is sadly usually the case. That’s the case for Craft Spells’ Nausea, anyways.

I first got into Craft Spells back in 2012 when I heard their Captured Tracks debut Idle Labor. That year I found myself in the throes of a pretty heavy shoegaze/dream pop/post-punk bender and Captured Tracks were putting out all the fixes I needed for that musical addiction. Idle Labor seemed to be this mix of early 80s sounds; stuff you would’ve heard on early Depeche Mode, New Order, IRS, and 4AD releases that your big brother tried hiding from you. Craft Spells, aka Justin Vallesteros, was mining some pretty heavy hitters in order to create his own version of those essential records that came out prior to Reagan’s second term. For me, there was this air of upbeatedness(I trademarked this word last week, btw) that I loved. Vallesteros played all the instruments and his voice was a smooth tenor that delivered these pop-centric tunes with an air of maturity. You felt like you had found some lost album from the neon era, as opposed to some young turk that rummaged through his parents old college records and made his own version.

Fast forward to 2014 and the release of Craft Spells Nausea. 2014 was a crazy year for me. Not like bad crazy or anything, but just crazy. The wife got a new job where she was traveling quite a bit, so I was home with the kids in the summer a lot while mom was down in North Carolina and Kentucky. I’d discovered Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast, which took up many of my afternoons of working out and mowing the lawn, and it was generally a pretty great year for music in my world. The War On Drugs, Real Estate, The Night Terrors, Jakob Skott, Jonas Munk, and a bevy of other heavy hitters put out some of my favorite albums of that year. I preordered the Captured Tracks limited edition version of Nausea when I saw it come up for sale, since I’m weak-kneed when it comes to phrases like “limited edition”, “special edition”, “preorder”, and “limited quantities”. The album arrived and I listened to it a couple times, enjoying it, but then it just sort of got pushed to the side as more goodness showed up in the mail. It eventually made its way into the vault where it sat for nearly three years…until now.

At work on a whim I found Nausea on one of those streaming music sites the kids are always talking about and listened to it whilst doing work things. With the whole job situation getting increasingly stressful I needed something to pull me out of it all. Opening track “Nausea” is this easy, breezy, and calming track that feels like a cross between Alan Parsons Project and OMD on tranquilizers. It has a slow motion quality to it that pulls you into its world. Vallesteros’ voice is really quite perfect for this kind of musical trip. He has an Eric Woolfson thing going on, but without all the melancholy. This track never hit me quite like it has lately. “Komorebi” keeps that vibe going to stunning effect. One of the biggest changes from Idle Labor to Nausea is that Vallesteros has replaced his “guy recording by himself” M.O. with a full band scenario in the studio and it suits him perfectly. There’s a real 70s quality to this album. “Komorebi” is this lush, dreamy track that has the sonic heft of Steely Dan with the wistful vibes of something I can’t quite put my finger on. “Dwindle” sounds like The Smiths in their latter years, before it all came to an end. Vallesteros isn’t quite the drama queen that Morrissey is, but he creates plenty of mood to go on. “Twirl” is a fun little number that grooves and shakes like Tigermilk-era Belle and Sebasitian. It’s a perfect summer day kind of song. “Breaking the Angle Against the Tide” has a bit of that old, dream pop vibe that Craft Spells lived in on Idle Labor, but with a lusher, fuller sound. It’s a great mixture of the musical worlds Justin Vallesteros loves to create in. “Still Fields(October 10, 1987)” is the piano-driven closer. For me, this hints at what Vallesteros could do in the future, which would be film scoring. It has such a cinematic feel to it. It’s quiet, emotive, and full of feeling. I could see this playing over the beginning or ending of a film. Perfect outro music, really.

I’m glad music works on us the way it does. We can’t force it to fit our emotional needs when it’s convenient for us. Sometimes it takes awhile to sink in. Craft Spells’ Nausea wasn’t meant to move me back in 2014. It was meant to move me in 2017. It’s a lush and beautiful album that’s subtle in its impact. It’s my go-to record in the mornings at work now. It silences the noise of frustration and lets me get to it.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

 

 

Flyover State Of Mind

So you guys fans of podcasts? Oh yeah? So am I! I love having someone’s voice in my head besides the one that tells me to order records online and drink one more beer. That voice usually fools me into thinking those are good ideas. At least with a podcast I can get lost in someone else’s thoughts for a bit. Hear an interesting interview, story, or just hear a perspective on things I may not have been familiar with before.

Well a good friend of mine asked me if I’d ever consider doing a podcast. At first I thought that the idea was appealing, but that trying to get people to come down in my basement and chat it up for an hour would be daunting. And worse yet, the idea of sitting downstairs and talking into a microphone by myself seemed even sadder. So I suggested to my friend we should try and make a podcast together. What have we got to lose? Our dignity? Shit, we lost that years ago. Besides, at this point in life we could care a less how foolish we look to people(we really do care…I lied.)

So last Saturday my friend Jason came over to the house and we headed down to the studio and talked into a couple mics for a bit. The result is here, our first ever episode of our podcast, Flyover State. It’s two middle aged dudes talking about whatever comes to mind. Subjects may include weird dreams, favorite albums, aliens, Bigfoot, favorite war films, Kurt Vonnegut, Humanism, David Cronenberg, high school trauma, and so much more.

Jason and I usually have some sort of epic conversation every time we get together, so we figured why not just record these conversations and share them with the world? We’ve got nothing better to do on a Sunday morning.

So click that link above and head over to Flyover State’s blog page and hit play. Here us chat it up. And hey, share some of your weird dreams with us. That’s our next topic of discussion. Email us at flyoverstate2017@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you.

We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled program tomorrow. 

A Year On The Mend

It was a year ago today that my wife drove us an hour east on a rainy, dreary morning to Parkview Hospital for my back surgery. It doesn’t seem possible it’s been that long. It seems like it was just a couple months ago I was waiting for that day to come, both anticipating and fearing it. Taking Norcos and muscle relaxers and sitting in the basement making mixtapes and listening to Flying Lotus, Madlib, and j dilla’s Donuts. I would sit wondering that cold March if I’d ever walk right again. The pressure on my spinal nerve had caused numbness that ran down my leg to the top of my right foot. It also gave me a “drop foot”, which basically means I walked like Igor in Young Frankenstein. Before the severe pain started, I assumed it was just a pinched nerve that would work its way out. I still tried working out(like an idiot.) I attempted to do all those normal things I was doing before the numbness began. I tried stretches, yoga poses, and willing my foot to WAKE UP! But on February 15th of 2016 the numbness turned to sharp, bitter pain that shot me out of bed in the middle of the night. After a day of that I went to a convenience clinic first thing in the morning and thanks to the quick action of the doctor on call, she got me into the hospital for a cat scan. That revealed a herniated disc in my lower back, between my L4 and L5. What that meant was physical therapy or a cortisone shot would be worthless in helping me. A visit to a spinal orthopedic surgeon a week later confirmed the herniated disc and got me a front row seat for the big show. A discectomy was in my future.

Surgery. That word scared the hell out of me. I spent the month of March numbing the pain, working with restrictions, getting my medical leave set up, and spinning records on the weekends. I was relieved I knew what the problem was and that there was a plan of action to fix the problem, but I hadn’t quite heard a bunch of positive stories regarding back surgery. In fact, I didn’t know anyone that had a great experience. Just terrible ones. I couldn’t go on the way I was, so I didn’t really have a choice.

So on March 31st, 2016, my wife drove me on a dreary Thursday morning to Fort Wayne, Indiana for this thing called a discectomy(They basically make an 8″ incision in my lower back, go in, and cut out the portion of my lumbar disc that was protruding from the spine and pinching the nerve. Sew the disc back up and close me up. Nothing was implanted. It was, by surgery standards, pretty cut and dry.) I waited in a room in a hospital gown with my wife and mom and dad while the TV played some terrible show while everyone nervously made small talk. Pretty soon, they came for me and wheeled me off. While en route to the operating room they started an IV and I quickly began to go out. Next thing I knew I was groggily waking up in recovery. The surgery was successful. No complications, though my disc was in worse shape than the doc first thought. I was carted to our car in a wheelchair and we were home bound.

Those first three days home were a bit rough, but I had a wife and three kids that took good care of me. It was spring break, so the kids were all home. We watched a lot of movies, read a lot of books, listened to a lot of records, and generally took it easy. I was also iced up for most of the week. The hospital gave me this contraption that looked like a back brace you wrap around your torso that had tubing inside of it, which was attached to a box you filled with ice and water. The icy water flowed up into the tubes and it was the most wonderful feeling ever. Really, it was fantastic.

Three weeks I was home healing. A month after surgery I was walking two miles a day. Six months after surgery I was running. Eight months after surgery I could stretch properly once again. A year later, it’s as if I never had a back problem. The only evidence is an 8″ scar on my lower back. I’ll occasionally feel the scar and I’m still amazed that I went through it all. Amazed I was taken care of as well as I was by the doctors, nurses, technicians, and pharmacists. I’m grateful for my family and friends that gave me support when I needed it. Hell, even my dog kept me company while I sat on the couch wondering if I’d ever heal up. You learn a lot about humility when you’re put into a vulnerable position like that. When your wife has to wake you up every couple of hours to ice you up or give you a pain pill. I’m usually the caregiver in the house. I’m the one cooking dinners, mowing the lawn, picking up the house, and buying the groceries. When all of a sudden you have to stop all of that it can be a jarring experience(really, it is.) Letting those responsibilities go is a hard thing. Of course, when you get ’em back you’re like “I missed this?”

So one year ago today I had back surgery. Happy to say things turned out pretty damn well. I now know at least one person who’s got a positive back surgery story: me. Now you do, too.

Weird Dream

The alarm went off at 4:20am and I quickly realized I needed an extra 20 minutes of shut eye, so I hit the snooze and quickly went back under.

Next thing I know I’m at my aunt’s old two-story house that she hasn’t lived in close to ten years now. We’re all standing around looking out of the picture window on the second floor. My grandma was there, as was my mom, wife, and my kids. My grandma has been dead for over 6 years now and my kids were all little in the dream. It was some sort of impromptu family get together. I was holding a bowl of soup, which consisted of a dark broth and pieces of a pine tree. The door opened downstairs so I went down to see who it was. It was my aunt, the one whose house we were at. She told me there was some sort of strange animal on the porch and that my dad had shot it. She said he walked back his house to put the gun away and he’d be back. I quickly went over to the window to look at the animal(she said the name of this particular creature but I can’t recall what she called it.) I saw this furry creature that looked like a cross between a koala bear and a beetle slowly crawling along the porch. I followed it along the window and when I got close to the porch door there was a monkey starting in at me. I was shocked because, well, why was there a monkey on the porch of a house in downtown Plymouth, Indiana? I then realized the wall was completely glass, so it looked as if the monkey could come right in. I yelled upstairs and said “Hey! There’s a monkey on the porch. The kind you’d see at the zoo! Look out the window!” It looked like a cross between a kapuchin and a lemur. A demonic Zoboomafoo sort of. It quickly stood up on it’s legs and started walking away. It jumped down off the porch and quickly grew to the size of a full grown man. Like 6’5″ tall and it was suddenly wearing a clown outfit. Just then two more jumped off the roof of the house, one as tall as the first one and another that was shorter. All of them were dressed as clowns and they began walking down towards my parents house where my dad was. I knew their dog would start barking and going crazy so I tried calling their phone number in my aunt’s kitchen on an old rotary phone to warn him not to answer the door. I kept dialing one number wrong and would have to retry. Then once I dialed it I realized I had to dial the area code for some reason, even though they were just two houses down. I looked to my right and my dad was standing right there next to me. I said “I was trying to call you to warn you about those monkey clowns.” “I just got here.”

Then the alarm went off.

I think the Frosted Mini Wheats I ate as a snack before bed might have been laced with PCP.

Memory Upgrade

So sometimes your memory betrays you. Okay, most of the time your memory betrays you. Like for example, how you may remember an argument with an old friend that caused a riff between the two of you. When you finally have that heart to heart and discuss things you realize you remembered things all wrong. That friend didn’t actually say what you thought they said. Or you watched a movie as a kid and you remembered it a certain way for 25 years. When you go back and watch that same movie as an adult you realized the ending in your head was all wrong. Even how you remember a person. My grandma died over 6 years ago. I think I remember how her voice sounded, and her laugh. But I don’t have anything to go on anymore. No old home movies or answering machine messages saved. I’m going on those pieces still lodged in my brain. A couple phone conversations just a few weeks before she died, and a visit to her house just a month before she was gone.

It’s all I got, so I have to run with it. Try to keep it fresh and glowing, like stoking embers in a fire. Once it’s out it’s out. No more kindling to throw on the fire.

There’s no lesson here I’m trying to teach. There’s no moral to any of this. I’m just thinking a lot about memories and the importance of making them. My oldest was home this past week for spring break. I took the last part of the week off so I could spend time with her. My wife had to work all week and the younger ones were still in school(they aren’t off until the first week of April.) When the oldest comes home on extended weekends she’s often either sleeping, hanging out with her old school friends, or with her mom on some shopping excursion. I’m here at home making sure she’s getting her favorite meals while she’s here. I’m keeping the gears running at the homestead. I’m not ever going on adventures with her. So this time I wanted to be able to do something with her, so she knows I care and that I actually do like to spend time with her.

Wednesday was taking her to the dentist and the eye doctor, then being at home waiting for the heating and cooling guys to put in our new water heater. Thursday wasn’t much, but then Friday my daughter and I spent the day in Fort Wayne shopping for books and music, eating quite well, and just enjoying time together. We hit three spots for books and came out of it with a stack for each of us. I wanted to hit up Neat Neat Neat Records as well as I haven’t been there in over two years. Hasn’t changed much, and I’d hoped for that. For lunch we ate at Bravas Burgers. Probably the best burger and fries I’ve had in a very long time. We will go back for sure. After a coffee refueling we hit the road and made it home by 5pm. Saturday was just hanging out at home mostly, which is what we all needed I think.

Today, my wife and mom are currently driving the oldest back to school while I’m home with the younger ones. Making dinner and keeping the gears turning at the homestead.

I look back at my life, even just the last 6 years, and there are these moments that stick out in my head. They’re good moments: family vacations down south, trips to record shops, Christmas eves with board games and snack-y foods, a Colorado wedding, school carnivals, and band concerts around the holidays. They’re not grand gestures like trips to Disney World or anything like that. They’re just these little moments that define such significant times in my mind. More than a grand gesture can do, the trips to the bookstore, or a cabin in the woods, or the cinema on a Sunday afternoon are what stick in our memories. More memories we make the easier it is to remember them all.

Anyways, that’s what going on in my head. We made some memories this week, and I’m happy about that.