Dream Theatre 15, Guest Starring Felicia Day

In my dream last night, a group of friends and myself were all staying at a really cool hotel celebrating my birthday. The dream took place the morning after as we were all checking out. There was a lounge area in the lobby next to the main desk and a few of us were hanging out there for a few minutes on our way out. I was extremely nervous because somehow Felicia Day had come to my birthday celebration and was there in the lounge. I don’t think I had really got the nerve to talk to her much, so I remember at this point still feeling pretty aloof and not sure if I could really just chat with her. I think I was a bit starstruck and shy and didn’t want to bother her and all that. There was also a bathtub in the lounge which my cousin, Casey was sharing with my old high school friend, Eric MacGilvray (there was no water in the tub, though I can’t remember if they were clothed or not). At one point, Casey was being goofy and made a classic Casey goofy face, at which point he rolled over and kind of smooshed his face on Erics. I remember thinking that was kind of odd in that they were now, kind of kissing but in the framework of being silly and comedic.

I eventually said my good byes and left. I hadn’t got far when for some reason I decided to go back. I know that for at least the last part of the journey, I walked while controlling a toy remote controlled car back to the hotel. When I got there, everyone had left their keys sitting on the table in the lounge (that was what you did when you checked out) and I remember seeing Felicia’s room and rental car keys sitting there. I thought “Hmm, there’s still 9 minutes until noon, I could take her key and go see what her room was like!” It was sort of that sentimental idea of being able to go “Whoa, this person slept here! Whoa, they used THAT towel for a shower!” (No I am not actually a creepy stalker in real life, and I seriously hesitated to post many of these details but, come on, this is a dream where all kinds of weird things happen with seemingly unfathomable logic like my cousin and an old high school friend sharing a bathtub in a hotel lobby/lounge and more than that, I want to be as detailed as possible in my dream recountings and I want to be the kind of person who isn’t uncomfortable worrying about what people will think…if someone is going to judge me based on some weird detail in a crazy dream then chances are they would probably judge me even harsher on much of my real life! Nervous, rambling rant over.)

The hotel itself was also very cool. Not at all like a normal hotel. The rooms were all very down home and unique and felt more like rooms in a house. They all came off a single Hallway but yet I remember a distinct labyrinthine feeling as well and that maybe there were more floors or something. I think that this was the hotel in the MSC on the Texas A&M campus (though it had been completely redone and didn’t remotely resemble that place in real life, past or present).

I remember that distinct feeling of sadness after a party is over, or after a wedding or when a vacation comes to an end. “The morning after” when it’s all over and you’re collecting your things and checking out to go home.

Dream Theatre 14

Last night I dreamt that I was at a party with the crew from a movie I was working on. Everyone, including the director, decided to shave their heads into Mohawks. I went along with it. Mine ended up being a very wide Mohawk where it was really more like just having the sides shaved. Then the thought struck me that we were in the middle of filming this movie! We weren’t done yet and now I had just pseudo-Mowhawked myself! Not only that, but I also had 2 other films in progress and how could we possibly deal with my hair suddenly being so drastically different! For the film I was on, I started thinking that since my character was about to head out on some kind of hunt or chase in the desert (or at least hot Texas) that we could justify the change with a line or quick scene. Since the director had been there and done it too, I wasn’t too worried about getting in trouble, but for the other two movies that still had some scenes to shoot, I was sure they would not be happy.

Resistance Against Evolution – Oppressing The Digital Revolution

Today I had an experience that has me feeling unsettled. I spoke to a guy putting together a band about possibly playing guitar for him. I liked his music, he seemed to like my playing and singing. Then we got to discussing equipment. He was looking for a specific sound and was not convinced that my digital modeling gear was sufficient. He said this was a “pro-level” gig and that there needed to be real Les Pauls through real Marshall stacks. We chatted a little about it and basically parted ways amicably with the decision that I wasn’t the guy for the job.

However, this exchange continued to bother me and I tried to analyze why. I certainly don’t begrudge him his opinion or knowing what he personally wants in his band. Then I realized that it resonated with something deeper in me. An insecurity. I’ve encountered this attitude before from people. People who don’t take me seriously because, in their ears, they don’t take my equipment seriously. I realized that I was bothered because I felt like I had been dismissed, or looked down upon as less than a professional.

I consider myself a professional musician and I know many who would serve as references for my skills as “pro-quality.” I’ve always had a very well developed ear. I am self taught on all instruments and have always learned by ear. When I’m in bands, I’m always the one (or one of the people) that others turn to when there’s a question on how something is played or some sonic detail. I’ve spent the last 30 years honing my ear and one of my talents that I’ve been hired for from time to time is the ability to copy, replicate or produce something that is “like” something else. However, it’s all subjective. Something that sounds good or “correct” to me, may not to you. However there are opinions, and there are facts. “A digital modeler can never sound as good as the real thing” is an opinion and can not be right or wrong. I felt bummed and irritated that this guy who I don’t even really know might think less of me than I deserve. That’s stupid, but yet I know that’s one my own issues and insecurities common in many areas of my life. I really don’t know how to not care what other people think of me. Obviously I have some weird deep-seated insecurity of being the person that everyone is pointing and laughing at or something. “Yeah, this guy is obviously an amateur. I mean he uses those digital toys.”

I often have various other people who may disagree with a guitar tone I’m using. They think it’s too trebly, or needs more mid-range, while I think it’s fine and just what I wanted and was going for. I’m always open to opinions and collaboration but in the end I feel like I’m the guitar player and that’s my arena to decide. Sometimes I don’t particularly care, so I don’t resist, but while I may offer my opinion on another musician’s parts or sounds, I’m certainly not going to dictate to them how I think they need to set their gear if I respect their own opinions and abilities. Basically we all have opinions, and I don’t want to be made to feel like mine is somehow wrong or inferior when I have dedicated a large part of my life to learning and honing my skills and my ear.

I’ve always loved technology. When I heard about the first “Digital Modeling Amplifier,” the Line 6 AxSys 212, I got one and loved it, even though it wasn’t perfect. Over the years, technology has come a long way and I’ve stayed with the times. I now play a Line 6 James Tyler Variax that can digitally model many different guitars and I use a Line 6 POD HD-500 that digitally models amps, effects, speakers, mics, etc. I personally think that technology has come far enough now that there is no perceptible sonic difference. When I switch my guitar to a “Les Paul” setting, and stomp my footswitch for a “Marshall,” it sounds and feels like a Les Paul into a Marshall to me. I’ve seen blind sound tests when people could distinguish which was real and which was digitally modeled.

Some people have their minds made up that nothing can ever sound and feel like the real thing. That is probably technically true on a microscopic level but I personally disagree as far as a human perceptible level. I believe that so much of what we perceive is colored by what we want or expect to perceive. If you have your mind made up that a movie is going to suck, then you’re probably not going to like it. If you think that a piece of gear is not going to sound as good as another piece of gear, then that’s probably the conclusion you are going to reach. Even if you think you’ve “given it a fair chance” it’s probably affected by your subconscious bias.

This, of course, goes for me as well. Maybe because I want to love the digital revolution, I hear awesome sounds that are just as good as the real thing. I try very hard to be open-minded and listen to feed back. I mean really listen and take it in and consider it and not just get knee-jerk defensive about my own opinions but I’m human and I’m sure I’m still susceptible to subconscious preference. I wonder if there will be a day when people look back and say “They used to use amps powered by vacuum tubes! Can you believe that? How antiquated and steam-punk is that?”

I have chosen my place as a digital warrior and I love that I can get so many (accurate, in my opinion) sounds out of one guitar and one amp/effects simulator. In 2 pieces of gear, I have the equivalent of a truckload of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of sounds. And more so, the guitars and amps aren’t based on “average” models, they are based on particularly “exceptional” sounding models so it’s not just like have a Strat and a Marshall, it’s like having an exceptionally awesome sounding Strat and Marshall. They even model all the knobs to respond exactly like the knobs on the original equipment. When you get into the guts and details of Line 6’s digital modeling, it’s actually amazing what technology can do.

I could easily go on for hours about this stuff and how amazing it is and how it’s allowed me to experiment and discover tones and guitar and amps I may never have had a chance to before and how I can, in an instant, go from a Les Paul/Marshall combo to a Gretsch Duo-Jet tuned to Open E into a Park-75 amp with the flick of a switch and they all sound just like the real thing. I could ramble on about opinions, subjectivity, snobbiness, and any one of the other hundred talking points I’ve touched on here in this meandering diatribe.

I definitely have my share of insecurities about so many things, but I suppose I should be happy that at least I don’t doubt myself. I have pride in my own abilities and talents, even if I sometimes think that others may not see or appreciate them. I am fully entrenched in the world of digital modeling music gear and have no desire to change that, as are many top pro players. I guess if someone is going to look down on me for that, then they aren’t someone I was meant to be playing with anyway. It’s still kind of a bummer though.

Imminently Forgettable?

I’ve noticed a strange trend in my life. I am often “forgotten.” Accidentally left off of invites, left off the credits, etc. Now first of all, let me say that this is not me whining, or “whoa is me,” or “nobody likes me,” etc. That is not my point, nor how I feel. It is more a genuine bafflement with this ongoing phenomenon from an analytical point of view as I feel it happens often, or certainly more than normal. There must be a reason for this.

If I were to hazard a guess, there are many factors that could come into play here. First, I tend to be a major homebody and isolate myself from the world quite a bit. I also, in general, tend to want to be unobtrusive and not bother people or force myself on them. I only like to be where I am welcome and wanted. Consequently this can sometimes come off as being aloof or distant or maybe disinterested.

I am not generally an initiator and if I do initiate, I will only do so 2 or three times, maximum and if that does not produce results or at least some initiative from the other party, then I will give up and assume I should leave them alone (lunch dates or meetings for example).

While, admittedly, I do sometimes enjoy the spotlight, I don’t like asking for it, competing for it or fighting for it so if there is someone who is bigger, louder, more gregarious, then many times I’ll meld into the shadows. In my acting, for example, I strive for a Gary Oldman-like career of variety and disappearing into characters more than being some blockbuster star.

Of course, some may posit the argument that maybe it’s no “accident” that I get left off of invites, but in the examples that I’m talking about here, I do truly believe it is not intentional for a variety of reasons.

Does it suck sometimes? Sure. Does it play on my own insecurities? Absolutely. But in the end, I truly believe it’s merely the effect of some cause within myself. I don’t mean being a bad person or anything like that, but just my own isolation inertia.

And just so I don’t seem completely myopic, believe me, there are many people who never forget me and plenty of times when I’m always included. Perhaps I’m not “forgotten” more than anyone else on the planet and there is no real phenomenon at all other than the human phenomenon to focus on the one negative aspect while being blind to the 10 positive positive aspects. That’s probably it.

Dream Theatre #12 and #13

#12: A few nights ago, I dreamt that I went to a party with my friend, Richard. My friend Eric was also at this party but at some point they both ditched me, leaving to stand around alone and awkward. I was approached by a band of foreigners who had a kind of gypsy air about them. There was definitely a Nordic blonde with the, and a few other women as well as some scragglier Slavic men. They started showing me some apps on an iPad as well as little tchotchkes as well as magic/performance/art tricks. I got the distinct feeling this was leading to them trying to sell me something.

#13: Last night I dreamt that my friend, Oryan, was dating a woman we both know. He somehow knew that she really wanted to be with me (I’m not sure if they’d had a conversation about it or if he just knew, or exactly how that came about) so he nobly told her to go to me and be happy. She did and I remember we kissed as if our lives depended on it. Like starving people getting a meal. Like a levee breaking and releasing the raging waters. We were in a kitchen (that seemed kind if dated, though I can’t pinpoint the era). She was sitting on the counter to the right of the sink, which was in the center of the counter and had a window above it. I was standing between her knees and since she was on the counter, she was about a foot above me as we kissed. I woke up with a smile and thought, “That was nice.”

Epic Nerdsplosion

Heath posts:
Lunch with the moving and shaking Carlos A Samudio, then tonight, Star Trek IMAX with Greg Risley and Christopher Thompson! Socializing is good!

Erick Muñoz:
What time are you watching it?

Heath:
8p

Erick:
Boo, I’ll watch it at 11

Heath:
If I see you in line I’ll be sure to shout fake spoilers. “OH MY GOD! I CAN’T BELIEVE SPOCK HAS UNICORN BLOOD!”

Erick:
Wait, the unicorn blood isn’t canon?

Heath:
No, no. They attacked the enemy ship WITH a unicorn blood cannon.

Erick:
Live long and may the force be with you.

Heath:
Did Gandalf say that?

Erick:
It was actually Ra’s Al Ghul. Common mistake.

Heath:
Ah, right. That was when he gave Harry Potter that z shaped scar.

Erick:
That was my favorite scene in The Lion, the With, and the Wardrobe.

Heath:
Yeah but I was pissed when the witch killed Wash.

Erick:
They had to write him off. It started getting weird when they found his Cylon clone.

Heath:
Yeah but can you blame him? I mean he had to protect himself from the Terminator.

Erick:
Yeah. After the Terminator took out uncle Ben, it was kinda the only option he had

Heath:
He should have known that Deckard would recognize his cylon clone. I mean that’s what Deckard does.

Erick:
Wait, was this before or after Frodo fought at the great battle of Westeros?

Heath:
Well sort of both since The Doctor took them in the TARDIS.

Kevin:
“Took them” in the Tardis?

Heath:
Saucy. But yeah, took them into the TARDIS where they both existed before and after the Chig attack on Earth.

Erick:
You’re confused. It wasn’t the Chig, it was the Chitauri.

Heath:
Well the Chigs had an alliance with the Chitauri and The Gentlemen.

Erick:
Oh shit! I forgot about that one! That was in Day 4 around 7pm and 8pm, right? When Jack Bauer had to join the battle?

Christopher:
WOO

Heath:
Yeah and him and John Crichton have a love triangle with Aeryn.

Erick:
Man, it broke my heart when Crichton finally made it to Earth only to realize he was destined to become Ultraman and never see Aeryn again

Heath:
Well he wouldn’t have wanted to stay on an Earth inhabited by intelligent apes any way.

Erick:
I thought it was a bit of a cop out though, when they got rid of the Cesar storyline by bringing Bill and Ted onto the story.

Heath:
Not as much of a cop out as no one being able to figure out that they were Batman and Robin.

Erick:
Well, that kinda made some sense considering that Alan roophied them after Vegas.

Heath:
Yeah they were totally screwed until Lara Croft saved their asses!

Erick:
And that, kids, is how i met your mother.

Erick:
-Scene- Great job, everyone. That was a fantastic post. Save it for posterity.

Heath:
This could literally go on all day, but that, my friend, is a perfect ending. applauds

Inspirational

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Discourse On My Discombobulation With Most Men’s Seeming Obsession With Obtaining the Forbidden (Or Wassup With The Anal Sex?)

I’ll probably have my “man card” revoked for this. Well, who are we kidding, my “man card” was probably revoked long ago for a multitude of reasons. Like using “discombobulated” or owning and wearing a red velvet shirt among countless others. I don’t care, it’s time for the truth to be out there. This is a discussion that needs to happen. Well, “needs” may be a bit strong, but it’s going to happen anyway.

I have no desire, whatsoever, to have anal sex. I’m open. I’m not bland and unexciting (then again, I guess that’s not for me to judge), but I just don’t get it. That is an orifice that is designed to be a waste exit. The sphincter is there specifically to be a traffic cop and keep things sealed tight. Plus, just next door, women have these wonderful things called “vaginas.” They are warm, self-lubricating. Accepting and welcoming a penis is one of their specialties. And yet so many men seem almost obsessed with “getting in the back door” to the point where it’s revered as some kind of holy grail, some “rusty sheriff’s badge” of honor. Something to celebrate when achieved or to ask for on special occasions or as a reward. Of course, I’m generalizing here and I don’t mean to paint all men with the same brush and I’m also specifically talking about us heterosexual men.

Look, even if you want to change it up, there’s mouths, hands, a veritable sexual cornucopia to be had, but no, so many men seem laser focused on “riding the Hershey highway.” I think part of this is the very fact that maybe you’ve been told you’re not supposed to go there, or that many women don’t want it there and yet so many men seem to have some primal animal instinct to want to do that which they are not supposed to do or are told they can’t do. I believe that this is the same reason that men can be with a wonderful, gorgeous, sexy woman, and they still stray and cheat like douchebags wearing ass-hats. The whole “thrill of the chase” stupidity. Yet I’ve never heard of someone really wanting to put it in the crook of an elbow, or knee. Don’t get me wrong, purely by the odds I’m sure it’s happened and that there’s probably a sub-Reddit for it. In fact it seems that throughout history men have most likely tried to put it everywhere it’s not “supposed” to go. Animals, pies, probably most melons. It’s a dark hole I don’t really want to explore…pun intended.

I have known some women who say that they themselves genuinely enjoy it very much, and in that case, great. What happens between two consenting adults is fine. I’m not condemning it as an act itself, I’m just saying that I don’t get the obsession with it and especially if your partner does not want it. But then again, I’m the kind of person who likes a mutual good time for all. It’s not some great and rare artifact to be sought after like “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Poo.” It doesn’t make you a conquering hero. It’s the human exhaust pipe. It’s a garbage chute. And we all know what happens when you go down garbage chutes. You get drenched in muck, the walls start closing in and there are slimy creatures that try to pull you under. Have we learned nothing from Star Wars?

I’m not sure what my point is, really but if you’re going to be all freaked out because someone was using their iPad in a bathroom stall (this doesn’t bother me in the least), then you most certainly shouldn’t want to put any of your body parts into a waste disposal unit. If you gag when cleaning that hairball out of your sink, but then really want the wife to give up the “chocolate starfish,” then maybe you should think a little harder on that one.

Ah wait! I think I found my point! If everyone involved is cool with it, then great, “take it to brown town.” Just stop it with the wanting what you can’t or shouldn’t have. It’s ridiculous. Instead, maybe put that energy into appreciating and recognizing what you do have.

Dream Theatre #11

I arrived at work at night straight from a road trip with some friends. In my dream, the layout of the company was slightly different but very similar to real life. When I came in I saw that there was an audition going on for a movie by Aaron Koontz and Cassandra Hierholzer was also there helping (this obviously stems from the fact that I did work at the same company as Aaron and Cassandra for 3 days, and I have been back to that company to audition for one of Aaron’s movies where Cassandra was manning the front desk). As I arrived, Brian Villalobos had just finished his audition so we hugged and chatted. He told me that his dad was still in the room auditioning. He had been rehearsing a father/son scene with his dad for the audition, and then convinced his dad to come along and actually audition. I went toward the audition room wondering if I might be able to squeeze in to the audition. The door opened and Brian’s dad came out along with about 6 or 7 other people including Aaron and other producers, etc. and I remember wondering how they hell they all had fit into the small audition room. I tried to visualize it, “Well the actors would have been on one side, while all those people would have had to have been over on the other side behind that desk…” Brian’s dad went one direction and I remember thinking that Brian had gone in the other direction and that they were going to be looking for each other. The group holding the audition seemed finished and so I didn’t say anything, feeling that I had missed my chance to get in.

The next thing I remember is not necessarily part of the same dream but I’m not sure that it’s not contiguous either. I was walking down a winding road through a field and there was a helicopter with a spotlight shining over the field. It caught a naked man in its spotlight and I remember knowing that this naked man was responsible for some horrendous crime. A small mob closed in on the man and beat him and stabbed him with sticks until he was dead. I found a small blade about the size of a machete that I knew was from the helicopter. The blade was firing like a Gatling gun and I think it was shining it’s own spotlight somehow as well. I pointed the madly firing blade at the man’s body while I tried to figure out how to control it or make it stop. It wasn’t very accurate. While it was spitting out a constant stream of bullets, very few actually hit the man’s body. I eventually found a switch and turned off the stream of fire and the light.

I realized that I thought I’d forgotten my jacket and my phone and for a moment I thought they might be on the dead man’s body for some reason. Luckily I then realized I did have my phone and started following the winding road, thinking I had a long way to get back to work. I checked Google maps on my phone and was happy to find that it was only about a half a mile, so I started walking instead of calling for a ride or something. I vaguely recall walking between two small houses in the woods on my way and vague details possibly involving bath robes and maybe dogs (separately, not related). It pretty much fades after that and I can’t remember any more.

Twitter @reply Etiquette (Mostly Relevant to Celebrities Who Circumvent It)

Twitter has a wonderful system in place for @replies. If you start a tweet with @username, that user will see it. Anyone who is friends with both you and the user will also see it. Anyone who is not friends with both parties will not see it. This is good. Here is why.

Let’s say that you’re friends with both Han and Chewie. Han posts “@chewie Ha! She called you a walking carpet!” You will see this reply and get to laugh along with your buds.

Now let’s say that you are not friends with Leia. Leia tweets “@Han I love you.” and Han tweets “@leia I know.” You will not see either of tweets because you are not friends with Leia and probably don’t care.

Now let’s say you are Boba Fett and actually want to see who Han has been replying to because it may help you track him down. You can go to Han’s profile page (click on their name and then click “Tweets” or go directly to their page, i.e. www.twitter.com/han) and you will see ALL their tweets, including replies to anyone. And, when used correctly, you can click on a reply and it will expand and show you the original tweet as well so you can see what the reply is referencing! Awesome!

Now here’s the problem. Some people (all celebrities, in my experience), for some reason think, “Hmm, if I just @reply, then not all my followers will see that reply. Only the recipient and anyone who is friends with us both will see. I want to force it on EVERYONE!” So they tweet something like “.@han I want my money, Solo!” or “via @han That @greedo had it coming!” or they start their reply with an open quote before the @.

Since the tweet doesn’t start with the “@” symbol, it’s not treated like a reply, but like a normal tweet and all of your followers will see it. This also means that people can’t click on the reply to see the original tweet and thus will probably have no idea what your reply is talking about. This is annoying and spammy. Let me give you an example.

I used to follow a certain celebrity on Twitter. This person interacts with his fans a lot, which is awesome. However, instead of tweeting “@superfan Thanks! I’m glad you liked it!” which would mean that I would not see his reply since I do not follow @superfan, he tweets “via @superfan Thanks! I’m glad you liked it!” and since that doesn’t start with “@” it now appears in my Twitter stream. So as he sits there replying to tons of people, my Twitter stream is flooded with all his replies which I may or may not care about. If I want to see everything he tweets, I can go to his page and see all his witty interactions (and then click on them if I want to see the tweet he is replying to), however I would rather not have my Twitter stream spammed by all these replies that were forced upon me by bypassing the “@reply” mechanic. I ended up unfollowing this person because he rendered my stream virtually useless (he also likes to write long messages simply broken down into 140 character chunks, which I also think is a misuse of Twitter, but that’s another story).

So please, stop thinking you know better. The system is designed that way for a reason. If you are replying to a tweet, just hit the reply button or start the tweet with @username of the person you are replying to. Those who want to see all your replies can, and those that don’t won’t. If you abuse the system, then the people who don’t want to see those replies have no recourse other than to unfollow you.

Keep in mind that I am just talking about replies. There are also “mentions” where you are basically just tagging someone else like, “Hey, everyone, @luke lost his hand so send him well wishes.”