I live a few blocks away from a high school, and in the fall we can listen to football games being played from our backyard. Tonight, I have my windows open and I’m listening to a combination of the football announcer, the band playing and crickets chirping. Guy Fieri and Diners, Drive-ins and Dives flashes across my almost-muted TV.
This is a fairly typical Friday night for me these days, but back in high school Fridays made for long days.
I was in the marching band, first as a flute player then later as a member of the colorguard. Friday nights meant game time. There’s a reason why all the high school football movies are set in Texas. There’s a rabid love for the game at the high school level that I just truly don’t think anywhere else can duplicate. There’s a passion and a love for football across the country, but its definitely amped up a notch or two down there.
In my hometown, I think we lived for football season. It’s when the town came to life. It’s when there was a little extra pride to be found in everyone’s eyes.
As I said, Fridays were long days for me during football season. I lived in the country, which meant when school let out, I almost never went home between school and game-time. There just wasn’t enough time to make it a worthwhile trip. Many times I would leave home around 7:30 am, and I’d not return home until well after midnight (if it was an away game). But that didn’t matter. I ran on an adrenaline that no cup of coffee could ever recreate.
It was all about the lights and the field. It was about the war that was going to be waged goal line to goal line. It was the sound of the band and the smell of the popcorn. It was the little kids watching with glowing eyes; some day they’d play the game or be the cheerleader. It’s the socializing side of the night, when friends would get together and gossip about their week. It was the parents watching with pride (and the mothers watching with a little big of fear). It was the sound of the announcer’s voice booming over the speakers.
Eventually, though, we all graduate. We play our last game. March our last half-time show. Cheer our last cheer. Sing our school song with arms around our classmates for the last time. We close that chapter of our lives and we all move on…
…until we hear that announcer across a quiet late-summer/early-fall night. We hear the horns and the drums and the clash of helmets. And if only for three or hour hours we go back to those high school glory-days and let today’s worries and stresses get washed away.
It’s the magic of the Friday night lights, and I, for one, am glad they are back.
I have a confession to make. I’m tapped out of ideas for today’s blog post. So I admit, I am totally cheating here. I got one of those “bucket list” forwards today, where its a list of random things and you put and X in front of the things you’ve done, then forward it on to others.
So, I though perhaps I would take that forward apart tonight and analyze it from my point of view…
( ) Shot a shot gun — I used to shoot my brother’s BB Gun! But, I do hope to some day get my concealed handgun permit and have one.
( ) Gone on a blind date — Nope! Didn’t date much before hubby, to be honest.
( ) Skipped school — Not on purpose. I missed a couple classes in college due to weather and/or over sleeping. But as for skipping school just to skip? Never did.
( ) Watched someone die — I am sure my time will come, and hopefully it’ll be a peaceful moment. But for now, having watched my cat die last month was enough.
( ) Visited Alaska — The only state my husband has not yet visited. I would love to possibly some day do one of those Alaskan cruises. My aunt has taken one. So has my father-in-law.
( ) Visited Cuba — Not even on my radar.
( ) Visited Europe — YES YES YES I want to do this. This is literally on my bucket list.
( ) Visited South America — Not on my radar either.
(X) Visited Las Vegas — Can’t wait to go back! We have dear friends that live there that we’ve not seen in far too long. Hopefully sooner rather than later for us to get out that way again.
( ) Visited Mexico — Born and raised in Texas; never been to Mexico. I could be persuaded to go to certain areas of it, though.
(X) Visited Florida — I feel weird checking this because I was so young when I went that I don’t remember it at all. But, I suppose it counts. We have dear friends in Florida as well, so I suspect a road trip that direction will happen soon.
(X) Seen the Grand Canyon — I’ve seen it from an airplane. It counts, dang it! But, I would actually love to see it up close and really take it in.
(X) Flown on a plane — I’m a pro at it at this point.
( ) Served on a Jury — I had a jury summons, but a stomach virus that day sidelined me.
(X) Been lost — Seriously, if you’ve never been lost, you’ve not yet started to live.
(X) Traveled to the opposite side of the country — My husband is from Oregon. Love going up there!!
( ) Visited Washington, DC — Some day.
(X ) Swam in the Ocean — I’ve swam in the Gulf of Mexico, but that soooo doesn’t count. But I have gotten my feet wet in the Pacific Ocean in Oregon, which was incredible, but what was REALLY cool was swimming in the Pacific in Hawaii!
(X) Cried yourself to sleep — This is another one in which I think you haven’t lived if you’ve never done this. It happens in the hardest of times, which are the times in which we grow the most.
(X) Played Cops and Robbers — What do you think massive slumber parties are about?!
( ) Played Cowboys and Indians
( ) Sang Karaoke — NOT ENOUGH ALCOHOL IN THE WORLD
(X) Paid for a meal with coins only — I’ve in the same breath written a check for less than a dollar.
( ) Made a prank phone call — Nope. I don’t like making normal phone calls!
(X) Laughed until some beverage came out of your nose — Best medicine in the world is a great laugh.
(X) Caught a snowflake on your tongue — Magic.
( ) Have children — Hopefully soon!! We can’t wait.
(X) Had a pet — Dogs, cats and hampsters are my history of pets.
(X) Been fishing — You don’t live in the country and not go fishing!
(X) Been boating — Not enough, though.
( ) Been Water Skiing — I don’t think my shoulders could handle it, to be honest. I’m a wimp.
( ) Been Hiking
( ) Been camping in a trailer/RV
( ) Been camping in a tent — All of the above are things my husband and I have talked about doing at some point, though.
( ) Flown in a small 4-seater airplane — In no hurry to do so, either.
( ) Flown in a glider — I could be convinced!
( ) Flown in a helicopter — I’d love to try this one!
( ) Flown in a hot air balloon — I’d most definitely love to do this one, too!! Consider it also on my official bucket list.
( ) Driven a Motorcycle — Much to my husband’s dismay, its not happened.
( ) Been bungee-jumping — Pass!
(X) Gone to a drive-in movie — I LOVE THE DRIVE IN MOVIE!!!
(X) Done something that should have killed you — I think simply the way I drove back in the day was pushing it. heh. I’ve slowed down. A lot.
(X) Done something that you will regret (feel sad about) for the rest of your life. — I’ve always tried to live my life with no regrets. Simply learn from your mistakes and never regret them. But, face it, sometimes we all handle things badly that we wish we could go back and change.
( ) Ridden an elephant — No, but I have had my picture taken with one.
(X) Eaten just cookies for dinner — I’ve eaten cupcakes before dinner too. *gasp*
(X) Been on T.V. — I’m in a music video!
( ) Steal any traffic signs — I don’t know why you’d want to do that.
(X) Been in a car accident — A couple of them. *sigh* Luckily, none of them too serious, and I wasn’t hurt in any of them.
( ) Bailed out of Helicopter/Plane — No, but I do think Skydiving would be fun.
( ) Went Curling — And why, pray tell, would I even want to do this one?
Other things on my personal bucket list: Visit LA, New York City, Italy (specifically), and I’d love to see some of the most interesting sites of our country, Mount Rushmore and Old Faithful to name a couple. I want to have a book published and be hired out to speak at events. Even if i don’t really like public speaking all that much. LOL! Go figure. Things I HAVE done: be in a music video, witness the Grand Ole Opry from backstage, and graduated from Texas A&M University.
What are some of your “must dos” in life? What do you think of these generic lists that go around in email?
groupie \ˈgrü-pē\ noun 1. a fan of a rock group who usually follows the group around on concert tours; 2. an admirer of a celebrity who attends as many of his or her public appearances as possible; 3. enthusiast, aficionado
A couple years ago, my husband played his hometown fair. It was a dream come true for him. Being a smaller town, I thought perhaps the local newspaper would want to do a feature news article on “local boy doing big things” as part of their promotions of the show. I mean, what would be a bigger draw than seeing someone in the national artist’s band who grew up in the town that the fair is being held?
As part of the article, the reporter for the newspaper did a phone interview with me. It felt a little weird to be the one being asked the questions as opposed to asking them myself! It was a neat experience, though, until she asked THE question. The one that I admit, I snapped over.
“So… were you a groupie?”
I’d been asked that question before, and I’ve been asked that question countless times since then. It’s an innocent enough question, I suppose, but the word “groupie” in the music-sense has just this negative connotation. It doesn’t help when that question is asked with a snicker.
UGH! Talk about being offended!
I can’t remember now what I told the reporter, but I remember that I snapped and quickly set her straight. I made it clear the question was actually offensive in nature. Being a groupie implies that you follow a band around and you spend all your energy attempting to insert yourself into that band’s world. Oftentimes, its implied you’re actively trying to get close to the artist via the band… doing absolutely ANYTHING in takes to get “in the inner circle.”
Being a groupie is not the same as truly being a friend of a band member. Being a groupie is not even the same as being a FAN of an artist. Being a groupie CERTAINLY could not be further from being the spouse of a band member.
I was not, nor will I ever be, “a groupie.” It’s pretty much a dirty word within the music industry; it’s insulting to imply that of someone. As I said, I’ve been asked the question a million times, and I know I’ll be asked a million more times in the years. I accept that fact. However, I will never “like” that question. Never.
Before I met my husband, I would randomly wonder how, exactly, you get a job as a touring musician. It’s not like the jobs open are listed on Careerbuilder.com or Monster.com. Do you have a resume? Do you fill out an application? How does this work!?
I’ve discovered being a touring musician straddles two phenomenons: having a job and being self-employed. I find that fact alone to be the hardest thing to convey to anyone outside of the industry. (However, I’ve also found it to be a common phenomenon in the blogging world.)
You are self-employed, in that you have to own your own gear, and you can be “playing for” as many as three or four artists at a time. Sometimes you do session work (recording albums). Other times you just pick up gigs where you can find them around town.
You “have a job” when you work for an artist full-time, and your pay is based on how many shows are booked for your boss. Occasionally, “the boss” will put the band on a salary, and you make a flat rate no matter how many shows you play.
Ultimately, the income of a touring musician can come from many different avenues and ways. But, still, the question remains: how do you GET these jobs? And beyond that, what can other industries learn from those musicians who get the work?
I’ve broken it down into five factors that decide who does and doesn’t get the job.
1. Talent. No matter what job you go for, you’re not going to get it if you can’t do it. For musicians, its musical talent, of course. For writers/bloggers, its an ability to write. For accountants, its knowing accounting rules. For doctors, its knowing how to diagnose illnesses, etc. At the end of the day, you can’t get a job that you can’t do. Period.
2. Resume. Even for a musician, having a solid resume can mean the difference between getting the gig or not getting it. Do you have any experience in performance? No? Then there’s going to be hesitation in hiring. This can be applied in all fields, of course. The more experience you have, the more valuable of a hire you could be to the company.
In blogging, your resume is your “about me” page. Tell me what makes you someone I should read. Tell me what makes you “an expert” in your field. Tell me why I should potentially contact you to write for me and my business (if you are looking for jobs such as this.)
3. Network. This is bigger for a musician than the resume, actually. Remember when I mentioned that its not like jobs are listed on a job site? Jobs are instead listed among the “good ol’ boys” of the industry. The last several jobs my husband has had he has gotten via networking. The last two he got by being recommended by fellow musicians. The more people you know (and impress!), the more job opportunities that come your way. Also, the more you are seen, the more likely it is that your name will be the first one thrown in the hat for a job.
This phenomenon can be found in multiple other industries. The more visible you are, the more likely you are to be thought of for a job. It’s why I don’t understand people not using Facebook, Twitter, etc. These are FREE ways to network to hundreds thousands of people at one time. You want to keep your name and face out there for others to see, know, and trust. Sometimes, you have to spend money and go out and be seen in person. It’s often necessary to spend money to ultimately make money, and sometimes that means having a few drinks or buying a dinner or two. It’s about making a connection. Its networking.
4. Audition. The audition can be seen as an interview. It’s your chance to show someone in person what your abilities are. Its in this moment that your talents come to light and your resume is really poured over. Sometimes, your resume is so strong, you can skip the audition/interview. “So-n-so hired you? They give you a glowing recommendation? Good enough for me! Hired!” However, if you’re new to the industry — any industry — your audition/interview will determine if you get the gig/job. Go in and give it your best. Dress the part and go in with confidence. Be the best you can be in that moment.
In blogging, your audition is every post you make. Your appearance is the look of your blog. Know that every person who visits your blog is interviewing you. Deciding if you are someone they want to keep reading. In some cases, they are also deciding if you’re the type of writer they may want to have do guest posts for them, or perhaps to write for their publication.
5. Hang factor. You got the job. Awesome. Now, you need to KEEP the job. It’s called “the hang factor.” This is a key factor for a road musician, where you spend DAYS at a time on a bus with your band mates. If you can’t fit in with the group, you’ll find yourself outside of the group. Not even your talent can help you avoid being booted out when you don’t have “the hang factor” going for you.
This is true in other industries as well. A harmonious work environment is often key to getting work done. Learn how to adapt. Especially if you find yourself in a position of representing your company. You want to convey a positive appearance. You want to fit in no matter where you go.
I’ve found, personally, this also applies in blogging. I don’t like blogs that are so straightforward that you don’t have any idea of personality. I want a “hang factor” in my blog reading. I want to feel comfortable with the person whose words I am reading. I want people to feel comfortable with me… lest they stop reading me all together.
I know that every job and industry have other factors that can affect if you get a job or not. If anyone has any more suggestions, please add them in as a comment! However, these five factors are ones that I’ve found to not only be key to the touring musician, but to also be key in other industries as well.
There are a few things I “hate.” Liver is one of those things. Red Raiders and Longhorns are two other things. (*grin*) I’m not even fond of making phone calls. (THAT is a blog post in and of itself!) But one thing I REALLY don’t like is going to the doctor.
I think it all started when I went through a period of time in which it seemed like I was at the hospital every time I turned around. I had the mantra, “I hate hospitals.” which eventually just morphed into, “I hate going to the doctor.”
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are times it is good to be at the doctor’s office or the hospital. Like, a baby being born. That’s a good thing! Or someone being discharged after having been sick. That’s also a good thing! And, really, doctors serve a very important and necessary purpose in our world. We’d be in terrible shape without them. So I am thankful for doctors.
I just don’t like having to see them.
A big reason, I think, is the fear of finding out something bad. I confess, I am a big, “Hear no evil, see no evil…” fan. Is that good? Not really. But its how I am. So there is that. Even when I feel completely healthy and have no signs of anything, I fear being told, “Your tests came back strange,” or, “I noticed something strange when I did this.” I don’t like being blindsided. No one does. No one should. But the fact remains that it can happen. In the end, its best to know when something is wrong, so you can fix it. I know this. But I also know that I don’t like those kinds of surprises.
So as such, I don’t like going to the doctor.
Another thing, I’ve had too many times lately in which I HAVE been sick and I’ve gone to the doctor only to not get anywhere. The worst time was when I had a horrible sinus infection. I’ve had enough of them to know when I have a sinus infection. The doctor came in to the room — I could barely even sit up I felt so bad — she pushed between my eyes and went, “Does this hurt.”
It didn’t. So she said I didn’t have a sinus infection and didn’t want to give me anything. I would have been livid if I’d had the energy to feel that way. I had to fight to get a prescription antibiotic! It left me with yet another bad taste in my mouth towards doctors.
So. I don’t like doctors. I fear being given bad news, and I fear not getting help when I truly need it. Both of which kind of defeat the purpose of the doctor in the first place, right?
But I do go. I went today for a check-up in fact. I know their need. I know their purpose. I respect them immensely. But that being said, I still don’t like them.
Weekly Winners is a fun little thing bloggers do to showcase some of their favorite photos from the previous week. It is brought to you, me and everyone by the lovely Lotus, aka Sarcastic Mom. Visit her site and find all the participants. See some amazing photos brought to you by bloggers around the world. Leave a little love when you do — its like food for the soul!
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