12.29.2010

No Resolutions

Every year I fall in to the same trap as everyone else (no..not the trap of generalization, although I know we all do that one, too)....no...the trap I mean is that of doing one or both of the following as the year comes to an end:
  1. Making any kind of "OF XXXX List" (best of, worst of, most annoying boy band comeback of)
  2. Putting down a list of resolutions I have no intention of keeping through the month of January
I'm sure I made resolutions as 2010 started crowning. And I may or may not have stuck to some of them (SPOILER ALERT: I didn't, don't bother looking through last December's posts).

This year, I've decided to go with simple precepts. And while not 'religious' in nature in the strictest sense, they do possess a spirituality for me. When I do these things, I do feel more connected to my core.

My precepts for 2011 are fairly self explanatory, short, and easy to do intentionally:
  • Laugh
  • Love
  • Live
  • Jam
  • Shoot
  • Write
  • Film
And, I know that by doing those with greater frequency, I will get myself back to the center that I feel lately I've been drifting from.

The first three are very important to me. They are the core of who I am and how I want to be remembered. In fact, I want them to be on my gravestone.
Here Lies
Andrew Todd Skaggs
He Laughed. He Loved. He Lived.

Good rules to live by. And the remaining four are my passions. Music, Photography, Writing, Video/Film. Each of these has been the focal point of my creative outlet at one point or another and I used to think I had to choose. But I realized (quite recently actually) that by trying to limit myself to one or the other, I was missing out. That it was quite possible for all of them to be woven in to the fabric of what makes Todd Todd.

And there you have it.

I will endeavor to make the first three as autonomous as breathing...and the remaining 4 to be as intentional as stopping to smell the flowers.

But these are not resolutions. They're more important to me than that.

And with this second blog post in as many days (some kind of record recently), I'm heading to bed. Because, as cheesy as it sounds, I really do get some kick ass ideas in the place I call Dreamland (although, lately I've been questioning which 'life' I'm living is my dream-life and which is the waking life (but that's a post/book for a whole other time).

Good night fellow travelers!

-A.T.

12.27.2010

In the Temple of the Butchered Cow

1990-1992 was a very jacked up period in my life. I'm not even gonna lie.

1990 I graduated. My HS girlfriend decided to break things off and I was introduced to the concept of 'casual sex.'

Fall of that same year while away at college I drank from the Devil's teats and tried my first taste of alcohol (And second, third, fourth, etc). Winter of that year I pledged a fraternity and later got Walking Pneumonia. Later that winter I got one of the lowest GPA's of any student at DePauw whilst still being able to remain a student at DePauw. I finished out my turd of a freshman year in Indiana and got set to come home to Ohio and go to school at THE Ohio State University.

But to get a sense of what really went in to the making of 'ITTOTBC' you have to go back to 1988 when I got my first guitar (well, probably earlier, but this isn't really an autobiography, now, is it?).

I got my first 2 guitars approximately the same time. 1 was from my grandparents. A Lotus acoustic (that I still have) and from Dan Soisson I got an Epiphone by Gibson PR350 (that I wish I still had). Both acoustics...both woefully under-exploited in my newb hands. Luckily I had Ian to encourage and show me the ropes.

Also, let me say that if I dated you...or had a crush on you...whether you knew it or not, I wrote a song for/about you. You may or may not have ever heard the song, read the lyrics or known of its existence, but it was there. This started in probably 7th or 8th grade...and continued up up until my current wife. Because, afterall...isn't that why we all wanted to be rock-stars? To get chicks? No...of course not.

So...that brings me to ITTOTBC...it's a collection of what was going through my head with regards to life, failing my parents expectations, questioning religion's place in my life, getting my cassette tape case stolen from my car (and chasing down the thieves and recovering said tapes)...and it's a few love songs (or more specifically songs written for people I had more than a passing fancy in at the time) thrown in for good measure. If you were a special lady in my life from 1990-1992, there's a good chance that something on this tape was written for/about you.

And it's cracked out. Seriously. It's some of my earliest work using a multi-track (Ian's Tascam, I believe)...my singing is very raw and untrained (some things stay constant), and the guitar playing is pretty basic. But thanks to my friend (and musical mentor), Ian....it has not been lost to the boxes of tapes from my life.

Ian digitized the tape. You can find it here:


It sounds better than I remembered it....both quality wise and sonically. I see where 20 year old Todd wanted to go with it. And who knows, I may dig out the four-track and give it another go.

Actually, there's not really a maybe about it....I know that music is much cheaper than therapy...and it's a part of me (as much as the writing and photography and filmmaking are)...it's an outlet...and thanks to this little OCD stint by a good friend...I've gotten the kickstart I need to get back in to the full-on writing (well, that along with finding myself back in a band-type situation)...

so...um. yeah.

Sorry for the ramblings. It's been a damn sight since I've 'blogged' too.

That feels kinda good too. :-)

PS my 3 top faves from the tape:
  • In the Temple
  • Duck on Acid
  • Zen 1992
Peace 0ut, yo.

-AT.

On Being Intentional About More Words On The Page

I am a writer. Well, scratch that.  Maybe. I love taking pictures.  For a season of my life I loved writing songs and was even in a band...