Saturday, October 29, 2022

Shoulder Asymmetry

 

Not looking my best this morning but you can easily see one of my shoulders is smaller than the other. It is also lower but that is a consequence of mild scoliosis I've had since childhood. Generally I haven't been working out other than the PT for the left shoulder (note the mirror reverses the image).

I've been working out according to the assignments of the physical therapists and assistants. I still can't quite do as much as they have assigned but I do what I can. The funny thing is since the therapy focuses on the injury, now my supposedly "weak" left shoulder is much larger than my right. It's normally a little bit larger due to scoliosis but not to the degree you see above. And I am right handed. This is unacceptable.

I started using dumbbells on my right side again. Since the injury I haven't done a normal workout for at least 6 or 7 weeks now. It seems obvious that I should do the same routine on my right shoulder that I do on my left shoulder, but I kind of hate the exercises. They are relatively light and not intuitive (as usual with physical therapy). Eventually the rubber theraband always snaps. I've broken a few over the years. One time I ended up with a red mark on my face from the snap-back.

I still hope to avoid surgery but the pain continues despite improved strength. I can handle a sling but I don't want to be in a restrictive shoulder cast.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Songwriting

 

My cramped, cluttered, dusty, "music studio." Jasmine by Takamine, Yamaha, Moog, Squier, GarageBand, and a Fender practice amp. And a cat. Yes, I know I have too much stuff and need to get rid of things.

I've tried to write songs since I was a teenager, which was a long time ago. Every couple or three years I would pull dusty instruments out of the corner and try playing. I eventually composed a few instrumentals but struggled with words. I can find good melodies within me but it's very difficult to write good lyrics.

I think I have finally succeeded in writing a complete song. And what's more - I like it. It is likely a country song. The basic musical phrase for the verses came to me in a dream. I was walking around outdoors with this woman I know only from Instagram, and there was music in the background. It was the voice of Kenny Chesney, but I could not make out the lyrics. The music was indistinct and the scenario was like that of a childhood memory. We went to the Indiana State Fair with my Aunt Patty, and we were walking down the midway behind the grandstand and could hear the echoing sound system. You could hear the music but you couldn't make out the words.

I remembered it when I woke up and recorded it. It's been a process of a couple of years to compose lyrics that I think are acceptable. Still, I found myself singing the melody on countless mornings in the shower. The next thing is to create a rough recording. After that I'm unsure about the process. I think the song needs published and then can be pitched. I'm practicing guitar and singing. I can get my guitar chops back, but the main problem is that I can't sing. I also do not currently have a good microphone. I may end up trying to find somebody to record the vocal track. It might be worth paying a college kid a few bucks.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Business

 

The late monsoon has capped the peaks with snow several times already, even as the trees still have their leaves. The gold marks stands of aspen.

By Business, I mean as much busy-ness as literal business. I haven't posted this month and we approach the end of it. I've just been very busy with both work and personal business. I've also had my calendar filled up with physical therapy appointments due to the shoulder injury I mentioned before.

So far the PT isn't helping, which isn't good news. I don't want to have surgery but I think it's apparent the shoulder will never be the same again either way. I imagined spending my retirement playing golf. That's looking unlikely now. Fortunately I seem to be able to paddle without aggravating the injury, so at least I still have that.

I have found a little time for bicycling and hiking, but the monsoon really didn't end until just now, despite the official end of the season being September 30th according to the National Weather Service.

I guess this post ended up just being a bread crumb dropped to say "I was here."

Shooting

I sneaked in some shooting before the rain moved in last Saturday. Shooting is legal but regulated on most Arizona public lands. You have to go pretty far out to be in compliance. You can't be near a highway, house, camp, business, etc. Shooting is also subject to fire bans.

If you have guns, you must know how to use them properly or you can end up in an unsafe situation, or if you don't use them at all they just become museum pieces.

I've never had formal training. My dad "taught" me to shoot, but as I grew older and more knowledgeable, I realized that he wasn't very good at teaching anything. He lacked patience, and frankly, empathy.

As a consequence, I have found it necessary to educate myself on firearms and their proper handling and use. I think I'm also going to take a concealed carry class so I have some formal training. This also allows obtaining a permit from the state, which would allow me to transport and carry guns in several other states that have "reciprocation" agreements without having to worry about the local police hassling me.

One of the main issues I have is that I get nervous when I go shooting. This is because I don't go shooting often enough. You don't want to become cavalier with a firearm but you should feel comfortable. I'm working on it.