January 2018 - Unhinged

Unhinged Episode #057: New Show Schedule

by Ed 1 Comment
Unhinged Episode #057: New Show Schedule

Today’s show is mostly an announcement of our new plan to do a show every other week, rather than weekly. We discuss a few reasons why we decided to test out this new schedule. It should actually be good for both the quality of the show as well as our personal lives.

With Doug feeling mostly better for nearly 4 and a half months now, he’s starting to think beyond the day-to-day challenges and looking more toward his future. We will still meet every week like we normally did to record the show, but now one week will be more about hanging as friends, playing music, and working on future goals. This will also give us the opportunity to potentially improve the show quality by having more time to lineup guests, flesh out facts, or get a little deeper on some subjects.

Toward the end of the show, we included a clip of our pre-show conversation where we discussed some interesting things about anxiety, public speaking, and stagefright. Nothing too detailed, but we figured it was interesting enough to add to this episode and maybe plant a seed for a future, more in depth discussion.

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This is My Brain on Music – ‘Broken Record Machine!’

This is My Brain on Music – ‘Broken Record Machine!’

For as long as I can remember music has been my most constant companion. In fact, several weeks before I was born, my parents went to see a horrible musical adaptation of the 1933 book “Lost Horizon.” Apparently I might have been the only one to enjoy this dog’s breakfast of a flick (whilst still in utero, LOL!!) Not that I can actually remember any of this from nearly 45 years ago, but my mother told me many times throughout her life that ‘I was really kicking up a storm on that fateful evening!’ Both of my parents were immense music lovers, although my father’s musical tastes oddly lent themselves more to his parents’ generation. As my mother’s musical leanings were slightly more hip, as a toddler we spent countless hours together listening to her records. We also spent an inordinate amount of time perfecting our very anachronistic versions of Elaine Benes’ classic dry heave-inducing dance moves!!

As I grew older and my various issues moved to the foreground, music quickly became the one thing that I could truly rely on. I received a transistor radio for my seventh birthday, and this is when I first began to build my unbreakable bond with Rock and Roll. Artists such as Billy Joel, Rod Stewart, Queen and Elton John were some of my early favourites. As the years passed i gradually moved on to tape recorders, ghetto blasters, Walkmans, and Discmans; as the technology steadily evolved, so too did my musical evolution. As a teenager I became fascinated with Jazz-Fusion, Progressive Rock and Heavy Metal, all vastly UNDERRATED genres as far as I’m concerned!!! I think that I gravitated towards these genres the most because of their complexity and often interesting time signatures. Return To Forever, Jean-Luc Ponty, Allan Holdsworth and Herbie Hancock are among my preferences in this heady musical realm.

Throughout my twenties and thirties life presented me with a relentless series of difficult challenges (sick parents, stressful living conditions, unfulfilled self-expectations and an overall sense of general malaise.) During these emotionally-stressful times, building my musical collection became my primary goal/coping mechanism. While this might seem petty and pointless to many, FOR ME, it provided an essential reason to carry on living. To date my musical archive probably numbers close to 10,000 pieces, likely split evenly between cassettes and compact discs. As much as I enjoyed seeking out and collecting this TREASURE TROVE, the downside is the amount of physical space it takes up and the exorbitant storage fees which occur as a result!! Yes, I could perhaps make the switch to streaming and the like, but I am far too attached to the tactile physicality of my collection to ever even surrender an inch!! I guess we all have our own particular version of a sin tax! Mine won’t kill me, but I just might eventually be found one day under a towering pile of musty ‘n’ mouldy CD booklets!!!

It’s often said that people on the Spectrum can develop a very strong bond with music. I shudder to even think what my life would have been like if I had not gone down this melodic path. Sadly we seem to be living in a time in which popular music has basically been reduced to an endless AUTO-TUNED parade of Ikea-approved, FACELESS zeroes and ones!! Hopefully I will live long enough to see a return to a greater appreciation of/for legitimate musical talent, and that REAL/TRUE ARTISTS will receive both their Artistic and Commercial Due(s).

In closing, here are my 5 favorite songs about music:

  1. “I Love Music” by the O’Jays
  2. “Let There Be Rock” by AC/DC
  3. “Long Live Rock” by The Who
  4. “Magic Power” by Triumph
  5. “Keep Playin’ that Rock & Roll” by Edgar Winter’s White Trash

 

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Unhinged Episode #056: Spectrum With Attitude

by Ed 3 Comments
Unhinged Episode #056: Spectrum With Attitude

This week we welcome special guest Avery, a friend of the show’s, and to us. Avery and Doug share a connection through both being somewhere on the spectrum. Technically, Avery is toward the Asperger’s side. We discuss when and how each of them were first diagnosed, and how they have managed to overcome some of their challenges.

We also chat about the “gifts” that many people on the spectrum have and how it can sometimes be more of a curse. We’ve talked about Doug’s hyperfocusing abilities, and Avery has an eidetic memory and can recall facts with extreme accuracy. We did put Avery to the test trying to recall what year certain songs came out, and he was impressive!

Ultimately, people on the spectrum learn differently, so early and accurate diagnosis can help put them on the right path. Awareness is key!

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Unhinged Episode #055: Perspective

by Ed 1 Comment
Unhinged Episode #055: Perspective

On this week’s episode, we discuss how important perspective is to live a positive life. Doug has been realizing how the little positive things in life make a big difference if you stop to appreciate them. Focusing on the positives, no matter how small, helps push out the negatives.

Doug also brings up whether he should ask his brother and sister why they did not visit him during his brain surgery in 2012. During that time, he was estranged from his family, partially due to a lack of understanding on their part about the disease, and partially because of how deep a depression he was going through then. With Doug’s newly found positive perspective, and his family coming around to what mental illness is all about, he feels it might be the right time to find out what was going through their minds during that time, with no judgment on his part. They are different people now who are part of Doug’s support system, and the past is “water under the bridge”. He plans to talk about it with them soon.

Quick note: This episode opens with a short guitar jam that Doug put together with his new Fender rig. It’s simply Doug letting loose and experimenting, which shows how far he’s come lately. Here’s to hope in 2018!

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Unhinged Episode #054: Open Your Presence

by Ed 3 Comments
Unhinged Episode #054: Open Your Presence

In our first episode of 2018, we start with a short and fun guitar jam, which highlights the mood for the new year. Doug is feeling much better, and after receiving the love and generosity from some of our friends and listeners, he’s entering the new year on a wave of positivity.

The bulk of this episode was recorded on January 2nd, which happened to be my birthday. Doug contacted me and said he had some things to say that should be recorded for the show, so I went ahead and recorded our conversation. For Christmas, I got Doug a Fender Squier guitar and a Fender amp. His acoustic guitar, though a beautiful instrument, was not totally filling his void for musical expression, and his last electric guitar had to be sold last year for financial reasons (plus it ended up not being the guitar he thought it would be anyway). In any case, getting a Fender back in his hands was enough to trigger a positive psychological change.

We mostly talk about music and guitars in this episode, but the underlying tone is one of hope. Doug talks about self-care and how to try to stay positive by surrounding yourself with a strong support system.

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