Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 in Review

Where to begin with this...2012 has been the best year thus; so much has happened that it is quite challenging to recall. Let's go month by month, albeit in brief summary fashion.

My band, The Dread Crew of Oddwood, launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund our newest/third album, Heavy Mahogany, and it worked! Went extremely successfully, grossing 150% of our goal. For the promotional video, Reece shot at me with a .60 cal flintlock pistol charge, which I assure you is a slightly foreboding experience. I went into the studio to record all of the primal drum tracks to start off the album, the performance of which I'll be making a video of, and later on, backup vocals (and lead on one song, Immortal Souls), marimba, steel pans, and tambourine.

Went to Nicaragua. Landed in Managua, went immediately to small town Masaya and the old port city of Granada (which was sacked by Henry Morgan in 1665). Crossed the ginormous Lago de Nicaragua, saw no bull sharks, but beautifully intimidating cone volcanoes. Travelled down the Rio de San Juan to the old Spanish fort in El Castillo, briefly trekked through pristine rainforest jungle, swam in a crocodile river, and ate massive river shrimp. Went by bus through the central interior to El Rama, took a boat out to the old pirate city of Bluefields, met a kind-hearted, hard-working family and stayed with them. Went on the most harrowing boat journey of my life through tumultuous jade Caribbean swells, soaking down to the bone and catching severe heat exhaustion. Whiled away a week on the Caribbean island Little Corn, eating pan de coco, snorkeling, and trying out the island lifestyle, albeit restlessly and unsuccessfully. Met an awesome Swedish dude named Gustav, who is essentially a great chef, and learned much about Scandinavia. Took a cargo ship back to the mainland, more bussing out to León, where I trekked an active volcano and saw my first (and certainly not last) lava-filled crater. Spent more time back in Granada, met some amazing people and opened up Central America, Colombia, Europe, and extreme hitchhiking to my wanderlust-filled brain. It really was a life-changing experience!

Reconciled with a former love, played 54 theatrical music shows at Renaissance Pleasure Faire, and acquired some strange, inconclusive Nicaraguan virus that left me pretty floored for a few weeks.

Oddwood opened for Rhapsody at The Grove in Anaheim, which rocked. Enjoyed summer days in San Diego.

Toured with Oddwood from San Diego up through Vancouver, B.C. Canada, and had a most splendid of times seeing all-new cities and performing at various pubs, as well as a formidable two weekends at Washington Midsummer Faire, whose entertainment director and staff were (mostly) incredible, real, and hilarious. Had my mind focused on the immediate future, which included starting up my wedding entertainment company and attending my upper-division schooling at UCSD.

September–early December:
Started school off with a bang, had a blast learning about all kinds of intellectual viewpoints, identities, and histories surrounding Brazil, the Caribbean region, and world cities. On the topic of identities, I became engrossed in atheism, secularism, and humanism, as these subjects have been shunned and ignored by bureaucracies and closed-minded/judgmental/religious people for a long time, yet are gaining a strong foothold in the U.S. Spent far more time hanging out on campus, which is really a cool place to relax and be studious.

Registered my entertainment company, and realized a surreal sense of clarity in my life. I am now a business owner! Never before this time have I known so strongly what I'd like my future to consist of. I cannot wait to help people in a professional business setting, far more extensively than I have done as a wedding disc jockey and master of ceremonies in the past. I want to contribute a lot of my energy into helping people have fantastic weddings, a result of my developing expertise in the field, and to build a company that I can employ the talents of my many musician/photographer/artist friends when possible, as well as scale up and expand into other additions. The fruits of this labor are beginning to ripen and are still coming.

This sense of clarity has given me this profound happiness, a sense of contentment and appreciation of the gift of Life. I've also decided that it is an honor and a privilege to be alive, and therefore should dress accordingly well. I've donated a large portion of my old wardrobe, continuing the switch to clothes I enjoy wearing, and nothing more or in excess. And I'm still moving along with my personal challenge to grow out my hair.

I've spent several months downsizing my worldly possessions by force, donating books and electronics and furniture and toys to those who would be better off with them. Living with less is great, because we're always acquiring more stuff! George Carlin explains this perfectly:

Mid-December through today:
Following my intense 30+ pages of finals (which turned out great, but a lot of work), I've had a lot of other goings-on going on. Just sold my Corolla, Ol' Bessie, whose five years of service and memories shall be ever-cherished. Been preparing to move out of the Polkinhorn Household, whose 17 months of countering my ridiculousness with ridiculousness of its own have been so appreciated. They've greatly contributed to this positive, upward progression of my life, graciously allowing me the continued pursuit of my ultimate future lifestyle after going through some chaotic times. A kind thank you again, Harry and C, if you read this).

Playing an Oddwood show on New Year's Eve with the infamously virtuosic Buckethead, an avante-gard guitar shredder who is famous in the music world. Oh yeah, and the world didn't end, just as I presciently foretold, but I did realize that Generation Y (the Millenials, born from 1982-2000) is helping the world shift in paradigm within some fields, as a conscious effort towards morality is underway. We'll see how far it gets.

The future:

Oddwood is direct support for Turisas and Firewind; Turisas being a viking metal band who dons war paint and plays folk metal, and Oddwood being a "heavy mahogany" band who dons piratical garb and sometimes war paint, this combination is going to be awesome.  2013 will have not one but two Oddwood tours—a brief one in March up to Seattle and back, and one in August to (hopefully) Bristol, Wisconsin and the East Coast, and more of the nation.

School will be continuing on, as I start a full-full time course load in a few weeks, will be joining the UCSD Sailing Team, and will hopefully be able to get out of class a week early so I can do an extensive journey abroad somewhere for June-July.

Hopefully I'll be booking a bunch of brides by the end of next year and on, so I can grow this company to the grand scale it's planned around for the not-so-distant future.

But I am just a man, and thus, end with this song: