Archive for the ‘Photos’ Category

I’m really in love with internet memes these days (if you’re unfamiliar with the term, internet memes are the recurring images with clever text on them that you see everywhere–for LOTS of examples, check out my Pinterest boards here).

I don’t usually celebrate of Star Wars Day though I do give a “may the fourth be with you” to all of my Star Wars fan friends, but today I noticed a meme that made me decide to make an image of my own.

Someone posted this on Facebook:

An internet meme making fun of people who pretend to be nerds picking on non-Star-Wars-fans celebrating Star Wars Day (May 4, 2012).

That meme (that image of that girl) is normally used to pick on people who claim to be nerds but really just watch the Big Bang Theory or own a Star Wars t-shirt (welcome to the internet–“nerds” is now an elitist group).

The picture is funny, but, as a member of the internet, it’s my duty to jab at everything, whether I like it or not!  In an appropriately passive-aggressive move, I designed a little picture (for those purists out there, it isn’t a meme–it’s just a picture until it catches on) of my own:

An image of a Star Wars geek with funny text by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) prepared in celebration of Star Wars Day (May 4th, 2012).

If you’re unfamiliar with GRACE@ARMS, you can find us on iTunes, Facebook, YouTube, and at our homepage, graceatarms.com (you can also find us just about everywhere else–just search for Grace@Arms or BastionAtArms). You can also keep up to date with my blog, my art projects, my music, and my madness at my Facebook, Twitter, and my original blog at graceatarms.com/bastion.

Thanks and thanks again. Keep rocking with all that you’ve got.
– Bastion, of Grace at Arms

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If you missed Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, I’ve been battling the shards of an exploding disc in my spine.  When we left off, I was awaiting surgery and trying to survive a “no ibuprofen” mandate from my surgeon.

If you can’t sleep, just re-define “sleep.”

After two days of raging, spastic agony, I was too afraid to go to bed.  This turned out to be fortunate, though.  I resumed sleeping* against my pillow stack on my couch, which, combined with a steroid that was riding the needle the doctors had plunged into my spine a few days prior, got me back into a quasi-mobile state!

Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) pretending to sleep in the position in which he has had to sleep for several weeks on account of a back injury in February 2012.

I sit, I lean, I sit, I sleep*, I sit, I sleep*, I wake.

* “Sleeping” in this context means “sitting still for a long enough time that it’s safe to assume that I was unconscious for some period of time.”

If ignorance is bliss, distraction is at least peaceful.

Fortunately, I had plenty of friends and family visiting me over the week before surgery and, among other things, I was able to construct my chocolate piano!

Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) sitting behind the chocolate piano he built out of white, dark, and milk chocolate candy bars including Kit Kat bars, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Minis, Hershey's Cookies 'n' Cream bars, and Hershey's Chocolate Bars in February 2012.

Okay, so you haven't seen this picture, but you HAVE seen the rest of them (if you haven't, just click on the picture).

Seriously, if you’ve found a way to this article but haven’t seen my chocolate piano, then you’re missing the good stuff!  For your sake, please go to facebook.com/graceatarmsbastion and become a fan.

Hack!  Hack that back!

Friday, February 24 finally rolled around and the story gets short from there:
1.  Dr. Jean-Pierre Mobasser, MD has Jesus-hands.
2.  He removed some scar tissue, disc fragments, and other junk and patched me up in under an hour.

Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) lying on his bed in the Naab Road Surgery Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, following his back sugery performed by Dr. Jean-Pierre Mobasser, MD.

Me, still drugged, making myself comfortable post-surgery.

An hour and a half later, I was sitting in my mom’s car eating a Qdoba burrito and sending doped up texts to the handful of people whose names I could remember despite the anesthetics.

…and now… and more now… and more now…

So now, I’m healing.  Not only am I healing, but with a Tylenol and two ibuprofen, I feel closer to “painless” than I have in years.  The only battle I have left ahead of me (barring the unexpected) is patience.  I have to wait until I have healed completely before I go off and do anything stupid, no matter how stir crazy I get.

An image of Bastion Crider's head with his memories on fire designed, photographed, and edited by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) in December 2011.

This seemed like an appropriate time to bust out the image of my mind ablaze again.

Fortunately, madness is a good substitute for creativity!  Maybe Grace@Arms will see some new material as a result of this!  Thanks for the hopes and the prayers!  Hopefully, there will only be one more chapter in this story: my return to life as I knew it.

T-shirt update:

One benefit of the boredom and unusual schedule just manifested itself in that I woke after only a few hours of sleep, grabbed up an old photo of me, and fixed it so you can see what the new shirts will look like (note: this shirt doesn’t exist yet–I’m kind of proud of those Photoshop skills)! The pre-order ends on Sunday, so if you want this shirt, click the picture or just go to graceatarms.com/alive2012 and order it now!

Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (Grace@Arms) wearing one of the new "baseball style" t-shirts for GRACE@ARMS' @LIVE 2012.  All photos, art, and logos copyright Bastion Crider, Greg Crider LLC, and Grace at Arms 2012.

The back says, "I CAME HERE TO ROCK"

A recent back injury has stuck me at home long enough that “stir crazy” has become “stir creative.”  The first manifestation of this came when I noticed that Reese’s Cups were now available in both white and dark chocolate.  I’m a contrast fan (add that to your Facebook profile–“Interests: music, skateboarding, contrast, hanging out with friends…”) so I decided to pick some up and photograph them.

White chocolate and dark chocolate Reese's Cups sitting next to each other in a photograph taken by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) in February 2012.

"Am I the only one blown away by the juxtaposition of white chocolate Reese's Cups sitting next to dark chocolate ones?" - @BastionAtArms

Enough people seemed to enjoy the image that I felt a little more confident when I revealed that I had also purchased some white and dark chocolate KitKat bars!

White and dark chocolate KitKat Bars sitting next to each other; arranged and photographed by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) in February 2012.

"And this time, we have a white chocolate KitKat next to a dark chocolate KitKat! I am, yet again, awe-struck." - Sebastion (Bastion) Crider

This time the response was huge.  I don’t know how or why photographing white and dark chocolate versions of the same candy bar isn’t already a nationwide fetish, but this seemed to kick off a LOT of excitement and suggestions.  One that came up a few times was “build a keyboard.”  Since I’d been kicking around a similar idea during the week, I decided it was time to build the KitKat Keyboard.

Stacks of white, dark, and milk chocolate KitKat Bars arranged and photographed by Bastion Crider in February, 2012.White, dark, and milk chocolate KitKat Bars arranged and photographed by Bastion Crider in February 2012.White chocolate KitKat Bars lined up like the white keys of a piano keyboard and photographed by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) in February 2012.Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) placing dark chocolate KitKat Bars (black keys) over white chocolate KitKat Bars (white keys) on the chocolate piano he built in February 2012.Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) eating a dark chocolate KitKat Bar while building a piano keyboard out of dark and white chocolate KitKat Bars.A piano keyboard made out of dark chocolate and white chocolate KitKat Bars arranged and photographed by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) in February 2012.Dark and white chocolate KitKat Bars arranged by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) into a piano keyboard and then photographed by Bastion in February 2012.White and dark chocolate KitKat Bars arranged by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) into a piano keyboard and photographed by Bastion Crider in February 2012.Bastion Crider posing with the piano keyboard which he constructed out of white and dark chocolate KitKat Bars in February 2012.

Of course, I’ve never looked at something awesome and thought, “well, that’s enough of that.”  I kept thinking about the keyboard and how plain it felt.  I ran to the store.  A few dozen Hershey’s candy bars later, I had finished an electric piano which I styled after old Wurlitzer Electronic Pianos.

A model of an old-style electric piano made out of white and dark chocolate KitKat Bars, milk chocolate Hershey Bars, Hershey's Cookies 'n' Cream Bars, Reese's Cup Minis, and white chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, arranged and photographed by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) in February 2012.A model of an old-style electric piano made out of white and dark chocolate KitKat Bars, milk chocolate Hershey Bars, Hershey's Cookies 'n' Cream Bars, Reese's Cup Minis, and white chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, arranged and photographed by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) in February 2012.A model of an old-style electric piano made out of white and dark chocolate KitKat Bars, milk chocolate Hershey Bars, Hershey's Cookies 'n' Cream Bars, Reese's Cup Minis, and white chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, arranged and photographed by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) in February 2012.A model of an old-style electric piano made out of white and dark chocolate KitKat Bars, milk chocolate Hershey Bars, Hershey's Cookies 'n' Cream Bars, Reese's Cup Minis, and white chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, arranged and photographed by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) in February 2012.A model of an old-style electric piano made out of white and dark chocolate KitKat Bars, milk chocolate Hershey Bars, Hershey's Cookies 'n' Cream Bars, Reese's Cup Minis, and white chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, arranged and photographed by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) in February 2012.A model of an old-style electric piano made out of white and dark chocolate KitKat Bars, milk chocolate Hershey Bars, Hershey's Cookies 'n' Cream Bars, Reese's Cup Minis, and white chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, arranged and photographed by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) in February 2012.Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) pretending to play a song on the model electric piano which he built out of white and dark chocolate KitKat Bars, white chocolate Reese's Cups, Reese's Cup Minis, milk chocolate Hershey Bars, and Hershey's Cookies 'n' Cream Bars in February 2012.Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) pretending to play a song on the model electric piano which he built out of white and dark chocolate KitKat Bars, white chocolate Reese's Cups, Reese's Cup Minis, milk chocolate Hershey Bars, and Hershey's Cookies 'n' Cream Bars in February 2012.

There you have it!  If you’ve enjoyed yourself, then be sure to subscribe to my blog (either here on WordPress or at my original blog at graceatarms.com/bastion), become a fan of my Facebook page, or Follow me on Twitter.  If you are interested in hearing me play actual music, be sure to check out my band, Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) on iTunes and Facebook.  If you’re looking for both music and my silliness, hit our YouTube page here!  Thanks for reading and have a great day!

If you’re a representative of Hershey’s, Reese’s, or Kit Kat, and would like to contact me regarding the use of my piano, please email me at bastion@graceatarms.com .

BACK Story:

When we left off in Part 1 (BACKground) of the story of my back troubles, Dr. Mobasser had just saved the day by removing two disc fragments from my spine and bringing me more relief than I could possibly have expected. This period of painlessness lasted for about six months before a second bulging disc in my back started rubbing up against a different, but similar sciatic nerve.

Two Dissident Lessons Learned:

Lesson #1: Fortunately, over the course of my surgical experience, I learned that my pain tolerance is too high. Not “tough guy” high, but rather “action movie” high or more appropriately, “you might seriously injure yourself and not know it” high. Knowing this, I had a much better understanding of the need to monitor my body and take time to heal whenever my back pain grew too much.

Lesson #2: Unfortunately, over the course of my surgical experience, I spent about two months with the largest nerve in my body abrased, pinched, stretched, and twisted; constant (literally, there was not a second of my day–even when fully medicated–in which my pain level wasn’t at least a 3), throbbing pain throughout my back, hamstring, and calf; and frequent bouts of spastic pain reducing me to a screaming, convulsing heap on the floor. After that, it’s really hard for me to consider just about anything to be truly “painful,” no matter how bad it hurts.

An image of Bastion Crider taken and edited by Bastion Crider in December, 2011.  Photo and art copyright 2011 Bastion Crider, Greg Crider LLC, and Grace at Arms.

By combining these lessons, I was able to both pose for this photograph AND acknowledge that it was a bad idea.

Familiar Feelings:

As the pain from the new bulging disc continued to grow, I tried to take appropriate measures to care for my back rather than muscling through it (yay for Lesson #1). Of course, I didn’t do a good enough job (dammit, Lesson #2) and, after a little over a year of this pain (December 2011), the bulging disc began to break and release new fragments to go molest my sciatic nerve.

Back to the spastic, crippling pain (though still not nearly as bad as it was two years ago), I returned to Dr. Mobasser, who indicated that he was going to need to go in and cut out any floating disc fragments, bone spurs, Junior Mints, or scar tissue that was bothering my nerve. First, though, we’d need to make sure we were targeting the right nerve. This is done by sticking a needle all the way into my spine and literally injecting the nerve with a numbing substance and a steroid.

Dr. Jean-Pierre Mobasser, MD, pointing to the S-1 Nerve Root, to show where he would like to perform a selective nerve root block on Bastion Crider in preparation for back surgery to remove disc fragments released after Bastion's S-1 disc herniated one or several times.  Photograph by Bastion Crider, 2012.

"...and then we're going to stick the needle right here."

Shot in the back:

Dr. Mobasser sent me back to my orthopedist, Dr. Scott Taylor, in whom I also have great faith and trust, to get my “selective nerve root block” shot. To make a long story very short, they wheeled me into the hospital and plunged about two inches of a syringe that looked like a Klingon ceremonial spear into my back.

Bastion Crider in a hospital gown at Henry County Memorial Hospital in New Castle, Indiana, waiting to receive a "selective nerve root block" injection into his S-1 nerve root.  Photograph taken by Greg Crider, 2012.

Before the nerve block: it hurts too much to sit up, so here I am lounging in my hospital gown waiting for the injection.

Screen capture from the movie, 300, by Lionsgate films.  Cropped by Bastion Crider, 2012.

Dr. Taylor aims the syringe before plunging it into Bastion's spinal column.

Aftermath:

The injection was a success! My nerve went numb for a few hours and left me painless, which means that we’ve isolated the correct nerve! I’m waiting for a call from Dr. Mobasser now to let me know when I’ll be going in for surgery. In the mean time, I’m hoping the steroid in my nerve will keep things stable! Until next time, keep rocking!

…aaaaand just in case surgery goes poorly and this is the last you’ll ever hear from me, here’s a Love Poem For Ghosts (read the story behind this poem and why this might be actually be a poem about you in my blog entry: “A Love Poem For Ghosts“):

 

If you enjoy my blog, feel free to subscribe to my RSS feed, Like my Facebook page, or Follow my Twitter account for news, updates, and inspirational thoughts. – Bastion

If you are unfamiliar with GRACE@ARMS, feel free to explore the headings at the top of this page, find our music on iTunes, enjoy our YouTube page, or Like our Facebook page to keep up to date.

Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) on the stage at Birdy's Bar and Grill in Indianapolis, Indiana, during a Grace at Arms concert on January 27, 2012.  Image is a screen capture cropped by Bastion Crider from video footage recorded by John Sweigart III of Swagtree Productions.  All logos, art, and "I CAME HERE TO ROCK" are copyright 2012 by Bastion Crider, Greg Crider LLC, and Grace at Arms.

It’s Friday so it’s time for another From the Band Friday!  Here’s what the boys from GRACE@ARMS have to say!

Bastion:

Our friend, John (of Swagtree Productions), came to our concert last Friday (which rocked–big thanks to all our fans who showed up) and filmed us playing some songs!  We’re refining the video footage now, but in the mean time, here are a few video captures I managed to pull from the footage!

Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) performing at Birdy's Bar and Grill in Indianapolis on January 27, 2012.  Image captured from film footage by John Sweigart III.  All images, art, logos, and "I CAME HERE TO ROCK" copyright 2012, Bastion Crider, Greg Crider LLC, Grace at Arms.

Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) performing at Birdy's Bar and Grill in Indianapolis on January 27, 2012.  Image captured from film footage by John Sweigart III.  All images, art, logos, and "I CAME HERE TO ROCK" copyright 2012, Bastion Crider, Greg Crider LLC, Grace at Arms.

Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) performing at Birdy's Bar and Grill in Indianapolis on January 27, 2012.  Image captured from film footage by John Sweigart III.  All images, art, logos, and "I CAME HERE TO ROCK" copyright 2012, Bastion Crider, Greg Crider LLC, Grace at Arms.

Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) performing at Birdy's Bar and Grill in Indianapolis on January 27, 2012.  Image captured from film footage by John Sweigart III.  All images, art, logos, and "I CAME HERE TO ROCK" copyright 2012, Bastion Crider, Greg Crider LLC, Grace at Arms.

Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) performing at Birdy's Bar and Grill in Indianapolis on January 27, 2012.  Image captured from film footage by John Sweigart III.  All images, art, logos, and "I CAME HERE TO ROCK" copyright 2012, Bastion Crider, Greg Crider LLC, Grace at Arms.

Milo:

With another awesome experience playing at Birdy’s under our belts, 2012 is off to an excellent start!  It was great seeing all of you.  Your feedback has been appreciated.  We take this information into consideration when preparing our upcoming set lists.  Contact us via Google+, Facebook, Twitter, etc. with your comments!

Cooper:

Sometimes you sit down to play a song and you come up with something entirely different.