Posts Tagged ‘Day’

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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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  I hope everyone is having a great day and that everyone has a great evening as well!  I, myself, will be celebrating my second birthday today!

Artwork designed by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) for a Grace at Arms t-shirt commemorating Bastion's and Chrysalis' birthday ("B-Day)".  All art, design, logos, "I CAME HERE TO ROCK", @LIVE 2012, and B-DAY are copyright 2012 by Grace at Arms, Bastion Crider, Greg Crider LLC.

Wait… second birthday?

I refuse to go too far into detail (GRACE@ARMS has entire albums ready to record about growing up), but I’ll offer a brief (or as brief as it can get) explanation of what I mean.

Fight Club was right!

Three movie quotations which I always thought were obtuse, over-generalized, poorly worded, or just plain wrong (but later learned that they were EXACTLY right) are as follows:

There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.

– Morpheus, The Matrix

This always felt half obvious and half wrong.  Doing and talking are obviously not the same, but isn’t the difference just a matter of decision?  As it turns out, it’s a lot bigger than that.  Not only do we learn through doing, but we feel and experience our decision and its consequences.  As anyone who’s ever stepped outside of their comfort zone will tell you, “it’s not how you think it is.”

If you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything.

– Count Rugen, The Princess Bride

I ripped a hamstring in a soccer game and stopped two of my opponents before going off the field.  I used to look forward to getting strep throat so I could spend a day on the couch.  Pain?  I’ll just play through.
Enter: two back surgeries.  As it turns out, you SHOULD listen to your body (specifically your back, neck, brain, and nervous system).  If you lose your mobility or even limit it, you are dead until it heals.  Don’t learn this the hard way.  Protect yourself.

It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything.

– Tyler Durden, Fight Club

I used to think that this was obtuse.  I thought that the writers were trying to find a way to sum up the whole mentality of the movie into a single sentence and that they trimmed it just a little too much.

…and then, shortly after completing law school and becoming an attorney, just as I was purchasing  my first home and preparing not to settle down, but to begin a post-school life of doing the things I want to do, rather than doing the things that would build a good future, my reason for doing it all–my whole heart–disappeared.

Again, I’m not going to get into details since they’ll be outlined in song, which I find less whiny and more relatable, but suffice it to say that I found myself standing in a big empty castle, the construction of which I had devoted my whole life to, perfectly designed for a life I was no longer able to live.

You either get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’.

– Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption
(Don’t worry–I always knew this quote was good.)

I found myself lost, confused, and caught for the first time in my life in a daily struggle against thoughts of suicide.  Fortunately, almost immediately after deciding to stick around a few more years, I realized just how true that Fight Club quote was.

“It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything” doesn’t mean that if you make stupid choices, you’ll feel better.  Nor does it mean that throwing all your belongings away will lead to a happier life.

It means, at least to me, that if you lose your means to live but not your reason, that you are free to choose any means that will support that reason. If you lose your reason to live, but not your means, you are free to create any reason your means will support.  If you lose both, then you are free to create a new life.

Motivation > Decisions

When there’s no road forward, no road backward, and you refuse to fall to the side, I see no choice but to climb straight up.  “Perfect” was gone in my mind so I had no option but to create something better.

As I surveyed my obliterated heart, I expected to find rot and scars.  What I found instead was love and ambition pouring out of me.  Pure hope, like I hadn’t felt since I was an ignorant little child was gushing out of my gaping chest.

I thought back on everything I’d ever wanted to change about myself but had never had the strength to fix.  Finally, I had the motivation to do it.  Finally, I had lost everything except the ferocity with which I was going to fight.

Designing a New Life

I made a list of everything I was never strong enough to change and demon that had haunted me since I was little.  I had great ideas but I was too lazy to follow through on them.  I had struggled and fought against pornography addiction since I was in fifth grade.  I had deep-seeded rage that never seemed to escape.  I had written dozens of songs–more so, I had a dream–that I had never made real.  I had dozens of problems, big and small.

Rather than tying my pain and frustration to the past, to that which couldn’t be fixed, I instead tied it to the present.  I didn’t lie to myself or pat myself on the back.  I simply looked at what I was and what I wanted to be, and made them the same.  I taught myself how to think, how to feel, how to self-motivate, and how to conquer.  Every time I became upset and every time I relaxed, I felt that pain and I fought improve.  Every time I felt like fighting and every time I was too tired and broken to stand, I felt that pain and I fought to improve.  Every time I felt proud and every time I lost faith in myself, I felt that pain and I fought to improve.

Within six months (by my next birthday), I had lost thirty-five pounds, kicked addictions that had plagued me for years, developed a social confidence I had lacked my entire life, redeveloped my faith system, re-established myself as a bastion of hope and inspiration, wrote almost two dozen new songs (each of which were better than any I’d written previously), stopped the suicidal urges, started finalizing the recording of Chrysalis, replaced my crippling laziness with an unrelenting work ethic, improved my performance at my job drastically, shed fears and scars that I had carried since youth, and even released the rage that had shaken me for as long as I can remember.

When my birthday rolled around in 2010, I was a new life.  My smile, my interests, and my sense of humor didn’t change, but everything else had become what I had always wanted it to be.  I declared March 17, 2010 my re-birth day.  Within my first year as whom I am, I achieved what I never could have before; I completed and released the Chrysalis of Grace at Arms.

The present and the future.

I’m not yet happy with where I am, but this year, I’ve finally been happy with whom I am.  My ancient, ignorant hope has been replaced with two years of ferocious, defiant hope.  My pre-natal rage has been replaced with two years of unyielding ambition.  My old willingness to agree with all of the fools who believe in the “impossible” has been replaced with two years of exceeded expectations, conquered odds, and, for the first time in my life, success on my own terms.

This coming year is filled with difficult choices and ugly ultimatums in my career, my life, and my band.  If this were my 12th, 18th, 22nd, 30th, or 50th birthday, I wouldn’t be ready to face them.  If I were a victim of consequence or a product of real life, I would be too fearful to commit this to writing, let alone publish it to the world.  Today, though, on my second birthday, I am as I have designed myself; able, willing, ready, strong, hopeful, graceful, and of course, always at arms.

Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS)' logo alongside the @LIVE 2012 "I CAME HERE TO ROCK" slogan in an image designed by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms in February 2012.  All art, design, logos, @LIVE 2012, and "I CAME HERE TO ROCK" are copyright Grace at Arms, Bastion Crider, and Greg Crider LLC.

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

If you just started following my V-Week blogs, I’m posting a video of myself performing a different cover song about love each of Monday through Thursday this week before posting a new original song on Friday. If you missed them, be sure to check out the other videos I’ve already posted:

1. “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis Presley
2. “The One I Love” by David Gray
Or you can click here to go our YouTube page.

And now it’s time for some Tom Waits action…

Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (Grace@Arms) in Tom Waits-esque attire performing his version of Tom Waits' song, "Hold On."  Image is a screen capture from said video performance, which is available at http://youtube.com/graceatarms.

Hold on… Tom Waits?

Those of you who’ve been to our acoustic concerts know that my version of Hold On differs drastically from the original. Tom Waits’ version of the song is what I would call “texture music.” He blends instruments and vocals into a beautifully complex sound that breathes slowly from the beginning to the end of the song. My version, on the other hand, simplifies the music into a more rock feel, which in turn puts a greater focus on Tom’s absolutely incredible lyrics.

The other significant change I’ve made to the original is in the third verse. In the original version, Tom sings, “St. Louis got the best of me.” I don’t know what the line means, but I have to assume that it relates to a personal experience. I don’t think that singing a line I don’t understand in any way preserves the heart of the song, so I have changed the line to “Phoenix stole the soul from me,” which relates a personal experience of my own, thereby preserving both the cryptic nature of the line in the audience’s ears and maintaining the level of personal investment on the part of the artist.

Love: Romantic and Otherwise

The story told in “Hold On” obviously includes plenty of romance and heartbreak, but the instance of love which I find most moving is of an entirely different kind.

I recorded the vast majority of Chrysalis myself, did all of the editing and mixing myself, and put more than one hundred hours into the album art. I spent my entire life savings (and then some) publishing Chrysalis and am solely responsible for marketing it. I wrote every note of every instrument on that CD. I wrote both Believe and No Way Home as alternatives to suicide. I literally have more hours in Chrysalis than in college and law school combined.

The end result of all of this work, however, is little more than a prayer. Chrysalis is my outstretched palm. Its value comes from the connection that it makes with listeners–when people play my songs and for a moment, their hearts connect with mine.

Today, people tell me about them and it moves me to no end. Now, when I take the stage and feel the hearts of the audience. When I was putting in the vast majority of those long, painful hours, though, there was nobody listening. There was no connection, no validation, and no music. All I had was hope and the song inside my head.

The second half of the fourth verse of “Hold On” sings the story of that experience in a way so moving that I’ve never been able to sing it without throwing my entire heart into it. There’s certainly a story of romance in this song, but what I find most moving is this short story about my heart:

But it’s so hard to dance that way; when it’s cold and there’s no music. Your old hometown’s so far away, but inside your head, there’s a record playing a song called ‘Hold On.’

Hold On, by Tom Waits

 

Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any of the love!  You can also find Grace at Arms on iTunes, Facebook, or graceatarms.com!  You can also find Grace at Arms’ singer, Bastion on Facebook, Twitter, and at his original blog at graceatarms.com/bastion!  Don’t forget to pick up your t-shirts and other gear at graceatarms.com/alive2012!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

If you just started following my V-Week blogs, I’m posting a video of myself performing a different cover song about love each of Monday through Thursday this week before posting a new original song on Friday. If you missed it, be sure to watch the first video of the series, my cover of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis Presley!

Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) playing acoustic guitar at Valhalla.  This image is a screen capture from a video of Bastion Crider performing "The One I Love" by David Gray in February 2012 which is currently available at http://youtube.com/graceatarms.

David Gray Today:

I chose the song, “The One I Love,” by David Gray, to be today’s post because the song has held great significance in my life, but because I feel it to be a particularly meaningful and undistracted statement of love.

While it’s not clear what exactly has happened to the singer, the song seems to take place in his dying moments. He stops and begins to fade as the world whispers on by him and he watches his love dance away from him forever. The concept is obviously moving, but what makes this stand out in my mind is that the singer doesn’t have to be singing a love song.

I LOVE. Oh, would you like me to add your name to the end of that sentence?

It’s so easy to mimic love that we frequently accept excuses and emotional rushes in lieu of the real thing. Heartbreak songs are a good example. It hurts to get dumped. You don’t have to love the person dumping you. You don’t even have to like them, but you’re going to experience at least some feelings of loneliness, abandonment, and rejection.

Similarly, it’s easy to talk about love when you’re particularly happy. You love feeling great so if someone is making you feel great, it’s easy to reassign the feelings.

This moment is mine alone, but I’m going to live it for you.

What I find so different about this song is that the singer is exploring a moment that is entirely his. He’s not trying to find a way to fill a void or assign a cause to his current happiness.

He has his entire life present in his mind for a few final seconds. He could look back over his achievements, mourn his failures, confess his secrets, or ask forgiveness for his sins. He is entirely free to roam his life without consequence or direction.

Instead of all these things, though, he chooses to spend his final seconds loving her.

The One I Love

Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any of the love!  You can also find Grace at Arms on iTunes, Facebook, or graceatarms.com!  You can also find Grace at Arms’ singer, Bastion on Facebook, Twitter, and at his original blog at graceatarms.com/bastion!  Don’t forget to pick up your t-shirts and other gear at graceatarms.com/alive2012!