I had a really great time in Los Angeles…learned a lot about the city, played some music, heard lots more music, and met some really awesome folks! Grandmaster tour leader and connector of all things LA, Toni Koch from The Talent Tree Presents, was my hostess and chauffeur. I played an open mic at Kulak’s Woodshed on Monday night and met Kerrie Garside, a lovely and talented Australian songwriter in L.A. for the month. Jimi Yamagishi from SongNet loaned me a guitar for my stay because flying with guitars is, still in this advanced age of 2015, not very advisable. Yay Jimi!

The next night we played the Talent Tree night at 55 Degree Wine, and Kerrie and I had a great time joined by Teresa Crespo Hartendorp. Great venue and nice folks!

Wednesday I got to EAT LUNCH IN BEVERLY HILLS, Y’ALL (and take a bathroom selfie) at an AIMP luncheon about music in video games. Networking…it’s how we do.

I also got to have a chat with Kyler England, a songwriter I have been a fan of for a while and who is just…really amazing. It’s great when people let you pick their brains. I promise to only always pick brains for good, not for evil. (That sounds like a zombie thing). Anyway, listen to Kyler here.

Overall, great connections were made and I can’t wait to go back!

photo.JPG

I’ve been working on this project for a while now. No, wait. I’ve been THREATENING to work on this for a long time…and recently kicked it into gear. I’ve been pecking away at some sort of tome for almost a year. A book, a blog compendium, a social media guide…what is it? FINALLY I’ve narrowed my focus into…all of those things in eBook form. There’s a lot of social media theory, because while there are tons of tutorials online to show you how to use every tool ever invented in social media land, there has to be a theory and a strategy and a set of values behind it all or none of the tools work. This is what my eBook will mostly address. That and how to get going with booking and touring. Plus a few stories about how ridiculous I am, because…truth.

If (no, WHEN) this thing ever gets finished I will breathe a big sigh of relief because writing a book is HARD and I could be watching several seasons of Storage Wars, people. That will happen when the finished product is…finished.

And when I pick a better title than “Social Media and Stuff.” That’s just a working title. It’s not even that, it’s the “Mom and Dad I’m just going to live here while I find a job that suits my Communications degree can I just have the basement for 6 months while I’m not working” title.

Alright, so month 2 of 12 months of experiments is underway, and as explained below, I’m calling this one The Early Month. This has actually turned into a bit of a misnomer because while I tried, I cannot quite tweak my schedule to get up at 5 AM at this juncture. There is rarely the chance for me to go to bed before midnight, and I do not roll well with less than 7 hours. I have learned this about myself, and I accept it.

But! All is not lost. Knowing it is Early Month has definitely helped me focus more on a few of my own personal project things, which are always first to be ignored. One of which was that video below, which as far as I can tell is now done going “folk viral” but the 1.5 days of hit-counting were entertaining.

I’ve also tried out using the first hour of my day as my own creative time, which worked the first few days. Then I shifted to working an hour or more in the evening on things (new songs, guitar, etc.) That’s interesting because that wasn’t the case until I started the month with the intention of doing that. Intention is key, apparently. This is the understatement of the year, and 1600 self-help gurus just smacked their foreheads in a “Duh, Jana” moment.

Twitter Joy

I hung up a photo of Gordon Ramsay over my desk as an extra “get writing!” incentive and I tweeted at him. He followed me right back. Soon my goal of opening a rustic but chic restaurant with him in Santa Fe will come to fruition. Or something.

This is random but fun. For a few months now I have had the thought of getting an old laptop or something from Craigslist to be a non-internet-connected writing tool. BECAUSE FACEBOOK IS SO DANG DISTRACTING. I know, a little discipline goes a long way.

So does a little whimsy. I just finished reading Steve Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacson. It’s amazingly written and brilliant history of Jobs and also Apple. I realized while reading it that I grew up with them. As I blogged earlier, my parents bought our first Apple when I was 3 and I have never looked back. Apple product launches were big deals. I was in high school when everyone started using Napster and in college when everyone started carrying their mp3s around on iPods. Then we all started buying from iTunes. Then we started reading magazines on iPads. We’re transitioning to keeping all our files in the iCloud. Big cultural changes from this computer company.

Reading about the design process of these products was fascinating, and I have a lot of respect for Jobs and how he settled for nothing but perfection. He could be a jerk, but he had a vision, and he pushed people to reach it. The design of the first iMac G3, those colorful desktops, was especially fascinating. We had them in my high school computer lab; I always thought they were cool. They were a big deal because they looked like no other computer that had existed up until then, and they were the first Apple desktop priced under $2,000.

I had a wild hair to see what they were going for on Craigslist, and before I know it this little blueberry desktop was in my possession for…$50. Crazy. It has word processing on it and needs nothing else. Runs like a champ, and the OS is surprisingly fast for it being a 15 year old machine.

iMac G3
Old school.

I’m hoping it will lend itself to many an uninterrupted brainstorming/writing session. If I can channel a little Jobs brilliance through it, that wouldn’t hurt either. The only person to have a screaming fit at will be me, though, so I had better be nice to myself.

Jobs Book
New school.