Day Trip to Galveston

Today, Bethany and I both had a full day off. That rarely happens, so we took advantage of the day and decided to do something fun. We have been wanting to see both the Pompeii exhibit at the History Museum, and the Titanic exhibit at Moody Gardens. Since the museums are closed on Mondays, we headed down to Galveston to see the Titanic exhibit, and visit the aquarium. We just bought a camcorder yesterday:

We took some video, which I will post once I figure that out. For now, here's a few pictures I took at Sonic when some birds gathered around our car, and a few aquarium pics.



It's been weeks, but Bethany and I finally get to spend an entire day together. We started off by sleeping until almost noon. I know that won't be happening once the baby comes, so we're kinda soaking up this freedom while we have it.


I absolutely CANNOT STAND the freecreditreport.com commercials. The music is horrible, and the guy singing in the commercial can't lip sync. So, if you've ever wondered what music I "hate," then add those jingles to "Shackles" by Mary Mary, and you have my whole list of songs I wish I had never heard.

So, back to this day together. I wish I could call it a day off, but it's not. I've gotta play a wedding this evening, which Bethany will attend, then we get in the car and drive quickly to Kirby's Steakhouse, where Max Cat will have been playing an hour before I get there, and I will set up and play the last three sets. This will be #19 out of 20 straight days where I have either played a gig or a rehearsal. My hands are tired.

Last night was one of the more useless gigs I've ever done. Max Cat played at a Steakhouse/Lounge last night called J. Durham, in Champion Forest (North Houston). Normally it's not a really busy place, but we'll at least have 15-20 people in the Lounge through the night. It's more like a local bar, so everybody knows everybody and they just hang out. Last night, at its busiest, there were 11 people there. Then, by 10pm, everyone had left. We were playing for the bartender, the waitress, and the owner. So, we took a long break until two ladies came in. Then we played for them until about 11:30 (we're scheduled to play until 11). As we were about to pack up, an older couple came in and asked the bartender how long the band was going to go. He said, "I think that's their last song." And, I guess she has issues with that kind of thing, because she went a little psycho on her husband. "This is s***! Pay the f***ing tab, if they're not f***ing playing I'm not staying here to drink!" Apparently someone down the street had been telling people that the band was playing until midnight. Sorry about that. Always a good story at J. Durham.

I have two regrets in this band. First, I should've never even implied that I could ever sing a note anywhere near in tune. Now, every gig I've got a microphone in front of me, and if I don't use it, the singer will push it into my face and look at me until I sing. I joined this band because it was a chance to play some cool, challenging, instrumental pseudo-jazz music with some experienced musicians. Then, after a personnel change, our bass player married a singer, and now we're a vocal band. Most of our night is pop music, which I can play anywhere. I want to play music, not accompany a singer. I do that in every other band. And I certainly don't want to sing harmonies to "It's Too Late" or "We Are Family." I'm not hugely upset at the number of gigs we've gotten since the change, but what's the point playing more often when it's not the type of outlet I need. Maybe this is the inspiration I need to begin working on my own music. It's a thought. We'll see. ... Oh, my second regret? Admitting that I could play "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" .... and sing it.

I'm gonna finish "Just Friends" with my wife.


Easter Festivities

Bethany and I are about to have our first and last Easter. Well, not our last, technically, but from now on the festivities will probably lean more towards what's fun for the child. Although, I doubt it. We colored eggs today, it was fun with no kids involved. We started with off-brand colors, but after we realized there was no "magic crayon" i ran to the store and got some Paas colors. How exciting is this ... it came with tattoos. They're for either the eggs or skin. I'll wait till Easter sunday to put one on my skin. That'll look good on the 2nd Baptist big screen. Here's a few pictures of our work.

Mrs. Easter

The Chicken winds up and walks and lays gum eggs (I found that myself)

One for each of the possible baby genders

"Peeps." The real meaning of Easter


Prayer Hour

This is a video I was hired to underscore. "Pastor Shepherd" is the father of one of my guitar students. Obviously, this is satire, so don't take it too seriously. He's got several different videos on YouTube, but so far I think this is the funniest one.


Life is good. Bethany and I somehow got ourselves on a crazy sleeping schedule this week where we go to bed between 3-4am and sleep till 11-12. It works ok for us during the week, since she works till almost midnight anyway, but Sunday's gonna come tomorrow morning, and my body is going to hate me for waking up in "the middle of the night" when 7am rolls around.

We've started looking at new living options once the baby arrives. We'll probably stay at these apartments until our lease is up in Nov. We'd love to move into a house, but are a little overwhelmed by some of the costs involved. Especially since we really hadn't been saving or preparing for this yet. We're just to the point where I feel like our monthly finances have started to settle enough to figure out a budget. But nooooooo, now we've gotta turn everything around and focus on the future more. I'm very thankful that we got our life insurance taken care of before we found out about the baby. I would never have even known where to start thinking about all that stuff, so thanks to our agent Jarred for calling me and gently explaining everything.

Life is definitely coming at us fast. Seems like just a year ago we were dating. Oh yeah, we were just dating a year ago. We weren't even engaged yet. Now, we're looking at houses, shopping for baby furniture, and deciding which instruments our kids will play! I'm only slightly freaked out. I don't mean that sarcastically, either. I'm happy about all the changes. I'm excited to have a family.

This is Josh, signing off.


Honeymoon Pics

Our honeymoon was in Italy. We spent a few days in Rome, then headed north to Florence for a few days, then over to Venice for a few days, then back to Rome again. We were gone for 9 days, and loved every minute.

Visiting the Colosseum

A Square in Florence

Beautiful bride

Sticking our hands in the mouth of the thing


Looooooong train ride

Friendly birds in Venice


A Few More Wedding Pics

More Wedding Pictures

Catching Up

I didn't really post much between November and February, so I'm going to do that now. During that time I got married, and honeymooned in Italy. Here's a few pictures from the ceremony, if you didn't get to see it:


Baby Update!

Here's the latest Smith family portrait! We saw the doctor last Thursday, and got a new ultrasound. We tried to listen to the heartbeat, but they said it's probably a little bit too early to hear it. But, we did see it fluttering on the ultrasound. Just for your reference, the head is the part on the left there. We got to see the "neuro"-something line that will become the spinal chord. It's entirely surreal.

Bethany is doing well, I guess. Considering she's got another life inside of her, she's doing wonderfully. She's exhausted and sore and feeling sick most of the time, which I don't like. There's not really much I can do to stop all that, so I'm doing my best to help keep her comfortable and I'm trying to help around the house when I can.

Any huge life-change brings with it the need for, of course, new technology. So, I'm in the market for a new camcorder and digital camera with which to document the months and years ahead. I'm taking suggestions and tips, so if you know anything about those let me know. The camcorder just needs to be easy to use and have a decent picture. I'd like the digital camera to be affordable, but capable of professional-looking photos.


Nothing Important

I don't really have anything profound to say today. I'm just kind of restless and bored, so I thought I'd post a picture, talk about what's been happening lately, and just kill some more time.

I'm off today. I like days off. I started out really slow today, though, by waking up around noon, and going straight to the computer. That usually sets up my day to be all about bumming around on the computer. Then I decide to take a break for my eyes, and sit in front of the TV. Not a very productive day, but if I'm not spending money, I have no problems sitting around not making any.

I didn't even answer my phone today. Sometimes I just can't talk to people about what they want from me next. I need a day to think that I control what I do. So, I'm sorry if I screened your call today, but more than likely you were calling me to tell me something I need to do or somewhere I need to be, and it can wait. I honestly believe that the convenience of cell phones is more for the owner, not the caller. I don't have a phone so everybody can get a hold of me whenever they want. Certain people have that privilege, of course, but I need the ability to be unreachable sometimes.

One thing I did today was play a bit on my Rhodes 88. I don't do that much, mostly because it doesn't sound that great right now. It needs some servicing, which I could do myself, I just don't really know how. And I don't know where to take it in Houston, so it's just going to sit most of the time for now, looking THIS COOL:

Cool story about that piano. A guy at my dad's church was wanting to get rid of it and told my dad about it, but had given it to someone else. So my dad was talking to the new owner, and he didn't really need it, he just didn't want it to be thrown away. So, he got it for me. Now I have a 1978 Rhodes suitcase piano. It's missing the amp, but works Ok if I just plug into another amp from the accessory output.

I scored my first "soundtrack" last week. It wasn't anything big, just a 30 second commercial for my church's Easter service. It was a bit frustrating, because they didn't give me much time to do it. But, I was excited about the opportunity, so I stayed up all night Wednesday working on it. The next morning, after maybe 2-3 hours sleep, everybody that heard it loved it, then I got the "but.....it's not exactly what we were hoping for." I was supposed to copy some other commercial they were basing theirs off, but I was given reference to movies and soundtracks that didn't sound like the original commercial. I changed elements of it over and over, until they were somewhat happy. After 7 drafts, I finally have 30 seconds of music. Even so, they wanted me to change stuff, but I couldn't do any more. It's not mixed/mastered yet, so here's the rough version:

I find it interesting that the colors of dark chocolate M&M's are slightly lighter than milk chocolate M&M's. They also taste better.

I can't wait till this kid is born, then I can share all of that wisdom with him/her.