This’ll Get the Princess

I feel like anything I say about this video will take away from how unbelievably awesome it is, so I’m going to keep it short and sweet today, folks. For anyone who knows me, video games (more specifically, video games on Atari, original Nintendo, and Super Nintendo…okay, I’ll throw in Nintendo 64 too…) have a special place in my heart. I’m not going to try and act like Mario and I haven’t been through a lot together. I consider him a friend, a partner, a mentor, and a referee (Mike Tyson’s Punch Out anyone?). So I’m sure you can understand why this video hit home for me. I’m sure some of you may be a few of the 22.5 million views this video has, but don’t act like you don’t want to watch it again. If you haven’t seen it, take 2 minutes out of your day to travel back in time through one of the sickest warp tunnels this side of Koopa Beach.

Please take a look at some of my other posts if this is your first time here. I welcome all comments.

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A Change is Gonna Come

This is Oscar. We ran into him while filming in downtown Chicago last week. He was nice enough to let us film him singing. In fact, he may have been the nicest person ever. Excluding my mother, that is. Nice try, Oscar. Anyway, he shares his music performing on the street every weekend. You can see his love for music in his face. And you can see it in the face of the man sitting on the wall behind him. He is an incredible singer. It’s crazy to run into talent like that on the street singing for change. I exchanged information with him and am working towards collaborating on a track soon. Stay tuned. For now, enjoy this classic from Sam Cooke.

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I Want To Be Ordinary

Kenney and I walked around downtown last weekend and captured all sorts of cool footage. We were trying out some different settings and techniques on our camera. Some of the shots turned out pretty interesting. I love the “I want to be ordinary” sign. Sometimes I think people need that reminder. I threw this video together quickly to share with all of you. Once the video was completed, I transferred it to my laptop, took it into my music studio, and recorded myself playing piano while watching it. I had not written the song prior to watching the video and let the images directly inspire what I was writing. Everything was made up on the spot, and it was all done in one take. It was a fun challenge. Enjoy the video and leave me a comment if it inspires you in any way.

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4 Pictures Are Worth…Lots of Words

I must admit that I have been on a slight writing drought since I moved to Chicago. Not that I haven’t been spending time doing it, just that I haven’t been particularly enthused by any of the overall packages of lyrics I’ve produced. Sometimes that’s just how it goes. I can go weeks without writing something I wouldn’t eventually change significantly, and then I can write 3 or 4 full songs in the span of a couple days. However, I find it just as important to write through the off times as I do through the on times. Sometimes I feel like I’m emptying out my pencil of all its bad ideas so I can get to the good ones faster. Quitting when it’s not coming easily sets a precedent for yourself as a writer. You limit yourself to what writers call “divine inspiration.” When all the pieces fall together and everything makes more sense than you planned. When I’m able to discipline myself to continue writing through 15 bars of useless lyrics, it often leads me to an idea I wasn’t expecting to develop. And lots of times I will draw an aggressive “X” through the first 15 lines, use the 16th line as a starting point, and begin a completely new set of lyrics.

Another thing I do to break out of a slump is called train of thought writing. You put your pencil to the page, and you start writing, and you don’t stop until you fill up the entire page. With my microscopic writing, it’s a tall task. It seems quite simple. The real challenge is not stopping. The idea is to free your mind absolutely and completely of worrying whatsoever about any semblance of sense that you are able to continue moving your pencil when you “run out of things to say.” Maybe it sounds easy. Try it. You will stop. I am always very excited when I’m able to fill up the blank page with my mind’s garbage. And it usually goes a long way towards breaking a slump. I’m sure you can guess the quality of this style of writing is rarely top notch, but I thought it would be cool to share the most recent one I did. I’m not sure where it ranks (I’ve done this thousands of times), but it’s certainly an uninterrupted look into my mind at that exact moment in time. I’m going out on a limb sharing it with everyone. I’m a perfectionist, and this is light years from that. I know it’s long, but enjoy it if you are at all intrigued…

I fell out of the habit of loving you and I know that’s rubbing you the wrong way but if I was an old tape player you’d keep rewinding and pressing play if for no other reason than to hear what I had to say. But what I have to say is way more than you want to hear because in your heart I still feel near and close but in reality I’m close to gone and on to something new. You were one of the few that stuck me in my tracks so thank you for that. Stopping me to smell the roses as they say but it’s time for another journey. Learning as I stop as much as learning as I go to one more time in the sheets are cold and I won’t stop again for you even if I struggle with where to point my nose. Flowing as smoothly as the river of your tears. I’m upstream and lost my paddle. I only have these words to rattle off and hope that they will be enough to cushion the rough fall you’ve been taking for years. But tears can be slippery when they find their way to the floor and fears can be typically what’s in store when the next few suns disappear into the ground. But a new star will light the way tomorrow and maybe it will take a closer listen to your wishes.

Leave a comment. I love hearing honest reactions!

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InstaChicago

I’m slightly addicted to Instagram, and I’m not afraid to admit it. These are some of the very specific Chicago pictures I’ve taken since I’ve moved and felt it appropriate to share them with you all. The one frustrating thing about Instagram is the inability to zoom in on the pictures. Click the image thumbnails here to see an enlarged file. Some of them turned out very cool. Phones these days…

1. Dimo’s Pizza – If you want to party on pizza dough, come to Chicago and eat at Dimo’s. Boom.
2. The view from the top story of the Metra train. This is often my ride to and from visiting the Peterson family (my sister and brother-in-law for those of you who don’t know) in Northbrook.
3. Taken just outside of Union Station downtown.
4. I saw so much of Wrigley Field on WGN with my brother Kevin growing up. Being there in person was surreal. A.J. Burnett throwing 23 hitless outs before giving one up in the 8th wasn’t bad either.
5. There was a model doing a shoot in front of the bean in Millennium Park. I thought I’d be one of the 500 people taking a picture of her on my phone.
6. The Willis Tower. Although our boat tour guide refused to depart from the original name, the Sears Tower. Either way, it’s decently lengthy in the vertical sort of way.
7. The Blue Man Group. One of the best shows going. If you haven’t seen it, stop being lame.
8. The bean again. I’m almost positive I’m the first person that has ever had this idea for a picture there. I’m certain. Nice hand(s), V.
9. This was also taken in the Metra. It’s cool when that many lines of perspective are all leading to the same place.
10. Outside of Union Station. A sidewalk divided.
11. Blackhawks Hockey Camp with Jack Peterson. He’s focused enough for the both of them so the other kid’s over it.
12. Just. Chicago.

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The Real Work Starts Now

I have been in Chicago for almost 3 months now. It is finally starting to feel more comfortable. It’s still hard to believe it’s not just an extended visit. After getting settled, I have really felt inspired in the last month or so. The neighborhood I live in is quite an inspiration to say the least! If you have ever stumbled across the intersection (specifically the NE corner) of Belmont and Sheffield from the hours of midnight to 5 am, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Either way, my business and creative partner and I have been working on some huge ideas. We are looking to release about 10 videos of varying concepts, a full length record, and a documentary in the coming months. I am constantly thinking about it. For those of you who know me well, I already have trouble sleeping. The prospect of these visions coming to fruition is doing a number on my already unfathomable bed time! I’ll sleep when I’m…ya, it’s cliche…you know the end. I am loving it here in the Windy City. I have a feeling it won’t look like this in the winter though…

Tell your friends to prepare for some big things in the coming months. My mind is spinning and it can’t be stopped.

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Pentatonix – We Are Young (Fun. Cover)

I love this song. Sometimes it’s difficult to love a song that’s so popular, but there’s no getting around it for me. It is fantastic. I really enjoyed this cover. Parts of this video give me goosebumps. It inspires me to give that same feeling to others through innovative deliveries of music. I can’t wait for some of my creative and innovative ideas to come to fruition in the next few months. For now, enjoy what makes me tick. The bass man is quite impressive, so try and give this a listen on some decent speakers if you can…or headphones will do. Trust me.

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“Cigarette” – Mike Woods

Maybe you’ve been on one end or the other of this habit? Maybe both. Either way, it’s a tough one to quit. Enjoy.

Cigarette

Like a lit cigarette, my body is
burning into ashes of regret.
Ascension of smoky souls rising
and setting over the rolling hills of
another dimension but still realizing
the threatening holes of thrill
that disguising and hiding
are attempting to fill.

Dangling between your fingers,
I don’t feel safe.
With more of me escaping
every time you taste,
facing the fact that I’m
more of a routine than
part of your plan and
I don’t stand as tall
as I did when this began.

But when I touch your lips,
it still feels right.
Freedom unlike any other
feeling we fight fire with fire
rushing through me to the tip
inspiring you to simply
tighten your grip.

Because through all of this,
the one thing I know is,
for whatever reason,
you just can’t let me go.

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“Window” – Mike Woods

I wrote this a number of years ago. For some reason, I think of it often. I used a few of the ideas in a new song I’m working on it. Keep your ears peeled. Enjoy.

Window

In my dream I’m seamlessly
staring into a window glaring back
you appear in pieces stacking
one on top of the next
connecting right to left
like a living, breathing puzzle,
beautiful and complex.

Your lips move hypnotically and
I’m obviously obsessed except
all I hear is silence as quiet as
a good secret kept.

I remember when we used to look
through this glass together
grasping fingers promising to be
on the same side forever,
facing love, sweat, and tears,
but all I feel now is a
flood of threats and fears
of just how long I’ll stay here
alone in this place. And
how many more seconds
you’re willing to waste,
letting this window divide us,
two instead of one,
depriving us both of
the warm rays of the sun.

So let go, disconnect, and be free,
and accept that fate’s sworn to
interject, step forth, and just
be.

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Follow me on Twitter!

Hey Folks!

I just created my own Twitter account separate from the official Cousin Affect Twitter page. I have long since felt a desire to have the ability to tweet from a more personal perspective so…I’ve solved this issue. Please follow me @CousinWoods! Tweet you all later. See what I did there?

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