Sunday, November 6, 2011


I picked up the trumpet in 8th grade. Back in high school, I played trumpet all four years in marching and symphonic band. I was lucky enough to take lessons from a first chair trumpeter in the Houston Symphony. It was quite an experience and in hindsight, I was incredibly lucky for those lessons. I recall him being extremely proud of me for perfecting a solo for one specific performance. Amisher, spit valve, chromatic scale... all these memories. The first song we learned in high school for marching band season was Day Tripper (he loved the Beatles). Our director was incredibly cool and quite jolly looking, but stern with keeping the beat. I picked up the guitar and taught myself in my later teens and stayed with piano, an instrument I started learning at a very young age. Piano... missing Saturday morning cartoons for years and years. Hating the long drive to Mrs. Cote's house and the practicing... oh the practicing. My sister of course being older than me was more talented, and I a tad more jealous. She would not even share some of her music with me for some time... as if she did not want me learning those songs. Moonlight Sonata was hers, Minute Waltz was mine. Fur Elise was fair game. Nadia would wake up, sleepwalk and play the piano, our mother reminds us from time to time. Interesting and freakish.

Last night, I went to go to see the Oregon Symphony perform Mozart's Jupiter. I really did not want to miss this performance. The Arlene Schnitzer Hall itself is worth visiting, but this was quite an experience. I arrived in time to quickly drink a 10.00 glass of wine and made my way to the upper balcony. A few open seats, and quite a few attending solo like myself, but otherwise fairly full.

My Mother would take my sister and I every year to see the Nutcracker back in Houston. It was a tradition and of course better appreciated now than then. I recognized these memories last night and was truly touched by the performance. I don't know if it is my experience of tour managing and the biz that has burned me out of listening and being excited about new music, but a symphony is big stuff! This was real music. Real intricate, complicated music.... and I just don't hear it now. Watching all the sections last night though, the strings, the brass, the percussion, just brought some excitement back. How some players express more than others with their body language, the conductor truly getting off on it all. So many instruments I still would love to learn (the cello especially), but already learning German, Chinese Medicine, maintaining exercise routine and beginning a running clinic, painting, piano, social life, sleep... well the time is not there clearly. Albeit, there is no excuse for not attending more performances as opposed to meeting those who would rather see a crap band (or subpar mediocre band that sounds like everyone else) and drink beer. I am getting old.

I had random thoughts of trying to sneak backstage just for kicks. I ponder just how easy it would be for me. Then I thought about my plan for Rockupuncture and wanting to treat my old clients and new ones in the music business, and how I could treat these players! That is more people per stage and talk about violinists having neck tension and those lower backs from sitting? So perhaps I should also by the domain name, 'Symphonupuncture'? It just does not have the same ring to it.

I realized I needed last night. The stress and intensity and constant bombardment of tests with school, the potential opportunity of working next year whilst in school, the holidays coming up, money woes and exactly how I am going to launch my practice when I graduate. Where am I going to go? Technically after this quarter, I will be halfway through the program and that is scary and exciting at the same time. Time is flying, things are making sense as far as understanding the medicine. I am becoming a practitioner and will have over 100,000 smackers in student loans and that does not even include the Doctoral program (if I pursue that afterwards). Fantastic sensationalism. Reality. So being able to escape and listen to the sounds of Mozart allowed a few hours to just be and appreciate that somewhere out there, I still do really love everything about music.

'Leaves are fallin' all around, time I was on my way
Thanks to you, I'm much obliged for such a pleasant stay
but now its time for me to go, the autumn moon lights my way...'

Ramble On - Led Zeppelin

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Are we there yet?

I found myself this weekend missing a few things (and of course there are a plethora) about my 7.5 years of living in NYC. Friday night I went to watch some of our friends play a show in NE Portland. I don’t know if it was just the conversing with like minded people, especially those my age, that left me thinking where I have come from, where I am at in my life now at the age of 35.  I was longing for those late nights in Manhattan down in the basement bars, being way too mischievous and watching the sunrise while a cab driver zooms me home across town along the deserted avenues, sure that he was incredibly intrigued with all that I had to say. The Rolling Stones playing in the background, the bar hopping, the smell of the subway and the smell of pigeon shit on a hot steamy day after a rain. Why these things in particular? I cannot say, but they are missed for whatever reasons and I am thankful for all those memories and the ability to return. Manhattan is definitely not going anywhere.
I start school again in the morning, the summer quarter… the last quarter of my first year. A bit unbelievable, really. I am looking forward to getting back to the routine. I believe I am becoming a bit more at peace with being a student and not trying so hard to juggle both school and keeping up with touring or other production work. The connections are there, I will take what I can, when I can and in another year or so, it will be time to start really marketing myself and getting fully back in the game. It has been a bit of a soul search, or more of a search for balance really. I was losing identity, fearful of what I was doing, fearful of losing those contacts. Right now though all seems well. I know I will graduate and have more of an advantage than I ever had before. Teaching, practicing, traveling, tour managing, coordinating, writing, painting… will all continue. Love and partnership will find me and I am happy to drop some recent baggage in my life of those who had been such dead weights in my heart… I can feel the arteries and veins clearing up already. Nothing like cowards who cannot accept choices they have made to really bore the hell out of you. Guess what? They will never change. It is as if they are stuck in the transverse colon and failing to move into the descending colon… a malfunction with their splenic flexure no doubt. Do yourself a favor and find you own way down to the sigmoid colon.
It has been a very short break and regret not being a bit more productive with my time. I have these visions for another series of paintings, yet have only sketched my thoughts out, while the turpenoid and bristles of the brushes cry out for my company. I envy my sister and mother, as I know they have been busy with their artwork, but who is counting canvasses here?  I have been playing the piano, but have fallen short in my discipline. I registered to take German in the fall at the community college (while continuing with my masters program). Though I know it will be challenging, I feel I need to do this. I have Rosetta stone, but I want to be in a class setting as it will be more engaging and feel I will absorb more. I still have no idea why I have this enormous desire to be fluent in German, but it still haunts me… so I will listen. I want to learn more languages and quite frankly a bit ignorant to only know English. We shall see how this goes.
I speak and think as if fall were here, but honestly it basically is (sorry). 6 weeks of this summer quarter will fly by (especially with another 5 days of work in the Midwest I have taken on), then what… 2 weeks of another break, then fall. I am ready. I like being busy and with two more years of school to finish, I am slightly tied down. Is this what marriage is like? Eeesh. Last week I made up a clinic shift at school where essentially I observe the 3rd year interns (where I will be in 2 years). We had an 85 year old patient. She was incredibly bitter, lonely, and obviously in pain. It forced me to realize that my compassion and desire to nurture will always remain. It also taught me that I am really going to have to control my emotions because I just wanted to tear up. As soon as the needles were in she began to lighten up a bit, crack some jokes and this helped me to understand the enormous amount of people out there who sometimes just need to be heard. The fact that I have the opportunity to also poke them with needles and see instant relief and changes is just a bonus. I will enjoy the process of learning and continue to brainstorm for the future, and take pride in knowing these are all just layers of cells in the life of complex connective tissue that help maintain both the structural and intentional integrity of where I want to continue to go. 

'Went out walkin' through the wood the other day
And the world was a carpet laid before me
The buds were bursting and the air smelled sweet and strange
And it seemed about a hundred years ago'
100 Years Ago - The Rolling Stones

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Time stand still...

I was 17 or 18 years old when I ventured to get a tattoo. I was back home in Houston, drunk, most likely on something not preferred by the authorities and brought a huge banner of the Rush 2112 star dude into a tattoo parlor and insisted it to be forever marked on my left breast. It is my hope now to try and restructure this tattoo into a nice flower design of some sort based on my paintings, and sleeve it down my arm. I mean really... Rush? I grew up with older brothers and a sister, enough said. Photograph by Def Leppard is still the best classic rock song out there.

Turning 35 is, like for many, a slightly big deal. It is a milestone (just Google 'turning 35'). I think the biggest hurdle I am trying to jump over is the fact that I am still single. I have moved around a great deal, I have been working on the road the past ten years. I have been progressing, seeing things, experiencing, and gathering chapters for my inevitable book 'Rock and Roll is neither a rock or a roll' so why expect to be settled down?  Now being here in Portland and almost a year through graduate school, spending relentless hours of studying and memorizing, it is slightly different. It is challenging. Tour managing… yeah I get it, blindfold me, I can do it in my sleep. Its not that it bores me now, in fact it sickened and stressed me out two months ago having to turn down a few incredibly huge tours which just may have paid a chunk of my entire tuition, but to what cost? Keep taking the tours? Keep taking a year off from school? Regretting being out on the road when I desire to finish this goal that I only have 2 years to complete? I know I will continue to learn new modalities, new challenges and to integrate what I can into my current and future careers. The music business will never let me go, its like this magnetic vortex of superficial ego candy that has glimpses of pure beauty with the melodies that exude, and these are the moments that one can feed off of for awhile. I love the business, the clients that have become friends, the fans that have become friends, and of course the crew… the damn crew.

I am more aware now than I have ever been. I have had to let go of many relationships, or better yet just stopped trying of taking initiative to reach out to people who just have no knowledge of the word reciprocity. I have realized I have dear friends who are not here in Portland, but everywhere else (and I miss them all very much) and that relationships take time to cultivate, but there is a limit. I am lucky, worked hard, experienced so much already, and know more opportunities will open up and look forward to seeing who sticks around the next 35 years of my life. I cherish the special people in my life and will continue to make more, but energy should not be spent so carelessly especially when it is not needed. I would be remiss if I failed to mention how incredibly happy to have met such wonderful people at school this last year, and the other amazing people who have become so important to me. I also must mention that although I may not hear from you that often anymore, I often think of those beyond my reach and look forward to catching up here or elsewhere.

There is a good deal to experience out there and I am incredibly thankful to feel that my age should really be 30 as opposed to 35. I feel it, I look it (thank the devil) and have never been so dedicated on preserving what I have, than I am now. I thank  my determination for going back to school. The discipline is hard, when temptations seem to be at every turn, but I know I am more aware now and able to digest it, come back with more skills and more importantly, do what I can now (whether juggling tour managing and school.... yeah THAT was a cake walk, thank you month of May) or simply drowning myself in my studies. It all comes back to school... the medicine... the human body... the acetabulum... kidney 2 being located in the medial side of the ankle just under the navicular tuberosity… these things. What’s up Bilirubin and ileocecal valve?

A wise and dear friend told me back in Brooklyn earlier this year whilst on tour that being on the road for me is a drug, which it is for many of us... this is not a bad thing... its just a realization that I needed to hear. I love having the best sleep of my life in my bunk as the bus drives to the next town, I love the awkwardness and weird habits you see in people 2 weeks into a tour, I love having to tell people it sounded great when I am not even sure the guitar and vox were even in the fucking mix, but I want something more along with that.  I want to add skills to what I already have. I want to constantly add skills. The tough part is you have to master the skills (at least in the world of medicine) before you can actually integrate it into a current skill. I don't like this of course, but I honor it. No one said it was going to be easy. Momma said there would be days like this. You have to sacrifice to succeed in life. It is going to hurt you more than it is going to hurt me. No sugar tonight in my coffee. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees… these types of things.

So in 10 years from now, when I am 45... what will become of me? Amazing sensational touring acupuncturist to the rock stars? A wife? A Georgia O' Keefe type person painting and putting up with bullshit from a photographer named Alfred while sweating her ass off in New Mexico? (Relax, I know Stieglitz was a huge influence and help for her). Or I could just be Joy Earl... honest, genuine and hip. And my… doesn't she look great for her age?!

-Then as it was, then again it will be
An' though the course may change sometimes
Rivers always reach the sea-

Ten Years Gone - Led Zeppelin

Monday, February 14, 2011

Wind-phlegm obstructing

I just finished a massive midterm for our TCM Theory class. Outside of a little fun Friday night, I studied all weekend. I had dreams all night about it. My professor repeated over and over "use your time wisely" and then handed us the test which was in Chinese. I woke up sweating. Yang Qi deficiency or Yin?

It has been a while since I have submitted an entry. I was struggling a bit this quarter so it has taken awhile to get back on here. Its just tougher all around in the winter. More information piling up. The memorization and regurgitation is just becoming slightly more intense and mundane. I lost a little bit of the spark... for now at least. In Chinese Medicine, it is said that there is wind-phlegm that accumulates and can obstruct the channel (pleasant I know). I find it easier to relate that I felt like a record that was skipping and having trouble getting into the next groove. Liver Qi stagnation, damp-heat, yin deficiency drying up my body fluids and failing to nourish... all of it. I am taking more classes than I should and every day I am both palpating and being palpated upon. Dressing and undressing in front of each others. Super amounts of studying. Much energy exchange. Vastus Medialis and so forth.

January found me missing certain aspects of my life and finding myself struggling to keep the big picture in perspective. It also made me realize that I could do both (school and work) if the right circumstances came along that worked with my schedule. I think I need it for my sanity. I suppose trying to live the double life can be hard, but its harder trying to pretend that the music business is not important to me and will always be a part of me.  I decided to send out the typical 'available and looking for work' email. We shall see. I do miss it. There are exciting aspects of it. I'm a bit boring these days (hence studying all weekend as opposed to flying to Mexico City), but realize I am accomplishing something so beneficial and there will always be opportunities, and I have been that lucky person where I think things just fall into place for me and know they will continue to.  I just can't stay still. I wish I could be a normal student, or normal in general, but who the hell wants that? Boring.

I have also had to control my frustration with the lovely town of Portland lately. Don't get me wrong I do love it and the show Portlandia is cute (please don't move here!). I would prefer some snow over the constant rain and the fact that everyone here drives 20 mph is going to be the death of me. I have lived in some pretty bad cities in regards to drivers and had a taste of other cities in my travels, but Portland... you cannot drive. I miss New York and perhaps just miss the excitement. Nothing is really shocking here. Everyone is in 5 bands that have 8 members in them. People put birds on things and there are beards a plenty with microbrewery sewing classes and trivia nights. Hipster babies and big bikes. Well, you can watch Portlandia for more descriptions.

I think they call this process transformation and surviving/making it through medical school. I love my classmates and the new friends I have made in school and in Portland. I could not be making it without them. I am still very passionate about what is happening, just wish I could get out of this groove. Maybe its just winter. Maybe I should just hop a flight to somewhere, go backstage and pick at a deli platter and yell at a promoter. Perhaps that would help.

'And if you feel that you can’t go on
And your will’s sinkin’ low
Just believe and you can’t go wrong
In the light you will find the road

You will find the road'

In The Light - Led Zeppelin

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

5 cun forward and 2 cun back. Meanwhile, back at the acetabulum...

Monday was my first day back in class after an interesting holiday break. A spontaneous trip to Los Angeles for some much needed sun and frolic found me flying home to Texas visiting dear friends, and later had me driving with my mother to Miami. Tour managing my mother... that was interesting. I fell out of my routine, over indulged... all the normal things we do during that time of year. I was eager to return home and start my studies again, but thankful to spend time with the family. I am not as prepared as I thought I might be for the return of school. I know it is going to take a little bit of time to get the rhythm flowing again and also know I am not the only one who feels this way, and for that I am thankful. Why I am feeling guilty about not studying over the break or not practicing yoga more often makes me ponder. Joy "so damn hard on herself" Earl. The perfect little Cancerian.

The motivation and excitement is growing once again. New classes have shown to be hopeful and very much looking forward to this quarter. I have loaded up my schedule, not only switching to the early morning track (so not rock and roll) and taking an elective along with both bodywork courses, but resolving to practice piano more and study German, and of course keeping the body balanced with the physical. Yet my mind is thinking about working. I could do it if opportunities came up. I really could work around things. I suppose my longing to keep my foot in the music business world whilst in school will always be there and quite frankly find it really important to remind people that I am here and available to some extent. Or is this just so typical of me? Wanting to work myself to death and fighting for balance? After all, in no time I will be out of school and ready for anything. The road is not going anywhere, and it might even be repaved by the time I am ready to officially launch Rockupuncture.  I do miss things. Just wanting to get to an airport (holidays excluded) or craving deli platter meats from backstage (this is a joke, I really miss peanut butter and jelly sandwiches). Like my dear friend said tonight on the phone (that's you Jimski), you are remembering all the good times and not the phallic drawings in the green room, the stench of urine and stale beer in the venues or the gas station coffee. I miss hotel rooms though. The ones with the really good pillows and little soaps that smell so amazing that you steal them from the cart outside when they are in another room cleaning and they can't see you? Yeah, that's me. I "collect" little hotel soaps.

Vexing have been my dreams of late. I find the more I proceed with this path, the more I am letting go. The more random memories drift into my mind and the more I welcome them. The more I want out of life, the greater the motivation. To listen to my mentors talk about taking a pulse and being able to tell  if someone has a tumor on their right lung astonishes me. When I hear about a woman who travels from London to NYC one day a month just to practice moxa on clients, I say to myself... " I could do that and so much more and so much better!".  I am going to have amazing clients, old and new. I will always travel (whether for work or for pleasure), take care of people, put out fires and perhaps even light little fires of mugwort on their skin. I suppose the point I am trying to make is that all is well, all will continue to be well and any irritations or crap along the way will just be reminders that there is constantly going to be the yin with the yang because that is the way it is and I will not even start with quantum physics because I heard too much of that yesterday in our introduction to herbs class which might be the class I fear or maybe welcome most. That will be some memorization skills at its finest. That reminds me, I need more index cards.

I caught an amazing meteor shower last month with friends when I was in LA. In Sherman Oaks nonetheless! It was a clear sky with no moon creating perfect conditions for watching stars fall. Dear friends, wine, California, showers of light... what else could you ask for? Last night there was another meteor shower. Unfortunately, clouds were rolling into Portland and my fatigue along with the cold weather was too much for me to venture out and see some cosmic delight. I did however stumble upon a website that constantly streams a signal into the atmosphere where it picks up satellites, spacecraft and meteors. I have found my new nightly bedtime story. For those who enjoy falling asleep to white noise, this might be for you. For the insane folk who have the best sleep of their lives on a tour bus in their coffin bunk with the hum of a generator (raising hand), this also could be for you. I realize this has nothing to do with Oriental Medicine and I also know its too late to be an astrophysicist... or is it? Lust for life.

"California sunlight, sweet Calcutta rain
Honolulu starbright - the song remains the same"

~Led Zeppelin