Welcome to Just Plain Notes
Just Plain Notes: Volume 1.186, January 14th, 2011
Written by Brian Austin Whitney
Visit the Website: www.jpfolks.com
Mail CD's @ 5327 Kit Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46237
Copyright 2011 Just Plain Folks Productions.
Just Plain Folks Member Population: 50,021
Would you like to join the JPF Networking Message Boards? It's quick and easy. Just click this link and choose a password and user name and you'll be posting in no time! We'd love to hear from and about you. You can get peer feedback on your music or lyrics, find people to cowrite with, get answers to just about any music related question and promote yourself and your gigs on the appropriate boards. It's a very friendly place where nearly 19,000 of your peers hang out!
To register: (It's a separate registration from JPF membership): http://www.jpfolks.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?action=agree
Just Plain Quotes:
"Help me, help you" -Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire
"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort." -Herm Albright
"In reality, serendipity accounts for one percent of the blessings we receive in life, work and love. The other 99 percent is due to our efforts." -Peter McWilliams
"Dedicate some of your life to others. Your dedication will not be a sacrifice. It will be an exhilarating experience because it is an intense effort applied toward a meaningful end." -Dr. Thomas Dooley
"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney
It's been a while since I've sent out the Just Plain Folks "Just Plain Notes" newsletter on a regular basis. The reason for that (in case you've missed the emails I've sent out about it in the past) is that exactly 1 year ago today I had what often is a fatal stroke, but my body, or more specifically, my brain, was able to overcome it and keep going. That afternoon, all I remember is standing in my office after finishing a session of reading and responding to that days email and listening to the sound of the small TV in my office start to twist and shimmer, sort of like when a digital audio file locks up into a 1/4 second loop of digital noise, while someone turned up the largest room reverb on it all and then getting hit in the head with a two by four which almost took me off my feet. I could no longer stand straight up, but bent over I yelled out for my wife, who thankfully was home and I insisted she drive me straight to the hospital ER which is 2 miles down the street from our home. I walked out to our vehicle and my wife, in a mixture of cool physical calm and emotional panic, started driving us the short distance to the hospital.
She was asking me what was wrong but with pain splitting my head in two, terrible visual disturbances and near deafness, I think I was just focused on telling her to drive as fast as humanly possible and not to worry about a ticket. As she was nearing the hospital, I slouched over against her as she drove and was gone. I can't imagine (and don't want to imagine) the terror I would have felt in the reverse scenario, but as I was 100% unresponsive to anything she said or did (including, she later told me, some pounding on my side to try and wake me up) she pulled up to the curb of the ER doors and ran inside the lobby shouting for help. It took a crew of people to get me out of the front seat and onto a gurney. The ER doctor, who I have spoken with since on numerous occasions (including one of 7 additional ER visits in the last year) told me I wasn't breathing, my eyes were fixed and dilated and they had no real plan to revive me from that state because frankly, he told me, it wasn't likely going to happen. As they started to insert a breathing tube to try and get me breathing and prepped me for a last chance shot of medicine via an IV that protocol called for in the slim case of a heroin overdose, I opened my eyes and began to speak, "scaring the [naughty word removed]" (his words) out of the ER doctor and the two nurses in the room.
The hospital had already called their on duty chaplain down to break the bad news to my wife but after I opened my eyes, said "hello, where am I?" in response to the Doctors shocked "hello," I asked loudly for my wife, and from around the corner where she was trying to fill the staff in on my medical history, she came into the room and it seemed like I'd just broken the bank and forever going forward I would be living, so to speak, on house money. Of course, like all good things of that nature, there was wee bit of fine print to go along with it.
I won't trouble (or for some of you "bore") you with all the rest of the details except the general statements that the stroke did a number on my left side (and I am left handed) and for the last full year I've struggled with the 3 steps forward, 2 steps back world of therapy, additional strokes, small and large, more hospital stays, multiple chances to relearn to walk, talk, hear and understand voices, see without strange lights, flashes and blurriness and varying degrees of making my now limited left hand as useful as I can even through significant pain.
My medicine cabinet would put even a mid level drug dealer to shame and my ever changing doses and combinations would likely get me a life sentence in certain less tolerant nations around the world. (I just counted and I am taking 48 pills, 2 chewable meds and 6-9 shots per day). If not for my wife, who thankfully is a full time pharmacist when she's not also the full time (and then some) JPF Projects Director, I couldn't possibly keep up with all my daily medications, doctors visits, blood and other various tests with every machine in the hospital including, I think, the one that goes "Bing" they brought in from that Monty Python movie.
In the last year since my own personal version of "the Event" (an American TV show for our International members) in addition to appreciating my continued existence and trying hard to be happy with each day, each one a bonus that easily could have never come, I also struggled a great deal going from being an extremely active relentless worker with legendary stamina to a slow moving (physically and sometimes mentally) shell of what I had been only a short time before. I only half jokingly call myself a "Middle Aged Zombie." Since I did briefly die and come back to life, it often seems appropriate.
As someone who has always and sincerely preached (and still do) that "success isn't going to come and find you, it doesn't know the way," I struggled with a deep sense of guilt that I wasn't able to live up to my own pledge of making the most out of each and every day. That's not to say I didn't try. Just the opposite is true. I tried over and over and I failed over and over. Some days I failed before the day even got started because I simply didn't try. During these times I often thought of my friend David M. Bailey, who for over 14 years fought day after day to make the most of his time (and then some) after being diagnosed and suffering through an epic battle with brain cancer and racked up indisputable proof that he walked the talk of living his life to the fullest, even when the chips were furthest down. Just as I was deciding to take my biggest risk since the original stroke, my friend David lost his long battle when the cancer came back, but in my view he won the war to make the time he had count. What more can we hope for right? (Read more about David on his site davidmbailey.com).
I was on the fence about risking everything to travel overseas. We had consulted doctors, family and I'd had some long talks with my wife. All agreed that I should keep traveling as long as I could, regardless of the risk or results. Upon hearing about David's relapse it pushed me the final yard to just do it. I was far too fragile to travel as I had in North America and Europe where over the last 15 years I met over 25,000 of you reading this face to face in your own home towns. So instead of an epic tour, we chose one big city, Paris, France, and rented an apartment in Montmartre for 5 weeks, crossed our fingers and took a leap of faith. And it paid off.
Of course most people would think 5 weeks in Paris would be a dream for anyone but when you've lost most of your self confidence that you could make it through a day, walking in public and interacting with people, it's more difficult than you would think. Fortunately, my poorly Americanized French turned out to be the most noticeable problem I had. As each day passed, I was able to push the daily doctors appointments and therapy and focus on my limitations aside and start living again and doing what I loved, meeting and making Just Plain Folks friends old and new and even widening my focus into the art and film industries as well. In essence, for the first time since the strokes started, I felt like Brian again. And I was back out there, creating motion towards success instead of hopelessly waiting for it to come to me. In short, I was living instead of dying.
Back in 1997 when I officially started the JPF Music Org. I did it as a response to another serious health scare. In times that seemed as hopeless and desperate as they could be, I kept my promise to myself to do whatever I could to make the time I had left count. I've put every ounce of energy I could come up with doing what I could to help musicians, songwriters and music industry professionals in any way I could ever since. Since I got back from Paris, I've been working hard to figure out what more I can still do under my current limitations and I've figured our some new projects to attempt, some older ones to resurrect and a new willingness, need and desire to accept any and all help I can get to keep doing it. So if you're still reading this I'll end it with my first global call for help from all of you still reading. It comes from a Hollywood movie script, but it fits perfectly. I still have a lot I can give to our 50,000 member community. But I can only do it under the following condition:
"Help me help you!"
For those of you who step up, you'll also be helping me take the next step forward in my own path to recovery and my own experience has proven that helping others comes back to you in surprising and exciting ways, often when you least expect it. A few projects, programs and ideas follow this essay. Thanks to my wife Linda for saving my life in so many ways and to all my family and friends who have been there for me. For those of you I haven't yet met, I hope to live long enough to do so, as well as see as many of my old friends again as soon as possible.
Learn, Succeed and Thrive. We're all in this together!
Table of Contents:
01. Support our Sponsors: It's a win/win/win
02. Brian needs a few personal assistants: Can you help me out?
03. Just Plain Folks Skypes Around The World
04. Just Plain Folks Local Chapter Program
05. Roadtrips & Music Awards 2011-2012
06. A Few Tips From Hostbaby
2011 Just Plain Folks Community Partner Sponsors!
Special Note: A heartfelt thanks to Michael Laskow of TAXI and Tony VanVeen from Disc Makers/CDBaby/Hostbaby for their support of myself and JPF through the last year. Also big thanks to Derek Sivers for his personal support and all our message board members who donated money to support JPF and me. Anyone is welcome to make a donation at any time via the donation button on our website and on the right hand side of our message board. We'll add your name to our Donations Honor Roll which has had nearly 100K visitors this year already.
Disc Makers: Nobody makes CD or DVD manufacturing easier and no one delivers faster. When you need CD or DVD replication, short-run duplication, complete printing and packaging options, sturdy duplicators and printers, or affordable blank CDs and DVDs look no further. They've got it. They also now handle licensed merchandise for you (t-shirts, hats etc.). Mention you're a Just Plain Folks Member and get a $50 Discount off your initial CD Orders! Sign up for a free catalog and booklet on Mastering your Music at www.discmakers.com/jpfolks
TAXI: The world's leading independent A&R company, has been successfully helping Songwriters, Artists and Composers get their music heard and signed by top Publishers, Major & Indie Labels, and Film & TV music supervisors since 1992. TAXI, is your best bet! See them at www.TAXI.com.
CDBaby: The best place to sell your CD's or music files on line. They also have the best on-line hosting service called Hostbaby. Nobody else even comes close. See them at www.CDBaby.com
Brian needs your help to help all of you!
I could use 1 or more personal assistants to do a wide variety of projects and correspondence and help in following up on all our program past, present and future. If you have some consistent time available and the willpower to follow through on a given project, please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and place "Brian's Assistant" in the subject. All skills and talents are needed and students or beginners in the music world are welcome. But ONLY if you'll follow through on whatever commitment you have made.
Requirements: You must have (or be willing to download) Skype and have a microphone (and preferably a webcam) on your computer which will allow us to chat anywhere in the world for free. My 87 year old Grandmother figured it out, so I am confident you can too. You also must register on our message boards under your real name because a great deal of communication will also take place there.
Big Plusses: Photoshop/Graphics Skills, Web Programming Skills, Teleconferencing Skills
Just Plain Folks Skypes Around The World!
Because my personal travel may be limited for a while, I want to start meeting with members around the world via Skype. I am interested in help setting up a schedule of communication with all types and levels of artists across North America and any other country as long as you can speak English. (Sorry... I don't speak any other languages fluently, and my French is only slightly functional).
If you are interested, email me at email@example.com and include all your contact info including real name, address, phone, email, website and of course your Skype contact. You may also contact me to request being added to my Skype list, however I still need that email for scheduling purposes.
Our Skype contact: just.plain.folks or me directly via Brian Austin Whitney
My long term goal is to speak with 1 American from each US State as well as other members from as many other countries around the world as possible. I'd like to be able to repeat this each week and connect each of you I have spoken with to others so that eventually we all have thousands of active Skype contacts around the world.
Just Plain Folks Chapters 2011
In 2011 we plan to restart our local Just Plain Folks Chapter Program in some key cities. We also have some existing chapters which you may want to join. As always, JPF Chapters are free to join.,
Existing Chapters with Coordinators Already:
Buffalo/Niagara, NY: John Kloberdanz
Indianapolis, IN: Mikel Schwab & Brian Austin Whitney
Nashville, TN: Bill Robinson
Chicago, IL: Herbie Gaines
Tampa Bay, FL: Coordinators: Jerry Jakala and Al Alvarez
Los Angeles, CA: Coordinator: Randall Tobin
Orange County, CA: Coordinator: Linda Kraemer
If you'd like to join one of these existing chapters, please send a note to:
Email To: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the Subject: Please list the City you'd like more info from and inside include your own contact info, name, website etc. and we'll forward your note directly to the coordinators involved who will get back with you promptly after the New Year!
Our goal is to continue to expand chapters and launch 10-12 new ones by the end of the year.
What do Chapters Do?
Local chapters simply serve to bring the music community together with friendly meetings and activities which are chosen and run by the local members involved.
Often each chapter has their own local personality and we work with them to bring resources and opportunities to their attention as well as help them with formats and ideas we've gathered from other chapters. They can meet weekly, monthly or in some cases just a few times per year depending on the interests and needs of those involved. It's common for chapters to have local showcases for members to perform (similar in format to an open mic, but much better) and these showcases can lead to additional opportunities for everyone involved.
We also frequently visit chapter cities and set up Roadtrip stops with them. Roadtrips are tours conducted by myself where we set up tour stops in a particular region and bring members together in new towns they've never played in to make new friends and contacts for future touring and other opportunities.
How Can I Start A New Chapter Myself (or with some local friends)?
We require 10 interested musicians/writers in a town to form a chapter. (If you have less, we can get you started with as little as 1 motivated coordinator volunteer and work to bring the minimum number of folks into the fold). If you would like to help launch a chapter in your area, please contact me and please follow these instructions exactly as requested so we have the info we need in the format we need it in.
Send an email to: email@example.com (please use that address ONLY!).
In the subject field, please include "Chapter Request: (City, State and Country (if not the USA))
Inside, please include some info on yourself, your local community (i.e. the size or info on the local music scene etc.), as well as your complete contact info including mailing address and phone number and best email address to use to contact. We also need your full real name.
Please note: We really need people who are, or are willing to learn to be, comfortable with using our JPF message board. That is an important tool we can use to quickly bring more members into a chapter and we need folks who are willing to post notes and info and respond to interested members there.
To register: (It's a separate registration from JPF membership and instructions are at the top of the newsletter): http://www.jpfolks.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?action=agree
Please register under your real name. The idea is to network and meet real people and form important relationships.
I look forward to working with those of you who want to expand your networking beyond the Internet and into real life face to face activities in your area!
2011/2012 Just Plain Folks Music Awards & Roadtrips
We have not set up start dates for the next music awards process. You are always welcome to send us your music via CD or DVD (for video) any time to:
Just Plain Folks
5327 Kit Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46237
We'll hang on to them until the next process takes place. Please understand that if I suffer further health set backs it may not be possible to restart the awards. Unfortunately the judging interface we created was taken away from us so we're back to square one in rebuilding our judging interface. If you work for a company who can help us with that, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org. In 2009 we had 560K songs and 42K albums entered in 100 different genres of music and over 10,000 volunteer judges. Due to my health problems 2010 was a lost year for the awards process. If you sent us a CD, we'll carry it over to the next awards when they start. Please remember, we do not do critiques or reviews of any CD's. (Imagine trying to write reviews for 42K albums with a volunteer staff? Impossible). I suggest checking out Muses Muse and Jodi Krangle for CD Review policies there. They've always done a wonderful job at that.
On a personal note, I constantly listen to JPF member music year round. So you're always welcome to send me a copy. I can't promise WHEN I will listen to yours, but I will eventually. = ) I sampled all 42K albums in 2008/2009. I also love band T-shirts if they are large enough. I am an XXXL. I am wearing a Collide T-Shirt as I type this. They're a great Goth Rock/Industrial band out of California.
Hostbaby offers some helpful reminders:
Here's a great little set of tips on how to book more live shows courtesy of our community partners Hostbaby. They've hosted the JPF Website for most of the last decade! http://blog.hostbaby.com/2010/10/10-things-bands-can-do-to-book-more-live-shows/
Copyright 2011 Just Plain Folks Productions