My System 1.0

My System 1.0

I’ve always been a daydreamer battling the busyness. I struggled through every level of school and early adulthood as the details of my responsibilities got lost on my mental meanderings.

Finally, I found myself a system (called Getting Things Done, or GTD, by David Allen). The GTD idea is to build an information capture and review process for all your tasks and ideas. It’s basically a workflow of lists for all your to-dos and dreams that you review periodically. Boring stuff, I know, but when I really commit to it I find it makes room for all sorts of magic and miracles.

It’s a constant struggle to stick to my system and keep it sufficiently simple, but when I do, it saves me from constant worry about what I’m forgetting so I can daydream up new songs, like this ode to my system.

 

My System

I use my system to capture information
I use my system to structure inspiration
I use my system to make up my inventions
I use my system to catalog intention
Always planning for a miracle
Always scanning for a miracle

I use my system to connect from a distance
I use my system to fire up the pistons
I use my system to play all day with children
I use my system to listen and re-listen
Always feeling for a miracle
Always appealing for a miracle
So I’m free to make my art and play my part
So I’m free to undertake with all my heart
So I’m free to work out my philosophies
So I’m free from all of these anxieties

I use my system to buy myself some freedom
I use my system to know what to abstain from
I use my system to do and then do nothing
I use my system to amplify the loving
Always tending to a miracle
Always sending for a miracle
So I’m free to be with friends and not my phone
So I’m free to stay at home and be alone
So I’m free to be a fool and not be cool
So I’m free and not a tool of all my tools
So I’m free to let go of what I know
So I’m free to appreciate the show
So I’m free to not feel bad bout feeling low
So I’m free to go wherever I can go

I use my system to get up and get busy
I use my system to keep from getting dizzy
Singing reggae hymns and indie spirituals
Snapping pics and scouting out the visuals
Recording lines for all my oddball musicals
I finally learned it’s cool to be unusual
I use my emptiness to make a place
I use my denied state to fight the hate
I use my heart to steer into the fear
I feel a miracle is almost here

There’s Something (Irv Said)

There’s Something (Irv Said)


My last dispatch was from as far away as I could get this summer, the tip of a peninsula off Nova Scotia. After that, we spent a few days by Lake Ossipee in New Hampshire before returning to the Texas heat. I especially appreciated those last few days of vacation knowing they would soon end. Walking back from the beach by the lake, I started singing to myself: “There’s nothing like the sun and the sand…” and this song was born. That night I fell asleep to the rain in the trees and had a vivid nightmare (as I often did while away). When I arrived back home to happy dogs that needed walking and wilting plants that needed watering, I was glad to be busy back home. That’s the story told in the verses of this song about how getting away is made sweeter by impending return. And how what we learn while away is buried back in our busy days.
Lake Ossipee
My daughter Anais playing with her cousin in Lake Ossipee on a cloudy day
The chorus comes from another place, Irvin Yalom, a great psychiatrist whose books I discovered last year. In the relaxed mood of unscheduled afternoons I thought about his existential view of the human condition (which you will discover upon listening) and how we make peace on those ideal days with all the difficult realities we must return to.
J Molin
There's Something (Irv Said)
J Molin There's Something (Irv Said)
{{heart_svg}}LikeLiked
66
30

There’s Something (Irv Said)

Capo on 3rd fret G                                                  D There’s nothing like the sun and the sand C                                              G The feeling of a smooth rock in the palm of your hand Em                              B7 Sneaking a peek at the girls getting tans C                                              D Forgetting for an hour about all of your plans There’s something ’bout wind and the waves Lying on the beach just watching kids play Everything’s so simple when you’re not in the maze But you know you’ve got go home in a few days Em                      Bm Your isolation, your mortality C                                                G Your meaninglessness and your freedom Em                        B7 As Irvin said, these four things are given C                                          D Now it’s up to you to do go something with em There’s nothing like the rain in the trees Outside your window as you’re falling asleep Waking to the thunder in the middle of the night Staring at the dark between the flashes of light There’s something bout a dream that so real You know it’s not true but it’s all you can feel I dreamt that you left me cause I didn’t understand In the morning you told me you’d never abandon me Isolation, mortality Meaninglessness a-and freedom As Irvin said, these four things are given So get out of your head and find yourself a rhythm There’s nothing like arriving back home When you’ve been gone for a while and your sick of the road The dogs are all their wagging their tails at the door You water the plants feeling totally restored There’s something out there calling your name It opens a door on how the whole thing gets framed But back in your bed you sleep so long and deep That you forget what it said like a secret you keep Isolation, mortality Meaninglessness a-and freedom As Irvin said, these four things are given So take a nice vacation and go do some livin! There’s something.

Brier Island View Cottage

We recently returned from a week’s visit to Nova Scotia where we stayed in a gorgeous house in an idyllic setting. You can see the Airbnb listing here.

In order to join my artistic 8-year-old at the table, spend less time on my screens, and actually get a vacation, I spent many hours drawing a picture of the house that I had taken.

I was inspired by a short film called My Grandfather’s Memory Book to start adding watercolors to my sketchbook.

I finally applied watercolor a few nights ago. It was harder than I thought to wrangle, but as with every aspect of this endeavor, it was satisfying time well spent away from the faster, digitized world.

Brier Island View Cottage Brier Island View Cottage drawing Brier Island View Cottage watercolor

Icy Cinema: July 7, 2018

Darrel and I joined Gray around the baby grand piano again a few Saturdays ago, which Gray had prepared in some interesting ways, as you will hear in a few of these tunes. I am proud of our patience during this session; it is a generally calm, relaxing meditation.

Here are some videos I shot as we warmed up including Darrel with prepared guitar and Gray playing a Steely Dan song called Pearl of the Quarter.

Brier Island Acoustic

J Molin
Brier Island Acoustic
J Molin Brier Island Acoustic
{{heart_svg}}LikeLiked
109
54


I’m writing from Nova Scotia, Canada, far away from the Texas heat, in a rental house overlooking Brier Island on the Bay of Fundy. The rental said there would be a guitar, but alas, no guitar!

I was about to despair when I looked up to see my mother-in-law—who had wandered down the cove—walking back with a guitar across her chest. She’d met a fisherman named Beau Bobby who spontaneously offered a guitar and threw in three pounds of fresh halibut besides!

So I sat on the porch overlooking the ocean with seabirds singing and composed this acoustic instrumental in honor of Beau Bobby, our seaside paradise, and everyday miracles. I hope it brings you the smell of sea air and the sweet slow pace of a cool summer getaway.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the coast:
Colorful fishing boats

Seaweed in tide pool

Old boat house in the fog

Abandoned house

Bright green seaweed

Colorful kairn

Anais and Maile on rocks

Icy Cinema: June 25, 2018

Several weeks ago Icy Cinema played our first gig, an evening of ambient music called enoscapes1, which was wonderful. The recording didn’t turn out great, so Darrel and I joined Gray in his music room on Monday night to record the three tunes we performed that night. Here they are.

Icy Cinema
Opening - 6/25/18
Icy Cinema Opening - 6/25/18
{{svg_share_icon}}
{{heart_svg}}LikeLikedFree Download
16
2
Icy Cinema
Narcokleptophiliac - 6/25/18
Icy Cinema Narcokleptophiliac - 6/25/18
{{svg_share_icon}}
{{heart_svg}}LikeLikedFree Download
14
2
Icy Cinema
Holiday Jive - 6/25/18
Icy Cinema Holiday Jive - 6/25/18
{{svg_share_icon}}
{{heart_svg}}LikeLikedFree Download
11
2

Enoscapes1 flyer

Here are Darrel and Gray getting sounds as we set up.

 

Love Rescue Me

J Molin covering U2
Love Rescue Me
J Molin covering U2 Love Rescue Me
{{heart_svg}}LikeLiked
94
46

One song that sticks with me, one that I wished I’d written from the first time I heard it, is Love Rescue Me by U2 (with Bob Dylan). I often sing it to myself as a creed, a prayer. I love how the last lines reframe the present with a sober hope that reach for a better tomorrow.

I’ve conquered my past
The future is here at last
I stand at the entrance to a new world I can see.
The ruins to the right of me
Will soon have lost sight of me.
Love, rescue me.

As the story goes, Bono was in L.A. on the Joshua Tree tour when he woke up with this song in his head, wondering if it was a Dylan song. So he drove out to visit Bob in Malibu and the two finished it together.

Love balloon

City of Austin Street Performer

When Austin’s Music and Entertainment Division launched a pilot program to pay musicians to be street performers, I applied. I got an email a month ago and today made $150 for playing an hour set at 500 W. 2nd St.

Luckily there was a little shade tree I could stand beneath and a breeze to keep me from sweltering. It turned out to be a lovely hour where I tested out my new busking rig (a Roland Street Cube) and streamed it via Facebook Live. I start singing at about 2:10.

Thank you, Austin!

Fb Live screenshot

Outside Voice, Saturday Songs

I’ve been looking for an opportunity to be part of Outside Voice – Art TV, so I’m happy to have kicked off the collaboration on Saturday with Ron Pippin’s ever-resourceful, ongoing, family-art project. I entertained the troops at Creative Reuse day singing singalong songs to the kids and parents busy with all sorts of projects as part of their open-house for the West Austin Studio Tour.

Here’s robot Ron, a cardboard kid cyborg, and they dome they were working on while I was singing.

Robot Ron

Robot kid

Cardboard dome