'Tis been awhile
It's nearly November and I've been firmly ensconced in my new job for the past few months. Life has settled into a fairly predictable pattern. We're still trying to sell the Killeen house, fortunately we have a new realtor that actually has been trying to justify their 3% although the house probably isn't much more likely to sell in the near future. The Killeen market, while being healthier for sellers than DFW is still very much a buyer's market and very much down.
On the homefront the most significant developments (in my narrow minded view of the world) have been a substantial upgrade to the home theater and this year's most significant musical gear upgrade, the Axe FX II. On the home theater front, we now have a system that truly discourages going to the movie theater anymore. The only reason to go to the theater now is for those movies we're really dying to see or just an excuse to do something. The specific equipment upgrades include a new Epson 9700UB HD LCD projector, Golden Ear Triton 5.1 surround system, a Yamaha Aventage RX-A3000 receiver/amp, apple tv 2.0, and a Carada 117in viewable screen. We now have a home theater experience that I can be happy with indefinitely. I don't foresee making any changes unless something breaks beyond repair or until 4K becomes the new standard. Watching movies on that size screen with the new speakers is actually better than most theater experiences we have and I'm not talking about the ability to pause, go to the bathroom, lack of screaming kids, etc.
I just got the AxeFX II last week and haven't really had time to reveal how significant an upgrade it represents. I love everything I have discovered so far, and one nice new feature is the ease of achieving quality tones with minimal effort. Great tones were in the Ultra, but it took a little more work and tweaking. It seems with the Axe II that great tones are just a few clicks away. There definitely is a higher level of clarity and responsiveness. It's somewhat equivalent to the difference in sound between my old home theater system (klipsch center and bookshelf front l/r with unmatched kenwood surrounds and sub) and the new matched Golden Ear 5.1 system. You just hear so much more detail and the quality of the different timbres is so much higher. I don't think I'll ever be an audiophile or tone chaser to the level of an Eric Johnson, but I have a new appreciation for what higher quality equipment can do to the listening/playing experience. With the guitar, it still holds true that the most important aspect of sound comes from the player's hands/brain, but having powerful sound processing that is so user friendly and streamlined really helps the process. I'm going to start alternating my electric playing with my acoustic so I can continue to progress on both fronts. I've been in a fairly strictly acoustic phase for several months and while I've made some decent progress, it's been to the detriment of my electric playing. Part of the appeal of the acoustic is analogous to piano in that it's easier to play fully formed songs as a solo artist, where with the electric I'm mostly working on guitar parts that are part of an ensemble/band.
The amount of divergent interests and goals I have in my life makes it difficult to pursue them all with any regularity. I'm trying to get back into studying Korean while I'm also trying to write, compose new music, continue improving on three different instrument disciplines, working on my ear and theory, fitness, etc. Not to mention I have a full time job and like to chill out with a good movie or book on a regular basis as well. I guess it's still a good thing when you so many different interests that there isn't enough time in the day to pursue them all.