Shyfrog Media Relaunches on Drupal 8

I am happy to announce that I’ve relaunched the Shyfrog Media ( site on #Drupal 8 with a new design.

The site has a renewed emphasis on web design and development, media production, branding, and publishing.

Other specialties include music, songwriting, studio & live sound engineering, promotion, and producing.

The site will continue to expand as I publish case studies, projects, blog entries, and music. Thanks for taking a look!

Are you a life-long learner? It’s never too late to start.

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”
~Albert Einstein

Back in April of this year (2016) I wrote a piece about life-long learning called Rust Never Sleeps. Here’s an excerpt:

“In the age of information and ready access to seemingly infinite knowledge, it amazes me how many people are unable to get out of their mental comfort zones to expand and strengthen their knowledge, abilities, talents, and creativity. With so many options available, perhaps it’s just too much to filter through and still remain focused. Understandable, given the over-saturation of memes, cat videos, and other myriad distractions. However, getting into a mental exercise regimen is no different than getting into a physical one. We all make excuses for why we aren’t following through. Myself included.”

Well, I have no more excuses. This month, I’ve finished 24 courses on in UX/UI, Front-End Development, Drupal, and Audio Engineering tracks/courses and there’s no end in sight to the learning available.

Back in the late 90’s I spent a great deal of time absorbing everything I could about the internet. A lot of people thought it was just a flash in the pan, and that I was wasting my time. It didn’t take long for me to land a job though. 20 years later I’m still in the industry and learning more than ever before.

My background and experience in homeschooling, unschooling, alternative schooling, and online education may put me at an advantage. I’m steeped in the concepts of self-motivation, individual merit, and peerless achievement. This doesn’t mean I can’t work in teams or groups. I’ve played guitar in bands for almost 40 years and I know the value of collaboration and love the new sounds and styles that come from writing and performing music with others. It simply means that I also know how to go it alone and can get things done without having to rely on others. For example: I can write music, play all the instruments, record them individually, and produce a final product that sounds like a full band without ever relying on another musician. I took the time to learn how to do these things because I didn’t want to have to wait for someone else to finish their part.

We all have different learning styles and some of you may never get the hang of learning outside of a classroom. However, the online resources are getting better at accommodating a diverse audience by offering live video feeds, forums, chats, exercise files, interactive group sessions, and much more. Compared to what was available in the late 90’s, the offerings are myriad and overwhelming sometimes. I really like having that choice and competition ensuring that things will continue to improve.

So where to begin? There are a lot of options and my advice is to browse through them, try them all, and get a feel for what works for you. Here’s a repeat of links/resources from my previous blog about learning, plus a few more so you can get started learning today! Some of them are completely free, others have free classes and offer certificates for a fee, and others have monthly fees.

Khan Academy
LinkedIn Learning
MIT OpenCourseWare
The Johns Hopkins University
UC Berkeley
Yale University
Aquent Gymnasium

Punk’s Not Dead, It Just Smells Funny

While in Utah, back in April/May 2016 for my oldest son’s college graduation and wedding, I took an unexpected side trip down memory lane. Taking my youngest boys to visit with some musician friends (Branden from Rancid and Quinn from The Used) for lunch was a nice little reunion. But it got so much better.

That night, I was invited back to Branden’s home studio to record some guitar tracks for one of my old tunes with my old bandmates from Froglick and Branden on drums. We had a blast talking about when we were all just starting out and how music connects so many people over time and distance. So here is the result: 90’s post-punk/rock refreshed with a new arrangement and simplified approach. Listen on Soundcloud

Volunteering: 2016 Uplift Music Festival

The 2016 Uplift Music Festival has teamed up with the ConVal school district and South Meadow School to be the beneficiaries of this years Uplift! We will be raising money for the school music program to buy much needed instruments and equipment for the kids. Everyone involved with Uplift knows the importance of music and the arts in early childhood development. This is a cause that we are particularly excited about!

Uplift Music Festival is a community driven festival showcasing The Monadnock Region’s finest musicians, artists, food, and so much more! Our mission is to “Uplift” our community through a family oriented music and arts event. We encourage all local farmers, artists and businesses to join us at the festival and to share their talents and products with the community. By doing so, they help raise awareness on the importance of supporting our local economy. Each year we choose one small business or nonprofit organization as the beneficiary to receive all profits earned from the event.

Uplift Music Festival will take place August 6th, 2016 beginning at Noon and ending at 11pm. at Oak Park, 791 Forest Rd., Greenfield NH.

Tickets available now.

Beyond Work-Life Balance: Honor Your Talents

All through my youth and into adulthood I’ve met many people who were once dedicated to their passions. These are hardworking individuals who, for some reason or another, have relegated their talents to mere hobbies or past-times. Or worse, they’ve let them go and think of them only as childish dreams. More often than not, their reminiscing seems tinged with regret.

There are many reasons for this: family, career, responsibilities, duties, sickness, apathy…the list goes on. It gives me pause to reflect on my own choices as I hear some of the reasons why they just don’t have time for what made them excited and motivated in their youth.

There are some who say their fire just went out. Or perhaps they have an ember glowing and it just requires some nurturing to bring it roaring back to life. It can be difficult to sustain the demands and requirements of keeping all those projects alive and healthy.

I’ve been a musician far longer than I’ve been involved in any career. Some in the music business tend to call me a “lifer”. And they’re correct. I always knew I’d play music. At some point early on I realized that I could still raise a family and enjoy a comfortable existence by taking on a career, while still making time for the thing that gives me joy: Music! Luckily, I also enjoy my career. I’m grateful that it’s in a creative field and gives me an outlet for my ideas, even taking on the role of muse.

Sometimes it does seem like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew: I’m in 2 bands, mc an open-mic at the local pub, host and livestream a weekly jam with local musicians, and perform regularly. Add to that a perpetual appetite for information and learning, the need to get out and discover new places, and a very bad case of procrastination. I also have 5 children. It’s a fine balance, but it can be overwhelming.

I’d love to leave you with an inspirational list of bullet points and advice for re-igniting your latent or neglected talents, but I’m really not a list-making kind of person. If you are, great! Start making a list. I’ll play it by ear 😉 Spontaneity is what works for me and keeps me exploring new opportunities.

So what are your passions and talents and how are you going to re-dedicate yourself to them and honor them?

Live Local Music

I am the host of Thunderous Thursdays, a weekly improvisational music jam, streaming live from New Hampshire every Thursday night. It’s mostly off-the-cuff and completely live and raw. Sometimes you’ll catch our band practicing before the jams and a lot of the time there is dead air while musicians take breaks. Conversations get pretty entertaining during that time.

Why do I do this? Lets just say I’m a “lifer”. Music is part of my being and essence. There’s something about gathering other music loving and dedicated individuals to feed off of each other’s willing participation in creation and performance. No other art has the same real-time collaborative ability.

Granted, sometimes it is a cacophony of sound. But there are those magic moments when the groove just settles in and takes you on a journey into unexplored space.

Skipping Lines

One of the few tunes we’re working on. Mistakes and all 😉

Just a few of my tunes

I picked up the guitar at age 11 and began a long journey spanning many genres and decades. Influenced early on by Blues, Rock and Roll, Heavy Rock, Progressive Rock, and Metal. Expanded influences into Jazz, Funk, Pop, Industrial, Punk, Ska, Reggae, and now Acoustic Fingerstyle.

Uplift Music Festival

This will be my 4th year supporting the Uplift Music Festival, our local Monadnock area fundraising concert, through web, social media, financial, and sometimes live sound support.

But this year I’m actually performing! The Tara Greenblatt Band will be opening up the festival this year at noon! If you’re in the area and want to support a great cause, come to this show!

100% of the proceeds from this year’s festival will go to Monadnock Community Hospital’s financial assistance program to be used by cancer patients undergoing treatment.

Thunderous Thursday: Eat, Sleep, Guitar!

Every week for the past 4 years, I’ve been hosting a music jam session in my basement. Musicians of all persuasions, genres, and abilities from the Monadnock region come to play. Sometimes it’s a symphonic groove and other times it’s a cacophonous mess. Most of the time it’s fun for everyone involved. Non-musicians are always welcome, but it’s not a party and things are always very chill. A good friend (also a lifelong musician) who’s known me for a long time called me a “lifer” with regards to music and guitar. I agree. 🙂