Anthony, I spent the last week or so e-stalking you. I've pretty much read or watched everything I could find. No need to call the police. You won't catch me digging through your trash or anything. Not even sure why I started digging. I have run in to your name a few times over the last couple of years. For whatever reason, I looked you up and just kept reading and reading. It got a bit strange for me because I felt as if you were speaking directly to me. If you'll humor me for a second, I'll explain. I have played bass off and on for 30 years, although "played" is a poor choice of words. Lots of local bands, some recording, a couple of opportunities to tour a bit with some up and comers which I walked away from, all in the name of a good job. So yes, just another wannabe hack with a bass. Here's where it gets interesting. I have never felt that I was worthy of calling myself a bass player. Not from the perspective of my definition of a true bass player. I felt like I have faked it all this time, disrespecting our bottom dwelling brethren that are indeed worthy of being called a bass player. To use your words if I may, I have lived for years in the second level of (bass) awareness, painfully aware of how much how I didn't know. And again in support of your thoughts, it is a horrible place to be. It's like a curse. It is akin to being trapped in this tumultuous love affair with a tempestous, crazy woman that speaks some dead language. I love her so much but can't communicate. I try to express my feelings. But I mangle the language yet again. In response, she grunts and hisses, voicing disgust and distain for my perceived actions. Oh I have tried to learn. I have spent years wandering inhospitable land, never ever finding the path. The path of building blocks which will allow me to head towards being able to speak elementary bass. Books and tapes, and theory, and poor teachers. No one could ever help me to understand what building blocks I needed. The last round of playing I got so disgusted that I sold off everything six or so years ago. Left my corporate job and opened a small company. I swore in the name of all that is Low B, that I would never, ever attempt to date the crazy woman again. Sadly, I am still mired in misery. The problem is that music speaks to my soul. Because of this, I avoid it like the plague. Why? Here's why. The other day, I am driving to work and flip on the radio. I here Verdine White laying it down funky on Serpentine Fire. Before I know it, I have the sub in my truck cryin' for its momma because you can't help but turn it up to 11. My butt has a mind of its own and starts wagging in the seat, forcing me to swerve little. The drivers around me think that I am having a seizure as I am madly thumping on the steering wheel sporting a vicious case of bass face. Before I know it, the song is over and a profound sense of sadness washes over me as I have never felt I learned enough to accurately express myself on bass. While this story is corny and embarassing to post, it was written from the heart. I bounced back and forth just sending you a PM. I finally elected to post publically out of respect to your passion, commitment, and work ethic in trying to help bass players big and small speak from the heart when playing. Most importantly, to teach us things that will help us be better bass players. Thank you for all that you do ! You have inspired me to correct this wrong in my life. And this is a LIFE thing, not a bass thing. Thanks to your inspiration, I just purchased a bass and am waiting for an amp and few other tidbits. No, I am not going out and jumping in to a band. This is between me and her. I am going to fling myself at the learning process one more time, in the privacy of my own home. With your help, I am going to pull her hair one more time and see if I can't get communicate my undying love for her. If I'm lucky, I can finally get her to giggle and growl. On those days when you're beat up and exausted due to your insane schedule, remember this. Don't ever dismiss or underestimate the value of your contribution to those around you, both near and far. You teach life lessons, sir. Life lessons. Warmest regards, John S.