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Sunday, May 27, 2012

11 Days Out, and Stuff Reconsidered

Well, here I am coming onto the tail end of several days of actual work.  So much to update on and actually think about.

The playlist CD on the Office deck (one of the older Offices, not my favorite now) is pretty bad so it's iTunes time.  "Show Me" by Ronnie Wood is playing; I have two versions of this; another by Johnny Winter.  This one's good; sometimes I wonder about Ron's choice of song material for his solo stuff, but it's alright.

Anyway..."Gonna Try" from Big Audio Dynamite is next...okay...

Well, I am now something like 11 days out from taking my anti-depressants.  It had been suggested (strongly) to me that 12 years of being on Zoloft (even a small dose) is not a good thing, and that it may have compressed more than just my maniacal and self-destructive ways.

Before Zoloft, I can tell you my depression was a fucking rollercoaster ride, and not one that was any fun.  I am not lying when I tell you that I have had four major depressive periods in my life when suicide was a way out that seriously considered, and at one point even planned.

It's that fucking bad.  Anyway...the stuff has been good for me, and I'm not saying that because the drug companies are giving me money, though I think they should.  It acted as a compressor; my highs and lows were cut out, and I lived within the space remaining.

It worked well; for the better part of those 12 years, I was stable, much more calm, and more effective at a lot of things.  My anxiety issues last year just led my doctor to double my dose.

I trusted her judgement.

"Pick Up the Peace," the Who...Now I'm in deeper...hmmm...

Well, that worked in the short-term, because it cooled things down, but then I felt a terrible loss of energy.  Too much.  Not fucking good.

So I finally just decided to go off it; cold turkey is the only way I quit smoking, so I had little choice I felt.

"Spade," the BPA w/Martha Wainwright...weird song.

The comedown has not been too bad...some peaks and valleys to it, some moments of mild panic, but nothing I could not recognize and figure out.  My friend Dawn has tipped to a supplement, which I don't have with me, so I can't tell you all that's in it.  But I think it might be better than that other stuff.

If ever you get a chance, watch Stephen Fry's documentary, "The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive."  It will blow your mind.  I am not bipolar or manic, but I have some of the traits.  I saw myself in a lot of that, and also I'm quite glad I did not have the terrible flight off the cliff that some have (like one mentioned in there) ain't fun.

Will this change my being?  Probably; but I just can't say whether it will be good or not.  I would, as Richard Dreyfus said in the doc. about Lithium, that he's just about "not taking it."

I need to be that way with the Big Z.  I'd like to just about not be using the stuff...if ever again.  It's like bumming a smoke every now and again from my bass player Dan, but not buying and sucking 'em down every couple hours or whatever.

"Warm Regards," Steve Vai...from Fire Garden.  

Musicwise, it's been considered that I might be a better player if I'm off the stuff.  Don't know about that, yet.  I do feel a little more creative on the fretboard than I have been at writing lyrics.  

The Dharma Fools musical direction is changing a little; Dan and I still write on occasion and work on ideas, but we need a full band again.  Finding people interested has been surprisingly hard. terms of other related things, I have to wonder if my deeper plunges into my psyche are going to bear any fruit.  At least in the short-term.  The long-term is more my interest right now.

My mind issues also are again traveling back in time to my earlier life; I have specific thoughts about when my life took a turn.  I often say this, with no joke; the last time I felt happy, was when I was about eleven.

"Snowblind," Black Sabbath.  No I've never been that, but I would not have been surprised if I went that way.

My life changed radically before that, several years before only I didn't know that.  Then at the appointed age, I went out of being a kid and into adolescence with no clue of much of anything.  I had no idea what was going on, and why my life became episodes of bad choices, ill-advised mistakes and an inability to recognize what was before me.

Gets better as you get older; you slow down more, and you become more circumspect (is that the right word?); with that comes more things.

With the brain, comes the body, but usually that goes first.  The body they say, is something you first repair, and the mind will follow that.  Well, I'm in better physical shape than I have been in many years.  I really do feel great; but my knees continue to trouble me.  Pain from the left one especially; not enough to consider meds or anything, but I wonder what else is happening there.

And considering my health insurance sucks balls, well...can't do much but wear my brace and keep it stretched.

Here's a question for you:  when do you think your childhood ended?  Or...did you ever have one?

**Think about that**

I know I did, and some of it was good.  Then I lost my youth, but there were occasional spots where the fog lifted and I could be a kid again.  Not many, though.

A lot of people I know well, I don't think, ever really were kids.  We were under adverse circumstances, many of us; I wonder if we sometimes act as we do as adults because we didn't have a childhood.

"Jubilee Train," the Blasters.  Not a bad song, but I don't particularly care for this one.  Do admit Dave Alvin's guitar licks are slippery good.'s really interesting to see some people still behaving like they're 16, or 18 or 21...for life.  No matter how old they get, they still act like they're forever young and never will die.

There also is the emotional aspect of those who never grow up.  Look at the public figures of people who act like they're stuck in junior high school; they never change, never grow up, and still act like insufferable brats.

Something stopped their growth.  Heavy stuff; abuse, drug use, alcoholism, fuck know what else.  I wonder when I stopped.

Axl Rose is quoted as saying that he stopped developing at the age of two, because of what he believes was sexual abuse at the hands of his father.  Paraphrasing, he said, "When people say Axl is a screaming two-year-old, they're right."

That's scary.

"Open Your Eyes," Bottle Rockets.

There's nothing that says you can't grow yourself; most of us don't.

I know that things are changing in my life, but I'm damned if I do know where they will go.  

Now, here's a a Buddhist and a Wiccan, Joy is an important matter.  Now, what is that?

What is Joy?  To you; you know the things that give you real joy, not just fleeting happiness.

I remember reading somewhere about letting oneself enjoy oneself.  Life does not have to be work; you can do some stuff, small stuff that gives you joy in the moment, and if you keep it, you can carry on with any fucking thing you want.

The important matter is:  YOU must decide what these things are, YOURSELF.

Do not let a spouse, a parent, a girlfriend, a preacher or whomever do it.  They might be able to suggest something, but you must make the decision on that.

"Wolf Dance," Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters.  Now we're talking...deep blues...nice stuff.

So yeah...we all have stuff in our closets that need to come out, and I hope to do that on Mem. Day.

That day does not always resonate for me the way it does most others.  I have personal reasons why that's not a good day, but that is something I'm putting in the past and saying, fuck it.

Now, how about the work thing...I will have had ten or eleven straight days of work, which is the first I've had in a long, long time.  My sleep patterns were fucked, getting up at 1:30 in the am for a lot of it, but I could do that shift without much difficulty.  I did overnights for many years, and the night owl thing does have its value.

Still job hunting, and to be honest not liking the look of the market.  It has still got some opportunities out there, but I don't like where many of them are.  If I have to move, that might be a new experience, one I've studiously avoided.

Now...the writing thing.  "Time the Healer" got a week off, and I returned to editing yesterday.  More ideas and additions; this is going to be a long process and a long job to get it right but I can live with that.

I need to keep pushing the others to get stuff done, because we need to go forward.

Move forward, that's all there is to it, really.  I recently discussed with a friend about how she felt she never was a kid.  A lot of us at our age feel our live is half over, or just plain over.  

I don't believe that.  I'm 46 years old, pushing 47.  Now that I've made some physical changes, I don't feel like an old man any more.  I'm not a kid, sure; I don't act like a 19-year-old college partier, those days are long gone.  I'm still alive, and I feel about like I should at this age.  Not going soft, neither am I becoming conservative or boring or stupid in my "old age."  

My development is a work in progress; none of us are perfect, though to hear preachers and politicians say it, you'd think they were.  And we're supposed to hew to that?  I think not.

We all have to keep learning, keep growing; if we don't we die and we're a shell.  I see so many people like that, and I hate seeing it.  I hate seeing people give up, and act like it's over, or that they're fine the way they are and don't have to change a thing, because that's scary.

"The Valley of Unrest."  Lou Reed's The Raven...I do not remember the name of the woman who does the reading, but it's pretty cool.

So I have more to do...I will write on, and I'll play music, and I'll stay in this crazy radio business, because these are the things I want to do, and am meant to.

I made this last's pretty funny.


I know, that's bloody pretentious, and I don't think Poe actually wrote it like that...or did he?

"Texas," Mike Stern is, yeah, look at that little graphic up there.  I made this last night, mostly as a joke, but now if you really look at it, that's my life.  At least one part of it.

I didn't realize what I had made until I took a close look at it.  The world is open to it is to every fucking one of us.

WE Rule OUR World; fuck, yes we do.

I am aware that some people will never approve of me.  Some will never understand why I do the things I do, and why I don't do this, why I won't do that, why, why, why, fucking why.  Or why not.

Speaking of living in boxes:  I strongly deny that I live in one, though I've been accused of it.  I just do things the way I do them; sure, I do need to change it up now and again, but one must be reasonably practical about a bunch of this.

We do what we have to; but sometimes we don't even do what we want, because we think we can't.  

Look at all the crazy shit I've written and done over the years; it's waiting to be read and heard, and it will happen.  I just would like to be alive long enough to enjoy some of the reactions people will have.  That would be my joy, more than anything else.

OK...I have shit to do...enjoy your weekend, and find some joy in it.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I am so sure this is gonna get me in trouble with someone...

...well, it's not all that bad but I'm sure someone is going to take issue with something I have to say.

"Out Take Number 9," by Manu Katche started my iTunes thing while I blog...I generally write these while at my "Office," and while you can hate on Morebucks all you like, there are certain ones that are good.  It's the people who run it, plus other things that make places like this useful.

"Turkish Night," Ottmar Liebert...good place to start.

The past few days have been as usual galling in some ways and not in others.  Nothing much has changed, but I do realize that again I'm reminded that change is something I must consider, not others.

Case in Point #1:  Alice and I called it quits the other night, for the final time.  Now, she will read this, so I damned well better be careful.  Suffice to say, I'm not what she needs, and she is not what I do.

We are still friends, and very good ones.  Alice has done a lot of good for me this past year, and I don't forget it.  We also each have our own issues; we each have to tackle them.

That's where I wonder:  when "change" becomes an issue, why is it for me hard to understand why I must change?

It's inevitable, we know that.  Most people fear change, and go mad in their efforts to avoid it.  Some to the point of madness; people who walk the same walk every day of their lives, go to the exact same places at the exact same time every day, order the exact same thing every day, etc.

That is NOT me.  Oh, never.  That would be boring.

"Suite from Hamlet, Op. 116," Shostakovich...a track from one of the CDs I "borrowed" from my work, heh.

I have been told (no, implied), by certain people(s) and I'm sure it won't be the last time, that I need to change.  But of course, I must change for ME, not for THEM.

The latter is a common error we all make; we change for our spouses, girlfriends, families, bosses, etc.  It's a terrible mistake; we have to do it for ourselves, and only ourselves.  Even if sucks for the world around you, a change YOU make must be for YOU.

And then you have to fucking do it.

I have also had it implied that I am somehow not a complete person.  But no one is complete, nor are they perfect.  

"Incidental Music to King Lear," same CD.  Tympani rolls, gathering storm clouds...hmm...forboding.

I think there's things missing in my life, but what are they?  I don't know; a lot of people seem to think they know, and some may be right.  

I have tried in recent years to be different, to be better...etc.

"Walk On," James isn't that interesting?  If you've ever heard that song, you know how much it makes sense.

This much I know...I am not a horrible person.  I am a good person, though I may be different beyond people's wishes.

If there's going to be change, I have to figure out what I want to change about me that is right.  You can't just change your mind or your look or whatever.  'Cause someone else will find fault with it.

Now, this is going to sound really weird, and probably knee-jerk, or defeatist, or whatever:  I have spent too many years of my life trying to please other people, and be what they want me to be.  And I do not feel at this point I can please anyone, ever.

Most of my life, it's been, I'm not good enough.  I'll never be good enough, I'll never amount to other people's eyes.

The key for me was to stop believing it.

"Walkin' On the Moon," Police, live version.

Case in Point #2:

I was in the sauna at my gym the other day, when a large, athletic fellow came in.  Friendly enough guy, and actually a very nice man.  He saw my Om tattoo...

...uh oh.

He asked what it meant, and I explained.  He actually listened, but I knew right away he was a Christian.  Now this doesn't matter, but maybe it does.

He was an African-American fellow, and clearly went to one of the churches of that sort...I do not know if it was AME, or one of the others, I did not ask.  Not my biz.

Well, he seemed to get where I was coming from, but as it often is with "Christians," why do I get the feeling my faith and spirituality were being politely shit upon?

He explained how his faith has helped him move forward in life, and that's good.  It did make sense to me, and it's not much different than any other faith, a point I tried to make.

He went on to quote varied texts in the Bible, which I see make sense for him, and all that.

Then he saw my other tat...the pentacle.

Oh, fuck.

Well, he did not call me a Satan worshipper or any of that, but oh he really does think Christianity was brought to us heathens in Northern Europe, etc.  He came up with some other bizarre allusions to why we're all such horrid creatures.

Now, he never once put me down, or called me anything bad.  He really was a nice man, and I don't think he meant to attack me at all, not at all.  Honestly, I'd love to talk more to him, because I'd really like to know where this came from.

But there it is...not all, but a lot of Christians like to find a way to let you know you are not good enough.

I respect his rights to his views, his feelings, and his convictions.  If they work for him, then good.

What I am is right for me.  Deal with it.

"P2 Vatican Blues," George Harrison...interesting yet again.

I am evolving, in the spiritual world, and it's because I wish to and must.  Not because anyone says I have to.

"Father," Sean Costello.  Been slow in adding the tracks.

Now I have to kind of think through a bunch of other things.

I cleaned out my altar room (a tiny closet), and burned candles and incense there.  Also did a symbolic burning the night before Beltane.  Needed to get that out.

Who I am needs to be more conscious of stuff, yes.  I have to get there, and get back to having the moment be more useful.

Alice made some good points...negative energy is a killer, and without knowing it, we contribute to it.  Even when we're making a joke it can be pretty hard.

She says my Facebook stuff, even this (I'd surmise) can turn folks off.  If so, then I'm sorry.  I sure hope people realize I don't do things to deliberately hurt people.  But we are all capable of doing stuff that's dumb.

You'd hope we learn, right?

I'm pledging to you and to whomever that I'll try to be more mindful.  I am told I sabotage myself, and perhaps I do.  Not planning it, but there it is.  I don't think most people do stupid shit with the intent of doing stupid shit, but we do it because we're humans.

Of course...some humans think some humans are more human than know from "Animal Farm?"  "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others."

"Hot Burrito #2," Flying Burrito Brothers.  

That is a good segue into the next train of thought.

I'm told I'm not happy here.  Alice again with this point of view.  Her thoughts of the way I view Pennsylvania, and those who live in it.

I do admit, I've been heavy-handed.  I referred to certain people recently who turned a state that is beautiful and has a lot of good going for it into a giant pig farm.

Yeah, bit much, sorry about that.

You get that everywhere; I know, yes you do.  Because again, we're fucking human.

Am I not happy here?  I don't know.  At times I feel like I've spent 12 years of my life here, and for what?  Well, I know for what.  It was all part of what I needed to learn about my life, and about me.

I do not hate the state.  I don't care for the politics, the hammer-headed religiosity of some people, and the arrogance of certain folk.  But again, you get that everywhere.

I'm sure most Pennsylvanians must see me as some stranger from the north, still, after all this time.  "From Away," Mainers would call out of state people. Vermonters call them "Flatlanders" or "Outtastaters."

"Faithless," Black Country Communion.  Deep and forboding again...

I don't know if I can afford to move, because there is less work out there than I have here.  If I have to follow the money (as I did in the past), I may have to.

That's life; if I am here I will accept it as such, and yes, I can be happy here among those who have made it good for me.

If I go, so I do.  Life is how it is, and what you make it.  I have to now figure out how to make it from this point on.

On to the writing...I have finished "Time the Healer," and started editing.  It's long, way long, but there's reasons for that I am sure.  

More needs to be done with other projects, but now I'm feeling more than ever that I wrote this way because there was a reason for it.  There is a lot to tell, and if it takes more words, so be it.

I'm not being arrogant when I say I know I am a better writer than a fair number of people who are being called authors.  That time will come when it's meant to.

I must be coming off as a real curmudgeon now, hehhehheh...I have needed to get this out for a while.

Out of all this, I'm trying to balance out all the information, advice and every other thing that has been weighing on me for a couple of years now.

My seemingly anti-social behavior of recent months and years is not because I'm cutting myself off, I just have a lot to sort out.  

"Green River," Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings...great version.

Hm, this is all fitting out in a weird way.

Anyway, I needed to get this out...thanks for reading, hope you found something in it useful.

I have to get to work, but then again I don't work...I do what makes a difference and is also fun.  I've had best of both worlds for a long time, and I still do.

Who says you can't enjoy your work?  If you don't, then let me take the liberty of saying maybe YOU have the issue.  Hee hee hee...

As my friend and colleague Megan says, "I'm peacing out."

"Magic Bus," (do I really have to tell you...?)