I fucking hate having to even talk about it, ’cause it’s so foreign to anything I’ve had to deal with for years that I’m having a hard time realizing what I’m processing.
Fact is that I’ve got a huge fucking target on my back right now and I need to recognize it. My professionalism is being called into question due to incidents within and outside of my control and I’m feeling like a Peruvian coal miner.
I’m exhausted. I’m second guessing everything I do and say now. I’m on eggshells because of myself and that’s a fucking recipe for disaster.
I know what I need to do, but I haven’t had to do it for so long that I feel like a sell out, like a cheap imitation of myself and just the thought kills me.
I walked through the door to a small, movable end table laden with a card, a package, and a laminated third-grade version of a Father of the Year – the French edition – of Time Magazine. I’m pretty sure that’s a huge black cock on the cover in the guise of a hockey stick. Ivonne, blaring We Are The Champions, pumped her fists as I laughed and laughed, Reza mimed on the step stool in a rock stance only a Good Dad could teach and I had no doubt that this was going to an absolutely phenomenal day.
So here I sit, unintentionally in the same shirt she drew on the cover of the aforementioned Time Magazine – French edition – cover, in front of the synthesizers and cup of coffee she drew opposite the
black cock hockey stick, very much looking forward to the 12:30 reservations at Shogun, very much thankful for such an amazing family, mostly because I’m not a Great Dad, really.
The older I get – strike that: The more time passes between me and a transgressor, the less sharp those offenses become. I’m not sure if that’s the hallmark of a forgiving nature or the insistence on letting time heal those wounds, but sometimes I wish I could compartmentalize the reasons why I had issues with someone’s behavior without hanging on to the vitriol that encases it. I’d like to be able to look back at reasons in a vacuum, independent of the emotion that went along with it, you know? To examine it, like an imperfect diamond.
But I don’t work that way: I’m far too attached to emotional foundations, so it all fades into the distance the way storm clouds that couldn’t quite exhaust themselves slip quietly down the horizon. I start thinking, ‘oh, it couldn’t have been that bad,’ squinting to find the thinnest of silver linings while standing in the wreckage of my trailer.
I don’t even know whether my Dad tried to be a good one. He certainly tried to mold us in his image, the perfect compliment to his utopian dreams of farms, self-sustenance, and the Bible. In his own mind, of course he’s not wrong; rarely do we step outside of ourselves to question our motives, but I have to assume, as he reads his Daily Text in the driver’s seat of his motor home, he looks back on all of us to wonder where he went wrong. Probably not, though. Satan’s pull is just too strong on the weak willed. We turned our backs from God. That’s not his fault.
But you can learn just as much about what not to do from people as you can from getting a good example. Almost more so.
My Dad didn’t truly live. He coasted along, taking advantage of the situations and moments, twisting them in the guise of God’s Will when, even as a kid I could see something was off. The older I got, the more jaded I became, but I never had the sack to question it to his face, always subversive, always sneaky, never bold or forthcoming. I was too afraid of the consequences, of being kicked out or shunned or any other of the myriad of emotionally abusive tenants.
But we had a roof over our heads, even if I was the one providing it at times. We had food on the table, even if it was purchased with Food Stamps and downturned faces. We got to see most of the western half of the United States, even if it was usually another late gold rush to a new ghost town. It’s funny how even temperatures can invoke memories.
Now, my Father, on the other hand, I didn’t really know. He was killed at the age of 33 and any recollection of him is, unfortunately, opaque in many ways for many reasons. But he left when we were young and his reasons were his own, but I have to assume the promise of what might have been is brighter than the reality of what would have. I don’t really know.
So when I look at it, I have two examples of races that weren’t finished; one journey ended much too early, another cut short by a participant that simply stopped in the middle, sat down, and said ‘I’m done,’ – pulled tight by the common thread of the ‘what if’ that binds them.
But me? See, I look around at the life I’ve built, now with two beautiful women with whom I am privileged to share it, and I’m thankful for the examples I’ve been given. No, there are days when I don’t want to get up, days when I want to brush everything off my desk with a single stroke of an arm and walk out, days when I wonder what monastic life must truly be like, days when I have to stand in the mirror and invoke true courage, days when I relive embarrassing memories rather than appreciate the present, and that’s all part of being human.
It’s a good life, if you don’t weaken.
There comes a point, though, an unceremonious moment when we uncouple from our parents and we move away into the world with nothing truly on our backs but our clothes and 0ur hearts. We have no idea how important we are to our parents until we become parents ourselves, and by that time – sometimes – it’s too late to express that appreciation. Because if we’re being honest, my Dad wasn’t the best Dad, but I had one. My Father was gone, but I had one. Lots of kids out there didn’t, and don’t, or truly need to be free of theirs. I know both of them loved me – and gave up – in their own ways. And if for nothing else, I am here because of them. But I have no idea what it meant to have that father figure in the truest and non-George Michael sense.
The absence of example is just as influential as an abundance.
Unlike some, though, I was born to be a Dad. And I’m a Good Dad. Not a Great Dad. Not yet. That’s for someone else to decide.
Wow, that went a direction I didn’t expect. Wasn’t meant to be a treatise on shitty parenting, and I guess it kinda came off that way, but fuck it. It’s hot, I’m tired now (eight hours to finally get this post off the ground after Internet Arguments, Tasty Lunches, Tasty Naps and Smarmy Children) and I wanna watch the Game of Thrones finale.
As soon as Reza’s done with Voltron.
That’s some sacrifice. 😉
Ivonne gave me a gorgeous edition of Dune today. Absolutely perfect, she is.
I am absolutely, unequivocally, on a post-Cure Show high this morning. So much so that I’m a little freaked out by it, in truth. Infused with energy, I’m thinking of errands I can run, things to do around the house and shit to wash; I even trimmed my beard. During hockey season, this is unheard of.
Oh, that’s right! I need to go get my car washed! Sweet!
So I’m gonna drink some coffee, get more amped than I already am, and ponder the greatness that was last night’s show.
I honestly can’t remember how many times I’ve seen them now. I think it’s 11? 12? But in the day and age of digital/print-at-home tickets, I’ve got nothing to show for those moments in time beyond memories I can’t necessarily share. The tangibility of the paper tab kept me linear in time, but I digress.
That said, it’s been a shit ton. And every one have had their absolutely ridiculous moments.
Like Cockatoos, the very first time I saw them, in Eugene.
Plainsong, front row center at a winter festival show in Portland.
Faith, as the sun was going down over the Gorge.
100 Years, at the wrong show at the Greek in LA.
This Twilight Garden, last night.
Now, let me frame this for a second: Regardless of the fact that Wish is a spectacularly nostalgic album for me, I would argue that, with a few necessary modifications – replacing Trust with Halo, Wendy Time with This Twilight Garden, and Cut with The Big Hand – it would have rivaled Disintegration and you can Fuck Off, ’cause I’m right. But it was the quiet gem of This Twilight Garden, tucked on a b-side of High, sparkling under ironic melancholy, that was the most pure and unadulterated love song of that era; if I had to list my Top 5 Cure Songs under pain of death, This Twilight Garden will always be at the top, if for nothing else than what it’s become in my heart over the years: Three and a half minutes on a lifetime of seas.
In that vein, when they played it last night, it wasn’t a monumental surprise – the internet is a terrible place to keep a setlist secret – but every show is rife with clouds in your chest that maybe, just maybe, you’ll be the unlucky one and the moment will be given to someone else, somewhere else. And while my appreciation for the now grows newer as I grow older, I couldn’t help but… well… wish.
So when depths are plumbed with the sonar of that initial guitar note, I was once again 16 and innocent, 18 and defiant, 21 and devastated, 25 in love, 41 and able to die.
Of course, there are still a few bucket list candidates out there – Fear of Ghosts and A Foolish Arrangement to name just two – but on a gorgeously cold and moonlight night, that shit happened and it was legendary.
So I’m gonna wear my tour t-shirt today, I’m gonna leverage this inspiration into music of my own and fuck man, they played This Twilight Garden last night. Fuck.
That actually happened.
This weekend was absolutely outstanding. Granted, I wish Ivonne had been feeling better, but Reza and I decided to make the best of it with, well, greatness.
Friday was April Fools Day and I was only bamboozled once, really, and that was because IGN had some Star Wars ‘news’. Those dicks know how to set a hook and I chomped like a monk in a whorehouse. All good though. That split second I thought we might be up for something cool, the calendar reminded me of my folly. Can’t win them all.
I was just happy to walk off property that night still employed. Others weren’t so lucky.
But, coming home to an amazingly cool evening presented the canvas upon which I would paint the weekend. Kinda.
So I had a hair appointment on Saturday morning, but that’s JC Gets To Sleep In Day and I’m lazily tossing around bed when I realize it kinda feels a bit later than like, 9:00. Yeah, by like an hour and forty minutes and I’m due in the chair by 11:00. Rad.
Thankfully, I’m 10 minutes, if that, from E&J so that shit worked out like a champ. Got done, grabbed Reza, popped off to Sushi lunch (Happy Hour Lunch on Saturday at Shogun is no joke.) and promptly set off for Goldsmith where we finally purchased her first set of clubs. Dude. It gets better.
Ivonne had plans with E&J later that night, but Reza and I were kinda meandering a bit, trying to figure out what we were gonna do. Her? Let’s play Final Fantasy. Me? Let’s go to the hockey game.
Reza’s first hockey game was an absolute winner. Gulls won, she got to go nuts in the stands, we sat way up high where she could scream her heart out and see the full length of the ice and she had an absolute blast. Welcome to the Jungle on the way home was cool, sure, but “Dad, I wanna play hockey,” was the real music to my ears.
This morning we woke up, got dressed had a quick bite to eat and set out for the driving range and lemme tell you, if I can keep her head down, the girl is gonna be good. She’s got power and strength, but she likes to lift with her legs. Sounds like someone else I know. But she’ll get there. A bit of putting and we’re home by 11:30 with nothing ahead of us but chilling.
We get in our FFVII time, she plays some legos and watches shows while Ivonne hangs artwork and I cook up the framework of a track that actually might be good. Blues win, 16 otter pops ingested and Daredevil still on the horizon?
Yeah. Rad weekend was rad.
Reza’s been writing lately. She likes to go into her room before bedtime, pop up her word processor and write her stories. I am so in love with this, you have no idea. Please let this be a start of something wonderful.
I, on the other hand, am wallowing in some sort of melancholy right now and I have no idea why. Not that it’s either here or there, but it is. I think I’m anxious to get this going. I think I’m anxious about getting what I want.
That’s it right there. I’m getting what I want.
Every now and then, when I’ve had a particularly hard day, I’ll close my eyes and listen and tell myself, the hologram of a nine year old, that I just want to go home. And I’m fucking terrified.
Not of the being but the inherent responsibility that goes along with being handed everything you’ve wished for. Will we make different choices? Will we be better than we are today? Fuck, I hope so.
It’s so fucking frustrating. Shit is moving and shaking. In the works, as you might say, but not for public consumption. That’s so…. yeah. Anyway.
So I got word the other day that R. Scott Bakker’s new book may be coming out soon? That was some rad fucking news. Here’s to hoping, ’cause I need to get my Epic Fantasy on like a lonely Wizard Cock in want of Witch Pussy.
And finally, the Cardinals are …. fuck. Not gonna say it. Jinxes are real.
The universe may have sex with me at any time, now.
I’ve been toying with melodies lately, namely, toying with progressions and key changes. It’s funny, ’cause the moment it actually start sounding like a song is when I go, “oh fuck, that sounds like a song and that’s a massive cock bag,” and end up ditching it. I had the inkling of that earlier.
Not gonna do that with this track though. I’ve got a framework and I’m sticking to it and please help me baby Jesus finish this fucking song and move on.
All of this shit is a lesson in completion. Not that right-on-I’ve-always-got-my-hand kind of completion, but that this-is-all-a-learning-experience kind of completion and supposedly that’s supposed to make me a better musician and person? We’ll see about that.
Suffice to say this song is fucking sad, dude. I mean, shit. I wanna go sit in a corner and flick my own nipples over and over and over again until they’re raw and I can’t sleep ’cause now I’m uncomfortable and need to take some aspirin.
Evoking that kind of emotion with music is cool and I’m pretty proud of myself.
It’ll still be a shit song though.
So I’m getting back into the hang of writing on a daily basis and I’m not gonna lie and say it’s been easy. Everything I write has seem banal and uninteresting, but that’s square on my own expectations, I suppose. That’s what I get for reading Salman Rushdie. That guy is a fucking Wizard – capital W – and we can’t all be him.
We can god damned well try, though.
I’ve been inspired by Ivonne, though, ’cause you can see her development as an artist by sitting down every day and doing something. It may never see the light of day. It may sit in a box until all of a sudden you get a massive amount of people beating down your door wanting every scrap. There really doesn’t seem to be a middle of the road with thing like that, and I’m really looking forward to getting to the point where I know it’s good. I’ve been there before and gave zero shits and It’s really not that hard to get there again.
All of it in the name of writing a fucking book. Am I sure I want to do this?
It’s a good premise, and I’d do myself a massive disservice by not trying at the very least. Conceptually, character design is part and parcel of the individual writing the prose, so it’s perfectly fine to explore the cognitive passageways in hopes of reaching the garden at the core: each twist and turn opens up more of the maze; even dead ends reveal something, even if it wasn’t the way.
So today, I could be carefree and inconsequential. Tomorrow I could be formal and uptight. The next I could be a blubbering mess of unconfident crapcakes. Who knows? I’ve gotta get into the habit of tapping into those emotional states and writing inside of them, because I work better Method Writing. I feel it more in that place and that’s when it really matters.
At this juncture, I need to strike while the emotional iron is hot. Later, I can put myself into that place when the story and character requires.
That’s the plan anyway.
For now, I’m gonna take my headphones off, go read a book and chill with my lady.
Maybe she’ll let me see her titties.
So I’m at this place with a track I’m working on where I really like it. It’s got potential. Like, real potential to be cool.
But I know myself too well and in about six days I’m gonna hate the fuck out of it.
So I’m taking a new tack with it, in that I’m working on it in spurts. Listen to it for a minute, make a few modifications, add a thing, subtract a thing, and when I like it enough that I’ve listened to the refrain ten times or so, I quit Ableton and move on to something else – the recap of the Blues game, dust off a blog, some shit like that.
Now, all I need to do is figure out how to deconstruct what I have, turn it into a composition – all without hating it – and get it released. I’ve got a few more weeks (‘woo!’ to self-imposed guidelines), but I’ll do it.
I had some time to really think about how I wanted to pull a novel/story/book together and I think I’ve finally got an outline I can work with. Oddly enough, all it took was a few afternoons with a few adult beverages and voila. Unlocked and in route.
What I struggle with now is how to go back and read my notes without slamming my journal closed in disgust.
I really have a problem with unfinished work, almost to the point of self-sabotage. Fucking sucks.
So I rolled back from Mexico with some pretty cool gifts for people, and being one of those guys that is a shitfuck of a present-buyer-and-giver, I was stoked that all the things I got for people actually worked.
I got my boss (not brown nosing. Fuck you.) a cool calavera and gave the second to a super cool lady who’s eventually going to knit me a black super hero cape out of yarn because I shamed her into it. I mean, fuck, why does that little kid get a cape and I don’t? That’s what I thought.
Anyway, best gifts are best – especially when they start becoming Urban Legends.
Does Payroll really have Mexican Wrestling Masks?
I wonder how that happened. What the shit?
I guess my boss walked by their office today and gave them the What The Actual Fuck before shaking his head and walked off, basking in incredulity.
Who’s in the house? JC!
I’ve written music and words and now I need to go read a bit before I go to bed.
New habits and all…
Dude, it’d been years since we’d taken a vacation that didn’t involve family members, graduations or death, and it was way overdue – in a seriously, I’m Going To Kill Someone If I Don’t Check Out Right The Fuck Now sort of way so we packed our shit and headed south, where I could perpetuate the stereotype that infrastructure problems would keep me from being able to check email to assuage any guilt.
Felt fucking good, too.
That’s not to say that I didn’t check an email every now and then, ’cause shit happens and you get that itch to know what the hell kind of shitstorm rages, but I didn’t need to, and that need, in and of itself, is enough of an invisible yoke upon the neck to cause perpetual spinal damage. I had to remove the need. Motherfucker was stooping in a big fucking way.
We decided on San Miguel de Allende, in part, to correct an opportunity missed by a hormonally active Teenage Ivonne’s suspect decision-making,1 but Guanajuato – new to me – was like a multi-faceted gem nestled in a small box under the farthest Christmas limb. I can only imagine she felt more than little pleased with herself with the knowledge of what’s coming.
All of this was framed in the context of experiencing Day of the Dead in Mexico, giving Reza the opportunity to let her cultural roots dig beyond their admittedly negligible depth. Can’t say I didn’t spend considerable time trying to sell it like a mofo, though, ’cause she wasn’t having missing Halloween for this bullshit; we’re already headed uphill no matter what, so this better be fun, Dad. Never mind the fact that this was the trip that will be forever marked by lessons in privacy, I think she had a really good time, all things considered. Sure, she felt the pangs of distress when she saw other kids in the Jardin comparing handfuls of candy from their jack-o-lantern pails, but I think she moved past it relatively well: there were so many other distractions. Ice cream and churros fill the Obligatory Sweets requirements, sure, but face-paint, music, singing – or attempts, more accurately – flags, fireworks, massive papier-mâché skeletons and devils and brides excelled wondrously at keeping a wide-eyed nine-year-old occupied. And while the memories will last a bit longer than the candy, it was a deeper understanding I wanted her to feel, even if she couldn’t quite comprehend it just yet. She will some day, though.
Comprehension is selective, though, upon whom she alights.
Day of the Dead has always been the Mexican Version of Halloween – a subset of makeup reserved for the especially lazy or unimaginative – or an excuse to stretch the drunken festivities from one day into two; Gothic Cinco (and Seis) de Mayo, really, and that’s truly unfortunate for everyone involved – not just those who feed the Cultural Appropriation machine or those who feed from it, but – more importantly – those caught in the teeth.
I dig cemeteries in a big way, so I love visiting. The history is palpable: You can touch it, read it, feel it, hear it and it never becomes tiresome, if only because headstones fade slower than faces and are much more forgiving. You can truly be anything you want in death because it’s not long before you can’t really be questioned.
And Mexican cemeteries are not to be fucked with, though, ’cause that’s a whole different ballgame. Tightly packed, with no real sense of organization to the untrained eye, what seems like a product of poor planning is really a subtle2 lesson in corporeal egalitarianism that makes you realize that Death really gives Zero Fucks.
But there’s a real sense of community in a festival like the Day of the Dead that can’t be explained without living it and being a part of it, something of which I was painfully aware as we walked through the cemetery in San Miguel de Allende. As beautiful as it was – flowers, sugar, food and music – I didn’t belong there. I had no family there, no friends. I was there as an observer and it felt horribly uncomfortable, like I was making a spectacle out of their grief, because this was no party. This was no “pouring one out for the homies” and drinking until you puke on a headstone.
These are old women washing the names of their husbands, dead now for fifteen years, devotion just as strong now as the strength of his youth. These are families of six, 10, 11 people crowded around the six by three mound of fresh, fenced earth. They’re placing flowers, holding hands, looking at pictures and staring. Just staring. And sure, the surrounding days are celebrations of the process of death – what it means to know where we are and where we’re going – but the appropriation of that process, either by unwittingly making it a spectacle or simply choosing to ignore the significance so I can wear some badass makeup, is perpetuating the idea that it somehow lacks the depth to make it holy. This ceremony, these rituals, they should be untouchable.
It says something that the only people in skull face on that day were those who came to watch.
We always used to think it’d be awesome to be the only guy at the Lesbian Bar, ’cause man, you get to sit back and drink beers and watch hot chicks make out with each other! That’s gotta be badass!
Yeah, it’s not.
I left feeling ashamed, really. And sure, it was important to let Reza see a very meaningful part of her heritage, but it just felt … it just felt wrong. Disrespectful. My shorts and t-shirt decried my spectatorship and I couldn’t have been more out of place than if I was holding a bag of popcorn.
And I think that’s exactly how I should have felt.
It’s not a party. It’s not an excuse to extend Halloween. It’s not a parade in Old Town. It’s ceremony and ritual and love and respect. And it should be dignified as such.
Sure, there are a plethora3 of other things I’ll write about later, but for that moment in time, the real reason why we went, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
Yeah, so today is 4th of July and I guess something big happened today a long time ago. Cool.
Probably because of my upbringing, I’ve never felt the patriotic spirit, in that Yay 4th Of July Fireworks Explosions Greatest Country Ever Yay way. Give me the Olympics and I’m a Flag-Waving Redneck, but otherwise, ok, go ‘Murrica. I’ve always agreed with the idea that the geographical isolation of North America has provided us a significantly different empirical and patriotic path, but I digress: Here we are, we gotta own it.
The long and short of it is that I’m feeling far more comfortable with where ‘here’ is, lately, and that’s oddly awkward. I don’t hide where I stand on gun control or global warming or immigration or constitutional sanctity or any other hot-button issues that cause divorces, but I don’t begrudge anyone else their ideas and ethics, either. That, if anything, is what makes our society so cool; My youngest brother Jon is a full on Gun Nerd and I gotta respect that. Jake, too. (Well, maybe not nerds, but they like their firearms. All good!) And they may think I’m a tree-hugging liberal destined to be robbed at gunpoint ’cause I refuse to protect myself, but hey, that’s my right, too, regardless of perceived foolhardiness. But we won the first major Equality battle1 and that’s fucking badass. There’s good here, more good than not, and I’m looking in the mirror when I say that we forget about what we have because we have so much of it.
What we’re missing is the fact that we have the opportunity to talk about it, to discuss it, to think beyond the four walls we call home and try to put ourselves in the shoes of others. Some people don’t have that opportunity: Some of our next door neighbors are dying, trying to a find a place to rest before attempting to make a better life across an invisible border and if we stop the carousel for just a quick second to realize that, even as a thinly-veiled Theocracy, we have it better than some, well, we might learn to appreciate it more. Even people like me – a Male, White, Married, 2%-er – can sit in front of our synthesizers and monitors and laptops and type these words rather than live them; after this cup of coffee, I’m going to go ride my bike for fitness, not because it’s my only means of transportation. Think about that for a second.
We live in the Ivory Tower and we’re shitting in the corners and wondering why it smells. Oh, make no mistake, there’s a lot to clean up, but ok, so if the walls don’t get painted the color I wanted, that’s cool. We have walls.
I dunno. I guess this is my way of saying I’m grateful.
Pretty condescending way to do it, eh? Heh.
So thanks, America, for letting me be a Freedom-Hating Liberal. Whether we admit it or not, me and my Jesus-Freak Conservative brethren2 appreciate you.
a mini bio will go here. kneel before Zod!
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