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Showing posts from 2017

Ripples

Something I would have Tweeted today:

I saw a wild turkey in flight today.  Not really relevant to anything, just something that I have never seen before.

Pretty groundbreaking stuff.

So you may or may not have noticed, but I have quit social media. I had a long standing belief that it is poison, and I still believe that. I didn't like the way that it made me feel about others, people that I would normally like and forgive I was judging harshly. I didn't like that it drove divisions between people.  I didn't like that I had pretty much stopped reading books in favor of looking at trash on my phone.

Listen.  The things you do and say, even through the anonymity of the internet, matter.  You affect people's lives every day whether you mean to or not.  When you hold the door open for someone or don't hold the elevator, whether you smile to the clerk at the grocery store, it all matters.  We create ripples when we move in the water. Some become nothing, but some become cra…

Tin, or Aluminum

There are traditional anniversary gifts, and people have heard of the majors, twenty five years is silver, fifty is gold.  Seventy-five is diamond, incidentally, and holy cow, how do you make it to seventy-five, was it the end result of a child marriage, maybe?  My wife and I have adopted the practice, and over the previous years have adapted it to our purposes, because we do not usually give each other actual, physical gifts, reasoning that we are both adults with jobs, and if we want something we can just go buy it for ourselves, and we don't need to torture the other with the responsibility of attempting to guess.  So we either make something using the material, or we do some related activity together, my mere presence, apparently, being gift enough.  My wife is excellent at this, at giving, and will present me with the most thoughtful and amazing gifts, and then I will look at whatever garbage I managed to cobble together and hold it up like a kid presenting a crappy half-fire…

Are you still Watching?

A normal healthy person may not know this, but if you watch too many episodes of a show on Netflix consecutively, it assumes that you have gone to sleep or have died on your couch.  It asks you if you are still watching, and you have a moment to consider your life choices and the events that have led you to this moment, where a program on your television is asking, somewhat judgey, somewhat incredulous, are you, a human being gifted with choice and personal will, going to watch yet another episode of Law and Order, or House of Cards?  Are you seriously going to do that Netflix seems to ask, I mean, seriously?

NETFLIX: Are you still Watching Parks and Recreation?

Yes, Netflix, I am actually.  Because I want to believe that there are people like Leslie Knope out there, that work hard for the good of their communities, that care deeply about things, that believe in friendship and sacrifice and altruism.  I want to believe that there are officials out there that aren't only interested i…

The Nostalgia Tour

I have been criticized, fairly I think, that what I write here is not representative of who I am, that there is much more to me and my experience than gets represented here.  This is true, I believe, for a couple of reasons.  First, I tend to write when I am bothered by something, or have been wallowing in self pity or despair, or when I am angry about something, or when I have been awash in nostalgia for times long past, untouchable and crystalline.  If I'm feeling good, if all is right in my world, I usually am too busy doing cool things or being happy that I don't sit down to write.  The second reason is that I have a hard time making nice equate to interesting.  I like nice things, and am often attracted to nice media; I love Winnie the Pooh, for instance, and its non-threatening stories and characters, there is a lot to be said for TV and movies and games of the same stripe; I love Stardew Valley, and Viva Pinata, The Good Place and Parks and Recreation. I can see the app…

Let em know

Look, we all know the statistics, right?  We know that the chances are we will never make it, we most likely will not ever be the breakout.  The success stories are the exception, not the rule.  Sometimes this is written as a cautionary message; manage your expectations, don't get your hopes up, believe in success, prepare for failure.  Don't, in other words, quit your day job.  This is sometimes presented as a reason to not even pursue a dream; you can't make money in music, in art, in writing; you can't earn a living as a comedian or an actor.  Being on stage is cute when you're a kid, but make sure to finish your MBA while you're doing it.  You can't just play make-believe for the rest of your life.

This is true.  You might not make money, you may never be able to quit your terrible job, you may find yourself on the wrong side of forty with some scars and some tattoos and eighteen dollars in the bank hoping that the rent check doesn't get cashed until…

When the Bill Comes Due

I have been working on a project, a retrospective of the Lolligaggers, the band I was once in.  And I have found that revisiting the past through memories and discussions with old friends has dredged up some old stuff, stuff that I am not really interested in having dredged up, and it is sometimes uncomfortable for me.  I have an idea for this thing that could be great, a book, maybe, and a podcast, and an exploration of the creative drive, letting the band serve as a stand in for every band, every creative venture that doesn't serve as a source of income that has to stand as art on its own merit.  It could be so cool.  But uncorking all this stuff means that I might be made uncomfortable, that maybe this might reveal some truths that I don't want to face.

I keep asking why. Why do this?

I have been thinking of the divergence of our paths, where I split off.  I left my hometown, and thus the band, because I couldn’t take it anymore, the town was too small, the pain was too acute…

Because. That's Why.

Something that I have always loved about punk is the DIY culture of it; that we don't want or need your help.  It's tough and it's more work, but we are free.

I realized that a lot of my work stems from anger, and a lot of anything I have done, come to that.  My songs were driven by anger, at myself, at injustice.  Stupid, self indulgent idealism.

I remember fighting with my first girlfriend, and I was so mad that things were hard, that nothing worked like it did in stories, that relationships were work.  It pissed me off; I felt like I had been lied to, a goddamn lifetime of movies and books, all conspiring to tell me that relationships were easy, you just had to love.  The problem I have come across recently is that I am getting more and more content, my life is comfortable, and I have learned many difficult lessons, and make many fewer mistakes.  I've matured, in other words, and it feels strange.  I still am mad, mad at politics, and willful destruction, but those ar…

In Which I Allow Myself a Moment of Whining and Self-Pity Before Getting Back to Work

I have been in a loop, a snake eating its own tail.  I've got work to do, words to write, people to help. I've got pending requests and approaching deadlines, and all I can do is sit here and watch internet videos of people falling down, or getting bit by geese.

This is not block, which I am convinced is not real, but is a word used by someone who doesn't understand their own story.  I've got stories that I understand.  They are there, all queued up, I've got ten days to complete a tricky bit of storytelling, a strange parallel world and it is important, and not just to me.  And yet, I'm crushing candy, I'm watching stupid TV.

I need some rest.

I need to stop resting.

I am filled with this deep and pervasive apathy, a sense of futility, and the problem is, I feel pretty okay emotionally; I am just having a hard time seeing the point of trying so hard.  Maybe I need to be less ambitions, maybe I need to just give in, and dedicate myself to the pay job, become th…

A Dusty Old Cassette

This is all a lie, or at best, a partial truth.  All of this is a caricature, a persona, a mask.  You don't get to see me; you don't get to know me.  You get what I share and this is it.

So I have something to say and I'm not sure how to say it, or if I mean what it is that I have to say; I'm just going to pound the keys and hope for the best.

I saw something written about the current political situation that said, in effect, on the bright side, think of all the great punk music that will come out of this tumultuous period. It suggested that this may bring about a revival, that there will be a resurgence of the punk movement.

I said, hey asshat, we've been here the whole time, just doing what we have always done, without your permission or notice.  We do not need you.  We don't want your approval, we don't care what you people get up to out there.

It was a reminder that we are outside for a reason, that legitimacy is not something to strive for, it is the begin…

Full Reverse

I love watching fail videos.  Some fat guy slips on the ice and smashes his ice cream cone in his own face, trampoline accidents, someone getting whacked in the face at a pinata party, all comedy gold.  I eat it up; I can't help myself.  I like this stuff partly because I feel a certain superiority to these people: What were you thinking, dumbass?  But mostly I like it because I can recognize my own failures in them.  I, too, have slipped on ice, wrecked my skateboard, fallen off a roof.  I, too, have dropped my ice cream, have tripped on the stairs, have walked into a closed sliding glass door.

I saw this video once of a huge ship, coming in to dock, the thing is enormous, like a floating city.  On the video, the ship just plows into the pier, and there is a terrible noise, and the ship just keeps going.  The pier shatters into fragments, and there is a scream of metal, and still the ship just keeps going, carried by its own momentum, deep into the port, where it crashes into a bu…