Wednesday, August 19, 2020

All The Feel Good You Ever Need Is Captured On Both Sides Of The First Cheap Trick Album

I heart being from the Midwest because to me, "being from the Midwest" means that you are capable of riding in the back of pickup truck, on a hot summer day, on a country road, cheap American beer in hand, and that's all you need. As if the universe collapsed back into a singularity of just you in the truck at that moment and completeness was completed: bliss, nirvana, pick a term. I left the Midwest for California because as a kid in a band in the late 80s, all the cool stuff happened in California: the weather better (truth), the women hotter (partial truth 😆), the music better (umm...) and if only you could get yourself in a van and drive to LA, all your dreams would manifest and life would be lived happily ever after. Well, shoot, I never even made it to California, I flirted with San Francisco, enough so to call on a few apartments, but then I asked a potential employer if I needed a car. The answer? "Kid, this is California, everyone has a car." As an alternative and like everyone else in the Midwest, I moved to Washington State, the poor person's California (and safer too, no hair bands and no women that David Lee Roth would have sung songs about) and this is home. But I will forever miss the Midwest and the polarization of folks (current Zeitgeist) pains me beyond belief because I lived in both worlds and seeking disagreement between the two seems so forced and artificial to humankind. Don't believe me? Pick two random people and put them in the same room with a six pack of beer between them and watch what happens. Face to face, people almost aways try to find what's common and harmonize with each other. 

OK, enough of that ^, don't have enough time today to solve the world's problems, but, yeah, Cheap Trick and their first album, there are no hits but in aggregate it's bliss, it's Midwestern joy at its best, it's a bottle of feel good that you can pour at any moment, and maybe in the 40 minutes it takes to listen to the whole thing, you can forget about polarization and think more about the back of that pickup truck. 

Friday, August 14, 2020

The Original Title Of This Post Was "Freedom At Point Zero" But No, Delays, Always Delays! Why Delays?

Well, I wrote the "Hillary Wins!" narrative and then Trump fucking won the election. Then what to do? Only so many bottles of rosé that you can consume and that's just a path to emptiness; empty bottle, empty soul and I want neither of those things. I wanna listen to the Steller’s* jays tell me their stories on a river's edge because maybe someday I'll get a 'C' or a 'V' in my title but the only fulfillment I need is a great piece of music, an awesome stereo, and well, maybe just me alone, but a coterie of music freaks, intellectual junkies, and spirits who can dance with words, I want them in my heart too. Writing exhausted again because I like writing exhausted, I like metal on metal. If you are looking for liberation, try all 4 parts of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music on repeat, then get back to me and we will compare notes (I may be writing to Metal Machine Music right now). Truthfully, just bail out of Metal Machine Music, it's bad advice and it will lead to nothing good. Freedom at point zero is never far away, live your life in truth and with integrity, maybe pick up some Hesse influence along the way, and always fight the good fight because a clear conscience is requisite for transformation and transcendence. Sure, grab a six pack of Pabst (every now and then), put on Lou Reed's Rock 'n' Roll Animal, and grab a hold of stuff when's it right in front of you, because, you know, and I will just say it, when it gets too far away, it's too far away. Rock on Milwaukee (and any other city that you may reside in!)

*It's very messed up that a bird name has an apostrophe in it -- how do you even fucking deal with the scenario when a Steller's jay possesses something? Seriously, I may get a 'C' in my title but that just makes me want to quit. 

Sunday, August 9, 2020


Grace is the greatest word ever invented. I learned the word, likely in my Catholic days, but like everything religion, I was just praying to god that we could skip the 2nd and 4th verses and just get home to watch football. Some families say it before dinner too, but I never really thought about what it means. It's like the word sudden, everyone says it, and everyone is fucking convinced that you cannot talk about part of a sudden, but no one really knows what sudden means. I currently have grace metaphorically wrapped around my left wrist in the form of a silver metal bracelet that my sister gave to me when I was in high school. The bracelet is a constant reminder that I've come a long way. I used to never take it off and then hubris said it's OK not to wear it and not wearing it led to sameness and catastrophe. I don't think I'll ever take it off now. People say don't be superstitious and/or believe in the small things that seem to point to fate -- and then you don't wear your lucky socks and then your sports team loses the big game and then you know it -- it was your fault! I'm going to wear my bracelet and my lucky socks!
Grace is hard, grace is like all the hard words: love, hate, anger, elation, betrayal, guilt, they're all easy when you are smoking your cigar, rejoicing on your front porch, drinking espresso and reviewing your brokerage accounts gains from the last decade. So easy to talk about those words when you are removed from them. There should be a law that you are not allowed to expound about grace unless you've been flattened and are in the middle of something where giving grace is the very last fucking thing you'd ever want to do. Someone said that "life sucks and then you die" but it's really "life's tough and then you die." I'm so utterly fascinated and challenged by grace because in some sense you can only learn grace by suffering and empathy and who really signs up for those things anymore? I also have no idea if I can even succeed. (I know I write cryptically, just protecting the innocent, but, god, tonight, I would so ❤️to name all the names). And, not once, but twice in my life I traded a million+ dollars for wisdom, so there's that and that's painful (and who does that?) and I don't even know if I can survive that. But, with grace, it's starts with yourself and you can inwardly examine and love and hurt and cry and then when you survive that, then you can direct it outward, and you're gonna get hurt, likely not permanently, but it will happen -- and, if you transcend, then you will know what it really means to give grace.

Monday, August 3, 2020

The Other Side Of Sparklers

I keep promising writing about sparklers and maybe it's just bait and switch? But it's necessary to consider the other side of sparklers, 'cause you learn something when you go through turnstiles enough. Temper the highs, boost the lows. Got a lesson today from the book I mentioned in my previous post
"how much more questionable is the accuracy of our thoughts when bad lands and we are breaking apart? How rooted in reality are our thoughts when we are in emotional upheaval, our stress levels are high, we are traumatized, or we are struggling with PTSD? When we get hijacked by the amygdala and we are deep in fight-or-flight mode, we will say or do almost anything to save ourselves."
For context the quote is in a chapter where the theme is "not believing everything you think" -- so when the spark hits in darkness, what to do with it? It was dark and now the spark hints at direction and you want to chase it. Is chasing it saying or doing almost anything to save yourself? Not chasing it doesn't seem correct either. I guess I can just think both thoughts (chase/don't chase) and then I can choose which of those thoughts I don't want to believe! That's how we would do it in the Midwest -- you just kind of keep tweaking the wheel until it lines up with the sentiment you are comfortable with. Ha, sure, that's funny, but it's the control boat again, who is really steering it? Nobody seems to want to answer that question (and I need to write about this soon!). 

One thing is certain for me tonight, if sparklers had a song, it would be this:

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Just Gonna Have To Admit Exhaustion

I know I promised sparklers and I will deliver, but writing about sparklers requires energy that I don't have tonight. I put a lot on the line today, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Got a great workout in under the hot sun. Had I become a rock star, I would have played all my gigs shirtless in the blazing sun (here's looking at you Phil Collen -- cannot believe I just referenced Phil Collen). For me, the sun only gives and I lost my stuff during the 2017 eclipse. I will forever chase them. Maybe I only get energy when I exhaust myself? But exhaustion is not defeat and if anything a single spark in the sparklers I've promised burned more brightly this afternoon, perhaps even danced. I'm not sure, but like the good Wisconsin kid I am, I'm drinking 50/50 soda under the ascetical sun during my ascetical summer (2020 style) and I can now return to my co-studies with my BFF in the book that we are jointly reading: When Bad Lands -- pulling things back to a personal lens, to something I can own and forget about narratives beyond my control. From the book:
I engineered this hurricane of self-deception. I designed it. I was lost, and without any planning, I steered myself into a dead-end that forced me to choose to either be a coward or to wake up.
I don't know what my point is, other than to say that I am truly exhausted and yet also waking up -- but also that today was off the charts in the energy plane and I guess you gotta pay attention to that? Because what else is there? I mean, machine learning and statistical analysis can take you a long way there, but only sensing gets you beyond the door.