Sunday, January 31, 2010

Decisions: Bad vs. Good - or - Time To Act

“You have got to make decisions. You’ve got to keep making decisions, even if they are wrong decisions. If you stop making decisions, you are stuffed.”

-Joe Simpson, a world renowned mountaineer, on how to stay motivated when you have been left for dead in an ice crevasse inside of an isolated Peruvian glacier after breaking your leg at the top of a 20,813 ft mountain and surviving a 150 ft drop because your climbing partner, who is single handedly trying to execute your rescue, cuts your belay rope unaware that you are dangling helplessly off the edge of cliff, sending you failing into said crevasse miles away from any form of civilization.

It's apparent to almost everyone that I meet, failed relationships in particular, that I have my bouts with my own anger. What used to seem to me like a long fuse on a near impossible to ignite flare up of easily overcome anger, has in the past year become a very touchy hair trigger to a tanker truck full of emotional nitroglycerin. I get pissed off a bit too easily, a bit too often as of late. And of course it's always focused at the wrong people. I'm gonna fix it, because I'm beginning to feel a little bit broken.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sometimes, That's All It Takes - or - The Joy Of Discovery

So, this is a pretty slick painting that made me stop mid conversation and stare back.

Here's where I found it. Of Time And Space, and of course there's a Bon Iver song staring back at me.

It's taking me a lot of time to realize what is right for me. I don't know yet, in fact I'm not even close to knowing, but I'm at least getting closer than I was this time last year. I've got a lot of check marks in the Not Right For Me category, and after realizing that within one week, I'd found five more things that are not right, I went for a run. Now, after eating a bowl of veggies and brown rice, I'm ready to sleep and start February with a whole slew of Right For Me stuff. Rock climbing, Running, Reading, Ranting, and emotional self control, that is what febRuary is going to be about for me. That weird little R in the middle of the this month's name is all about me, mofo.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I Dreamed A Dream, Or Three - or - The Award For Best Action Sequence In A Dream Goes To...

This is unlike anything I have ever shared before. I had three separate dreams last night about a prison break. In each one, I was a different character in the same story; Lester, a burley thug type with bad tattoos and scars on his face, Milo, a brooding skinny arsonist with slits for eyes and a cackle for a laugh, and Skree, a straightjacket wearing mental patient with perpetually messy hair and an affinity for hiding in dark corners. Each dream version of me was locked in the same prison with the other two, all incarcerated for totally different and unknown reasons but somehow all in on my escape each time, sometimes willingly, some times not. I interacted with myself from three different perspectives and each dream shared some of the same elements; a midnight poker game, a thunderstorm, a stopped up shower drain, a ladder made out of barbed wire, a whole stack of shotguns in the back seat of a shinny brown muscle car, a helicopter view of my pursuit by the authorities, and ultimately my untimely death by fire or hail of police bullets.

The prison was in the woods, along a major highway with no towns around, a lot like the supermax security prison that I used to pass while driving to Saratoga NY from my home town in Vermont. Nothing for miles and miles and miles, and then a traffic light, a big steel gate to the left, and a whole bunch of flood lights in the distance. There were signs for miles that read, “State Law - Do Not Pick Up Hitch Hikers.”

The beginning of each dream was marked with the telling of my story in a different style, Lester’s dream had a very straight forward style, utilized voice-over to explain the scenery, everything was laid out with no mystery to it; cause and effect, clean edges, cut and dry, like I was playing a part in a movie, stabbing guards at the music swells and firing shotguns out of the windows of my speeding muscle car with reckless abandon and rockstar attitude. The story line was simple, I win a lot of money from Milo at poker, break his jaw after he spits on me demanding his money back, bribe a cop, rip myself to shreds while climbing the barbed wire fence in a thunder storm, steal a fast car with a stash of shotguns in the backseat, blow shit up, get run off the road by a ex military semi driver with a long gray beard and a mesh camo hat, start a shoot out with the cops in the middle of the highway, and go down in a blaze of glory surrounded by blood stains, shotgun shells, and overturned cars.

Milo’s story was a twisted cartoon, an animated dream, more like a Gorillaz music video rather than a movie, with flashing red lights and speed racer style blurred backgrounds, screeching tires and freeze frame explosions. The plot was slightly different. I lose all my money to Lester at poker, spit some highly flammable alcoholic concoction at him as he gloats about his winnings, set him on fire (a la Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels), sneak past guards as they put him out, climb a make shift ladder of rusty razor wire that I have hammered into a tree, swim down river during a thunder storm, hours later I wash ashore near a rundown motel, and steal a shiny brown muscle car with a backseat full of shotguns from the parking lot. I am discovered missing and pursued all night by a buxom brunette police detective with one of those rotating red police lights on her dash board who can somehow talk directly with me as she chases me, frogger style, across a desert landscape of somersaulting bystander’s vehicles and burned out old western ghost towns. This story ends in a Mexican standoff in an abandon saloon when the whole place, the brunette and I, along with a duffle bag full of guns and a barrel of gasoline, go up in flames.

Skree’s story is a horror flick; grainy, disjointed, nonsensical and full to the brim with jump cuts, images of dripping water, insects eating meat, close ups of my eyes through matted wet hair. Only a few images from Skree’s story have stuck in my head since I woke up. 1) I’m standing perfectly upright in the corner of the shower, fully dressed in a straightjacket and black sweat pants but no shoes, the water is showering on me, the drain is clogged, the water has risen up to my ankles, and someone is talking about a dead inmate. There is a little puff of blood that rises from the clogged drain, mingles with the rest of the water for a few seconds, and is quickly sucked back down the drain. 2) I am standing perfectly upright in the corner of a prison cell watching Lester and Milo play poker. I am wearing the same straightjacket, black sweat pants and no shoes. I am soaking wet. I watch a millipede crawl across the poker table. I focus on Lester’s scars, some of them look like bite marks, some like burns, some like cuts, some like the result of bad child hood acne. I don’t care that I know what will happen as Lester is scrapping together the last of Milo’s money and stuffing it into his socks and Milo is sneaking a mouth full of liquid from a small flask he’s been keeping in the elastic belt loop of his orange inmate pants. 3) I am standing perfectly upright, restrained and barefoot in the rain, in front of a large barbed wire fence by an old tree with rusty razor wire wrapped around it. There are torn pieces of orange cloth at the top and lightning reveals blood on the wire. I am suddenly on the other side of the fence looking back at the prison. There is a pulsing police light illuminating the falling rain in strobe flashes of red. I am no longer wearing a straightjacket. 4) I am standing perfectly upright, reading aloud the license plate of a shiny brown muscle car as it squeals off into the distance. It’s raining and I am talking into a payphone. 5) I am standing perfectly upright at the edge of the woods by a highway. An eighteen-wheeler has slammed a now bullet riddled and thrashed muscle car into the guard rail and there is a fire fight going on between a swarm of police and Lester in the middle of the lanes littered with upended burning cars. I watch Lester fall to his knees as he is overwhelmed and I sink back into the woods. 6) I am standing perfectly upright across a dirt road from an old saloon in a ghost town in the desert. A brunette with a gun enters and I hear gunshots. Seconds later, there is a large explosion and the building is engulfed in flames. I walk into the desert. 7) I am standing perfectly upright behind the counter of a fastfood joint, wearing a clean red collared shirt, black slacks, and a brown apron with a unrecognizable logo across the chest. My hair is neat and well groomed and I have a pedestrian look about me, unremarkable in everyway. There is a puddle of water at my feet and a millipede crawls across the counter as I say, “Are you ready to order?”

So that was my dream. I usually can’t remember them with such detail, but this one was really good, and thrilling to be part of, thrice, so I remembered a lot of it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

How I Get This Out Of Me - or - Where Is The God Damn Bleach, Cause I'm About To Leave Some Stains

I can feel my heart beat in my forehead. My eyebrows won't relax, they are locked in a scowl. My lips are closed air tight, my nose is whistling with every fast breath I take, and I feel like I'm giving everything the evil eye; my keyboard, that globe in the corner, the computer screen, my lamp, the fridge, these candles, that cactus next to window, the framed picture of my family, that pile of instruments, the whole fucking world. The funny thing about perfectly shitty days is that, just when you think it might be over and you can finally breath a sigh of relief, there is always that surprise bucket of shit that someone you don't expect, someone you might lean on in better times, gets to hurl at you. And it always hits you square between the eyes at the exact moment you think it's clear to open your mouth and take a breath of non-shitty air. Fuck that. I'm done with keeping it to myself, bring on the outward rage, I don't fucking care. Judge me if you want but I need to be pissed right now. And I am. Here is the last two sentences of the nearly five pages of bile and hate and venom that I just got out of me.

"If this is the way you want to act, I already know that I’m better off without you around, so keep lying low and blaming me. I should have taken my own advice and stayed the hell away from you."

Maybe I'll regret this in the morning when I don't see red. Right now, I'm holding it as proof that I'm alive. This is what happens when I think I'm getting pissed on. This is what happens when I don't say what is on my mind. This is what happens when I know I've got to find some bigger changes in life. This is anger management.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Did You Have A Nice Trip? - or - Dis Traction

“Son of a bitch!”

It happened today. I had a moment where I lost control. I was reduced to a being of pure consequence; not a cognitive existence, but rather solely a reactionary one. I was locked in the moment and the moment demanded that I forget about my past, forget about my dreams, forget about my surrounding, and strictly suffer. Suffer because of the choices I’ve made, of the direction I’ve taken, the brass I’ve been showing, the defiance of the forces that rule the world around us. It was time. Time for me to buck up and face the fact that, just like everyone else of the face of the planet, I am a slave to those forces. Namely the forces of gravity. I slipped on the ice and fell on my ass today. I was taking out the recycling, I was saving the world, I was righting the wrongs of so many wasteful generations, and it landed me on my butt. Hard. I watched my legs rocket out from underneath me and set them selves, in stark contrast to their customary backdrop, against the sunny blue sky right as my right buttock slammed into the ice coated pavement. “Son of a bitch!” The contents of the two blue recycling bags were now strewn around the parking lot.

“Safe!” yelled some douchebag from the elevated train platform overlooking the parking lot. He had a ringside seat for my one round, one punch bout with gravity, and he was mocking my misforture. “Safe!” he yelled again, just to make sure that I knew he was making a joke at the fact that my normally unclumsy ass fell down. I was still on my back, staring straight up at the sky, and moaning. Moaning in pain. Pain that I felt right then and there, and pain that I knew would be literally following me around for the next few days. “Safe!” I heard yelled one more time. Without averting my eyes from the heavens that had forsaken me, I yelled out “I heard you the first time, fuck stain!” A half Muttly, half Flava Flav style laugh rained down from the el platform as I scraped myself off the ground, picked up all the used shit that gravity had helped me strew across every inch of the parking lot, hobbled over to the blue recycling dumpster with one hand on my lower back like some great grandpa who is always asking for help to “change his sac”, and saved ten pounds of material from sitting in a dump for the next few hundred years. Now my butt and lower back hurts, no, throbs constantly. I’m gonna get drunk and play some irish music with Tripp tonight and forget about gravity until it dishes out another helping of bullshit and I fall on my ass cartoon-banana peel-style again. Depending on how much Jameson I drink tonight, round two with gravity might not be to far off in my future. Cheers.

In other news:
This is why I'll never Twiter. Ever.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Little Love Die

Imelda De La Cruz sings this song that I wrote years ago. It's strange to hear someone sing your pain so beautifully.

Thanks, Imelda. Playing music with you is one of the things that keeps me on my feet day after day. You are an amazing musician, singer, and woman and I am proud to call you my friend.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Leave A Message - or - How My Mind Works... Or Doesn't

The lady on the phone says, “If you like to leave a message, press 1 or just wait for the beep. If you…”

Time to leave a message, I don’t like leaving messages, I think they are boring by nature, ‘Hey so-and-so, it’s so-and-so, at so-and-so o’clock. Just seeing what’s up. Ok, so call me back.’ I always try to spice up my voice mails with some off-handedly odd banter. ‘oh yeah, I’m in jail.’ Maybe I should just play this one straight. Nah, that’s just not my style. I press 1 and there is a familiar beep. What’s gonna happen this time?

“Hey there, Lauren. We missed you last night at $2 PBR night. I wanted to know if you wanted to go to lunch with me…” c’mon, I can do better than this, “…and my monkey.” Ok, here we go. “Yeah, I just got a monkey, then I shaved him. He was not happy about that, I have scars.’ Cool it down, this might be interpreted the wrong way. “He’s oddly quite right now, and pink, and super pissed at me.” Not looking good. Pull up. Pull up. Maybe you can salvage something out of this nose diving voicemail. “He can’t come with us to lunch, if you even wanted him to. It’s some kind of heath code violation. No one likes pink, angry, shaved monkeys with their lunch.” Abort. Eject. Pull the plug. Disengage. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. “Holy shit, I can’t leave this message. This message is retarded.”

I press 1 on the phone again, which usually leads to a menu of options to erase, rerecord, or send the message. The lady says,

“Press pound to send, press 3 to review, or press 9 for more options.”

I need to erase this message so that she never gets this double helping of my inappropriateness. 9 for more options, eh. I don’t need to look at the keypad, I know which one is nine, the one of the bottom right.

“Message sent. Thank you for calling”

Oh fuck.

I Love Hotdogs - or - Wait, I Don't Get... Oh.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

A Bounty Of Plot Devices – or – Can I Get A Bit More Distraction In My Life Please, With A Side Of Bacon?

In light of this drawing, I present to you,

I guess the moral is, be careful of what you say in bed, because if you are lucky someone with a sense of humor is listening and will post it on the internet.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Obvious Sings That I've Been Chuggin' Bleach - or - Deceptive Non-Childish Persona

Every time my brother and I get together, one of the first things he says to me is inevitably, "Good God, Obsquatch. You are really gray." It's true. I am going gray. I kinda like it. The funny thing is that he, my brother, went gray way before I did. I never made fun of him because I always thought it looked great; I called it his Nick Fury Stripes.

So I like my gray hair, and it's a good thing, cause they are for real. They come out faster and more wirey (Wire-like? Wire-esque? Brillo-fied?) than my other hair. It's like someone smashed a while piano in my head and these are the strings poking out though my skull. They are shiny, bold, and are invading every inch of my head. I have one last vestige of untouched brown hair on the top left side of my bangs, but I don't hold out much hope for it to survive the gray invasion. I am not vain, but I notice when my head changes color, who wouldn't? The point is that I kinda like it. It reminds me that no mater how old I start to look, I'll always feel young, and feeling young while looking old is light years better than the inverse. So bring it on, gray hairs, do your best cause I'm gonna make this look good.

I'm off to ride my bike in 3˚ weather.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Life's Twisted Sense Of Humor - or - Do You Really Need Google To Answer This?

This google question led someone from Toronto, Canada to my website.

"Why do I have green and black stuff on my skin after smoking crystal meth?"

I don't have the answer that you seek, my friend from the north, except maybe this is God's way of telling you that you'd be better off as an avocado.