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So many thoughts tonight...

Spent time with Chelsea, Quentin and my other music friends tonight. Bought a case of beer, destroyed it with them and had drunken jam hijinks. It was glorious.

The thing is, during the hangout, I was confronted by someone I don't know very well, let's call him Mike, who was very upset. I inquired as to why, being drunk and too damn curious for my own good. He let me know that his girlfriend had left him. I tried to console him, gave him a beer, and he started explaining to me about the guy for whom she had left him. I got a cold pit in my stomach when trying to console him. I started to feel like an utterly awful person.

See, the problem is, I know the guy in question. I know him and he's fucking awesome. This guy in question is all sorts of amazing rolled into one human. He's often referred to, half-jokingly, as "cheat-on-your significant other" pretty. Tall, long limbed, pleasant musculature, long, dark hair, big green eyes, full lips and, to be very shallow, rumored to be generously endowed. He works at an observatory and plays classical piano like a deity. He's an honestly kindhearted dude, well-read, pleasantly nerdy, a feminist and, well, the sort of amazing person romance novels throw around that you really think might not exist in the real world.

The guy who was dumped is... well... He's a sort of dude people call "nice" because no other adjective really exists to describe him. He's really average in what appears to be every way. I am not saying this to detract from the dude at all. I truly mean that. I don't even know him really well. But, what I do know about him doesn't exactly make him seem impressive. His hobbies include... video games and anime on Netflix and drinking, I guess. He's immediately forgettable.

I felt fucking awful because I honestly couldn't blame his girlfriend, about whom I know nothing, for leaving him for the other guy. But that sort of sinking feeling got me thinking about my own life, about everyone's life.

There's always somebody out there who is the person that guy is to the dude who was dumped. Somebody who just fucking outdoes you in every possible way and can steal your life out from under you. Not just your significant other, but your job, your prospects, your sense of self.

They won't do it out of malice; they'll do it by existing. Perspective is at once useful and painfully unkind. It's math that way. Cold, blunt, dauntless truth. It throws you naked into the Andes and says "survive, you piece of shit."

So, knowing that, what do we do? Are we Aesop's ant? Do we prepare for the cold times? Do we await the possibility that such a person will swoop in, ruin everything and leave us to pick up the pieces of our lives?

How can we?

Should we even worry about that?

Presumably, there's someone above them, too. Some bigger fish, some predatory bird soaring above them, giving them reason to cast a wary glance to the skies.

But does that make you feel better or worse?

Both, I guess.

I know that a person ought to practice self-love. They ought to say, ideally, that they are working to make themselves the best they can be and they should love that. But what about what you can't change? What about what you want, or think you ought to want, but can not have? Do you simply accept that there will always be someone better? There's one thing to know that in theory, another to see it and have it pass by you in an unobtrusive fashion, leaving you only with musings, and rather another to have it smash into and ultimately through you.

It got me thinking on my own situation. To be blunt, I've always been fairly average-looking myself. I just got a lot of attention because I played music, could write and speak well and wasn't shy about proving that I was intelligent. That boldness and talent-pool made up for anything I'd lack in the looks department with my short, stocky body, crooked teeth and whatnot. That said, I've always been jealous of outright beautiful men. I've dated them and wondered why their hands were so hungry for my body when we made love. Why would a person actually lust after my body? What I am able to do is impressive and that makes sense to me. The rest of it perplexes me to no end.

Fucking mind... trying to sabotage me.
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The air is crisp, my breath is mist before my face and the trees are bleeding.

This season will always feel like home to me. Wearing a leather jacket that's been everywhere from abandoned buildings to gigs to forests with me, I feel armored and sturdy. It's an old friend to me that gives my AC a delightful bonus, I realize to myself as I walk. My headphones sing to me and remind me why I live in this world. I see beauty. I drown in it. I am free.

That was my morning walk after work. The sun had just fully come up. Everything was bathed in reds and ambers and Halloween oranges. It was glorious. I feel amazing.

I hope you do, too.
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The wedding was nice, even if the ass-hat preacher-man was strutting his stupid self around the reception after like he was some kind of champion. He even went so far as to, during a random speech at the reception, say that in spite of the "non-traditional" nature of certain things, the service went off well. My friend Del and his wife Cara will clearly raise a family in good service to the Lord.

What amuses me is that Cara is an angry atheist science lady and Del is, well, probably the most laid back person I've ever met when it comes to spirituality. I don't know if it'll ever be brought up. I think it's Cara's family that's really religious. There were lots of prayers in the service readings about the woman being subservient to her husband. I kicked myself when I realized I could have simply bought them a strap-on starter kit and presented it to them at the gift-giving portion of the reception. I, instead, got them a nice set of bookends as I know they're both book-hungry like me.

Probably for the best.

Probably.

In other news... I took vacation days to do this in the event that I needed to be off long into the night and, as it turns out, I didn't. I don't exactly feel like this effort was wasted as I would have had no time to practice or write had I not taken the nights off.

This entry is boring.

Picture me as a space pirate instead.
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My friend Del is getting married today.

While I have a shit-ton of things against the institution of marriage as it pertains to me, like not being able to marry a man if I feel in love with one enough and the horror-stories I hear about divorces and the financial ruin it brings to people, I am thrilled for him. He's found someone awesome and the two of them will do well together. At least that's how I feel. I hope for the best for them.

The rehearsal dinner was tonight. I am one of Del's groomsmen and so I had to be walked through the process of where I'm to stand and next to whom in more detail than was probably necessary by a dickface of a priest. Why do I say that about him? Well, see, it's really simple: one of Del's Groomspeople is a woman. The priest looked like you'd punched him in the face when I tried, for the third time, to explain to him that she would be walking arm-in-arm with one of the bridesmaids because, not only had we co-ordinated it by color of tie-matching dress, but it shouldn't be a problem, anyway.

The priest wasn't having it. He kept saying it was unnatural, wrong, projected the worst image to potential children attending the wedding. As he kept saying this I kept imagining my fist smashing his face to a pulp at a staccato pace of punchpunchpunch. I calmly took the priest aside and told him that I was bisexual, Del's brother, the best man, is gay, and that what he was saying was not only offensive but counter-productive to what was going on. I told him he'd better just swallow his thoughts on this and get on with the ceremony. I said this in a tone that I felt implied well that if he didn't, I'd hurt him. It wasn't the kindest thing in the world and I may have willed some metaphysical mean intent behind it but I felt it got the job done. He agreed. The fucker.

The more I think on marriage, the more it perplexes me. I see it as a fine option for many people. I'm often told, though, that I am not really marriage material since I have no practical life goals. I could list a number of my artist friends, male and female, who are happily together with or married to very excellent people. I think what is being suggested by some to me is that I, as a man, ought to be ashamed that I can't financially support a wife.

The best thing that being in my first relationship with a man taught me was that there are no defined roles. The both of us were fairly masculine creatures and we, after being with eachother for a few months, eventually fell into our comfortable positions, neither being definable as anything other than he and I. Perhaps it's a lot to ask but I don't intend to give that up for a heteronormative relationship where I have to be "the man" for no other reason than society tells me to. I don't mean to sound trite but that's how I feel.

If one looks at it reasonably, I will probably end up being the lesser earner in any sort of relationship given my dreams and goals. The fact is, more and more men are becoming that way as women get better jobs with the degrees they get, in terms of heterosexual relationships. So, if I am with a woman or a man who makes more than me, I don't even have to shrug it off. I don't have those burdens and, you know what? a lot of my straight friends who have wives or girlfriends who make more than them don't give a fuck. They are productive and loving members of a relationship and they all make it work. Nothing bad comes of this, despite what traditionalists fear.

Now for politics. Fuck both candidates. I'm so jaded because nothing good happens. I'm an idealist, politically. I'm unashamed of this. I'm aware that a lot of the things I want are tall orders but I hardly give a fuck. I want politicians to start acting like fucking human beings and not beings of swirling selfish darkness. I want college debt to be erased and college to be free like it fucking ought to be. I want gay marriage legalized and weed, too (for how rarely I do it, I still see nothing wrong with it). I want better social programs. I want actually equal rights for women. I want all these entirely sane and beneficial things for my American society and it just isn't likely to happen given either of these fuck faces getting elected.

Obama is better than Romney because he doesn't look like every boss anyone has ever hated, doesn't view people like me as a stain on humanity and doesn't hate women. But he's still not going to get anything done. I hate voting for the lesser of two evils. I might just write in the cat from The Rent is Too Damn High Party (because it is) because he actually says shit I agree with. Even then, though, he won't fucking get elected even if his facial hair is glorious and makes him the mightiest of warriors.
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What cheered me up was, in true Pittsburgh fashion, a Zombie film.

It was called Exit Humanity. Set near the end of the Civil War, it's about a man wandering the countryside of America trying to find out what's going on while grieving over the loss of his family. Like any GOOD zombie film, the undead in it were less the point and more the setting against which the characters discover themselves. It was well-acted, well-scripted and full of existential commentary on the nature of humanity. It was a dark film.

For some reason, dark media like that always cheers me up. I feel a full range of emotion watching them, thinking on the various themes and discovering part of myself in the process. My financial problems are annoying but I am alive. I have stories to tell and music to play. I have martial arts to learn and people to know along the way in what will end up being a beautifully strange life.

That truth resonates in me. My life will be off-kilter. It always has been. It'll make a lot of people shake their heads at my decisions, my thoughts, and how blatantly unashamed I am of everything that I am. This is all so true and I gain such strength from it, sometimes. In a hollowed-out world where my only company is a cold wind roaring through a hollow in the earth and I am otherwise alone with my truth, I am still me. I am still a writer and a guitarist and a mystic being.

I am whole right now. I bask in it. I can only hope that when it fades and the creeping dread returns that I remember that this is always what will return to me, given enough time.

On Dreams

Oct. 3rd, 2012 07:09 am
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My thoughts turn depressing today.

I have college debt. So do a lot of people. The knowledge that I am not alone is hardly a comfort here.

I have friends who didn't go to college. They're not super wealthy but they are in many ways more free than I am or will be for the foreseeable future. Many of my debts had to be put in the name of my parents and, because of that, I can't just cry "fuck it" and ignore them like some people are doing. Even more than that, I find myself impossibly jealous of my friends who didn't go to college.

I've been trying to think of the best way to put it all night at work and I came up with this. They can fuck up and not affect anyone else but their own personal self. They can go on tour on a whim in a beat-up van and hope for the best. I have to make sure I have enough money saved up to cover monthly loan bills, make sure I can take vacation time off of work and make sure that I have a job to come back to. I hate it. I feel so fucking trapped where I am.

As soon as I graduated college, even skipping the ceremony itself, I fled to Japan and spent glorious time there playing music, exploring and being free in a language where I could only count on folks in Tokyo to be assuredly able to speak my language. It was wonderful.

I worry that I will never have that free feeling again while I am still young. I am sitting here worried about getting old stuck under a gigantic pile of debt that got me degrees that do nothing for me.

That may be harsh to say. I went to college intending to be a professor of English. I also decided to tack on History and Astrophysics degrees because I had scholarships... All those scholarships died and I was forced to pay full price. Instead of being wise and realizing that all I care about is writing novels and making music, I was stubborn and said that if I began a thing I would sure as fuck finish it. Stupid. Fucking. Mistake.

Now I'm stuck wondering how I will go about what I want. I still want music and writing. That's all I want in my life, career-wise. I don't know any other strategy to take besides to chase the dream anyway. It'll be harder by a lot but that can't stop me. I'm a fool if it stops me. Do I write a novel, sell it, spend all the money from it to try and clear my debt and free myself that way?

I can't work three jobs and pay it all off because I need time to practice, compose music, get a band together, play shows, write books, read books, edit books... Functionally I HAVE three jobs and only get paid regularly for one. That option is out.

I can try to find a better job that pays more, and I am, but that has its own series of worries. What if I find a job that tries to gouge more and more of my time from me? Forced overtime and the like can ruin everything. It's also hard to tell how likely that is. I have friends who speak of it being an eventuality and damning as such and friends who have never experienced that before. It's impossible to say.

I'm bitter. College was a mistake for me. It has been a mistake for so many. I so often wish something would just erase the debt I have. I try and hold out hope that somehow everyone who has power over this will be able to see the light and just do something good for fuck's sake and let us erase our mistakes. Fuck, I'd relinquish all my degrees in a heartbeat if it'd make my debt vanish.

Realistically... I try to look on the bright side. I live with my parents. They are superhumanly supportive of my dreams. They will not charge me rent. We live in a slightly inconvenient place but that is not the worst possible thing. I will have to just try and look at my monthly loan payments as the equivalent for rent, be thankful that I do not have to pay for food, save up my meager leftovers for a car and just keep fighting the good fight.

Still... Fucking student loan debt. I feel like such a fool. I feel fucking ashamed of myself.
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So much to learn. So little time.

I want to get back into the martial arts and I want to learn to swordfight. It's been so long since I've done any serious training that it'll be a lot like starting over again. The thing this time that's different from when I did kung fu years ago is that I am learning a different style. I'm interested in learning a martial art that's more focused on actually being able to properly defend yourself and do it well.

I know a guy who has done Krav Maga, Muy Thai and boxing. He's said he'll teach me in a year to be better at actually defending myself than many people ever will be if I am dedicated. I'm the sort who does get dedicated to what he does. The only concern I have is for damaging one of my hands. A broken hand is six to eight weeks off of playing guitar. That doesn't ruin your ability to play but those are still lost weeks during which time you could have been writing songs and getting better at the instrument. I suppose that's simply a risk one takes. Living in fear of it makes it more likely to happen.

As for learning to fight with swords, that'll be a bit harder to properly learn. When it comes to fighting arts, you have to spar in order to be able to be worth a damn at it. You can shadow box as much as you like, and that is rather useful, but you need to go head-to-head with people in order to be able to actually do the thing itself. Finding a teacher in my area to learn swordplay, a skill that I grant isn't the most practical in our world, will be a challenge. It may be best left to after I properly spend the year learning hand-to-hand self defense.

I have so much I want to learn, all at once. I wonder at how much of it I will ever properly get to learn before I die. I guess I should focus more on the journey, the learning itself, but that is often easier said than done.

Tonight I was off work. I didn't get much done at all since a good friend of mine showed up at my house in need of some consoling. I spent most of the evening making her feel better about not being able to find an after-college job in her field and not being able to find a boyfriend. Pretty typical concerns. I guess what worried me was that she really never gets bothered by anything. Seeing her aura all scared-colored was unnerving to me.

Even the strong can waver. It's best to remember that.
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I'm in a bit of a ranty mood. Be warned.

I've been subject to a fair bit of scorn within the last twenty four hours regarding functionally every aspect of me or life decision I've made in the last two years. This has come from a few different people and seems to come together into a great big tumult of "fuck you and everything you stand for" directed at me.

Firstly, we have my life choices. The decision to seek out the dual dreams of being an author AND a career musician seem to rub people the wrong way. This is especially true if you aren't ashamed of it. I can't tell you how many people I meet who are outright offended when you tell them what you're doing with your life and it doesn't fit with that they think is the right path for a person. "What do you mean you don't want a conventional career?" they ask, "how can you not care about making more money?"

In answer to those, and other, questions I try to respond reasonably. I can't have a career properly, I tell them, because I need plenty of time EVERY SINGLE DAY for writing fiction, composing and recording music, practicing the fucking guitar and reading books. I need those things or I will not move forward in my arts which are the most important things to me at this point in my life. If I had a job that demanded me to spend overtime, suck up to bosses, play a company hierarchy game outside of the workplace all for the chance of possibly moving up the corporate ladder, I would have far less time for those things. There's nothing wrong in my mind with seeking this out if it's what you want. I don't judge you for it. Don't judge me for not being interested.

It's also not like I don't work. I work between 32 and 40 hours a week at a warehouse. If I didn't have to do this both for health insurance and to actually have income, you can bet I wouldn't. I'd have more time for my art. That'd be fucking lovely. That's not in the cards at this point. That said, I can't tell you how many people I meet who think that just because I'm an artist I must be unemployed and a leech on society somehow. It frustrates me just as much as people who think artists of any stripe don't actually "work" for a living. You ever struggle with creative block? I'd rather have to fight and kill an MMA fighter with my own hands.

I went into this dream-chasing expecting this to happen sometimes. I didn't expect people to be so vehemently hateful of my choices. I keep being told that I have to settle down, find a wife I can "take care of", move forward in a respectable career and get ready to start a family. There's nothing wrong with any of these things. That said, I want to do none of them. Exactly none of them. I've got other plans. I wish people would just respect that instead of gawking at my generally pleasant disposition when I say "nah, not my attitude."

Not that I'd turn down a better-paying job if one magically appeared and still let me have enough time to pursue my dreams. That'd be lovely, actually. The only problem would be trying to disguise the truth (I just want to be a cog in your machine who is inevitably forgotten, not asked to do much and collects pay raises secretly) from what I'd actually say (gosh do I want a company I can grow with, derp derp) during a job interview.

Another gripe of mine is that nobody seems to just let me be in terms of my sexuality. To put it simply, your genitals are all groovy by me. I'd say bisexual but in recent days I've found this more limited since I've met more people who view themselves as genderless. My problem, though, is that it seems that straight people don't understand what that means for me, gay men are bothered by the fact that I could also find women physically attractive and call me "straight acting" for not being overly camp. My straight male friends assume I'm fantasizing about plowing them and my gay male friends balk whenever they remember that I am also rather fond of people who do not identify as male. I can't win.

The most frustrating part of not being able to win a game is knowing that said game doesn't matter to you.

My sexuality isn't there to cater to anyone. It's also a relatively minor factor in my life compared to my hopes, dreams, ideas, artistic expressions and the like. Does it bother me that some people view people like me as outright broken or fundamentally damned creatures? You bet it does. Do I make crusading for my sexuality to be known by everyone on this planet as soon as they meet me a priority? No. I have far too many more important things to worry about.

End. Rant.

Road Trip

Sep. 29th, 2012 05:55 am
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One of the most beautiful things I've seen in my life is an open stretch of nighttime highway bathed in fog. The lights haze everything out in Sepia and I feel free.

I've never felt so free as I do when I see that. I feel like I could live on that sight as if it were my only nourishment. Trite, maybe, but it's how I feel.

I took a trip with some friends to the flatlands of Ohio to go to a haunted house themed attraction. It's early in the season, yet, but the house proved to be the most impressive of its kind I've ever seen. It had animatronics, a great lengthy sprawl of room upon room of actually creative scare-tactics, some of which even made me twitch a little in surprise. I'm not often shocked or even startled by what I see there, having volunteered in such fun establishments in my early teens. Through that, I learned a lot of common tactics that can help me predict when and where a person is likely to jump out at me.

Despite this, I had a fantastic time and would gladly spend the six hours total travel time to and from, twenty dollars and functionally a whole day to do it again.

Also, in Ohio, and just about any other American state, you can buy beer in gas stations and grocery stores and stuff. This is true for all but Pennsylvania, the state in which I live. When I saw beer for sale in an Ohio gas station I just had to buy some. I have enjoyed two thus far sitting at my computer. My Chrome browser is doing some odd stuff because I haven't updated my OS in forever and so I switched back to Safari. It's frustrating. I need to replace it with something better.

I have to say... I use a Mac because it was the computer given to me when I had to replace my first laptop in college. I had no idea how trapped by its mac-centric tech I'd end up becoming. I often very much wish this weren't the case or that I wasn't so lazy about figuring out how to transfer everything onto a PC or something.

Rambling rambling. Drunk drunk. Drunk off of two beers on an empty stomach. Classy.

My Hill

Sep. 28th, 2012 07:06 am
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I wonder if it'll all work out in the long run.

If I'm the protagonist of my own story, the hero, I should get my happy ending, right?

I'm going on a road trip to a haunted house attraction tomorrow. It's three hours away. A friend is driving another friend of ours and me. I don't really care too much about going at this point. I'd kind of rather spend the night in reading or doing anything else but being out. I promised her I'd go and, in so doing, spend money I probably shouldn't spend.

I just sit here after work thinking on how I can't form a band that stays together to save my fucking life and how the novel I'm writing is a challenge to get through at this point. I have no other desires in life but to do these two things and make them my bread and butter. This is what I tell myself.

I wonder, rarely but sometimes, whether or not I just say that to make myself feel better. Maybe I'm just a ball of apathy that really wants nothing more than to just do nothing. I really doubt this is the case except in moments like this.

Climbing up my hill is difficult sometimes.
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Wrote some, rocked out some, going to meditate some after this entry. I feel good about today and it's only been going on for a handful of hours for me. It's good to start a day of that way. I've also not been on Facebook or the like for more than the minimum required to check the strangely high volume of messages I got today.

It's raining outside and a cold breeze whispers of the October to come in a few days. I would be enjoying it more if I hadn't received bills in the mail today. I swear, I'm so paranoid about getting mail because I always worry that it's some bad news.

I think it was Deadwood that I was watching years ago that summed this up pretty well. The characters where watching a crew of some kind set up telegraph poles and brooding on how it was a bad thing. One character disagreed and he was answered with the fact that this would allow mail to go faster to him and when was the last time he'd received a letter from someone he didn't know that WASN'T bad news?

Good point, that.
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Autumn has begun in my city.

I can feel the familiar chill in the air, the change in seasonal energy bringing Summer's blazing green to fade into Autumn's complexities of Reds and Oranges. People have spoken on the glory of this seasonal change and, indeed, the wonders of Autumn so often that I won't bore you with the details just yet. What I will describe a bit is how it is for a person who works third shift.

The days get shorter. For me, someone who sees more night-time than day-time, this is more obvious than I thought it would be. This is my first Autumn season working nights. It's already turned out to be stranger than I thought. Being as the nights are longer and I wake up at somewhere around four pm each day, I am seeing far less daylight than I otherwise would have. It's more jarring on me than I thought it would be. It also makes me remember that, come winter when it gets dark here around five in the afternoon, I might feel as though I am A BEING OF PERPETUAL DARKNESS.

Possibly I'll get depressed. I'm really not sure. I'm kind of anxious about that possibility. I've never tried such a thing before. It'd be damned unfortunate because I've never in my life suffered from the kind of winter depression so many of my friends get. I've always watched them and felt bad but secretly a bit lucky that I love the two colder months so much.

I'll freely admit that part of it came from the fact that I am short, stocky (for a time in my early teens overweight) and until recently the possessor of VERY long hair. It was like I'd grown my own hat. I viewed the seasonal change as a blessing because it meant I could wear more layers and feel more comfortable about myself. I always felt like it was a better time of year for me. In the warmer months I'd sweat a lot, being as I've always been too stubborn to not wear all black in the summer, and I'd mostly shun the outdoors.

Tonight I spent time with some of my musician friends. I gave my friend Quentin an old guitar I had owned but hadn't played in over six months. It was one of my earlier guitars, a mexican-made Fender Stratocaster for you guitar enthusiasts out there, and I have since moved on to guitars I like better. The thing of it is, I hate to see an instrument go unplayed. The things are built to be loved, played, beaten up, taken on tour, hauled to gigs and the like. d

The thing about Quentin that I respect in terms of his musicality is that he makes a lot of good stuff with honestly shit equipment. He's self-taught but not in the way I'm self taught. I taught myself more theory and technique than he did. It seems to me sometimes like he just taught himself to punch a guitar and music eventually came out that matched that which was playing in his head. He's no lead guitarist, rather a rhythm guy who writes hooks and sings (or belts if you like) out lyrics he also writes. He's a frontman and a damn good one.

My guitar was unsellable because it has some dings and scratches that nobody wants to pay for. I figured Quentin could use it. His normal guitar is pretty much a piece of driftwood on a good day and, when it's not working (which is often) he borrows his bassist's les paul. It is now the most high quality instrument he owns. It felt good to help him out. He'll give the guitar a good home. I'm sure of it.

I am often jealous of people like him because they never fell into a musical trap I did. When I began playing seriously a few years ago I got gear-happy. I spent way too much money on things I didn't need or only used once or twice. People like him never had the money to just throw around. They had to make due with what little they had and, normally, that makes you better and more creative. I still feel like an idiot for getting stuck for longer than I'm comfortable admitting worrying over having the right bit of gear before just rushing headlong into music. I am doing it now and I occasionally worry that it's me coming to the game a bit late.

I say this knowing that 24, my current age, is by no means "old" in the current musical climate. It's changed so much that people in their thirties, forties and even fifties are suddenly making careers out of it. Hell, some of Abney park's members are in their thirties and have been since I first discovered them in the debut issue of Steampunk Magazine some... six years ago now.

I probably worry too much at that sort of thing. It's easy to tell yourself to get off your ass and start seriously beating your head against the goal and another thing to drag yourself to doing it day-in, day-out. I sat in Quentin's living room talking with him and his band He's five years my senior and has been at this band stuff for maybe two or three years. I'm leaning more towards two but I'm not sure. I've been trying to get a band to stick together for about two years with no luck. It's all a matter of timing and finding the right people.

I've always viewed the creative process, with writing and music composition, as something akin to fighting. I picture that there's some ogre of a man, seven feet tall, muscular and veiny, mouth-breathing in some psychotic rage looking down at me. I have to kill him to get to what's behind him which is anything from 1,000 words of good fiction, two minutes of decent music or a lifetime of success and joy. Each time I manage this, he will regenerate. Sometimes he's bigger, sometimes he's smarter and knows what to tell me to deflate me, sometimes he's got weapons and sometimes he's just plain meaner than he was before.

I'll be fighting him my whole life, I think. He'll kill me one day. As long as I don't give up, though, he can't win.

Jara-hoom!

Sep. 25th, 2012 07:36 am
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I say, and not for the first time in my life, that I really need to get off social networking media.

The problem with this is that I can't just quit it altogether. I've managed to land paying gigs from something as simple as noticing somebody I haven't seen since highschool is getting married via Facebook and sliding in with "hey, you remember how I play guitar? You do? Fantastic. See, I also do weddings..." A little thing like that ends up making me $500 for playing some variation of Clapton's "You Look Wonderful Tonight" or some pretty tune here or there and then getting drunk at an open bar after.

It doesn't happen every month. Truth told, it's only happened in the summer. I've managed to land some gigs booked for a local Catholic church playing some religious songs. I usually have to do some song-and-dance about how I'm totally Catholic, baptized and everything. Where was I baptized? St. Bernadette's in Atlanta. Small church. Intimate affair it was. Nothing could be farther from the truth, though. I wasn't raised in a family that cared much about religion. My mother had her moment of feeling like maybe the Catholic church was a good idea and DID have me randomly baptized but the religion that held most sway in our house more closely resembled animism.

Church gigs, that I got off fucking Facebook pay $600 for an hour, though. I have four of them booked already. That will pay a lot of bills come December.

Facebook is also good for promoting my own personal gigs and all that happy business as well. It's really a useful tool if employed correctly. The problem is the damned chat feature. I'm terribly easy to distract with that. A friend of mine messages me and it's back to how AIM distracted me during the halcyon days before Facebook emerged. I've been known to waste HOURS on that shit. Facebook chat is no different.

It's got to be an exercise in willpower, really. I've got to just limit my time on the website to short, concise fifteen-minute bursts that allow me to check my messages, network, post something amusing and then leave and go do important things like practice guitar, write fiction, read a fucking book or anything else.

In other news, I was off tonight. Nights off are always strange when you work a third-shift job. Normally, I'm used to getting all of my daily stuff done before I go to work at eleven, coming home from work at seven, being up until ten and then crashing until four in the afternoon. My time when I return from work is usually spent reading or watching anime or something relaxing unless I didn't complete my basic daily requirements of practice time, word count, meditation, daily rituals and exercise if it's one of the weekdays during which I do that.

Tonight, I wasted a lot of the time on Facebook chatting with friends. I went out with some people for late-night food, coffee and discussion. The topics of discussion centered mostly around self defense. I used to practice martial arts but have been really lazy the past few years. So lazy, in fact, that the idea of starting it again is kind of daunting. Still, the conversation led me down the path of wanting to do it. I may just. If I do, you'll read about it here, no doubt.

We ate at a local coffee shop out here in my little corner of the world. Its walls are an AWFUL shade of yellow and it's decorated with a theme matching that of my old highschool, a place I hardly attended if I was to be entirely honest. I always feel odd there in my leather jacket and stereotypical coffee-guzzling goth kid misanthropy against the backdrop of my old highschool's colors. It makes me feel like I'm trying too hard. I don't know that I'm trying to do anything at all there, though, beyond killing myself with caffeine. It's my coffin, after all, I'd like my shot at nailing it.

Eerie

Sep. 23rd, 2012 07:30 am
ghosthound: (Default)
When I work Saturday nights into Sunday mornings at my job, I am usually the only one there besides my direct supervisor. I also rarely see him as he prefers to stay in his office and play on the internet via his smartphone. Because of this, it often feels like I have the place to myself for eight hours of silence.

My duties at this job on the night in question are really minimal. I have to "straighten things up." All this means is that I have to not burn the place down and walk around the confines of the warehouse once or twice to make sure the doors don't unlock themselves, somehow. Mostly I just curl up with a book and a pair of headphones and drown the world away while I get paid for it.

The problem with the place is that it's full of people's hate of it. It's got all three primary shifts and a customer-base that comes through it during the day. So you've got the slug-trail of dumb, shallow human resentment garbage that's left in the wake of an influx of customers in a place staffed during the day by listless, apathetic people who are paid too little to properly call it a living wage. The exception is people who have been there as long as me. We make barely a living wage.

That sort of collective dislike of a workplace builds up. Frustrations, self-loathing, hate of coworkers or management, the slow, sick, burn of realizing that your life's dreams are shriveling up by the day as this place eats you... I feel all of these things not from myself but from the emotional energy of everyone else that works there. It's oppressive. It's a heavy funk in the air that settles around my bones and depresses me.

As much as it depresses me, it does sometimes help me. It shows me what I can't become. I am at this third-shift job partly because it is convenient for me geographically and situationally and partly because it is an in-between job in a sense. It pays better than a job at a fast-food place and not as much as a job that could be properly considered a career. It allows me a fair income and the knowledge that nobody takes it seriously enough to bitch if I, say, write 2,600 words during a workshift on the laptop I brought in because fuck my job; I want to write.

Maybe that's just my excuse to be lazy. I'm not sure.

The problem comes back constantly to the negative energy of the place. It's renewed each day by the people who work there. I can't blame them for disliking it. It's just something I've got to soldier through, I suppose.
ghosthound: (Default)
No longer drunk.

I slept for a handful of hours and woke up feeling rested and contemplative.

I have blackout curtains that swallow the vast majority of the light in my bedroom. Even in midday, they keep my sleeping space as dark as a tomb. Of course, during the height of blazing summer, if you pull them back you can almost feel the light sear you like you're some kind of pasty cave-dwelling subhuman. Right now my room is illuminated only by my computer monitor and the light gloom that the curtains let in. It's peaceful.

The jam last night was fun. It was a bit cluttered since three guitarists were present. I always prefer to jam with only one other guitarist, each of us trading rhythm and lead. When three players are present it can get really cluttered and not a lot of room is left for anybody to have fun with it. We managed, though, and a good time was had by all.

I said in my earlier entry that I was too drunk to play to my maximum potential. Every musician I know has that limit where they are just drunk enough to play unhindered but enjoy it more because of the buzz. As soon as that limit is breached, whatever it may be, everything goes down hill faster than an unattended baby stroller on fire. For me, that's four drinks. As soon as I sip the fifth one, it's all over but the missed-noted and fret buzz.
ghosthound: (Default)
Drunk now.

Went to a friend's place. She's in a band named for a Buffalo. She's beautiful and so are her bandmates. We jammed together, drank too much, ate greasy pizza and felt free. I didn't play as well as I normally do in jam sessions because of how quickly I got drunk but I am not bothered by that.

They all got tired before me. Everyone gets tired before me. It's inevitable when you work third shift. You feel like a vampire.

A sexy, guitarist vampire.

Fuck yes.
ghosthound: (Default)
I walk home from work, sometimes. It's a mild walk down a stretch of highway flanked on each side by trees, a quick turn to the left, one to the right, up a hill that's a sudden vein into suburbia and then right to my home. I work third shift at the same place I've been working for eight years, now.

This walk at night is often peaceful for me. I don't know that many people would find shipping trucks and early risers rushing past you, headlights burning twin death rays out of the night, relaxing. I'm not many people, though. I'm me. I find peace in the idea that I'm a shadow among shadows. I'm a highway ghost, in their view for a moment while the light washes over me and then gone forever.

Those things give me comfort. I'm a bit stuck where I am at present. I walk to work because I do not own a car. I will not be able to get a car anytime soon because I do not make much money and the money I do make is hacked apart at the end of the month by bills, loans and other expenses. If I am able to save a few hundred a month, I am fortunate. That word sticks in my throat when I say it, even in jest, to my friends who are in the same situation. Fortunate.

My life has brightness in it, too. Make no mistake regarding that. I have my arts. I write novels, or try to, in the hopes that I may publish them and make that a career. I also write music and play out sometimes, too rarely for my taste, in hopes that this, too, can become a career for me. Some people think I'm a fool for trying one, let alone both, of these. I would dearly like to shove my middle finger through an eye and see if they repeat it.

That's actually a benefit of having a blog like this. Each time I write, no matter what I write, I get better. This blog, and the other blog I have that specifically focuses on my writing and my music (which I will link on this blog when it gets properly hefty as it, too, is new) and even the paper journal I keep in meatspace all serve to sharpen my prose. This is a sharpening I desperately need. One could say any creative-type is always in dire need of honing their craft but, in my case, it's particularly true.

Another big factor in me starting this blog is that it will be kept separate from the people I know in my day-to-day life. While I certainly won't jump through fire to keep people from finding it, I won't bring it up. This will lead to some venting I may otherwise not do that I find may be helpful to me. I don't feel like I have any titanic secrets to keep from the people close to me but I may be wrong about that.

Into the fray.

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ghosthound

January 2013

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