Wrecking Ball

Since moving from California to colder parts of the country, I’ve learned to enjoy decorating for the seasons. Not all four seasons, just the cold and warm ones, bi-annually. Now, I’m not going to leave you a blog entry about decorating and all that. but I just wanted to say that, although it’s not really autumn yet, I can feel it coming and I’m ready to cozy things up in preparation for winter. I’d planned to spend my last check on the fabric I really want to make drapes for the living and music rooms, but it got absorbed into daily living expenses. Damn. These lace panels aren’t going to keep out the cold or help with our heating bill. I don’t know what plan B is just yet. Things have been so up in the air lately—for the entire month of August and most of September—that I really don’t know what end is up, anyway.

I like to believe I’m a person who faces down my walls and scales them, but when my energies are depleted, when my illness has me feeling flatlined, and when I’m forced to work under a crushing handicap, I wonder if I’m that resilient anymore. It’s more than disheartening, it’s devastating. There’s so much I still want to do, but I feel time ticking away from me and I’m unable to keep up with it. I can’t tell you how tempted I am to say screw it and just submit to getting old. To plant myself in front of the telly and give in to it and end all this struggle. I keep plugging along, though. I keep fighting, I keep looking for toe holds in this wall that looms above me even when I doubt I’ll ever find any, or that when I find them I’ll be too exhausted to employ them.

I know this sounds depressing and that no one likes to read such things. I’ve seen all the platitudinous memes about complaining less, feeling gratitude more, and living each day to its fullest, but those things are written mostly by people in their twenties and thirties who haven’t grappled with chronic illness, poverty, or a lifetime of PTSD. So shut up. Sometimes we have to complain. Sometimes we have to wonder just when the struggle to survive without fear will end. Sometimes we have to vent, if just to voice it so that we can move on. Sorry if people don’t like being reminded that life isn’t perfect. This current pop psychology thought that we’re supposed to always be grateful, happy, and fulfilled leaves me cold, because the underlying message is, “If you’re not, something’s wrong with you.” There’s nothing wrong with me, I’m a human being. Life is hard sometimes, and sometimes I’m afraid, sad, tired, disappointed, and feeling hopeless. Most of the time I am happy, positive and grateful, but I’m human and sometimes life just plain hurts. I’ve always believed that when we’re tired of something enough, we’ll change it, but what about those of us who are too old or ill? I can’t go out and get a job. All I can do is record and release this album, work hard to sell it, and then book gigs. Right now, I’m just hoping I can finish the album at all, much less try to keep up with the demands of traveling and performing on the weekends.

The months of August and September brought on an onslaught of problems and minor emergencies, from loss of work to a broken toilet, and everything in between. Nothing catastrophic, but things add up. I feel like someone’s been poking me with a stick, relentlessly, and now I’m sore. Things felt different when I woke up today, though. The hot water heater that sprung a leak last Friday is being replaced this afternoon, I’ll be able to get groceries tomorrow, and I’m hoping my energy will return so that I can get back to recording. I only hope Nigel will stop his barking tirades so that I can record. The only thing I regret is that I won’t be able to make my drapes. I was really looking forward to that.

Is this the highest wall I’ve had to face in my life? No, but it’s the highest wall I’ve had to face without the proper climbing tools. I can’t seem to find my grappling hooks or my ropes. Maybe what I need to get is a wrecking ball. Yell “FIRE IN THE HOLE!” and let ‘er swing!

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Bucksnort Retrograde


I actually went to Is Mercury Retrograde this morning only to be told that it isn’t and that something else must be bumming me out. I’m not really bummed, although that state of mind has touched me in a way. But I don’t need a planet appearing to retrace its steps to add frustration to my life. Oh, no. That’s something that can hit at anytime. But still, I wondered so I checked it out.

I’d planned to use yesterday to make up for the last couple of weeks that I couldn’t record due to excessive heat (the garage can be like an kiln when the temps climb above 90) and a moderately severe thyroid siege. I even went to bed early so that I could get an early start. Budgeting one’s energy takes a lot of discipline, but I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

I went out to the garage and set everything up, then I sat down and began tuning my 12-string. Although I keep my guitar in the house, Tuesday night’s monsoon threw it out of whack and it took me the better part of an hour to get it tuned. This normally would take minutes, but it really needs to be set up; the action’s too high and I suspect the truss rod needs adjusting so, although I may have it tuned to one key, say, A, it’s out of tune when I play in any other key. To get a balance between all these keys is no small feat. I’d like to take it into the pros at Daddy-O’s, but I can’t afford that just now. Meantime, I fuss and fight over tuning, there’s a quite a lot of fret buzz, and my fingers are only good for about two hours. And because I have to exert more pressure, the arthritis in my left hand is killing me. Anyway, I got it tuned.

I turned on my Tascam DAW and saw that my batteries had lost their charge. Not surprised, I took them out, plugged them into the charger (it takes two hours to charge them because the DAW takes six batteries and the charger only holds four), and put in the other set of batteries. They too were dead. Wtf? I tried plugging into the AC, but there was that gawdawful AC hum again. Sighing, I brought the batteries and charger into the house. By now, it was after 12. So much for my early start. I dinked around in Netflex for the two-hour charging time, growing more frustrated, and finally got back out to the garage a little after two. I plugged in the battery pack and looked at the meter. Dead. WTF? In the meantime, I’d been having to get after Nigel numerous times to stop barking. This means taking off the headphones, getting up, laying down the guitar, and coming into the house to corral him. I was no longer just frustrated, I was seething. Then it dawned on me. I always forget the little power switch on the battery pack. I switched it on and everything was fine. I’d just wasted two and-a-half hours for absolutely nothing! W.T.A.F?!

I got some work done on “You Leave Me Speechless”. Two guitars and bass. That went pretty smoothly, but when I went to lay down a scratch vocal track, my throat kept getting a tickle and I was forced into take after take. Meanwhile, Nigel kept flying into barking tirades; he was in the house, but my microphone still read him. I tried to lay down the 12-string track of another song,  but by now my fingers were like raw hamburger. I then heard Nigel barking yet again and I realized I was 15 minutes late in feeding him. Headachy and grumpy, I fixed a cup of tea, but accidentally hit the spoon that sits in the sugar bowl and threw sugar all over the counter. When I opened the teabag packet (which is supposed to tear neatly across the top), it peeled off in little pieces. Small shit, but it adds up, you know?

So much for my productive day. I spent the evening wondering if I should even be trying to make an album. What if I just don’t have it anymore? What if I never did? What if I only thought I was all that, musically, and was actually just a mediocre wannabee? Maybe I should just forget it and take up cultivating roses or something. I spent the evening feeling pretty defeated. I went to bed early again and awoke to more piddly setbacks: Facebook isn’t working right, I’ve had to reboot a couple of times, the power went off for a minute and threw me offline. More little shit. Retrograde shit. Because it’s going to be over 90 today, I thought I might stay in the house and lower the action on my guitar myself, but I wonder if that’s a good idea, given the way things are going.

Mercury turns retrograde on the 17th. I can hardly wait.

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Fire In The Hole Friday: Eve of Destruction

Eve of Destruction
Remember when he was really cute in Wings?

I admit it. I love disaster movies. The sillier, the more unbelievable and the more improbable, the better. For a while now I’ve been thinking about posting a brief report (not a review, a lot of people already do that) on the disaster movies I watch, so here’s my first.

Movie: Eve Of Destruction, miniseries in two parts (2013)
Starring: Steven Weber
Synopsis: Spoiled teenage daughter of a physicist (Weber) joins eco-terrorist group, helps blow up installation in which her father is working on an experiment to harness dark energy. When the energy escapes, creating a black hole, half the world is nearly wiped off the planet. When father and daughter are reunited she tearfully says, “I’m so sorry, Daddy.” Hugs ensue, all is forgiven. Never mind that hundreds of thousands have been vaporized into oblivion. He didn’t even take away her phone.

My Take: Spent most of the movie waiting for Weber to appear in a Hawaiian shirt whining, “But I don’t wanna fly the plane, Joe…”

High Note: Weber getting hit in the face with a coconut cream pie.

Link: Eve Of Destruction

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