WWSP's Shadow of th Marigold

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Something Ain't Right

Sometimes you have to get out of your little aquarium to really see the strange world we've created. I'm on a little jaunt to Grand Rapids, Michigan, staying at a hotel in the shadow of the Gerald Ford Museum. How odd to see the glorification of a man known for occasionally bumping his head (also playing football without a helmt),and pardoning Nixon.

The Lovely Carla and I are on a business-based road trip. It's not often that I'm behind the wheel anymore. It's strange to see the artificial, pre-fab, car culture in full force. Grand Rapids seems to be a false-front city. It's drab and kind of creepy - corporate mall land.

There's very much a sense of "we don't belong here." This is America, but it's another America, not the one that I know and love. This has a distinctly Republican odor to it. Of money, of the hustle, the scam, an eerie Stepford-like optimisim that probably betrays some really dark, creepy reality. David Lynch excels in depicting this type of land.

Is it really so different than from where I come from? Yes, and no. I truly identify with a more gritty urban land, a place where the culture is, or pretends to be multi-cultural. It's times like these that you begin to realize that we still adhere to some kind of tribal identity. This seems to be one the centers of the tribe of Red State Capital, we're actually staying at a shrine to Amway...I can't wait to get back on the road, turn the cd player up loud and point our Dodge Charger homeward.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Kick in the Pants

I went on an odd little excursion last evening. The Lovely Carla and I went to a restuarant with another couple. We are all basically contemporaries, although we all had so little to talk about...it was kind of depressing.

Yes, well, we could talk about the food. The Cafe is one of those new agey kind of health food places. Everything is organic, clean, vegan, it doesn't exactly taste all that good, but it's all so good for you. The kids who work there (yes, for me anyone in their twenties now looks like a kid), had their requisite nose rings, dread-locks, hemp belts, etc. Everyone was so gentle, and kind and, well, I guess, spacey and grounded at the same time.

I ate like a man who hasn't seen a meal in a week, everything from the brocoli-mushroom soup (pureed!), to the apple-brocoli-wheatgrass drink, the chicken-portobello sandwhich (don't worry - no chickens were harmed in the process!), to the mint chocolate cake (even the dessert seemed so good for me - if you know what I mean?!). It wasn't all that edifying, but it did fill me up.

Anyway, I felt like I had fallen in a glorious, rainbow-hued hole, and I just couldn't get out. The lack of connection with other people, especially our dinner companions, threw me into a state of consternation. It's a state very unlike Kansas, Toto!

The only saving grace? They were playing a CD on the stereo system, first cut to last, that transported me to another reality. It was Television's first album, the stark rock masterpiece, Marquee Moon released in 1977. The dark and beguiling Tom Verlaine singing edgy and strange songs, and trading beautiful electric guitars lines with Richard Lloyd. It was a blast of New York, of post punk underground music, and it was exhilarating. I don't think anyone at the table even noticed.

Here I was connecting with voices from another time and place...I was transported into another dimension...the guitar lines came to me like long-forgotten friends, Verlaine's voice, brittle and harsh, was like a siren song of an alternate reality. Sometimes you never feel so lonely as when you are with other people...and so connected to others not there, except in memory, or through sound waves, on a little spinning silver disc...now isn't that just a kick in the pants?!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Whew!

Whew! I just talked myself out of a major jam...I've been on a collision course, outnumbered, out-ranked, it was me traveling at full speed into what seemed to be an inpenetrable wall. I was on course to be crushed. I saw no way out...none...just bleak, black...failure.

Well, I live to fight another day. Somehow, some way, I turned on the charm, my gift of gab, came through. I think my male ancestral line, that long line of talkers, were cheering me on...shades of Smooth Connors! But, it was just one wall, one battle, one day, one conversation...I can only celebrate for a moment...that moment is already gone...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Who Knows?

There's work, and then there's the good work. For me that means creative work, acting, writing, playing guitar, yes, even singing. I've been recording quite a bit lately. It's amazing what technology has wrought. With a computer, a microphone, some cables and instruments and presto-chango, you are master of your own little recording studio. What would Mozart and Beethoven have done with these kind of tools? Maybe they would be doing raps and mix tapes and sampling...then again... maybe not...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Good Medicine

I was feeling sort of lowly yesterday...I thought that maybe I have been a little too obsessively sober lately...so, I picked up a six pack of Guinness Stout, that magical, Irish brew and had a little kitchen rehearsal and singing session with my creative co-conspirators. It was a nice, theraputic get-together. Today, everything seems a little lighter, brighter...you must choose your medicine wisely, but choose it you must.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Behind

I've been running to catch up to the day today. Running to catch up to myself. I feel like I'm a few steps behind on everything...

It's a cold, cloudy day, kind of raw...this is the kind of day, you wake up and just hope you can make it to lunch. At lunch you start hoping you can make it to dinner, at dinner, you're thinking about making it til bedtime. When you plant your head in the pillow you just hope you can make it through the night without having one of those long, disturbing dreams that have haunted you lately. I think this is what's referred to as a "well-rounded existence."

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sunday's Questions

1. To live without any fear whatsoever...is it courage or blind stupidity, or a combination thereof?
2. If I see connections that no one else sees, does that mean they don't exist?
3. If you're one of those who thinks everything "happens for a reason," and you don't know the reason, are you any better off than the person who thinks that everything happens because, well, because everything just happens?
4. Is it really that odd to think that we have descended from monkeys, and that we invented a great big all-powerful monkey figure who looks down on us and sometimes moves us around like little monkey chess pieces?
5. What's so hard about imagining the birds and the bees and the monkeys as spiritual beings too?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Wisdom of the Witch

According to the Witches Almanac, (this info via the Lovely Carla): today is a day to "rest and watch." Who am I to defy the wisdom of the Witch?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Lennon & Darwin?!

Beware the Utopians...the builders of utopias also sometimes are builders of prisons too. Where else to put those who don't see themselves in another's dream?

The best dreamers are those who stick to the realm of dreams. As soon as those dreams are made reality, well, shit, it seems all hell breaks loose.

As I've grown older, I have begun to respect those with small plans, those who refuse to impose their visions upon others. J. Lennon imagined a world without a heaven, without a hell: "God is a concept by which we measure our pain." He sang about a better world, but he was a citizen of this one.

Darwin saw the same world: "We thus learn that man is descended from a hairy quadruped, furnished with a tail and pointed ears, probably arboreal in it's habits, and an inhabitant of the Old World."

Lennon: "Everyone's got something to hide, except for me and my monkey."

Darwin: "Our descent then, is the origin of our evil passions! The Devil under form of Baboon is our grandfather!"

Lennon and Darwin, they were dreamers, but they always kept their feet on the ground...their eyes on the world around them...for some reason I'm thinking Lennon was a Darwinist...he wasn't a utopian...he was just a smart rock & roll monkey!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Cowboy

It's my birthday today...it's an odd thing, thinking about the world before I was here, all those many billions of years, no sunny jimmy, no dumps either. But I've been here for awhile now, walking around on this spinning rock, some times I've actually been conscious and aware, a lot of the time I've been sleeping, or inebriated, or crazy with hormones. Today I feel fully alive and awake. The air is brisk, dead leaves are everywhere, the wind is out of the north, the lake is choppy and full of action.

I put on a shirt today, it's kind of a cowboy shirt, I just grabbed it said out loud to myself, "I want to be a cowboy." Then I thought about how being a cowboy was probably one of the first things I "wanted to be." There's a family picture of me, on one of my early birthdays, with a cowboy, a six-gun, perched atop a rocking horse, a big shit-eating grin breaking across my face. I was quite well outfitted. Just to make sure the sunny/dumps dichotomy was in force early on, I also wanted to be an Indian and I remember being on a trip out to Colorado on a family vacation and I ended up with a full Indian headdress which I wore proudly, yellow and green feathers blowing in the wind, I was probably practicing my Indian love call. Of course, on the road trip, that headdress ended up flying out the window of our speeding car...I probably cried over it, realizing my Indian days were over.

There's lots of things I've wanted to be: Cowboy, Indian, Baseball player, Football Player, Basketball Player, Rock Star, Holy Man. I tried my hand at some of these, I can't say any of them really worked out. I'm just me, here, now, wearing my cowboy shirt, thinking about what could have been, what could be...thinking I'm one year closer to something, one year farther from something...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

CBGB is Dead

No, instead, it's being dismantled and shipped to Vegas...I'm looking forward to the the Joey Ramone wedding chapel...

I never went to CBGBs but I listened to bands that made a mark there, the Talking Heads, the Ramones, the Patti Smith Group, Television. I saw the Ramones and Patti Smith when they made their trek across the heartland. These bands were so cool, so New York, tough, and poetic in a basic rock and roll way, and they were supremely democratic too...

They came from the streets...they were city folk who liked to bash away on electric guitars...

Here's Patti Smith, who played the last two sets on the last night of CBGBs:

"Kids they'll find a place that nobody wants, and you got one guy who believes in you, and you just do your thing. And anybody can do that, anywhere in the world, any time."

This sounds like a credo to live by.

And then this:

"WHAT REMAINS IS FUTURE." - P. Smith

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Divided

We are divided beings...or at least that's how it seems, or maybe it's just an easy way for our brains to hash things out. There's a this and a that...this isn't that...and by looking, comparing, discriminating between the two, maybe we figure something out.

So we say we are body and mind...meat and spirit...it sure feels like that sometimes, although mind seems to be a product of body, spirit kind of hovers over meat...we can measure the meat, we can't really see the spirit, although, of course you can; watch people on an EL platform, or on the street, you can see some people animated by something, you can see others who look like dead men walking...to me that's spirit coming out in spades.

So we have this body, we lug this meat around and then we wonder, "what happens when the meat stops moving?" Does spirit take flight? Are there other realms? Are the string theorists full of shit? Are there actually a multitude of universes? If so, what's happening there? Do they have MTV? Are there creatures with divided natures, or with dividing minds working overtime there too?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sea Change

I took a day off...listening to Beck's "Sea Change," (by god, he almost sounds like a hipster Gordon Lightfoot), Laura Nyro (what an amazing voice, soulful, joyful, really overpowering) and Sparklehorse (kind of edgy, moody, I hear a little bit of Yo Lo Tengo). Three discs on random means one long, rambling album that jumps from mood to mood. Perfect for a cloudy, rainy day in Chicago. I'm still trying to play things close to the vest. I actually took the day off so I didn't have to talk to anyone at work. I have tried to set some things in motion that could radically change the playing field. What the hell do I think I'm doing?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Crazy Horse Died for Your Sins

Is the world of humanity getting progressively crazier, or has it always been so? I think it's hard to tell, especially since those doing the "deciding" are crazy too.

I don't wish to be a member of a club that will have me as a member, but of course, that just means that I'm a member of a club of those who don't want to be members of a club.

If you're not crazy, you start to realize that you are crazy, which means you're not crazy because you know you are. Please check out Yossarian in Catch 22 for a much better examination of this conundrum.

I find the internet to be this amazingly useful tool. I also spend an inordinate amount of time in a virtual world of information. Much of it is seemingly useless, or even, basically disinformation, intentionally misleading or false information. Some of this is for the purpose of entertainment, some of it is actively intended to deceive or obscure.

We have developed this incredible tool that makes us more connected, but which at the same time shows us how disconnected, or unconnected many of us are. Lately, I've felt like a "fractured" being...in some ways I feel like I'm mirroring the world I connect to. Connecting to a fractured world makes one feel more fractured. Would unconnecting make one less fractured, more connected to something else?

To embrace or retreat from the world? To do both each and every day?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Beautiful Obsession

Every once in a while I get a bee in my bonnet, and well, I just can't get the sucker out...lately battles on the work front have led me down some strange hallways, and then I get a notion in my head, and I just worry over it like a dog with a bone. Times like these, I don't really sleep so good. This is how to break someone. I get this strange, edgy sensation that starts at my fingertips and goes all the way to my addled brain.

Anyway, there's some interesting radio shows at 5:00 a.m. One is called "Speaking of Faith," and another is called, "Beautiful Obsession." Or no, now that I think of it, it might be called "Strange Obssession." It's a show about recovering druggies and alchoholics...it's interesting to hear how some people totally destroy their lives drinking and doing drugs...maybe it works for rock stars, but the average joe is looking at bankruptcy, living out of your car, alienating your kids, destroying your marriage, etc. The show is basically people who tell their tale of woe, but who have now pulled out of it...they are on the road to recovery...

So, this is a long, round-about way of saying my latest "beautiful obsession" is music. Everything music. I've been buying Guitar Player and Guitar World magazines every month for months now. I can tell you the history of David Gilmour's stage setup, I can tell you the secrets of Tom Morello's wild guitar sounds, I can list Peter Frampton's key recording techniques, I can tell you how many guitar players Axl Rose has tried out and pissed off...instead of porn, I pour over the lovely curves of Les Pauls, Fender Strats, and old, collectible Danelectros.

Yesterday, I stepped over a line, I opened a door deeper into the obsession, where will it lead me next? I actually bought a copy of Bass Guitar...what's next Microphone Almanac, Cymbal World, Mallet World, Organ Player, Drumstick Review, Organ Grinder, Pet My Monkey?!?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

High on the Drift

Well that familiar feeling of being lost has descended upon me once again. It's a frequent occurance, this feeling really has been my best and most trusted companion since I was a small child. I've done so much drifting, it's actually evolved into my main modus operandi...it's how I write plays, and compose music, and well, it's even how I approach my job...

I drift from one thing to the next, I go with what feels right, or I try to distance myself from what doesn't...I bounce along on the feeling, expecting that somehow that will lead me to some kind of dawning light.

I'm not so good with plans and maybe that has been to my detriment.

I'm not complaining, I'm just noting what's happening in the world of sunny. If someone asks me how I'm doing today? My reply would be: I'm adrift my friend...I'm high on the drift...you want a hit?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Hey a Music Store!

Check out my new music store! I joined this thing called SnoCap...it allows you to upload your songs, set a price, (they take $0.45 cents off the top) and then other people who join up can download the songs. It's .mp3 format...I've been working with Garageband since last December, the tracks listed are pretty much me on guitar, bass, drum machine, vocals too, with a few loops thrown in to make it interesting...anyway, I've decided to put it on my blog site, I think it kind of brightens up the place. You can listen to the first 20 secs. of each song for free by clicking on the play button. I'm wondering if anyone will actually go to the trouble of buying and downloading? Well, we'll see...it's a little experiment...the days of Top Forty radio are dead!

Devil or Angel Be Damned

I've always been on the wheel...most jobs I've had, I've been expected to "make things happen." My income is usually based on how much business I can bring in. Very rarely have I just punched in and out on the time-clock. The two major exceptions to this was working as a guitar tuner, and as a bike messenger. They were my NirvanaLand jobs, the only downside, they barely fed me, I really only survived on the kindness of friends and family...

So, just like my father, I've always been on the wheel, crucified on the cross of "success" and "failure," (see Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman for a primer). I've always tried to explode the dichotomy, play by diffferent rules or just settle on a zen-like path. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

Lately the wheel has been grinding me down. All my issues - guilt, doubt, (my greatest endowments from Catholic grade school) vs. validation, certainty (my endowments from meditation school) are out in full force. I'm like that character in the cartoon with the devil dog on one shoulder, the angel dog on the other. So I'm just the battlefield where the dogs do their fighting. This can be exhausting.

Last night I woke up hearing my father's voice say, "don't forget me." These are words he actually said to me a few months before he died. Obviously, there's no chance of forgetting him, I see him in the mirror every morning...I don't want to forget to him, I just don't want to find myself strapped to that same damn wheel forever. Ultimately the wheel wins...devil or angel be damned. I'd like to watch it explode into flames, walk away unscathed...somehow, I don't think that's how it goes...

Monday, October 09, 2006

These Days

"You become too different, then you become a subversive mother." - Miss America in Woody Allen's "Bananas."

What if you become such a subversive mother, even you can't stand yourself?

I used to have a fantasy of waking each morning as a different person: a Chinese laborer, an American corporate titan, a poor girl in India, a Narco-Trafficker in Peru, a Thai massuesse, an Afghan Jihadi, etc. Each and every morning I would have a different body, a different mind, a different set of circumstances. Kind of like reincarnation on a daily basis. In my fantasy, there would be some little spark of continuity, a vague sense of "being here before," an odd deja vu, that hinted at other lives, other masters.

Would this ever-changing, transitory existence lead to a humbleness, a state of grace? Or would each day be a free pass to "do as you pleased?" Would it essentially be the same thing? I don't know. I never did anything with the idea...some mornings I think about it in a sort of wistful way...

"Why are you wearing that silly human suit?" - Frank in Donnie Darko.

That's the question for the day...and who will I be, and what will I do, and who will be watching, and what does it all add up to anyway? Yeah, I guess it's gonna be one of those kind of days...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Being There...

It's the sunny/dumps dichotomy in full force...last night we performed for a packed house at our humble theater space as part of a triple bill of acts for the Ravenswood Arts Walk. We were smack dab in the middle of the bill. We did our combo of music and theater. We are always a little rough. It just seems to be our nature. Never as polished as we could be, and maybe that's how I like it. There's always some sense of hollowness even in the moment of accomplishment. The audience responded, nothing really went wrong, there was just an unsatisfiedness that kind of hung over me.

It's me, not the world...I know it, but, it's a sense I can't shake...an unfulfilled aspect...maybe that's really what propels me forward. You never quite "get there," you're always, taking the next step into the void that ultimately we have to fill with something...so, another night, another performance, and today, well, now what?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Foul Actions

There are some wild-ass rumours flying around on the internet. It may be just wishful thinking that the black heart of corruption within our political machinery will finally be revealed, and then the complete house of cards will come tumbling down in one big heap. Wouldn't it just be so sweet if the powerful cadre of sanctimonious hypocrites that rule the roost meet the fate they so richly deserve? I know it's bad form to wish for the worst for someone else, but in this case, our fragile democracy may demand that the powerful be brought low. It would be sweet if this came about because of their own foul actions.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Tick!

This morning, getting ready for work, the Lovely Carla said to me, "time is running out." I hugged her and replied, "we've got to live in the moment." We both paused, kind of took it in, then we went back to our typical morning routine. I guess that's how it goes...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Skullduggery

Well, it looks like sunny jimmy is involved in a little "skullduggery." Gee, I just love that word. I looked it up, just to make sure i knew what I thought I knew:

Skullduggery - (a noun) - trickery, hocus-pocus, slickness, hanky panky, jiggery-pokery.

AND THIS:

Skullduggery (uncountable) - activities intended to deceive; a con or hoax.

AND ALSO THIS:

Skullduggery may mean:
Skullduggery (album), an album by the band Steppenwolf.
Skullduggery (movie), the 1970 movie starring Burt Reynolds.
Skullduggery (event), a historic Orientation Week event established in 1896, held annually at the University of Adelaide.
The English name for Kinkotsuman, a character from Kinnikuman.

Things are brewing in my little business world. There are forces seen and unseen working in concert. Where's my James Bond 007 cologne when I need it?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Crazies

Someone near to me, pointed out that lately I've been an "angry blogger." I guess I have been letting off a little bit of steam here. It may be necessary for my mental well-being. As someone once said, "you gotta let it out, Captain!" I think that as the Myth of America continues to diverge from the Reality of America, the crazies will cling to the Myth even tighter. Look for more madness ahead. What is that famous Chinese proverb (from the famous Chinese proverb factory)? "May you live in interesting times." Well, I think it's safe to say, we are there.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Dropping the Scales

Knowing that whatever allies you may have are few and far between can be a refreshing eye-opener. When you realize that even though all of us here on the planet are connected, we really are in it together, but at the same time when it comes down to issues of life and death, we are alone, is (to say the least) bracing. And hell, it's liberating too. Dropping illusions or delusions can be scary, but the clarity gained is probably worth it.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Arrogant Fools

Yikes! The putrid stench of corruption comes wafting out from the corridors of power in Washington D.C. I think our politicians are just a microcosm of a greater sickness. Yes, it seems power does corrupt, but really, aren't we all culpable? How is it we have given power over to such a lying, thieving, bunch of arrogant fools? We call this a Democracy, so I guess we must assume that our elected officials, human beings just like us, are representative of the population at large.

What has happened to us? Have we always been such fucking assholes?

I wish I had an answer, I can point to certain culprits - money, greed, hate, fear, arrogance, stupidity.

We're all gonna die someday. You'd think that would make us all a little more humble, but I guess, you'd think WRONG!

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