wwsp albums on bandcamp!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Glint of A Knife!


Yes, well, you need the "nay-sayers."  They help define what you want, who you are and what you aren't.  It's good to have something to strive for and it's good to have something to strive "against."


You need to protect yourself too.  As soon as you reveal a hidden desire, someone is quick to chop you down to size.  The "herd" tends to want you to blend in with the herd.  There is safety in numbers.  And if you stick out, well, they want to put you on the chopping block.  Your desire, your belief, your optimism is dangerous to the herd.


So after lots of "pricks and kicks" you think you need to wrap yourself in armor.  You think the armor can blunt the sharp weapons of ridicule and indifference.  But the armor is a cage.  A prison.  Pretty soon you're clanking around the living room like some tin-can joke.


So you have to drop the armor.  Take the visor off.  Open your heart and arms. You are now a juicy, inviting target.  So you need to stay sharp, quick, limber.  And you must be ready to dance.  At the drop of a hat, or a glint of a knife.  Just dance.

Friday, March 30, 2012

whitewolfsonicprincess CD Release Party: Out into the World!

"Yearning always for the moment of infinite possibilities..." - Michael Bracewell


Our poster for the CD Release party this coming Sunday!  We put it up around town. A tanning salon, our favorite Thai restaurant, our favorite coffee shop, our favorite record store, our favorite Indian restaurant, and a couple other places too. You wonder if anyone really sees them? It's kind of like throwing your wishes, hopes and dreams out into the world. 


And you wait to see if anything comes back your way...


The party itself should be a blast.  Free food, drink specials and a couple of great, guest musicians (a guitar player & a sax player) who contributed some amazing, thrilling and poetic musicianship to the disk.  It was all pretty inspiring. 


We hope folks will give it a listen!



Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sheathed in a Velvet Glove

I agree that reading Keith Johnstone's "Impro" is a "life changer."  And all theater, all comedy and tragedy, and well, basically all human interaction is an elaborate "status game."


You can play the game for laughs and for tears.  It can be a game of joy, or a game of mortal combat.  Sometimes it's both in any simple, day to day human exchange.


I was reminded of the grand status game yesterday.  It can take you by surprise.  Usually when you are unprepared, off-guard.  Someone suddenly reminds you of the status relationship that lurks beneath the surface.   You may have presumed a neutral state of equals, but that's not how the game works.  There's a simple and subtle elevating of one being and a lowering of another.


I was on the lowering side of the equation.  It came in a flash.  Delivered with a smile.  Usually the most cutting, to the bone, status changes come sheathed in a velvet glove.


In response, I lowered myself slightly, and smiled back.  Didn't even flinch.  Sometimes that's how you do it.  Adopt a sort of "Remains of the Day" Anthony Hopkins-like mask. It's OK.  Live to engage another day.  And never forget the game of status.  In some realms you are Kingpin in others only the hired help!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Choosing to Be Dumb!

I made the mistake of asking a couple people I knew, and respected, for advice.  I knew that they had had some "experiences" with a similar type of project that I was pursuing, and well, I thought it would be "smart" to see if they had any insights they could share.


And share they did.  Mainly they shared their disappointments, their cynicism, their unhappiness.  They shared their belief that I was heading down a hard and impossible road. 


Their "advice" was really no advice at all.  And I probably should have never even opened the conversation.  I learned that they were pretty "burned out."  Not exactly useful advice.


I do think that maybe sometimes you don't really want to be "smart."  You actually do want to go into situations with a sense of wonder, a sense of naivety, and sense that anything can happen.


Sometimes you do want to rebuild the wheel.  From the ground up.  Sometimes you do have to approach a situation like it's never been done or thought about before, even if you "know" that it has been done and thought about countless times.


I guess sometimes you have to choose to be "dumb" and give it a go.  Maybe that dumbness, is a sort of humility that not everything can be known in advance.  And that you need to try and fail and endure on your own.


And yes, the "sea of possibilities" is a vast ocean much bigger than us.  And your life and your naivety and dumbness can actually make your experiences richer and more exciting than you thought possible.  Life!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dead Ends and Slammed Doors

There is also a very powerful monologue in Tracy Letts' "Superior Donuts" (see previous post) delivered in the Chicago production by our local acting Titan Rich Cotovsky.

Words that have stuck with me for a few days.  Cotovsky's character speaks about his life as a series of "dead-ends."  It's a powerful and sad speech, and it crystalized something for me.

As life rolls forward, we do come to dead-ends, there are false roads, there are slammed doors. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that being a "wise guy" or a "serious" person means that you learn that everything is a dead-end.  And you learn to think "What's the point of knocking on the door?" And of course, we think of the final dead-end of the Big Sleep.  

So being a wise guy or a serious person really is a dead-end too.  It's a deadening way to live your life.  It's a life of closed and unopened doors.  And it's a dead-end one can avoid.  We can instead choose to live with an "open door policy."  We can choose to be naive and innocent.  We can choose to believe that if one door closes, another will open.

And just because things have gone a certain way doesn't mean that it can't or won't be different the next time around.  We must believe.  That the future can/will be better.  That we can see the world with clarity, and see the "Sea of possibilites" instead of a long series of "dead-ends."  

So yes, we knock on the next door, and hope for the best.  Or we find rooms with no doors at all, only open windows.  And it's OK to dream and to believe in things.  It's OK to fall and to fail.  It's OK to pick yourself up and try again.  It's OK to act like everything is new and untried.  And it's worth giving it a go.  What the hell!  It's life!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Thrilling and Cool!

Chicago is a theater town.  Lots of great little storefront theaters dotted all along the EL line in the City.  It's a good town to do edgy, creative work, and great place to be an actor.  You can get around without a car.  And all those little edgy storefront theaters do lots of cool and edgy work.  


You don't necessarily make lots of money doing this kind of theater, but you get to do the "real deal" work.  I've seen some amazing shows over the years.  Name actors and no name actors; big companies  and little tiny one-off companies too.


On Friday, we went to see Mary Archie's superb production of "Superior Donuts."  It's a Chicago-based play, produced by a great little Chicago theater company.  A perfect match of form and content.  The Mary Archie space at Angel Island is the perfect, funky little black box theater conveniently located above liquor store.  And there's not a bad seat in the place.  You are right there in an intimate conversation with a great theater company doing great work.


The set of Superior Donuts transforms the space into a run-down little donut shop.  And then the actors fill it up with an amazing display of live, in the moment acting.  The play comes alive.  It's a play about a run-down, beat-up neighborhood not that far from where the theater sits.


Great performances all around.  And it is especially gratifying to see Richard Cotovsky and Karl Potthoff rolling up their sleeves and doing that real, sweaty, powerful Chicago acting we've come to love.  Thrilling and cool.  And no bullshit.  The good work!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Playing with Boulders

At some point you just let it go...  


You do everything in your power to move that boulder forward; you push, you shove, you roll. And just why are you moving that boulder?  Well, maybe you don't really know, you just want to rearrange the valley, and you need to move that boulder up the hill.


You are being "industrious."  You have tried to levitate the boulder.  You have tried to ignore it.  You put things on it, and have pretended that it was a table.  But really nothing worked.  It just sat there, right in the middle of your valley, and well, it just didn't go with the rest of the decor.


So you put your shoulder to the task.  It takes muscle, determination and brute strength.  You have imagined a valley without that boulder, you have made drawings, diagrams and new floor plans.  The boulder just didn't figure in the plan.


So you get the thing up the hill.  Finally, after much work.  You're at the top of the hill with the boulder.  And then you just let it go.  It rolls back down.  It's a rollicking roll.  A joyous roll.  That boulder looks like it's having a blast just flying back down the hill to settle back exactly where it started.


And unaccountably, you are thrilled too.  It was fun.  It was a really joyous roll, and you felt it in your body, your senses were alive, on fire with joy as you watched that boulder roll.  Really.  Strange.


And you run back down the hill, you try to run with the same rollicking joyousness.  And you get to the boulder, and you do it again; you push, you shove, you roll.  You push that boulder up that hill again, over and over.  And then let it go and watch it fly over and over.


Play!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

There's a Redemption, An Uplift!

And you ask, just why are Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (see previous post) so good?  Well,  there's a catchy joyousness in the tracks.  And there's a relaxed funkiness in the recording.  And there's some kind of infectious wackiness in the arrangements and the background vocals.  


It sounds like a group of folks who had a hell of a good time making a record.  There are strange turns and mad flights and there's soulfulness, and wisdom and a sense of falling and rising.  


"Up from Below."

It seems like it's about a journey to some kind of bottom and then there's a redemption, an uplift!


And just what does this band sound like?  Well, they sound like themselves.  I mean, they bring something of their own to the project, but yes, I can play that silly "what do they sound like game."


I mean, everyone has their precursors.  


I hear a little Arcade Fire, Harry Nilsson, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Ennio Morricone, Connor Oberst/Bright Eyes, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Neil Diamond,  Harry Chapin, and Burt Bacharach?!?  There's a sunny Sixties-ness that kind of hovers over the whole thing.  Yes, it's that wacky Hippie Spirit-Shit!  And I love it!


It works.  Completely!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros!

What are friends good for?  And just how can you call someone you recently met "a friend?"  Well, friends help you open your eyes and heart to new ideas and experiences.  And there is no time and space in this kind of thing.


You can meet someone from totally different circumstances, someone who grew up in another space-time continuum, and still find that there are deep affinities and resonances that transcend biography.  When it happens it feels like destiny or magic.


Anyway, this is a roundabout way of saying that my new friend, the Old Raven, turned me onto a band I never heard of called Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.  The first time I heard their music, something just clicked.


Here's the origin story of the band and disc:  "After breaking up with his girlfriend, moving out of his house with his lifelong friend Nicholas Raymond Kellen, and joining a 12-step program for addiction, Ebert began work on a book about a messianic figure named Edward Sharpe.[1] According to Ebert, Sharpe "was sent down to Earth to kinda heal and save mankind...but he kept getting distracted by girls and falling in love."


I immediately had to order up their debut CD "Up From Below."  I just love this disc.  Yes, I opted for the real deal CD.  It is big and rollicking, raucous, and funny, and thrilling.  It's overstuffed with great sounds!  How did I miss these guys?  Who knows?! But someone turned me onto them just in time.  And that's what friends are for!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Degraded, False, Honky Paradise!

I may wave the flag for higher audio quality, and there is a small cadre of listeners out there who still spin vinyl or high-quality CDs, but of course, we live in Fast Food Nation and this Fast Foodness of our existence bleeds into all realms.  


We live in a land where we eat pink slime and say it tastes good.  We will pretty much eat anything as long as it comes in a nice, colorful package, and it's easy to swallow, and delivered to us blisteringly fast, and well, yes, of course it's CHEAP!


And we buy from companies that tell us they always deliver goods at the lowest price.  Doesn't matter where it's made, or what indignities workers endure to get us those low prices.


And yes, MP3s figure in this story too.  Think of MP3s as fast food for the ears.  They do the job.  They satisfy our hunger for sound.  But they are a degraded form.  Still you can get nourishment, hell, you can get sonically glutted from all those little MP3s.


We fill our bodies with degraded, empty calories, food that actually clogs our arteries, and poisons us with cancer-causing substances.  We buy cheaply made, throw-away products made in sweatshops and "slave camps"and we listen to sound files that are burned and copied countless times over on little tinny earbuds that barely convey the sound.


It is a degraded, false honky paradise.  And we tell ourselves that everything is great and we have it all!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Glass Mastering!

My little Jihad against Mp3s continues...


OK, it's not a holy war by any stretch of the imagination.  But the more I learn of the process of making CDs and Mp3s, the more I am convinced that owning and listening to a professionally produced CD really is a qualitatively-better and more ear-friendly experience than listening to Mp3s.


BTW - did I mention that we have a new CD coming soon!


It may explain why when someone burns me a disc, I very rarely play them.  I mean I appreciate the gesture and all, but I actually enjoy the music more when I purchase a CD on my own.  And having the tangible, real-world disc with album art and liner notes makes it all more real for me.


And I still enjoy listening to a CD from first track to last.  My favorite artists take time and care to deliver a fully realized project to my ears.  And I want to experience their work as a cohesive piece.


And I am convinced that the burned copy (CD-R) is not as good as the original CD.  And yesterday I discovered there is a good reason why this is so...


It's called "Glass Mastering."  This little FAQ explains the process.  According to our Sound Engineer, the completed Master Disc that we recorded will actually sound even better once it goes through the Glass Mastering process.  


There's the Laser Beam Recording, the Metalisation of the Glass Master and Electroforming!  All performed in a Class 100 Clean Room! 


Who knew?!?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Journey of My Ear!

Okay, maybe it's no accident that since we have a new CD to sell, I am now advocating buying CDs over buying MP3s!


Yes, MP3s have changed our world.  Music is now delivered in small compact files; easily copied and easily transported.  For example, I am currently working with my cousin on a musical project.  He lives in Arizona.  We haven't actually played together in a room for many, many years.  But with MP3s we are able to collaborate on songs together.  We trade tracks via e-mail.  I've been adding guitar parts to his basic tracks.  It's pretty cool.  


But you know, MP3s are also a degraded source of music.  I think about the Journey of My Ear in my lifetime:  from transistor radio to 45 RPM vinyl platter to 33 RPM Long Player to 8 Track tape to cassette tape to CD to MP3.  I started with that tinny little transistor radio, (that really was when I got hooked on music), and ended up with MP3s playing on a little iPod through tinny little earbuds.


When push comes to shove, I must say it was those big vinyl platters spinning on a real-deal turntable, powered through a large amp with massive, killer speakers that was and is the pinnacle of sound for me.  Some of those old records can not be beat in terms of sound.  It's probably the analog nature of the experience. Going digital made everything a little slicker and cleaner.  No skips or pops or crackles. But analog to digital loses a little undefinable something.


Now I do think that CDs made today have gotten close to that vinyl LP pinnacle. And I do buy CDs.  And occasionally LPs too.  My last vinyl purchase was Neil Young's La Noise which on high quality vinyl sounds just superb.  The information encoded in your typical off the shelf CD is of a higher quality, packed with more information than an MP3. The MP3 condenses and eliminates (samples) the spectrum of sound.  It is the essence of sound, but not the whole thing.


Think of the LP or the CD as pure, fresh-squeezed orange juice.  And think of the MP3 as orange juice from concentrate.  Yes, you get the basic essence of the thing.  But not the whole, complete thing.  Yes, you can get used to concentrate, so used to it in fact, that you think it's the complete thing.  But of course it isn't.  Just another small way we fool ourselves into thinking we have it all, when we really don't.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Anti-Marketing Campaign!

We are still waiting for our shipment of CDs.  Expecting delivery any day now.  Yes, it's coming: whitewolfsonicprincess 10+1.  We are thinking of doing an "anti-marketing" campaign.  Make the CD really hard to get.  It's our limited-edition CD release.  Special packaging.  16 page booklet.  The CD and packaging is a little "art project" unto itself.  All for $10.00.


We know this is the era of digital download, mp3s, Rhapsody, Spotify;  all the music ever created in the history of the world just a click away.  But remember in the alternative/underground 80's when little independent labels made you actually put a check or money order in an envelope and send it off?  Mail Order!  So old world.  So counter to our everything-all-the-time world today.  


We are thinking this could be a cool, counter-intuitive strategy.  Anyway if you are interested in getting a copy for yourself, leave me a message in Comments and I'll get you details on how to get a CD! Also, of course, you can track us down at our CD Release Party on April 1st!  We'll have a bunch of CDs there for sure!


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Time-Bound and/or Time-Less!

What also came out the Simon Reynolds book is the strange alchemy of POP.  People make music in the moment, and sometimes that in-the-moment-music not only totally catches the vibe of the right now, but somehow, also mysteriously transcends the life of the moment, and enters some kind of timeless zone.


Now with "atemporality" it seems everything resides in an endless, accumulating timelessness.  There is a vast archive of moments, eras, that are easily accessed by anyone, pretty much any time.


And you can dip into the archive, discover times and places and sounds and live with them in the moment.


Reynolds seems to value music that is "original" and "innovative" but what's funny, or paradoxical, is that sometimes it's the forward-looking music, the future obsessed music, that seems to "age badly," and sounds like it's bound by it's time.  A good example would be all that synthesizer music of the 80's.  To my ears that music seems so backward and dated.


And again, paradoxically, it's music that is based in some kind of tradition (for example: blues, r&b, country) think early 70's Rolling Stones music; that seems "timeless" to me. The Stones were very much a band of their time, maybe the biggest rock band in the 70's.  They are are rock and roll archetype.  And their music was steeped in the sounds of their forebears - Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Howling Wolf, Slim Harpo.


The Stones weren't really doing anything radically new.  They were kind of channeling that early music through their own British-based, art school sensibility.  But somehow they made that old music come alive in a new way.  And maybe because they were so much of the moment, and so deeply steeped in the sounds of the past that a certain "timelessness" just enveloped them and their music.


At least the timelessness of their music works for me.  What's cool about POP, is that each and every one of us gets to choose our own time-bound and timeless music for ourselves.

 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Our Alien Present!

Yes, well, you read a book and one idea, counter to the author's agenda just blows the whole thing (400 plus pages) away.  That was my reaction to William Gibson's idea of "atemporality" (see previous post).


Here's more Gibson: "The actual 21st century (is) richer, stranger, more multiplex, than any imaginary 21st could ever have been."


"The present is really of no width whatever..."  We need to investigate our "alien present..."


This woke me from my slumber.  It knocked upside the head.  It's very much a description of the world as I perceive it.  This over-stuffed era of everything/all the time has blown the doors off all the old narratives.


I find I have difficulty even reading fiction anymore.  Most of my reading over the last 10 years or so has been in the "non-fiction" category.  We are living in a very strange future now.  And the "future" is the past.  It's all just such a head-expanding place we find ourselves.


I find it disorienting and thrilling too.

Friday, March 16, 2012

William Gibson and "Atemporality!"

As I wrote in this post I was sort of struggling with Simon Reynolds "Retromania."  It kept putting me to sleep.  And for a while I didn't really get why. It's a well-written book, but I think I was really having trouble tracking with it, not because it's a difficult read, it's an exhaustively researched and explicated review of Pop Culture's obsession with the past, but because Reynolds seems to pine for music of "the future" and music that is relentlessly innovative, and I think this impulse seems like a foolish, misguided and pointless pining.


It wasn't until the end of the book when Reynolds mentioned William Gibson (to refute him) and his idea of "atemporality" that my imagination was fired up.  Reynolds is baffled by Gibson, but I realized that I am totally aligned with what Gibson is talking about.  


Gibson:  "If you’re fifteen or so, today, I suspect that you inhabit a sort of endless digital Now, a state of atemporality enabled by our increasingly efficient communal prosthetic memory. I also suspect that you don’t know it, because, as anthropologists tell us, one cannot know one’s own culture."



There's also a great speech by Bruce Sterling called "Atemporality for the Creative Artist."  He talks about "Futurity Now!"  Which totally hits home for me.  My sense too has been that the future has been discarded, it doesn't exist anymore as a thing out there before us, no it's here right now in our present.  There is only the wildly-expanding NOW which encompasses the paper-thin present time and the enormous pool of information we call the past.



And Sterling puts his finger on the disorienting state we all live in now.  The grand narrative thread has exploded.  And history and the past is a chimerical beast, many-headed, and constantly morphing and expanding.  We are all a little light-headed and swimming in information!  The past is the future.  The present is the future.  The future is a mash up of the past and the present.  Freaky cool!

Sterling: "There are new asynchronous communication forms that are globalized and offshored, and there is the loss of a canon and a record. There is no single authoritative voice of history. Instead we get wildly empowered cranks, lunatics, and every kind of long-tail intellectual market appearing in network culture. Everything from brilliant insight to scurillous rumor.
This really changes the narrative, and the organized presentations of history in a way that history cannot recover from. This is the source of our gnawing discontent.
It means the end of post-modernism. It means the end of the New World Order, which is about civilizing the entire planet, stopping all the land wars, repressing the terrorism. It means the end of the Washington Consensus of the nineteen nineties. It means the end of the WTO. It means the end of Francis Fukuyama’s ‘End of History’; it ended. And it’s moving in a completely different and unexpected direction.
The idea that history ended, and that the market sorts that out, and that the Pentagon bombs it if that doesn’t work – it’s gone. The situation now is one of growing disorder. A failed state, a potentially failed globe, a collapsed WTO, a collapsed Copenhagen, financial collapses, lifeboat economics, transition to nowhere. Historical narrative, it is simply no longer mapped onto the objective facts of the decade. The maps in our hands don’t match the territory, and that’s why we are upset."

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"The Screw-your-clients, screw-everybody, grab-what-you-can culture of the modern finanacial services industry." - M. Taibbi

I guess we already knew that the big Financial Titans on Wall Street, and especially Goldman Sachs, are corrupt, blood-sucking firms just out to make as much money as possible.  And that they think their clients are just naive and brain-less "muppets" who need to be separated from their cash.


But when one of the well-heeled brethren who worked there actually declares that he's had enough, and comes out and says it on the pages of the New York Times I guess it is news.  You wonder if any other Wall Streeters have pangs of conscience.  


I suppose in that world, all that easy money makes words like honesty and integrity seem pretty quaint; just paltry, old-world concepts of use only to the hard-working muppets out in the heartland.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sucking on the Pipe!

Yes, there is a "reality" behind these words, there is a person behind this keyboard.  Sometimes I seem to be chattering on, sometimes I ramble, sometimes I rumble, but I'm usually just letting the words fly.  Because I can...


Anyway, this morning I'm in a philosophical frame of mind. Thinking about life and what's it all about.  This can be a forbidding topic.  I find that it's best to "narrow-cast," to not cast the net too far ahead or behind.  Can I make it to lunch?  And when lunch is over, can I make it to dinner?  And when dinner is over, well when will I drop off to sleep?


Anyway, the past is gone, it's a world of ghosts, and the future is a vague cloud out beyond our reach.


LIFE.  What is it all about?  Breathing.  Yes, breathing.  That's my great insight this morning.  Lately I've been sucking on a ceramic pipe, no, not that kind of pipe, I've been sucking on a Himalayan Crystal Salt Inhaler.


I'm using it to treat my asthma, a condition I've had ever since I was a wee lad.  I've spent much of my life just struggling to breathe.  Anyway, I think it's working, at least I do notice the salt definitely dries me out.  My lungs seem to be opening up a little.  There are new sections of my lungs that are waking up.  Am I breathing easier?  Well, maybe it's the placebo effect, but yeah, it seems so.  


Fifteen minutes each day sucking the pipe.  Now that's a new routine for me.  And I am exercising my lungs.  And maybe just that act alone helps.  


Breathing.  Just breathing.  Just sitting down and breathing.  It's all about the breathing.  That's life.  Yes.  Breathing. That's my little pearl of wisdom this morning!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hanging By A Thread!

Hanging by a thread.  It sometimes looks like flying.  A thin filament keeping one from crashing, from falling into the black abyss.


It's a very precarious way to live.  If you could choose, you'd probably opt for a more "secure" existence, although, all of us are basically one catastrophe from catastrophe. And anyway, maybe that vaunted security is really just an illusion, a little fairy-tale we use to lullaby ourselves to sleep.


You look around at the world, at the universe, and it looks solid, reliable, stable.  But of course, if you do a little investigation you find that it's permeable, unreliable and in flux.  So yes, you are hanging by a thread, defying gravity, even as gravity taunts you at every turn.


And others are impressed by your viability, your great ability to fly above the fray.  And at the same time, some of them are rooting for you to fall.  Maybe they just want to see what happens.


And sometimes you too wonder what happens if the thread disintegrates.  How far do you fall?  What is bottom?  Is there life after death? Do you disappear, do you disintegrate into little particles, or do you bounce? 


You are just like a little black spider, one thread dangling.  It may look like flying, but it's really just a strategy to hang onto life.  Spinning the thread and holding on.  Just to see what happens.

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's An Illusion!

Sometimes you hold onto the wheel in that claw-like, white-knuckle, death grip.  It's a way of convincing yourself that you are actually driving the vehicle.


It's an illusion.


Then sometimes you let go of the wheel.  You just drop your hands and let the vehicle hurtle forward on it's own.  It's a way of convincing yourself that you are just a passenger inside the vehicle.


It's an illusion.


There's you, and there's the wheel.  You are engaged in some kind of dance, and you don't know who's leading and who's following.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My Therapist tells me to say "yes" more often!

I don't have a therapist.  My problems are my own.  I don't have the cash or the inclination to outsource my problems to an expert in the field.  And anyway, do we even believe in therapy any more?  Isn't it all just pharmacology nowadays?


Aren't we all just "tweaking our mix?"  We've got our mood enhancers, our uppers, our downers, all our various chemical cocktails.  And if we get adventurous, we start mixing our chemicals into one grand milkshake and god knows if we wake up in the morning or not.


Just ask Heath, or Whitney, or Michael about that chemical cocktail thing.


Anyway, I'm not sure if I even have any "problems" to therapy about.  I've got my ups, my downs, my sunny days, my dump days, and everything in between.  I've got the zigs and the zags.  That's part of life right?


I'm sure we all go through that stuff.  It's the human thing.  It's a strange trip, and there's no operator's manual.  You just kind of work through it on your own.  And you can, and you do.


As Philip Dick once said, "you are the authority."  You are the author of your own existence. The main thing is to keep the narrative moving forward... yes.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Corporate Speak

I found myself in a situation where I had to do some of that mealy-mouthed corporate-speak that I used to do in another life.  It's like another language, and I used to be pretty good at it.  Especially when I could convince myself that what I was saying was true, or if not absolutely true, at least not total out and out lies.


It was a way to make a living.  And the living was pretty good.  And it's the way of life for millions of people in the corporate world.  Watch Mitt Romney speak pretty much about any topic and you'll see how it works.  You wonder if he actually believes anything he's saying.  But he says it unashamedly. And that facility at corporate speaking, corporate living  helped make him a millionaire many times over.


Anyway, it's all a soul-killer.  That type of life, that type of facility with corporate language destroys something inside a human being.  And if you've been away from it for awhile, like I have, it's really hard to muster up the energy to engage in it.  And turns out I really can't speak the language anymore.  I can mouth the words, but they are like ashes in my mouth.


And the other corporate types, I think they know, that I know, that they know, that I know it's all just a lie and a horrible way to speak, to think, and to live.  Turns out I can't really do it anymore.  I've been healed, or maybe from their perspective, I've been so badly demeaned, that I can't even fake it.


So those kind of corporate kingdoms don't open their doors to me anymore.  Some may think it's a curse, some may think it's a blessing.  I guess it depends on which side of the door you are on at the moment.  But there are better ways to live and to think and to speak.  Yes, much better ways.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Time-hole!

I have fallen into a "time-hole.  I am living in another time and place.  I'm reading a book by Simon Reynolds called "Retromania" which details Pop Culture's obsession with the past.  It's a good book, although for first 40 pages or so I was not tracking with it.  And I have found that it does put me in a bleary-eyed trance and helps me drift off to sleep.  Still I have stuck with the book and found some interesting and thought-provoking insights into our Pop Culture and the constant recycling of the past in our clothes, our music and our ideas.

At the same time, I've been stuck on listening to Pink Floyd's Meddle over and over.  It came out in 1971.  Wow talk about a time-hole.  I've fallen in and can't get out.  But you know, I think this is just such a great album.  Never really listened to it in it's entirety until all these many years later.  The band is in fine form, and the record is loose, jaunty, and funny; words not usually associated with Pink Floyd.  There is a genial lightness about the whole record that just sits well.  I think the spirit of Syd Barret hovers over the disc; in a good way.  It lacks any over-arching theme, and it also lacks some of the oppressiveness of the later Roger Water's dominated masterpieces.

Plus I'm a big fan of David Gilmour's guitar playing.  Just so beautiful and soulful too.  There's a track called "Seamus" which is a nice duet with a dog.  Really.  And that just hits home to me on so many levels, I can't even explain it.  Anyway, it is my soundtrack for "the now."  The book, the record go so well together in my head.  The record exemplifies the main theme of the book.  The record is a kind of spacey, long-hair trip.  Totally cool by me.

Yes, my head is in the past.  But my body is here.  And my now is still very now.  Even if it's suffused with sounds from the past.  But those sounds envelop me now.  And they don't sound "past" at all.  They sound very now to me, and seem to unaccountably point me to a brave new future.  Weird.  But true.  Time-hole!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

War Drums

Nothing seems to deter those who like to beat the drums of war.  I suppose if you possess the largest military ever known to man, and if your military is armed to the teeth with the scariest, high-tech arsenal of weapons you could ever imagine, well, yes, I guess it's easy to see why the war drums are thumped on a daily basis.

Still if you do a quick review of recent history, you can see that war is not (to paraphrase Chairman Mao) a "dinner party."  And there are all kinds of "unintended consequences" when you unleash those rabid dogs of war.  Plus, of course, there's all that human wreckage.  Even our own soldiers seem to be crushed inside by all the slaughter they are required to wreak and to witness.  PTSD anyone?!?

Good intentions, or is it bad intentions, poorly disguised as good intentions, can quickly devolve into "hell on earth."  Still, it's surprising to see how these realities never seem to darken the brows of the War Mongers.  They talk about bombing other countries like it's as simple as brushing one's teeth, or taking out the trash.


And what about those places where the bombs fall?  People live there. People die there.  All those shiny weapons open the door to untold pain, suffering and tragedy.  Do the War Mongers ever think about the human cost?  Do they care? WTF?


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

If I drew up a diagram...

I walked out of one alternate universe, and walked right into another one.  I normally reside in my "own private Idaho," but I left Idaho behind about a week ago, and have been living in a "honky paradise," created by another human being.


Think of me as the "hired help," like the maid, or the chauffeur, or the lawn-care guy.  I have my job, and I do it well.  I am a highly-sought after hired-hand.  All my clients come from referrals, happy clients willing to share my services amongst themselves.  

And what do I have to offer?  My sunny disposition.  My loving, happy go lucky nature.  My ability to put one foot in front of another and my hard-earned humility.  Also, my discipline, and my day in and day out reliability. I guess I'm alive and awake.  At least most of the time  That's about it. I'm paid to basically be me. And well, I'm willing to pick up shit.  That's very important for this gig.  And of course, I communicate really well with animals of all kinds.  Kind of like a bohemian Dr. Doolittle.

Anyway, in this paradise they have a hot tub.  And well, last night we (my lovely partner and I) floated in the bubbling cauldron of hot water for almost 2 hours.  That's a long time.  And we sipped some white wine, and talked about the Universe (what else?) and waxed philosophically about the long strange trip we all call life.

If I drew up a diagram of my life it would be full of dead-ends and false starts, and aborted dreams and wild rides, and improbable detours and lots of creative noodling.  I couldn't have invented it on my own.  And maybe it isn't exactly what I envisioned all those years ago when I was a young lad, but no doubt about it, I'm in this reality now, and yes, for sure, it is my life.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The Fat Boy, The Bully

The Fat Boy, the Bully, sits alone in the control room.  He sits in front of a microphone and speaks for a few hours, 5 days a week, and his words are carried on the radio-waves and the radio-waves irradiate the country with his words.  He broadcasts his words from shore to shore.


He is a fat boy, a big, over-fed baby.  His fatness is important.  The world revolves around him, he has created his own little universe, and everything is swallowed by him and regurgitated out into the world.  His is infantile.  He is weak, he is a bully, but he only picks on those who can't touch him, can't confront him, can't speak back.


He singles out the weak: the poor, the minorities, the women, the gays, and he attacks his one great false Straw Man, the Liberal.  These are all figments of his imagination, and he really isn't all that imaginative.  They are stereotypes, cartoons, and he rails against these false pictures of real people.


His words are poison.  They corrupt the air that he breathes and spews back out into the land.  His words pollute the conversation, they wash over the land like a fat and stupid-making plague.  He conjures a plague of words that dumb down everything in it's path.

And there are those craven souls out in the heartland.  They live vicariously through the words of the Bully.  They are aspiring, or secret bullies too, and they are heartened by the words of hate and stupidity.  They cheer the Bully on and laugh at his vile words of ridicule.  They are the Afraid Ones.  They are afraid of change.  Afraid of the new face of the land.  And there's nothing they can do about it, except trade on the fear and hate that resides in their breasts. 


And he has positioned himself as some kind of hovering spiritual leader of a political party, the Republican Party.  And they bow down to him, they are afraid of him.  They fear that he could turn his plague upon them if they cross the Bully.  But then one day the Bully takes a step too far. He conducts a vicious campaign of hate against a young woman.  And it's just too much, too vile for too many ears.  And many people see him as the little craven, pathetic bully he really is, and they call him out.


And the Bully quivers.  He teeters.  He is afraid.  And he claims to be a victim.  And the country laughs.  They laugh at his utterly pitiful plague of words.  And the little Fat Boy, the Bully sits in his darkened studio, all alone, choking on his own bile.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Always Dancing

Good morning.  It's Casimir Pulaski Day, and for some reason I'm thinking about superstring theory.  Superstring theory tells us that there are these very tiny supersymmetric invisible strings, little dancing fibers, that connect us to everything in the universe.  Now that's kind of cool and freaky.  


And makes you think that yes, well, everything really is connected.  And we are engaged in this elaborate dance too.  So on one level of experience you may be lonely, and unsure of what your life is all about and where it's leading and you're thinking things haven't really worked out as planned, or maybe you never really had a plan and your present circumstances are a good example of that reality...


You think, "Shit, I'm no Casimir Pulaski, that's for sure."


But on another level, everything in the universe is alive, and connected, and everything is dancing!  Every fiber, every atom, every photon, etc.  And you are dancing too.  And if you are dancing, well then, everything must be fine, right?!


Dancing in the rain, dancing in the sunshine, dancing in the dark, dancing in the snow, dancing, dancing, always dancing...


You can't begrudge a universe that dances!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

And Then...

So yes, turns out, I lived to tell the tale.  And then I had one of those days that sort of went like this...


And then, and then, and then, and then, and then, and then, and then, and then, and then, and then, and then, and then, and then, and then, etc.  


Until I collapsed in a heap, and slept like a little baby.  What a life.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

How Death Will Come

Death, when it comes, will be a little, smiling, happy, and pre-occupied, older woman, sitting behind the wheel of a late model Japanese automobile, probably with a little pillow under her bottom to prop her up in her seat, so she can see over the dashboard,  listening to classical music on the radio, maybe one of those old Polish or German maestros, with the big, lush, orchestra sound thundering over her like some enormous sonic wave, the radio turned up loud because her hearing isn't what it used to be,  and her glasses propped on her nose, but really the glasses aren't that much help, and her seeing isn't so good anymore either, and it's dark outside, and seeing in the dark is a problem, and it's snowing now, and well she can't wait to get home, and she doesn't really have much peripheral vision anymore, anyway, and that clunky old bike coming across the intersection, well, my goodness, she didn't even see it, and even as the biker goes into major evasive action, she keeps her foot on the gas pedal right into the biker's path, and well that biker's life just flashed before him and he can see himself, broken and sprawled out on the pavement, with his bike mangled and his body broken and mangled too, and well his last thoughts are "Fuck, this is how it goes," and even as he gives himself up to the futility of the moment of such an accidental and pointless, and really kind of silly ending, somehow he avoids the head-on collision, and sort of swerves like a dying quail and ends up parallel to the car, not crushed by it, and finally, belatedly, the woman stops, in the middle of the intersection, she rolls her window down and says to the biker, "So, sorry, are you okay?" and the biker, nods, he wants to reassure this Messenger of Death that yes, he's fine, all is well, don't worry about the forlorn biker, his heart is racing, and there's blood in his eyes, but yes, he's fine, no worries, and the Messenger of Death, smiles and drives off to wherever it is she's going to, and the biker, well, he rides off too, into the darkness of the evening, white flakes swirling about him and he thinks, yes, give or take a couple seconds, a foot or two, yes, that's how Death comes.

Friday, March 02, 2012

The National's "High Violet"

Another great album that has me entranced is The National's  "High Violet."  It is a powerful, beautiful, strange and haunting beast.

It's subtle too.  It took a few listens to really hear the lyrics and the lyrics are odd, weird, disturbing and they stick in your brain.  Plus the band is just great.  They are a unique group, they sound like no one else.  Matt Berninger has a dark, baritone voice, and a smooth, soothing delivery.  The lyrics are always poetic, dreamy, weird and thought-provoking.  Fractured slices of intelligence.

Matt is singing about a world, our world, and it's a strange beast we are living in.

The National is certainly one of the best bands making music today...  here are some of the stray lines from the disc that have been swirling around in my head lately...

"I don't have the drugs to sort it out..."

"You're the voices swallowing my soul..."

"It's a terrible love and I'm walking with spiders..."

"Then I'm radio and, then I'm television, I'm afraid of everyone..."

"I was afraid I'd eat your brains, Cause I'm evil..."

And if you're thinking of taking a chance on this album, get the CD!  It's just a beautifully done project.  Nice, high-quality stock, cool photos.  Totally first class all around. Don't settle for mp3s.  Get the tangible, real thing.  It's worth it!




Thursday, March 01, 2012

An Act of Faith!

We got into making posters for our rock & roll shows.  It is it's own little art form.  We actually have people who collect our posters, which is cool, but sometimes they take them down before we actually do the show, which kind of works against the cause.  But anyway, I suppose it's sort of a compliment. 

We just finished our latest poster for our CD release party on April 1st.  We still actually don't have the CD's in our possesion yet, the project is still a work in progress, so the poster is kind of an act of faith.  It's out of our hands, but we have our fingers crossed that everything will turn out well.

We're just in wait-mode.  But I think the poster just ROCKS!  Check it out!
 

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