Thursday, September 30, 2010


If it seems to you that my life is forever in flux, you'd be right. Most people's lives are such, but few get to see such a balance of extremes. Things go from very good to very bad, and I try to catch up. When it's good, I prepare for the pendelum swing, and when it's bad I remember the good so as to combat it. Change is inevitable, and it's as constant as the seasons- we have little control or choice in the matter. The only alternative to change is stagnation, which is like death and devolution. So, I choose life and change.
Now, I do not pretend that I love all the changes that take place in my life, because I certainly do not. But, I accept them and hold to the belief that all things "come out in the wash", as the saying goes. One may not be able to choose all the things that happen in life, or even when it happens, but one can choose to celebrate instead of mourn. In midst of all the erractic things of life, this is one thing that you can have and hold for your own.

You may mourn the death or celebrate the life
You can sit down and weep or stand and laugh at strife.

I talked to a boy today that has an immense amount of talents and abilities at his disposal. He's in school, only a year away from graduating and becoming a substance abuse counselor. He wants to join the navy because he feels an immense pull for him to do so- who can argue with that? But he wants to quit school now and join. I urged him otherwise: go in the military if you want, but go in after finishing school so that you can be an officer. He told me he didn't want to be an officer because he didn't believe he had the skillset to be an officer. I became slightly exasperated- "what is it with people thinking everything should come so easily and naturally?" was the thought- and told him: "i'm sure Patton wasn't PATTON in the beginning. There's a learning process, even if you have the natural ability, just like with music." (He's a drummer, so this was very applicable to him.) He laughed and said I made sense (which I'm aware of). Let's see if my words were enough to encourage him to postpone going into the military at least long enough to get his degree. My other piece of advice was this:
"do what's going to cause you the least amount of regret. You will never regret having a degree but one day you might regret that you don't." I for one, think that he'd make a great officer- he's no Patton, but he could be someday (even though I'm very well aware that Patton was Army, not Navy). Why not dream when you can?
For me, it seems times of dreams are over. Reality has a firm grasp on me, and it only becomes more apparent every day. My mother had to have emergency surgery last week (thankfully, she's fine now). My father, honestly, can't handle a crisis. He is very much not in control of himself as a general rule, but when things get crazy, he flies to pieces. When I got to the hospital, he did calm down ever so slightly, but on the phone he sounded absolutely crazy. My mother is his "rock"- without her, my dad doesn't do well. My brothers, however, didn't even make it a point to call until days later- despite being made aware of the situation. It's very evident that I cannot entrust my parents to my brothers, and that, as they age, that their care will fall on me. While my parents are in relatively good health, despite the fact that they're nearing 70, it is inevitable that they're going to need help, especially my father. He worries me most of all. His mind seems to be slipping- he's so forgetful of everything, he's extremely volatile emotionally. My father, who has been engineering all his life, can no longer accurately make measurements, and this is most troubling of all. So, in looking down the highly possible realities of life down the road, I have decided that I will stay very near them. Staying here is, quite frankly, an awful prospect, but worse is the idea that my parents, who have remained my faithful cavalry my whole life, may need me and I will not be around to return their unfailing love and care. So, here I stay. And I begin the process of building a permanent life, instead of transient one, which is something I've never known in my entire 25 years. I'll do my best. I'm very thankful that while I was not blessed with being the most beautiful or the most athletic, I was blessed with immense personal strength and conviction and sense enough to know how to use what has been given to me. I feel that eminently it will be put to the test.

Life and Its Choices

The possibilities are endless. Humanity limits itself in such a way so that life isn't so huge and more manageable. For me, I do what I can deal with in my soul. I have the thought, "now, in ten years, how well is this going to sit with me?" In other words, I will not burden my soul with something that I don't think I can deal with in the far future.
As we grow older, we become limited by fear and a lack of resources- whether these are real resources or just the capacity to figure out a way to circumvent an obstacle is irrelevent. I understand the logic of this. But, as Spock in Star Trek learned, the logical decision is not always the best one to make. So what if there's only a 4% possibility of success? If it's the right thing to do, then that is what must be done.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Stir It Up

To You, "Beej"- I tried to tell you that shrimp dish sounded awful. I'm sorry it actually turned out that way, especially since it took so much time and effort. I can't comment on your blog for some reason. So, I'll comment on your blog...on my blog? Lol. It'll be all good.

I just finished reading Before the Legend: The Life of Bob Marley. Marley has always been one of those iconic people in my life, someone that's so magnificent in a way that it becomes acceptable to know nothing about them but still find them to be amazing. I decided it was time to learn a little something about the man that wrote songs so good I attached memories and smells (yes, even smells, and not just that of ganja) to them. And there's nothing like reading about a man before he had anything at all, because it's what we do when we have nothing to lose that really exemplifies our character.
Nesta Marley (Bob's first name) was a truly remarkable man in so many ways- known for fabulous work ethic while being absolutely baked, the strong silent kind, the post-conventional thinker, and, quite frankly, a smooth seducer. I figured I would read all of these things- being a musician, and furthermore actually making it in the music business (and maybe even moreso, making it out of Jamaica) requires extraordinary amount of work and talent, and his songs are so seductive that it is hardly befitting for them to come from a man without the skills. Rita Marley, his wife, though, has an interesting story- I'd love to hear her side of things. Bob brought to Rita the various children (living proof) of his various affairs to live with them in their home- because he wanted all his children to live together. I wonder if he ever thought of how this would make her feel- and furthermore, did the other mothers ever actually agree to this? And how tortured was Rita to take these children of her husband that were not hers? I infer that she's a woman of saintly virtues- because, fantastic musician/lover or not, I would've done terrible incapacitating things to his penis in his sleep after he brought home the first child. If there's anything I learned from Greek stories and myths, it is that every hero has a flaw, and I found Bob's. But, I half expected it, so it wasn't as disheartening as learning that my beloved Gandhi regularly abused his wife when they were young.
I can accept the errors of my heroes because they did such great things otherwise, and we're human- so we're going to fail at something. I do not, however, have the same forgiving nature of those in the inner sanctum who haven't proven themselves, and especially not myself. I expect more from them and me than I will ever expect of anyone else....I suppose that's why I'm rarely impressed with anyone. But, at the same time, while I ruthlessly expect more, I easily forgive shortcomings (except my own) when someone has truly done all they can do (by my measure). It's because I believe we all have the capabilities of being Gandhis, Marleys, Claptons, Sabans, Ritas, Laylas, Chanels, etc, if we just try for it. It's like the old saying "I'd rather shoot for the star and miss by a mile than shoot for the stump and miss by an inch". That's how I live. Everyday. No exceptions.
But, I'm listening to Marley. If there was ever a sound of "not working", it is this one. This is the sound of "have a good time"- which is something I've forgotten how to do. It's time to go remember how. Now.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"What We Have "Chere" His..."

a constant rate of poor judgement and failure. Albert Einstein once said that insanity is engaging in the same acts repeatedly and expecting a different outcome- by his standard, I am indeed insane. I certainly feel that way. Apparently I have no capacity for making good choices with men- and I'm sadder about that than I am the waste of time.
My father told me this morning that I need to get a life. He said "all you've done is work and go to school. Go get a life, get a social life. Go have some fun. Leave off school for a while." Nothing like having a father's blessing to be a slack ass for a few months, right? In response, I'm going out tonight with a friend that I've been promising time to for a long time now.
Then I come home to relax and pack up my stuff. I'm moving back in with my parents. I'm tired of these personal revolutions. Really, I am. I'm ready for life to quit putting me through the spin cycle. I've decided that, in an effort to derail this vicious spin cycle, I'm going to go monastic- meaning that I'm not going drink, smoke, or have any dealings with mankind. I'm going to try really hard to drop "fuck" from my vocabulary totally and meat as well. In short, I want a clean life with less hassles. I'm going to make an effort to do 10 minutes of meditation every day, because surely to God I can afford to give myself 10 minutes a day. I'm planning and dreaming and scheming...hoping that life will become better soon. Hoping that I'll learn the error of my ways even quicker.


They make my life better. Why and how? Because, despite what my mother always told me, trash will indeed bond with itself and take itself out. Fabulous, really, this trash.
So glad I use high quality bags, or else I may worry that I'd end up with trash on me. But, I do put forth the extra effort. That's what keeps the palace clean, you know- efforts and good bags.

By the way, I'm trash free.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Muskegon, MI

I miss home. I talk about it all the time, honestly. It's a beautiful place, especially where I lived in Michigan. I lived in Muskegon, which is like having box seats at the Super Bowl- you're in exactly the right place to be comfortable, you can see everything, and it's beautiful. I was never more than 5 miles from the nearest beach, and our beaches are amazing. They're so amazing in fact, that they take tons of sand from the west coast of Michigan down to Florida to rebuild everything that the Canadians and retirees fuck up by building their stupid condos and ruining the beaches' natural defense against hurricane erosion. True story. So, next time you're in Florida, really, you're walking on my homeland. :) Also, something really cool about Michigan sand is that it's actually smoothly rounded like river rocks. It is glacier cut, meaning that tons of ice basically ground rock into submission and produced tiny, tiny round grains of sand. That's why it makes a funny "scuff" sound. Another thing: the sand in Michigan (and "Florida") contains magnitite, which is highly conductive- meaning, lightning loves to strike the beaches.
In addition to the beaches of Lake Michigan (where you're NOT a part of a food chain), there's also rivers and smaller lakes that are just gorgeous. Just don't go in the Grand River or White Lake or Ruddiman Creek. Otherwise, you're fine. There's mountains, too, and lots of wildlife.
There's also a million bars and three million bands to see. There's Skelletones, the Blue Note, Pints and Quarts, and the Rosebud (all within 20 minutes of each other), places like Lakeside Emporium (where they still sell penny candy and make their own fudge), homemade ice cream shops, and a million other cool little places.
Also, there's festivals. There's the Muskegon Summer Celebration, which has all kinds of big names (I've seen Stepphenwolf, Boston, B.B. King, Ray Charles, and Earth, Wind, and Fire there, for example- they've got newer acts, too, but I'm never interested in those). There's also the art festival, and my favorite is the Irish Music Festival. There's tons of Irish in Muskegon (so as you can imagine, they love to party), and this is just an excuse to get Irish bands out on a big stage, dance, eat, and drink, and sell Irish linens and wool and such.
Can you see why I miss this place? It's amazing.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How The "Phantom" Kicked My Ass

One of the world's most beloved and longest running plays is "Phantom of the Opera". People who don't even enjoy or know about "theatah" love the music from "Phantom". As for me, the Phantom has long been a part of my life- first in high school choir, when we did "Music of the Night" and the main theme in a concert performance. Then, it followed me to my home, and I had to sing it for a solo performance. Now, as a piano student, I'm now playing "Think of Me".
I have been working for hours on perfecting this piece. I have to play it tomorrow morning at 8 AM. It doesn't sound so hard- until you realize that just me has to play all the parts that you hear in this rendition.

I am the strings, the woodwinds, brass, and vocals- all in 8 fingers, two thumbs, and the right foot. It's now 2 AM, and I've only made it to 3 of the 4 pages of music. I'm tired. But, a good piece is nothing without a good ending- you can start weak and flub in the middle as long as you have a stupendous finish. I go back to the keyboard. Maybe by performance time, it'll sound amazing.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Colors on Trees Remind Me..

I have nothing more to say. It seems that it is in my best interest to start being and remaining silent, for my own self-preservation.
I shall write again when I can.


I dream of things, like anyone does. Sometimes, I dream of making breakfast like I used to. I'd have oldies on the radio, dancing, and frying bacon and eggs while from-scratch biscuits baked in the oven. Sometimes I dream of having a family again. I don't really have one anymore. Sometimes I dream of working a day job that I could have the weekends off to watch football with my mom and dad. Always, I dream of peace.
I'll have it someday. Watch. It's closer than I think.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Vestiges of Former Falls

Living in south Alabama, one will quickly learn that there is one-and-a-half seasons here. There's the summer season, which lasts about 10 months of the year, and 2 months of the summer season having an identity crisis. It's disappointing to some degree- I loved having four seasons. Michigan has a real winter, spring thaw, an awesome summer, and a beautiful fall. There were rituals for all of them, but my favorite, by far, was fall. I always knew when fall had officially rsvp'd for the year- I would wake up and just know. I had extra determination and more energy, a greater drive to do things now because there was no waiting until later.
Living at my parents' house, we had a fireplace. I would start collecting kindling in August, about once a week go out and find tiny sticks that had been broken off trees. By September, I would do that every day so that I could guarantee we'd have enough for the winter. (Yes, we knew they make those starter stick things, but why buy what you can get for free?). There would be a huge pile by the time the cold weather actually hit- magically, i always got enough, too. I would clean out all my living spaces and clean them well. I stacked mountains of firewood. Mom and I would start to make hats and food- chili, chicken brunswick, vegetable stew. There was this lovely feeling in the air- electric relief, what some people call the "crisp" of fall. I remember it so well. I miss it greatly.
Here, there is no need to put up food, make hats, or gather firewood, really. It get chilly enough for a hoodie, that's it. It has snowed the past two years- once each identity crisis season- and I'm thankful for it. I think it's the Mother's way of making me feel better. She sure is good at that.