This is it

It’s been a roller coaster ride but I feel like it has come to an end. I’m ready to start again. My mind is clear; I have purpose and understanding. I know who I am and I’m okay with myself. I’m okay with my situation and I’m okay with whatever happens next. It’s one of those rare moments when I actually feel like I have my shit together. It’s in these moments that I realize what I have and all that I have is what I give; all that I have received has come to me through giving.

I got home late Thursday morning with the intention of just being. It was a pretty cold and gloomy day so I didn’t have high hopes. I cracked a beer and sat down to write. Before long I recieved a text message from one of my friends who is going through a breakup. I had recieved a message from her Tuesday night letting me know that her boyfriend of fourteen years was dumping her. She was now ready to talk and I was ready and able to be there for her. Normally I would have wanted to be sober to meet with her but she was going to have to accept me as I was. I knew that she was one of those friends who would be willing to do that.

When she arrived I suggested that we go to Clubhouse Jager to eat. I had been craving Aura’s food and I knew that my friend would enjoy it as well. I really can’t say enough about Aura’s cooking but I’m afraid if I do she will get swept up by some restaurant that I can’t afford. Everything she makes is seriously the best I have ever had. Thankfully nobody reads my blog so I can keep her my little secret.

After dinner we returned to my house and talked for another five hours while I polished off the six-pack in my refrigerator.

I was just there to listen and help anyway I could but in the process I received a great epiphany. I think that I have an idea for a book, or at least an article for this blog. It’s not like I have any shortage of inspiration in my life. I come up with great ideas all the time. I just want to acknowledge that they come to me when I am giving to others. I still have to figure out what to do with all of them but that’s a story for another day.

My friend Alex Velocity has been wanting me to be a guest on his online radio show BANGWAVE for quite some time. It finally happened Friday. I didn’t know what to expect. I was nervous but I had no excuse to put it off any longer. I figured I would just go and give what I had to give and see what happened. It was fun and it was inspirational. I love being part of other people’s creative endeavours. You can find the results here.

I was actually amazed that I was able to pull it off but not for the reason one might think. Sure, I have a lot of apprehension about recording my voice. I worry about embarrassing myself but so what; I can handle the embarrassment. The real challenge for me was the drive out there. I hate driving and it took me twice as long to get there as it should have because I kept freaking out and taking wrong turns and the whole time I was terrified of dying. I had a job driving for many years but not because I enjoy driving. I did it because I loved the company and it was something I could do. I had a van because I had a family and I wanted to work so I looked at what I had and I worked with what I’ve got. I loved the job but I hated the driving and that is why quit. That is why I want to get rid of my van. That, and the fact that it’s costing me money even if I don’t drive it. It’s just stupid for me to own a vehicle.

But since I have it I might as well use it to do things that I couldn’t do without it. So I drove and did the radio show. While I was there I realized that I was one third of the way to my son’s school and he was performing his first headlining show with his band 8-bit Johnson. So I drove another two hours to my son’s school. I seriously don’t know how I made it. I was terrified the entire time. I knew the way but it was dark and traveling at seventy miles an hour with other vehicles on the road just seemed like suicide… and I wasn’t feeling very suicidal. I really just wanted to make it to see my son.

I made it in time to surprise him before he went on stage. He rocked the house for a good hour and a half. I can’t tell you how proud I am because pride doesn’t even begin to explain it. What I really felt was an astounding combination of confusion and serendipity.  It was like sifting for gold in the stream to discover that the real value was in the water.  I never raised my son to be a rock star. I raised him to be a good person. Yet there he was, doing both, better than I ever could. Yeah, I came there for him but he gave me more than I could ever have hoped for.

I could have stayed in Morris but I felt my bed calling me. I’m really trying to be productive at home and I know that I’m more productive at doing “home” work when I wake up at home. Plus I was feeling rather energized after seeing my son play and I knew I could make it. The drive home was so much less terrifying. I could see the near full moon shining in the night sky above me and that gave me a sense of peace.

I got home shortly after two in the morning. I was still pretty wired from all the caffeine I had been drinking. There was a text message on my phone from the friend I was with Wednesday night. She sounded like she was having an unsettling night so I wrote her back to say that I was still up and at home if she wanted to talk.

Half an hour later I recieved a text that simply said “Xoxo”.

She never saw my response but it pretty much summed up the rest of my night. I wrote, “<3 I’m pretty tired but way too sober so I’m drinking cheap beer & cheap whiskey and watching Louis CK videos on YouTube. Gonna spend the day at home tomorrow becoming a better person. At least that’s the plan.”

I think Louis CK is brilliant. We opened the BANGWAVE program with some of his comedy. I may have to do a whole post about Louis CK but here is his bit about wanting to be a better person.

You can buy the whole show for five measly dollars on his website.

I woke up Saturday ready to start back up that rollercoaster. That’s when I started this post. I had decided not drink that day and keep my head clear. The problem was it was too clear and I was flooded with thoughts that didn’t seem to give me any direction. I basically just stumbled around waiting for something to happen that was more important than me.

Then I got a text from my daughter, the one I hadn’t heard anything from in over two months. She informed me that she had an appointment with her therapist scheduled. Apparently the deal is that she doesn’t want to talk to me until she can meet with me, her mother and her therapist together. Frankly, I think that is a brilliant idea although I don’t think that the issues have to do with me and my daughter.  There may be issues that her mom has with me or that my daughter has with her mom but having an impartial third party present could help up get to the bottom of it. And if my daughter does have issues with me that she doesn’t feel comfortable talking about without her therapist, I’m open to that too. I think it’s kind of childish but she is a child. I have no idea what is going on in her brain. I’m just glad that there is a way forward and I’m willing to try anything.

The problem is that the appointment is not for another month. That means that my daughter won’t be going on the family vacation to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico next week. I tried over the next couple days to work through that issue but it is a non-starter. It is what it is but it was worth trying.

Next came a call from my friend who recently moved to California. She has epilepsy and is going through a breakup so she’s homeless at the moment. She’s got all sorts of crazy shit going on but also a lot of good things are happening.  She’s somewhat like me, somewhere in the middle; not everything is falling apart but it’s not all coming up roses either. We talked for a little over an hour until hunger got the best of me and I had to find something to eat.

With my primary need for food satisfied I returned to my quest for motivation but I kept being distracted by the thoughts in my head. The overriding one was that I still hadn’t heard anything from the friend I had recieved a text from the night before. I don’t typically get bent out of shape over these things. There are a million and one reasons why someone might not get back to me but this was unusual and so I decided to follow my instincts and tried reaching out one more time. I still got no response. It turned out that she had left her phone at a friend’s place and that I actually had nothing to worry about. Oh well, shit happens!

During this time I got a text from the friend I was with Thursday night. She was downtown at the Toad The Wet Sprocket show. She had an extra ticket and wanted to know if I could join her. Of course I could. I obviously wasn’t doing anything else and would do anything for her.

I should mention that I put Toad in a genre that I like to call lowest-common-denominator music. It’s not quite as derogatory as it may sound. It just means good music that is accessible to as many people as possible. Most musicians would consider that a good thing. It is a good thing, I guess, if that’s what you’re in to. I’m glad that people are in to it because most of the songs I write would fit into that category. It’s just not the kind of music that makes my dick hard. I like things that are new, shocking, different and blow my mind. I guess that’s why I play in Venus’ band rather than my own. Still, I respect anyone who can write and perform a good song so of course I was going to go.

That is a good song.

I was also feeling grateful that I had decided not to drink that day. Hanging out with sober people when I’ve been drinking is still awkward to me. I have no problem with drunk people when I’m sober but the other way around is weird.

Still, this was a challenge.  Being in a crowd of people is anxiety producing for me. Also standing or sitting in one spot for an hour is painful. Without alcohol, I felt all of that. Now if this had been a metal show or a rave, it might not have been so bad but this was Toad The Wet Sprocket. There was not a lot of moving around, people slamming into each other or massive amounts of drugs. So my whole body hurt, I had stabbing pains in my chest, a tightness around my throat, pain in my teeth and my right eye was twitching. It was fucking incredible!

But hey,  another day that worked out just fine. I had no direction but enough people to provide me with something meaningful to do. I’ll take that.

Sunday was good as well. I had diner at my parents so we could discuss the trip to Mexico. Then I went to Venus’ annual pre-Thanksgiving day Squid Fest party. I could say more about it but I’m getting bored with talking about my life. I’m going to end this blog post here. I have a feeling that things are about to go in a different direction.

See you tomorrow with something new…

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Sunday, snowy sunday

Seriously. It’s the middle of April. I can deal with rain in April. I don’t even need every spring day to be beautiful but one would be nice.Yes, I know, it’s awfully pedestrian to bitch about the weather but it does seriously affect my life.

Today I woke up at 9am with one thing on my mind; working pedicab for the Twin’s game against the Mets. Nope, not gonna happen. That game was postponed due to the fact that the weather is really really shitty!

I called the pedicab company to inform them that the game had been called off and asked if it still made any sense to work. They said that if the weather is that bad that there is no point coming in.

“Fine.” I said. “I’ve got plenty of other things going on in my life.”

Which is true, I do have many things going on in my life. Unfortunately, they are all affected by this miserably weather as well. Nope… I really don’t want to do anything today. That really kind of sucks. I so wish I was able to get other things accomplished on days like this. Shitty days just sap my passion. Beyond necessity, beyond survival, passion is the only thing that drives me. Come to think of it, my need for survival may only be driven by my passion as well.

So what can I accomplish on a day like this. Let’s see, should be pretty easy to recount. I made coffee to wake me up. Realizing I had nothing I had to do today I later made a cocktail, afterwhich I took a nap. I woke up and jacked off. Then I made myself a salad. I ate it while watching Doctor Who on Netflix. Inspired I tried to find something more intelligent to spur my brain so I turned to the Aspen Ideas Festival website. Unable to find inspiration in anything there I turned back to porn. That gives me temporary relief from the numbness at least but soon after I found myself experiencing hunger. I made myself a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich.

Now I’m going to grab a beer and return to Doctor Who. I’m still hoping that I can use this day off to write something brilliant. I have so many thoughts in my head, just no will to do anything with them.

Best laid plans

I’m still trying to find my voice for this writing project. In my mind I feel like I should sound like some combination of Louis CK and Doctor Who. To be certain  I have no idea what that would sound like. I don’t even know which of the eleven Doctors I have flowing in my head. The forth will always be my favorite but I’m also a big fan of the tenth.

Not inspired to write anything Friday night, I tried to find inspiration by watching, Louis CK “Live at the Beacon Theater” as well as re-watching the last few episodes of Doctor Who, Season One. This was not my first choice for activities Friday night. In fact it wasn’t even my second or third.

After not getting to see my daughter on Thursday I had really hoped she would be spending the night Friday. We did spend the afternoon together. We went to the grocery store, which is one of our favorite activities. My daughter’s diet restrictions make food shopping somewhat of an adventure. I also wanted to make sure that there was food in the house for my son who was returning home from college on spring break. I spent nearly $80 on food, more than I have been able to buy in a long time.

My daughter made it clear that she was not feeling that great and would want to spend the night at her mother’s. I told her, “That’s fine sweetie, whatever you need.” and then I called a friend who I thought would be available to be kidnapped when I dropped my daughter off at her mother’s. That back-up plan appeared to be working.

I had also hoped that my son would be home Friday night but weather prevented that from happening. The weather also made getting my daughter home treacherous. It had started snowing in Minneapolis but that was not the problem. With temperatures hovering right around freezing, wet roads had turned to glare ice. It was a slow, careful yet terrifying drive to get my daughter back to her mother. During this time I got a call from my potential kidnapping victim informing me that tonight would not work. I was disappointed but at the same time relieved. I didn’t want to be on the road any longer than necessary.

By the time I made it back home, I was ready to just be home. My standing plan for Friday night was to head to First Avenue for a special ’90s version of Transmission with Jake Rudh, my favorite dance night. That wasn’t going to happen either. Considering that I had gone out the night before and with the weather being what it was, I was done for the day.

There I was, at home, alone, uninspired to do anything. I’ve had a full bottle of Vodka in the freezer for over a month. I had a bunch of juice in the fridge that I had bought when I had expected to have company. I just had no one to drink it with. I still made myself a strong cocktail but it did nothing to alter my mood. The two or three cocktails that followed didn’t help either. In fact it was kind of pathetic and depressing. Drinking alone does nothing for me.

Get Real

Okay. This is where this blog takes form. It would be really fucking boring if I only wrote about my good days. Yesterday was awesome. Well, it was up until my last post which I wrote at the Bad Waitress, a cafe restaurant where my best friend works. They have wi-fi, really good food and beer. I expect many posts will be written from there. Oh, and when I checked in there I became mayor on Foursquare! So yeah, really good day up until that point. My BFF even bought me a beer so totally fucking kick ass!

Except it’s Minneapolis and fucking cold as hell and nothing stays kick-ass for long. My BFF got off work while I was there so I offered to drive her home. I don’t drive often and love to help out a friend when I can. Did I mention it was fucking cold as hell out? Driving is no big deal, right? If you keep reading this blog you will learn about my philosophy on helping and how I think it’s easy and makes the world a better place and that if you are a selfish mother fucker like me you should do it every chance you get.

Turns out my BFF needs cat food too. She doesn’t drive so we have a great opportunity for her to make use of my generosity and have me drive out to Chuck and Don’s in St. Louis Park. All went well for a total of about 10 blocks. Then we ran into a power outage. Not my van. It is thankfully running just fine. No, the goddamn city was in the black. I really have no idea what caused it. I’m sure I will find out. I figure it has something to do with the weather. It dropped 800 degrees in one day. But yeah, a huge swath of the city was without power. No street lights, no stop lights, backed up traffic and no power at the pet store. We spent an hour driving in the dark to accomplish nothing.

Well, once we got back to civilization we did stop by the liquor store and my BFF stocked up on beer so I guess I made some use of the drive. And after all that I figured it would be appropriate to stop in for a quick one. So for the record, this paragraph goes in the good column.

[Got coffee so hopefully I can keep writing]

So now I’m running late for rehearsal. My band leader is always running late so that probably means I’m right on time. Which I am. I get to the studio and Venus is unloading her car. Perfect timing. A good quality in a bass player I say. We get in and get everything set up but still no drummer. We were actually suppose to rehearse the day before but our drummer had apparently got assaulted and slipped on the ice and broke his rib and couldn’t make it. I don’t know exactly what happened. I’m hearing it second hand but I think he should have a blog. Sounds like his life is way more exciting than mine. Anyway, he’s in pain and totally spaced that we are rehearsing. Venus tells him to skip it and we rehearse without him. We are the ones who need it anyway. I don’t understand it. Our drummer always seems to do fine but I suck if I don’t rehearse. Venus sucks without rehearsal. The drummer has just got it but he has other issues. Just saying.

I kind of like rehearsing without a drummer. I wouldn’t say I prefer it. I really prefer having a drummer. Drums are important but there are benefits to not having him there. For starters, I can hear myself. Drums are fucking loud! With a drummer you have to turn up so loud that it’s hard to hear anything. Okay, that is the only benefit. Other that being able to play at a lower volume and hear myself it really sucked not having him there. But rehearsal went fine and we got a kick-ass set put together for our show in Scottsdale, AZ. I guess our studio party on Saturday will be our full band live rehearsal. Damn I’m glad we are professionals. Don’t know how we pull this shit off.

So yesterday was a long day. The kind of day that does me in. The kind of day that doesn’t end. And it didn’t. It kept going. Oh yeah, there is more excitement to come. I left rehearsal wanting nothing more that to get home, have a beer and curl up in my nice warm bed with my kitty cat. Well, that’s not what happened. I get in my van and drive home. I’m listening to Minnesota Public Radio as I often do. I’m a sustaining member. I’m listening to As It Happens and they have a story about this guy, Aiman Youssef of Staton Island, NY who lost everything in Super Storm Sandy. Now he has a tent set up in front of what used to be his house and has spent every day since the storm helping his neighbors. It choked me up. It’s sad, but the best of humanity seems to come out of the worst of situations.

So I’m driving, I’m emotionally engaged, I’m tired and basically on auto-pilot. I pull up to a stop sign before making a left-hand turn not noticing the cop car I just cut off until the lights start flashing in my rear-view mirror. I pull over wondering, “What the fuck did I do?”. And I bet you are wondering, “OMG, how drunk is he?”. Nope, two beers at the restaurant, one at my friends, all many hours ago – I’m sober, just tired and distracted. I take drinking and driving very seriously. I lost an eye that way when I was 21. I consider myself lucky. It’s nothing to fuck around with. I got lucky this time too. The cop just ran my license and let me go after I apologized profusely. I’ve actually had really good experiences with the Minneapolis Police department. Probably helps that I’m a white guy but who knows? Maybe it’s the mini-van with LEFREAK plates.

I get home and it’s time for a beer. Well, a beer and a whiskey. I’ve discovered that I can drink cheap beer if it’s coupled with cheap whiskey. I crawl into bed. It’s been a good day. I watch the Daily Show, make a post on Facebook, comment on a friends post and I’m ready to be done. But no, my friend realizing I’m awake sends me a text, “Can I call u?”. I respond, “No” because I’m a dick like that. Then I called her. We talk from 2am until 4am. I had more beers and more whiskey. I don’t remember everything we talked about but I do remember telling her about how she hurt me years back when we first met. We bonded instantly. I guess it’s one of those things that happens when a real, genuine, honest person meets one of their own. And there was attraction. There was chemistry. To put it bluntly, I wanted to bang her. I wanted to be her friend and I wanted to have sex with her and I even considered being her boyfriend. But that’s not me and she knew it and she moved on leaving me in the dust. Yeah, it was the right thing to do. It was the right thing for her and the time and it was probably the right thing for me but it still hurt. In this life you don’t meet that many people with whom who can really connect on that level and they are not to be taken for granted. But hey, she’s back in my life and all is good. In fact I just got a call from her reminding me that I agreed to meet her and that she has chowder for me. Awesome! I have no food so this is really good.

But my big fuck up of the day was over-sleeping. I left my phone downstairs so I didn’t wake up when Home Service Plus called at 7:44am. They were coming out to fix my washing machine which is leaking and my stove which won’t light. Yup, totally missed that. I’ve been dealing with these problems for a while because I just can’t get my shit together to remedy them. Guess I’m going to be dealing with them a little while longer. It’s all about time. Time fucking fascinates me.

And now it’s time for me to go get me some chowder!

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