Life outside my head

I haven’t really written much about what has gone on in my life since getting back from Mexico a month ago. Part of that is because not a lot has been going on. It’s winter and I haven’t been doing all that much that I consider all that exciting. A better answer is that I have been living in my head so what has been reflected in my blog has more to do with what I’ve been thinking than with what I’ve been doing. Neither are completely accurate however. The truth is I write about whatever I want to write about whenever I want to write. And even more accurate than that would be that I write whatever I write whenever I write because most of the time what comes out when I sit down at the computer is not quite what I had in mind when I decided to sit down at the computer.

For now I want to abandon the thoughts in my head and recap what I have been up to the past couple of weeks; let’s say going back to Christmas. It’s been an extremely chaotic time with the holidays and weekends and birthdays and random shit thrown in but in a way all of that is pretty run of the mill for me. I just want to capture the essence of what I’ve been up to so that I can move on. I’m expecting this to be a pretty boring post.

For starters, I’ve been spending a lot of time laying on my bed watching Netflix – mostly documentaries. Here is a boring ass list of said documentaries and historic dramas:

  • The Billionaires Tea Party – A left wing view of the Tea Party.
  • The One Percent – A billionaires view of the very wealthy.
  • Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream – A comparison between Park Avenue in Manhattan and Park Avenue in the South Bronx.
  • Surviving Progress – Our progress may be a trap.
  • Ayn Rand & the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged – The life and philosophy of one of our most popular thinkers.
  • The Secret of Nikola Tesla – One of our greatest inventors who claimed to have never invented anything.
  • Lovelace – A dramatization about one of our greatest porn stars.
  • Future by Design – The story of futurist and engineer, Jacques Fresco.
  • Escape from Suburbia – What are people going to do when we run out of oil?
  • Pedal-Driven – Mountain Bike riders work with the government to solve problems.
  • Unborn in the USA – A non-bias view of the Pro-Life movement.
  • Zeitgeist: Addendum – A non-political propaganda film worth paying attention to.
  • We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks – An interesting expose on Julian Assange.
  • Occupy Unmasked – An extremely right wing view of the Occupy Movement.
  • Better This World – A remarkable tale of left wing radicals in my home town.
  • The Big Buy: How Tom DeLay Stole Congress – A story of power and corruption in law and government.
  • Runaway Slave – The story of one man’s move beyond the race paradigm
  • Let’s Make Money – A propaganda film that should make you think
  • Color Me Kubrick – A dramatization of the life of the man who pretended to be Stanley Kubrick
  • American Addict – There is more money in pharmaceutical drugs than in street drugs.
  • Patriocracy A look at the political divide and the unspoken majority who just want to get along.
  • The People vs. George Lucas – The love/hate relationship between the man who created Star Wars and it’s fans.
  • Hungry For Change – What happens when we stop eating food and start eating drugs.

Wow… twenty-three movies in fourteen days!?! How could I have had time for anything else? Okay, I cheated a bit. That list went back to December 13th but I really wanted to get in the name Ayn Rand. I know that simply being able to tag her will give me a hit or two and I think she wants me to have that. She has given rise to a political movement that is completely counter to everything I believe in but I don’t think most of her followers really understand what she was saying. They just picked up on what they liked.

But that’s the way it goes.

People seem to like Ayn Rand because she gives them justification for being a selfish prick. I say just be who you are! If you are a selfish prick then own it. No one needs to give you permission or justification. I think she would agree with that. But then you can’t complain when all the people around you care more about their own needs than yours. Birds of a feather flock together, bitch!

If you do want another view of the future I would really recommend watching Future By Design by Jacque Fresco. Actually, I would recommend watching all of these documentaries. Some are more biased than others. Some are more opinionated but all have the potential to get you thinking and I highly recommend thinking… in moderation.

So knowing that I can’t simply live inside my head, what else have I been up to?

I went to my sister’s for Christmas. With my parents out of the country I had really hoped that I could just take the day off but when my sister decided to do something at her house I figured it was important to attend. I’m sorry that my other sister was not able to attend but that is the way it goes in my family. We are a group of very diverse people but clearly… somehow… we still love each other.

Usually I spend Christmas night at the bar commiserating with others who either don’t have family in town or just survived another awkward family diner. This year I just felt like going home.

The following night I had rehearsal for our show on Friday. The show was fun. The show was fantastic. The show was what I do.

Hexagon - 27 Dec 2013

Hexagon – 27 Dec 2013

My son’s mother’s sister, who lives in Canada, was there. I helped raise her when she was in high-school and she totally loves me. It was so wonderful to see her again. Also in the audience was a woman who used to live with me and while doing so taught me a great deal about the toxicity of anger and the fear which comes with it. It was really good to see her again after getting past all of that. I also talked with a fan who told me that he could never do what I do but by watching me on stage he feels like he was living vicariously through me. That is one of the greatest gifts I can give as a performer but the truth is, I too am living vicariously through the audience.

The day after a show is usually just a day of rest but I got tired of just sitting around. The weather was nice but I knew it was going to get really cold so I wanted to get out of the house while I still could. I had no plans but I needed a back up battery for my e-cig so I hoped on the bus and headed to Smokeless Smoking in Northeast Minneapolis. My friend works there so I got the “family” discount.

As I left the store he asked, “So, what are you going to do now?”

I said, I have no idea but there will probably be whiskey involved.”

I needed food so I headed to the Spring Street for nutrients and libations. After that I headed to the 331 Club for a beer or two. Next thing I knew there was a dance party going on and I was shit-faced wasted. A friend of mine had sent me a text to see what I was up to but I didn’t notice it until two hours later. I still wound up crashing at her place. Forgiveness it the key to happiness.

The next day was hard. My friend gave me a ride home but I still didn’t know whether I wanted to be alone. It was my daughter’s birthday and I hadn’t seen her face or heard her voice since September. I tried calling her that morning but could only leave a message. I figured it would be a good day to just be alone and do nothing. I made myself a screwdriver to ease the hangover but still having my doubts about being alone I reached out to my Facebook friends. Within thirty seconds I had a phone call from my friend at Smokeless Smoking offering to come pick me up.  I spent the day and night in the loving company of him, his partner and their son.

When his partner dropped me off the next morning I said, “Thank you so much for being there for me.”

To which I was replied, “No, it was you who were there for us.”

Seriously, this is how my life goes but I think it is how life goes when we are willing to humble ourselves to ask for help.

The next day of significance was New Years Eve. Once again I had no plans. If I could have done it I would have done nothing on New Years Eve. It’s fucking amateur night but I needed my peeps. I called a cab and headed to the Cabooze to see WookieFoot. I knew the show was sold out but I hoped that the lovelight would shine on me and I would still be able to get it. It didn’t and I was’t. Luckily there was another cab waiting so I grabbed it and headed to the 331 Club where my friends in the band Rapedoor were playing.

There was a great line up at the 331 that night and it was free but it was still my second choice because one of the bands has a tendency to get naked on stage.  Now I have no problem with nudity but as a stage gimmick it seems over played, especially for a band with so much talent. For some reason that didn’t stop me from stripping off all my clothes and prancing around totally nude when I was brought up on stage.

I got a ride home that night but I couldn’t find my keys to get in my house. Luckily the people who dropped me off knew well enough to make sure that I got in my house. It was cold enough to where I could have froze to death if I spent the night out doors. Instead I spent the night on the couch of some friends in South Minneapolis. By morning I was sober enough to find my keys and make it home.

Thursday I had a therapy appointment. I wanted to spend some time with my friend who let me crash at her place after the first 311 Club night. We actually had a nice evening snuggling on the couch watching movies until four in the morning. Unbeknownst to me this was much later than she wanted to be up. She was pretty pissed off that it had gotten so late and to be fair it was largely my fault. I was a pretty talkative movie watcher that night. Sharing two bottles of wine and a six pack of beer will do that to me… especially since I drank most of it.

She stormed off to bed and I took a cab home. There was a time when I would have had no choice but to sleep on the couch. I feel quite grateful to have the financial resources to take care of myself when these conflicts arise because they will happen… drinking or not. By the way, we are just fine now. In fact we were fine the next morning.

My plan was to go back and retrieve my van but I never got sober enough to drive. I thought that my son would be coming home that day but it turned out he wouldn’t be back until Saturday so I just kept drinking slowly throughout the day. That night I had a meeting with the full cast off Venus’ performance art project. I’m doing the music for it. The meeting was great and I’m looking forward to it but that is about all I have to say about it at this point.

After the meeting Venus drove me to the Spring Street where two of my friends where celebrating their birthdays with an incredible line up of bands in the basement. There is much more that I could say about that night but I’m really trying to keep my posts under two thousand words. Suffice it to say I wound up at the after party and a really cute boy brought me home.

We can also say that I didn’t do much the next day other than welcome home my son, who I haven’t seen since we got back from Mexico.

It wasn’t until Sunday that I managed to retrieve my van. That took walking over a mile in sub zero weather but my van still started up just fine. I spent that night at the bar with my friend; the one at who’s house my van was previously parked. Remarkably, that night went much better.

Monday I drove my son out to see his sister and step-mother. Today I went to retrieve him. It sounds like my daughter is doing fine and at the end of the day, that is all that matters to me.

Presidents’ Day

If my day had ended after making my last post I would still have considered it a nearly perfect day. My day did not end there, however. I’m not saying that it went to hell after that. No, it didn’t go to hell. It continued to be amazing. It just wound up being more than my poor little body could handle and I’m paying for it now. So I need to take a day of rest and give myself a bit of a break. And why not? It’s a holiday, it’s Presidents’ Day. If the government can take a day off, so can I?

As I was writing my last post I was feeling quite content with the day. I was perfectly satisfied with what had transpired and was ready to put it down in the win column and retire early. But that was before I saw that some of my friends were getting together at a nearby bowling alley. Oh how I wanted to see them. These are good friends, near and dear to my heart and friends that I haven’t seen enough of lately. Winter tends to go that way. None of us get out as much and our social contact suffers. So does my mental health. Still, it would require energy that I didn’t know if I had and after having such a wonderful day I was reluctant to test fate.

But as fate would have it I also ran out of rolling papers at this point. If seeing my friends wasn’t enough motivation to get me to go back out, my nicotine addiction certainly was.  I quite smoking back in 2004 and except for a few slip-up here and there, I remained smoke-free for six years. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, but when my nephew was killed, I just didn’t seem to care anymore. Since then I have tried quitting numerous times, even started using electronic cigarettes for a while but in the end I kept going back to tobacco.

Addictions can rule your life and I don’t like anything having that much power over me. Nicotine is extremely addictive but it’s not that harmful in and of it self. I’ve actually found that nicotine, as a drug, plays a beneficial role in my life. It levels out my mood and is a great appetite suppressant. I’ve probably lost 20 pounds since I started smoking again. What I do have a problem with is the twisted pleasure I get from smoking tobacco, something that I know is damaging my health and could very well kill me. That’s just insane and it needs to stop. E-cigs and their acceptance have come along way since the last time I used them. It’s time to try it again. Next month, once I have some money again, this will be my first purchase.

Until then, I still need rolling papers. It was almost 10 o’clock on a Sunday night and I didn’t know who would be open but I felt confident given that there were at least four convenience stores or gas stations between my house and the bowling alley. As it turned out, the closest one to my house, a mere six blocks away, was open. So far things were still going my way but I realized that I was at a pivotal moment. I had a choice. I could go home and call it a night or I could venture into uncertainty by continuing on and meeting up with my friends. I knew in that moment, that whatever happened, whether good or bad, could be traced back the the decision I was about to make.

Of course I decided to continue on… Life is an adventure, live it!

Fortunately, it turned out to be a good night filled with good friends and good conversation. After the bowling alley a group of us convened at the Spring Street for last call.  There were more friends, more conversation and more drinks.

Upon leaving the bar I was approached in the parking lot by a handsome slightly older man.  We started talking and he invited me back to his car to get high. I don’t smoke pot, nothing against it, just don’t like the way it makes me feel. Plus, it’s illegal and I really try to avoid criminal activity. Still, I found him quite attractive and was curious to see how things would play out so I followed him back to his car. I can imagine you thinking that was really stupid. How many tales of gay bashing, robbery and murder start off just that way?

Certainly it happens and I think I have a pretty healthy level of skepticism when it comes to strangers. I’ve had my share of unpleasant run ins with people I didn’t know but the people who have caused me the most harm in my life are people I do know. What I have never experienced is any trouble from meeting a stranger at  a bar, in fact some of my most memorable experiences have begun this way, not that I make a habit of it.

Once inside his car it because clear to me that he was most undeniably gay and that he wanted to take me home with him and that he wanted to have sex. The fact that he was gay pleased me but the rest I was not so excited about. I’ve engaged in after bar hook-ups before and I have no regrets about doing so – it’s just not where I was on this night. Plus, I really prefer to be sober when I have sex with someone… at least the first time. We did make out for a while and that was fun. But that was all I was up for so I excused myself and continued on my way.

I’m telling you this story because I feel like there is a misconception out there that gay men will seize any opportunity to have sex. Maybe for some gay men this is the case but it’s in no way universal.  Just because you are gay doesn’t mean that you are attracted to all people of the same gender any more that being heterosexual means that you are attracted to all people of the opposite gender. And just because you find someone attractive does not mean that you want to have sex with them. The fact is, for most of us, there are very few people on this planet that we would actually have sex with. Gay and straight are social constructs and regardless of how you identify it is not the primary factor in determining with whom you have sex or with whom you fall in love.

That reminds me of another conversation I was having with a woman earlier in the evening. Actually we were talking about boobs; more specifically about how everyone loves boobs. She mentioned how even gay men love boobs. It’s true, they do. Some are down right fascinated by them. It’s not a sexual thing, at least it doesn’t have to be. People just like what they like and boobs are pretty fucking amazing!

One more story, the I’m calling it quits.

While catching up with an old friend I mentioned that I am aspiring to be a philosopher. He was being supportive and suggested that I go back to school and study philosophy. Instead, I found myself getting defensive. I mean, I studied philosophy in college. I’ve read many of the greats and understand the basics of philosophical thought. That’s not what really bothered me though.

You see, the reason why I’m pursuing philosophy instead of say, economics or even psychology is that I don’t believe that it requires any specific training . All I need is the ability to think critically and the means to communicate my thoughts. If other people connect with my ideas, if I can explain and inspire, then I would conciser myself a good philosopher. I don’t need a PhD. or other accreditation. In fact I think could be a hindrance. When someone is considered and expert in a particular field their status can add more weight to their words than the actual ideas contained within. For some things, science for example, expertise is essential. But when it comes to understanding the human experience, keeping an open mind is essential. I believe all experiences and points of view have merit. I want to be judged by my ideas, not my degree.

Still, he’s not wrong. If I am serious about becoming a philosopher, I do have a lot more to learn.  I’m just not going to limit myself to learning the same things ever other student of philosophy learns. I will learn from everyone  and every situation. I have read Plato and Aristotle. I’ve read Camus, Confucius and Rene Descartes. On this day, I studied you, fellow bloggers, writers and experiencers of life; ordinary people with extraordinary stories to tell.

I leave you with this story I found on xoJane; a particularly poignant example of how life can suck and how we can still find a way to make the most of it.

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