Cunningstuff

A new life, for an old man.

Month: July, 2012

Forever Alone

This is a great story in itself, this picture. I want to know more than just what the photographer offered.

How much can you share when you are the writer? Tonight as I finished up a nice win with my team partner in League of Legends, I asked him to give me a topic to write about, and he said simply, “No.” For about ten seconds I was petulant, but then I realized, he doesn’t have any responsibility to me as a writer. No one has responsibility to me as writer, so suck it up, big boy. I then thought of a reddit I saw, where a professional writer responded to one of the many look-a-like threads complaining of having no ability to write. Basically, he said oh please, please keep these threads coming. For every thread you complain for 500 words about how hard your life is as a writer, I write a thousand words that either make me money, or will make me money.

Now, at the time, I was a bit put off at his words. I had just started my blog and was trying to learn as much as I could. I knew that this thread was mostly about learning to write, and there were the normal threads there, telling the same song and dance we all hear when we start. Write, write when you don’t feel like it, write when you feel like it. Show, don’t tell. I don’t need to hash these out in explicit detail, so let’s leave it at that. I did think, well, he has a point. I will be entering the field of freelance writing soon enough, and I want as little competition as I can have. The less I have to deal with, the more lucrative my contracts can be. It happened to me however, for the past few days, I have been at a loss for words.

So back to where I started, the big no. I took it to heart. For a few seconds I ruminated about and cherished my no. I washed it clean in the river, and I asked it, once we were friends, what it could tell me. Inspiration is always perspiration, so my washing and befriending did the trick. Tell other writers what that no means, and why it was rude to ask. We know in some ways, we are forever alone. Writers are a unique bunch, and even though there are more of us than there used to be, well, that goes for everyone. I remember seeing in the 80’s this guy who did tiny sculptures, and he was famous for it. Now there are like ten guys making tiny sculptures, and they are all successful. Media blitz knocks our awareness down a notch, but if you look there are all kinds of successful writers out there.

Success is another thing that has changed. What is success? I am not a fan of celebrities, because I have already lived like a rock star. I was lucky to survive, but fame is not what I seek. I am not a capitalist, so money is not what I seek. Recognition comes with peers, not the world, so I know one day I will be fine with my talents. I think my idea of success would be knowing I was helping folks out, showing them paths they didn’t think, or know, existed. Not much money in there, but to be honest, as a freelance writer, I should be able to make enough money to live off of. My books are where I intend to sink my guts in, show my teeth, make my voice heard. So I guess success would be for me to have some feedback that I was able to influence someone into thinking about things, or even being an instrument of influence into action. So for me, success is going to be about influence, and I am going to be going it alone.

I no longer care about the words of that thread. He wants money, you know what? Let him have it. Money has never brought anyone love, never bought happiness. People who use money as a salve for everything never make anything better in the long run, because they are just using the old I am rich so let’s be charitable route. I live in a capitalist world, but if I could change anything, it would be exactly that, so my writing is not about money, it is actually about the opposite of money. Do I want to make money as writer? Well, yes, because I live in a world that needs money to survive, and I want to survive. Do I want to make it my priority?

There is the catch, if you were thinking like I was. I must make capital to be able to write to get rid of capital. Well, that’s my paradox, and I will have to work with it. I know one thing though, this is being proven in our society, spoken of a lot lately. Self publishing gives you more money, and tears down the infrastructure that removes opportunity from people like me. To broaden the world of the independent artists, well, for that I certainly could be self published. I certainly could use lots of money to finance research into different ways of doing things, of showing the world what mistakes we are making, to show the people that another way exists. Myriad and infinite ways exist, far different from just the super rich holding the world under their thumbs.

I am glad to be alone, because I have spent my whole life arguing and trying to convince people that we need to change. Now I am just going to show them. I am glad I am becoming a writer, I am glad to be showing and not telling. This here old blog is just my off the cuff resource, it is not what I aspire to, but in it, I can think, and show you what I am thinking. I want to be a part of the world, not a Thomas Pynchon, forever truly alone. I want to share and grow because of my fellow human, not be insulated from it all, so I will continue to write alone, but I will come here and share how I got there with you. Eventually, this will be a font of creativity for me, a place that when my own “no” comes into play, I can come here, talk with you, and learn again, that which I need to know most. Be alone, but be a part of us all. What a beautiful thought.

Love is the Love I Need

To support someone is not hard, be there for them, talk to them, encourage them. Let them find their own path, discover their own mistakes, and love them through it, be nice, be forgiving, be understanding. Give them what you can, and always hold on to a little extra time for them. Funny thing is, until I met my beautiful Lady, I never knew what that felt like. The change in me has been overwhelming, I sometimes feel I am drowning in happiness, and other times, I am desperate for her contact. The worst times are right now, while she is dealing with personal problems and I can not be there to hug her. I am in love, deeply in love, but I am in love with someone who supports me, and who I do my best to support in return. Best of times are every night, when we fall asleep with each other, and wake up to each other through the night and into the morning. I have never been supported, I have never had someone really have my interests at heart, and it is the difference between night and day. I guess, to be honest, and I know I have said it before, I have never been loved.

Now I am not going out on a negative note here, I am just saying it, because the opposite, the truth of real love, is just so amazing to me. First of all, it is true, what all the people who have spoken about falling love have said, you must love yourself before you can love another. Attraction often screws us over with this, because we are attracted not loved, and we confuse those things when we are young. Hell, I see a lot of people doing that at my age.  Instead of pursuing love, it becomes easier to be attracted and discard all personal responsibility to another. Love should be forever, and it means being beside that person no matter what. Attraction is nice, but more important is communication, care, support. One thing I learned from spending years in the fetish world, communication is everything, attraction is very much second to three other things, which is support, trust, and honor.  Breaking honor is like breaking a heart, you know when you are doing wrong, and if you do not correct it, you have been selfish and deserve to lose the other two. Support is needed so that people understand they can confide in you, that you won’t fly off the handle, that you won’t judge, but instead will be there for them, especially if the chips have not fallen down. Trust is implicit, and its is first found in the binding of all three, communication. If you do not trust someone, you will not communicate with them effectively, really, trust and communication are almost the same thing.

Before you can use those three though, you must be able to use them on yourself. You must trust yourself, you must be honorable to yourself, and you must support yourself. You will not be able to do any of these things for another if you can not do them yourself. Loving myself was the longest battle I ever fought, and I do not think it is won just yet, although I do feel I love myself well enough. Educating yourself can go a long way towards helping you do that. I was forever angry at myself for choosing trades that did nothing for my future, but once I got the gist of the fact that the US has been sending trades overseas at a ridiculous rate since the 50’s, I could accept the fact that trades died out just as I was learning them, not every job loss was my fault. Once I understood that we as a people of this country have had our future ripped off by a central bank, I could understand why so little opportunity ever showed its face to me. Understanding all of that has led me to that strange place some of us find ourselves at in our 40’s. Doing what we love, at any cost, at any price, just so we do something in our lives we love.

My beautiful Queen did one great thing for me I never could. I had battled up the ladder of self loathing to reach the top, but I had no clue what I was going to do. I was trying art, I was trying music, I had even written a little. Truth be known though, I was quite clueless, until she made up my mind for me. We were talking about what I would do once we got married and lived together, and she said very flatly, very distinctly, “You are going to be a writer.” Not to be dramatic, but it was like someone had hit me with a brick. I mulled over it for a couple of weeks, then I started this blog, and have been writing ever since. I do not know if I would have gotten there on my own, but hell, I certainly took to it like it was made for me. I can however, never repay her for the greatest insight I have ever needed in my life, the one piece of advice I could truly lock onto and gnaw on with my teeth, all the way to the bone.

However, I do want to say, I was trying, and trying hard to find what I loved. I was playing bass like a madman, and not maybe two weeks after I got into writing, three different bands wanted me to try out with them. Just like writing, playing music is an ever-growing, ever learning process, and those are two things I really like. More than anything though, is Love, yes, with a capital L, is the thing I always needed. True love, with support and honesty, trust and honor, is the one piece I needed. I know some folks are fine on their own, but I am not, I need my mate, and I do not want to live without her. If you are old like me, have faith in love, if it is what you are searching for, just make sure to learn to love yourself on the way and it will happen.

Love and the Internet

Because of the internet, I fell in love.

I am quickly becoming an expert in long distance relationships, (referred hereafter as LDR’s,) for otherwise I would lose my beautiful baby. I will attempt, in this post, to pass on some of what I learned.

If you are in a LDR, you must have a consistent and reliable internet. Between writing in my blog and communicating with my lovely lady, I can tell you within five minutes if I have had my internet cut off. If you rely on some travesty of a shared internet that constantly breaks down, don’t. Even though I am limited by living in america to having DSL or cable, and both are overpriced and crappy unreliable services, I chose DSL for its solidity and stable bandwidth. Remember that you will ultimately be communicating via satellite, for if you are a long distance away, like me being in Denver and she being in Sydney, the signals would never transmit by land lines quick enough to actually be able to hold a conversation. This means being aware of electrical sun storms, yes, it did affect us a little bit.

Use as many communications as you can for free. Yes I know skype was bought out by microsoft, yes I know they tell the government everything now, but this is about the love you share, and the current best free internet messenger is skype. If you can, send each other an email now and again, talk about new things you discover this way, then you can discuss them on a vocal message. Text message each other, the messenger then is not so important, as the delay between texts is fine. We use yahoo, and I have no other person on my yahoo. Skype is my main communication tool, but I have one messenger with just her, and no one else on it, with unique sounds to alert me if she is trying to get a hold of me.

Use a free virtual world to meet and play in, or if you are both into an MMO, use that world to meet and play in. We use SecondLife, and it is perfect for people to have a space that is disconnected with the real world that they can live and meet each other in. I think this to be crucial, because you can not shut the blinds and lock the door any other way. You have to be careful though, you can get jealous of an avatar. I have played in virtual reality for so long, I automatically say ouch if I bump my head or run into a wall. Make sure it is a place you are both comfortable in, if she like WoW and you despise it, find a second place for free where you can be private and have fun together. There are many choices, and much better reviews than I can list here, just take a look at what is out there.

Use voice communication, often and regularly. Video, especially over long distances and with limited bandwidths can be difficult, but most any home service can use voice with some stability. The human voice is the way we communicate best, you can hear stress, love, anger, laughter, you can evolve your relationship with voice. When the phone finally took over the telegraph, people could handle long distance relations much better, and it was not unusual, nor is it still, to evolve a complex relationship just based on voice.

That being said, however, use file sharing for photos and videos of each other. We share a Dropbox, and it is a great way to give over a lot of photos or a mp4 video off of your phone or camera to each other. I have made two videos for her so far, and she loves both of them. I just rode around on my bike exercising and showed her parts of Denver I liked. It motivates me to get out and exercise more, and provides us a nice little movie to watch together. While she was in Paris, she would upload all her photos from the day, and we would go over each one, as if we were sitting on the couch looking at a photo album together, just using skype and dropbox.

STAY OFF OF FACEBOOK. I can not express this in other way. One of the most important things to a young couple (young as in the age of the relationship,) is privacy. I have watched a lot of friends lose their real life partners who live together, not even in a LDR, because they could not stay, either one of them, off of the troll haven called facebook. It is fine if you met there, but take your commentary to each other somewhere very private and protected. Yes, the government and microsoft can see us talking, but far worse is all the “friends” of facebook, baiting and trolling each other with such verve, the head spins to even imagine it. She is an atheist and you are a catholic and you work things out, well that should be your own damned business. I understand a lot of people use it to communicate, that’s fine, but take your love into a special place, so no one but your SO and you can hear and see each other when you talk regularly.

Finally, and I think this to be the most important, set up a regular schedule to meet and talk. Whatever voice you use, make it so that there is at least an hour or two everyday that you talk and relate to each other. Sporadic conversations promoted by love are great at the start, but having something to rely upon, it’s much more important. When we first met, it was mostly in SecondLife, but as we grew to love each other, we eventually moved onto skype. Now I can skip everything we do in a day, knowing that when the day ends, we will have at least an hour to talk and relax with each other, which is about all a lot of non-LDR’s get as it is. I set specific boundaries on this, nothing but an emergency, a real emergency such as death, fire, or natural disaster, can interrupt this time together. It is our most treasured moments together, even if we don’t have a lot to say, falling asleep with each other’s voice in our ears is just enough of heaven to keep us going the next day.

It is a new world, we often don’t even meet our next door neighbors anymore, so we find love where it finds us. More and more, we are all either looking at starting a relationship as a LDR, or have to maintain a LDR over time due to business or school. These tools are working for us, we are 5 months into our relation, and these are the lessons we have learned together. I hope it helps someone out there now!

Why Go That Way?

 

I feel like I am walking into the storm with this post.

I am obsessed with very few writers. One problem is I do not worship vanity or celebrity. One of my favorite quotes comes from the late Bill Hicks, “The more marketing I see, the less I want to buy.” I have never read fan fiction, and I certainly do not want to produce any. I was looking at the best sellers list yesterday, for a little research for my blog, and I was promptly disgusted. Really? 50 Shades of disgusting is the top book title? Well I ranted enough yesterday, let me say what I want to do. Let me focus on the positive, and talk about who has influenced me and what I aspire to. I have recently read through the classical russian list of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Turgenev. I must say, the stories were good, but the writing is not me. I do however, really want people to discuss what I write, in the same way Turgenev is still discussed, cursed and praised. I do not think any of my beginning works will do such things, but I still aspire.

My first love of a real writer goes back to Tolkien. Lord of the Rings is an amazing story that most people catch a faded shadow of through movies. I was led full force into his world, by text, by escape, by love of his multifaceted and deep history that runs through all the characters and settings. My favorite in all his books was the Beorning clan, half man, half bear, not evil but noble and proud. It is but a small part of the Hobbit, and is barely used, but it still portrays that which I love about his work, depth, meaning, solid history. I was an early adopter of Dungeons and Dragons, which to be honest, might not even exist if it was not for Lord of the Rings. I also read C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia and Cosmic Trilogy. When I was young, life was rather hard on me, and I really loved the escape these writers gave me.

My second love would have to be Richard Bach. I was a fairly lost little boy, even though I might have been bigger and stronger than I suspected. Illusions, The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah hit me like a ton of bricks. I went on to read everything else he wrote, but to be honest, nothing ever struck the chord Illusions did. I really needed someone who saw as I did, someone who could claim to be spiritual and wise, who had something to say, and Bach did all these things in one book. I still quote from that book to this day, even in my blog I have quoted him. He is a big influence on how I see things, and not because he taught me, so much as he agrees with me.

Thirdly, Tom Robbins will always hold a place in my heart. He writes with a moral, but never tells you exactly what he is hinting at, but instead lets you interpret and think for yourself. Two Tom Robbins fans may never agree on exactly what he wants to say, but they will agree in general he is always moving the reader in a general push to understand something. I like to think that because of Robbins I read Pynchon, I have not murdered any hippies, and I eventually learned to like jazz. He is my cool suited hip partner in crime, and he taught me to never be afraid of anyone or anything, but instead make life deal with you, be a force of nature and live on this good earth.

Finally,  Robert A. Heinlein would have to take fourth writer I learned to love. I came across Stranger in a Strange Land a long, long time after the hype of his book had passed, but I was really blown out by what he was presenting. Unafraid to challenge all of society, all concepts, he showed me to think for myself, to grok what was, is, and shall come. I still am influenced by this kind of thinking, it is really incredible to think that a book I read 20 years ago still has that kind of overarching philosophy on me. To be incredibly honest, I have since to read a book that can be that influential.

I do not think I am anywhere near being able to write like these giants, if giants I may call them. I find the goals they set to be far to lofty for me at this point, but again, in dire consequence of repeating myself, I do aspire to such goals. I have several things working in my benefit towards such goals. I do not look to be making any money at this, so I am going to be quite able to amble down whatever road I lay for myself. I have a lot of interest in being a freelance writer for money, but really only to support and increase my ability as writer/artist in general, not actually be the worlds greatest freelance writer. Because I like fiction for the ability to mold and manipulate, I do not have to worry about anything beyond world building and telling the tale, research is minimal, and I will use what I see fit to write with. I can finally lift my imagination up as my greatest tool, and use logic and reason to instill a good sense of solidity to what I write. I think also, I am ready for work, ready to get down and get my nose dirty and my keyboard a good wear out, and really get to it. I am calling my first two ideas science fiction, and the third I am not calling anything, because I want the third to be the one that makes me think harder, work harder, and live harder to get it out. I prepared, I feel I have a good sense of what to start with, and I am looking forward to getting something other than these blogs out of my hide. I will however, maintain my status quo here of 5 posts per week, around a 1000 words per, and not try to think too much about it, just write for the pure feeling of writing. I may one day, look at this as my greatest tool, for it is certainly the way I got started.

The Jung Ones

CC license, the best new way I have found to sharing creatively.

Where is my Einstein? Where is my Hawking? I am lost, in a world of mediocre entertainment and trivial sidebars. I ask for greatness, but I get told to read 50 Shades of Fucking. I am saddened and disturbed by the shallow compass points people are relying upon in this world. I long for a more intense conversion of my time, I search through history, and when I return, I find that things have only gotten worse. I would like to think we have entered a great time of enlightenment, but I find the available pursuits to be petty and superficial, and people seem entranced by such vapid entertainment. All of my mates, and I do mean all of them, are entertained every weekend by athletes kicking a ball, or hitting a ball. I never meet people who want to think, and creation seems to be limited to either musicians or writers.

About 16 years ago, I was hanging out with my favorite band, and they were planning on their last show at the warehouse. They went on to perform a few times for years after, but we all knew that losing the warehouse was going to make shows hard to get. I was very lucky to have spent a lot of time with these folks, and I was in a position to help out. I asked, how many people do you think will come? 30-40 is what we got, and I said well, let’s do something from the other side, let’s make paper mache masks, and if you want to come, you have to wear one. For about two weeks, we all made these balloon based masks and head coverings. 50 of them, and just to see them lined up on the floor, well, it was nothing short of spectacular. I made about five myself, and they were all painted and decorated, and the girls went on to give one hell of a show. Masks can make people wild, wilder than normal, and that would describe that last show very well.

I want to discourse my philosophy with someone, but what I get is one of two responses. “I don’t discuss things like that.” or, “You should have a radio show.” I rarely get people who can actually carry on, and think with me. I expect you to know the basics, I expect you to know your history, your society, and I expect you to be involved, and I am rarely, with about two exceptions, ever met halfway. Aside from those two people, everyone just regurgitates either a political or media based opinion. I want to start a booth at festivals in america, where the tent has nothing but chairs in a circle, with a banner that says, “Entry cost: one intelligent personal conversation.”

About two years ago, I got very frustrated with the music scene in my local area. I seemed to be seeing a lot of local musicians who were dying to meet and greet and form up to do things, but we had no venue. A new bar opened up that seemed sympathetic to my cause, and I approached the owner to try to put together a musicians diversity jam, a place for new and old musicians to find each other and play together. I worked long and hard, set up a forums, printed and displayed flyers all over, with the same call, let’s get together, get some jazzy snazzy rhythms out, and have a new place to meet, in public. I had approximately 30 people show up, and then it happened. The sound man cut us off, installed two “jam” bands of his own, and never let us on stage. He sabotaged my bass tuning, detuning it every time I left the stage, his friends all filled up the sign in sheet so we couldn’t get on, and the owner told my second we had to be more aggressive…They played cover tunes of hippies and grateful dead all night, and we were ignored, pushed away, and ultimately, the entire thing was disgraced. And this was supposed to be an “open mic” night.

I would like to see a drop in the amount of recorded music we hear, and a rise in unrecorded music. My favorite kind of music is music made up on the spot, no rigorous schedule, no sheets of music, just people tuned into a rhythm and a beat, playing with each other, playing off each other. I know that is about as successful as people meeting to talk and think together. It seems we are locked into a decaying cycle, a cycle that can only include whatever is presented to us by think tanks of marketing, supplanting our individual curiosity and creativity. I talk a lot about how tough things are, and I do not see any end of it, because of this decaying cycle. Music is so approachable now, painting, art, words, speech, so fluid and changeable, but the mass minds are being directed by a bunch of dimwits.

We are coming out more with internet. I see changes happening for us, but I fear for us at the same time. I fear the consumerism has driven us to a vanilla existence, and our saviors are not going to be found in SoBo art galleries or Clear Channel radio stations. Mass media is slowly but surely killing off new ideas for the sake of profit in america, and it is a serious problem. I guess this is one of the reasons I have decided to become a writer, there are not many outposts of creativity left for us, and music seems to be a dead end oriented around profitability. Art seems to be either something disgusting to shock people into thinking or mild manipulations of entertainment leftovers from childhood. In writing I can explore issues, and even be incendiary, and I can not be stopped. Self publication even widens the ability for me to reach out and inspire people. I am slowly but surely defining my path for writing, more about that one tomorrow.

 

 

Lost in Conversation – Playwriting

Sports? What sports? Two people killing each other? Oh, you mean boxing?

Agent One: Hey now, don’t talk about sports. I love sports.

Agent Two: Why not? You wanted to know what was wrong with society, you asked me to explain.

1: I didn’t want you to tear everything down, I just want a synopsis.

2: Well there is no such thing. Our society is large, and you must look at all the involvements, not just what you want to hear.

1: Well give it to me then, but I am telling you right now, you are wrong.

2: How am I wrong? You are just like the baby boomers, lets fix stuff, but leave my little charade of piety alone. Sports are dangerous thought killing machines, and they are designed to motivate you to entirely the wrong thing.

1: I do not see how that is true, you are so full of shit, I think you might even stink up the room.

2: Only because it is an affront to everything you have been programmed… sorry, taught, to believe. I watched jocks get passed from class to class, not all, but certainly the prize players never had a problem in any class they went to, and if they did, they were just moved to the same type of class that just happened to be taught by an ex coach.

1: I didn’t get passed without having to learn the teachings.

2: Were you a prize player? Did the team revolve around you?

1: I was popular, people liked me, I played hard.

2: Pretty much every other jock had the same idea, but my point remains, and you avoid it. Were you the top player, or one of the top players? On the field every game, every inning?

1: I don’t see what that has to do with it.

2: Everything. I was a … hmmm…. Well, lets just say I was important to my class. I got passed from grade to grade, from 6th grade on. I was not a jock, but like them, I got a free pass until 12th grade, when they did everything to kick me out, and succeeded.

1: So you were not a jock, how can you say what you were saying?

2: Because I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the mechanics to do it existed. I knew some of the jocks after school, and they got the same treatment. It is amazing how drugs can let a tongue loose from people who hated me before.

1: You are just talking high school anyways, I don’t see how it affects me now! I have a family, I take care of my kids, I work, I do all the stuff I am supposed to do, and you want me to turn off my television for the few hours I actually enjoy life!

2: My point exactly.

1: You are simply ridiculous. That makes no sense at all.

2: Of course it doesn’t because you can’t see what I am trying to say. First of all, you don’t have much time at all, do you?

1: Nope, it’s wake up, work, get the kids, work, go to sleep. If I am not working, then I have to help around the house while my wife works. Raising kids through all that is just… I don’t even know where to begin. Then Sunday, I put the kids in the yard, and I watch my games.

2: It doesn’t niggle you in any way that you work much more than your dad?

1: My dad worked hard all his life!

2: Yeah, but did your dad work two jobs, and your mom one?

1: My dad worked for the railroad, and mom never worked, she was at home taking care of…. Oh I see what you’re trying to get at. Well, times ain’t what they were, we all know that.

2: I don’t think times were what they were at all. For one, I have not made one iota more than I did 30 years ago, i have no benefits, no retirement, and no money to get benefits. My rent is literally one half my wages I take home, and then I haven’t even bought food.

1: You live on your own though, no kids. If you had kids you would have a tougher time, I guaranty you that!

2: I know, but my point is still lost on you. There was a lot less automation back in the times of our fathers, a lot less computer work, a lot more manpower needed to run things. A CPA could only handle so many clients, without hiring more people, because a human can only write so much in a given time. Now a CPA can handle thousand’s of clients, as far as the math is concerned. Back then, the CPA would hire a young kid out of college, teach him the biz, now the CPA wants another CPA with his experience, and no kids from school, there has to be experience. Jobs have turned inwards for resources, not outwards.

1: I can see your point on this, but it still makes no sense.

2: Because power is never given, power is only ever taken.

1: How does me watching sports on the weekend have anything to do with this? I use a computer at work, yes! I use a cell phone, yes! I don’t see how sports, oh my blessed games, for fun and relaxation, has anything to do with it!

2: Do you ever remember anything?

1: What? Now you are just being insulting.

2: I remember when only four of the adult men in my family would watch the game. The rest of the men sat around talking about work, or tools, or some such, like maybe hunting or fishing. It would be thanksgiving, and the whole family would be over, there were maybe two guys shouting about this or that, but mostly, it was a general hum of conversation. There would be one or two shouting about catch it, catch it, but mostly, the women cooked and gossiped, the men, hummed through it all until the dinner was served. And once the dinner was served, sports were over, tv off, people talking to each other.

1: I don’t remember, I was a kid.

2: We aren’t getting anywhere with this.

1: You’re the one who started it. Talking about how my sports was the worst thing in the world.

2: I give up.

*********************’

tags are not working for me today, apologies for missed tags.. travel? lol…

Music, As I See It

Music is best when you are involved, in any way you feel.

Music is a complex beast, full of both originality and creativity, and stifled by ridiculous pandering. I do not claim my childhood as a beginning to understanding music, although I was lucky to have a little, and mind you very little, insight into the world of notes. When I was in fifth grade, everyone was taken hostage by Pink Floyd. I was not trying to be a rebel, but I found classical to be soothing and interesting, and I thought it had a much higher skill level than rock. I learned about Beethoven and Bach, Wagner and Vivaldi. When Electric Light Orchestra hit in the early 80’s big, I bought the Discovery album, and loved it.  I can’t really claim much until 1982, when I found Missing Persons. In the summer of 1984 I went to my first concert with them, at Astroworld, a Houston Texas theme park with and awesome wooden roller coaster. I saw two people with colored hair, and met them, and that began my life long love of punk.

I traded my 10th grade typewriting homework for the Dead Kennedy’s album In God We Trust. Holy crap, that damn near blew my eardrums out. I continued bugging my friend for tapes, and got amazing punk tapes from him. I don’t remember all the tunes, but damn good stuff. There was “Pablo Picasso” by The Modern Lovers, “Argh Fuck Kill” by the Dayglo Abortions, “Rat Patrol” by Naked Raygun, “TV Party” by Black Flag, and “Wankers” by The Exploited are the few I remember from those tapes. I sorta just fell right in with such velocity and happiness. There was a music that truly struck a chord with me, and let me be angry about the world and happy there were others like me out there.

Let me take a moment to talk about such things. One thing that is definitely missing is unity of energy these days. Now it is about trying to impress people with your amazing knowledge of music, instead of getting together and making some noise because we are all pissed off. I never see such unity, such energy these days. I mean, yeah, I love the new bands that are out there, there are many, and I will touch on new music soon enough, but to be honest, we were friends, we were united, and we walked around with chips on our shoulders. Speaking of unity, I learned about amazing dance music in the eighties as well, from two main sources. When I was still in high school and right after, Visions was the bomb place to meet up and get into trouble. It had a stainless steel dance floor, so it reflected every light with industrial gleem, and the DJ’s went on to spin at the infamous Numbers later on. New Order, Siouxie and the Banshees, Love and Rockets, that list is probably a lot longer than any other to be honest. I fell in love with the Cure, saw them at Astroworld and then at the Colosseum. I think the Colosseum show was Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me.

I found out about the industrial scene then as well. Ministry, Caberet Voltaire, RevCo, and a particular but shortlived favorite called The Sisterhood. I was tuned in to all these different musics, and they all seemed damned worthy, where everyone I knew from my youth was stuck listening to the same old music, and no expansion. Punkers stuck with punk, metal heads with metal, ad nauseum.  The best part of the whole Houston 80’s music scene however, had to be the almost monthly shows from the Butthole Surfers. Back before they went huge and got famous, they would tear up venues in Houston, with the longest craziest shows powered mostly by LSD, and the twin drummer set up that provided monstrous and tribalistic sound.My personal favorite though, was the introduction to the noise scene, very much courtesy of Chuck Roast from Vinyl Edge and his show on KPFT. I recently got a new tape (yes, cassette tape) from a Hospital Productions out of New York, courtesy a man called Boyd Rice, a friend of mine here in Denver, in 2012. All these bands came through Houston as well, giving us great shows, sometimes mind-blowing shows, that I would come to miss when I moved to Denver in the early 90’s.

Now don’t get me wrong, Denver actually does quite well when it comes to music. When I first moved here, I got to catch quite a few good shows from Crash Worship, and Carbon Dioxide Orchestra, and a few others, but my all time favorite in Denver will forever be Rainbow Sugar. Now we are getting down and dirty, and don’t get me wrong, almost all these bands are gone or out of the loop, but please understand, its MY music, not yours. I hope you enjoy the journey if you take it, but it’s still where I come from, not anyone else.

Moving on the the now and the future. I still love punk, I still listen to rock and metal, I love dubstep and DnB, and I have finally made peace with love songs. I found a few bands back in 2008 that are making good on the now, Temper Trap, LED Soundsystem, and Metric come to mind. My fiance is putting me to rights with both current and older Aussie rock, even if I knew about Hoodoo Gurus and Spiderbait for some time now, I really love hearing the currant and the old from her insightful point of view. It is one of the things we love about each other, a deep, loving, personal relation with music, even if my music is a bit tattered on the edges for her most of the time. Although I will never find replacements for… well, the Replacements, Curve, or LUXT, I will always hold them near and dear to my heart. Music is one of my best and most loved escapes, and I did learn to play bass, gratefully decently, thanks to all those artists and their unique takes on time, tempo, measure and notes.

Ultimately, I think I just want to say, have fun, don’t ever limit yourself. There is beauty in all music, all over the world.

8 Miles

If most people exercise on a bike, this is more what I do.

Today I surpassed myself more than I thought I could. Every thursday is my push day, I have to work on fridays, so thursday is the best day for me to push physically. I did a little over 13 km, or, in US speak, a little over 8 miles on my bike. I have never been happier about my physical condition. I am still fat, I still have a long way to go, but I can do 8 miles on my bike! And I could do more, but I needed some groceries and supplies, so I had to stop and pick them up. I traveled the last 3 km with about 14 kilos on my back as well (30 lbs. for you yanks.) I am getting stronger and going farther every thursday, and wednesday’s I warm up with about 5-7 km. I do not know if I will make my goal this year, which is to reach the foothills of the Rockies, Green Mountain or Red Rocks, but I do know I am getting closer every week. I am now able to ride at night, so starting tomorrow night, I am going to go 3 km a night until I feel stronger to do more. I am going to do it after work, so i don’t want to get all crazy and break something.

I have to be careful, I know I have some problems with my ankles, but they don’t seem to be anything major. I got bad twinges the first few weeks I pushed over 8 km, knees hurting, thigh muscles feeling strained, and once, I was limping from pain in my left foot. But today, going further than I ever have, I have just some mild twinges in my right ankle. I am amazed at how this 43-year-old body is responding, I am quite shocked at how far I can push it. I was barely able to walk four years ago, and had problems going farther than a block walking. Now I can go all day, except my feet get to hurting if I walk and don’t bike. The bicycle is far easier on me than anything else I have tried, though I do have some dumbbells at 4.5 kilos that a fool around with sporadically. Now that I can ride at night, I am looking forward to getting into much better shape faster than I previously thought. I was thinking well, three years, maybe, then I will look thin, but now I am shaving a year off of that.

Step by step, little by little, I have worked up to a tremendous amount. I told this lady who was working a food truck, I had biked to Englewood, and she was like, no way, you did that? I have to get up off my ass and get to working out! I have to admit, making some 20 something thin girl want to exercise did give me a bit of an ego boost. My circle of power is now a 6.5 kilometer range(4 miles, come on yanks, convert already…) I can get to and back that distance without any problems, I can carry a decent load, and I know I will be fine to walk and work after I do it. I feel better than ever, and I am happier than ever.

Now, look, this is not some power exercise I am doing. I go to places I want to see, I take my time, and I am not pushing like a trainer would have me do. I am getting exercise, I am raising my heart rates and breathing heavier after some of it, but I am also cruising and enjoying the ride. I have a fairly heavy mountain bike, no road racer, no hipster single gear, and I do not try to get ahead anytime I see another biker ahead of me. I will actually follow people for a bit on a cruiser, until I either get bored or turn off the road. I am taking my time, as is my want, but I am out there, and going farther and farther all the time. I got a bit shaky again tonight, after I stopped and waited for the light rail to pick me up and take me downtown, but Broadway was a mess out to Englewood, and I did not want to try to ride it at night. Drunks, construction and bicycles do not mix well.

I am a little dizzy, I am a little tired, but it is the feel good soreness I am talking about, knowing I am working off fat, building my core muscles and enjoying the hell out of it. I must disclose to my lovely and beautiful fiance, I am going to be riding a bike a lot in the future, and may not ever get a car in Sydney. I can walk the dogs on foot, then get on my bike and go to the shops, and in the mornings when I need to meet people downtown or other places, I can take a train and pop my bike on with me. I envision myself getting into great shape, so that one day, I can move as fast on my feet as I now do on my bike. I am not intending to be a health nut, but if we are going to study yoga together, I need to have some sort of shape. Some sort of shape other than round…

I must say it again, if you know anyone struggling with weight problems, please, have them contact me. I have my info up on gravitar, they can email me or skype me. I remember reading once in a great book by Richard Bach, we teach best what we most need to know. One day, I want to be able to travel anywhere people go by car on my bike, with my own power, my own vision, and close to the sweet earth and air as I ride. No noise, no engine, no gas but that made from good sweet peaches and a beautiful cheeseburger.

Ever – Character Study

How I imagine her sensitized sight sees the apple in the dark.

In the deep dark of predawn, Ever reached into her backpack for an apple. It was a Granny Smith, and it was about two weeks old and still perfect and unblemished. She listened to the small noises of the new day, and could hear a truck, or some other loud vehicle, some ten miles away. No human noises broke the night, and once satisfied with her solitude, began the noisy task of demolishing the fruit. Her ass hurt from sitting on the rock, but sleep had again evaded her, and walking around only increased the chance of discovery. She looked around the tiny cave with some apprehension. She could see everything fine, but the heat signature from her body could escape the mouth, revealing her hiding place.  Eight hours should not be enough for the heat to classify her as human to the satellites, there were bears and cougars in these mountains still. The grainy black and white was slowly giving way to the rosy wash of dawn, her eyes were adjusting to the glow of predawn. Morning was her favorite time, once the sun broke the horizon the wash of heat would hide her infrared footprints, which was the most used trace method for refugees and immigrants.

In the year since the scientists had let her escape, life had been a joy, if a joy filled with nightmares. She had but one fear, and that was she knew Jericho would not stand idly by and soon would start a war with the race he hated. Never mind that he himself was human, she read the reports, he considered himself a god, and gods are not human. Cities were fine if the police had not been replaced with military, but everyone was to be avoided, at least for now. Her virus identity still needed another month of “baking” before she could claim it and print it out, but until then, life was basically an extreme camping trip. The Rocky Mountains had been the closest to her escape point in Denver, and she had gone north instead of south, like the scientists had suggested. They meant well, but they raised her in MOTHIR, so they could not even understand most basic principles of escape and detachment. Yes, there were more military outposts and even Jericho might be installed in the Rockies, but a valley was the most secure way to travel in the day, and it was beautiful, with fish and wildlife for food, along with about 500 edible plants. Montana has always been the stronghold of independents as well, so more foot traffic in the woods meant less possibility she could be tracked and found.

Her skin registered the movement of air and the rising temperature, and she could see the earth’s shadow retreating from the sky in the entrance to the small cave. Time to go! She got down on her stomach and pulled herself out of the cave. After getting up, she could see the brilliant reds, browns, and greens of the Montana wooded valley. The extra cones in her eye let her see the wind as well, the minute movements of air causing a temperature change that was evident. She felt a sting on her knee, sometime last night she must have torn the worn military fatigues she had stolen from the christian martial outpost the night before. Pulling out the canvas tape in her side pocket, she wrapped the knee with a couple of layers, and then stuffed it back in. She waited, looking for any sign of satellites, and when she was sure no stars were moving, she headed out into the grey dawn fog in the valley below.

The fog impeded her sight in no way other than clinging to her canvas clothing. The sun would burn it off soon, so even that did not deter her from her goal today. When going over the pass the day before, she had spied a small glacial lake in the center of the valley, sure to have fish and their ever important protein for her diet. The hike into the foothills had been arduous, and since she avoided everything but either empty cabins or abandoned outposts, her muscles were getting a bit smaller than normal. Nothing the eye could see, but she could feel it in her legs on the way down the valley. A pound of raw fresh fish would give her exactly the aminos and proteins she would need, and the apple she had saved would give her the energy to catch them. She reached the lake in about 40 minutes, and the fog was holding, so she was not worried about being spied in a moment of hunting.

She stripped down, her long lean body knotted with trim muscle, free of fat. She had very small breasts, but she was very glad of the fact. For a moment, she giggled, no one was around for probably 40 miles, and here she was worried about her body. She caught her reflection, and wondered if her gene donor mother was still alive. She assumed that if she was, they would look alike, although her face was the face of a competing athlete, skin tight to her cleft jaw, the eyes grey in reflection, but turning dark green when her emotions ran high. She spied a reflection of quicksilver in the rising sun, and dove in immediately after it. There was a sharp pain as a fin stabbed her palm, but once her fingers clenched on the tail, the fish was hers. She pulled herself up the rocky outcrop on the side she dove in on, and saw she had nabbed a 30 centimeter Esox lucius, but she knew most people called them pike. Using the sharpened edge of her longer thumbnail, she gutted the fish, and proceeded to eat it raw and still alive. She could feel the proteins being processed in her intestine after about five minutes, and smiled smugly with her breakfast still twitching in her hand. The sun broke over the foothill’s top, and she knew she was going to have a good day again, her and mother nature.

Fluid Coffee Chillout

It is right on the corner, you can not miss it!

Image courtesy Fluid Coffee Bar

I can not help but want to be loud when I drink coffee. My first encounter with a caffeine high was at a long gone place in Houston.  Run by punkers, they only sold art, pot, coffee, and wine, and in about that order, in between sets from awesome local bands. The pot was pretty much only for those in the know, the wine was horrible but the coffee was fresh, dark, and cheap, and the art was pretty much the best by unknown locals. I would laugh and carouse until I was pretty much a shaky nervous wreck, then go smoke and come back and start again. The not sleeping was probably the worst of the experiences, and a sudden flood wiped the place literally off its foundations. I was in that sort of mood, although I am sober these days, when I found Fluid Coffee Bar. I had a great ride on my bicycle, and I was looking for something to keep going when I got home and sat down to write.

I walked into the coffee-house, a little unsure of what I might find. I am not really an uptown resident, and although the separation between Capitol Hill and Uptown is but four blocks, there is a world of difference. Uptown is snazzy and new, Cap Hill is more rundown, if more diverse. I wanted an espresso or something though, before I headed in for the night, so I figure it would be okay. First thing I noticed on entering was the smell of coffee. I might be a bit snobbish on this, but if I do not like the smell when I walk in, I won’t buy a coffee. I go to some of these places, and it smells like cleaner, or worse, fucking nag champa. Instead I was greeted by what I want to smell, the smell of people ordering, making, and drinking coffee drinks. The music was nondescript but modern and decent, no Muzak console was heard. I took a look around and immediately noticed that this place is a very well equipped internet cafe as well. Found art was displayed prominently on the walls, and I figured, maybe its uptown, but whoever is running the joint has some taste. I walked straight to the counter, and looked up at the drinks. A tall thin man greeted me, told me his name was Brian. I asked for a macciato pulled long and he didn’t even hesitate. We talked coffee for a short bit, and I was very delighted, he is a well-rounded barrista, and proud of his work.

I then asked about the rates for internet rental, and it was cheap. WiFi is free of course, it is just using the shop’s computers where there is a charge. I know I can run over here if I ever need to, in an emergency, and I just need to bring a fiver to be on all night.  The shop is laid out in a large L-shape, but thanks to nice placement of various refrigerators and furniture, there are nooks and crannies where you can have a private conversation.  Aside from the tables and chairs area, and the couch area, there is also a presentation room for gatherings. I really like the layout, it is something you do not see often, a place where you can relax, do business, or just have a game of chess. Plenty of space, and even if it was crowded, there is an outside patio, just so many places to sit. I was rather loud and boisterous, as is my want, and few of the patrons looked like they would rather me not be so loud. From the glances I got I was disturbing them, but to be honest, it’s a freaking caffeine bar, go home for silence, it is not a library. Brian was a font of knowledge, and talked about using NOVO coffee, being sure that I knew it was proper and decent, with humanitarian results for all. We talked about weight loss, and he was glad to hear about how I had changed over the years, and in general, made my evening pleasant, so I ignored the other patrons. I think that in an earlier time of day, this is a great place to hang out, but at night, well yuppies really do think the world should shut down and be quiet so they are not disturbed. I still intend to go often, as I have been made to feel at home by the staff.

If I go south, well, I have another favorite I use, but anytime I am heading north or to downtown, I am stopping here. The coffee bar is well staffed, they have this caramel pecan brownie I have no interest in eating ever again… until I murder someone for the money to buy another… There are vegetarian eats, scones, sandwiches, and my favorite thing was cups of fresh fruit and bananas.  Over all, the entire place is a wonderful space, and it shows well in Uptown. If you are close to close to 19th and Pennsylvania, I cannot argue for a better stop to refresh the batteries of both body and mind. Denver needs more spaces like this, I miss Muddy’s, I miss my punk warehouses, and I have finally, after many years, found a worthy replacement. I am tempted to come here and do popsicle stick art and drink coffee until my nervous system shuts down, and maybe annoy a few yuppies while I am at it.

01 E 19th Ave, Denver, CO 80203 | Map
720.519.4681 | info@fluidcoffeebar.com
HOURS: Mon-Fri 6:30am-10:00pm / Sat & Sun 7:00am-10:00pm