Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I Have Rediscovered My Soul Again (and again and again and again.................)

Reliving Sonic Highways.

Actually I am not really reliving it because I never watched the whole thing first time around.

Sonic Highways is a musical experience put together by Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters in 2014. The band traveled to eight cities essential to the evolution of music in America. Primarily rock, blues, jazz and country. They dive into the musical and cultural history of the city, they interview musical icons as well as deeply influential people whose names you might not recognize (but I do, because music is my blood and that knowledge makes this series taste even better to me).

They get insights from all of these people, they develop a real feel for the city and its music, and then Grohl writes a song based on all these influences which the band performs at the end of every segment. Usually in an iconic hall or recording studio or some other really cool place.

This thing captured my attention in 2014, I started to watch the episodes but got away from it. This happens to me often. I am easily distracted by bright and shiny objects.

Recently rediscovered it and decided to immerse myself in all eight episodes; one every day before I take off for work.

This adds a little beef to my soul in an effort to help me survive one more fucking meaningless shift; one more waste of 5 hours of my  now exceptionally limited lifespan.

I am watching it in reverse sequence; I don't know why, it just seemed like the right thing to do. So far I have been to New York City, Seattle, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Austin. Today I experience Nashville, then I'm off to Washington D.C. and Chicago.

Here's my point. This series is me and I am it. This is one of those moments where I am experiencing something that is perfectly in sync with my soul. There is no space between me and what Grohl is doing; I am captivated by each and every episode. When I watch these episodes every piece of bullshit is stripped from my life; every worry, all self doubt, every unhappiness, every failure.

I am reduced to my essence and it thrills me; it feels so good and so right.

(Editor's note: I NEED to find a way to get more of this into my life, to make this feeling something a little more expected, rather than have it be some epiphany type occurrence that, once over, makes my life seem even more dismal.)

Even cities that I thought would not resonate as much with me, like Los Angeles, have captivated my attention and stimulated my emotions. I do not know what the hell to expect from Washington D.C, but experience tells me that I will dig it.

The series adds depth and perspective to my knowledge. For instance, Willie Nelson thumbed his nose at Nashville early in his career, relocated to Austin, Texas and started his own music scene, bringing together hippies and cowboys in the process. I knew this, everybody knows this. But I just did not realize that Willie almost single handedly created the music scene in Austin. I did not realize just how big his shadow is.

I also did not realize that he almost single handedly made Austin City Limits what it is.

Those are just two examples of knowledge that is seeping into my diseased brain and struggling soul courtesy of this series.

And I love it. I love the way it feels.

I am enjoying interviews with and about so many icons of mine, digging on the musical history in each city, digging on all the unique personalities inevitable within the heart and soul of the music world.

This thing makes me feel alive. It brings me to the surface of me, so I can take a look at my true essence and once again evaluate if I like who I truly am.

I do.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Life In Its Extremes

Driving down to Massachusetts last Saturday to enjoy experiencing my brother perform with the magnificent symphony orchestra he is a part of.

Symphony Pro Musica, out of Hudson, MA, by the way.

Hour and a half drive, listening to the radio.


Some live performance - Mountain Stage, I believe.

Guy is introducing the song he and his band is about to play. He explains that the first verse is about a janitor who sweeps the floors of the Sistine Chapel.

I was so struck by that image. A janitor doing a thankless job in a place of unimaginable beauty, poetry and history.

I pictured him leaning on his broom, tired and unfulfilled, looking up at the magnificent beauty created by Michelangelo.

Life in its extremes.

Words That Hit Home

Watching a kind of musical documentary thing yesterday.

A guy is talking about the first time he visited Los Angeles, where he eventually decided to live.

He had been raised in a cold weather climate.

He said as he first discovered LA, walking around and digging it, he thought to himself:

"How could my parents have gotten it so wrong?"

It is all about perspective and opportunities.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Jesus Christ I Am Fat

Weighed myself this morning. Came in at 189. Point 6. Fucking digital scale. 189.6

With a regular scale I could have interpreted my weight at 189. But at 189.6 I automatically have to round up to 190.

190 fucking pounds.

I am 5 feet 7 inches tall. Me weighing 190 pounds is like a newborn weighing 57 pounds.

Fucking ridiculous.

I have been here before. Twice. And lost the weight.

Epically, a couple of years ago I dropped from 190 to 169. Felt good about that but it took almost an entire year.

I no longer have that kind of patience. Or time.

Back story: I was sick as a dog for over a month. Got sick a few days before the Super Bowl, so around February 2nd or 3rd, and stayed sick through the first week of March. Epic fucking cold that filled my lungs up with crud and drained me of energy.

Prior to that I was on an exercise renaissance, man, I was kicking it hard. Devoted, regular, pushing myself. I decided that cancer might kill me but my heart would not.

Then, The Cold. I did not exercise for around five weeks. Couldn't do it. No energy, and the crud in my lungs had me coughing and choking like a rookie sucking on his first joint.

I gained weight. So there's a bit of excuse for my morbid obesity.

However, even if I assume I gained five pounds in February, that still means I weighed 185 pounds before that.

What a beast.

It hit me on Saturday night when Carol and I traveled down to see my brother play in the magnificent symphony orchestra he performs with. I felt like getting pretty, so I wore a nice pair of pants, black shirt with black and gold cuff links, a nice silk tie I recently bought, and a black vest.

I thought I was stylin', baby.

Hour and a half drive to get there, I am 63 years old, so naturally I had to visit the bathroom before the performance.

Approach the sink to wash my hands, take a peak in the mirror and was horrified.

Holy shit. The vest and the tucked in shirt (I usually wear my shirts untucked, for obvious reasons) made my belly look like a mound of jello. A huge fucking mound of jello.

I thought I looked pretty when I got dressed. In reality, I looked ridiculous. A caricature of my real self.

So here I go again.

I started exercising again last week just to fire a warning shot across my body, let it know what was coming. I eased into it.

Ramped it up today and gonna stay there. Also getting back to the cereal diet. Yogurt for breakfast, cereal for lunch.

This works for me.

But I am not waiting for December to go out and buy that thong.

I am going to lose as much weight as quickly as possible with ferocious determination and granite discipline.

And then I am moving to Hollywood.

I Am Not Worthy

When I experience pure love and trust from Maka and Lakota I sometimes feel unworthy.

The level of trust is so fiercely deep that it overwhelms. When Maka is sitting upright on the floor and I lean down to pat her little head, she closes her eyes and raises her head up to meet my hand.

That is a level of trust - and love - that carries a hell of a lot of weight, that has so much depth to it that it eclipses human emotions by light years.

Lakota and I head butt a lot. This is not quite as extraordinary because Lakota will butt her head into anybody to get attention. She is a love junkie, big time. However, I lean down and put my head next to hers, she literally head butts me and then I kiss the top of her head.

It is our thing.

When I say I feel unworthy it is not because I am a flaming asshole or a cruel and cold hearted son of a bitch. It is because I am a human.

I believe the spirit of an animal is more highly evolved than the human spirit.

I had to earn the trust of our cats. And I have done so swimmingly. I am intimately involved with our cats. I spend a lot of time with them and they get a lot of attention from me.

I talk to them constantly and I do it conversationally. I don't use stupid pet talk. Carol and I showed the same respect to our sons by never talking down to them, and they turned out all right. Except they moved out, which was pretty fucking ungrateful on their part.

I talk to the cats conversationally, I pet (or pat) them a lot; I kiss them on the head, a lot.

I am a loving and sensitive guy; I need a target for my love. Carol keeps a baseball bat next to her on the couch and wields it ferociously anytime I get near her. The cats are the beneficiaries of her cold hearted rebuffs.

I get a great deal of happiness from Maka and Lakota and I think I make them happy as well. I treasure our relationship; it feeds my heart and my soul.

Even though I have earned the love and trust of my cats, it still stops me short every time Maka closes her eyes and lifts up her head.

She thinks more highly of me than I do of myself.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Vince Flynn Is Dead

Started reading a book written by Vince Flynn titled "Kill Shot".

The joint I work for is picky about the stuff they put out to sell, which is a good thing. The store has a reputation for quality stuff at good prices.

The store receives a ton of donated books. If they are a bit raggedy they get dumped into the recycling pile.

First of all I have an intimate relation with the book section - paperbacks are $1, hardcover are $2. Even though I recently made the decision to do the kindle thing on my tablet for "throwaway" books, you know, books I would not be inspired to hold onto, I cannot stop myself from bringing book after book after book home from the store. The walls of the house are bursting with bookage; leaning out at precarious angles.

Only a matter of time before Carol and I are living outdoors.

In addition, I go through the recycled books pile. I get these for free, for Christ sake. I came across "Kill Shot", never read the guy before, so I thumbed through it, liked the feel, and took it home.

Flynn had a series of books he wrote about Mitch Rapp, a rogue CIA agent. Decades ago I read a ton of espionage novels. So much so that I burned out on them. I have stayed away from them ever since. But I liked the style of his writing, the feel of the book; the vibe was right and I am all about the vibe when I pick up a new book or new author.

I love the book. Fucking love it. Have been devouring it this week.

The book was published in 2012. Under acknowledgements in the front of the book, Flynn devoted a few pages to the fact that he had been recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. He thanked a lot of people for their help and support along the way. Friends, his wife, people in the literary world, his doctors.

It was a positive thing. He thanked a friend who was told he was going to die from cancer 10 years prior and was, obviously, still alive. Flynn said: "Thank you for showing me what can happen when a stubborn Irishman refuses to quit".

I decided to check in and see how Vince Flynn was doing.

Vince Flynn died on June 19, 2013 from prostate cancer. He was 47 years old.

This really bummed me out. I mean fucking floored me. I had just discovered this guy's writing and decided that I love it; just discovered that he had written a whole series of these books in a genre I had ignored for decades but now had renewed interest in.

It is a weird thing and difficult to explain. I guess going from the excitement of discovering a new author, new to me, going from being allowed intimately into his life through the acknowledgments section, to finding out that he died - recently - from the disease that attacked him - I guess it knocked me off balance.

From one extreme to another, emotionally.

Of course, that nasty fucking cancer word has been introduced into my own life and it hangs over my head like the Sword of Damocles in the Three Stooges episode titled "Half-Wits Holiday".

I don't care what anybody says, I don't care how relatively minor the diagnosis was, I don't care how many people I know who have survived a loooooooong time with cancer - that word is permanently lodged in my mind. I come back to it a lot.

And wonder.....................

So there is that.

Anyway, I have been reading this book with a touch of somberness in my soul.

Glad I found you, Vince Flynn. You are making and will continue to make my life more endurable, and that is no small feat. Thank You.

I wish for your family's sake and for my own selfish sake that you were still around.