Monday, June 30, 2008

100 Questions With The Author

1) Are you really ready for 100 questions?
Yes. I've got time to kill.
2) Was your last kiss a mistake?
3) Do you believe in God?
4) Who did you last say i love you to?
That's a need to know basis.
5) Do you regret it?
6) Do you enjoy practical jokes?
7) Have a best friend?
A few share that title, but there's some hierarchy.
8) Are you a boy or girl?
Let's go with man.
9) What is your relationship status?
See #4.
10) How do you want to die?
Gunned down while the chorus to "Knights Of Cydonia" by Muse is playing.

The video is stupid, but it's an amazing song. The chorus can be heard at 3:19 and 4:42. I REALLY like being able to embed this stuff so you guys can hear it.
11) What did you last eat?
Toast with black cherry jam, a hot dog with ketchup, and Strawberry-Kiwi Gatorade Rain.
12) Play any sports?
I don't mind soccer or baseball. I SUCK at basketball. I enjoy dodgeball and riding Shelley's bicycle.
13) When was your last physical fight?
It's been years.
14) Tom from MySpace is about to go to jail, what’s your first thought?
I wouldn't know, since I removed him from my friend list. Good riddance, he seemed like a tool.
15) Do you have an attitude?
16) Ever been in love?
Several times.
17) What is your real name?
Don Van Vliet
18)Do You Like To Read?
More like love. I read anything I can get my hands on, and not just books. I like reading people.
19) Are you gonna get high later?
What a preposterous question. I've got nothing against the consumption of cannabis, but I've got a problem with it getting a hold over people. But you can easily say the same with anything.
20) Do you hate anyone at the moment?
I've got a short list, but I never forget.
21) Twirl or cut your spaghetti?
I'm an eighth Sicilian, and yet spaghetti is my least favorite food.
22) Who is your best friend's uncle's cousin wife's daughter's boyfriend?
Glenn Murphy.
23) Do you tan a lot?
Only if I'm out in the sun.
24) Have any pets?
My parents have two dogs, a 15 year old arthritic dust mop with bad vision and hearing named Jasmine and a spry 1 1/2 year old named Lily.
25) How exactly are you feeling?
Calm, refreshed, actually looking forward to work tonight.
26) Ever ate food in a car while someone or yourself is driving?
Who hasn't? And it's eaten, dumbass.
27) Ever eaten food that upsets your stomach?
Ha, ha...yes.
28) Have you ever started a rumor?
Only for the purpose of a prank, ie, so-and-so has naked pictures of himself at a petting zoo.
29) Ever had a rumor started about you?
Um, yes. Ever heard of a chick named (self-censored)? She's such a master of deception she almost convinced me of some shit involving my brother back in high school.
30) Are Barbie & Ken bad influences on people?
Absolutely, they convince children that it's abnormal to have anything other than flat, smooth plastic where their genitals are.
31) Do you regret anything from your past?
Befriending certain people, joining bands with certain people, and a few relationships.
32) What are your political views?
European Socialist/Liberal Libertarian.
33) Do you want to have kids?
34) Ever kissed somebody that name start with a B?
35) Do you type fast?
Yes, and I can do so without looking at the keys or the screen. I have witnesses.
36) Do you have piercings?
37) Want any more?
If I knew it would have zero impact on my likelihood of getting hired in the future, I wouldn't mind getting both ears pierced. I'd wear the tiny hoops only, not those bitch-ass studs that all the tan Greek pricks wear on campus.
38) Can you spell well?
39) What do you miss most about your past?
Being able to shit my pants and not get laughed at.
40) What are you craving right now?
Well, I am in a constant state of craving sushi and pizza, even if I've just eaten...even if I've just eaten one or the other. I wouldn't mind hearing some Beefheart right now...

***Apparently we're supposed to write our own questions. Guess the author of this questionnaire must have gotten totally high, man!***

41) What is this song?
It's a rare version of a track called "Orange Claw Hammer." The original version is a capella, and can be found on 'Trout Mask Replica.' This version features Frank Zappa on acoustic guitar. I'm guessing this is from either 1969 or 1975.
42) What's the most recent album you've heard?
'The American Composer Series Vol. 1: George And James' by The Residents, featuring the music of George Gershwin and their spin of Side A from James Brown's 'Live At The Apollo' album. It's interesting.
43) How is your Kinks book coming?
I finished my chapter on the 'Lola' album a couple days ago, all seventeen pages of it.
44) Is it going to be on here?
No way.
45) Why not?
With some luck, that will become copyrighted material. It's also a LOT of text for an album most of you haven't heard. Moreover, I wouldn't want to post the entire album on here out of respect for Ray Davies, Dave Davies, John Dalton, John Gosling, and Mick Avory.
46) What album are you going to do next?
Muswell Hillbillies.
47) How do you feel about writing your own questions?
Kinda sucks, the mark of a very lazy person.
48) What else do you have going on this summer?
After this session of classes ends, I'll be in Seymour for a week, then Gulf Shores for a week, and then I'll be back in Bloomington.
49) If you had three wishes, what would they be: First wish?
For a time machine. Since I'm killing space for questions, I'll just go ahead and pretend this isn't the ONLY thing I would wish for...though, for the record, it is.
50) Second?
Well, since the time machine will theoretically allow me to meet Frank Zappa, John Lennon, and George Harrison, and I can respectively tell them "Get a second opinion on your urinary problems - it might be your prostate," "DUCK!", and "You need to stop smoking, it will have an adverse effect on your life", I can't wish for them to still be alive...hmm...
I would wish for $5 million dollars. Almost all of it will go into the bank, but I would splurge on a new car, cover rent costs, pay my own gas, insurance, and tuition. While I'm at it, I would spoil myself at the record store and get hard copies of all the Zappa albums I've got on my computer, never mind stock up on Beefheart, The Residents, and a phalanx of other artists on the "I've been meaning to check them out" list.
Actually, make that $10 million. Just in case.
51) Third?
For starvation, oppression, and religious intolerance/nuttiness to end.
52) Are you ready for more pre-written questions?
***Pre-written Questions Continue Hereon***
53) Does somebody love you?
At least a few people.
54) What is your favorite color?
Impossible. If I had to pick: Naples Yellow.
55) What's your ethnicity?
1/8th Sicilian, 1/8th French, 1/4th Polish, 1/4th Irish, 1/8th Native American, 1/8th Dutch.
56) If you could change your ethnicity, what would you choose?
I would increase the French ratio and decrease the Irish.
57) Do you have trust issues?
Both giving and accepting (THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID).
58) What do you sleep in?
Bed, love seat, sometimes the floor (the carpet is really soft).
59) What are your thoughts on crayons?
Love them.
60) Do you have a good relationship with your parents?
"It's getting better all the time." - The Beatles

BEHOLD! A video with pictures of The Beatles that your humble narrator has NEVER SEEN BEFORE! (Hint: most of the new ones to me are in color, for b&w it's mainly the stuff in the first 30 sec.)
61) Are you secretly liking somebody?
Substitute "liking" for "loving," and substitute "secret" with "keeping it secret from only four people", which in that case yes.
62) Do you believe your ex thinks about you?
I don't know, and as cliche as this sounds I truly don't care. I'm friends with a few, but the rest can all hang.
63)How do you deal with people who treat you badly?
See if it's just a one-time thing, like a rough day...if it persists, confront them.
64) Have you ever betrayed a best friend?
Nope. Been betrayed.
65) What is your favorite flavor pancake?
Plain is fine, blueberry is good, banana is good.
66) Whats a quote you really like?
"Failure is nothing to get upset about. It’s a fairly normal condition; an inevitability in ninety-nine percent of all human undertakings. Success is rare - that’s why people get so cranked up about it."
- Frank Zappa (boldface his own)
67) Whats the last movie you watched?
Batman, the 1966 version...haven't seen it years, and DAMN it is full of crass humor!
68) Have you ever walked outside completely naked?
Not unless I'm pissing in a bush or something.
69) Do you think your a good person?
I'll never admit to it. (By the way - haha, 69.)
70) Do you believe everything happens for a reason?
71) Do you take showers?
Never. My hygiene is a combination of sandpaper and vast quantities of Tide.
72) Last time you had a nice bubble bath?
Probably when I was at the age where I was able to shit my pants and not get laughed at.
73) What is bothering you?
The fact that all my mail is being held at the post office because my name isn't on the damned mailbox here at the apartment. I just learned about this yesterday, and now I'm thinking this cost me at least one job interview.
74) Whats the closest food place to your house?
If Circle K doesn't count, then Qdoba.
75) Do you play the Wii?
No. Do I play with my wee-wee? Just about daily.
76) How do you feel about Wal-Mart?
Symbolic of everything I find wrong with capitalism and corporations...but man, they have everything, and usually at a low price. More or less a necessary evil when you need something at 3AM that you can't find at CVS.
77) What are you listening to?
I'm listening to 'The Madcap Laughs' album by Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett. The best track so far has been "No Man's Land."

Syd Barrett wound up being an acid casualty, disappearing from the public eye after three years as a solo artist in 1972. Living as a schizophrenic recluse with his mother, he one day popped in to his old band's recording studio in 1975. In a moment dripping with irony, Syd had gained a lot of weight, shaved his head and eyebrows, and was unrecognized by the band. When Roger Waters finally realized who it was, he started sobbing. Lastly, they were working on "Shine On You Crazy Diamond." The song was about him, and he didn't know it.
Barrett died of cancer in 2006, living a quiet life (though this didn't keep paparazzi from hassling him) and rarely acknowledging his past.
78) Who has inspired you the most?
Martin Luther King, Jr. This was a man who stood up not for a radical belief, but practicality, a belief professed in the most fundamental annals of history: that all men are created equal. He went to jail defending it, and was murdered because he professed it. But neither the threat or state of imprisonment or the constant death threats stopped him. I admire such bravery, and hope I can only live up to a fraction of what he was.
79) Is there someone you want but can't have?
See #78. Why are so many of these questions based upon the assumption that I'm a lonely pothead who gives a rat's ass about Tom from MySpace?
80) When questions in surveys are missing do you make your own?
Uh, yeah, asshole!
81) Are you mean?
82) Can you keep white shoes clean?
I don't own white shoes - I'm not Elvis or Pee Wee.
83) Do you believe in true love?
If I didn't, I would have a lot of explaining to do.
84) What is your dream job?
To spend my time writing about music, analyzing and critiquing it while documenting the lives of the artists behind it. If I could major in something like that, my life would be just fine.
85) Are you proud of the person you've become?
Yes. I can look back and say, "I'm glad I'm different now," but I honestly think this is the first time in YEARS where I can step back, look at myself, and be happy. I'm lucky to have what I have, do what I do, and I know what I want in life. That's more than a lot of people can say.
86) Do you wanna change?
Great question, dope. I'm always open to change. I love where I'm at right now, but I hope to be somewhere else, wiser, and married in five years.
87) Who was the last person to make you mad?
Someone called me at an inopportune time and wouldn't shut up. I consider that a pet peeve of mine.
88) Do you like the outside?
"Animals eating animals, bugs eating bugs, it's all one giant restaurant." - Woody Allen. I don't really hate being outside, it's just certain conditions are really off-putting.
89) Are you currently bored?
Not really.
90) Do you want to get married?
Yes, but my proposal will be the most robotic thing ever. I will ask, "Would you like to share tax benefits, half of your possessions, half of your wealth, and at some point half of your chromosomes with me?" If she can hear that and accept...well, that's the true litmus test for love right there.
91) Ever fail a class?
I've dodged the bullet a few times.
92) Are you hungry?
93) Are you thirsty?
*sips Gatorade* Not anymore.
94) What makes you happy?
My sweetheart, music, good movies, friends, and nice weather.
95) Would you change your name?
Only if I rack up a large amount of debt and need to skip continents. I would also grow a mustache.
96) What would your name be?
I knew it! You're with the CIA, FTC, FBI, FCC, and the IRS! You want me to divulge the name I would use as an alias? Nice try, butt-dumpling.
97) Are you paranoid?
Yes. My phone is tapped. I have proof.
98) Do you watch the news?
No, I use news sites now, giving me the luxury of skipping the puff pieces about the latest missing white chick or some smoke-screen about the election to distract you from the revolution in Chad or stories getting more press in other parts of the world.
99) What is your zodiac sign?
100) Do you like Subway?
Yeah, but you know what I really like? Red beans and rice - it's waiting for me to cook it. Peace out.

Count 'em - FOUR songs for your listening pleasure: Muse, Captain Beefheart, Syd Barrett, and The Beatles. Let me know what you think.


PS - m@, in response to your comment, I TOTALLY agree. It's more than just hypocrisy for progressives or liberals, WHOEVER to trash the Christian right but still champion political correctness concerning Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, whatever. It is a sweeping generalization, which we also call stereotyping, which in turn can have catastrophic results.
Anti-Semitic newspapers can have cartoons of the devil Jew with horns and a fork set to take over the world, but a cartoon depicting Mohammed is enough to cause over 100 deaths, vandalism of embassies, and riots? That's called being a cry-baby.
I'm not Anti-Christian, Anti-Zionist (though the way things are I'm VERY Anti-Israel), or Anti-Palestine. I'm Anti-Asshole.

PPS - By the way, Ehud Olmert is under investigation for bribery and corruption. I really hope this doesn't come as a surprise to you. He was the one who let it slip in a 2006 interview that Israel has the bomb. Based on the logic presented to you in my PS, it's safe to say I'm Anti-Olmert.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dr. Dobson, We Meet Again...

I have written about this asshole before. And until he does both Christianity and mankind a favor and dies, I'm sure I will write about him once again.

I would like to preface this by saying I do not consider this man to be an apt representative of the Christian faith or of Christian ideas. That honor goes to the late Dr. King. My lapse with Christianity could indicate on some level an anti-Christian bias, but let me assure you I am not anti-Christian, anti-Jew, anti-Muslim, or anti-religion. I am anti-demagogue. I am opposed to anyone who will say jump and have millions of people say, "How high?" I am startled that he has 220 million (220,000,000) daily listeners to his radio show.

In short, I'm just against people unflinchingly following orders without an original thought - with ANYONE, and not just Bush or the more symbolic examples of Adolf Hitler or Josef Stalin. I can easily say the same cults of personality revolve(d) around John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Hillary Clinton, and yes, Barack Obama. I support his candidacy, but I'm certain that I do not (and will not) agree with him on everything.

Before I launch into my tirade, I say this: never stop questioning. Always, always, ALWAYS remain skeptical and vigilant.

Dobson has spoken out against Obama for indicating the impracticalities of ruling a country by the Bible, citing laws in the Old Testament (encouraging slavery, discouraging the consumption of shellfish, and stoning your child to death if he/she strays from the faith) as well as the New Testament (specifically, that the Sermon on the Mount is "a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our Defense Department would survive its application.")

Here I am, ONCE AGAIN, wondering what the Hell the big deal is? Mind you, the article is entitled "Dobson accuses Obama of 'distorting' Bible." Not "Dobson Attacks Obama" or "Dobson Criticizes Obama" or any synonym: lambastes, chides, disagrees, the media is intent on broadcasting the image of Obama as a militant psychotic darkie whose name implies he's Muslim - as it rhymes with Iraq Osama - and his middle name is Hussein, why WOULDN'T he be poised to rewrite the Bible in an attempt to attain the highest office in the land, and from there he can encourage other black people to take arms against the whites, sparking a giant race war, which - since he is CLEARLY a Muslim - will eventually evolve not into a war of colors, but also a Holy War right here on our own soil!

(Oh, and by the way, I'm being sarcastic.)

My point is, the media takes something, ANYTHING, that Barack or someone closely associated with him has said, publicizes it with the intent of shocking and awing (get it?) the populace, and yet...when I read just what was said that caused the uproar, not only do I find myself wondering what the big deal is, I find myself in complete agreement with it!

Being a Christian, whose faith is founded upon the teachings of Jesus Christ, Dobson blew off Obama's points about the Old Testament. Quoting, "Dobson said Obama should not be referencing antiquated dietary codes and passages from the Old Testament that are no longer relevant to the teachings of the New Testament." It's interesting he should point this out, because these antiquated dietary codes are central to many sects of Judaism. So, are they no longer relevant?

Perhaps Dobson didn't quite get Obama's point. Obama wasn't talking about a radical Orthodox Jew in the Senate proposing legislation that would effectively remove crab, lobster, and shrimp as recognized sources of nutrition and even as food. He was talking about people like Dobson, who given the chance would crumple the Constitution up and toss it into the pits of Hell, replacing it with their INTERPRETATION of the Bible. Not the Bible itself, because that, too, isn't exactly in line with their ideology: Jesus was a feminist. He never spoke out against homosexuality. In fact, he was an advocate of nonviolence almost two thousand years before passive resistance was embraced as a legitimate form of protest.

(And once again, this all comes with the "if Jesus even EXISTED" caveat. But I digress.)

To focus in on one particular point Dr. Dobson makes, here is a quote from Obama's speech:
"Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal rather than religion-specific values...It requires their proposals be subject to argument and amenable to reason."

Now, with a guy like Dr. Dobson, both the words "argument" and "reason" aren't quite in his vocabulary. There is no arguing with a guy like him. There is no reasoning with a guy like him. So, for the black Islamic radical (again, sarcasm) to even IMPLY that the infallible Bible and what it dictates be "subject to argument" and "amenable to reason?"

How about I just let you read what Dr. Dobson says?

"What the senator is saying there, in essence, is that I can't seek to pass legislation, for example, that bans partial-birth abortion, because there are people in the culture who don't see that as a moral issue, and if I can't get everyone to agree with me, then it is undemocratic to try to pass legislation that I find offensive to the Scripture. Now that is a fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution."

Ah, yes. Once more, Dr. James Dobson, champion of the fetuses - but, as his books on child-rearing EXPLICITLY say - an advocate of corporal punishment for kids. The latter is, as those of you close to me may know, a very sensitive and deeply personal issue for me. So for that horse's ass to advise parents that it's okay to smack your kids as a means of discipline, that it's okay to use "because I said so" as ample's criminal.

To completely break the mood, it yields people like this:

But, a "fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution"?! For the voices of an extreme minority to not receive their way? Specifically, for this extreme minority to be overshadowed by those who don't agree with it? Moreover, Dr. Dobson holds no public office, therefore any of this talk where he "[tries] to pass legislation" is simply a dream scenario.

The basis of your argument, Dr. Dobson, is not a concern for our nation's children, it's about you being heard, and it's about you being the loudest - and only - voice heard.

There are words describing this mentality, where those who don't share the same opinion as you prevent you from getting your way. Where the majority sings a different tune than you, and you want them to sing yours. Of these words, none of them is "fruitcake": Autocrat. Authoritarian. Theocrat. Totalitarian. Patriarch. Fascist.

Is abortion a moral issue? Yes. It's certainly not an easy decision for a woman to make. Nor is even the legal abortion procedure 100% safe. What's more, the psychological effects of an abortion isn't exactly the same as, say, getting your tonsils removed or a tooth pulled.

But you know what else are moral issues, Dr. Dobson? The death penalty, which YOU advocate. The war in Iraq, which YOU advocate. Poverty, which you seem to ignore. If you really want to live by Christ's example, sell your possessions and go to the people, the people who AREN'T the 220 million who listen to your radio show, the people who don't see you on TV, and the people who have never had their fellow man reach out to them.

Go, and dwell among society's undesirables, and help THEM. Get out of your mansion, get out of that cozy white-bred town you call home, and get your hands dirty. The people who listen to you on the radio, read your newsletters, and mail you checks are already well off. They love and are loved. They have found spiritual satisfaction, and have some form of financial stability.

Stop helping people who don't need it. That's the first step of the countless ones you need to make, sir, before you can even begin to think you are living a Christ-like life.

More importantly, Dr. Dobson, you are not a woman, and even if you were, you would be well past child-bearing years. The likelihood of you ever needing an abortion is incalculably remote. Similarly, you are a happily married man, and you have been married to the same woman all your life, producing two now grown children. You aren't gay, thus once again it is a safe bet that you will never be seeking a gay marriage.

You have a right to be offended, you have a right to be outraged, you have a right to not support it, and you have a right to voice your offense, outrage, and lack of support, but as neither a woman nor a gay man you have absolutely NO right in lobbying for abortion and gay marriage to be outlawed. This legislation won't affect you. This legislation won't affect your spouse. This legislation will affect the lives of millions.

The next time you're ready to open your mouth about abortion or gay marriage and impact the minds of 220 people on the other side of a radio broadcast, think about this: you don't have to get them. So don't.

In other words, shut the fuck up!

Jeremiah Wright Can Preach To Me Any Day Of The Week

Way back in March I promised a commentary on the Rev. Wright scandal. Here it is, three months later, but with tons of quotes. The below text was originally part of my rant against Dr. James Dobson, but I realized it was extraneous and distracting.

Rev. Wright angrily exclaiming, "Hillary ain't never been called a n*gger!" did not offend me. It shouldn't offend you, either, as it is the TRUTH. Open your eyes: Hillary is a very, VERY white woman. Her roots are not working class, nor did she have to overcome adversity to get to where she is today. All she had to do was marry a guy who became governor, then later President. And when he got a fatty to slob his knob and - oops - he lied about it (I believe the legalese term for that is "Obstruction of Justice"), all she had to do was stay with the guy to bolster her image among women as strong and independent.

The n-word, which I still have a problem saying or even typing beyond a euphemistic idiom (n-word, n*gger), should not be offensive in that context. For one, a black man is saying it. More importantly, he is using it to make a point. I doubt many people have ever told Hillary Clinton, "You can't do this because you're a woman." I doubt she has ever been discriminated against. A black girl in my 6th grade class was referred to with that heinous word by one of the less intelligent members of our community. The boy was suspended for it, and when the girl told me what he had called her, I apologized on behalf of my entire race.

Her response? "It's fine, I've been called that before."

Sounds like this can be a regularly occurring insult, one thrown their way for NO reason other than the color of their skin. That running joke of the n-word being "their" word, that is, African-Americans can say it, but other races cannot, is rendered completely unfunny by this notion.

When Rev. Wright said any of the following comments...
+ "We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and The Pentagon, and we never batted an eye... and now we are indignant, because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought back into our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost."
+ "[The United States] government lied about their belief that all men were created equal. The truth is they believed that all white men were created equal. The truth is they did not even believe that white women were created equal, in creation nor civilization. The government had to pass an amendment to the Constitution to get white women the vote. Then the government had to pass an equal rights amendment to get equal protection under the law for women. The government still thinks a woman has no rights over her own body, and between Uncle Clarence [Thomas], who sexually harassed Anita Hill, and a closeted Klan court, that is a throwback to the 19th century, handpicked by Daddy Bush, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, between Clarence and that stacked court, they are about to undo Roe vs. Wade, just like they are about to un-do affirmative action. The government lied in its founding documents and the government is still lying today. Governments lie."
+ "The government lied about the Gulf of Tonkin. They wanted that resolution to get us in the Vietnam War. Governments lie. The government lied about Nelson Mandela and our CIA helped put him in prison and keep him there for 27 years. The South African government lied on Nelson Mandela. Governments lie."
+ "The government lied about the Tuskegee experiment. They purposely infected African American men with syphilis. Governments lie. The government lied about bombing Cambodia and Richard Nixon stood in front of the camera, ‘Let me make myself perfectly clear…’ Governments lie. The government lied about the drugs for arms Contra scheme orchestrated by Oliver North, and then the government pardoned all the perpetrators so they could get better jobs in the government. Governments lie.... The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color. Governments lie. The government lied about a connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein and a connection between 9.11.01 and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Governments lie."
+ "The government lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq being a threat to the United States peace. And guess what else? If they don’t find them some weapons of mass destruction, they gonna do just like the LAPD, and plant the some weapons of mass destruction. Governments lie."
+ "And the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian descent fairly, she failed. She put them on reservations. When it came to treating her citizens of Japanese descent fairly, she failed. She put them in internment prison camps. When it came to treating her citizens of African descent fairly, America failed. She put them in chains, the government put them on slave quarters, put them on auction blocks, put them in cotton field, put them in inferior schools, put them in substandard housing, put them in scientific experiments, put them in the lowest paying jobs, put them outside the equal protection of the law, kept them out of their racist bastions of higher education and locked them into positions of hopelessness and helplessness...The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, not God Bless America. God damn America — that's in the Bible — for killing innocent people. God damn America, as long as she pretends to act like she is God, and she is supreme. The United States government has failed the vast majority of her citizens of African descent."
...I didn't bat an eye!

The allegations he makes I agree with, and other things he says are nothing more than historic FACT. I'm well aware the truth can hurt, but goddammit, people! If pieces of shit like James Dobson can hold a PhD. and act as a demagogue to hordes of check-mailing sheep, sputtering forth rhetoric that suggests HE knows what is best for America, that HE knows what is best for gays, that HE knows what is best for women's reproductive rights, and that HE knows the one and true interpretation of the Bible, then Rev. Jeremiah Wright also possesses the inalienable right - NOT PRIVILEGE - to say whatever he wants, let alone the right to speak the truth.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Fan, This Is Shit. I Believe You Two Haven't Met Before.

From where we last left off, I'd sent a message to Nicole confronting her about stabbing me in the back. She sent me a LONG message in response:
"First off, I am glad you and Joel parted ways maturely.

Secondly, I think there are some pretty heavy misunderstandings here. I don't think you realize the uncomfortable position you had placed me in. At first I had decided I was going to quit when I initially spoke with you about it, but after some time to mull it over I decided to give practice another chance. (which if you recall I had actually asked you to do as well) It was at the next practice I realized things were suddenly clicking with Joel, Jeff, Davis, and I. I realized I still wanted to be a part of the group because creatively things were getting better for me.
At any point of the things you have discussed above I have not betrayed you as you say.
I meant everything I said when I said it. And I mean the things I say now. And I had a very lengthy conversation with Joel about my future with the band and I had pretty much told him he takes too much control. So I spoke with him about me, but never about you unless he brought it up. In my mind I considered it more of a betrayal to tell Joel what you were planning on doing, since you had asked me not to. I thought that I had expressed to you my desire to stay, but we haven't seen much of each other lately so I guess not.

I guess I don't think you have a reason to be angry, though I am sorry you are. As I said, it was not my place to tell Joel what you were feeling, so that is why I suggested he speak with you. He and I have been friends for years and I know how to best approach things with him, and since you weren't going to tell him anytime soon I was left in a very awkward position. He had said to me he thought you might quit, and being on your side (but considering Joel's feelings as well) I simply suggested we may need to find a new drummer. And this was not a comment meant to insult you or your capabilities, but as a way to plant a seed into Joel's mind that things may be ending with you soon and he should be ready.

There is no "oops' in this sitaution. I did the best to maintain my friendship with you and Joel, who are at odds with one another, both talking about eachother to me, but never with eachother. Don't you undesratnd how bad of a position that places me in? Yes Joel can annoy me, ect. ect., but in the end he has been there with me through alot, and that isn't the type of friendship I can just throw away because he makes me mad. That's why I spoke with him about my business with the band, but not yours, as it was not my place.

I don't think me keeping my mouth shut about your decisions and your business or me deciding to stay is in any way an act of betrayal. I decided to give it another shot and it worked for me. Does that mean our friendship is over? In my mind this is all a huge misunderstanding. But I truly feel that you are trying to wash your hands clean of anything relating to rumweed, and therefore me because I have decided to stay.

I do still want to work with you, I have never once not said that or meant it. I think we could do some great things together, but I honestly don't know how I feel about you. If anything, you have lied and deceived Joel, and I wonder if the same were to be in store for me if I were to work with you. I don't judge you on how you deal with people or approach situations, but not being upfront is kind of your style, but not mine.
Who knows what the future may bring, but if anything I am always upfront with you and everyone how I feel. It gets complicated when I have to be the middle man and gently coerce situations because people will not talk with each other.
If you have any more questions about the situation, let me know.


I let M@ read it, and he said, "I do have to say, had I not been familiar with the details unfolding in this situation I would have bought into her rhetoric. She phrases her case very well makes herself out to be a sort-of victim. She seems to have realized the mistakes she made and now is trying to squirrel her way out of it."

Here was my response to her:
"You are a liar, a hypocrite, and a coward. You probably weren't going to quit, you were just shit talking Joel like you do with EVERYONE. Well, now you can shit-talk me: fuck off!"

I'm guessing my new approach came across as a jarring one: she told me I was "real mature", to which I replied "And what's being a gossipy bitch?" Got nothing back from her.

Later on last night I got a text from her saying "Just to clarify I don't know what you are talking about, but it sounds like we are no longer friends. I just wanted to wish you luck - you are an awesome drummer and I think you'll" and it literally cuts off right there.

So yeah...I decided to clarify:
"Since you need clarification, here goes:
You knew EXACTLY why I "lied" and "deceived" Joel, so don't you dare suddenly take some sort of moral high ground on this. I lied to get my drums out of his house, saying I was taking them back to Seymour for an annual check-up at a music store. You told me yourself getting my drums out is a good idea, because if he didn't vandalize them he would try to keep them like he did with Haidar's guitar.

I lied this week when he asked me if I'd be available this weekend and said yes. Could I have said no without it turning into him asking what was going on? Because I had decided if he asked if everything was all right, or if anything was the matter I would have come perfectly clean and said on the spot that I was quitting the band.

Moreover, you weren't a "middle-man" between me and Joel. You were also talking to me about Joel. You were also "at odds" with Joel. You were also going to quit the band.

Get off the cross with this whole "difficult position" bullshit. You might have some obligation to Joel, or at least feel like you do, but I don't. Nor am I obligated to you.

You made it seem like you were tied to him in your message, a stark contrast from our last conversation about the band where you gave off the impression that you needed to be out of the band so you could express yourself.

If someone is pissing me off, I distance myself from them. That's what I did with Joel, and it dictated that I left the band as a result. If the music had been good, it might have been tougher to do. Since it wasn't, it was no problem.

But what really pissed me off is that you had told him you all may need to start looking for another drummer. And talk about a misunderstanding: I KNOW you weren't making a dig at my playing, what irked me was that you'd neglected to tell me that; I had to hear it from Joel.

You told me you had to "plant a seed into Joel's mind that things may be ending with you soon and he should be ready." I'd asked you not to mention it at all, and that Joel should hear it from me when the time was right - ONCE THE HENDRIX CLASS WAS SAID AND DONE. But no, you couldn't have just pleaded ignorance, you had some seeds to plant.

I expressed this in my text to you yesterday, but since you've decided not to quit the band and sold me out, I suspect you weren't even going to quit the band. You were just blowing off steam. It seems like when you blow off steam, you get it all out and use some pretty strong and suggestive rhetoric. The only mistake I made in all this was thinking I could confide in you as a friend.

Again, thanks. THAT was the betrayal of my trust. I had TRUSTED you to keep what we talked about between the two of us, and what happened? You didn't hint, you didn't suggest, you didn't imply - you TOLD him he might need to start looking for another drummer. Subtle.

It's one of my hugest pet peeves when people talk shit about someone and then act friendly - and not like "nice" or "cordial", that's just basic social grace, but to act like they're best buds - to their face. That's why I couldn't bring myself to act like nothing was wrong with Joel. You seem to have no problem with that with me, Joel, Joel's old roommate Tyler, whoever. And I want no part of that.

Who was it again who said, "I don't judge you on how you deal with people or approach situations..." and then turned around and DID IT with, "but not being upfront is kind of your style, but not mine." I was up front with Joel, telling him not to get too ahead of himself with the band, but he didn't listen - he instead had to blame it on how when the band doesn't practice he starts "scheming" things in his mind - and each time I've suggested he not put something in a song (which is ALWAYS inspired by something he has just heard, even if it means completely changing a song around) as a risk of having too much going on, he would go and do it anyway.

I was lured into this mess because he made it seem like he valued other people's opinions. After that incident where he blew off the lyrics he practically forced me to write on the spot, Shelley said to me afterwards, "Those lyrics were good, he wouldn't have done that if he wasn't threatened by you." After that point, not only did I know I had to get out, but I started observing Joel, and he was definitely acting like he had something against me.

He'll do it again with you, but you won't quit. You give off this bullshit vibe that you're fierce and independent...but you just aren't. You're remarkably insecure and dependent. It's as phony as Joel's genius facade, except you have nothing to be insecure about - you have both looks and talent, you possess one of the best singing voices I've heard, EVER.

Unlike Joel, you have real talent, and as such you have REAL potential, not pipe dream after pipe dream. His sense of self-doubt is well founded, and I wish he would give up and try something else, and this is coming from someone who sees both giving up and quitting as a cardinal sin. Leading up to me quitting the band I was unsure of whether or not I would/could do it, though I knew I should.

My hope now is that everything is clear. If not, re-read this message, because I don't think I could have been more clear.

I just can't believe you're the same person who said "I'd thought Overhand would have been good without Joel and Jeremy, much like I've thought Rumweed would be better without Joel." I guess I do have a problem with you staying on in the band. I wouldn't mind working with you - at all. In fact, I was LOOKING FORWARD TO IT, and it motivated me even more to quit! But since you haven't quit - I'm hoping I can say this - YET, I'm guessing you really think things will improve.

If you've completely deluded yourself in such a short time into believing Rumweed will be an ample creative outlet for you, both now and in the immediate future, and if you really think you'll be able to start playing your songs and just blow Joel over, then you are living in a fantasy land. Once you see things the way they are and not the way you really, really wish it was, I'll be around, and I would still want to work with you.


The end of that message might seem a bit conciliatory, but it's true. Thinking I had someone with me boosted my confidence and like I said, motivated me to get the Hell out. I re-extended my offer for several reasons:
1.) This could either piss her off or actually speak to her and motivate her to quit and be more assertive.
2.) She may very well have been playing me all along to get me to quit - that's not escaped my mind, but I'm a conspiracy theorist.
3.) Note I didn't apologize for anything.
4.) I did make that offer immediately after accusing her of living in a fantasy land.

Sorry this blog has, for the last couple days, turned into a soap opera.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Well, My Mind Is Goin' Through Them Changes

I couldn't say just what it was on 6/3/08 that I needed to do, other than that involved me both being strong and waiting for the right time. The band I've been in since January has gone terribly sour. Joel's ego hasn't left much room for creative thought, never mind his behavior outside of the band (alternating between the "genius poet and schemer" and drunken buffoon, though as he told me a few weeks ago, that was all "an act" since he felt compelled to perform - yeah...) has been inexcusably arrogant, reckless, and disturbing.

You know what? Honestly, the two people who regularly read and comment (M@ and Shelley) know all this crap, so I'll just skip it. Anyone else, I can tell you some time in person, it's just a lot of things I let snowball - but then again I knew we'd be in the Hendrix class together, so I knew I had to wait.

After a week or two talking to Andy and my friend Mark from the Hendrix class about it, I finally decided to just wait until the summer session was over since we were both in the same class, as much as I wanted to get it over with. At Mark's suggestion, I did it over the phone. I think it worked out better that way. Joel was...stunned.
In explaining to him why, I told him how I felt without being insulting. I talked about how all the songs were sounding the same, that there wasn't much creative breathing room, that we hadn't played any shows, and that we just weren't going anywhere.

He asked if there was any way I could be coaxed into staying, and I said no.

I used some techniques I learned Tony Alexander back on 6/1 about how to deal with difficult people. One thing I've learned from my own experience is that I can't stand self-pity, and possess a hatred for martyrdom/Eeyore syndrome.

Joel kept trying to get the last word in, trying some way to come out on top (that's what she said), and I just wasn't letting it happen. All of these comments from him that begin with "Well," were delivered in the "well, I gotta get going" tone of voice, while each "oh" was in a sheepish one:

1.) "Well, I'm sorry you had problems with us..."
"No, I didn't have problems with the rest of the band. It's just you."
"Jeff and Davis are basically session men, and I have no gripe with Nicole. In fact, she feels the exact same way."
*More on THAT in a second*

After I mentioned how he kept talking in pipe dreams instead of thinking more about the immediate future:

2.) "Well, sorry I scared you off."
"Joel, you didn't scare me off. You pissed me off."

3.) "I don't want to sound gay, but will this affect our friendship?"
", me, and time are the determining factors on that."
"In other words, you just need a break?"
"Yeah, sure."

Eventually, the balloon of his ego was downright deflated. Now, these next two I'm really proud of myself for, because everything else was at least sort of premeditated, and I at least knew how I was going to say it. These, however, came straight from the heart.

4.) Me first on this one: "I'm really glad I did this over the phone, because I didn't know if you were going to get verbally abusive, physically violent, or quite frankly if you would break down and start bawling."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean you are completely unpredictable."
"*sighs* I guess I'm more like my dad than I thought."
"Listen, you're only what you make yourself be."

5.) "Well, maybe I'm just not cut out for music. I guess I'm more equipped as a teacher."
"What are you talking about?"
"You know, substitute teaching, since you and Nicole are leaving."
"There's no shortage of drummers or singing guitarists in this town. Let's face it, it was your band, anyway."
*Silence* - I'd thought he hung up.
"I don't know, I just thought maybe this was a bump in the road and we could get over it."
"Dude, this is a band. Not a marriage. I have no commitment or obligation to you at all. Marriages have bumps in the road, but when something like this stops being fun, you just have to get out of it. And that's all I'm doing."

6.) "Well, I can at least thank you for getting me and Becca together. Since I met her, I feel like I've really calmed down and mellowed out."
"No, you haven't."
"I thought I had."
Seriously, this was like talking to my old roommate David or something, just completely oblivious as to how he really is.

7.) "Well, don't be away for too long."
"Honestly, I don't care anymore."
"Oh.......LONG PAUSE..............well, best of luck."
"You, too."

So, at best I talked him out of ever being a musician again. I'm doing both him and the world of music a favor. At worst, he'll sulk and shit-talk, then get another drummer who doesn't mind being put in his place by a no-talent imp, and they'll start winning Grammies.

Unfortunately, I learned something about Nicole - but for just one second pretend you're her. Until 10, you're at work and nowhere near a computer. So, you'll first get this text from me:
"I did it - when are you?"

Now, you get home, log onto Facebook, and see this in your inbox from me:
"I don't know if you'll get this or my text first, but I quit Rumweed. I called Joel, and it was a bit tense, but we both kept our tempers, heads, and wits about us.

Joel did mention he'd been feeling some tension between us for a while. When I told him it had been about a month, he was a little stunned. All I did was lay it out as to why I was quitting, and told him what I'd told you - that it just wasn't fun anymore.

An interesting thing came up, though. I'd told him you were feeling the same way, which once again surprised him only a little bit. What really caught me was that he said he voiced his "paranoia - which turned out to be right" to you. He said you had told him you didn't know what all was going on, other than that "we" (as in, you and Joel) "might need to start looking for another drummer."

Funny, because what you had told me was that you told him to just talk to me about it because you had no idea.


Thanks for completely betraying my trust. I came to you as a friend, thinking we had the same feelings about the band and that we both wanted to quit. So much for us working together, unless Joel decided to lie to me at the last minute, but I really doubt that.

Great way to make friends.

What I really like is how benevolent it seems at first, so from the inbox, the mini-blurb just seems matter-of-fact. Then you open it and read it.

The text msg I'd sent I had Shelley type for me since I was driving. After sending it, she asked why I would say that knowing what I know. I told her, "It's called playing dumb, not letting someone know what you know." Learned that one from The Godfather.

It just dawned on me this afternoon: this is the first time I've ever really stood up for myself other than to my parents. Ever.

It feels good.

Ignore the worst camera angles EVER, but this is Jimi Hendrix, Billy Cox on bass, and drummer Buddy Miles in their legendary performance as Band Of Gypsys (spelling error intentional). This song is actually not a Hendrix tune, rather one from my recently deceased powerhouse drumming brother Buddy Miles. The song is called "Changes," and the title phrase from the song lends to the title of this blog. Again, shitty visuals, but an EXCEPTIONAL song. Pretty much sums me up at this point.
Also, with a new band already on the horizon, the thought of singing while drumming isn't completely unappetizing. Buddy could do it, and he kicked ASS at it. Why can't I?

Monday, June 9, 2008

"I Can Make It Longer If You Like The Style, I Can Change It 'Round And I Really Wanna Be A Paperback Writer..."

Work has commenced for me on this analysis of The Kinks, most of tonight being spent gathering historical details surrounding the prep, recording, and release of the Lola album.

Yeah, it's crucial I get the historical details, because more often than not Ray Davies' mood affected his work - and vice versa if they were on tour (Dave and the rest of the band, too, with the rapid personnel changes between 1976 and 1979 forcing Ray to install a revolving door at their studios. Not really, but you get my drift...), never mind contemporary events in the UK and US being rife with potential song topics in songs like "Low Budget", "A Gallon Of Gas", and the magnificently cynical "Give The People What They Want," commenting on the recession of the late 1970's, the oil shortage of the same era (though its lyrics have been ringing truer by the day since roughly September 2001, it seems...), and violence in the media, respectively.

More important for me though, and I almost lost sight of this until I read Tom Kitts' sublime write-up for the actual song "Lola," is that my critical analysis will be making up the core of this project. Dates and events are finite: The Kinks played at this venue on this date, etc., that's not what this is about - though it is educating me and giving me an even greater insight to the music - this is about analyzing, of debunking when possible and at other times deciphering Ray Davies' career-spanning knack for ambiguous and at times bipolar lyrics.

My favorite example of this is what I consider to be one of the finest lines of prose ever committed to paper, and it stands up just as well to Shakespeare, Poe (both of whom I adore), or any of the Czech masters of poetry:
"I never thought I'd love like this until I met you,
I found something I thought I'd never have.
The only time I feel alive is when I'm with you,
I wonder how long it will last."

- "Something Better Beginning," 1965

Other times, Ray can use his ambiguity for comedic purposes, as evidenced in "Lola":
"Well, I'm not the world's most masculine man,
But I know what I am - I'm glad I'm a man
And so's Lola."

- "Lola," 1970

Is Lola glad? A man? Is Lola glad that "she" is really a he?

Never mind, just sit back and enjoy the song, though take a mental note of what the champagne at the club in Old Soho tastes like, as we'll ruminate on this just a little bit in the near future:

Might as well introduce you to these mugs, since you'll be hearing so much about them for this next chunk of my life.
Ray Davies - Lead vocals, guitar, idol of my youth
Dave Davies - Lead guitar, vocals, the cute one
John Dalton - Bass, backing vocals (1969-1976)
John Gosling - Keyboards, backing vocals, hair (and oddly enough he has a classical background and was a church organist at the time of his joining the band. He currently teaches music somewhere in the UK.) (1970-1978)
Mick Avory - Woefully underrated drummer (1963-1984)

As for the other bassists, keyboardists, and drummer (only one) they've had besides the guys you see here...guess you'll just have to stick around for the next several months before you meet Andy Pyle, Bob Henrit, Gordon Edwards, Pete Quaife, Mark Haley, Ian Gibbons, and Jim Rodford and learn just when they fit into the puzzle, never mind what they look like.

For the record, I had a good weekend, but if you couldn't tell by the time at which I posted this, both the stress of that thing I was talking about at the end of my last post (well, thanks to M@, two things - wink) and having to do real work has resurrected my insomnia. But hey, 90% of this blog was written out of insomnia, so I can't be too harsh on this sleep disorder.

No matter. One thing will be taken care of by week's end, the other...I just don't know. But this Kinks project is a labor of love. Trust me. I'd rather be doing this than prepping some bullshit Master's thesis on film. In fact, I'd rather be doing this - sitting around, thinking and writing about The Kinks - than pretty much anything else.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Rock & Roll Circus, Or, The Last Assembly

(Are you guys getting these musical references as titles? Let me know if you like it.)
In gathering as many conceivable sources as possible for my big-ass project on The Kinks, I've also had to turn on a mental filter of "is this a reliable source or total bullshit?" Unfortunately, because it contains some basic statistical info I'm hard-pressed to find elsewhere, I'm having to use The Rolling Stone Illustrated History Of Rock & Roll to determine the highest chart positions of the band's albums. I groan every time I see the pictures of them in their chapter with the wrong dates listed in the captions, never mind that the discussion of the group is little more than historical beyond the cookie cutter commentary on Ray's ambiguous lyrics in their 1970 hit single "Lola."
Speaking of which, I have chosen to write first about The Kinks' 1970 album, the equally memorable but hard to memorize Lola Versus Powerman & The Moneygoround, Part One. A long-standing joke in the community of critics and reviewers is "where's Part Two?" Only recently - as in, last night - did I discover just what became of its projected sequel. Apparently Ray wanted a double album, but Pye Records balked at the idea, instead asking him to split it up into two different records. Thanks to their failure to promote the band, however, the label found The Kinks not renewing their contract, instead signing on to RCA Records.
Getting started on something like this is just the toughest, especially since I know the finished product will be chapter nine (each chapter discusses an album and its surrounding singles), thus adding some contextual references to previous and future works. (Example: in 1973, the band would release Preservation Act One, following it up months later with the 2-LP mammoth Act Two; I have no doubt Ray was thinking of the half-finished Lola album when he made this decision.) Also, gather resources is proving to be a bitch. Rolling Stone's website has old reviews of their records from back in the day, starting with 1967's Something Else By The Kinks, right on up to the 1990's. Unfortunately, missing - seemingly overlooked - are Lola and BOTH Preservation albums. So in other words, three of my favorites.
In those cases, I'm turning to the paragraph-long blurbs by one Robert Christgau, the self-proclaimed "Dean of American Rock Critics." He quickly lambastes all three, giving them a B-, C+, and B-, respectively...though his rhetoric suggests they are earning D's or F's. Needless to say, I disagree, I find all three of this albums to be sublime, but then again - let's face it, people - I've got a bit of a bias toward Ray Davies. His brother Dave, too, while we're on the subject.
My hope is to have my first draft ready by Monday for Andy to proofread. He understands since so much of it is subjective (it's safe to say most albums will be praised to the point of hyperbole, save for a select few, which I'm NOT looking forward to doing; the steaming piles of mediocrity I should probably do next if not soon...doing those last would be a bitch) he can't necessarily add or subtract, but he'll be a BIG help in terms of musicological stuff. Tonight, I'll read what Tom Kitts has to say on the subject in his FANTASTIC book, Ray Davies: Not Like Everybody Else. I strongly recommend it to even the casual Kinks fan. We have some disagreements on interpretation of select pieces, but on the whole it is a great historical document. As an added bonus, Kitts is an English professor at St. John's, which makes for an infinitely more substantial read than the average rock critic, barring David Fricke and Greil Marcus.
Anyway, it's worth noting the album is of great significance to me on a personal level: it is the album I learned to play drums to, and as a result if anyone ever blows Mick Avory off as a bush league drummer, I'm quick to say, "Um, no, have you heard a little tune called 'Rats'?"

(By request of M@, I'm going to start including this kind of thing, since I have a tendency to forget my readers don't have my freakish obsession with The Kinks or Beefheart or Zappa or even The Beatles. Except Shelley, but she's still learning.)
So yeah. I rest my case on that one. He's phenomenal, and has this balance between Keith Moon's madcap drumming and the steady pocket-style beat of Ringo Starr. To do that, and this is just my own term, is what I call "playing with finesse."
That said, Nick's graduation was just fine. There's something oddly enjoyable about graduation day, the town seems to center around it (and why not?), and each year since 2002 it has always been a gorgeous summer day. My favorite part, though, is the This Is Your Life aspect, where figures from your past and present congratulate you and hobnob with one another. The end result is an odd sight where your aunt is talking to someone you acted with in a play, and a high school teacher is conversing with a family friend from a neighboring state. At the risk of being too sentimental, it's something I can only define as magical.
I got to see and converse with a TON of people, some I hadn't seen or at least spoken at length with in some time:
+ M@ (best cameo ever, by the made that shitty-ass commencement ceremony worth attending.)
+ Aunt Nancy & Uncle Dudley (not that I don't see them regularly, I just enjoy their company.)
+ Gramma & Papa
+ Nick's 5th grade teacher Mr. Prince and his wife
+ no less than six or seven families from my parents' church
+ Eric & Maddie (stupid damn gas prices keeps us just out of practical reach from one another, and I certainly wish it wasn't that way.)
+ Joshua & Jordan (it was really, REALLY weird to see them and say, "I haven't seen you..." thinking in my head "your mother's funeral," and tactfully saying "over a year." I did furtively ask if things were okay. I can't imagine losing my mom while in 7th grade. I've needed her a lot more than I will EVER fully admit to in public in the years since that time in my life.)
+ People from the community theater
+ Nick's future roommate, who seems like a cool guy
+ Nick's girlfriend Holly, who we all FINALLY got to see in person. She is very sweet and friendly, and quite frankly a keeper for him. Time will tell.
+ Mom's old boss, Tony. More on him in a second.

For reasons not fully explained to me, during communion (why is it every time I'm attending church it HAS to be communion?) Mom was reading from Psalms a poem of lamentation. With tears in her eyes, she told me she'd felt like the world had let her down the previous week. That particular Psalm ended with something to the effect of "the righteous will soon come to my side and protect me." I quipped, "That makes sense! I'm here, and I'm one righteous dude!" She felt better after that, laughing and actually writing down what I said in the margin of her Bible. I won't deny our family to some extent has "roles." And I gladly accept cheering her up in a way no one else can. If I had come home for that reason alone, then the trip was worth it.
Tony...holy shit. I can't go into details without it sounding like esoteric psychobabble, so forgive me for presenting to you the Reader's Digest version. Somehow, and this was just the five of us, Eric and Nick's girlfriends, and Tony, but the topic shifted to theories of perception of the universe and of reality. Also, the notion of prescience in dreams. I was completely and utterly FLOORED to hear what he was saying, because these are concepts and notions I have had but never verbalized all my life! Example being that we both see faces, locations, and places in time in our dreams YEARS before we experience them. For both of us on separate occasions, it has kept us from getting lost, been of some emotional significance, or in a case or two saved our lives - literally.
I'll impart to you what I said to my mom in an email last night about the very subject: "It's great having people in my life (ie, you, Dad, Eric, Nick, Shelley, Graham) who 'get' me, but to meet someone else that people have to 'get,' it's a comforting thing. To know I'm not some freak, but that I have peers on the same cosmic plane as me."
Before I left, Mom said to me, "You know how you guys were talking about destiny, and that everything in life occurs for a reason. It's become so clear to me why Tony came into my life when he did in 1999. It was right on the brink of you becoming a rebellious teenager, but more importantly, becoming YOU. I had to meet him first so I could be ready for you."
My response? "This has been such a huge revelation to me. You've always said he and I are alike, but I'd always thought it was just because we were both smart and REALLY absent-minded. To know we think with the same logic and thought processes, this has been the biggest revelation in my life since I discovered Ray Davies' songwriting or Frank Zappa's music - and that was a Hell of a long time ago."
I also shared a nice moment with Nick, telling him I thought Holly was perfect for him, and to hang on to her...or at least someone JUST like her, there is no way of knowing how the next four years of college will go for them between distance and the hordes of new faces they will encounter. Still, I wish for them the best. For whatever reason, I was compelled to give him a bit of advice that is a combination of something Tony gave to me back in 2002 peppered with something I acquired since then. I told him the best thing he could ever do, in school, work, or life in general is to know when to "play the game" (Tony's bit) and when to stand up for yourself. So you have a dick for a teacher...okay, fine. Do the work and get the Hell out. But suppose you have a dick for a teacher who is unfairly giving you a bad grade and/or is refusing to alter it. That's when you grow a pair and say, "Really? Maybe we should talk to the department head about this..."
Due to the sensitivity of the situation, I refuse to go into specifics, but I'm finding myself KNOWING I need to take a stand and quite frankly be aggressive. It's nothing more than both summoning up the courage to do it, and waiting for the right time. I know, it sounds cryptic as Hell, but M@ knows what I'm talking about, so does Shelley. (And Eric and Maddie, who I may have said before, but apparently they suffer through my paragraphs of endless pablum, they just don't leave comments in the event this ever gets rediscovered by a parental unit.) Anyway, long story short: you'll read about it when it happens. Anything else and it's a dead giveaway.

On that note, I bid you adieu, and this time I PROMISE I will be back in the next couple days with updates on life, and more importantly some analysis on The Kinks.