CUBES IN THE SKY

Today I decided to write offline but I still wanted to share something.

It appears that this site is magic. I wrote about Slowdive six days ago and today, the band released their first new song in twenty-two years. Of course I have nothing to do with that but I’ll accept your thanks anyway. The track is great. Where I spoke about their sleepiness, “Star Roving” is very much awake. It’s still moving around in the dark but there is so much light shining through.  It puts me in a good, optimistic mood. Also, is there a way to turn their new video into a screen saver? Fitting the theme I subscribed them to, it features a transparent cube spinning and shifting endlessly in space. I’ve been playing it on my secondary monitor at work all day.

This site is two weeks old now. I’m already getting a feel for posting regularly but want to allow myself to just write what’s on my mind at the moment and not necessarily “blog” the events of the day. Things may get even more random than they already are. Another important thing that needs to start happening is longer reads. Maybe I’ll give in to that voice in my head and start a weekly column. We’ll see.

WANDER

A few days of rains and you can really forget how much people have been praying for it the last few years. It would appear that California is back to the winters I remember as a kid but a quick look at any scientific data would make you laugh at that statement. Still, I’ve welcomed the rain back and even got caught walking when it started to rain for the first time in, god only knows how long. I’ve started taking walks up the hill during lunch again. There is a path through a very small forest area. The trees are very tall and today it appears they had to cut some down for fear of them falling over due to the wind. I hate seeing trees cut down which is funny for a writer. Fire wood doesn’t bother me because it’s so broken down that I don’t think of it as part of a tree, as if wood came from anywhere else.

As I walked that forest path, I played Jay Som’s album, Turn Into, through my headphones. I just discovered the album today which is another good reason I never posted a Best Albums of 2016 list; there was so much I still hadn’t listened to. It’s a great album with melodies that make you want to slowly bob your head with your eyes closed. Gray days are made for echoing guitars. Days like this always remind me of the December I first got really into The Cure.

As I’ve said, music is something I will talk about at great lengths. My brother and I have had the same conversation a thousand times about how incredible love songs were in the 80s (and how ridiculous 80s culture was). There were hooks in some pop/new wave songs that you just would not hear these days. And somehow, all these skinny, awkward nerds all had at least one soul-altering song in them.  Some of the best songs I’ve ever heard would just be written off as “80s music” these days. “Don’t Dream It’s Over” or “True” were the songs they would play at the prom while streamers hung high above the glossy gymnasium floors but they are fantastic. Even when songs were not particularly well sung, like these two, the melodies would be so damn good that it didn’t really matter. Then on the other end of the spectrum, there was The Smiths, who are my favorite band of all time (It took me three decades to decide that and it’d take me too long to explain how I finally came to the conclusion).

I had no idea what to write about today as you can tell. My mind wanders when I hear guitars echoing or chiming.


 

TAKING A BREATHER

I’ve done a good job at sitting down to write everyday even when I wasn’t sure what I’d be typing up until I was actually doing it. Today was the first day I just did not feel like writing. So I thought I’d write about why.

I made it ten days into the year before having an anxiety/panic episode. I’ve learned to notice the warning signs and deal with them but sometimes you wake up already in trouble. My fingers felt asleep and kept having to adjust my standing or seating position to breathe comfortably. Trust me, you are aren’t doing yourself any favors if you have anxiety and are fat too.

The drive to work felt twice as long. I sing in the car even when it isn’t to distract myself. On days like this, I listen to something sad or angry. Today it was a little of both. I made it out of the cloud-as I call it-without meds, which I’m happy about. After I stopped compulsively rubbing my fingers together and meditated in the haunted break room, I was back to normal. Let’s call it functional.

Two years ago today I was in an Emergency Room because doctors found something released into my blood and thought I might have had a heart attack. This was brought on by a much worse episode of anxiety. I spent the night in observation, getting X-rays and trying to keep breathing at a rhythm that wouldn’t make the machines beep at me. I hadn’t had a heart attack at all. If it wasn’t against procedure they would have let me walk myself out the next morning. Two years ago exactly. Time is imaginary but it is horrifying if you pay attention to it.

There was a lot in the news today that is worth mentioning. There is a lot going in my family’s lives that make my day seem like I just forgot to put on underwear. Life is very unpredictable. Sometimes you have to pause and acknowledge the fact that you are existing. I don’t know any proper mantras but sometimes I will think to myself, “I am here. This is my breath.”

 

SYMBOLS

I don’t have any tattoos. I’ve gone in for initial appointments a few times and spent money on stencils I never used. Most were copied out of comics or vinyl inserts. I wouldn’t have regretted these but using them would not say anything particular about me except that I was a fan of the source material. You have to be a big fan (or just really young) for something like that. I’ve held out on getting tattoos until now so at my age I think they should have more meaning.

I have a love of symbols but not much of an understanding of them. I’ve done plenty of searches of Japanese, Nordic and Alchemy symbols just trying to find something that stood out. People use Pinterest as the online “I’ll take that one” tattoo binder. Nothing ever spoke to me enough to permanently etch it on myself, especially since their meaning didn’t resonate with me. Jon Hickman is a comic book writer and designer and he is excellent with symbols and charts (do a google search). I once tweeted at him, asking him to design tattoos for me. He didn’t respond.

I hope to discover or create symbols that have a special meaning to me; maybe to me and me alone. I’ll use only blacks and set up a grid of these symbols on myself, dotted and solid lines connecting them as they are added. I’ll look like some kind of bizarre treasure map or astronomy chart. Or an astrology chart, for that matter.

Of course, I would still love to get the musicians on this Neutral Milk Hotel poster one day too.

WEEK ONE – PHASE OF THE MOON

Although it may not seem like it from the outside looking in, this has been a very productive week for me. A week’s worth of posts has added up to a little over three thousand words. Not where my insane word goal would have me at this point but still not bad at all. I decided that I would take a few minutes every Sunday to look back at my 2017 goals. Not in an obsessive or overly critical way, just to remind myself I have things to work on.

There are a few extra things that come to mind:

  • Write numbers out in sentences. For example, “three thousand words.”
  • Sure, read your 25 books for the year, but also read anything and everything. If you’re going to be writing online, you damn well better be reading online. Make use of your ignored Medium account and follow links in newsletters more often.
  • Experience more things that are not American or English.
  • Rate new albums as you listen to them to help make the Top Album list in December. (At the end of 2016 I had a list of about a hundred albums I wanted to rate but only heard a third of them. I scraped the list in the end. For those curious my album of the year is a three-way tie between Frank Ocean, Anderson .Paak and A Tribe Called Quest.)
  • Stop putting your feet on your desk.
  • See more live music even if you are now the old guy in the crowd.
  • Stay bald. Why wait a few weeks between trimming when it’s painfully obvious certain parts are just never growing back?
  • Set up a proper office for yourself.
  • Clean the office, because it’s somehow already a mess.

Not much else to report tonight. The rains have been steady and the winds have been unwavering. I posted a photo on Instagram of my bald head and captioned it, “Moon.”

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READING: ON WRITING – Charles Bukowski