Monday, December 13, 2010

To Do List For The Fifteen Or So Months I've Been Unemployed

Hey there people who might not even realize that I still post stuff here.  The purpose of this blog was to be a repository for my more-stylized/formal pieces, whereas J-Ro's Syntax Eros was created for my more extemporaneous rants.  I guess this qualifies as the former.  I want to thank for rejecting this piece.  I figure maybe it was too close in theme to Erica Reder's Recession Resumé to be published.  I wonder if she spent four months writing it, since I started mine two months before hers was even published.  Oh well.  I think maybe it's time for me to start submitting my essay pieces to magazines.  Because those still exist.  So, without any more whining, here it is...

To Do List For The Fifteen Or So Months I've Been Unemployed
  • Finish the paperwork HR gave you that would provide an extra eight weeks of severance pay at full salary (of course, HR could have returned your calls and/or emails, but then they'd have had to pay you).
  • Drink through the twelve weeks of severance pay that they had to give you, regardless of whether you filled out aforementioned paperwork.
  • Finish that novel you started writing in 2002, when you freaked out that you were turning 30 in a year and needed to accomplish something.
  • Take a sketch comedy writing class with a member of The State.  Stop writing sketches immediately after class ends and you've made the teacher snort from laughing so hard.
  • Finish (or actually record) any of the songs you've started writing since 2003.
  • Break up with your girlfriend via text message (accidentally).
  • Manage to go on a second date from an OK Cupid encounter.
  • Go out of town five days after breaking up with your girlfriend via text message with plans to meet up with a single lady you met on the internet at a major music festival.  Never meet that single lady (it will later be revealed that she came down with a case of swine flu).  Sleep with the friend of your friend you haven't seen in ten years that he's had a crush on since high school instead.  Repeatedly.
  • Find a missed connections post on craigslist that is actually meant for you.
  • Get broken up with by out-of-town girl a week before your birthday.  Celebrate said birthday alone at the bar with a Guinness while upbeat 80s music plays in the background.  Use the fly you find in the bottom of said Guinness to score a free Guinness without a fly (just barely).
  • Wake up before noon two days in a row.  Three if you're feeling jaunty.
  • Move back in with your mom and dad to the house you've left five times previously.
  • Update at least one of your three blogs (four if you count the record label) on a weekly monthly semi-annual basis.
  • Sing "Round Here" by the Counting Crows at a karaoke bar in Asheville, NC in front of complete strangers while in the midst of a road trip to relocate your best friend/lesbian sidekick and her three cats to Florida.  Your 17-year personal moratorium on entering the state of Florida is now ruined.  Upon returning home on the first flight out of Tampa, have Facebook inform you that out-of-town girl is now "in a relationship" not with you.
  • Go on a third date with anyone since being dumped by out-of-town girl.
  • Go on a road trip to Punxsutawney, PA for Groundhog's Day.  Try to sleep on a movie theater seat.  Freeze your tokhes off.  Realize you and your friend are the only humans over 18 who aren't drunk at 4am while gathered at Gobbler's Knob.  Attempt to eat a 2 pound hamburger on the way home.  Fail to eat a 2 pound hamburger.  After enduring long hours subjected to Sugarland and Lonestar, arrive home and check Facebook.  The day before was out-of-town girl's birthday.  She is apparently now ENGAGED to the fellow she was heretofore "in a relationship" with.  Your mutual friend will ask if she's spoken to you.  You will say she hasn't, but that Facebook has.
  • Transfer all your old VHS tapes to DVD.
  • When  one of your closest friend's step-father dies, leave a Facebook comment on his sister's page that, though heartfelt, comes off flippant at best, racist at worst.
  • Write your cousin who wrote the book "Doc Hollywood" to ask for advice on finishing/shopping your novel.
  • Have sex with your ex-girlfriend you broke up with 5 years ago because you were both too neurotic.  After all, they did that on Seinfeld and it worked out just fine.
  • Sacrifice your vague financial stability to follow your dreams instead of stressing out over being "comfortable" but unhappy.
  • Get job in retail doing commission-based sales in attempt to finance your dreams later by being miserable now.

Friday, June 25, 2010

My Mind Is a Virus

Well, while I'm dredging up the past, why don't I give you this? It is related to thematically, if not incidentally.   I found it in my livejournal, and it has the uplifting title of "My Mind Is a Virus."  I love the references contained within, though.  The girl in question is married now, like every other girl all of these things are about, pretty much.  If you're looking for new content, you've not come to the right place.   I am looking back on a variety of my outlets, and am in the midst of archiving messages sent and received on myspace, which isn't easy, because myspace deletes all the sent mail.   I have several one-sided conversations from the past, with no clue what the hell I said in return. I want to know why I suddenly stopped talking that girl from Hicksville who said that my brother's karaoke project reminded her of Wesley Willis, which is awesome.  I'm guessing it was sometime before I started a year-long relationship, which makes sense.  Just like the answer to the question of how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know...

04:15am 04/05/2004
mood: anxious
music: Imaginary Baseball League - "Posing For Stills"

To those of you still tuned in to the yawningly boring and overwrought saga that is my life, welcome back. It's been a while, as you no doubt already know, but things have pretty much been on the status quo until this past weekend. My days have consisted of: work and sleep; when not working - drinking at saints and sinners, sleeping, drinking at saints and sinners, watching tv, checking email/myspace, building IKEA furniture while watching DVDs, sleeping, and bowling on mondays.

Well, something happened that broke the cycle this weekend.  Now, I'm not going to get into specifics, because anybody I want to know will know soon, as soon as I know the whole dealio myself.  Let's just say that something that hasn't happened for a very, very long time in my life has recently happened.  Someone entered a room long locked up and shuttered, with cobwebs over all the arcade games and studio equipment in the middle of the desert, like in that Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers video.  That room having been amongst the tumbleweeds of a barren landscape, I'm a little worried about the possibilities.  My biggest concern is not so much whether or not my heart gets broken's kinda used to it, and at worst, I'll just get really depressed and write another album's worth of mediocre songs that I will likely not record in time to capture the angsty zeitgeist of it all (see also, the 14 songs I wrote when Christina broke up with me in 2000 that I still haven't recorded).

What scares me is that I have to fight every single impulse and instinct that my brain has commanded of me in every similar situation throughout my entire life prior to this moment.  Everything I have ever done before (well, 99.9% of it, to be fair) was wrong.  Granted some of these things were when I was 13, and let's face it, I know maybe one couple who was even sort of together at age 13, and frankly, I think it's kinda weird, but they're great people, so it's not weird in a bad way, but I digress from the point...i.e, me and my biggest enemy -- my brain (see also, everything I've ever written, ever).

It's not that I'm a bad guy, or unstable.  Nope.  My biggest problem is the addictive personality I have. Something makes me feel good or happy or different, and I immediately have to experience it again. Sometimes, it's minor -- I mean, listen to the "Puddin'" EP by Best Kissers In The World, it's a really kickass 25 minutes, in fact, there's only like 15 more minutes worth of songs they recorded that are as good.  It's so kickass you have to listen to it again.  That's normal.  But does it mean that you have to search out every single song that BKITW ever recorded? Well, if you're most people, it doesn't.  If you are J-Ro, it does.  Luckily, the market for BKITW isn't booming and you can find the stuff pretty cheap.  But multiply that by the thousands of bands that I own recordings by, and I think you get the idea. And that is just music. There are whole other aspects of my life that come into play here. For example, let me relate the story of a four year old me, which I am convinced will make a great case for the prosecution.

The scene: cute little four year old boy is picking apples in the yard with his grandfather.  That sounds pretty idyllic, no?  We all wish life could be like this.  Boy leans in to grab an apple, an overripe one falls on his head.  It feels squishy, and kinda neat.  The boy thinks it is fun.  Obviously, he is no Isaac Newton.  Much like the Baby in the TV series "Dinosaurs," you can almost hear him yelling "Again, again!" as he steps deeper under the tree in the hopes that an apple will fall on his head.  And then it happens.

*buzz buzz*

What's this?


It gets louder and more violent as the yard grows darker to his eyes and he finally feels the first sting. He keeps running to get away from the horrible cloud, but it does no good.  Pretty soon, his entire body is numb as he stumbles towards the house.  He asks his Grandma if Grandpa is okay as she combs the stingers out of his hair.  Years later, he learns that his grandfather was actually allergic to bee stings, and thanks whatever force allowed him to survive this unholy terror that he unwittingly unleashed on them both.

The next thing he remembers is all the white.  It is white everywhere, even the chairs, except for the shiny metal. A woman dressed in white says words he barely hears and understands even less.  It sounds a lot like the adults talking in the animated "Peanuts" specials.  His grandmother has been told to make sure the boy stays awake or he might die.  Every time he hears "Comfortably Numb" by Pink Floyd, he relives the experience, wondering how many of his friends have ever felt this way without the use of illegal substances or booze.  Perhaps this is why he doesn't get high.  It just makes him sleepy.  Where's the fun in that?

Then there was the Yodel addiction in junior high school. For those unfamiliar with Yodels, they are a Swiss Roll desert cake made by Drake's Cakes, and are more popular in the NY metropolitan area than Little Debbies.  He would eat as many as 16 of these in a sitting.  They came in packages of twos.  But he couldn't stop.  Not after he broke up with somebody because some people in school said stuff about her.  Somehow, this lack of good judgment was visible, like any zit on an adolescent's forehead.  Sure, he lost the weight once he was able to quit cold Yodel, but not everyone is so lucky.

Even now, I get this way.  I have a great time with someone and immediately I want to have that great time again.  If I don't restrain myself, I may look foolish at best and obsessive at worst.  It's not that I don't enjoy other aspects of my life, but when something is absent for so long and suddenly appears again, my instinct is to grab on for dear life because it could disappear at any moment.  This may sound a little foolish, if not for the fact that in one summer, there were moments shared with three women in the span of four weeks, all of whom disappeared within that time. We all know the saying "If you blow chunks and she comes back, she's yours.  If you spew and she bolts, then it was never meant to be," but sometimes the fear takes hold.  I try not to give into the fear, but sometimes it is difficult when someone is new, unknown and unpredictable.

I spend every waking moment trying to keep my mind off of it, keep myself occupied, but all I do is play my guitar and strum sad chords and think about her waking up and realizing that maybe it was a mistake, to ignore him and he will go away.  So I watch TV, try to build more furniture, pace around, stare at the unringing phone.  Run next door, nervously check for emails that are never sent or received, run back, stare at the still-unringing phone, try to figure out how this shelf will get put up without the bookcase on the other side, and eventually realize that the chord progressions aren't very good or that it has been ONE DAY and that most of the time, several days go by before I get back to people.  Sometimes, things get crazy, there are things that need to be taken care of.  All I can do is not pick up the phone again until it rings.  Not send an email to sound all retarded.  Maybe even try sleeping.  Sometimes that helps, too.  Maybe I will just go with that. Yeah, sleeping, that's the ticket...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Our lives are changing lanes, you ran me off the road... 

So, I've not posted anything on this blog for way too long. So I've decided to jumpstart it with a post that originally appeared on what I guess was my Dead Journal (yes, I had one of those because I thought Live Journal was lame, but then I ended up with one of those, too, as I was trying to hide from the women I wrote about who didn't love me.)

This entry was written about a woman who is now married (as a good chunk of my former paramours (real and imagined) are now bound to another in matrimonial endeavors, this doesn't really narrow the realm of possibility or illuminate the subject), and whom I never went on a date with (I seemingly had one opportunity to do so, and I blew it off), though I did once make an overture (well, if she knew it was an overture, she blew it off; otherwise, it was perhaps more of an underture) which I believe to have been too subtle. I remain convinced that the right woman for me would have understood the symbolism of the gift involved.

4:56am 02/03/2004 
mood: confused
music: Ben Folds Five "Brick"

Yeah, so I've been living inside myself lately. So much going on in my mind, and so little free time to let it all out in the ways I would like to. I really enjoyed letting off some steam playing a set as Caroline's Pneumatic Drapery with Matt, Andre, Dallow and Nick. Just like 6 years ago except noisier and more brutal. It was very cathartic, and you can never go wrong playing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" to the tune of "Dance To The Underground." I need a better schedule to make use of my nights more productively, as working from 7pm until 7am just really messes things up. It's so hard to catch up if I fall behind - with friends, housework, record label stuff...It's 5am now and I need to go to sleep.

On the way home from bowling tonight, while I was getting crazy to Death Cab For Cutie, I was thinking how I should write music and play guitar when I got home...but I just sat and watched tv after eating a slice of meatloaf sandwiched between 2 chicken cutlets on whole wheat bread with spicy vidalia onion dressing instead of mayonnaise...In fact, I was half asleep on the couch two hours ago, but here I am, semi-awake at 5am. And I really need to get some sleep so I can wake up early to get a lot done tomorrow. Not only do I have things to take care of for myself, but for 7 others in the two bands I've released music by, the other bands i intend to work with, and two other performers who are traveling great distances to play Long Island (why? dunno) at the end of the month who need confirmation of a venue.

Emotionally, I've gone through a lot, too...all on the inside. I've made peace with a lot of my recent stumbling past, and realized these scenarios are for the best. But that's not all...this one semi-crush i've had on someone for about three years is starting to take over, thereby dashing my hopes to be blissfully happy by ignoring such things while keeping myself insanely busy with work and the record label, etc. I toss and turn in my bed waking up or trying to sleep going over the scenes in my head that could transpire.

I wish the movie of my life had a better screenwriter, because the more I think about such encounters, the more likely I am to try something zany and blow it, but not in a cute, "Ed" sort of way that ends with him marrying Carol Vessey at the end of the show's run. My three year (non)pursuit of this one person is probably so hidden below the surface that aside from the two people who I've told, I bet nobody else has a clue, least of all her. I did, however read an interesting horoscope thing about how the person will probably grow weary and impatient of waiting around for me to make a move. So, if it is obvious to her, then I must look like a freakin' douchebag. I mean, I don't have the best poker face, and oftentimes, when I am trying to impress someone, I get all quiet because I'm afraid to say something stupid and then wish I had a gun to shoot myself in the foot with to lighten the mood.

I don't even know if the person in question reads this...not just because of my hopping around online locations for writing stuff, but also because of my less and less frequent updates. It's so hard for me lately to sit in front of this machine and write down my thoughts...not that I've written a whole lot down in my paper journal lately, either. I just kinda feel like I've been there before. That I've felt it all, done it all and lost it all too many times before to care. This time, however, I realize that I don't care so much about this person disliking what is probably my favorite band, so much as that I need someone with her sense of humor and on the wavelength she is at...someone who will "get it" if I say something random and weird, or liberally quote George Carlin for days at a time.

Someone who knows what I'm referring to when I blurt out a line from a sketch in "The Kids In the Hall." I just feel stupid because for the past 6 months to a year, I've been fine and witty with the repartee via email and IM, but in person, the 3 or so times we've hung out in crowds or the couple of times on the phone, I've been like a dead fish with no mouth. I had even hung up the phone wishing I had hung up before letting things go so quiet. Sometimes, the radio DJ in me just screams "DEAD AIR BAD!" and the silence makes my brain attack itself. I just want to tell her that if she's so intent on dating someone, she should date me. But I know that these words will never pass my lips, at least not in a way that makes me sound cool or collected.

I can identify all too well with the awkward social retardation of Ross Geller on "Friends" as perfectly portrayed by David Schwimmer. Those noises have emanated from my cake-hole before. After all, I am a man who morphed into Columbo just trying to ask someone to hang out, proceeding to ramble on about the game "Mousetrap." In ancient times, I think the procedure of trephining was invented out of a society's overwhelming desire to shut the stinking traps of people afflicted with whatever brain malfunction/ verbal diarrhea disorder I have. I can do nothing but apologize to all of you who have been humoring me all these years, letting me believe that I am sane. No matter how much I loved cake, I've never had to ride the short bus.