ManicRobThrill

Sunday, October 14, 2018

October faction no. 2

The weather is slowly starting to become cooler; it's hard to think, feel motivated or be productive in such consistently oppressive humidity.  I simply feel disgusting every single day; it's hard not.  It also leaves me drained of energy so that by day's end, I find my feet and mind dragging - it's a chore to sit down and try to write about music, etc., let along muster the enthusiasm to deliver a good conversational performance when Jon and I do Radio City...  Nonetheless, I feel a little bit more awake; aware and that's an uplift.

I feel like I've been ignoring everything, including this blog and it's because of this irritation of "no inspiration" but I'm fighting my way through it.  My plan for this week is to actually go to the gym after work for all the right reasons (like just feeling good!) and to try and clear out more of the CD's that sit atop my desk by reviewing them.  While I have two chosen boxsets and a specific new CD to write about as a higher priority, I'm pretty sure by December, the "office" room in my apartment will be in order.  It's also time to start finalizing plans for the vacation break from work by preparing to do a winter cleaning and selling some of my guitars.

While I've been lax in doing anything in particular - or anything meaningful for me - it's nice to finally feel the mental fog lifting so I can begin to see the way forward again.

Monday, September 10, 2018

September song #2

A raining Monday off from work, which is a rarity, but being the first day of Rosh Hashana, I don't subscribe to the idea of not obrserving.  It's nice to have the apartment to myself for a little while; Bailey, our new addition to the family, is busy exploring her new surroundings and getting used to having a permanent home.  We brought her home on Wednesday and she's adjusting nicely - she hasn't had any fights with Paisley or Roxy and she's definitely acclimated to using her box, eating her meals and loves invading the toybox.  She's precious, beautiful, sweet and I knew immediately that I wanted her, after reading her story, two or three months ago.  That she was still available is amazing; we met her last Saturday at the shelter and it was love at first sight.  So it's been a very happy week for us.

I'm still in this sort-of netherworld; the job I took in January isn't what it presented itself to be, although I maintain my position as solid, always present and finding ways to keep things moving as properly as possible.  It's a combination of not-great pay, no benefits, no connection and, in truth, a step backwards in the professional sense - I'm not learning anything new or helpful.  So I've begun again the arduous task of hopefully finding something with a little more substance and higher pay.  At my age, good luck.

Writing has also taken some interesting twists and turns - Popdose is greatly diminished on my radar or focus.  It shouldn't be surprising after 5 years of autonomous writing/editing to have a non-contributor decide to make a power play and dictate, let alone invade work by myself as well as others.  His lack of respect for me - never mind that for two summers, I alone, kept Popdose afloat with content - made me decide, "no - I'm not getting paid for this; why am I making such an effort?" and cut my contributions by at least 75%.  As it is, no one seems to write anything anymore and three of us have begun writing for MusicTAP.net, which has no constrictions on what you do and how you do it.  I'm taking it all slowly - my time is precious to me and writing for no pay is not something I want to do for the long run; I've already done it.

That being said, my lax approach to the guitar is something of a sore point for me.  It's my own fault, but I don't have any drive and I should.  It's my responsibility to work out but at the same time, my laziness is the problem.  And the same can be said about getting back into a focused gym routine. 

This may sound like an excuse but hopefully, with the cool weather approaching and my injured foot healing (albeit slowly), it may help the process right itself.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Hot August nights

These last two weeks have been scorchers and I'm as red as a lobster from our office Beach Day this past Thursday.  I haven't had a sunburn this bad since 1996, when I spent a week on Cocoa Beach in Florida.  It's been draining; tiring and leaves me with no energy - not even a desire to write. 

Today has been the first day in a while that's been cool and comfortable, albeit soggy.  Rain is fine; it's made going out just to do the basics not laborious - although I just woke up from a mid-afternoon nap...!  It's also my father's birthday, which obviously makes me a little sad since he's no longer here, but I have nothing but positive thoughts for him.

It's been a strangely sedate time; I couldn't financially afford to return to Memphis, as I'd planned, this past week.  It also turned out that the hotel I'd booked didn't inform me that they were rebranding and renovating and that the restaurant attached to the hotel had been closed in January, so it's fair to say I dodged a bullet - however unfortunate it may be.

I don't know - the world outside has been reaching an apex of irrationality and intolerance; lunacy and tedium and I find myself withdrawing more and more from unnecessary interactions, as I don't wish to be preached at/to.  The less I hear unwarranted opinions, the more I like it.  I have my own ideas and thoughts and I find people have grown into this "you must be in lockstep with us or we'll publicly humiliate you" - this is a mentality that I cannot abide with, so I keep as much distance from those I know who have bought into this disgraceful pattern.  Thus, it keeps me from feelin brought down, the way I see so many others around me.

Civility costs nothing, and yet, no one is willing to pay a cent.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Freedom of choice

It's a quiet day; having had yesterday off as well has been incredibly relaxing and wonderful.

I do not hide the fact that I am a very patriotic American; I am proud of this country; proud to have been born and raised here - proud and fortunate.  So when I hear people - friends, especially - disparage the country overall, it angers me.  "Privilege" has become a word quite often mis-assigned and yet the hypocrisy of many is just that.  Those who fling accusations of "privilege" on certain groups or individuals are usually those who come from such a background.  It's become one of the focal buzzwords of the political forum, along with "Nazi" (completely misappropriated because it's easy to toss out via laziness), etc.  Privilege very often is equated with arrogance - and there is no doubt in my mind that those who spew the word are as arrogant, self-serving and smugly self-righteous as they are affluent.  These are people who can sit upon their hilltop homes and pretend to "care" about "others" while keeping a very safe distance from reality and it's become tiresome bullshit, frankly.  So I look in the mirror and I don't - won't - pretend; I am a proud American patriot who doesn't disparage, but rather embraces the privilege of what being an American means.

From the time I was able to vote at the age of 18, which is now 35 years ago, I had been a card-carrying, dyed-in-the-wool Democrat.  I believed in what the party platform stood for and although I had never been a "cheerleader", I was always quietly active in whatever way I could be.  No more.  After seeing what the Party itself has either splintered into or kowtowed to, with this perverse, near-sociopathic new "alt-left", I finally went to the New York City Board of Elections and re-worked my registration so that I no longer have a party affiliation.  When you allow platforms that single out specific groups or religions as targets of their very focused ire but push agendas that don't have any place in general society - since it's on behalf of a very small special interest group - you've worn out your welcome to me.  But yet, I celebrate that notion because, as an American, I have the freedom and birthright of that choice.  And I vote, regardless.  I have never, from the first time I could vote, shirked my responsibility in doing my job as an American citizen; I am at the polling station as early as possible.  Yet, those who couldn't even be bothered to vote, either physically or by mail, are trying to dictate and force policy to shape the future direction of this nation?  I don't think so.

So on this magnificent holiday, Independence Day, I will, indeed, raise a glass to honor our flag; toast our incredible soldiers who deserve more respect than anyone ever seems to give them, as well as our police forces, who do a thankless job and keep us safe and say "thank God I am an American". 

Celebrate the easiest thing of all - being who we are and where we are.  God bless America.  Yes.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Illumination

Life, more often than not, seems to go through these ebbs and flows - when the wave crests and reaches a sweltering height and then flattens into stillness.  That's how things seem to be right now; a holding pattern of calm.  There are certain things that as a 53-year-old very grounded individual, I am naturally concerned about, but for the first time in quite a while, I tend to breathe with ease and sleep soundly.  All my concerns are real/physical world, tangible things and none of them are deep or insurmountable - they're not even major issues directly affecting me, per se,  but rather those around me.

At the same time, the people who are closest to me; the ones I love most I can't help but be worried and concerned about - I've watched several of them unraveling around me; watched their lives start to come apart (sometimes through no fault of their own) and it's hard.  You want to help; be useful - brace their fall but you know you can't because they need to get from this negative moment to work into positivity.  What I've been trying my best to do is proffer advice when asked and to listen without prejudice or interruption.  

All this is to say, I know at the moment, I need to rearrange a few things in my life; my schedule - the not-too-distant future.  I'm beginning to strongly feel the economics of a trip to Memphis may be too difficult; too taxing.  There's also a persistent (dare I say "nagging"?) vibe that tells me this is not the time; not the moment to make a trip that I've (creatively) visualized for the last three years.  My intuitive sense is telling me this trip would be a disappointment; that what I want it to be, it won't be - in fact, the opposite and I don't want that to happen.  So patience must be deployed and assessing the bigger picture aligned with Memphis is of paramount importance.

Time and patience...  time and temperance.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

First of May

Kind of misleading, I know, but this is the first posting of my favorite month.  The weather is behaving nicely - even when it rains, it's still warm and comfortable and seeing things like the cherry blossom outside my apartment in complete bloom makes me feel good.  A balmy Saturday morning in my neighborhood, equals the wonderful smell of freshly mowed grass and the foods coming from the adjoining farmer's market next door.

As always I'm moving forward with trying to shift and balance the creative fulcrum; I've decided to draw back a bit from the writing for Popdose; while "Radio City..." is still an endless source of joy and quality thinking, I'm going to focus on the music again - the stockpile of songs written and aching to be recorded, heard.  So many of my friends can't be wrong:  "you need to finish this album" and "when are you going to get on a stage again?  I want to see you play live" are the most-often repeated questions.  And for that, I'm grateful and inspired.  So why not?  There's no emotional conundrum here; I've just been criminally lazy and negligent.  So I have to stop it and get on my horse.  It's that simple.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't make note that today is 32 years since the moment that changed the course of my life forever and for the better.  The night I met that wonderful girl who made me happy for so long.  While whatever I can remember with clarity of that night brings me nothing but joy of the memory, I am still very sad and somewhat angry that she's no longer alive.  I don't know if that's childish or selfish, but this day will always mean something very deep and powerful for me.

Friday, April 13, 2018

April rains (and snows...)

It's gone from cold and grey, when I simply can't stand it to being insanely warm - which, even though I overdressed a bit, I'll take.  It's spring and it's now time for my denim jacket, not my parka, scarf, gloves and snow boots.  Ridiculous!  But thankfully, we may finally be away from the coats and sweaters...  I hope!

Nonetheless, I'm feeling pretty good; pretty sharp and as per usual, cautiously optimistic.  While there are a lot of things happening around me, my own take is that with time and temperance, my own spin is going just fine.  And spring always signifies something good, positive and constructive.  Granted, I've often been lax about doing the things I say I'm going to - especially as time passes and I get older and more tired - but I've actually been doing, instead of thinking or talking about.

So the warmth has melted my frozen mental state (!) and reawakened my drive and motivation.  And I can't ask for more, can I?  I mean, I could, but what's the point.  When it's good, why push when you don't need to...