Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Don't Know Why, but who cares

So, despite my panic when barely glimpsing my life, I went ahead and practiced with the young brothers for close to four hours today; going through some of their original stuff and other things. Guitar players always have to throw in chord changes that aren't immediately predictable. I suppose if they didn't then all songs would sound the same.

The original songs are among my favorites. I'm kind of getting the idea. The main thing is that not every tune is a solo opportunity or the place to play single note runs. Fitting some rhythm and chords makes more sense on a few. I'm actually nt so used to that because most people want me to do a ride on everything. I think it is best for the big picture not to.

There is talk of a Thursday night paying gig up north of here aways, which may turn into an every week thing. I wonder what it pays? Considering California gas prices, it needs to pay something.

They said they've promoted themselves to this place--a hotel--as having a good harp player in the mix so I am expected to play.
Once again it is a situation in which I just kind of do what I do, and ou don't have to be too good--just sensible enough to go with what they are doing and avoid clashing. Also it is again rather challenging at times because this set up is different from what I am used to. It is a different twist from what I did in Memphis or what I've done here with Copper Creek.

I'll continue to play with Cliff and Kevin and Lauren, unless there is a conflict and one or the other has a paying gig. It appears the Orange Pickers are more serious about scoring that. And more available for it. I may be able to find something for them before long as well. We'll see when the time comes.

In the mean time I must sort and filter my junk and achieve some semblance of organization. It can lead to a better livelihood and for sure a better state of mind. That and measures to be healthy and in shape ought to brighten my day to day world view.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bands Like This, and I Panic

So, I jammed and went over a couple of tunes with the Orange Pickers. The fairly young brothers who play guitar and bass, with the guitar player being the front man and vocalist.

Then they said there is an open mic tonight that is far different and more of a thrill than the one where we met. The thing is this place puts everyone's name in a hat and draws it like a lottery. The have enough acts that they only give you 10 minutes.

But you are playing to an small auditorium from a great stage, with a very good sound system. The lighting is such that you can barely see the audience because the only lights are stage lights. Very professional. And quite a few people.

I didn't see or hear everyone. One guy who played piano and sang was pretty good. I wish I knew someone in the audience or that we had recorded what we did. It felt like we did pretty well, and the roar from the audience when we were done was noticeably more enthusiastic than I'd heard. We did 2 tunes and took up every bit of ten minutes.

It is crazy but I swear this is the perfect band for me. The big hitch is that I'm too old for this nonsense. I get all enthused, then I look around and panic. What am I doing? When I step back and realize how pitiful it all is, I recoil from myself in horror.

Now I am not sure what to do. The Orange kids are all eager for the next practice, or they were, and I am thinking I need to do something else because I should have outgrown this kind of thing before those kids were even born.

I hate the whole music world as it relates to me. I don't belong here, dammit.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Loco Motion

Why do I keep playing? I play when the practice here in the neighborhood, which is a sporatic kind of thing so we never really get the game up to where I'd like. We also play some things that aren't my favs, but that can be good for broadening the skills. And I play more and more at a couple of open mic events which occur every week on Thursday and Saturday. I've done the Saturday one more than the other.

There are times when I question what it is I'm doing. I don't really get it. Last night, at the Saturday open mic, my friend Cliff was to do some songs that are foreign to me and probably not in need of a harmonica backing, so I just put my name on the play list separately. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I saw that those two brothers from last time were there. I call them Los Lonely Boys, but the call themselves the Orange Pickers. They must pick oranges sometimes, and I guess they like the word play. I also call them Los Gatos Naranjas. I like the spanish names.

Anyway, I asked if they wanted to come play with me when it came to my time. They had a couple of songs they thought would be bluesy so I said OK, we'll do those. They did very well. I like the guitar player's stye and vocals, and his brother's bass is not bad either. There were a few technical issues and I know what I'd do differently, but it was OK.

They called me today and want me to come jam and want me to play with them when they get gigs and such. These are kids, relative to me. Very young. But I think that lead guy has something and that they could make a go of things. So I will go tomorrow and play on their home turf. Maybe I can help them, or maybe not.

Right now I am in one of those mind states which is characterized by thinking I am not any good at all and should be doing something more constructive. It is amazing how I lose all sense of worth when it comes to music. I've been plaing like crazy lately, so I should be in good form, but all of a sudden, bam, it just dissolves.

There was a guy last night who came in with a very nice harp case, and coll bag of related things. He talked a big game too; claimed he plays jazz, classical, bluegrass, blues, you name it, and that he did studio work. I was sure he'd put me to shame and people would realize I am just an angsty lamer hacker.

When I played, he never said anything. Then when he got up there with the people he was going to "play some blues with" he took the microphone off the stand and held it. I never did that there because I didn't know if the sound guy would adjust right. It seemed to work well enough.

After all that talk I expected something that would make me think I need to work on this or that, or to hear something I couldn't do. What I heard was third rate, and I almost would rather have been blown away. It shows how little confidence I have. There were no really good licks, no special tone, vibrato, nothing. He didn't play off key notes and that's about it. I could in no way picture jazz, classical and studio work. I was shocked.

My shock was at my own vanity and fear, and at the fact that he really wasn't what I consider good. Other players can make me nervous, but they usually make me play better, and give me something to strive for or think about. All I wondered is whether anyone actually paid this guy to do a studio gig. If what I heard was a sample, I'd be kicking myself forever if I played like that in a studio or on stage. I do that anyway with my efforts but I would kick harder.

It just goes to show, the spiffy case and goodies coupled with mildly arrogant boasting does not interesting music make. Not to say I even know if what I play is interesting. When I like things it is because I get lost in it and like the way it feels to play whatever I'm doing. Always been in it for the feel rather than the sound, to a large degree. But I hate it when it sounds bad or clashes with the big picture. Maybe I have more sense than some in that way.

I hope I can dig up some enthusiasm for the lonely boys. They should be encouraged. They are good kids and have charisma as well as a great feel for their music. Besides, the guitar player holds the late Robert Johnson in high esteem and knows about the Crossroads.

I'll tool on down to Jamul tomorrow afternoon and see what's what. Just don't want to be one of those old guys that looks stupid because he doesn't know he's not 20.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Up to the Cabin and Up to the Band House

A little visual taste of the neighborhood<--- that's what we called it back before it became da hood, and when whore wasn't spelled or pronounced ho.
I cling to the English of fly-over country, until they emulate what is perceived as coastal inner city cool. If you don't know, large urban inner cities are not cool or conducive to leisurely strolls.

This is what happens when you drive unpaved roads which curve and go up and downhill with a flip cam in one hand and, part of the way, a harmonica in the other. And trying to add some sountrack on the minor key harp while filming and driving. Ab harmonic minor, I think.

Grim Poultry Conspiracy Discovered

Like many of the most devious and diabolical plots, the chicken coup has been in plain sight. They taunt us by printing the truth and proudly displaying it.

People are so accustomed to responding positively to senseless claims, announced with glee, that they often ignore the sinister substance of the thing. Or we haven't a clue what is being said, but it sounds good so we are influenced. "Now, with new Hyrdropinol and fewer colemnizoids!" "Doctors recommend it over zerbetium, 2 to 1."

Those examples are relatively harmless. What I realized wasn't so harmless was what was labeled quite plainly on the egg carton. I have to think it is a case of discrimination--an institutionalized hate crime--that the authorities have let this practice go on. No scandal, no expose on 60 minutes or some viral internet outrage. No occupy the chicken farm. Nothing.

I fear for my life. I have no idea why they do this, but it says right there in bold print on the egg box, "Vegetarian fed hens.". Some yahoos no doubt think this is funny. They do not know the potential kick-your-ass viciousness that lurks in some non-carnivores. They wouldn't be laughing if it said, "Snickering Yahoo fed chickens."

However these victims of the poultry industry are not animals, they are human beings. How can they get away with it? If you prick us, do we not bleed? etc. etc.

My question is, why are they feeding vegetarians to chickens? Can't they feed them chicken food, like seeds or popcorn?

All I know is that if I go missing, the place to look might be the local egg farm. A clever plot, since the evidence is eaten. I would think modern forensic science could prove wrong doing now that they know the score. They had no reason to look for traces of vegetarian in chicken droppings, until now.

They should have looked, but law enforcement is a bigoted, imperfect, corrupt bunch of pain in the ass sadists, for the most part, so it takes time for the few good people to get the right thing done. Yes, I know people like to say, "Oh, most in law enforcement are dedicated public servants, blablabla..." They know that is garbage and so does everyone else. Most in law enforcement are not nice people. You can't be and enforce the kinds of laws they enforce, in the manner in which they do it.

I've known a few cops, and since they were friends prior to going to the dark side I ignored the reality. I've met people who are cops, and I do the same thing--pretend they are swell people. But the truth is, when it comes down to it, and they have on their cop suit, they are not normal, nice people. They are power. And if you don't answer just right, show the proper deference, then zap, you are going to be physically abused, and probably cited or arrested--hit in the wallet one way or another.

In all fairness it is not totally the fault of the cop that he or she is a mini tyrant in most cases. They are in a system which promotes it. If they do the right thing, they are dealing with dirtbags which is no fun at all. They are under the thumb of politicians which is a can of worms too. So, the setup gives them an out--find mild mannered normal folk who are violating some insignificant rule. Less chance of getting shot, or of the person having power and connections which might jeapordize the job, pay raises and pension.

If they focussed as much on wiping out gangs as they do with stupid drug activity and traffic entrapment tactics, maybe it would be a better thing.

I still question the ones who go along with stupid laws under the excuse of "just doing my job", but that is how it is. 911 operators, dispatchers and other support personnel are less likely to have the same over bearing power rush that often possesses the cop. If a cop refused to do the job in an unconstitutional, and unreasonable manner, that cop would be out of a job in most locales. People somehow think it is unAmerican to say these things. I think it is unAmerican that it has come to the point where innocent people tend to fear the police more than trust them to protect. Some still think if you aren't doing anything wrong you needn't worry. My experience, and that of many others, has been to the contrary. Just wait, is all I have to say.

But I'm on the short list for chicken feed, and they probably aren't. Obviously equal protection means nothing when it comes to non-carnivores.

I'll bet something would have been done if they said, "Cop fed chickens" or "City council fed hens" on the label. But then the eggs would probably be rotten from the get go.

By the way, there is no such thing as a "public servant". They are paid, and doing a job-sometimes. They even have thuggish unions. They are no more public servants that the barristas at Starbucks. Except the Starbucks people provide a service you want and voluntarily pay for. Few surprises there. The barrista is unlikely to pry into other matters in your life because you ordered a latte. Perhaps the server of espresso can lay more honest claim to the title, "public servant", than most who self aggrandize with that tag.

Monday, February 20, 2012

No News Is Good News

Holy smoke!! I just perused some general headlines for the first time in awhile. When you shut it off, it can be a shock to check back in.

If I didn't know better, and I don't, I'd say there was a long standing effort to instill fear, confusion, and animosity into the deepest recesses of what is left of our minds. Really, none of it makes a lot of sense, regardless of what pundits and historians theorize.

There is simply no rationale for the way things are, and the structure of most of civilization. I narrow most of it down to people not having the ability to mind their own business and respect the rights of others through the ages. The clever institutions which thrive on this weakness in humanity have done well in exploiting this while gaining wealth and power. It certainly isn't new.

What is new is the pure volume and weight of this crush of fear, hatred, avarice, jealousy, lack of conscience, etc. No reasonable voices hold the political stage to any degree. It is quite clear that whatever, even if only fate, is pulling the strings intends for Obama to have a second term. I don't think he has to say or do a thing. Those vying to oppose him are digging their own graves as rapidly as they can. And I am not one who agrees with the current administration's philosophy or practices regarding nearly everything. But come on, what is all this insanity on the other side? Very depressing.

I give up on that. The only thing I can do is hope I can afford to drive from here to there, and just pretend to be free and hopeful. In discussing things with friends I can see that they don't agree with me, and I think they miss the big picture in many ways. If they can fix it, I leave them to it. My best fix is to fight the things that affect the mind and one's optimism about his own prospects and ideas.

Geez, with all the cliches that constantly find their way into sports lingo, now "chink in the armor" is considered racist because a Chinese basketball player is making a splash. You know, lots of people, who aren't obsessed with race and ethnicity, would never have drawn that nuance out of what was being said. No matter. They fired the guy anyway.

I'm wondering how the phrase, "At the end of the day..." will become off limits in the future. That is one cliche that I hear everywhere. Did anyone ever say, "The bottom line is..." in a context in which someone drew a sexist connotation? Maybe in circumstances that caused them to be labeled homophobic?

Clearly I have been duped, just like most people. The trouble is, I am one who has somehow taken it seriously enough that I have had big trouble kick starting my life, over and over. I hope to get a foothold before it is all over and I am unaware that I did it.

It shouldn't be too hard to ignore those who "wake up every day asking, What can I do to make your life better? (with tax money)". And to avoid the El Cajon contingent of the highway patrol. I thought my buddy with the gym bus was stopped by the Sheriff. Nope, it was CA Highway patrol, El Cajon office. One citation was for a dirty engine. The guy crawled up under the thing and decided that.

THEY do not comprehend the life of people who just try to make a living, especially if they are independent of any government or large corporation. I have to run away from anything that has to do with agencies and agents. And from any people whose circumstances are such that they like all the bureaucracy, or at least the set up. They will be talking about policies and politicians and I need to avoid it like I need to avoid alcohol, and other addictive things. I am too easily sucked in and it is detrimental to life.

Much of what I grew up believing is wrong. Much of what most of us grew up believing is wrong. Until people realize that, and figure out what of the ingrained material is destructive, the snowball will continue to grow. It is not a matter of the choices we are presented officially, either. Those are false choices which beg the real questions at best.

So easy to let outside matters cloud the real and present. I want to be a workaholic again. Just need that something which will hold my attention and fire some passion. I think that is among the healthier choices. Falling into mourning over the job market, what used to be, and all that won't win the day. Some choices aren't there, but there are more possibilities than I know; kind of by definition.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

For Want of a Coat and a Bag of Gold

When I was meandering through the wild canyons of Utah, and all the great Colorado country, I remember thinking that one day maybe I'd be back and have a nice warm human female to share it with. Over time I pretty much said heck with it, forget about it. And I not only no longer thought about it, I really no longer cared one way or the other. Spend eternity alone? Beats hell, with or without company, and I've been there both ways.

Now, all of a sudden, I do have the chance, and I don't even have suitable clothes, let alone the money. And all I'd be doing is visiting, rent free. All the digs and such are in place. Or I think they are. That is the price you pay when you go on strike at 29 years old and never truly regain your bearings. I went on strike because it seemed everything I knew was wrong--at least in the way business, government, and human beings tend to operate. They shook my reality so hard, and disgusted me deeply. Even so, I see now that I walked away from millions of dollars, and possible death by assassination.

That is the trouble with obsession and passion, and I'm not talking the kind that involves stalking or seeking a human companion. If you have no proper guidance, no knowledgeable sounding boards, you can become just as dedicated a quitter as you were a creator of great things.

And in the end, you won't even have a proper coat or jacket to go hiking or skiing or exploring in the mountain west in wintertime. This is a lesson you should pass on to your children.

Perhaps I will figure a way to swing the cash to get there for a visit, and just wear all the clothes I own at once. Or I can raid the Goodwill donation places for good outdoorsy jackets, boots, thermal wear, etc. Damn. I don't think this is going to happen. I may have to just say, "Sorry, I'm poor, and I have ignored anything that dealt with security future or winter for too long. I'm too much of a loser to even accept the invitation." I won't say that, but it is basically true and that is beginning to piss me off.

Friends will berate me for not jumping at the chance, and would not do so to such a degree were they to live in my skin for a month. That doesn't mean they are not right. I have a WW2 army-air force officer's overcoat. It is wool and weighs a ton. Somehow, I do not think that is the best thing for the job.

It is the story of the princess and the pea. I'm the pea, and you have to ignore the actual plot of the story for that to make any sense.

Another Valley Music Open Microphocasm

This is all a horizon broadening exercise. The ego boosting aspect is a little confusing, too. As soon as I look at the reality around me, I wonder why I do what I do.

Once again I ended up doing a couple of solos. Since I knew Cliff was doing a song he hasn't done and maybe it was better not to have me muddling through, I figured I'd just do my thing and that would be that.

Somehow I got moved up to early on the list, and I figured I ought to give another solo foray a shot. Undecided between major and minor key, and drawing a blank on what it was I considered playing when thinking about it yesterday, I pulled out the A minor harp and just hit a chord then started playing and playing and playing some more. I suppose there was a bit of continuity to it, and at least it wasn't a repeat of anything I'd played publicly.

It went over well. Then I pulled out a D harp, used to play A major, and did something different. Most of the time I was figuring out how to slide into this really fast clikity clack thing that just uses a few notes but becomes a fast sharp rhythm. As fast as I can go, and it is a thing that is hard to do, because I have to find a way to breathe during this deal. I did OK, but I felt like I had to go short of what would make it right. I'm working on improving the lungs and all that. No wonder smokers are a dying breed-that stuff could kill you.

So, the major key thing went over big. Maybe my forte is just making it up as I go. Once again it wasn't the usual stuff anyone around here has heard. Some kid asked afterward if I'd sold my soul at the crossroads. It happens he and his brother played ahead of me, and I liked the guy's vocal and understated style of play. A good groove. Now it looks like I may hook up with these guys and who knows. The old man and the boy wonders. I really don't want to be that guy that hangs with the college set.

Except these guys are jammers and playing from a place few people even know is there. Hard to explain, but I think they've got that something extra, and they like the same kind of thing. We'll see.

I'd say the players there tonight were a cut above the usual. It was definitely better quality than the last time. It seems the level of play is improving every time.

A couple more people asked if I'd play on their songs. That is always risky because they tend to play obscure country type tunes I've never heard which have changes that are unnatural to me. They go where I wouldn't if I'd written the song. That's the challenge. That and figuring out what harp is best suited to it. Can't always go by what key it is generally considered to be. Odd stuff is tricky. I faked my way through, and one of them I actually liked. It went OK I guess. At least I got to play one of Cliff's tunes that I know.

I'm either going to have to do work on these harmonicas or replace a few. Those things have become way too expensive. They are listing a friggin Marine Band harmonica for $51.00. They gave a guy a discount and it still cost him 44.00. That is over the top. I'm going to stick with Lee Oskar harps I think, when I get anything. They are high priced as well, but they hold up far better. And for me, I generally like the sound better. Some people don't for their style of play. It does make replacing reed plates seem the better way to go than getting a new instrument. When you factor in all the different keys I use, fifty bucks a pop comes out to a lot of money.

The saddest thing is that I know I'm not a harp player's harp player. I do what I do, and I am fairly good at filling in background without clashing or stepping on the vocals or other parts. But as far as real deal, I never allowed myself to reach my potential. I do think it was there. It honestly confuses me.

I wonder how I'll react when some ultra killer harp player shows up. I'll have to go ahead and play, because it would be bad form to lay out just because someone else has better skills. Like when Magic Dick was on stage with Lee Oskar. He couldn't hang. But he hung in. I was just surprised he didn't have beeter sense on what to play and what not to play. That's where I think I have the edge. I can be out soloed by anyone, but I am more able to find the way to blend than most. But no one is paying me to do it at the moment. And there are times I can't find any way to work it in where it makes sense to me. So hell with it.

These are lean times and I will just do some menial manual labor and get enough to pay gas to and from the job, plus a ration of bread and water.

I'm a yoyo. One minute I am hopeful and optimistic, the next I wonder who I'm kidding and have no faith in myself whatsoever. Until presented with a problem to be solved which is outside of just me.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Just because I Underestimate

I've noticed that when I voice self doubt, some people tend to slightly miss the mark of what I'm saying and indicate that they under estimate me more than I do.

Not f., in case you wondered. Thanks for the note. That was a private message so ignore.

Anyway, I did mislead re Valentine's---to a point. I still believe that it is only natural for money and power to win the women, feminists or not. There are complicating factors and all that, but it is nature, and rooted in How Things Work. People after your money, allegiance and labor try to brainwash you otherwise, but you cannot fool mother nature forever. That is why every communist country has a black market.

Anyway, there are other tricks. Not being needy is a good hook. And I must say, it was requested I write something for V Day, and despite the fact that between the lines, and even on them, I was telling the truth, what I wrote was inspired and a home run.

Sometimes I know what I am doing. The whole issue is whether I want to do it. I have much difficulty in allowing myself to enjoy what I enjoy, and to live constructively. I respect productive, constructive lifestyles more than most people, yet I shy away from actually being that way. It is a mystery to me why that is.

You know the humidity is low when you wash a pair of levis in the sink because you are financially frightened, and they actually dry over night, in the shade, indoors. It would take days for them to dry in Miami, unless you hung them out in the sun.

If I were a carnivore I'd be shooting rabbits in my yard and cooking them to save grocery money. I may do it anyway, for the skins. I'll make a rabbit shirt, and rabbit shoes, and won't have to buy clothes soon. Guess I better include some sort of trousers in the mix.

Opt Out is All Backwards

So, I really began to get annoyed when I'd receive or send an email from gmail, and began to notice a link at bottom or top of the page related to content of the email. Someone sends a message discussing a problem with a fence latch and there's a link to fencing or gates or some such. Another sends an email which discussed a found dog and there is one for dog grooming.

Supposedly you can opt out of ads which are automatically tailored to your perceived interests. It is downloaqding and I hope it isn't just another open door to big brother in one carnation or another.

My thinking is: things of personal and intrusive nature should be OPT IN, not OPT OUT. If I take advantage of the "introductory offer" on a service or product, I should not have to time my cancellation just right to stop the automatic billing, which invariably goes up. I should be asked, "OK, you tried it. If you like it, you will now be billed a gazillion bucks because you are probably hooked. Do you want to pay for one month, or do you want to be billed monthly through our convenient and friendly automatic billing system which we affectionately call Bennie the Bat"

They don't do it because it is more profitable to do it otherwise. Chase us down, catch us if you can, to avoid further charges. Some are highly deceptive, the rest are just annoyingly sleezy business practitioners. I know the rationalizations, but it sucks and everyone, including those who promote it, know this to be true.

It is a symptom of a culture which has lost a common code of courtesy and moral compass. Hell, that isn't news. When they started calling rap which was rife with references to Ho, Bitch, Kill cops, kill others, racially biased and charged lingo, art, we knew we'd jumped the shark as a constructively evolving culture long ago.

Can't do anything for that. I will say that there are rappers who have a talent. There are many who are basically just DJs playing loops of music they didn't create and rhythms they did not create, talking pure gibberish on top of it. It sells and I wouldn't make it illegal. But I do not call that art.

In an odd way, I trace a lot of it back to the fear of freedom. It is a sign of people who are resigned to living under the thumb, so they rebel in ways that make no sense. It is a warped thing. Many would argue with me about cause and effect when it comes to cultural phenomena, so I will just leave it out.

Gas is $4 per gallon in San Diego so I am driving less when possible. It does scare me to see an entire nation being duped. Not to mention the rest of the western world. Again, all you can do is clean your room, smile at loved ones and focus on what really matters; sex, rock n roll, and staying healthy. Being one who craves the happy vagabond life from time to time, it does get difficult. Oh well.

Come to think of it, there is much in life that is of the nature that you are counted in unless you find a way to opt out. It is sort of like being presumed guilty until you prove otherwise. Some of us know we are guilty; we were raised to know this. We just resent strangers knowing it, too.

UPDATE: the opt out thing on google is a trick. You have to download google chrome, which then wants to "back up" history and everything else online for "your convenience". You try to avoid so much busy body tracking by downloading the opt out thing, but to do that you have to download an overbearing program that wants to get in your business.

Do no evil? Really? Isn't that google's motto? Must depend on your definition of "evil" or on what "is" is, or what "do" means.

I guess if Alec Baldwin gets paid millions to be an allegedly comedic actor, anything is possible. I watched an episode of 30 rock just to see if I was wrong. What a poorly written, lamely acted bunch of garbage. The guy is just not funny. Kudos, though for no laff track on that show.

The most of appropriate use of a laff track would be on news broadcasts, state of the union speeches, and pretty much anything involving political people or bureaucrats giving press conferences or otherwise yakking in public. That should apply to first ladies as well. Debates would be far more entertaining, too. At least it would ease the pain of trying to stay informed through radio and tv sources, and take the edge off of people who would be royalty telling you how to sneeze, raise your kids, eat, and anything else involved in living.

Doesn't it seem odd that so many people beyond child bearing age have such an interest in things like birth control? Geez. If ever there was something we don't need to pay people to debate, that is it. Perverts. They just can't stay out of your pants and you don't even know them, or invite them in.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Another Open Microphonic Experience

At the last minute I decided to go to one of the open mic events with my friend Cliff, and his wife. I knew he wanted to play something from deep in the archives of Cliffville, and it would be stuff I've never heard him do, so I just encouraged him to play it alone. He's a lone balladeer, to a point, anyway. And I do not have to play on everything my friends play.

So, I was enjoying sitting out. He ended up with time left so he suggested I fill the time with a solo, by my self. It was kind of haphazardly last minute. I had a B, of all things, harmonica that I had found at home, in my pocket. I left the pouch full of many keys on the table and just decided to do that. B crossharps out to F# I think. Let's see count up five, include sharps and flats--G Ab A Bb B--yep I guess I played F# on the B harp. I'm pretty sure I was mostly in crossharp. That lets you get the strongest notes inhaling.

Usually my solo or near solo stuff has been off of minor keys. For a few years it has been like that. I just said I am trying to kick the minor key habit and move into the majors. Some people were worried at that point that it was going to be a comedy routine. I heard a murmur, "Oh God, it's going to be a clown bit".

Then I just started making stuff up, and tried to figure out how to get out of whatever it was and into something else. I segued a few times, even did the standard boogie woogie riff in the middle. Through the entire thing, start to finish, I kept picking up the pace until I hit the fastest lick I hit, which is kind of a train lick. I did that until I got tired and just blew one chord and stopped abruptly,.

If I had planned it, I doubt it would have worked out. As it was I'd say it was a major success. Immediately a guy wanted to know if I'd play on his stuff when it was his turn. Mellow stuff I don't know, but despite the odd chord changes, not bad to float background in. So, I faked it all night, and left people thinking I have some clue regarding music. I have to laugh because I am as clueless as they come. I have very little idea who did what, know hardly any songs--when I play something with a singer or band, that is almost always the first time I hear the tune--and I have no real idols that I worship in musicland.

Had little idea what key the guy was playing in, but we worked it out. I think I may have played straight harp on one and cross on the other. Who knows. Music is really kind of a pain. It ought to be left to musicians and people who like it. Of course, I do like Tito and Tarantula.

I guess I hide out when it makes little sense for me to play on something, and that helps. How I got into playing is a mystery. I'm not even sure I always like music. I know I can not tolerate most musicians for any length of time, especially in music playing environments. For me to play makes zero sense. I only do it because it seems like being temporarily in another dimension, and there is a physical feel to it. For some reason that is all heightened if there is an audience , and even more intense if I'm playing with a group. Provided the guitar player or others aren't overly stricken with guitar player disease, or primadona disorder.

I have to watch myself that I don't develop a similar condition. That is a good reason to lay out sometimes and just listen to people do their thing. It either doesn't make sense, or I am simply not comfortable playing in every case. Lots of times it adds nothing, so why push it?

I'm thinking I should work out a few different solo pieces and do them. It is something the drummers in my Memphis band wanted me to do but the idea never flew. I didn't push and I didn't know then what I know now. Even if I had, I think it was best not to rock the boat. That was an easily rocked craft and my first purpose and goal was as backup, sideman harp. That's where the clueless should remain. They can do very well there. The ones who don't have sense enough to stay in that spot invariably disappear into oblivion. Jimmy Buffet's harmonica player is an example. I think he made the band 33% better, but without him they are still known and he really isn't except in very narrow circles. That was a very good gig gone sour.

I'd rather play with Willie Nelson, I admit. I think he's an easier guy to get along with. But both harp players had similar gigs. The guy with Willie, Micky Raphael, obviously has enough sense not to go running off thinking he needs to be front man. Best harmonica job in music, and he's been smart enough, and good enough to hang in there. Let the other guys who think a harmonica fronted band isn't sure to burnout quicker have their day in the sun. All icing and very little cake gets boring. Harp is icing, bot cake. It's the spice, not the meat and potatoes, or rice beans, or other fine food.

That's the deal when it comes to my sort of harmonica stuff. Except Micky and Buffet's guy, Greg tend to be more clueful, or less clueless than I. However, I am not sure Buffet;s guy knew what a sweet deal he had. No idea why they parted but that was a lose-lose deal, with Greg losing more than Jimbo.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

When It Comes Down To It

Seriously, I realize I trust no one when it comes to a certain sort of thing. Well, mostly women I guess. Not the kind of trust one might think. But whether you understand what I mean or not, I do not have it.

All I want to do is back off, withdraw, and leave any emotion to others. I honestly cannot indulge emotions. And I certainly am not going to entertain disappointment or possible psycho stalker lunacy. Amazing that such insanity occurs over the age of 15, let alone 40 or 50. Perhaps the internet has promoted a type of valueless immaturity due to the disassociation between action and consequence, coupled with the idiotic support of online pals.

Or just the culture that has developed in which it is OK to violate confidences if someone has not done what you want, or rejected you in some way. It is a sick and vindictive victim mentality. Anyway, I have found it isn't that tough to find such sickos. The justification is that you are a no good bastard who must be pursued to the ends of the earth to be tortured into admitting that hell spawn lady was right, or you just don't understand, or who knows what.

Then, when you do find a person who matches exactly what your idea of the perfect dame for you is, you realize you've let your life go to hell to the point that you can't in good conscience seek to involve that person too closely in your life. It wouldn't be fair because you have virtually nothing to offer. It is not right to drag someone down. It is not fun to realize it when you simply aren't on the level you need to be in order to seriously seek partnership or some such thing.

Temporary fling is not bad. It is simply best to understand that you have nothing better to offer, and that the point of diminishing returns, in your case, is just at that point. Anything more than a temporary infatuation is a huge mistake. Bad for the goose and bad for the gander. All this is true if you are me, anyway.

It only goes down hill and leaves the smitten sorely disappointed, and forces me to be acutely aware of my deficiencies which prevent deep and lasting cohabitation, or anything even close to that. I become grossly embarrassed and hide out.

I keep hoping I can change the facts regarding the truth of me, and knowing me. I'm not too sure I can do it in time, but at least I can make things a little better.

Remember way back when I lived in Memphis and I said I'd pay you to shoot me? The offer has never officially been rescinded. You are welcome to come shoot me. However, I won't help you. But if it wasn't my fault, and it was unexpected, I don't think it would be too big a problem for family or friends. It would certainly save a lot of failure, and all the trouble I go to pretending I don't care.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

I'm no fan of the commercialization of these events, like father's day, mother's day, valentine's, christmas, to the point that the joy of things gets lost in a sea of stress over being able to throw the right amount of money at the thing, and do it in the right way. It does generally come down to money and acceptance.

If you have the bucks, your odds of having the opportunity to spend it on some dame are much higher; chances of being accepted are greater if you have plenty money, politically correct or not. It is simply fact. Anyone can look around and know this. It is in many ways due to our nature. It's a jungle out there. And if you are good looking and not an incredibly insufferable banshee woman, the chances are you probably will be pursued in some way, usually involving the expenditure of money to win your favor. That is how it works..

Actually it is right and natural. A woman would be out of her mind to pass up a secure situation that might include trips to the Caribbean for an empty pocketed, disorganized wanderer like myself. I am not always unselfish enough to dissuade them, but if I like them enough, I do the right thing and find ways to let them go.

I've got very little money. Maybe not enough to meet my needs in the manner to which I've become accustomed. Who knows. That makes holidays of any commercial sort the bane of my existence. I resent them, and they piss me off. Nature is harsh enough. Amplifying the issue through mass hypnosis and peer pressure is overkill and makes trouble for everyone.

Fortunately the closest thing to a valentine I have is many miles away, and a moving target, so to speak. Since I can't show up unexpectedly in a limo or some such garbage, I'm fairly safe. A note expressing feelings that only the psychotic truly feel will suffice, I am sure.

Whoever said it is a man's world was either an idiot, ultra wealthy, or a woman who was trying to perpetuate the myth that women are powerless and downtrodden. I'm convince women invented these days just to make men spend money frivolously on them. Usually it includes valuable, small, pawnable items. Hey, it may just be coincidence, or not. I'm just laying out some facts.

I've been so conditioned (and in a way, gone along with this nonsense more than most) that I backed off of things and ran away from people because I couldn't afford things like diamond rings of any quality and all that. Hell, I could hardly afford dinner at Denny's.

So, to all who make it their business to convince people they have to pay big bucks so other women don't look down on their women, screw you and blood diamonds you rode in on!!!!

Same to those who pretend that love is blind and altruistic. You should never be filling people with such ludicrous ideas. Tht kind of thing is a big lie. Now sometimes aq guy can do something that works for the girl and not be rich, so there is a bit of an offset, but it has to be something that in some way provides security pleasure, status, etc. Guys like a good looking woman who feeds their ego. She needn't have a dime to her name. That is the difference.

I must admit, though. I actually told someone that she was my Valentine. real human being, not a pet rabbit or coyote or favorite plant. This is the year for easing out of the comfort zone, that is for sure.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valley Music Open Mic ..again

It is a way to broaden my horizons. Besides, Cliff and Kevin, the guitars and vocals of Copper Creek were going, so it seemed the thing to do. It may make us stronger as a group when we play together.

Cliff did his own thing, and Kevin did his. Then we all did a tune with Lauren. I'm glad to see everyone is leaning more toward doing original music. It is good when they do things on their own because I get a better sense of where their hearts are, plus I like seeing them play as a spectator sometimes.

Cliff was definitely on his game. He's a legend in some circles around here due his history as an early purveyor of live music. He played as well as ran a venue; a 60's coffee house type of place. I guess about the time when beatniks morphed into hippies.

I've heard some tapes of him in earlier days, and I have to say his voice improved with age. He's got a sound and quality now that is unique. It's the kind of voice you just enjoy hearing, and that has a sound you can't teach or imitate very well because it is its own sound. And the original song he played tonight is first rate.

I decided to try an experiment by doing a solo piece. The house bass and sort-of drums decided to back me. Big mistake. You learn as you go. I'd do that much differently. It was kind of a crowd pleaser but in reality it sucked. I'll do it agin as see if I can do it right. Broadening horizons and experimenting is the name of the game.

Even so, a couple of people asked if I would play with them when it was their turn to play. They were playing songs I'd never heard, and the progressions were nothing typical at all. I faked it OK and everyone was happy. It is strange how some guitar players will call something a typical blues progression which strikes me as hardly blues at all. But those guys consider players like Stevie Ray Vaughn or Led Zeppelin to be old school blues. Maybe you either have the blues running in your veins or ou don't.

Not saying I do, but enough is there that I know what is complicated with off blues changes that Sonny Boy wouldn't have found natural. Sonny Boy Williamson played harp with Robert Johnson and others way back. Robert is the guy who made the Crossroads famous. Made a deal with the devil so he could play guitar so well. Or so they say. He suddenly got good.

I've been to the crossroads, but I made no deals. And if I ever did, I'd never tell.

Anyway, ou can't be all things to all people. Sometimes I can't make myself sound right because it just doesn't work and nothing I can do for that. Tonight it worked OK. The tone of the harmonic blended and fit well enough, and I did the usual thing of just play air harp when in doubt.

I'd say the talent of the players is at a higher level except a few of them seemed to think I know what I'm doing. That is good and bad. Good, because it could lead to opportunities. Bad, because they ought to know I am clueless and only seem good to them because I am atypical in ways. In truth I'm kind of lame as a player in most was. Mostly I have heart and given the chance I can come close to spontaneous combustion when I can sink my teeth into a tune.

Oh well. Let them think what they want. If it gets me something good, I'm all for it. It does seem that the possibilities on the horizon pose interesting possibilities. Nothing that would make national news, but maybe some larger events, audience wise.

I'm doing what I can to lose the gut. No french fries with the hot fudge sundae. Please don't tell Michele.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

OMG, not Weak--CHUBBY!

I can see, and touch, my toes. That much is good.

However, I've seen a couple of recent videos and snapshots and one thing stands out more than anything else. That one thing is my belly. I look pregnant on film. If Michele Obama sees this, and they get wind of how I think, I'm certain the fat police will throw me in some sort of compound for the obese, and Bolshevik averse. A deadly combo in today's climate of political oppression.

I knew something was up when my fatso jeans didn't fall off. That's the pair I had to get because nothing would fit when I was even fatter than now. They are only 1 inch different in waist size, but dang, I thought I was a lean, mean loving machine.

Truth is, I'm a rotund whatchamacallit. That is unacceptable. I refuse to be rotund, and I refuse to be a whatchamacallit.

Why so vain, you ask. Because I'm single and even though women like ugly guys best, they don't generally like out of shape fatso guys unless the guys are rich and/or powerful, or it makes them feel better for letting themselves go. Besides, I always thought I wasn't fat. And by most standards, maybe I am not, but I assure you, It looks like I have a soccer ball under my shirt in these pictures. Can't be a fluke every time.

Skinny and ugly works best. Examples like Lyle Lovett, Steven Tyler, and Howard Stern lend credence to this theory, as well as lesser known cases observed over the years.

So, I will stop piling all the snacks and meal items on one plate so I only have to make one trip to the kitchen. From now on I will make a separate trip for each item. That will provide about four or five times the exercise of the old way. I'll be back to my old not pregnant looking self in no time.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Maybe I Am Just Weak

Sometimes I wonder what could have been the reason for habits that don't do much toward building a constructive life. It is possible that the wrong input at the right time can short out basic logical processes in the mind, I don't know.

But then I look around and see people who decided they ought not do drugs, or alcohol, or smoke, and they just quit or tone it down to a non-damaging level. For me to quit the most destructive substances was a huge ordeal, and then I hadn't a clue how to live a productive life, just how to be a little less dangerous to myself and others. Why did I go that path to begin with? I never did think it was all that cool. Maybe I thought that was the way to easy women, or women of any kind. Obviously, I didn't give it much in depth thought.

Then there is the matter of smoking. Eventually I quit for several months, then started back, then quit for days at a time, and started back, then for close to a year, and started back. Why would I do that? It hinders your ability to breathe, makes you unattractive in many ways, and is illegal almost everywhere in California. OK, that last one is probably a reason to smoke. Just so I can blow it at the damned Bolshevik busy bodies who can't live and let live.

Even so, it is not good. I wonder if it is because I am weak that I A) indulged in addictive things to the point of being addicted, B)couldn't just decide to stop and go on with life without a lot of trouble and confusion.

One thing I've never wanted to be is weak. It is annoying to consider that maybe I am. I guess I know the reason I've been alcohol free for 25 years is not due to any strength, as near as I can tell. I quit because I was down and out and had nothing else to do, and someone suggested a way out that wasn't all that painful. If it had required strength, I'd be screwed.

When I look at the total creeps, jerks and communists who have been able to quit smoking without much evident difficulty, it shames me.

Buddy Rich, the late drummer, whom I respected and liked, just made the snap choice and never smoked again. Why was he stronger than I am? I cannot accept this calmly.

I wonder if I can will myself into no longer being a weakling. I'm seriously considering it.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Open Mic and Good Days

This has been a swell birthday weekend, even if the stupid Giants did win the Super Bowl.

Cliff and I hit the open mic at Valley Music again. It is an unusually diverse mix of characters who frequent that event. Some of them may end up being good network connections that could lead to a little studio time or maybe some gigs playing with various combos. No telling. They act like I m a hotshot, so I can't help but like them. I know I'm not really anything special, but I suppose I do well when it comes to being a good side player who doesn't clash much with the music. Most harmonica is either up front and center, or not much for filling in with the background fabric of the tune. There are a few who do well with it, but really not many.

My coastal friends filled me with cake and food and sang happy birthday and told me I am older. This is one time I didn't care. The last two weeks were filled with a lot of magic, and gave me some motivation and more. I have a good feeling about the direction things are going and my prospects for engaging in new and productive endeavors.

The ultimate goal is probably worth it, but to get there I have to do some work that means changing habits and shaking up my usual patterns. I may want what I want bad enough not to give up. I've let such things slide in the past and it left me feeling pretty bad and defeated. I do not want to repeat that sort of mistake in this case.

At the very least I know I will long remember this short period of time as a landmark of sorts, and look on it fondly as a happy interval in my life.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Education is Rarely Free

This has been an educational few days or so. Some of it was quite extraordinary, uplifting and soothing to the soul. However, there was a bit of backlash along the way which I see as my fault, and part of a recent pattern which I do not care to indulge any more at all.

It is one of those syndromes which comes from trying to be nice, give the benefit of the doubt, assuming people understand English and comprehend your words, even though such people may possibly not believe in your idea of boundaries, basic rights and code of what is over the top and what is not. The trouble comes when you underestimate the willingness of some to get what they want or go ballistic, suspending most sense of rational thought. You don't want what I want so I will turn vicious, even though you are under no obligation to want what I want, and it is your life. It happens. Anger and directed hatred are the chosen avocations of some. Spooky.

Then there is the education which involves example, and surprising interaction. That is the best. It is amazing how focussed some people can be, yet be perfectly gentle and quite personable in the process. Like always, it seems my chief instructors in life are women--both on the positive and the negative. Even in the positive form, education requires something. Often, in my case, under recent scenarios, it requires keeping my errant ego in check. That tendency to want to be the hero even when no hero is needed, or to impress merely because I find someone around me to be impressive. I can get it under control.

Nothing worse than someone who can't just accept another's accomplishments without having to make it about themselves. Oops. That sounds vaguely like various political movements and rhetoric that have been blowing in the wind lately.

Maybe I will list the positive aspects of lessons learned, over the past few days, at some future time. It left me more hopeful and feeling fine.

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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