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.

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


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