why does everything seem worse at night?

the other night, i woke up at 3 am and couldn’t get back to sleep. my mind was whirling, stressed about the details of multiple things i have going on right now — inspections on the garage we’re currently building, laika’s recovery from her ACL injury, some banking charges that i’m disputing, the EI money i still haven’t received yet, the misfits cover band i’m trying to get off the ground, my ongoing back issues, the travel trailer i have gutted and am renovating, the logistics of a wedding and camping trip we are going to in strathcona starting this weekend, the logistics of another trip up to sointula the weekend following…i think i have a lot going on right now but i certainly don’t feel overwhelmed by it.

at least, not during waking hours.

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“time to fuck shit up in this guy’s brain.”

but come the middle of a sleepless night, all these things seem so much bigger, worse, insidious, and then they are definitely overwhelming. i’ve talked with other people about it and they have experienced the same thing. it’s a strange phenomenon. why are we so feeble at night? why do we all turn into children then?

i remember being a kid and being scared at night, and thinking about how brave my dad was because he didn’t seem to be scared of the dark at all. he would get up in the middle of the night and go to the bathroom or come see why i was calling for him like it was nobody’s business. and he sure didn’t seem stressed about stuff then. i wondered if i would ever be as brave as him. but the truth of the matter is that i just couldn’t read his mind very well, as he has since told me he was actually very stressed about his own shit (like being a single father to two kids), and quite possibly even a little scared of things that go bump in the night — i remember him telling me quite seriously to never bring home pet sematary from the video store so i think he had his own nightmarish fears.

so now here i am, approaching 40 and in the same boat as my father and just about every other human being on the planet: afraid of the dark, in some form or another.

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the fear will never end.

yet another opportunity to let go of something annoying

yesterday i tried out a bass that a guy was selling on craigslist. we talked weeks ago, and i told him i would check it out in a few weeks when i was in his neck of the woods, if it was still available then. i was hoping it would be because by that point, i figured the guy would be pretty desperate to sell something he had been advertising for three weeks.

the big day arrived and he still had the bass so i stopped by his place. it was a dump. there were all kinds of pet birds just outside the door, and inside the house smelled like hamster cages — that smell of rodent bedding moist with their piss. yuck. there were also boxes and junk stacked everywhere.

the guy was disgusting too. late 20’s, living at home with mom, sweat pants, ass crack, messy balding hair, looked like he just rolled out of bed at 5 pm. his mom and sis were laying about in the living room, absorbed in their lap tops. the mom mumbled something to me about “we’re moving…” which i believe was a halfhearted attempt to explain why it was such a shit hole. i pretended i didn’t hear her because i didn’t want to interact with anyone in this house i didn’t have to, and she didn’t have a 5-string bass guitar i wanted.

the slob eventually brought out the bass. despite his claim of its “near mint condition,” it had deep gouges and scratches right on it’s face. it was totally out of tune. he couldn’t find an amp for it, or its case. he advised me to plug it into his lap top, and plug headphones into the computer so i could hear it that way. i did, and it was fine. i liked the bass but there was no way i was paying full price for a damaged thing that had been for sale for three weeks. i pointed out the damage and the amount of time it had already been for sale and asked if he was open to offers. he said nope, that any less than he was asking would mean he was getting ripped off, and then lied and told me he just paid $650 for it from a music store two months ago — i’m sure he was lying because the ad was three weeks old and the damage was visible in the ad pictures, which would mean he did this much damage to it in just five weeks of quietly practicing at home. bullshit. i mean, he obviously wasn’t a touring musician. this thing wasn’t getting banged about in transit from gig to gig.

anyway, i told him i couldn’t pay what he was asking for the bass, and that was that. i left and proceeded to bitch about the interaction to jenn for the next 15 minutes, to her keen interest and great joy. and since then, part of me has wanted to either go back and try bartering with the filthy bastard harder, or just email him and explain some things: that selling the bass for less than he wants still means more money than not selling it at all, that the longer the ad sits in craigslist purgatory, the less valuable the item becomes…part of me even wishes i had taken out the $300 i had in cash and waved it in his face, just like the very craigslist scum i hate. i wish i had got the deal, and that longing is making me consider doing very out of character things.

it’s weird. and i wanted to write this just for fun and talk about how experiences like this are opportunities to get better at letting stupid little things go, but here i am, getting worked into a frenzy as i write, still scheming about getting a decent bass for a good price.

well, theoretically speaking, experiences like this one are opportunities for getting better at letting stupid things go. but sometimes we are small and petty and pathetic, and we can’t let them go, and that’s what i am right now. i’m even considering emailing that fucking bastard, just like i mentioned.

i’ll read this post in a year or two and be sickened by myself, but i know i will also still relate.

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this is the genesis of this whole stupid mental exercise. the funny thing is, i’m not even nuts about this fucking thing. i’m clearly obsessed.

reacting to accidents with rage instead of concern

a while ago, i witnessed a minor car accident at a gas station. woman #1 was in an SUV parked at a pump. woman #2 was in a new-ish but beat up car that was backing in to the pump in front of the SUV, but wound up backing right into the SUV. woman #1 honked her horn at woman #2, who had her windows down and loudly responded, “fuck you!” and continued muttering other things i couldn’t make out. woman #1 got out of her SUV and approached the beat up car. she said to woman #2, whose windows were still down, “don’t tell me fuck you, you just backed into me. you just damaged my car.” despite her brazen tone before she was face to face with the owner of the SUV, woman #2 now refused to make eye contact and instead made herself busy rummaging about in her passenger seat while muttering things that seemed to further irritate woman #1. as i drove away, i could see that the scene continued on like this for a while, with woman #1 getting more and more angry at the insolence and lack of apology from woman #2. it was a depressing thing to witness.

it made me think about how people often react absurdly to bad things, like when my dad used to step on the cat’s tail in the kitchen. this happened frequently when i was a kid, and it always went like this:

    • dad accidentally stepped on the cat’s tail;
    • the cat howled in pain and ran away as fast as it could;
    • my dad stomped his feet and yelled, “well, don’t just sit there under my feet, for fuck’s sake!”

even as a kid, i thought that was a weird reaction. why was my dad freaking out? he wasn’t the tiny creature that just had an appendage crushed by a 220 lb pale, hairy ogre in his underwear. dad should have been concerned for the cat, sympathetic to it. even if he was annoyed by how frequently this dance occurred, he could have simply shrugged his shoulders and said, “i’m sorry but you should know better by now, even if you are just a dumb cat.”

i know i’m guilty of these kinds of reactions too, and that’s what i hate about it the most. when i see other people do it, i’m embarrassed for them but i’m also embarrassed for myself because i’m reminded that other people have surely seen me react to situations just as terribly. it’s a senseless, unattractive habit that lacks any grace whatsoever.

conversely, if woman #2 from my opening paragraph had got out of her car and approached woman #1, apologized for backing into her, and asked if woman #1 was alright, i would have thought, “that’s a strong, graceful person who is quick to admit their mistake, concerned for their fellow human, and wants to make the best out of that bad situation.”

and that’s the person i want to strive to become. i want kindness to be my default state so that no matter how awful or infuriating a situation may be, i can come out of it feeling good about the role i played in it.

now that i’ve written that, i just know one of my chickens is going to flap its wings in my face when i put them to bed tonight and really, really test me.

ice cream dinner

lots to talk about today.

i was just cleaning the kitchen while listening to what i believe is the latest aphex twin release, orphans. i like it. i put it on because it was recommended on youtube and i liked the artwork for it, and because i generally like richard d. james’ stuff. i don’t listen to electronic music much because i find most of it boring and derivative but when i do find something in the genre i like, i get pretty excited about it. it’s also usually summer when i get pumped on electronic stuff so i always associate it with summer, which i think is interesting. i should make a conscious effort to listen to it more in other seasons and see how that makes me feel.

so i’m listening to EDM on a summer day, cleaning the kitchen, feeling pretty good about summer 2017 so far. jenn and i have been taking the dogs swimming lots lately, at the quarry, the koksilah river, and various beaches at shawnigan. we’ve also done some great hikes around here in the last few weeks to some awesome, out of the way places that we’ve never seen before. after one of those hikes, we stopped at ice cream mountain and both got double scoop waffle cones. they were fantastic. we didn’t even eat any dinner after that because we were still too full. i felt terribly guilty about it. but then last night, we had a few friends over to watch trick r’ treat on the side of the house and guess what — i ended up eating nothing but ‘extreme cheddar’ old dutch crunchys. that’s two junk food dinners in a week. my god, i’ll be as big as a house in no time at this rate.

all signs of a decent summer.

other stuff: here is the artwork for that aphex twin record.

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i really like it. it’s subtly weird. if i was a kid and saw this in my dad’s record collection, i would have been unsettled by it though i can’t explain why. so it makes me sad that digital music doesn’t allow us to hold physical pieces of visual art in our hands anymore and have those kinds of experiences. i mean, i have an old hawkwind album on vinyl, warrior on the edge of time, and not only are the covers of the record beautiful but the sleeve unfolds into a fucking warrior’s shield. it’s amazing. album artwork like that gives the aural presentation a whole other layer and opportunity to make an impression on the listener. i miss that.

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the fantastical cover art on one side…

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…a shield on the reverse!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

i think that’s all i wanted to say right now. back to cleaning.

fuck “fuck cancer”

in the last 6 months or so, i’ve noticed “fuck cancer” on bumper stickers and in youtube comments. i hate it. i think the worst is when it’s expanded on redundantly, like “fuck cancer. seriously, fuck you, cancer.” that just adds a lame hipster spin on it.

why do i hate the expression? for a few reasons. first, it strikes me as a wannabe redneck thing. the only people who would sport a bumper sticker that boldly says ‘fuck’ are people who want to be perceived as rednecks (i believe that most true rednecks don’t feel the need to advertise their lifestyle in the way that wannabe rednecks do), and the only thing worse than truly ignorant people is people trying to be ignorant.

second, i don’t like seeing it on a bumper sticker because ‘fuck’ is still a word that is not publicly acceptable. i don’t think it makes sense to make an exception for that word just because it’s being picked up by a cause that people are sympathetic to. you may as well start making bumper stickers that say “fuck world hunger,” “fuck pollution,” “fuck rape,” “fuck slavery,” “fuck racism”…the list goes on. are we suddenly going to allow the public use of ‘fuck’ as long as we’re talking about causes people are generally supportive of? of course, it should go without saying that i believe branding any words as taboo is ridiculous, but that’s beside the point. my point is the hypocrisy of this particular usage.

third, i think we need to look deeper into the issue, like why cancer is so prevalent now. i think we would find that the reason everyone is getting cancer is because we have created a world full of carcinogenic shit — plastic, radiation, UV rays, pollution, pesticides. since the problem is actually all our own fault, we shouldn’t be saying “fuck cancer” — we should really be saying, “fuck the human race for making cancer such an epidemic. seriously, fuck people.”

paradoxically, that’s a rallying cry i can fully get behind.

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oooh, so edgy, so original.

further annoying recounting of strange dreams

i had a very strange dream last night.

i dreamed i was on the phone with my investment guy, greg. i hadn’t meant to call him, i had mis-dialed but i was too embarrassed to admit it. so there i was, telling him about the first serious crush i ever had on a girl in grade 5. he was all ears. i told him her name was diane lamoureux and she had been a year older than me. i could hear his fingers clicking away on a computer keyboard, and a second later, he told me that it looked like she was now single and living in powell river. greg noted that with my band playing all over vancouver island and the sunshine coast (for the record, i haven’t played in a touring band for 10 years and have never played a show on the sunshine coast but i guess that was a subplot to the dream that was never expanded upon), it was quite plausible that i could meet up with her there at some point in the near future. suddenly i was no longer embarrassed for calling greg about this since he was so quick and helpful about it. he emailed me a clever, albeit lengthy, video diane had made for an online dating site, and i couldn’t believe how stunning she had turned out — she actually looked nothing like the skinny 11-yr old i had been so enamoured with back in 1990. go figure. she now looked like the titular character from the late 90’s/early 2000’s tv show, felicity, but with the most piercing and beautiful light blue eyes.

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diane, you’ve changed.

suddenly, there i was in powell river, except powell river was more like the set of degrassi junior high or beverly hills 90210. it was comprised of basically just a single street that housed everything necessary for filming a show. i bumped into diane at the diner and tried to play it cool with quick “oh hello, crazy seeing you here.” i went outside and everything was tinted an apocalyptic orange colour, like the world was on fire. a voice boomed over loudspeakers on the tiny town/film set, saying something like “seek cover or be incinerated by purifying ray of the eye of horath” — i think my mind meant the eye of horus but got it wrong, which is kind of funny.

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the purifying eye of horus, you dummy

all the powell river inhabitants in the know calmly walked inside the closest establishment, chatting away with each other like nothing was up. i was ignorant so i just backed myself right up against a small water tower. then a thin red laser, like the kind emitted from the sight of a sniper rifle, began appearing from unknown origins. it would appear, arc slowly for a second or two across a surface while scorching it, disappear, and then reappear elsewhere in the town. i realized, “whoah, this is serious.” right then, i sensed it had found me so i jumped as high as i could so that it would fire at me at the same point that i started coming down from my jump. ingenious. it was just a normal jump, like two feet high, max. pretty pathetic but it worked. the laser came from the sky and only grazed my white t-shirt before i was out of its way. i fell to my side on the ground to get as far away from it as i could and watched it slowly burn the water tower as it crept toward me on a slight arc before it suddenly disappeared and started doing its thing elsewhere in the tiny town. my shirt had just a small black burn mark on it, like tetsuo in akira when kaneda’s laser rifle runs out of juice. i thought, “what’s the big deal about this stupid laser? i should have been instantly vaporized but all i got was this cigarette burn on my shirt.”

that’s the last thing i remember about the dream, although i think i just got up and continued walking through town, contemplating my next move for how i could casually bump into ol’ diane again.

i have no idea where most of this one comes from. i was thinking about my kindergarten class picture a few days ago, and whenever i think of diane i picture her from our split grade 5/6 class picture. seems like a bit of a stretch but that’s all i can think of for that. for powell river, we talked a bit about savory island last night and that’s near powell river, so i think that’s that. no idea why greg, my financial guy, was in there, and no idea about the laser, or the reference to the eye of horus in particular. i didn’t even know i was aware of the term, ‘eye of horus.’ i’ve been slowly reading a national geographic article on king akhenaten so that must be where the egyptian aspect came from but it hasn’t mentioned the eye of horus at all so that’s a very strange one.

time to look up diane and see what she really looks like now.

fuck! i can’t find anything! she must be hiding from the eye of horath.

the dreaded heat

the weather forecast for this week is ‘hot as hell.’ it’s supposed to get up to the mid-30’s by wednesday and thursday. when i saw that, i felt my guts tighten and a lump form in my throat.

i fucking hate the heat. it honestly makes me miserable. i get diarrhea when i’m too hot, i feel anxious, and i sweat the entire day. i spend those days just trying to avoid the sun and heat by staying inside with all the windows and blinds closed. our house doesn’t have air conditioning but by god, if it did i’d keep things at a pleasant 17 degrees the whole summer. i wish i worked in a fucking meat locker on those days. then i could still do something and feel productive, rather than shutting myself in like a freak while feeling sick and worried.

i have no idea why i hate the heat so much. i don’t mind it if i’m going swimming with pals and turning lemons into lemonade but that’s the only time i enjoy it, and you can’t do that EVERY hot day — you have to keep working and keep doing normal daily life stuff so i’m fucked. it makes me crazy that most people seem to love sunny, hot days so much when i can’t understand the appeal, or even function normally in them.

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that about sums up my feelings on the topic.

my only hope is to find some people to swim with on wednesday and thursday, or face the reality of my gruesome, human-melting-like-a-candle fate.

or just hide inside like an antisocial old spinster.