it feels good to feel good

for the last week or so, i’ve been feeling really good, really happy, and it’s weird what a vicious cycle feeling good is — being happy about some stuff in my life makes me more appreciative of other things, like friends or good times for example, and being appreciative of those things and feeling lucky (or “blessed,” barf) makes me even happier. it’s like i’ve been on a positivity bender for a week now.

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“WOO!”

and it feels great.

it’s a nice change of pace from my usual disposition, ranging of ‘slightly depressed’ to ‘very depressed.’ and while i feel like i should somehow prepare myself for this all to come to a crashing halt, for the moment the happy things stop occurring, i feel too good right now to worry about it. i know the end will come, the misery will return, and things will go back to normal but i’ll deal with it when it happens. no point in getting bummed out while i’m still feeling so good.

why am i feeling so good, anyway? steph and tony’s wedding, seeing lots of great friends i don’t see very often, the suit i put together looks great, we’re building a garage, we bought property up island, i got five new young hens, one of my adult hens went broody and is now sitting on 8 fertilized eggs i bought for her, i finally set up a micro drip irrigation system for the vegetable garden, the new twin peaks is as weird and fantastic as ever…that sort of stuff.

something else i want to note about this happiness bender: it makes me prone to the sensation of emotions welling up. like, i’ll get a text from a good friend and i’ll almost want to cry because i feel so grateful to have that friend in my life. similarly, if a really killer anti-humanistic song comes on in my car, i shudder with utter contempt and contemplate the of plunging all of reality — people, planets, the entire universe, all of time — into an endless void of nonexistence: a “red surge,” as i recently heard a convicted killer call it, except i associate red with rage and anger so i’d probably describe my welling up of negative and abstract feelings as more of a “black surge.”

anyway, being happy is just making me feel really emotional in general, i suppose. it’s kind of interesting. i like feeling things.

i don’t feel

i don’t feel much like blogging lately. i think it’s because i was blogging a lot for the last few weeks and burned myself out on it. for the last several days whenever i have checked in here, i’ve felt bored and annoyed, like i was just here out of some sense of obligation.

of course, that’s no fun so i’m making a point to blog less until such time as it starts feeling less forced.

however, there are a few things i want to get off my chest before receding into the abyss once again.

#1. i saw in the news that comedian kathy griffin posted a photo of herself holding donald trump’s bloody head. i don’t really care about this either way, but then i saw that old rocker ted nugent called her picture “downright vulgar, obscene and a genuine variation of a death threat.”

this is coming from the same guy who said barack obama could “suck his machine gun” and hilary clinton was a “worthless bitch” who could “ride one of his guns into the sunset.”

what a fucking hypocrite. it seems like lots of politically active people want to say incendiary things, mock people who take offense and call them “snowflakes,” and wave a flag for freedom of speech — only to cry foul when someone with a different opinion says something similarly inflammatory. it’s a bunch of bullshit. everyone should get some thicker skin, go ahead and talk shit, and not take offense when anyone else talks shit. then i’d never have to hear crowds of hypocrites calling each other snowflakes.

#2. last night i saw a well-dressed middle-aged guy, gassing up his very nice all-wheel drive volvo. his car had an “i [heart] vancouver island” sticker on it, and one of those annoying thule roof rack-mounted cargo boxes. he clearly thought he was a hardcore islander.

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you know you’re a wannabe outdoor enthusiast when…

then he tossed an empty plastic jug of windshield cleaner in the trash can and drove off. i wanted to say, “i see by your car, sticker, and cargo box you’re a real outdoorsy type, so perhaps you’d be interested to know that plastic like the jug you just tossed out is being found by the ton in teeny, tiny pieces throughout the guts of fish and birds in even the most remote regions of earth. since you’re so rugged and adventurous, i thought maybe you’d like to help preserve what’s left of our rotting world by recycling that fucking jug instead of tossing it carelessly in the trash.” but instead, like a coward, i said nothing, and now i hate myself as much as i hate him.

#3. i have been thinking lately that when i’m at my most depressed, i wish i would just die and get the shit over with. conversely, when i’m at my happiest, i wish i would die so as to go out on a high note. i basically think there is never a bad time to hop off of this ride. i mentioned this to riley and he responded that this philosophy should be written in a breezy large print bestseller and promoted by oprah. i thought that was funny.

#4. i went into a lee’s famous chicken and then a tim horton’s yesterday to get junk food for a wedding party. both establishments were filled with the most wretched human vermin: hunchbacked, confused white trash; toothless drunks; mute yet incredibly rude and dismissive ESL students. it occurred to me that perhaps bill and i should go for dinner at lee’s chicken and then wash it down with a double double and some tim bits sometime, and soak in this rich cultural experience that the cowichan valley has to offer.

over and out.

typo

yesterday i listened to type o negative’s dead again album for the first time in a long time, and my feelings on it haven’t changed much since i first heard it. it’s a weird record, and i’m a massive type o fan, so i want to talk about it.

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i think dead again contains some of type o’s best and worst work. an ode to locksmiths may well be my fave type o song of all, and september sun and tripping a blind man are also excellent tunes in my book. the profit of doom, hail and farewell to britain, and the title track are all decent too. but while halloween in heaven isn’t terrible, it’s pretty stupid, and the female vocals are weak and seem out of place. she burned me down, some stupid tomorrow and the first half of these three things downright suck, so much so that i’m embarrassed for type o when those songs come on.

but it’s not just the inconsistent quality of the writing that is odd to me. i also don’t like the production much. the bass in particular lacks body and doesn’t sound thick or heavy enough, and there is something wack with the vocals. it sounds like steele’s mic etiquette was a little off, ie, he was pulling away from the mic to compensate for varying volumes in his vocals but he didn’t do a good job of it, and they did a lousy job afterward of trying to correct it with compression. it sounds amateur.

it doesn’t help that steele’s vocal performances are inconsistent too. some of his vocals on the record are great, and i think kenny’s vocals in particular are the best they’ve ever been. but steele’s spoken/yelled parts in the first few verses of the profits of doom suffer from the weird compression thing i just mentioned, and they also sound like he was drunk when he performed them. i have the same complaint about the vocals in a lot of these three things and parts of the title track.

but i think the worst aspect of this album is that some of the lyrics are just awful. i mean:

with due respect, heed these words of caution
if considering an abortion

that’s garbage. i mean, it’s preachy as all hell which i hate, but i could live with that if it was at least artful, if steele had put a little effort into the words he chose, or if there was some humour in it. but the above quote is some of the laziest, weakest lyrics i’ve heard since i first tried my own hand at lyrics back in grade 8. and the lyrics in she burned me down and some stupid tomorrow are completely fucking pointless.

meanwhile, some other lyrics on the record are fantastic. i love the lyrics at the end of profits of doom, and especially in an ode to locksmiths. they are classic type o in that they display wry humour and touching, insightful honesty.

in addition to great lyrics, an ode to locksmiths boasts strong vocal performances, interesting beatles-esque vocal harmonies, type o’s classic ‘jam three songs together and make one’ song arrangement, and a catchy, heavy as balls closing section.

such are highs and lows on this record. it’s nuts.

but this is probably what impacts me the most about the album. i was lucky enough to meet steele on the dead again tour, and it was apparent he was battling his same old demons at the time. he was a very friendly drunk but a drunk nonetheless (his live performance sucked for it), and he had what appeared to be track marks on his then emaciated arms. it made me really sad because in a way, i felt like i had managed to catch a peek behind the curtain and see some awful truths: that peter steele really was depressed, and that his trademark self-deprecation and humour were his way of making his melancholy easier for him to talk about and others to hear. after this realization, i began to see the humour that is so integral to steele and thus the type o package as a distraction from the great sadness that steele was actually laying open to the world. now when i go back to his earlier works and look past the silly double entendres and one liners, i realize that he was making light of his condition but he wasn’t kidding about the condition itself. that’s incredibly sad.

because of my experience of meeting steele when i did, i have a special, strange fondness for dead again. i feel like, having seen firsthand how fucked steele was at that time, i can understand why the record turned out like it did, and i can forgive its shortcomings.

type o rules.

ah, spring…

…when every dickhead neighbour fires up their lawnmower, weed eater, chainsaw, ATV, and anything else they can find to ruin an otherwise peaceful, lovely day.

the funny thing is that i recently started a misfits cover band, and when we were discussing where we could rehearse, i suggested my place but only on the stipulation that we were always done by 8 pm. because i want to be a polite, respectful neighbour who isn’t making a racket while everyone around me is trying to put their kids to bed.

but then i realized that most of my neighbours don’t give a shit about waking me up at all hours.

no, most of them think nothing of mowing their lawn from about 6 am to approximately 10 pm, every fucking day. it’s insane. wtf are my neighbours doing with all their noisy machines, daybreak to sundown? don’t they like sleeping? what sort of hateful sociopaths eschew sleep (both theirs and mine) in favour of cacophonous yard work?

one son of a bitch even had the audacity to blair nazareth’s greatest hits — on repeat — on three different occasions while working in his yard. i’m not even joking. three days of nazareth on repeat.

for those who don’t already know, nazareth fucking suck shit. i’m convinced that particular neighbour is a horrendous loser and probably has been his whole life. he was probably the kid that got picked on for tucking his t-shirt into his jeans back in grade 5. geek.

anyway, the solution to all this is clear. i need to move to a more sparsely populated area, onto a bigger piece of property where i can build a house in the center and leave a dense ring of trees around it for sound dampening. then i would need to buy all the neighbouring properties so no one else could have them in my lifetime.

until then, i’m contemplating having our misfits band practice strictly between the hours of 1-7 am, and outdoors, to boot. if my neightbours think it’s just fine to fuck with my sleep, then it should be just fine if i fuck with theirs too.

“choose happiness,” said the miserable sod

my grandmother divorced from her husband when she was in her 50’s. she once told me that for years after the divorce, she harbored great bitterness and resentment towards him, that she often imagined what she would say to him if she bumped into him around town, or how she would have handled various events in their marriage if she could only go back in time. she said that eventually, though, she realized that all the negative feelings she kept revisiting never had any impact on him, but they did have a huge impact on her. she realized that she was making herself miserable by continuing to dwell on negative things that she couldn’t change or didn’t intend to follow through with.

once she had this epiphany, she simply stopped giving it any thought. after that, she felt much better.

similarly, a long time ago, my wife jenn said to me, “choose happiness.” i was super annoyed when she first said it because it sounds like something a yoga hipster woman would say, but the more i thought about it, the more i liked it. what “choose happiness” means is, when you are driving home at a respectable 10 km/h over the speed limit and you come up behind some son of a bitch who is putting along just under the speed limit, you have a choice. you can choose to fume and gripe out loud, maybe swerve slightly into the oncoming lane as if to pass the slow driver, perhaps lay on the horn, and get right worked up about this minor inconvenience — or you can realize that you actually aren’t in a big rush for any justifiable reason so you may as well take a deep breath, slow down, and relax.

for whatever reason, we give ourselves a lot of leeway when it comes to embracing anger and frustration. we allow ourselves to stew over tiny, insignificant things and make ourselves miserable. i see people do it all the time. i do it all the time myself (except i usually like to do it). but we have the ability to become more self aware, notice when we repeat negative patterns, and work to break those patterns. i actually frequently think “choose happiness” to myself now as a mantra when i want to snap myself out of yet another loop of rage. i even say it to jenn occasionally, which she absolutely fucking hates.

violent-women

“don’t you EVER use my own pretentious, mystical advice on me!”

i’m writing about this now because i was bothered by something else when i got stuck behind an insanely slow driver. i had to remind myself that the slow driver wasn’t what was actually bothering me, and letting myself get worked up about them would only make me even more unhappy. so i relaxed and slowed down and felt better for it.

it’s nice when this kind of stuff actually works. which is only maybe 50% of the time, but that’s still way better than nothing. i welcome any mitigation of my misery with open arms.

for a few moments, i found myself wanting kids.

i recently had my dad over to help me with some yard work. he came in afterwards and also gave me a hand when he showed me how to refill the kerosene lamp my mother just gave me. once we were done with the lamp, i put it back on top of the cabinet and marveled at how the old lamp from my mom sat between the metal sculpture my maternal grandmother made in university and the shillelagh that originally belonged to my maternal great, great grandfather.

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this is what a shillelagh is, for all the uneducated clods out there. it’s an old irish walking/fighting stick made from blackthorn. pretty neat.

then i realized that all three of those items were from my mom’s side of the family, and i felt shitty that i didn’t have anything from my dad’s side.

then i remembered that the cabinet that all that crap sits atop was given to me by my dad, and it used to be a part of his father’s house in victoria (back when they built cabinets into houses way back when). i laughed and felt better.

but you know, all that thinking about family and heritage quietly stoked some awful, primordial instinct in me — an instinct to pass this cool shit on to my own progeny…

…TO PROCREATE.

egad.

a day or two later, i woke up with a feeling of longing for my own child. i must have had a dream about it because of how strongly i felt it. you know how the overall vibe of an especially powerful dream can sometimes permeate waking life.

so it’s been weird. i don’t think i’ve ever felt this urge to have kids, and if i have, it certainly hasn’t been this strong. i’m confident it’s just a phase that will pass but it’s still an odd, unsettling thing to feel when i’ve otherwise felt so happy and confident in my choice to lead a childless life.

don’t get any ideas though. i’m not flip flopping here because of a few trinkets in my living room and a dream i don’t even remember having. as soon as i start feeling wistful about kids, i close my eyes and picture myself changing diapers, struggling through sleepless nights, having less time for everything else in life i love, paying $50,000 for my kid to go to rehab at age 28, etc. that works pretty well for quelling any urge to make a little version of jenn and myself.

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oh yes, very cute now. but just you wait…

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…for this. not so cute anymore.

to judge a man by the length of his hair

last xmas, jenn and i spent a few weeks in kauai. while cruising around exploring the island, we listened to the local radio. one night on the way home from another day of adventures, a funky old tune about hair came on that i fell in love with immediately. i waited to hear the name of the artist or song but never caught it so when we got back to our place, i hopped on my computer and started searching for said tune. to my amazement, i couldn’t find it. i spent hours but came up empty-handed. i was shocked and disappointed.

since then i’ve thought about that tune a few times and wondered if i would die without ever finding out what it was. i could tell it was old but i had never heard it before so i thought if i had gone 36 years without hearing it before, i’d probably go another 36 without hearing it again.

fast forward to yesterday when i was watching slap bass lessons on youtube. in the related vids section, i noticed a song called hair by graham central station. i furrowed my brow and wondered, could this be it?

yep, that was it, and it’s as awesome as i remember.

i love when happy coincidences like this come occur. i was totally resigned to never hearing that song again, and now i can not only listen to it whenever i want, but i can also play the bass part whenever i want. i would never have imagined it.

fucking eh.

additionally nice is that this song will probably always remind me of nights in kauai with jenn, driving home in the dark after checking out tiny towns, meeting wonderful locals, witnessing the oddness of xmas decorations juxtaposed against flip flops and humid tropical weather, soaking in the unique culture of the island. that’s my fave part about this. my love for nostalgia is strong.