Emailing with Bill/Dear Diary…

I email with Bill a lot, often multiple times per day. I don’t know how long we’ve been doing it but definitely more than 10 years. 15 years? I don’t know. Anyway, I like it a lot. Our incessant emailing is a good way to keep journals that we can look back on. When either of us go on trips, we usually email each other once we get back with a detailed account of the trip which is a great for referencing later if we forget stuff about it that we want to recall. We also do the same with mundane, normal day-to-day stuff. Like one time, I couldn’t find an Nintendo game that I was sure I owned. I racked my brain but couldn’t figure out what could have happened to it. I mentioned this to Bill and he did a quick search of his emails and found that I had loaned the game to the bass player of my former band a few years prior. I was so grateful right then to have a pal like Bill to email with about that kind of inane shit, and who was happy to use those emails to help me figure the mystery out.

But one day a year or two ago, I started thinking about what it will be like if Bill dies before me. In that case, beyond being sad for the loss of one of my best pals, I’ll also be sad that I have lost my confidant, my living diary. Emailing Bill is such a big part of my normal day that it will be a difficult thing to adjust to.

So I thought, maybe I could just keep emailing Bill after he’s dead, as if he’s still there reading my incessant bitching about work and the summer heat and how lousy I’ve been sleeping. That seems super weird and morbid though. I’d feel like I was in denial that he was gone. It doesn’t seem healthy. And as much as I like writing Bill, hearing back from him is just as important. I like hearing him bitch about the same things and tell me about his road trips and how great The Doors are and whatnot. It’s nice to have friends to talk about life with — that’s the whole point of our emails I think, so writing emails I never received responses to would lack a crucial, indispensable half of the equation.

Plus the thought of my emails to him sitting unread in the blank void of internet purgatory is a terrifyingly lonely, disturbing thing to me.

I had thought about blogging about this a long time ago but never got to it. Then Ben sent me the password to his email (which I wish I could forget but can’t, it seems — sorry Benny) a few days ago and he made a joke about how I can now log in to his email and reply to all the emails I send him that he is slow to get to. It was funny but it was also sad and unsettling — I thought of how terribly desperate someone would have to be to actually do such a thing (yet I guarantee you there are people who do it), and it reminded me of how I feel about the inevitable end of my emailing with Bill.

So hey, thanks Ben. Now I’m depressed again. Plus it’s hot as hell here lately so I’m about ready to throw myself off a cliff at this point.

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i’ve grown accustomed to your face

When I was on Facebook years ago, I used to receive tons of texts from people on my birthday. And about 10 years ago, there was a trend where people sent out group “merry xmas” and “happy new years” texts on those respective holidays.

I hated receiving all of those texts.

I felt like all of them were cheap, basically worthless. If FB is just telling people it’s your birthday, like some sort of alarm on an electronic calendar, and if people are just ticking the box next to your name before hitting ‘send’ on a mass mail-out, it’s not very heartfelt, is it? I was quite happy when I quit FB, and when the xmas and New Years text trend died, and all those stupid texts ceased.

But yesterday, I was thinking about how I generally spend those particular days with just Jenn, and I realized that if I wasn’t with her, I would spend those special days quite alone. I would probably get up and go about my business, like any other day. I find that incredibly sad, incredibly miserable. In my early 20’s, I spent one xmas alone as an experiment and I remember being shocked at how depressing and crushingly lonely it was, even for me.

Now, I’m exaggerating slightly here — a few people still text me on the days in question, but the number has dwindled so much so that if the trend continues, this desolate future I’m prophesying will actually come to pass in just a few years.

So the conclusion I came to is that sometimes, things are only annoying until they’re gone, and then once they’re gone, you wish someone cared enough to annoy you.

Another interesting aspect to this is that years ago, Mark told me he read some study about how people in unhappy relationships were happier than people who were alone. I thought that was stupid because I think my dad has been in an unhappy relationship for 30 years, and always thought he’d be way happier alone. But after this ‘annoying text’ revelation, I think Mark and that study and my dad may be on to something. Maybe having someone to bitch at you and bicker with constantly is better than waking up alone every morning, spending the day in silence, going to bed, and knowing that if you died, no one would notice for weeks.

it’s tough to be passionate about stuff but bite your tongue when talking to people who don’t feel the same way as you

the other day, a friend of mine made a joke about not giving a shit about something that i personally care about a lot, and i’ve been thinking about it since. the joke was funny and all but i haven’t been able to stop wondering how serious they were. the boring, loathsome part of me that no one wants to spend any time with wanted to tell my friend that i hoped they were 100% joking since the topic is one i think everyone should pay more attention to.

of course, i’m glad i didn’t say something stupid like that because that’s the kind of shit that costs you friendships and turns you into a weird, isolated, militant hippie, living alone on a gulf island. i care a lot about a lot of shit but i don’t want to end up like one of those bitter souls.

and that’s what got me here now. i think it’s a real conundrum because if you are passionate about stuff, you will either chew people’s ears off with your “the world is a festering piece of shit” act which isolates you from most normal people, or you will hear something that offends you but you will deny what you feel in your heart and shove the venom back down into your guts, your face twisting into an uncomfortable mixture of a fake smile and a grimace as you sweat like a mad bastard with scorn for yourself, everyone around you, and the whole fucking world.

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both of those options are the shits.

meanwhile, the easy-going and carefree are doubly blessed: the less they care about weighty issues, the happier they are, and the happier they are, the more people like them — happy, popular, and blissfully ignorant. life is swell for the cheerful pricks.

the miserable become more miserable, the happy become more happy. it makes sense but it doesn’t seem right or just to me.

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it’s only downhill from here.

story time

there was a story in the news recently about some cute pictures a woman took of a bear sitting on a couch. like this one.

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there’s something wrong with this picture.

i love cute things so i took at a look at the story. yes, the bear was cute, but that wasn’t what stood out to me about the pics. what stood out to me was the fucking garbage dump the bear is obviously scavenging food from. and that made me sad — sad that the animal is either starving out in the wild and driven to scavenging trash, or has become habituated to our trash and finds it easier or tastier to sort through instead of eating normal, healthy bear food like berries and salmon.

sad to see other life on this planet having to contend with the disgusting byproducts of our disgusting existence.

sad to see mountains of human-made trash that will virtually never break down.

sad to know that most people can look at pictures of a bear living in a garbage dump and think “cuuuute” rather than “oh god, i am a part of the most insidious, thoughtless, destructive force on this planet, and i am ashamed of this.”

it wasn’t a heart-warming story at all. it was depressing.

the end.

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.

passedout

“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.