A tale of cat turds and extra sensory perception

Last night, it was snowing like a bastard so I went outside and moved my car to make it easier to get out when I left for work this morning. I cleared the snow off the car, hopped in, and started it up. Then I smelled the strong, pungent, unmistakable stench of shit in my car, like I had stepped in it and brought the foul stuff into the vehicle with me. But, strangely enough, I hadn’t. There was no shit anywhere. Not on my boots, not in my car, not anywhere I had walked in the snow. I shrugged and put it out of my mind, and finished what I was doing.

I went back inside the house a minute or so later to find Jenn coming down the stairs, holding our cat as far away from herself as she could, proclaiming that he had just shat in our bed, and was continuing to shit as she carried him outside. That’s right, the cat shit in our bed. He’s an old barn cat named Masuku who has always loved to come inside whenever we allow it, and Jenn thought we should bring him in last night on account of the inclement weather. But I guess it’s been so long since he’s been inside that he has forgotten what is expected of him there, and Jenn said she walked into our bedroom to see him squatting right in the middle of all our blankets, confidently releasing his bowels into our most intimate of spaces. It wasn’t like he was terrified and spraying diarrhea; no, these were fully-formed solid turds he was depositing, and continued to deposit as Jenn rushed down the stairs with him.

That will be the last time Masuku is ever allowed in the house. He really went out in a blaze of glory. Much manic cleaning ensued.

That’s a gross little story in itself but for me, the most fascinating aspect of this debacle is that I inexplicably smelled shit in my car right around the moment Masuku shat in my bed. How strange. I was just saying to someone recently that there was a period in my life a few years ago where I experienced several strange coincidences that really made me go, “whoah, this is spooky.” I wrote about some of those things here and here. I’ve gone a long time without experiencing anything spooky so as much as I want to puke at the memory of our damn cat shitting in our bed and down the stairs, I have to be grateful for — and try to focus on — the cool, mysterious experience related to it.

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Huh. Apparently it’s a thing. How about that.

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ode to a cheap bass guitar

i’ve been on a crazy bass guitar mission lately. it is as follows.

years ago, i had a piece of shit peavey axcelerator 5-string bass. it sounded like shit but i was younger and inexperienced, and i didn’t realize a bass could actually sound any better without investing thousands of dollars into it. then one day i was jamming with a few pals, and one them had brought a hideous, almost baby blue 4-string. here it is.

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barf

i wondered who in their right mind would buy such an ugly thing. then for some reason, one of the guys suggested i try it instead of my peavey. i was annoyed and skeptical but acquiesced, and the second i started playing it, i was dumbfounded. for the first time in my life, what i was playing on bass sounded good. after years of playing shitty basses that sounded like shit but feeling helpless to do anything about, i suddenly felt like i was wielding excalibur.

i was so impressed that within a week or so, i went to the music store and bought the same bass. it’s a yamaha, affectionately dubbed the BBG4SII. i thought the gold hardware looked a little less offensive with the white body so i went for that colour. it was only about $350 — peanuts, as far as new instruments go. that was about 15 years ago, and i still own and love that bass.

but in the last year, i’ve started getting serious about playing bass in the traditional finger and slap styles, and my excitement from these new musical adventures got me wanting a 5-string again. my first thought was to find the 5-string version of the BBG4SII — the BBG5S — but after many months, i had zero luck finding one. they were cheap, entry level instruments, most likely bought by kids joining punk bands, so i doubt many of them survived.

in light of this, i opened my search up to a few more recent models that seemed decent. i tried a few LTD and higher end ibanez 5-strings and thought they were good. i particularly fell in love with the look of the LTD D5, and found one on ebay for a good price, so i bought it.

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i like it. i think it has a versatile look: traditional yet modern, elegant yet powerful.

i got it home aaaaand…it’s not great. it feels really nice to play but i’m not happy with the tone at all. playing with fingers lacks definition, and slapping makes a grating ‘crack’ sound every time i use my thumb. plus the controls are too extreme, so if you turn up the treble, it’s ear-piercing. turn it down, it’s mud. same with the bass tone knob.

then i found a black 5-string squire jazz bass for sale locally. i was excited about this because eerie von played a black fender jazz with a red pickguard in the danzig video for how the gods kill, and i always thought that bass had a classy, satanic look.

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this pic doesn’t do the bass justice but that’s the best image i can find of it. ha, look at danzig. what a guy.

so i bought the squire. i like the tone when playing mellow jazzy shit with fingers, and i like the slap tone, but playing aggressively with fingers gets both muddy AND clicky. plus the neck is way too wide, and way too heavy. i don’t know how anyone can design a guitar that is weighted so poorly that the neck falls down every time you let go of it. that’s an automatic fail for any guitar. it’s such a basic, fundamental detail that ruins the instrument even if everything else is great. squire, you fucked up here, big time.

so i now have these three basses and recently spent an entire evening playing and comparing the hell out of them. as you might guess from what you’ve read so far, the lowly, cheap old yamaha is far superior in every way possible. it’s a fucking amazing bass. it feels great to play, it sounds great for whatever style i’m doing, and it’s weighted perfectly.

so after all my testing, disappointment, and rediscovery of the powers of the BBG4SII, my desire to find a BBG5S was renewed. i looked on ebay this week, and guess what i finally found.

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the mythical beast

it will be here in a few weeks. i’m being cautiously optimistic — i hope it’s as good as the 4 string version, and if it’s not, i’m giving up on this quest for a 5-string. i’ve come to appreciate just how great my BBG4SII is so if that’s the only bass i can ever afford that i am happy with, so be it. nothing wrong with four strings when it excels in every other way.

no purpose to my premonitions, i think.

i recently wrote about some premonitions i have experienced. i’ve had one more since then, and dana also experienced the same thing too — a very specific thought popping into his mind out of nowhere, fixating on it for no good apparent reason, and then coming across that specific thing shortly after. so i’ve been thinking more about why it’s happening.

at first, i found myself wondering what the purpose of the premonitions were. i wondered if each one had a particular significance, despite some of them seeming ridiculously trivial. but at this point, i don’t think they are happening for any grand reason. i don’t think that there is some force that is trying to communicate with me or anything like that. i think that yes, i am experiencing some weird premonition shit, but i don’t think it’s occurring for any greater purpose. i think that there is probably just some really weird cerebral stuff going on that i don’t understand. like the crazy instincts some animals have that we aren’t able to explain: how salmon are able to find their way back to their place of birth so that they can give birth to another generation, or how sea turtles are born on the beach and know that they have to hustle down to the ocean, pronto, or die. animals aren’t taught a lot of this stuff by their parents. they just know it innately, and as far as i know we still don’t have any definite explanations for how that works. we call it ‘instinct’ and stop marveling at it but when you really think about it, it’s incredible. it seems to indicate some kind of genetic memory that is passed down through a species — crazy shit.

i’m quickly getting off topic. my point is that there is much about the world we still don’t understand, and i think that premonitions like the ones i’ve been experiencing could be one of those things. cripes, maybe it’s some kind of ‘infinite dimensions and timelines existing simultaneously’/string theory things. i don’t know, i’m completely ignorant about that stuff. but i do know that i have been experiencing some weird stuff that is really neat but hasn’t pointed to any grand scheme or anything yet.

which is fine. the fact that something cool and weird is consistently happening to me lately is exciting just in itself. i like feeling wonder and excitement.

3 premonitions

there is something happening with my mind. i have now experienced at least 3 premonitions that have made me sit up and take notice.

the first was several months ago. i met a guy and asked him what he did for a living before he retired. just before he answered, i thought to myself, “fireplaces,” and pictured a wood stove factory in duncan. about a second later, he said he used to sell wood stoves. i was surprised but thought it was likely i was mixed up, that i had actually had that thought milliseconds after he told me but for whatever reason, it felt like i had thought it before he spoke. but it really seemed like i had thought it first so that stood out to me.

then one day while working in the yard, a phrase popped into my mind. it was “the exterminating angel,” except i knew that exterminating was not quite the right word. i wasn’t sure why it had popped into my head and i reasoned that it must have something to do with a poisonous mushroom jenn had told me about years before, called the destroying angel. neither exterminating or destroying was the word i was trying to think of but they were both close enough that i figured the mushroom thing was probably the explanation.

but several days later while reading a book, i came across a part where a character foresaw his death at the hands of “the annihilating angel,” and my brain did a backflip. that was the word i had been looking for, the word that had been on the tip of my brain’s tongue. i don’t recall an annihilating angel being mentioned anywhere else in the book so that really made me think something spooky was happening.

that was in early december, and i haven’t experienced anything similar until a few days ago when i was putting my socks on and thought of the faerie tale rhyme, “fe fi fo fum, i smell the blood of an englishman.” i hadn’t thought of that rhyme since i was a little kid, and wasn’t sure why it popped into my brain then. i considered how strange and dark old faerie tales are, and how odd it was that the song specifies an englishman (as if their blood smells different from other folks), but that was it. then a few days later, jenn and i watched an episode of rick and morty where they ran into a giant living in the clouds who spoke the same line i had been thinking of. once again, i was like, “whoooooahh.”

i think that for anyone who does not experience these moments of “whoah, weird,” it’s easy to write them off as coincidence or explain them in some rational yet totally unlikely way, like “you must have heard someone read that story to their kid recently.” but i know without a doubt that there was no reason i should have known where that guy used to work, that i have no recollection of learning about an annihilating angel prior to reading about it days after thinking about it, and that i hadn’t thought of that faerie tale line (or even the faerie tale itself) in countless years, so it’s incredibly odd to encounter each of them so soon after they popped into my mind for no apparent reason.

so despite usually being a skeptic, i think something cool is going on with my mind. it’s unfortunate that so far, i haven’t been able to tell the premonitions apart from the regular plain jane random thoughts. but a trend i’ve noticed is that the premonition thoughts seem to come out of nowhere, to have no link to anything i’ve been doing, reading, thinking, etc, so i want to keep an eye out for weird, random thoughts that make me go “huh,” and see if they don’t match up with something i encounter soon after. with some practice, i might be able to differentiate them from the usual shit.

this blog post will likely serve as the first concrete piece of evidence of when i started losing my mind.

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see you in 10 years, future self.