Ain’t It Funny How Time Slips Away

The thread title is a Willie Nelson song, incase you’re wondering…

Last night, I hung out with my brother until about 2 a.m., then he went home to bed, and I went downstairs into my makeshift studio. I sat with my guitars and a microphone for a while and recorded some demos of stuff I’ve been meaning to get to. Next thing I knew, the sun was almost up. I love when that happens. Tonight, I’ve got some congas sitting downstairs, waiting to be recorded. For some reason, I feel like doing a semi-full production on these tunes.

If you’re one of my regular listeners, you might just get a copy of these demos in the mail soon. If you aren’t…uhh…you won’t. πŸ™‚

I’ve gotten a couple of e-mails accusing me of being too negative on this blog–which is fair. In response, I briefly considered titling this post “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Farts.” Decided against it… But I WILL promise to be a bit more positive in the next few days, unless something terrible happens. Fortunately, I’ve got a bunch of music to work on, so I’ve got plenty to do. I’m not going to lie to you, things are a bit frustrating at the moment, but playing music helps me deal with that. So it’s fine, really. I’ll try not to take out the grumpy stuff on unwitting internet surfers again. I’ll abuse my guitars instead. πŸ™‚

Well, SNL’s on shortly, and I’m going to at least watch the first sketch or two before I get to work downstairs.

See you next time.

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Plus Side/Minus Side

Well…on the minus side… I’ve got a bunch of people depending on me for some things that aren’t really my responsibility. There are a couple of things going on that totally blindsided me, and because of the personal nature of some of those things, I’m not going to write about them here. There are a couple of things forthcoming that are completely out of my control and completely sucky. Plus the stuff I’ve mentioned in the previous couple of posts (the short version: boredom and people bugging me about my social life).

On the plus side, I wrote four songs last night/this morning (whatever!). I’m in a really good headspace for writing–which always happens when I’m personally frustrated. So, there’s the question, really. Do you have to be screwed up to be “artistic,” or does being artistic screw you up? Sub-question: Does being screwed up REALLY produce better art? I don’t know the answer to either of those…you’d have to ask someone less screwed up than I am. πŸ™‚ Either way, though, it’s totally worth it.

…on another topic…if this is Tim Heeley reading this, e-mail or call me…I need to schedule time to record your drums.

In a Funk

I’ve not been myself the past few days. Dunno why. I’m just really bored of my station in life–not unhappy, mind you…just bored. I get this way in winter. I thought I was going to get through this one without it, but here we are…I think it’s because it’s only now started to be consistently cold in St. Louis.

Every time I get this way, I start thinking about the people I’m really close to in my life. Sometimes that helps, sometimes it doesn’t. This time, it doesn’t. In the past year, most of my really close friends have either moved away or have in some other way fallen out of my typical sphere of contact. (“Sphere of contact?” God, I’m pretentious…) I’ve GOT friends and family I can rely on…just not anyone to call in the middle of the week and say, “hey, let’s go to a movie.” Used to. Don’t now. Most of my friends and I stay in touch via e-mail…and some not even that well. A lot of the folks who’ve moved off to other places now sort of see me as the guy they knew when they lived in St. Louis. I’m part of their old life…they’ve got new ones now with new people and new experiences, and I’m not really a part of any of that–as it SHOULD be, really. It shouldn’t bother me too much, I know that aesthetically. But aesthetics have nothing to do with the real world, do they? Sucks when you’re actually going THROUGH it.

In a way, though, I’m used to this. Everyone I’ve ever been really close to (and I don’t count most of my high school friends in this, as we were friends more because of geography than by choice) has come from somewhere else. In fact, even the few people I actually did stay in touch with from high school came from elsewhere in the country first. Then, just as people came in suddenly, they left just as suddenly. Largely, I blame that on college. That’s what college is, isn’t it? Intense relationships, split apart by jobs, families, and–often, in my case–the mission field. God forbid that anyone would choose to go to school in the place that they want to LIVE. That’s what I did. I was born in this town, and I’ll probably die in this town–unless I die on vacation. St. Louis born and raised…unlike my friends, who were just passing through. Most of my life, I’ve lived by the same credo: “First one here; last one here.” It’s only lately that it’s really started to suck.

I know, I know…there’s a diatribe here…

“Focus on the good things, Derek! Your church is doing
well. You’ve got your health. You’ve got regular musical work–which you love. You’ve got limitless potential for good things to happen.”

Yeah, but what good is all the wealth of the world if you have no one to share it with?

“Oh…well…maybe you could get a girlfriend.”

Ah…see the post to the right titled, “Love, Reign O’er Me.”

“Hmm…you’re just a miserable, negative, pessimistic bastard, aren’t you?”

What’s it to you? πŸ™‚

“If I give you a dollar, will you go away?”

Yeah, alright.

So…don’t bother with that…been there.

I’m not entirely depressed or anything; don’t misread this. I’m just going through my typical, “Maybe I should make a change” stuff. I sort of want to move away–as always–to a place where no one knows me and I can repaint my life to be whatever I want it to be…but that takes money, time, and a desire to effect real change in one’s life…none of which are my strong-suits.

I’ll get over this…it’s just venting…and that’s why I have a blog.

Current Listening: Still Pink Floyd.

Current Reading: Still Nick Hornby

Current Viewing–gonna go home and watch “American Splendor” as soon as my work-day’s over.

Hello? Is There Anybody In There?

Know who’s great?

Pink Floyd.

Wish You Were Here
(Lyrics: WatersMusic: Waters, Gilmour)
(Copyright: Pink Floyd Music Publishers Ltd.)

So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell,
blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field
from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

And did they get you trade
your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange
a walk on part in the war
for a lead role in a cage?

How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl,
year after year,
running over the same old ground.
What have we found?
The same old fears,
wish you were here.

…and then there’s some excellent guitar work by David Gilmour, who’s quite probably the best guitarist this world’s ever produced.

Current Listening: ^ That.

Love, Reign O’er Me…or something like that…

I apologize in advance for feeling the need to post this, but it’s 7:20 in the morning, and the following subject has come up in three different e-mails from three different people all in this one morning…so, here we go…

————————

“Derek, when are you going to settle down?”

“Derek, why don’t you find yourself a girlfriend?”

“Derek, why don’t you ask so-and-so out? She’s probably already interested.”

“So, Derek, have you asked her out yet?”

Shut up! Just shut up!!!

I’m sick and tired of people telling me how to run my “love-life.” I wish everyone would just butt-out, but since it appears to BE everyone’s business, as evidenced by the fact that it’s all anyone has to say to me lately…

Maybe I don’t WANT to ask “so-and-so” out. Maybe I want to ask someone ELSE out…or maybe I don’t want to ask ANYONE out until I’ve got my life together enough to feel like it’s not going to be a burden on someone else to be brought into it. Or, maybe the girl I actually WANT to ask out isn’t interested…or maybe I’m too big a coward and too afraid of rejection to say, “Would you like a cup of coffee?” (And, by the way, one of the girls a lot of you keep recommending to me doesn’t even LIKE coffee…so now what am I supposed to do?)

Look…I made a deal with God a few years ago. If He wants me to be with someone, He’ll make it abundantly clear to me. It’ll pretty much entail the girl–whoever HE chooses her to be–giving me some uber-significant sign that even I can’t misinterpret (I’m famous for misinterpreting signs). Until that happens, I’m sorry, but I’m not chasing anyone. She’s pretty much going to have to chase me (and before you start on it, I don’t mean that in the chauvinist-pig way). I have a long-standing habit of choosing the WRONG girl, and in most of my relationships, I’ve known that going in. I’ve never consulted God when it comes to my love-life, and I’ve always screwed it up horribly, because I didn’t rely on Him, and in fact ignored some pretty big tell-tale signs that I’m heading in the wrong direction… So, in roughly the year 2002 (or 2003, I can’t recall), I made the decision to stop chasing women, and to trust God to point out the right person to me. Unless you meet the qualification of either being God or the girl He’s chosen from me, you’re honestly not involved and you need to back off. It’s not that I don’t like the world of “so-and-so’s” that everyone’s picked out for me. They’re all quite lovely, and I’d be lucky to be with any of them. However, the fact of the matter is that the ball is in God’s court, and few if any of you who’ve been advising me are qualified to act as His emissary in this scenario. So quit it.

While we’re on the subject… I’M NOT LONELY! Even if I go my entire life without being married, and die alone, that doesn’t mean I’m lonely. I’ve admitted in many ways over the years that my biggest fear is loneliness…thus, I have built community. If ever I am getting lonely, I always have someone I can call (except on New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day). Stop worrying about me. I’m fine…I’m just a bit pissed that people keep talking to me about it.

If you’re God, or the girl/woman He’s sent, feel free to inquire. As for the rest of you, I’m sick of that look you keep giving me that’s a mix of sincerity, sympathy, and confusion…it’s entirely misplaced. If God wants that to happen for me, He’ll arrange it. YOU won’t. It’ll happen in a combination of His timing and my timing…YOUR timing doesn’t mean a thing, I’m afraid.

To the rest of you, who’ve been polite enough not to grill me about my romantic endeavors, I apologize that you had to sit through that (although you could’ve stopped reading at any time…der!), but this sort of thing is what blogs are for…I think… πŸ™‚

Rant over. You may now continue your internet experience.

Katrina in E-Minor

My cousin Jim Walker is a trucker. He made a delivery to New Orleans just before Katrina hit. Due to trucking regulations, if you drive for _______ hours, you have to rest for _______ hours. (Don’t know the numbers…hence the blanks.) So, when he got to New Orleans, he had to check into a hotel and rest for a while. The hotel told him that they had a lot of truckers there, and they were keeping an eye on the storm. If it got bad, they were going to call everyone and wake them up to get them out. Jimmy went to sleep and woke up a long while later. He went downstiars and asked what was going on…the person behind the desk went a little pale, and with wide-eyes said, “You were supposed to be out of here HOURS ago!” Katrina had arrived.

There were no trucks left, save for one broken one, and no one would come down to get him or fix the truck. Jimmy called home and told them what was going on. There was no chance of his family arriving to get him home, so he was going to have to ride out the storm. His wife (Donna) told him to get as much food, water, and ice out of the vending machines as he could. He tells her he loves her, just incase he doesn’t make it home, hangs up the phone, and starts to walk to the vending machines…then the lights went out. He now had no food…no ice…nothing, just a bathtub he could put water into.

For about three days, he lived on water that was basically poisoned, breathed in poisoned air, and was listening to the sounds of people in other rooms screaming, crying, and dying. When the water level rose, he went up to a higher floor. The whole time, he was horribly sick from all of the crap in the air and water–and he stayed sick for a while thereafter. Sooner or later, things cleared up a little, and a repairman arrived to try to fix the one remaining broken truck. No success. Jimmy caught a ride with him to Baton Rouge, then hitch-hiked home (which is near the Jonesburo, Arkansas area). When you ask him about it now, he just says, “No one was sending help.”

Wrote a song about it last night.

I really hope Hilary runs in ’08.

Current listening:

  • “Decoration Day” and “The Dirty South” by the Drive By Truckers
  • “Octavarium” by Dream Theater
  • That’s a weird combination, isn’t it?

Still reading “How to be Good” by Hornby. So far, it’s excellent. Hornby has a way of writing characters that I don’t like, but in such a way that I sympathize with them. He’s truly mastered his art. If nothing else, it’s just nice to read about people who’re more screwed up than I am now and again. πŸ™‚

See you around.

Pulled Over

I was driving to work, and a policeman followed me for probably about a mile. He eventually pulled me over, of course. I didn’t think I was speeding…and I was right. Turns out that my license-plates had expired in January. Coulda sworn I bought two-year plates…but no. Whoops! The state usually sends a reminder notice about a month before it’s due, but they didn’t this year…so I forgot, and I was ticketed for it.

I also got a ticket for having an expired auto inspection…which was wrong. My car is a 95. In Missouri, cars built on odd-numbered years are inspected on odd numbered years (and even on even). This is 2006. That’s EVEN. Didn’t realize the error until after I had already gotten my license plates renewed (as soon as possible after getting the ticket). They looked up my records on their computer and issued the new stickers for the plates…and that’s when it sunk in that I didn’t need an inspection to renew my plates. So, I probably am going to have to go into court to try to prove that the second ticket was issued in error…which probably won’t work…and then I’ll probably say something that will get me held in contempt of court.

Maybe it’s worth the extra $65 to avoid that? Thoughts?

Anyway…check your plates…

Current Listening:

  • Soundtrack to “Hard Core Logo” — Some of the best punk you can find.
  • Headstones – “Oracle of Hi/Fi” –Some MORE.
  • Descendents – “Everything Sucks” — Even MORE!!! πŸ™‚

Current Reading:

  • I’ve put “The Dante Club” on hold a bit… Everyone tells me that it picks up after about page 80, and I’m at roughly page 50 right now. Just been a bit hard to muddle through (which is saying something, because I’m a fast reader), so I’m taking a couple of days away from it, and I’m reading the following…
  • “How to Be Good” by Nick Hornby. Hornby’s one of the best writers working today, and I’ve got big hopes for this one. It’s a couple of years old, but I’ve never gotten to it. His new one, “A Long Way Down” is also excellent.