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Showing posts from May, 2009

Just a case of mitosis.

"Oh, I didn't realize it was family coming in, dude." He said. "You told me it was just peeps coming to stay at your house for a while." I shrugged. "I don't know, man. They're just peeps to me; I don't really know them all that well." He laughed.

"Everyone is just peeps to you."

I tend to take things for granted. Especially my relationships with people. Or people in general. It's a bad habit that I need to work on. Plenty of time for that, I hope. I like to think that other people are fairly patient.

I envy the people who have convinced themselves that they know what they want to do with their lives. I can never keep my plans straight for more than a couple days and some people already have their lives charted out apparently.

It's been more than a few months since I finished my EMS course and I still haven't finished it. "I've got to finish that up," I tell people. "Take that test." …

Want to wear the path that's true.

I went trail running today. It was a nice feeling. Running, jumping, sliding. I might consider it as an alternative to mountain biking for a while. I don't think I can keep it up though. My ankle still hurts, which is a little concerning. I've never sprained or broken anything before this, but I'm not convinced it's supposed to take this long to feel better. Oh well. I'm not too worried about it.

I went to the creek at the end of the trail and sat for a while. I watched clouds. Watched fish. Listened to the creek. It was a very meditative experience. I had a good chance to think about things. Not about the things I should've, though. I still don't know how to go about this whole 'life' thing, so I think I'll just keep on playing that one by ear. See what happens.

That sounds like fun.

We're all going to Lake Georgetown tomorrow. I've never been to Lake Georgetown before and the one opinion I've cultivated was that "…

Subjective reflective.

I was feeling especially musical last night, so I went through all my old music. Scraps of old songs that I had arranged or written. Folders of sheet music. Pages of lyrics and chord charts. It was interesting to see how many projects I had started and abandoned. And how many I'd actually finished and then abandoned.

More interesting, though, was how much it all changed over time. They started off as simple songs. A couple chord changes, end. Then more chord changes got added. More complexity. Riffs, written out. Lyrics. But it was all very formulaic. Two verses, chorus, two verses, bridge, chorus, end. Or maybe a slight variation of that. Two verses, chorus, bridge, one verse, chorus, end. Simple, constricting rhyme schemes. Forced lyrics.

I could go on.

But there were lapses in the record. A couple months of nothing, and suddenly something new. Something better. Matured. And so I traced it all to the present. It was a fun exercise, trying to match the stylisti…

I forgot my own lyrics.

Everything went better than expected. We caught up first. It had been at least a couple of years since we had really caught up. Maybe more. He's going to Beijing for 10 months to teach English. And to find himself. I hope he does alright. I know he will, but it doesn't hurt to wish him the best.

"I had to sell my mandolin for a plane ticket." He said. We smiled. These things happen in real life, too.

We went upstairs and started setting up. "I don't play covers." I said. He tossed out a chord progression on the guitar. I listened for a moment and started piecing together a solo on top of it. We toyed around with the guitars for a little bit. Every once in a while something clicked. I could feel it. A spark. We paused.

"Alright," he said. "Go ahead."

I thought for a second. "Here we go." I started playing my progression. We messed around with it for a few minutes. Then he got on his set. "Plug in, let…

Give me the beat, boys.

I always get anxious when I think about playing music with someone new. I basically grew up playing songs with Spencer and Kit; doing that now, almost eight years later, is second nature. It's a trust thing, I guess. You know what to expect and it's okay to branch out and try weird things. It doesn't matter if you screw up because everybody is a good friend. They don't care.

With new people, you have to worry about making a good impression. About playing as well as you think they can. About living up to the idea that they have of you. About not screwing up. There's a lot of, "Are they going to dig this style?" and "What if they get bored because I suck?" and general insecurity and self-consciousness that goes along with it.

And it's all a bunch of bullshit.

I'm jamming with Thomas tomorrow afternoon and I am anxious. The last time we played together was in high school with Spencer, and I was playing keyboard. I couldn't even …

And the livin's easy.

It was a nasty looking bike. Most of the frame was covered in rust, which was in turn mostly covered in a layer of dust. The wheels wouldn't even revolve. I could barely move the pedals around. It was an old, disgusting BMX bike that had been sitting in his yard for some undisclosed amount of time. "I have no idea where it came from," John said. We looked at it and ate our hamburgers.

"I'll take it." I said.

It wasn't that I needed the bike. I'm resourceful; I can pull strings and have bikes fall into my lap. I wanted the bike. I wanted a garbage bike. An $80 bicycle from Wal-Mart. Rusted and abandoned in somebody's backyard. Messed up. It gave me an excuse to fix it.

So I spent the next morning taking it apart. I cleaned it and oiled it and fixed it up and a few hours later, I was riding on a bike. I took it down the driveway. It was smooth. Everything moved wonderfully. I stood up as I got close to the end of the driveway. I s…

Dark clouds may hang on me sometimes.

"Music was fun," he said. "And it still is." The spotlight came down on him with an almost awkward intensity. "That is a bright light." He added. He talked more about how grateful he was to have been able to build a career out of music. Then he explained jazz. "Improvisation isn't just noodling around. And I know people that make a career out of that. It's a language. Jazz is a language just like any other language." His speaking interludes verged on rambling, but ultimately it all clicked. It resonated. He was a musician speaking to musicians.

Bill Evans was amazing. He was one of my idols as a jazz musician. He was a classical clarinet player turned jazz saxophonist and I aspired to be like him. Seeing him on stage was incredible. He just played and played. One of my friends stood up and traded solos with him. I was jealous. After the concert, as I stood talking to a group of friends, he walked right in front of me. …

I promise I will never die.

"Well that was fun." I never know what to say. Maybe I'll make some flash cards with phrases on them. Probably better just not say anything at all. I have a tendency to let words fall out of my mouth. I should get a handle on that.

I am not particularly good at preparing for finals. They're coming up on me quick, which is terrible. I can only get work done if I'm multi-tasking. It's a weird thing I got from my dad. I can't concentrate unless I'm multi-tasking. I don't get any work done unless I'm distracted. But since I'm distracted, I don't get any work done. If I'm not multi-tasking then I lose my focus. It gets complicated.

But complicated is not a bad thing.

Anything worth having requires complications, I think. You have to jump through a few hoops to justify anything, really. Then, you have more at stake. And if you don't have everything on the table, then you aren't really playing the game, I guess. And …

Eh doesn't afraid of anything.

I was walking back to my dorm late last night after seeing Star Trek again. Campus was quiet and empty. As expected for that hour, I guess. I walked slowly and thought about things. A fat cat walked out of the bushes and waddled toward me. I stopped and knelt down, reaching out with my hand. "Hey kitty," I said. "What's up?" The cat sniffed the air and stepped into the light. "Come here, buddy. I won't hurt you."

It was not a cat. It was a raccoon.

"Oh God!" I yelled, jumping to my feet. It hissed at me and waddled back in the direction it had come from. I continued to shoo it away. When it disappeared back into the bushes I started down the sidewalk again.

Things are never really what you expect. That was the point of that experience, I guess. A minor consequence for a "leap before you look" attitude. Things never happen the way you think they will in your head, assuming you tried to think that far forward. Sit…

Steady as she goes.

I don't forget things. I remember the details. The little things, the big things. Things that happen. Faces, people. I remember them. People don't believe me when I say that. But it's true.

I have dreams.

Realistic dreams. The ones where you wake up and can't decide whether or not they actually happened. Whether or not it was a dream or a memory. And I get confused. It's the little things. Conversations with people, mostly. I have a hard time deciding which one is the real one, and it blurs. It's frustrating, but that's how it goes.

Sometimes people get to you. It's okay, I guess. It's just little things.

I like this ship.

"Hey asshole!" The man yelled from his window. He squeezed himself through the frame and raised his middle finger. His friends cackled from the backseat. "UT sucks!" The man hung out the window and laughed as the car spun off down the road. And I kept walking on the sidewalk, with my hands in my pockets.

I saw Star Trek and really enjoyed it. A fun movie, good friends, and a good time. But now it's time to get back to studying. Long days ahead, but just a handful of them. Back to the grind.

Further down the road were two cars parked out in the street, hazard lights flashing. A man had pulled over to help a woman whose car had run out of gas. He stepped around her car and emptied a canister into her tank. "Oh, thank you so much." She said. "It's no problem, really." He said, shaking his hand at the bills in her hand. And I kept walking on the sidewalk, with my hands in my pockets.

That guy was right about UT.

I didn't run, I swear.

This is a busy week."Are you coming home this weekend?" She asked. I paused before I opened the door. "Yeah," I said. "It's Mother's Day!" I added with as much enthusiasm as I could muster. "Uh," she said. "Okay, I guess." I got out of the car and went to class.It wasn't quite the reaction I had hoped for, but it was the reaction I expected.

Surprise, surprise.

"We are not them." It was alarming to hear it at first but after the worry wore off, it was wonderfully encouraging to hear. Hopeful, reassuring, and all kinds of other adjectives that more or less describe the same type of feeling. It was nice. Nice to get that kind of statement.

And with such finality.

I've been thinking, these last couple of days, about the kind of person I am. Or, mostly, the kind of person I don't want to become. Also, the kind of person I could be. Not too interesting of a topic, I guess. It just seems like we spend a lot of time not being ourselves. Our real selves. I don't think we even know who we really are anymore. We pretend and fool everyone else into believing that we really are who we're acting like we are. And then we fool ourselves.

Or maybe I'm being bitter. Somebody stole my bike.

We do know, though. We know exactly who we are. Lackadaisical, cynical, goofy, bitter, moody, social, happy. And, more importantl…

Everybody has the talk.

This week seems to be starting off on the right foot. I saw Sonny Rollins play and it was glorious. He just waddled out on stage and started wailing. Even with his microphone difficulty, it was awesome. Makes a guy want to jam out on a saxophone.I have a feeling that this is going to be a pretty good week. My hand was too shaky to draw my comic properly.

The room is spinning.

It's been a long kind of weekend. The kind of punctuation you'd expect after one of those weeks. I am ready to start a new week now, I think. Summer is so close. I talked to my godfather a couple days ago. "Do you have my cell number?" He asked. "Yes." I said. "Okay," he said. "If you get into any kind of trouble, if you need anything--call me." "I will." I told him. I miss my dad. I haven't heard from him in almost two weeks. I miss my bike. It hasn't been my week. I ate an entire box of tic tacs today.