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Illness, Income

February 6th, 2009

I got sick a couple days ago, and I quickly stashed myself away in my apartment with cans of chicken soup, orange juice, ginger ale, tea and old law and order episodes.  It’s not really working.  I missed two days of work so far.  I was supposed to start practices with a new drummer today.  And I really wanted to go to the Bedlam to see Bouncer Fighter tonight.  After I pay rent (which is late) I’ll have $5 in my bank account, and I spent all my cash on cough syrup and echinacea.

I’m not very healthy right now, which is why this cold is kicking my ass.  I’m living on less than $1000 a month, which in theory, should cover everything if nothing goes wrong.  But I’m running my health into the ground living on pizza slices and trying to force a social life.  I’m running my car into the ground with my delivery job.  I have a good amount of time and I’ve been pretty productive lately, but being productive isn’t everything.  There’s no balance in my life.  The times I’ve been healthy, I was uncreative.  When I had a full-time job, I didn’t worry about money as much, but I was depressed and restless.  Instead of living a balanced, well-rounded life, I jump between different states of unbalance.  Right now I have just enough of what I want, and I’m sacrificing just a little of what I need, and as a result I can’t tell if I’m just digging the hole slowly or standing still.

The Practical Side of an Otherwise Impractical Career Choice

January 14th, 2009

I’ve been pretty broke lately as the pizza delivery business has slowed down some, and as such I’m trying to take care of business.  I cleaned up my hard drive and I’m trying to organize my press contacts and research more opportunities.  I decided I should be playing a show every month or so.  My natural rhythm of things is to book too many shows in a short period of time, and then not play any for 3 months.  I’m trying to do better.

I also have some backup in the works.  My friend Sarah has been practicing with me, doing keyboards and harmony vocals.  The upcoming shows should be interesting as the sound continues to fill out more:

I’m still working on booking a February show.

I had to go to a clinic to get my ears flushed out, and now I have my hearing back!  It’s amazing how much you appreciate something so simple after not having it for five days.  Especially being a musician.

I also revisited my makeshift guitar building studio for some long overdue sanding and practice with the router.   I’m reinspired.  Which doesn’t mean much when you’re broke, since guitar building is a pretty expensive hobby.

Perception and some tangents…

January 8th, 2009

My right ear has been plugged up for the past 48 hours.  On top of that, I’m wearing my eyeglass prescription from 1999, since I wrecked my glasses right before the count on New Years Eve.  So, so far, the outer world is continuing to lose focus as 2009 drags on.  Not good.  I went to America’s Best to look at new glasses and I made an appointment.  After that, I proceeded to work the longest and slowest shift in (my) pizza delivery history.  That means I’m broke.

So I’m on self house arrest.  I can’t hear and I don’t have any money.  I have cans of beer and a working internet connection.

I decided that my week is divided roughly in two.  The first half, roughly Sunday or Monday through Wednesday, I don’t work, don’t spend money, don’t stay out too late, work on music, etc.  My apartments a mess and everything else is easy-going.  The second half, usually Wednesday through Saturday night and maybe Sunday, I work long shifts, I’m stressed out, I have plenty of cash and I waste no time attempting to recover my social life, given the chance.

Is this good?  I don’t know.  I also decided there are three equally important major facets to my life:

  • Creative Work
  • Income
  • Social Life

The only way for me to maintain my sanity is through those things overlapping in some way, i.e. creative work providing part of my income and part of my social life.   I’m trying.

Songs Knees + Cat

April 6th, 2008

I started working on songs and recording again, getting back into the healthy habit of plugging the laptop into the Tascam. I have a lot of half-baked tracks on my minitape recorder and I’ve been building some of them up. I may post some lyrics to one or two of them soon.

Aside from that, my knees got me worried lately because they feel swollen and they pop when I walk around, with the occasional faint, sharp pain. It seems to be a mix of the old hypochondria and pre-arthritic barometric pressure joint reactivity, but I’ve been taking a mixture of glucosamine, MSM, and chondroitin just to be on the safe side. For years I’ve had the same thing happening occasionally with my thumb. I bend it and it cracks. Gross. Our bodies are stupid.

My brother’s cat was meowing outside his back door last week with a huge hole in its back. I didn’t know what to do, so I just brought it to a vet and they stitched him up for $250. He better pay me back. Cats’ bodies are gross too. Even worse because they don’t seem to mind that their muscle is exposed, they just keep licking it.

Introduction to my life

March 20th, 2008

I used to take an herbal supplement called 5-HTP, which is meant to promote the production of serotonin in the brain, thus providing treatment for depression. I took it off and on, only when I needed it. When I did need it, I would try to take it for a couple weeks at least, and then I would keep taking it until I started forgetting to take it. (If you don’t remember to take it, maybe you don’t need it. If you do need it, you’ll know when.) I started this after I had a breakdown 2 years ago. I tried taking Effexor, which I got samples of from my doctor at the time. It helped. I felt numb. I went to work every day, and watched TV, and didn’t mind it. I stopped taking it because it would have cost me $150 a month to stay on it.

I quit taking the 5-HTP a few months ago, just because I didn’t feel like I needed it. I was doing fine, albeit on a fine line. Then I got a cold. Once I realized that I could never make up my sick time (even when I’m OK I have problems going to work for my dad. He pays me well, I can’t stand the work, I manage to just scrape by) all of my other problems surfaced. I’m making no money on music. I can’t get a gig. I can’t find a decent job. And I don’t have a social life because I’m too broke to do anything, and besides, I should be at home recording anyways. I couldn’t turn these thoughts off while I was at work. I never have been able to. Eventually my brain gets tired and just accepts it and I go on with my life. But then it happens again.

Taking a chemical won’t change who you are. It won’t change your brain. It definitely won’t make your life situation any better. It can only promote change. So I’m trying to see what I can change and how I can help myself. I’m just afraid that the answer is to “find a job.”

Any job that fits my qualifications does not fit my skills or personality, and vice versa. That’s the trap I’m stuck in. I’ve gone after jobs that “fit me,” and I don’t get hired, usually because someone more personable is just as available. I was able to slip in to jobs only to get treated passive-aggressively, and sometimes even used as a scapegoat. If I’ve ever had a job that did not fit this profile, it was low pay and small hours.

EVERY employer wants a “motivated, team-oriented, self-starter,” which I can be if I were running a gallery or something. I can’t be that while answering bitter emails from dissatisfied Target customers. And I can’t pretend I’m going to. What the fuck is the point of that?

I’ve always known this about myself and that’s why I fight against the odds and work my ass off in my spare time, making music, making art, promoting the arts, volunteering, running a zine fair, etc. hoping that it will pay off down the line. The fact is that it WILL NOT pay off–without money. Money to get 100 copies of your CD out to bloggers. Money to spend weeknights at bars networking with the indie rock scene. Money to allow you to spend the afternoon recording without being in a hurry because you’re losing a day’s work. Money to keep yourself healthy while you’re running on overdrive. Money runs everything, and without that backing, no one gives a shit that you have pictures hanging in a coffee shop. Or that you have a CD on consignment at a record store. Or that you have new songs ready to perform on a stage. I’ve tried really hard, hoping that my trying will lead to me not needing a job as bad. But in order to make anything off of my efforts, I need money. To get money, I need a job that pays me decent wage for full time work and doesn’t penalize me for being human (cram thousands of people into a building for 40 hours every week and they’re going to get sick, especially when they can’t afford to not go to work.)

Based on former experience, the best case scenario is that I will settle for something that will pay me to simply maintain my human existence. If I save anything, it’ll cover the hole that I create when I get pissed off and quit. My only life, it seems, is a flat line. It also seems my creativity has been dwindling since I stopped getting student loans and switched to paying them. I made a huge mistake. I invested in myself. I thought being educated would get me somewhere. I didn’t realize that you’re more prepared for the workforce as a high school graduate than as a college graduate. (Note: I know that college grads are most likely to get the job. What they don’t tell you is that it’s college grads who get in and get out without challenging themselves who get the job. Prove you can do it and put it on your resume but don’t let it make you think you know anything. But remain pliable. You’re part of a machine.)

I hesitate to write stuff like this on such a public forum, knowing that a potential employer may happen upon it while Googling my name. But hey, if you thought you wanted to hire me before you read this and now you don’t, then the only way we’re going to get along is by me subverting. Go find a tool.

Back at 0

March 18th, 2008

The last time I felt like this was back in 2006. Somehow 2007 was pretty easy. I guess I had more hope–in myself, in others, in this place. Maybe I was just trying really hard and now I just feel cheated.

I’m skipping work. I feel real, but still worthless and horrible. When I go to work I feel depressed, anger, bitter, and destructive. I get ideas into my head like it might be a good thing to just crash my car into a wall or something. Just for the catharsis.

I told my mom I’m not working for them until I figure something out. I need to apply for medical assistance and go find psychiatric help. Two years and nothings changed.

If you’ve responded to any of these offering to go out for drinks with me and I haven’t gotten back to you, it’s not because I don’t appreciate it. Drinking and bitching won’t help. Let’s go out when I feel better!

Beagles, Cold, Money

March 1st, 2008

My downstairs neighbors have 2 beagles. Both of them suffer from Separation Anxiety. That means anytime my neighbors leave the apartment, the dogs spend AT LEAST an hour barking, howling, whimpering and crying. They do this several times a day. It’s been going on for five months, which is to say, I moved in five months ago and it’s been going on since I moved in. I’ve tried to be OK with that, and with their illegal CB radio amplifier which interferes with any and all audio or video equipment on the third floor. I don’t like to create enemies in a building where I’ve had no problem playing a drum set or having band practice. But those dogs were at it at 8:30 am today–a Saturday. I never play drums before 10 at the earliest. On any day. I left a note under their door today.

My cold is all but gone and now I have an endless stretch of stupid bullshit work ahead of me for who knows how long. I’ve been thinking about booking some shows but I really don’t know where to start. I’ve been thinking about working on the CD but I can’t tell where its going. I’ve been thinking about building some projects to take my mind off of it, but I’m broke. And I don’t know if I can afford to be “out of the scene” once people start coming out of their winter comas. I don’t know if I care. It would be nice if I could say, “OK I don’t care about music or art until I save some money,” but I can’t do that. I always become depressed and lazy when I do that. Well, as opposed to depressed and wound up.

This cold has cost me just over $300. I’m not going on tour any time soon.