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Fresh Tendrils

May 18th, 2017

It’s not right or fair. Feels like a dick-slap reprise from 2016, a year that had many unfair passings. Chris Cornell, he of Soundgarden, Audioslave and his own solo career, dead at the age of fifty-two in his hotel room after a concert in Detroit.

 

I’m listening to Superunknown, Soundgarden’s biggest album. “Black Hole Sun” just came on. I can’t do this right now. I’m too choked up. Like a piece of my teenage life is now dead and gone.

 

Dear Chris, I wish I knew you. Knowing that I could not stop you, I wish you would have said why. Dammit, man.

 

To everybody else: Too often we ask the suicidal and the suffering to reach out when they need help. What are we really saying? I guess we mean it in a broad sense. But if you’ve ever been suicidal, if you’ve ever felt close to that point, then you know how hard it is to reach out. Why are you asking someone in a difficult, weakened state to reach out when that’s often the hardest thing for them to do? A part of them is wanting to die. They don’t want to be here. They don’t feel like they deserve the help anyway. It might be as hard for a suicidal person to ask for help as it is for a drug or alcohol addict to ask for help.

 

Try to keep your heart and eyes open. You reach out for a change. You throw a line out there in case somebody needs it. You be a friend when somebody needs it. You give love and consideration. You have no idea what a better world you can make if you do that.

Ah, To Be Alone

May 14th, 2017

This afternoon, my mother took my granny to a family outing. This being Mother’s day and all, four generations of Farmer moms were in attendance. My granny, my mom and aunt, my aunt’s children, two of whom have kids of their own.

 

I did not go. Oh no no no no. I wanted to be alone today. I wished my mother well and saw them off. They’ve been gone for about five hours which is the longest piece of alone time I’ve had in this apartment since my granny moved in about eight weeks ago. I am treasuring it.

 

This has been an inconvenience for both of us. Sometime next week, she will sign a new lease for her senior living apartment and begin to move out. Then I will be alone again. And I will enjoy that for the most part. Because I want to be alone.

 

It has not been an entirely negative living arrangement. She fusses over me like a grandmother does. She worries about me. She made hamburgers for me a few times. But the bad sometimes drowns out the good. And the bad is what I tend to dwell on.

 

I will never be happy.

Night Songs: Slight Return

May 13th, 2017

 

Been a while since I had this feature but right now I am taken with this synthpop gem from Japan in the early ’80s. Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO) had their biggest single with “Kimi Ni Mune Kyun”. Decades later, it was revived as the closing theme for an lesbian schoolgirl anime. Because Japan.

 

Let’s just move to Japan, folks. Let’s all do it, right now. Those ‘Muricans who say “If you don’t like it, leave it”? They’re right. Let’s leave and go to another country. And let’s never come back. Let’s go to Japan. Or Australia. Or Canada if those places are too far away. But I would like to go to Japan for a while.

 

Let’s talk about this swell track from 1983. YMO had released about six albums by this point. They had started off as a response to Kraftwerk/mockery of western ideas of Asian culture (hence the name). Their song “Behind The Mask” had been selected and re-written by Michael Jackson for what became the Thriller album but was left off the final track listing. It would come out about thirty years later.

 

All three members of YMO wrote songs. Initially the group was to be a one-off project by they were so successful they kept going for about seven years. “Kimi Ni Mune Kyun” is a smooth dance pop song with lyrics entirely in their native language sung by drummer/vocalist Yukihiro Takahashi. This song peaked at #2 on Japan’s pop charts. For a time in the early ’80s, YMO were the most popular band in Japan.

 

For all I’ve heard of YMO’s music, “Kimi Ni Mune Kyun” sounds like nothing else in their catalog. It’s a poppy love song. Maybe they wrote it just to prove they could write a song like this. Most of their material experiments with electronics and world music. The rest of “Kimi”‘s parent album, Naughty Boys, betrays the single’s pop sound. Oh sure they kept the synth pop textures but the songs are nowhere near as singable and the melodies are nowhere near as harmonious. YMO has many layers, this song a tongue-in-cheek New Romantic turn that became a smash hit.

 

I enjoy YMO so much and most of what I’ve heard from them I’ve had to hear on Youtube because I can’t get it anywhere else. The market for Japanese techno pop from thirty-five years ago in the U.S. is apparently minimal, at best. I blame our country’s immigration policy.

 

Let’s move to Japan and fall in love and end up in a teenage lesbian manga. All things are possible, if we really try hard to make our dreams come true. I read that in the Bible, I think. Somewhere near the middle.

Anything Can Stop Me Now!

May 11th, 2017

I am happy for my friends.

I am happy for Jake aka CasOne. CasOne put out an album with his friend Figure, So Our Egos Don’t Kill Us. Strange Famous Records, Sage Francis’ label, put it out. To promote the tour, CasOne went on a North American tour for about four weeks, with Figure joining him for most of the dates.

 

I’ve known Jake for years. We’ve recorded some of the worst songs in the history of electricity together (my fault). For example, I once tried to get him and Figure to collaborate with me on an LMFAO parody album. We never did that. Why make shitty LMFAO-type music with me when they can make pretty decent without me? For what it’s worth, CasOne was also with me on the Night I Played In Front Of a Bunch Of Juggalos While Wearing ICP Makeup.

 

I am happy for my friends.

 

Charles is also on tour. You might know him. He wrote “Hey” and “Monkey Gone To Heaven” and a bunch of other songs you like. He did the thing that some people didn’t want him to do and recorded and released new Pixies music and it was greeted by those people like it was a turd that came via UPS. Music that fits in with the rest of his famous band’s classic catalog. Music that is neither the greatest thing since sliced bread or the complete and utter nadir of recorded sound (c’mon, they’re not doing LMFAO pastiches or anything).

 

Charles is on tour with his famous band, intermingling the new songs with the classics. I saw them in Covington and it was the best show I’d seen them play since their initial reunion. The intensity was in the playing. Some nights are just magical and you can’t control whether they happen in Ohio or thereabouts. He is living his life, playing for people who want to see him and his band.

 

I am happy for my friends.

 

Colter Wall. I just met him last year. His debut album comes out today. A young kid with a weather-worn voice and the world on his shoulders. All of twenty-one years old. Already being trumpeted by Rolling Stone and No Depression for his songs. He’s on tour and has been for some time, with a three-piece band behind him and Mary managing him. They’re going to kick this album in the ass touring all over. The buzz is on him right now. I am genuinely excited for him and Mary that this is happening.

 

I am happy for my friends when good things happen for them.

 

I don’t feel happy right now, though. Because I’m not out there.

 

I have taken a lot of wrong turns, walked into a lot of dead ends, made a lot of bad decisions. I have lived a long time and not learned, earned, or gained what I needed along the way. Anything could stop me now. It has taken me all this time to understand that when I was twenty-one years old I could not sing like Colter, nor write a song like Charles, nor string together raps like Jake. The only thing I had was that I wanted to. I wanted to be famous and I also wanted to be good.

 

I have put in a lot of effort in order to learn how to be good. I just kept working at it. I got better at singing and writing songs. For a time, I was even an okay rapper but I was never as good at that as I was at singing. I sang lead on six TVH albums. I made a Kentucky Prophet album and an EP. I played a lot of shows, solo and with the band. I am a great singer. I sing like an angel. I am a dynamo. I should be heard. I should be doing something.

 

The problem is, while I was slowly getting better at music I also slowly let myself go. I let myself go and then I let myself go some more and by the time I realized how far I’d let myself go I was too far gone. I was so far gone I could barely perform. My body struggled with all the weight I had gained. I still struggle with it. I had taken a hands-off approach to my own health, and then I stopped caring about other things. I stopped caring about contributing to my band in a meaningful way. I was simply along for the ride. Yeah, I was good at music but so what? Who needs one more singer who writes songs trying to play in the world? I figured the way I was living things would either work themselves out or I would eat myself into an early grave. I decided that I was not necessary unless someone or something demonstrated otherwise.

 

But do you know who needs me right now? I need me. I need to be here. I need to sing and write and play. I need to keep going. Because if I sit around and just wait to die I’m only wasting all the talent and potential I have. And a part of me wants to chastise myself for what feels like wasted years but. . . that’s just wasting even more time.

 

I was unhappy because I am jealous of my friends who are chasing a dream, finding it and living the dream. But I have my own quest right now. I’m on the slow track back to a healthier existence. I’ve lost about twenty pounds in the last two months. I’ve got a lot more to lose but even now I feel a difference. I’m staying on it. I have a lot of catching up to do with my friends.

 

I have the songs, when the time comes and I am ready. I know because I have written them and I will keep writing them.

 

Anything can stop me now.

Mental Constipation

May 9th, 2017

You may have noticed, dear reader, the lack of activity on this website as of late. There has been a very good reason for that.

 

I can’t get a damn thing done around her while Granny’s around.

 

Poor thing. It’s not her fault. She doesn’t want to be here either. She’s stuck here until she gets to move into a senior living apartment. Not sure when that will be. Could be this weekend although I’m not holding my breath. She’s been here for almost eight weeks, which is about six more than she expected or ever wanted to be here. Certainly it’s longer than I expected or wanted.

 

I want my privacy back. This sucks. I hate it so bad. There’s not enough room for us both. I’ve basically let her have the living room because she doesn’t have anything to do or anywhere to go. She watches lousy television. If Steve Harvey had his own network, she would watch it. If Steve Harvey had a show like Judge Judy, she’d go gaga. If Steve Harvey were a cast member on Big Bang Theory, she would die and go to heaven.

 

One late night, she managed to find Poker After Dark and went “ooh” like a masseuse had smoothed out a knot in her back.

 

There’s a lot on my mind right now. 95% has nothing to do with my grandmother. She will eventually get to move into senior living where she be much happier. And then I will be stuck with the other 95% of my thoughts that won’t be so easily moved or solved.

 

I can’t write. I can barely think. I’m in suspended animation. Mental constipation. I would let it out but I can’t.

The Fahrenheit 217

May 4th, 2017

Today, the House of Representatives voted 217-213 to approve H.R. 1628: The American Health Care Act of 2017. The repeal and replace of Obamacare and the attempt to institute Trumpcare.

 

Imagine replacing a car that needed maintenance with a car frame that looked great but didn’t have an engine at all. That’s essentially what you got with Trumpcare now. It will go to the Senate. I’m not positive that the Senate Republicans will vote this down. They might decide to throw a lighter into a jet engine and blow the whole thing up.

 

I’m too pissed off to actually give cogent analysis. So I’m going to just snap on the 217 assholes who decided to hurt their own constituents.

  • Brett Guthrie, I will vote against you in 2018. I will donate money to your general election opponent. I will piss in your boots if I see you. You are a partisan hack. You have no courage. You should be ashamed of yourself.
  • Andy Barr sounds like “candy bar” which is something a diabetic shouldn’t eat. I hope your cock gets gangrene, you future eunuch.
  • James Comer’s name is close to James Comey, the FBI director who feels mildly nauseous about having any impact on the 2016 election. I hope you feel nausea every time you try to raise campaign funds. I hope you vomit on the shoes of a Koch Brother.
  • Hal Rogers represents Harlan. I hope you get arrested for sex crimes.
  • I want to credit John Yarmuth and Thomas Massie (a Republican, nonetheless) for voting against this bullshit bill. 
  • Larry Buschon of Indiana. I hope you have to live in Indiana for the rest of your life.
  • Trey Hollingsworth of Indiana. I hope you die like a character in “Children Of The Corn”.
  • Steve King of Iowa. You’re one of the lowest form of life in Congress and that says a lot considering who your contemporaries. Nearly every time there’s a piece of garbage racist law brought up in the House, you either brought it up or co-sponsor it. I hope you fall into a paper shredder, and your remains are turned into low-grade toilet paper to be bought and used by the poor.
  • Mark Sanford of South Carolina, you know this bill is shit and you voted for it anyway. You should have stayed in Argentina with your mistress. Pull an Eva Peron and pass away prematurely.
  • Joe Wilson of South Carolina, you’re the guy who yelled “You lie” at Obama. You should have been kicked out of office years ago. You lie every day. I hope you get a kidney stone every day.
  • Jason Chaffetz of Utah, you are the lowest of the low. The biggest hypocrite of the bunch. You just had leg surgery. A pre-existing condition. And you voted to take away that protection for Americans. I hope you o.d. on pain meds, you big bag of oatmeal.
  • Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the Speaker of the House. You did this just to save your job. You miserable prick. If we’re not all dead by 2018, you will be gone. I will donate to your opponent too. It won’t take much, which is a sentence you’ve probably told your wife plenty of times. You needledick, wannabe frat boy fuckboy. I hope you get a metal rod rammed up your pisshole.

You are the Fahrenheit 217 now. And you are going to be wiped out. If we still have elections a year-and-a-half from now. Maybe Dear Leader Trump will ban elections. I wouldn’t do that if I were him. We may just march on Washington, drag the bastard out of the White House and eat him alive. Just a fair warning.

A Safe Space To Remember

May 1st, 2017

I survived Technology Vs. Horse. We played our last show Saturday. It was a nice day, warm and bright. I don’t want to live in the past but I do want to take some time to remember this moment. It was the end of something, the beginning of another thing entirely.

 

The band actually broke up last year but didn’t tell anybody. Our previous show was over a year ago at a bar in Bowling Green and I walked off stage after two songs because I had a sudden attack of diarrhea. This time I made it without incident. Goddamn it. We played an alright show and my bowels didn’t get nervous.

 

I looked into the crowd and saw so many familiar faces. All of these people had been to so many TVH shows in Bowling Green. They weren’t fans. Before our last song, I went to say something and I got choked up. . .

 

“I’ve seen a lot of you at our shows.” I stopped and corrected myself. “WE’VE seen you at our shows. . . you’re our friends.” I was choked up in that moment. I wanted to say more but couldn’t.

 

Then we played “Termite Art” for the last time and it hit me that we were another link in Bowling Green music history. We’ve been part of it longer than most bands, and different musically than practically any other band in this area, but still we’re a part of the chain. Bands came before us and will come long after us. But here we were, playing on Morning Teleportation’s drum kit, borrowing a guitar from Heron And Crane because our guitarist broke his high E string at a show hosted by the local college radio station. . . in front of the people who had seen us more than anybody else. People came far and wide to see us one last time.

 

We could never break the chain, even if we wanted to.

 

I was hugged by children, took pictures with teenagers, signed CDs for a Juggalo. One of the college radio kids said that our set was “psychotic”. I told him that wasn’t even one of the twenty most psychotic sets we ever played. I watched the newer bands that came on after us. I ate a hot dog. I cried a little bit because I didn’t realize how many friends we had.

Too Much Unfunky Business

April 25th, 2017

I feel like I should write something here.

 

There’s a lot going on. Technology Vs. Horse is playing its final show on Saturday. Kentucky Prophet will be playing Lebowski Fest in July. Everything that was old is new again.

 

And yet there is so much more new to talk about. So much that I haven’t had time to think or talk. I have put a lot more than I have ever gotten back from life. But that is the story of me ever since I can remember.

 

Forget that for now. Here is a pickup line I would like to use in the future: “I would really like to eat sandwiches with you in the near-future.” What do you think?

 

My granny has been living with me for nearly five weeks. We are both annoyed with this arrangement.

Technology Vs. Horse Farewell Show

April 17th, 2017

Greetings, sports fans.

 

My band, Technology Vs. Horse, formed in 2004. In that time, we played many shows. We released six of our own albums (and you can still get them). We tried our best. And on April 29th, we’re playing our final show.

 

There’s a lot to say, right? You may wonder why we are breaking up. The five of us are still friends, so that’s not it. We’re all bogged down by middle-age concerns like families, careers, and responsibilities. That makes it hard for us to get together on a regular basis. The band actually broke up last summer but we didn’t say anything.

 

 

We started practicing for the April 29th show a few weeks ago and that was the first time we’d all been in the room together since last June. The people at Revolution 91.7 who are putting together Mayhem 2017 have played our songs on their station for years and asked us to be on this upcoming show. We felt it would be a great way to say goodbye, seeing as how we’d played numerous Revolution events over the years. A nice free show on a late Saturday afternoon in the park on Center Street in Bowling Green.

 

 

Is This The End Of The World?

April 14th, 2017

If you have been paying any attention to the situation between the United States and North Korea, you would know that tension is high, and leaders from both countries seem too eager to START with a nuclear bomb.

 

I am going to note some of my thoughts and feelings at this strange time in the world. I don’t even feel like I’m writing for anyone in 2017. If the nukes get dropped and a lot of us die, I want to talk about what I was dealing with at the point it happened. I’m writing this for some survivor years from now, or the next generation or later.

 

I am a thirty-nine year-old man from Kentucky. I have things I want to do before I die. I have goals and dreams and aspirations. I live in a small apartment. Right now, my grandmother is staying with me until she gets approved for her new apartment. She hopes to get into a building complex for elderly people. It may take up to two more weeks, she has been with me for three weeks already. Although she doesn’t mean to, sometimes she gets on my nerves. She means well and she worries a lot. We don’t worry about the same things.

 

I wish I could be with a girl I care very much for but she has a boyfriend. Maybe its for the best, especially for her. Maybe my life is a labyrinth that people should be warned against nearing. Even killer whales mate, don’t they?

 

I hated the circumstances that led us to this moment in time. It seems so preventable now that I type about it. Somebody should have done something to stop all this from happening. Eventually, all of us end up in the meat grinder of the industrial complex. Some people don’t know and some don’t mind so much. Some people do know and mind very much and they fight back.

 

I truly hope that Trump is taken out of power before he gets us into a nuclear war. He has been in office less than 100 days. He doesn’t know how to de-escalate a problem. No one in North Korea is going to put a check on their dictator. It’s up to us in the US. Two idiots at a standstill willing to blow up the world over a pissing contest. It would be funny if it weren’t so depressing and plausible.

 

I don’t want to write anymore today. It hurts to think about this too long.