slipjig3: (Default)
[personal profile] hypnagogie and I visited our first marijuana dispensary in Maine a few weekends ago, which for a child of the Nancy Reagan era such as myself was an extended exercise in cognitive dissonance. Maine is fully pot-legal, but going to a dispensary still requires a medical weed card. CBD-related products, though, can be bought over the counter with adult ID, and [personal profile] hypnagogie has a chronic pain thing, so off to the hippie wilds of Ye Olde Down East we went to see if some CBD cream would help.

Nothing much to say about the experience, really, which might be the weirdest part of all—medical marijuana proponents are well aware of the image problem they need to throttle, so everything looked healthy (read: like a Minnesota Reiki studio) and smelled healthier (read: like getting groped by a lavender bath bomb). Aside from the ID check at the reinforced doors and a run across the street to the ATM because cash only, natch, everything ran Safeway-smoothly. That, and both customer service folks and the one other guy there all looked like the sorts who use "dude" as conversational punctuation, but that might just be southern Maine talking. Thing was, it was an unremarkable, quotidian transaction that took place at a cabinet with weed in it, which still feels wacky-alternative-timeline to me, the sort of thing in a Doctor Who episode that would make you yell at Russell T. Davies because come on, man. We stepped back into the parking lot with our little brown grocery sack, I looked around and went "...welp, that was a thing that happened," and thus ended the experience. Things change.

Report on CBD cream: didn't work. Booooooo.
slipjig3: (homesick blues)
I've been doing this on Facebook every three months or so, whenever I have a big enough influx of new music worth sharing, but since I'm trying to pivot away from the blue-and-white I figure I'll give you lovely DW residents first crack at it this time:

Who would like a custom-made Spotify playlist of your very own? Respond, please!
slipjig3: (weirdo)
1) Text sent to [personal profile] hypnagogie first thing this morning: "What does it mean when I dream that the screw top for the big hatch on the top of my skull has gotten gunky, so I have to unscrew the lid and walk around with my brain exposed while I try to find something safe to clean both the hatch and my brain surface, which has also gotten schmutzy due to neglect?" My subconscious has all the subtlety of a water buffalo on a Victoria's Secret catwalk.

2) Speaking of cleaning the gunk out of skulls, I had my first neti pot experience over the weekend, which despite my fears was much less "adventures in waterboarding" and more "bad day swimming at the Y." Worth it, though: two minutes of Dear Merciful Zeus Why Am I Doing This, five minutes of Post-Studio 54 Coke Binge Nose-Blowing, and then 12 hours of Holy Bugmonkeys I Can Breathe.

3) I still haven't watched the Netflix/BBC Watership Down. I have no reasonable explanation for this.

4) My creative cycle tends to consist of one project that occupies me body and soul for a week or two, then gets relegated to the back burner along with all of my other unfinished projects until I notice it down the line for another fortnight of obsession. As I type this I'm in the trough section of my creativity wave form, when nothing is poking my brain hard enough to command my attention and the pilot light of my work ethic. This either means I'm just about to latch onto something, or else I'm entering a gross protracted YouTube-and-pretzels-in-bed bummer phase. Since I'd really prefer to avoid the latter, I might just take a lug wrench to the issue and force myself to work on something. Most likely it'll be the Twine project that I was gung ho over a month ago, but we'll see how things play out. Watch this space.

5) The problem with a mild winter is that when the cold and snow finally do arrive, as they inevitably will, I don't feel as if I have the right to bitch about it.

6) Spilling chicken soup in your lunchbox makes peeling and eating clementines a weird experience.

Hope you're having a net-positive week, friends. This here's the downhill stretch.
slipjig3: (Default)
I remember this meme going around a decade ago, and never indulged, so. Courtesy of [personal profile] calliopes_pen:

1. Comment to this entry saying 'Ooo Shiny!' and I will pick 3 of your icons/userpics.
2. Make an entry in your own journal (or just reply if you prefer) and talk about the icons I picked!


Her three choices for me all fall in the pop reference continuum:



"Shrabster," the only episode of Sealab 2021 I ever watched, was a capital-T Thing in my social circle for long enough that I decided to create a handful of userpics from relevant catchphrases, such as "Sweet mother of holy fucking God..." and the immortal "Filet o' freakin' Fish, Dan." I intended this one to be used for flashback/reminiscence-type posts, but I don't think I ever actually did so.



From Edward Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies, natch. I've got all 26, of which I've used six or seven over the years. Maybe I should be glad I've lived a life that's only intermittently Gashlycrumb-appropriate. Maybe I should make more of an effort. (Created by and borrowed from [profile] neitherday)



MR. BOOGALOW. People who have known me for any length of time, please be patient a moment whilst I proselytize to the newcomers: If you haven't seen the 1980 post-apocalyptic neo-Miltonian disco rock opera The Apple, hie thee immediately to thy viewing devices and rectify this immediately. Mr. Boogalow is our hissably bedazzled villain, the CEO of Boogalow International Music, symbol for all that is evil in corporate rock culture in The Distant Future (i.e. 1994), and quite possibly [SPOILER ALERT] actually Glam Satan. The song "I Know How to Be a Master" comes during a makeover montage that roughly only the 37th most ridiculous thing in this movie, so by all means let this light into your life forthwith.
slipjig3: (dürer rabbit)
Well, I've officially laid down some roots here in Dreamwidthland: I sprung for a paid account. [cue streamers and indulgent dancing] I did it for a bunch of reasons: to honor tradition (my LJ was paid for from day 1, back when you needed an invite code to get in free), to "give back," to support the continued existence of a tool that's rapidly becoming important to me, to get my mitts on that sweet, sweet user pic action. Also? To allow me to make polls again, because given the time so many of my dear ones are having right now I've wanted to bring back the following, which I used to run on the regular. So if you don't mind, please take a moment to answer:

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 14

How are you doing right now?

Right now, what is your greatest challenge?

Right now, what is your greatest joy?

Tell me something. Anything.



Hope you all are doing well. Carry on.
slipjig3: (Default)
Another Arisia has come, and another Arisia has gone, huzzah, forsooth and yea verily. And since my foray into long-form blogging has returned, so have many of my old blogging traditions, including the annual Cleverly Formatted Arisia Wrap-Up post. This usually requires identifying trends and the like, but my brain is still the texture of the coconut yogurt I accidentally left in the hotel fridge, so here, have a numbered list of random neural firings:

Click here for the whole business (ooh, I get to remember how to do paragraph cuts, too!) )

So now it's all over but the con drop, plus or minus whatever contagion I've so far avoided but is probaly lurking in my sinus cavity as we speak. It's a small event, I know, but I'm missing it already, so what'dya say we do this limited-range reality forfeiture again next year, huh? Who's in?
slipjig3: (Default)
Back in November I received a jury duty summons from the nearest U.S. District Court. Eyeroll, sigh, fine, I'll eat my civic duty while it's warm. Normally I'd hope for something fluffy, non-life-or-death, like an interesting property dispute or something; the U.S. District Court generally isn't in the fluffy law business, but this appears to be a civil rather than criminal suit, so hope springing eternal as always I crossed my fingers and wished for something not too awful.

There was a form to fill out and return, of course, but there was also enclosed a 30+ page questionnaire to be completed, presumably to streamline the selection process. I no longer have a copy to quote from verbatim, but please take a moment to try and picture my facial expressions as I flipped through it for the first time, as I discovered the questions below along the way:

Name, address, occupation, marriage status, number of kids, etc.

Blah, blah. Fine.

From what source(s) do you usually get information on current events?

You mean, am I a Fox News kinda guy? No, and no. Where exactly are you going with this?

Are you familiar with the movement known as Black Lives Matter?

...uh-oh....

Some people believe that because police officers' work is so dangerous, they should be given more leeway to act without fearing repercussions. Do you agree?

[covers eyes, reads through fingers] Ohhh, no....

Do you feel personal injury payments have gotten out of hand?

Oh god oh god oh god.... [hides behind couch]

So nope, totes not fluffy. And now I have a quandary, because I don't want to do jury duty any more than the next guy, but if I'm interested in justice I also don't want the next guy adjudicating a racially-motivated police brutality case. I've met the next guy, in YouTube comments and the like, and he scares me. In the end, though, I really don't have much control over whether I'm chosen to serve or not, because as this is a court document I have to answer honestly. Which I did: Have I ever participated in a public demonstration? Why yes, I marched at the Black Friday protest from Macy's to Times Square. Held a sign and everything.

On Monday I received the following email:

Dear [personal profile] slipjig3,

After your reviewing your questionnaire, the Court has excused you from jury service on [DATE]. We thank you for completing the questionnaire.

Sincerely,
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Clerk, U.S. District Court


Welp.

The good news is, now I can enjoy Arisia without having to worry about choosing a tie the next morning. On the flip side, I'd like to send the following personal message to Mr. John Q. Next Guy, Federal Juror in Good Standing: Don't screw this up. Don't make me come down there.
slipjig3: (Default)
[personal profile] fiddledragon is officially nominated for sainthood: she voluntarily surrendered most of her Saturday to take her van down to Providence, pick up [personal profile] hypnagogie's mattress and box spring, and haul them all the way up to Brunswick, Maine. This was very much a mission of mercy, as [personal profile] hypnagogie recently learned her borked-up shoulder has been the result of a six-years-undiagnosed torn rotator cuff, and the bed that came with her rented room (I'm searching for a diplomatic way to phrase this) sucks hairy man-ass. Like, "a comparably sized pile of Reddi-Wip would provide more back support" levels of suck, that's what I'm saying here. The one that got hauled up on Saturday is like memory foam only better, and allows her to sleep without wanting to take hostages when she finally wakes up. Out with the old, in with the new, and all that.

I was already in Brunswick when the bed arrived (see previous entry for details on birthday dinner and didImentionIgotasmokingjacket), and the plan was to haul the old bed downstairs before [personal profile] fiddledragon arrived, in the interest of streamlining the process. I'd assumed that the blob mattress of blobbishness would be the challenging part of the operation, especially since the journey involved a staircase that turns twice followed by a trip through the kitchen and out to the storage room, but that bit turned out to be not too awful. The box spring, however, was...problematic. The item itself turned out to be what you might charitably call "vintage," hailing from the days when the "box" in "box spring" really meant something. We're talking the sort of thing where an accidental drop on your toes earns you a Vicodin script at the ER: hardwood 2x4 construction, weighting roughly the same as the 2004 defensive line of the Indianapolis Colts. When the power grid goes down during the upcoming Apocalypse, this sumbitch will be the first thing they chop up for firewood. Also, let's review: torn rotator cuff.

Luckily, [personal profile] fiddledragon arrived in time to help with that part, which was completed with only a tiny bit of damage to the ceiling plaster, and then it was time to move the new stuff in. This was a good news/bad news situation, because on the one hand, the mattress was considerably lighter and the box spring disassembled into easy-to-carry components, but on the other, (1) up the stairs instead of down, and (2) no handles on the mattress. My thumbs are still not speaking to me, but all in the end is well, and [personal profile] fiddledragon is awesome, and [personal profile] hypnagogie is much less inclined to get out of bed in the morning for all the best reasons, and yay.

That was the main excitement of the weekend, which was otherwise largely taken up by lounging and avoiding the single-digit temperatures that Maine likes to face-punch its residents with. [personal profile] hypnagogie and I took the time to reconnect—if you haven't done one of these in a while, yes, long distance relationships still blow, and Skype can only do so much—and it felt like we'd leveled up somewhere along the way. In any relationship there are those conversations/discussions/arguments that keep happening over and over again, where you can only hope to chip away at the central Thing over time; we revisited a couple of those, only we'd somehow managed to filter out the noise and get right to the signal. Truths felt heard, rather than just brushed against, a gift of time passing or of wintering in or maybe just of us being us for so long. Time was far too short because it always is, but I'll take what we have.
slipjig3: (Default)
I've been away from the blogging game for so long, I'd forgotten that "so much to say, so little brain to say it" sensation that pops up after 10 pm. on the Friday of a chock-full-o'-nuts week of wonders. It's worse knowing that since I have been away for so long, I feel like I have to back-story everything so much that it hardly seems worth the trouble. As a storyteller, I make up for my lack of ninja fights and opium soirées with a matching lack of narrative brevity. This is why I can't open with something simple like, "I'm sitting in Brunswick, Maine with [personal profile] hypnagogie right now," without feeling it necessary to explain that I still live in Providence while she's in Maine finishing her post doc and I see her every other weekend and and and. Just because I sometimes live in perpetual nested flashbacks doesn't mean I need to splatter them all over my journal and expect the world to keep up.

So let me cut to the chase: Birthday week! Yes, mine! 48, if you must know, but I don't feel a day over...well, over 62 at the moment, for reasons that will become apparent in a bit. Birthday proper was Monday, which is almost as much of a drag as a birthday less than two weeks after Christmas, but I treated myself better than Mondays usually warrant, which was enough for the time. The real celebrations came later:

Wednesday: [personal profile] blissmorgan shares a birthday with me, and for years we've been swearing that this will be the year we get together and celebrate somehow, followed by hemming and hawing against the background drone of mildly annoyed crickets. But this year I think we were both feeling an exceptionally focused need to get the hell out of our respective houses and into good company, so we not only made actual plans, but we actually followed through. We settled on bowling at a place halfway between Bliss!House and Adam!House, which we quickly discovered serves up a light show and either disco or '90s alternative depending on who's controlling the knobs, so it made it harder to concentrate but much easier not to care that we were bowling solidly two-digit totals. (Neither of us had done this in years, which explains not only the "are you sure this isn't golf?" scores we were nailing, but also the fact that we are hurting in places we weren't aware we had places two days later. I'm not convinced I didn't throw out my first hip, hence the "day over 62" crack back there. From there we sought food at the kind of local restaurant that serves Reubens and liver & onions and burgers named after regular customers from the '50s, where we ate well and adored our waitress and had the most amazing conversation that led directly to me opening this DW account. Bliss wrote up the event far better than I ever could on her own journal (complete with snappy bowling ball glamour shots), so do pop over there, but suffice it to say that it was precisely what I needed in so many more ways than one. Thanks again, Bliss, and let's not wait so long next time.

Friday: I left for Maine straight from work, a 2 1/2-hour drive that's 2 1/4 hours longer than my bowling-ravaged joints were prepared for, but it was so very worth it as [personal profile] hypnagogie and I convened at the Brunswick Tavern for my official birthday meal. Their head chef has a contract out with someone from the demon realm, because good Lord. Pork belly with applesauce, steamed mussels, an amazing lamb shank for me and a steak for her that was so tender you could plant tulip bulbs in it without benefit of a trowel. We topped it all off with a bourbon-butternut cheesecake the consistency of gentle sleep that she described as "if pumpkin pie were made of God." I could go on at great length about the food and the connectedness that an exceptional meal shared can create, but I want to skip ahead to where she gave me the present she'd been dying to give me for weeks: she got me a smoking jacket, people. A SMOKING JACKET. Black velour with silver-and-black piping, perfectly lined and pocketed, and it even goes perfectly with the purple Thai fisherman's pants that are my new pajama bottoms. Ladies and gentlemen, I no longer sit—I lounge. Sybaritically, with a rake's practiced moue and a leisurely eye-fuck gaze that coos, "Hello, dahling, don't be shy. Welcome to Raymundo." It's perfect in every way. Thank you again, hon. A++++, would marry the hell out of again. (And yes, I'm bringing it to Arisia, and yes, I'm wearing it to the con suite at one in the morning.)

....

Remind me, how do you end blog posts again? It's like this, isn't it? Just kind of trailing off when you don't feel like typing any more?
slipjig3: (Default)
Sometimes it takes a while: I've finally migrated from LiveJournal to Dreamwidth. Formerly slipjig at the LJ mothership, now slipjig3 at DW because somebody at the new place sharked the name and then left the journal sitting there as a paperweight. If I knew you in the hinterlands of that past life, feel free to comment and say hello. If I didn't, feel free to comment and say hello. Hi.

I've missed this. I don't mind saying so.
slipjig3: (piggie)
I'm officially pulling the trigger: the Eleven Assembled newsletter is now officially a go! Subscribers will receive a weekly write-up of eleven songs (nice round number): new, old, alternative, folk, whatever other genres sneak through my earholes and grab my attention—in short, whatever music I'm obsessing over that week. If you've gotten a mix CD from me in the last five years or heard the Sleight of Hand radio show when that was still a thing, you know what you're in for, and if not...well, it's free, so do as thou wilt, kind adventurer.

You can subscribe at the newsletter's signup page at http://tinyletter.com/ElevenAssembled. I plan to have the first email and the first eleven songs out on Wednesday. Hope to metaphorically see you there. (Note to [livejournal.com profile] gows: TinyLetter automatically archives everything. Score!)
slipjig3: (piggie)
Getting a feel for public interest before I sally forth:

I've been missing doing a radio show lately, especially because I've been accumulating stuff that I'm dying to introduce people to (as is my wont). Unfortunately my work schedule doesn't fit any of the available airtime slots at the Internet station I was on, and my blogging track record means an mp3 blog would probably crash and burn. However, I have an idea: a Spotify playlist, updated weekly, consisting of whatever songs I would be playing on a radio show if I had one, and accompanied by an opt-in email newsletter with liner notes for each song to stand in for DJ patter.

Does this sound like a viable plan? Would you be interested in subscribing to either playlist, newsletter or both if I went ahead with it? Thoughts?
slipjig3: (piggie)
Behold, I am Slug. Sleep was not in the cards for me last night as I was hanging with kids and grandkid in western MA, where there was a lack of needed air conditioning and a two-year-old with a fondness for kicking me in the ribs. I followed it up with a burrito for dinner that had some sort of personal vendetta with my GI tract that I don't have details on, and so yes, a Slug I am. [livejournal.com profile] rain_herself, meanwhile, is dealing with some horrible coughing thing that has decided to make her stop breathing from time to time, which she can battle with prescription medicines that work great at making her forget any and all problems due to sleeping through them. It's Jim Bob's House o' Slug, is what I'm saying. We're dealing by couch-forting it in the guest bedroom, lounging on pillows and keeping the Chips Ahoy within arm's reach.

Still, there is much to be happy about:

  • I finally submitted a crossword to Will Shortz at the New York Times for the first time in years, and I just heard back: it's been accepted for publication. Cue the confetti and Dixieland jazz! I had walked away from crossword construction because I felt like I couldn't make it work, but this has gifted me with the will to carry on with the hobby a while longer. It's my first ever themeless sale, too, which was my main goal for the longest while. (Themeless puzzles have a lower word count maximum, 72 for a 15x15 grid as opposed to 78 for a themed one, which makes them a throbbing pain in the arse to complete well.) It'll be a Saturday run most likely, with a date to be determined closer to publication.

  • Murder Ballads tech rehearsal with [livejournal.com profile] cluegirl went swimmingly. We both broke out the effects pedals to go with the amplification we were working with, and it was one of those rare moments when I actually felt like the rock star some people joke about me being. There's a song that's going to be on our next album called "The Call" (we do it in concert these days) that we did up with guitar and bass electric pedals and a rock drum loop that...just...yeah, lemme bottle that, would'ja?

  • Speaking of Murder Ballads, we're confirmed for a performance at Arisia this January. Hope to catch you all there!

  • Going back a few weeks, I went to karaoke here in Providence with [livejournal.com profile] felisdemens, [livejournal.com profile] we_happy_few, [livejournal.com profile] mianathema, and He Whose LJ Name I Don't Know But Who Requires Mention Because He Did NIN's "Closer" With a Hand Puppet. I did two, "A Girl Like You" by the Smithereens and "Flathead" by the Fratellis, and didn't lose consciousness once. I never expected to hear "Nessun Dorma" in a bar, much less hear it done well. A good night.


Back to work tomorrow, where we're still weathering the aftermath of the new post-merger reorganization charts. I still have a job, so...yay?
slipjig3: (piggie)
With any luck, I'll be done with this ask me anything deal just in time for St. Patrick's Day! So, forging ahead, [livejournal.com profile] winterlitwings asked me the following:

The scariest film you've ever watched?

Unfortunately, I'm kind of the wrong person to ask this one, because as some readers of this will attest I don't really do horror. I have a standard answer as to why, but the more I ponder the question the more I realize that the actual answer isn't quite what I'd thought. For the longest time it broke down to two parts:

1) Being scared isn't fun for me. True that, but considering the number of "20 scariest scenes of all time" YouTube videos I've voluntarily watched over the years, I don't think this one is as true as I'd assumed. Yes, my hands might be over my eyes, but I'm doing the peer-between-my-fingers bit.

2) I have a low tolerance for gore. Also true, rather more of an issue, and the principle I use when asking friends if I should go see X movie, but there's a general assumption that my gore tolerance threshold is a lot lower than it actually is. Blood, for instance, doesn't bug me in the slightest (Kill Bill Vol. I, which single-handedly kept the squib business in the black for years after, was a breeze for me). Viscera are much more hit-or-miss in terms of being able to deal, but if that sort of thing pops up unexpectedly I either cringe hard or just close my eyes, then keep going—I made it all the way through Shaun of the Dead with no issues, and even after the one scene I found excessive for my tastes, my reaction at worst was, "EWW! That was excessive!" Similarly, the cat scene from Dogtooth made me wince, but the rewatch went fine. Aside from a few hard-limit squicks like cannibalism, I have the feeling blaming my horror aversion entirely on gore is missing the mark a bit.

Which brings us to the only-recently-realized 3) Torture and excessive cruelty will drive me out of the room. Not that people are injured and dying, but that they're injured, dying, and terrified, and it's met by sadism or (worse) indifference. This is the bit that I cannot get around, and it's the one that annoys me no end, because it not only keeps me from most if not all horror, but a bunch of other stuff as well. It's why I haven't seen Pan's Labyrinth or more than the first three minutes of Slumdog Millionaire or even flippin' Deadpool. It's why I'm the only person in my office who'll have nothing to do with Game of Thrones. As a film lover, knowing that there are whole swaths of great films that I'll never see because of this one bit of crawliness bugs the living pudding out of me.

Okay, so after all that blather, I never did answer the original question. I do occasionally watch horror if it's interesting-looking and not torture porn or notoriously nasty, and whether I find it especially frightening is largely context-dependent; take, for example, my attempt to watch The Shining at midnight alone with the lights off. (I didn't make it.) In that capacity, I think the winner is Aliens, because during the scene where Ripley and Newt are trapped in the closed lab with the alien spawn scuttling about somewhere unseen, my then-wife Kristi decided to affectionately brush the back of my neck with her fingernails. I full expect that her continued non-murdered breathing existence earns me at least a year off of purgatory.

Also, I really want to see The Witch. Just putting that out there.

Want to ask me something? By my guest!
slipjig3: (piggie)
Look at the clock calendar! It's time to start answering questions from the "ask me anything" post of two weeks ago! [livejournal.com profile] meowmensteen asked me this:

Do you have any awkward childhood photos you can share?

Hoo boy. Okay, first of all, by "awkward childhood photos," you mean "childhood photos," because I was a goober of epic proportions for a desperately long time. And yes, of course there are photos out there, but nothing in digital format; I do have a few photo albums that go all the way back, but they're packed up and not easily accessible at the moment. So I'm left with Facebook photos posted by others, which only go back to high school but which, I think, illustrate the problem a little too well:



This was taken at the wedding of my friend Tanya, seen here with me and our pal Aaron. I'm the middle school LINUX programmer/serial killer on the left, the one with the half-assed Ohio Congressman hair part, the waffle-sized glasses and that borrowed freedom-of-speech test case of a tie. I was 19, people. I was nineteen years old when this picture was taken, an age when I was a legal adult and really should have known better. The fact that I had any friends at all to take the photo with in the first place is a testament to the eternal human something or other, because my first reaction on seeing me back this is always "...oh, you poor thing...."

So, there you have it. I like to think I do a little better nowadays. Perhaps not better enough.

More answers to follow. Also, I'm still taking questions! Hit me up!
slipjig3: (piggie)
What will you forgive yourself for today?
slipjig3: (weirdo)
[livejournal.com profile] mcmurphy79 has leveled the dare, and as I am at the moment bored off my tuchus, I say what the hell. Cutting and pasting from her post:

"I've been pretty shit at LJ. So........... Ask me any question(s), however many you want, and I'll answer them in subsequent entries. I'll let this run for a few days or a week, so ask me as many questions as you want about anything you want."

(My additions: Replies are screened. I will answer all questions, but I reserve the right to filter said answer if I feel said question is not for public consumption.)

My feet are planted and my loins girded. Have at me.
slipjig3: (gashlycrumb neville)
So it would appear that I'm dealing with a bout of depression. Swell.

The weird part is that I didn't even really notice until recently. My past bouts with the D-word were of the all-encompassing, flesh-eating variety that we all know and fail to love. The last truly serious one lasted for about a year, and only ended with some superhuman patience from those close to me and the most literal force of will I have ever applied to my emotional state. This round looks nothing at all like that one did, or the one after my last divorce, or the one back in high school; my lows just don't seem to get that low anymore. But when you notice that you're not talking to people or doing things, which you've been blaming on being too tired from your long commutes except that now your self-awareness Clippy icon is pointing out that you haven't typed "Hi!" in that friend's chat window because you're afraid of hello...well. Shit. Wasn't counting on that one.

So yes, I'm working on improving things, and yes, there will be a therapist, and yes, I'm keepin' on keepin' on, and as stated, no, it's not even close to as bad as it could be; my main response to the discovery has been, "...huh. That 'splains some things...." I just wanted to pop in here and raise my banner for reckoning's sake, in the hopes on creating some sort of inertia. Also, I missed my 14-year LJversary last week, which I shall file under the heading of "a drag, man" and carry on

Also also, apologies for my sporadic presence over the last month. What'd I miss?
slipjig3: (codex seraphinianus)
Lately I've been trying to step up my clothing game, way later than I should have. Up until recently my personal style has been similar to how I wear my hair, i.e. "whatever requires the least amount of time and resources" (not incidentally, my last trip to a hair salon was during the Bush administration). So we're talking a lot of T-shirts and jeans, maybe a casual ill-fitting button-down or a pullover of some sort if it's cold. Those who know me know what I'm talking about; those who have dated me are probably shaking their heads sadly, thinking, "Gods, if only I could have helped that poor man...." Then Prince died, which was my wake-up call that life is far, far too short not to let one's colors fly, as it were. O Purple One, may we ensure that you have not died in vain.

So there's been some mild-to-moderate experimentation with my work attire. Nothing too blingy or too Vegas: a jaunty vest here, a blazer over a Dresden Dolls T-shirt there, variations on stuff that I'd worn for special occasions but not for casual office-squatting. I even put on a tie or two voluntarily, which I promise you is like a feral cat bringing you a leash in its jaws, begging you to tie it up so it can't chase the mousies. But yesterday was more of a terra incognita: I wore suspenders. Black ones, nothin' schmancy, over a lavender shirt with the sleeves rolled just so, holding up black khakis. They looked good, but I rapidly learned that suspenders are a lot more physically and emotionally complicated than I'd considered. For instance:

1) They're harder to get into than they look. There's a bit of a civil engineering problem involved in clipping them into place, and one where you can't see and can barely reach at least half of the operation.

2) I keep forgetting that suspenders aren't neckties, in that they have an actual purpose. This was the first time in recent memory that my pants didn't migrate from my actual according-to-Hoyle waist to somewhere around my pubic bone over the course of the morning.

3) I also discovered that the placement of those clips is verrrry important, especially in the front. At first I had them set in too close to the middle, and although it was reasonably comfortable it looked...well, wrong, in a way I couldn't put my finger on. Moving each of the two front clips three inches further out toward the pockets pretty much fixed it; it was the difference between looking like a jaunty but confident mature adult, and looking like the banjo player for a band called something like Stubby McGee & the Dusty Bottom Chicken Pickers.

4) The big thing I realized is that unlike some clothing choices (like jeans, say, or Converse sneakers, or even the aforementioned necktie), the meaning and value of suspenders changes according to the physical characteristics of the person wearing them. Suspenders on a thin man mean something different than suspenders on someone who's not. Same for young man vs. old man, or for man vs. woman for that matter. All these meanings are valid, but you can't help but notice the disparities if you're just learning how to dress yourself with care and discover your own style. When I was a strapping young buck [read: acne-plagued teen with a ground shrew's metabolism], I would occasionally wear them and find them charming and quirky and snappy. Now, though, I'm 45 years old, 240 pounds, and have a full beard that's greying at the edges—not the same story at all. When I got to work yesterday morning, I had the image of 19-year-old Adam in my head, and it was completely at odds with the guy in the men's room mirror, who looked like he should be the evil sheriff in a '70's exploitation flick with a muscle car on the poster.

The real problem, of course, is that this is all stuff I should have started thinking about 25 years earlier. I could have created a style that could evolve along with me, growing and mutating over time instead of being Scotch-taped together out of some misplaced fear-of-death panic flail mode. Then again, it's all a blank canvas and nothing is truly off limits, so I have the fun that comes with infinite possibilities. Whatever. I still have some thinking to do about the suspenders (not that I haven't already overthought them), but I'm pretty sure I'll wear them again. And yes, I'll get a photo next time.
slipjig3: (kid on munky)
Here's something to make longtime readers of this LJ blanch over lost time: last Friday, Abbey graduated from high school. No, I don't know what happened. I certainly don't recall ever consenting to be the father of a high school graduate, but there you have it. When I started this blog, she was five, feisty and falling in crush over an Elvis impersonator, and now she's 19, feisty, and falling in crush with non-Elvis impersonators, and more's the pity. The ceremony was basically every graduation ceremony since time immemorial, and yes, I did get a lump in my throat despite my belief that I was immune; she had more than a few obstacles getting here, but by gods she made it. She waited until after the marching was over and the hugs began to start crying. I whispered, "You can do this" as I pulled her in tight, because now comes the really hard part. My one glimmer of hope is that she at least knows that. I'm trying not to be scared for her. I'll do a full catchup on the young'uns soon, but for now join me in wishing her luck.

After the tassel-flip and the photo opportunities, I headed straight to Troy for a Murder Ballads rehearsal-and-business weekend. The rehearsal part was perhaps a bit lighter than usual (although we as per usual ended up adding stuff to our repertoire despite vehement insistence that we weren't going to do that), but glory of glories, I think we can at long last say our second album is at least provisionally under way. Our weekend accomplishments include:

  • finally deciding on a title for the thing, The Ash Grove, continuing our tradition of naming albums after murder ballads we don't actually play

  • hammering down a target 13-song track list, with a handful left over for a couple of promotional EPs

  • having our first meeting with Joel, our producer, and playing the aforementioned songs for him for the first time, with arrangement concepts

  • spitballing ideas for the crowdfunding campaign to make it happen (yes, we're doing another Indiegogo; yes, I'll be shilling hard again)

  • conceptualizing a Murder Ballads songbook (watch this space)

  • eating Buffalo wings and dark chocolate (not simultaneously) because creative process

With any luck, we'll have this thing out long enough before the Apocalypse to actually sell a couple of copies. Given that the two-hour drive between her place and mine has become a three-hour drive, we make no promises.

February 2019

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