6/18: Midstream


It’s becoming clear that I have pretty much abandoned my musical dreams. For the better. Music was always on a level just far enough over my head so that I could see it clearly, but I could only occasionally brush it with a fingertip, but never totally grab onto it. I may even have the ability to do it for a living if I really want to, but I don’t any more.

Which is good because I would need a new guitar anyway. Guillermo has had it after 7 years by my side. Some of the frets have worn down so that it is impossible to play in tune. Which is basically totalling the guitar, as it was a $100 guitar. Why replace the frets when I can just buy a new guitar and lay Guillermo to rest?

So today I put away all my music stuff that I normally have out and within arm’s reach. It was a significant moment. It marks me officially forsaking music for comedy. It was in the making ever since I started doing standup, but I at least kept things around so I could use them from time to time. But I decided it was time. I can’t stand to look at that broken guitar any more.

It’s not like I ever knew anything about music anyway. There are MAYBE 100 bands tops that I can really discuss with any measure of competence. I feel like a moron when I talk about music with most people who make a modicum of effort to keep abreast of the goings-on of the music world. Call me a goddamned heretic, but if you played me three songs and told me one was by The Arcade Fire and told me to pick it out, I would have no clue unless you did a really shitty job picking those songs. But I could hold a goddamned clinic on the Mountain Goats, or teach a full semester course about the intricacies of Explosions in the Sky’s The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place. I’m just starting to catch up to the rest of the world about Radiohead. It’s not MY fault people don’t get jam bands the way I do. I understand why they don’t. But still. Phish is awesome. Don’t take the fact that you don’t get them out on me.

But I don’t really listen to all that much music any more. Except at work. And I don’t have a free hand when it comes to the music at work. Blaring The Chronic at full volume and profanity in a coffee shop is not a particularly effective way to keep customers coming back. Except for the AWESOME ones. But in the car and hanging around my apartment I try and keep up with too many podcasts. And I keep wanting to add more but there just isn’t any space. My poor brain can’t take in any more. There are probably more fantastic podcasts out there in the world than there is time for one human being to listen to them. Your favorite podcast is probably very good. But there’s only so much room on the cart.

But I’m going to be very funny this week. I hope.

It’s good to be young, but let’s not kid ourselves, it’s better to pass on through those years and come out the other side with our hearts still beating having stared down demons and come back breathing.


A glowing ball of energy. In my hands. Well in my hands to the degree that I am holding it in a position. And if I don’t move a muscle, it won’t go anywhere. At least it’s kinda pretty. I’m older now. Hooray. Successfully weathered the annual ritual of aging without the darkness pulling on the corners too much. Instead of the focal point of a depression, I seem to be managing to turn the event into the impetus. As we learned in physics, the static coefficient of friction is significantly higher than the kinetic one (or whatever the term was for shit that’s already moving), so I’m just happy that the big ball of life has lurched back into motion.

Part of it was the realization that I have a show in 3 weeks, and I haven’t been on stage in 2 weeks. That got me out the door to the Big Deuce last night. While I was cut from the show, the thing that matters is not that I got on stage, but that I made it to the club without caving to the desire to sit home and stew things over. Doing. It is the most important of all the things. But I still have a show to get ready for.

At this point, I’d say that I have seven or eight minutes of material that is worth doing. My plan is to hone enough new material so that I only need five minutes of old jokes to fill my ten-minute set. I have a few ideas on the back burner right now, but I don’t get the sense that any of them are good enough to make my set. My problem is that I haven’t sat down to write in a long time. I’ve only explored ideas in my head briefly and jotted down a brief note of the idea in the hopes that I will write something funny based around the idea. But the last few ideas have been sitting lonely on my whiteboard for a few weeks. It’s time to plow the road.

5/28: Notch


I suppose now is as fitting a time as any to take stock of my life. Tomorrow marks the 25th anniversary of my exposure to the elements. It is most unfortunate that for the second consecutive year, the event will be marked in the midst of a rut, and the plans I was hoping to make have already taken on critical levels of water. I’m struggling to tell if it is the notch on the pole that is inspiring reflection that leads to endless doubts, or if it is mere coincidence that yet again the occasion will be marked during a period when I would be asking these questions anyway, as they occur every few months or so. It is a nuisance and I am really going to have to find an effective workaround, or I fear I won’t be able to get this heavy, heavy life off the ground.

I am so fucking far behind schedule that it is preposterous. And I’m living my life in such a way, especially with my eating, that I feel like I’m hacking a year off the deadline every month. I usually attempt to avoid such discussions here (and in most places actually), but I feel it is incumbent upon me given the occasion to record the fact that I have not succeeded in entering a relationship in well over three years now. That is an awfully frustrating fact no matter how you look at it. Sure I’ve learned a lot in that time. But nowhere near enough. Not even close.

It took until I was 24 to discover what I want my career path to possibly be. I just have to do it for free for a few years. Then for not enough to support myself on for a few more. With extreme focus and devotion, I may be able to afford not to have a day job by 30. But in all likelihood not. Because there is a colossal amount of denial regarding my chances of success. But in my defense, it is impossible to succeed at anything that I want to do without tremendous denial of the almost certainty of failure.

So now all I have to do is spend all day tomorrow ignoring the mental image I just conjured of myself dying at 29 penniless and alone in a gutter clutching my replica of Gamaliel Painter’s cane. Shit. For now I’m going to tumble down a rabbit hole of Mountain Goats songs that aren’t going to help anything, and go to bed way too  late. Then wake up tomorrow and figure out what the hell I’m going to do with the day. Woo.

I thought I had found hit a decent save point so that when I slipped up again, I wouldn’t wind up back at the beginning. I’m not necessarily back at the beginning. But it sure feels like I’ve achieved so precious little. Some of the barriers I had thought were no longer obstacles are suddenly as formidable as ever. I need to come up with some sort of alternate arrangement. Things are not going to work out like this if I’m ever going to get anywhere.

I need more eggs for these baskets. The moles just come too fast.

Hard to fulfill all the promise you had when you’re the one that’s broken.

Times like these, specifics don’t make anything better. The lies come easier. And smoother.

Brain, you have accumulated a fair amount of vacation time, and I do not wish to discourage you from using it. But it is very inconsiderate of you to just not show up and shoot me an e-mail saying you’re off to Winnipeg when you know damn well that there is a critically important meeting on the schedule. Not cool, brain. Not cool.

It’s so much easier to say nothing at all. And I think that I’ve done that quite successfully.

I’m talking a lot. But I’m not saying anything. Qu’est-ce que c’est?

Turn me over.

So apparently the ebb and flow of my emotional state, and with it creativity, do not necessarily correlate to the seasons like I had suspected they might. I’m troughing like a motherfucker right now. This is most frustrating from a creative standpoint.  I just don’t have any confidence in any of my ideas, and the mental gridlock of my current emotional state makes sitting down to right a monumental challenge. I have been fortunate to develop passable material the last couple of months without much focused writing.

But I will always be reluctant to seek any sort of real help for these sorts of problems. Because in the grand scheme of things, my emotional, creative, and attention fluctuations are not posing obvious hazards to my health or anything. Well, if you really drill down and get into areas like my diet and my inability to handle most real-world responsibilities you could make an argument that these problems place a great deal of stress on my health and well-being. But still…COME ON. I’m still the same person. It’s just when I’m alone the world gets a bit heavier during these times than  when I’m normally alone.

This conversation is just boring the shit out of me. I was just hoping that with the nice weather and shit my mind and body wouldn’t turn into a little bitch.

Busy busy.  Went out to the Big Deuce (the open mic at the Comedy Club) last night. Signed up. I was cut. Which is fine. I felt like I only had half a good set’s worth of material, and I was really scrounging for the rest of it. I’ll take the week to work on stuff and hopefully come back with three minutes that I’m more confident in next week.

I am a disappointment as a drinker.  Not that I necessarily aspire to be a big drinker, but I feel like I have a constitution that should be able to stand up to a stiff challenge from alcohol. Somehow, despite my general resilience, I just can’t handle my booze. I had three beers at the comedy club last night and came home with a great deal of stomach discomfort. A few weeks ago I actually managed to have a night where I had two drinks and threw up twice the next morning. That 1:1 drinks to times barfing ratio is downright unprecedented. This may not seem like a big deal at the outset, but being able to handle my liquor would be a helpful asset if I am attempting to pursue a line of work that involves a great deal of hanging around in bars. So that’s my problem with alcohol. I fully acknowledge that that is not necessarily a bad problem to have, especially from the whole, maybe-I-won’t-develop-crippling-alcoholism perspective.

But my diet has really gone down the shitter. I like that sentence so much that I’m just gonna let it sit there.

Today was to be my second consecutive day off. It began with a call. New girl’s sick. I hustled in and cranked out a morning shift. It was not horrible. I was out by eleven. I had the rest of the day in front of me to run errands and such. I found myself at the library to pick up tax stuff, and I found myself browsing the DVDs. It’s an interesting collection. Especially the television DVDs. A lot of stuff I never thought about people wanting to own on DVD was there. I also took out all the Mystery Science Theater 3000 they had because…come on. It’s MST3K. Also browsing through the movies, they had an unriffed copy of Spacy Mutiny that I strongly considered checking out. I think that would be a fun gettogether. Get a few people to sit and watch and do our own half-MST3K half-original riff of it. SMOKE MANMUSCLE!

I faced down Amy’s tonight. I spent a little while rehearsing my set so that it would flow a little better before I left this evening. When I was there I decided, “Fuck it. I am going to have a good set tonight.” And I did. And it was great. The Snooki bit has a lot of good laughs in it. My Kickstarter bit is going well, but I need to put some more punchlines in with the reward system. Some of them are just weird and don’t really hit. I dusted off the old bit about the coffee stickers and it wasn’t until I was telling it that I realized that it wasn’t as good as I remembered it being. But having a good set at Amy’s was just what the doctor ordered. I can go to the Club tomorrow and if I get on, take the stage with some measure of confidence.

Lo-mein belly. Maybe not the best plan. But that’s way too late now. I accept my punishment with the knowledge that I took this course of action of my own free will.