mad drunk genius

I used to have all sorts of problems. Now there's just the one.

Month: January, 2006

Marching to the beat of any drum

I’m not a musician by any means. My ears have all the talent, and the best they can do is listen. But I got a pretty good mind for analyzation, and that’s where I really enjoy music.

I don’t mean that I can analyze, like, the number of beats in a meter or pitch or tone, or… well I don’t even know what I would analyze. All the musical training I ever had was a choir class in 7th grade, and I didn’t really pay attention.

So I listen to music and analyze it as far as its effect on myself or others. Usually myself because I don’t enjoy listening to music with other people. It’s not really a group activity for me.

Pardon me while my train of thought jumps the tracks for a moment.

I’ve only gone to a handful of live concerts and I never enjoyed them. Part of it is just that I like to be in control of the volume, what songs are played, etc. I’m a writer and natually I have a God-complex. But mostly it’s because if I’m surrounded by people, I spend my time just watching them and trying to figure out why they are reacting to the music the way that they are. The best example of this would be a Saliva/Dope concert (those are the names of the two bands, though I suppose it could describe the concert pretty well, too) out at Dos Amigos I went to a few years back. Tickets were like twenty five dollars I think, which isn’t a ton of money but it will put a dent in your pocket. But the craziest thing about that night was that everyone had to stand in line about forty-five minutes or half an hour to get in, then after a long time of the line going nowhere, the organizers told everyone to go to another spot to be let in. And everyone did. But they didn’t open the doors over there for another ten or fifteen minutes, so everyone waited.

Everyone did it. Despite some grumbling, everyone waited in line calmly, followed directions nicely, and then went inside and raged, and moshed, and rebelled against the conventions of milder society.

What the fuck?

Seriously.

I know people are supposed to be sheep, but how can you get treated like shit and take it, just to be able to go inside somewhere and listen to people tell you not to take any shit from anyone?

Now, I know what you’re saying. “But Insomniac, I bet you just stood there and then went inside did the same thing as everyone else.”

Well you’re wrong. I stood there and took it, yes, but I also shouted obscenities at the people who weren’t letting us inside. So I have plenty of anonymous courage. More imporantly, however, I didn’t go inside and yell and scream and mosh to fit in with all the other rugged individualists. I found an unused folding chair near the side of the stage and I sat down. I sat down during the show and nearly went to sleep.

If you’re saying now that that’s no way to enjoy a live rock show, you’re absolutely right. But I didn’t do it just to be different (trying to run counter to “the masses” is just silly, and fruitless, besides) . I wouldn’t have enjoyed the show anymore had I been jumping around with a bunch of people, either. Music doesn’t make me do that or have the urge to do that, so I definitely can’t do it with a bunch of people (watching). And of course to really analyze music and it’s effect on me, I need less distractions. I need to be by myself.

Hopefully I got that train back on the tracks again.

See, there are all different kinds of music and when they’re done well, I’ll listen to almost anything. Big classic rock and jazz fan, but country, blue grass, rap, reggae, orchestral, alternative -if it’s good, I’ll listen to it. But all of those things only affect me on a mental level. Or maybe an emotional level for the really good ones.

Drums though, drums affect me on an almost primal level. Maybe “primal” is a bad word, but it’s as if a really heavy drum stimulates me in a deeper place than all the rest. Stronger, too. Explaining it in words is difficult and I’ve got no real technical vocabulary anyway. But the drum solo of Iron Butterfly’s In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is one of those things that those primal things. There’s another song by them (“Are You Happy?” is the title, I think) that has a similar part. “Forest” by System of a Down does it once, too.

Drum beats are like pure rhythm. Maybe that’s it. They give a beat to life and body in a way other instruments can’t. For another diversion, guitars are wonderful, sexy instruments. I think Mick Jagger used to take a big, inflatable penis up on stage and play with it, but he really ought to have just picked up a guitar. It’s just an oversized phallus with strings.

Anyway, in pre-history, in religious rituals, in war, now in regular music, drums provide something that touches a deep part of the human spirit. The human spirit or the human flesh, I can’t really decide. But the percussion of it, the force -it’s wonderful, and I love marching to it.

The story of the kinky girl who wasn’t

For a very long time there was a rumor about a particular girl who had done a particularly disgusting thing to her then boyfriend because he had asked her to do it. What it was isn’t important, and if I mention the specifics, I fear those of you out there not reading this will immediately know of whom I speak.

Suffice to say, this rumor became quite popular, not in the least because this girl was quite popular herself. People wanted to believe and because the rumor came from a trustworthy (and popular) source, people did believe.

I am just a common man, and I admit freely that I believed freely. I did so because it was a good belief, a pleasant one, and I wanted it to be true. Years passed, but it stayed in my mind as the truth.

Then one day I came to discover (in one way or another, I remember not how) that this rumor was an utter fabrication. I was crushed.

The same happened with a popular boy who had the reputation of doing a shameful thing on more than one occasion. This also proved itself false, but until this came to light, I believed like a zealot that it was true.

I believed what I wanted to believe.

And though I know in my head that the truth is not my truth, my truth has stayed in my heart, and I shall go to my grave believing in it.

The girl licked a fellow’s asshole, and the boy took advantage of drunk girls at parties. Those who know, know, and will agree that these pleasant lies and worth fooling oneself over. Those who do not know, do now, and this revelation is hardly better than ignorance.

The nature of religious debate

Let me tell you a truth:

a = a.

Let me prove this truth to you:

a = a, therefore, a = a because a = a.

Circular logic is infallible, no?

Behold! the firesnake slithers

With a grace and revolting cunning the serpent of the flames worms its way toward me and I look on with horror, recoil with amazement, turn away with curiosity. The firesnake is at my feet now, though I dare not look upon it.

“What are you doing, boy?” says it, and I cannot respond, mustn’t respond, will not respond.

“I am recoiling with amazement,” I answer, “For if I do not acknowledge your existence, you will not exist in my reality.”

“Such is the natural state of Man,” the firesnake curses with disgust, “To close his eyes and believe the rest of the world has gone blind.”

And off it goes.

Heaven is a place free of choice

Choice is the product of exclusive alternatives. You can either watch television or read a book. You can either listen to Dark Side of the Moon or In the Court of the Crimson King. You can either study for homework or go to a movie. But you either have to give something up, or give up full enjoyment of both. In economics, I guess you’d call this opportunity cost – whatever you do comes at the price of something else.

Paradise is a place without opportunity cost. It’s a place where anything and everything can be done without sacrificing anything else.

In discussing this idea with a friend, he said it sounded static. As in time never moved forward, heaven was a perpetual instant of joy or whatever. Even if that were true (and of course, if my idea of heaven is true [or it exists]) I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. If we have a consciousness now that works forward, could we not have a consciousness in heaven that could enjoy a perpetual instant?

God doesn’t experience time, does he? A creator that is outside the bounds of reality itself is sitting back and looking down, forever himself and never changing. He interacts with us on the timeline as he sees fit (or he doesn’t, this isn’t a persuasive argument, understand). But when he does, he is still in his own time, one that is neither forward nor backward, but perpetual.

God can do all things in his perpetual moment and should there be a heaven for us, this is what we will find.

Exclusive universal monotheism was really a novel concept

Even if you think that it’s a completely man-made concept, you have to admit that as much as we take it for granted now, a God (not “god”) that is the only one, that controls everything, and most importantly, is everywhere, was something very new and very different compared to what existed in the world at that time.

The Israelites had a very different view of theology than what everyone else was doing at the time. Even acknowledging that another god existed was wrong to them. Up until then, you got conquered, you took someone else’s gods and meshed them with your existing ones, or added a few new slots at the temple, but this was a religion that didn’t leave room for compromises. I’d like to think that that’s because truth doesn’t leave room to compromise for lies, but a lot of people will disagree.

Now the dominant religions in the world (Christianity, Islam, and because of modern Israel’s importance to geopolitics, Judaism) are all exclusive, universal, and monotheistic, and that’s more or less crystalized religious interaction for the world, but wars existed before any of them existed and they would exist without them. But hopefully, for all of the strife that’s been caused in their names, one of them is right.

Jumble

It’s an odd thing, to have so many ideas floating around inside my head. Some good, some bad, some completely nonsensical. Okay, most of them are completely nonsensical. But for all this internal verbosity, almost none of it manages to leave my mind and come out through my mouth or fingers. It just jumbles around within the confines of my head and either dies or drives me mad.

I feel like I’ve got something important to say, or something greatly significant. I feel that way, but I’m probably kidding myself. Most people must feel that way, too. But do they really? Of course not. Who am I to say I’m any different? I’m no one, but in my own mind I’m allowed to tell myself that I’m someone different, someone of worth. A sycophantic voice added to the rest, just more noise.

A sad state of affairs, really. But it could be worse.

My head could be silent, after all. And even when there’s no one else, it’s nice to know that I have myself. A conversation with myself is better than most people get with others.

Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

God I love football

This is being written at the time of the 2006 Rose Bowl where Texas just won an incredible game over the USC Trojans.

My heart is pounding, my head is swimming… I don’t even know what to say.

I hate USC. I do. I hate them almost as much as I hate the New England Patriots. And that’s saying a lot. But I’m neutral toward Texas. I rooted for them like hell in this game but only because a.) they weren’t USC and b.) they’re from Texas.

Maybe that’s part of it. I mean, sports is a great thing. It’s almost a religious experience, and I don’t mean that as a hyperbole. Sports help us to be a part of something larger than ourselves, to tie ourselves to a bigger entity and hundreds or thousands or millions of other people. It fills that need. When our team succeeds, we succeed. And as sweet and satisfying as that is, it’s just as crushing when they fail. Because we’re failures.

But with either, we’re feeling those emotions through our team and their accomplishments, and maybe it’s more powerful than if we were experiencing it ourselves. Texas won, and I’m a Texan. Texas is a better state than California because of this game.

There’s nothing reasonable about it, but feelings are rarely reasonable, and damn it, that’s how that makes me feel. I’m a success because the team I wanted to win won and the team I wanted to lose lost. That simple.

It’s a meaningless game in the greater scheme of things. It’s just a college football game, even if it’s for a national championship. But a lot of things are just whatever. A child’s birth is just another carbon lifeform sucking up air. A war is just a bunch of specks of dust fighting on a grain of sand.

Those are both hyperboles, of course, but unless you count the feelings and the effect on the human spirit, the human condition, nothing is anything.

Football is the greatest sport in the world. It’s great because of the interaction between preparation and performance, the balance between talent and coaching. The way possessions work and the wonderful math of scoring points. It’s great because every play is a build up and release of tension, and things can change so drastically each time. I guess I could try to explain it more than that, but if you love soccer or basketball or baseball, I can’t convince why those aren’t as good. Love isn’t reasonable either.

I love football, and at times, every hope and dream in my life is tied to eleven men trying to matriculate a ball across an imaginary line, or stop eleven men from doing so.

My entire week can be ruined by the events on a field thousands of miles away involving people I have never met and probably never will. Sad thing is, Hurricane Katrina or Rita didn’t do this to me. Not even the Christmas Tsunami or Pakistani earthquake made me feel anything. I didn’t give a rat’s ass about 9/11 except for the fact that I was annoyed over how much they would keep showing it on television. I could give you similar examples of my lack of religious faith or empathy, but I think you get the idea. Real things, things that should matter, just don’t to me, because I don’t relate to New Yorkers or Indians. I’ve never been there and only met a few people from there. I don’t love them. I love football.

I love it, and up to a certain point, I can’t explain why.

But then that’s love.

The Cat Story

Sometimes I wish I could remember what happened better than I do. Sometimes I wish I didn’t remember it at all. But it happened. I’m nearly sure it happened, but I don’t know. It must have, because you can’t dream a memory into being. You can’t dream an idea hard enough to make it solid.

It was the summer after my sophomore year in high school. There was an elderly lady who lived outside of town and owned a house with a small farm on it. There were goats and chickens and pigs and I can’t remember what all else. The lady was a widow and couldn’t take care of everything by herself anymore, so she hired different young men from her church to help her do odd jobs around her home and care for her animals. I can’t remember who started working there first, my friend or me. One of us helped to get the job for the other, though.

Every day was hot, sweaty, hard work, but it was fun. The hours went by pretty quick, and we got paid fairly well, too. Every couple of hours we’d take a break and run back into town for cokes—or in my friend’s case, cigarettes—and then come back and work some more. One of the funnest things we did we actually got paid to do: we would gather up trash or old hay and put them in a barrel to be burned off. Maybe we enjoyed it too much.

One day my friend and I were moving some scrap metal away from the house and hoeing weeds–he was moving junk while I was hoeing–and he found this cat under some of it. He reached down to try to get it out of the way but when he did, the cat clawed up his hand and arm pretty bad. I saw this and as the cat ran out, I swung my hoe at it. Was I actually intending to hit? I can’t really remember and I don’t suppose its really important what I meant to do. The important thing is that I did hit it and in doing so, broke/nearly-amputated one of its back legs.

After it was close to me and not moving as quickly, I was able to see it better. Mangy, half-starved, covered in ticks. I can’t imagine an animal being uglier, frankly.

Now, I tell you this so that you won’t imagine some cute fluffy house kitten or anything for the remainder of this story. It’s not an excuse and no reason for absolution, but we probably would have done things differently if it had been a cute fluffy house kitten. This wasn’t one of those at all, and we did do what we did, God help us.

My friend and I went over to the cat as it hissed and flopped on the ground, wondering what we were going to do about it. My friend was still pissed off at the scratch the cat gave him, and I was in no position to make any moral disapprovals at that point, nor, admittedly, would I have anyway. We decided it was about time to take a break then, and he got this idea. Or maybe I did. Maybe we came up with it together; I don’t know.

There was an ant bed that we had dug out in a previous break, oh, about two feet deep or so, a foot and a half across. We were supposed to poison the ants, but we figured that could wait. Smartly my friend put on his heavy, halfway-up-the-warm work gloves so he received no more scratches when he carried it over there.

He dropped it into the ant “pit” and we stood around and watched as the ants started crawling on it, but within a second or two the cat had already pulled itself out. We kicked it back in and once again it climbed back out. We didn’t stop at this point and give acknowledgment of the courage and determination of the wounded creature as it struggled through pain. Of course not. That’s not the kind of people we were, and it would have been almost impossible to take it to the vet and try to explain what had happened. Not with one leg hanging off it and not with ants crawling on it. Not to mention how much it would cost. So instead, we— I. So instead I broke its other three legs and put it back in the pit. When I felt the first one snap in my hand, my stomach rolled a little bit but by the last one I was laughing. It sounds horrible, and I can’t explain it, but it was just surreal. Whatever was going on wasn’t happening.

By this point we’d been away from our work too long and figured it was about time to get back to it. As we started walking away, the cat started shrieking and howling, making the most godawful noise in the world. To this day, I have never heard anything that sounded like that cat. I don’t know why it chose then to start because it had hardly made a sound when I broke its legs, but for whatever reason I guess the ants were too much. My friend and I tried to ignore it, and after a while it stopped, but then a minute or so later it would start up again. Thankfully, number one, this lady lived out where she had almost no neighbors around, and number two, this lady was away herself. Still, after a while my friend and I just couldn’t put up with it anymore.

So the two of us debated what to do and finally settled upon dousing the pit and the cat with gasoline and setting it to light. Which is ultimately what we did. I got the gas can out of the back of his truck and soaked the cat and surrounding area. I used way too much, maybe a half or two thirds of the gas can, but we made sure to leave a trail to light it from far back for safety. Good thing, too.

It’s amazing there was anything left at all after the gas first exploded, much less anything left alive.. The cat screamed even louder as soon as it caught on fire, but pretty soon it stopped making noise at all. A pillar of greasy black smoke went into the sky and it’s amazing no one tried to call the firemen. I guess they were used to seeing us burn stuff, though. Even after the fire had gone out (which it did relatively quickly) the smell from the smoke lingered for I don’t know how long, but we just covered up the hole with the dirt we’d dug out and put some fresh dirt over the burned ground. And that was the end of that.

My friend and I didn’t speak of it the rest of the day and we never did again. Sometimes I think I just made the whole thing up, but I shouldn’t be able to remember a fantasy this well. I couldn’t remember a fantasy this well.

I quit working there the next week, and I think he did the next month. Some new people started working there in our places. It just didn’t feel right to go back there. Like the scene of a crime or something. Maybe I should have stayed there to face it. Every now and again I see the cat, or one that looks like it. It’s always half hidden by shadows and never stays for very long, but it looks just like the other cat did. If it never happened, I wouldn’t see the cat. You can’t just dream a cat into existence.

Can you?

Love poetry

There’s something in me that wants love, I admit, but for whatever reason I haven’t found it. Perhaps I was born without love in mind, but love of the flesh is a love of a kind. Kindly loving I know I can’t do, but I could pretend, say sweet nothings and coo. I do. Will you? Marry me now, and let come what may, as long as we love it will all be okay. I’ll start loving you now, I swear I will. But first I need my little blue pill. Cough, ahem. Roll my eyes. Don’t give me that look or you’ll start to cry. Why? Not. I don’t really care. I can penetrate you with just a stiff stare. There. I’m in. It’s all going as planned. On your back or your knees, it’s all I can stand Okay, I’m done. Now wasn’t that fun? Quit complaining and swallow your tongue. Rape of rapture, freely captured, perhaps you’re ready to try something new? What to do. What indeed? I know what I lack, but what do I need? You my love. As I’ve always said, what you lack in the chest, you make up with your head.