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that monster.

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[06 May 2010|05:05pm]
I am gonna delete this page. Close the chapter, so to speak. If you're reading this, more than likely, you're the type to follow my blog elsewhere, so go tomy blogspot page and follow me there.

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[10 Feb 2010|07:06pm]

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[05 Feb 2010|01:24pm]
after a day like yesterday, naturally, today has to stink.
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[01 Feb 2010|10:56pm]
When I grow up, I presume that I will know what I want out of life. Or, at least, I'll have a better idea than I do now. The prospect of having a series of jobs and simply muddling through has never been appealing to me - I want a career. Money doesn't matter, and it does. Being able to create what I must to ensure that I have a "legacy" (god, this sounds so fucking egotistical) requires a degree of both financial security and time not spent clocking in to work for someone else. But, the real key word here is "legacy": I would trade any prospect of big-time wealth for the ability to go to sleep at night, knowing that I made something really unique, and that it had been recognized as such. I once told a teacher of mine that I wanted to stain people's psyches, that I wanted them to never forget what they saw or heard or felt or thought. If it moves them so much that they want to pay me for it, fantastic, but let's be honest - the world rarely works like that.

When I grow up, I presume that I will have a semblance of an understanding about my heart. It is something of an unknowable creature, and it often appears to exist independent of the rest of my body. It finds comfort in fellow perverts, in men more callous in their humor than I, in sweet boys that sweep mothers off their feet, in sweater-clad teddy bears that cuddle readily. But, there's my mind, too: if it isn't adequately stimulated, then I find my eyes wandering. I am often a man of loyalty, but being bored puts me in a perilous position. Perhaps the one thing that can stop that is a person that can motivate me to do what I must, when I lack the energy. Few things are worth more than this man, should I ever find him. It's quite possible nothing is worth more than he.
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[21 Jan 2010|05:37pm]
So, a few things aren't working out as planned:

-my encaustic class got pushed back to the first 3 Tuesday nights in March. That's fine with me, it's more time to promote it and get all my shit together.

-financial aid is a total bummer. Got my forbearance worked out, but the teaching debt forgiveness is out of reach. Turns out it only works if you have $17,500 or less. So, let me be clear: I need a salaried position, or to get back in school for my MFA. I have twelve months from now to get my shit together for that, so chances are, I may be looking at graduate programs outside of Alabama, since there aren't any here worth a damn, besides bookbinding at UA.

-hoping we were done with all that. guess not.
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[01 Jan 2010|06:38pm]
I'm not much for resolutions. I tend to think most people either take the easy way out and say something glib like, "this year, I'll finally lose that last ten pounds", or they find an aspect of their personality and make some grand gesture about trying to rid themselves of it, like "this year, I won't be so judgmental" or the like. Fuck all that noise. Anyone who's made an actual effort to change knows that you can't just throw ideas like that around for the sake of observing a holiday.

That said, 2009 was a learning experience, to say the least. In that spirit, here are the things I know I need to work on, some of which I made efforts towards already:

1) be direct about what I want, need and expect from other people. No one can read my mind as accurately as I wish they often could, and it's worth it to keep everyone from getting hurt in some form or fashion by being explicit.

2) get back on that "don't settle for mediocrity" kick I was on a few years ago. Being that I am, among other things, a creative person, I shouldn't ever let myself just sit there and let the people I'm working with determine how a project I'm involved in comes out, particularly if I can see a reason to change it. This works on personal levels, too: the goals I have in mind are kinda lofty (paying off as much of my personal debt as possible, getting into a routine that allows me a much greater degree of independence, pursuing my artistic goals as much as possible), but if I don't hold myself accountable to a standard higher than I have in the past, I'm not worth the couple grand my parents paid to have me birthed.

3) don't date anyone until I feel like I'm able to address every aspect of my life without any hint of guilt, shame or depression. I've gone into relationships without dealing with my own baggage before, and it isn't a good thing for me to do. I have to take care of myself first and foremost.

4) determine how much I want to stay involved in Birmingham's punk scene. This doesn't translate to me not playing music, but I'm not as excited about the scene here as I used to be. It's pretty unfortunate, but it's true. Cave9's demise really shut me down. There's a lot of great resources here for bands to use, and to support, but I kind of feel like I've given as much as I can without having to draw a damn salary.

5) determine how much I want to pursue art. Maybe it's just a dry spell, but I haven't felt compelled to paint or draw in a while. I still do it, because I just do, but it's not at the level of commitment I think is necessary for me to really feel like I'm pursuing it as an actual life.

Perhaps this is a second go-round of a quarter-life crisis. All I know is, I want to not be depressed about my situation, I want to be proud of myself, and I want to have a brighter outlook for the future. It's just weird as hell to feel like what I've devoted my life to thus far is stunting me. It's like I've betrayed myself.
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[29 Dec 2009|07:52am]
So, this tour has turned out to be a bugaboo. We borrowed a van to do it, and now it's sitting in a repair shop in Washington, DC. The drive shaft detached on Connecticut Ave NW, somewhere around Wyoming Ave. One of the ritziest areas of town, naturally. We got towed to a shop in the ghetto, where the van now sits. Room 106 at the Days Inn nearby has served as our home for the past few hours. I'm the most high-strung, thanks to the straight edge, so I'm the first one awake. Now I sit and wait for a call from the auto shop. I want to go back to sleep so bad, but I don't want to be here any longer than we have to be. In truth, even in the shittiest days with None But Burning or Full Of It, I could always find a little escape somewhere, a moment of solitude that kept me focused on the tour at hand. But now, I really want to go home. I want my bed, my shower, my house. I want to feel safe.
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[25 Dec 2009|03:38am]
I've spent the better part of the night concentrating on Nightmare Glasses, specifically practicing and making our t-shirts. Lemme be frank: the shit is tight. Even if we have a couple of holes in the tour, I think this will still be rad.
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[24 Dec 2009|12:50pm]
Years like 2009 test my patience. I see what I've lost, what I've given up and what just ended naturally, and I feel a little like a canvas whose paint has been stripped off. There's two sides to that analogy, half of it being that I've lost a lot of what defined my identity, what gave me some comfort in an otherwise cold world, but the other half being that I can now start on something else, something better.

I guess it's important to assess what I have, where I am:
-Nightmare Glasses: totally infatuated with it, enthralled with the possibilities of future songs, future shows, future releases, future tours
-teaching encaustics classes: something I feel sort of predisposed to doing, and getting cash money for it
-a handful of friends that I can count as some of the most loving and understanding that I've ever had

So, all is not lost. I guess it's the defined networks that are really the big thing that suffered this year. Most of the players are still there, still ready to go. It just kinda sucks having to rebuild something that was already assembled.

Better times.
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[23 Dec 2009|12:03am]
Lately, I've felt like a total dick.

There are a lot of reasons I've felt like a dick. Yesterday and today, I've had these horrific moments where I could barely keep my composure. Actually, I totally lost it last night, when I got home from work. The reality of my life has been sinking in a lot lot lot, and to be frank, if I don't stay busy, I find myself confused about how much longer I can keep doing anything. So much of it stems from having something to say to a number of people, and not having the foresight to acknowledge how much it might help me, or not having the balls to go ahead and say what I need to, fuck all if it ruins it. Then, in turns, I find myself with more drive to do everything I've ever wanted with little regard for how I get to the point of doing it. Both avenues of action are self-destructive, and the little beast in me likes it like that.

I am it's possession.
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[07 Dec 2009|01:29am]
I got home a few hours ago. Keith and Micah picked me up from the BHM, and I'm glad it was them; they have this innate silliness between the two of them that is very difficult to ignore, shake off or otherwise get around. This trip to WA was a lot to handle, and were it anyone else, I'd be worse off.
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[20 Nov 2009|01:24am]
Horoscope mentioned something about how I might experience "fleeting moments of depression" or something like that. I guess it forgot that depression rarely feels fleeting; it comes on like a ghost and makes sure you remember how lonely and frustrated you are, even if you don't have a reason to be.

I was at work tonight - we had a holiday soiree - and I had a crowd of people gathered, asking me about a few products and processes, and this overwhelming wave of memory just hit me. I nearly just started crying apropos nothing in front of all of these strangers. I cannot explain it. 10 minutes later, I was encouraging Montevallo students to shoplift Rusto frpm Wal-Mart. And now, freshly showered and going to bed, I'm back to decoding the relationships between memories of my neighbor's empty house circa 1986, my cousin's gigantic, cavernous house in suburban Lexington, KY (as if Lexington is urban) circa 1992, the view from the soundbooth at Cave9 at the last show at 2237 Magnolia. Maybe there is no relationship, but maybe it's just an understanding that the people that are almost handed to you don't always make the best family, the best community, and that I have to search for them, and fight totally with everything in sight and thought and sound and word and sensation to make sure I don't walk away from the ones that count.

I'm scared I already have.
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[11 Oct 2009|10:04pm]
God, I wanna sing for a band right now.
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[02 Oct 2009|11:41pm]
I sometimes wish my ego were more apparent. I get very shy and self-conscious whenever I'm in any sort of art show setting, like I'm the one being critiqued, and not my work. It's difficult to handle sometimes. I've heard of artists that refuse to be photographed, and will show up in a disguise of sorts to hear what people are saying, and then quietly slip out the door before anyone notices them. That sounds pretty appealing.

I found out tonight that a piece I entered in the BAA's Juried Show won 3rd Place in it's category. Maybe somebody will buy the damn thing, so I can stop showing it. I'm happy about it, and proud of it, but there's always a little part of me that wishes I could just take the acclaim and not be so goddamn bashful about it. But, with music, it took me a long time to be able to take a compliment of any sort. I used to get a weird feeling that people were being disingenuous when they paid me any sort of compliment. It's not as bad now, but it's still an issue sometimes, particularly if it's someone that I respect a lot that's saying anything.

sigh sigh sigh.
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[21 Sep 2009|11:03pm]
devil won't green light yr project

I was in Barnes and Noble a few nights ago, looking at astrology books. The entry about Virgo personality traits made mention of our tendency to worry, to fret. That's been especially true lately. Close friends are in weird spots, tough spots, potentially life-changing spots. I'm on the precipice of a huge change. This year has been exceptionally stressful, thus far. I need some sort of simplification.

Music complicates my schedule (recording, starting a band and playing it's first show two weeks later, trying to resurrect another) but the act of playing simplifies everything. It boils it down to a core essence, beaten out in metered time. It's hard to describe it's effect to anyone that's never experienced it - I imagine it's much like trying to describe the feeling of a heroin high, in that it's beyond qualification. I'm very excited about this new band I'm in - Nightmare Glasses - in large part because we're moving very fast, and we're not asking why. We're just doing it. I'm on drums, Justin Shubert (ex-Wildcat Revival, Heavenly Days) is on bass, James Tisdale (of the same credentials listed for Mr Shubert) on guitar, and Austin White on vocals. It started out with the intention of taking Hot Cross and making it sound like a more straight-forward hardcore band, but that idea kinda went out the window fast. We have four songs, and they take up about 5 minutes. I'm very excited. We are playing our first show soon:

Tues Sept 29th

SPIRES (http://myspace.com/spiresatwar - from CA, RIYL HHIG, Transistor Transistor)
NIGHTMARE GLASSES (no web site yet, no recordings yet, just come see it)
+ one more in the works

@ Magic City Wholesale
7pm $5 All Ages

Please come push each other around. That would make me so happy, to see you all running into one another, like drunken elephants.
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[18 Sep 2009|07:08pm]
The only things I'm interested in doing tonight are arrestable offenses that carry lengthy prison sentences. Today is best summed by the following:

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[01 Sep 2009|11:01pm]
It seems like it's been a while. Probably has. I used to update this damn thing constantly.

The idea of moving doesn't terrify me as much as it used to. And, god, how it terrified me, to the point that I honestly couldn't say for sure that I was even convinced that I could do it. But I've become a good deal more acclimated to the concept; we'll see how the reality pans out. What's really struck me lately is how much skin Birmingham is shedding - a lot of my friends have left, and more are planning to. It's endemic of cities like Birmingham - small cities, faced with taxing economic challenges and a small town attitude towards innovation, often find themselves staring down a brain drain every few years. Cultural advances hit every now and then and move the city towards a brighter light, but the people responsible for that either move on and find a new life in bigger, more challenging city, or they petrify. I've been scared for years of stagnating, and Cave9 made it feel like I wasn't. Cave9 lent my staying here a certain degree of legitimacy, because I believed (and still do, to a degree) that it was an honest shot at changing the way this city thinks - you affect the youth, and you give them something to have hope in with this city, then they'll stay here and make Birmingham what it ought to be when they get up and out. But I don't have that anymore. Nor do I have my own academic pursuits holding me here - I'm done with those, for the time (and place) being. I have a job that keeps my bank account overdrawn, a band that's good but hasn't had a steady line-up the entire time I've been with it, and an ever-closing circle of friends. I have a history that works in my favor with some people, and works against me (in that it's not specifically positive) with others. I have a somewhat negative view of the prevalent attitudes here, despite how much I tend to adopt them. As Josh told me, if I stay here much longer, I will become an artifact. I'm not ready for that yet. So, it feels like now is the time to go.

The cushion for all of that is how easy it is to say "I can always come back." There's a definite precedent set by plenty of people that left before, and god knows that there's a certain comfort about Birmingham that I haven't seen elsewhere. Part of that is how easy it is for me to offend people though - as weird as it sounds, the friction that comes with having my opinions in a city that is often diametrically opposed to them is kind of exciting. It probably won't be in ten years, though.

The idea of bouncing around has been really appealing lately. I miss tour, a lot, but I think going to different cities (and hopefully, countries) for artist-in-residence programs could be a lot of fun, and a great way to get my art out in the world more. And they're cheap, usually, or pay you to be there. They are super competitive, though, so it's a big risk.

Ultimately, this city is too small for me right now, but the thing that makes that such a horrible conclusion to reach is how much I love a few specific people that have made this city their home, and I hate - abhor - the idea of not being able to hop in my car and go see them at a moment's notice.
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[12 Aug 2009|10:06pm]
There's so much going on in my head these days that it's difficult to fully process it all. In all honesty, if I had the insurance, I'd be seeing a therapist these days. Since Cave9 closed, since I graduated college, since the two bands I'd concentrated on for a few years broke up, I've become a good deal less social. Part of me really cherishes that, but I can see where the problem with it rests: the people I've chosen to remain involved with have become much closer to me, to a point where it moves from friendship to obsession. I'm tempted to say that, in a few instances, it's nearing a mutual deal. It pushes the boundaries of my privacy in ways that I haven't experienced in quite some time, if ever. The strange part is, I'm less hesitant - much less so, truthfully - to resist the intrusion. It's like I'm almost convinced to hire a camera crew to follow me into the men's room, into the shower, onto the phone, into the parts of my psyche that I still don't fully understand.

It's overwhelming.

So, my reaction is to simplify. Trust few, love many, eat real food, sweat, laugh, undo, ignore, forsake, cling, build, race, pay everything off in sight and memory, and eschew what isn't the most genuine, the most embarrassing, and the most personally damaging traits of my life that I can find. It feels like now, if never again, is the time to make mistakes that will haunt me to the grave. What was the NIHAMG de facto motto - bad people, bad decisions? Yeah. That's it.

But the question is, am I for real or am I playing? Can I be a nihilist if I don't even drink? Can everything mean nothing if I find more hope and delight in the smiles and laughs of anyone, even if it's probably less than ten people? There's a truth in being wrong wrong wrong, and I know that truth, but I don't believe that I do, and I'm more aware of how much I need to than ever before.

Hit the wall: sledgehammer or automobile, yr choice.
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[26 Jul 2009|02:21am]
A few things:

-Nick Cave has been ruling my brain lately. Murder Ballads is a fantastic record, but especially the first track, "Song Of Joy." Highly recommended.
-I'm picking up encaustic pretty seriously. I volunteered to teach a class at the Vestavia Hills Art Association on Monday night about it, despite having used it in exactly none of my artwork, so I've spent the better part of the past week learning a lot of the basic techniques. The results aren't too bad, but what I've been making isn't terribly impressive conceptually, unless the concept is, "shit you can sell on etsy.com for $45, or in a Lee Branch coffee house for $115." The main trends in the medium tend to be focused on ideas of nostalgia and memory, and while that definitely allows for some neat work, I want mine to be far more confrontational, sexual, explosive, violent, giddy, and pop - like John Waters co-hosting Martha Stewart's cooking show.
-Honeysuckle is turning into a really good band. I'm pretty stoked on what we're turning into.
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[19 Jul 2009|01:47pm]
Last night was just weird.

This morning has been much better. I just got home from brunch at Cosmo's with Emily, Holly, Madison, Mikey and (briefly) Aaron H. The mixed berry crepe with a cup of coffee is recommended. Now, I'm updating my iPod and checking my internets before I go help a family friend with her computer. Show tonight: Null, Dead Times, somebody else. $5, 7pm, All Ages, Uncle Gary's.

This last week really knocked it out of me. AT&T suspended my account after failing to tell me that I owed them a bullshit charge. I was swamped with work, and had to miss the Jesus Lizard in Nashville, and Torche/Harvey Milk at Bottletree. I saw Sonic Youth, however, and they were fantastic, even if a little heavy on the new record. Their performance of "Expressway To Yr Skull" made my year, just about. I've got the house to myself this coming week, though, which will be nice. It's been a while since I've had that luxury.
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