Thursday, December 24, 2009

It Could Be A Lot Worse

I could be dead in a ditch in Burma.

I could be unemployed.

I could be cold.

I could be alone.

I could have no hope for the future.

I could be whining incessantly for no good reason.


Back to reality, Joe. I'm not dead, that's clearly obvious. I have a gig. I'm ensconced in my comfortable hotel room in Carson City with my loving wife sleeping a few feet away from me. Things aren't easy, but I still have room for optimism. I'm trying to cut back on my whining, don't know how well that's going.

Looking back, this hasn't been a great year for me, but I've come to the realization that there are more important things in life, than the bigger things. Being closer to friends and family. Being a more forgiving person to those who crossed me, or at least trying to be. Being less concerned about myself and more concerned about others. Giving more and taking less. It's an ongoing process, one that'll only finish shortly after I stop breathing.

But I have hope. Things will get better, sooner or later. I know one thing for sure. My fingernails will be a lot stronger for the experience. Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, and don't forget Festivus (for the rest of us), and here's to a Happy New Year for all of us.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Back To The Future?

With Joy's illness, I've had to make plans for a fighting retreat back to Washington, with the only variable in said plans depending on the status of my job as an overnight courier. Right now I'm on an enforced two-week vacation because, simply put, my boss can't afford to pay me. I knew that that the recession/depression/whatfuckingever was going to get to me sooner or later, but I still can't fight the feeling of helplessness, knowing the axe is falling one way or the other. If my boss can't bring me back by the time this gig at the Station is over, we're out of here.

That said, I'll still play with Steppen Stonz as long as is feasible. But it's also going to mean some serious downtime. I think that I've found a way around it, but it'll take some buttering up. And I have a recovering alcoholic to thank for it.

And it's not Rick Cowen.

It's a guy I first worked with several years ago, doing a fill-in gig at the New Peking in Port Angeles. His name is Wes Chapman, and he's originally from these parts. Back then he was a killer keyboardist and singer who was apparently trying to make his own version of Leaving Las Vegas, albeit without the hot-assed hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold a la Elisabeth Shue. Nowadays, he seems to have finally kicked the habit and is looking to be in better shape than he's been in for years. Unfortunately, he's also had run-ins with the local bands and agencies to the point where he's been all but blacklisted from the area's rooms. He still does piano-bar type gigs in small rooms around town, leavening them with part-time jobs (he even briefly worked with the Stonz' keyboardist for a few days at the Eldorado).

I ran into him at Diamond's, in the Ramada Inn on my route one night a few weeks ago. I told him of our situation, and he suggested that I get in touch with Norm, who led the band I played with when we first met back at the New Peking. I already have his email, and I recently found him on Facebook. Now if I could the last person from that group, my favorite Buddhist lesbian bassist in the world...... But I digress. Maybe Norm can help me get some fill-in work when I'm not here in Nevada with the Stonz. Maybe not. But there's no harm in asking. Either way, it brings up some interesting memories, of people I used to play with and hang out with when I was first getting established in the circuit back in Washington. Before Powerlight. And I have other contacts to work with as well. I have confidence that I can find gigs up there. So here's to being optimistic, and finding more work to lighten my load, as well as Joy's, and that of whoever we'll be landing with when we get back to Port Angeles. I just found out that my mom and stepdad filed for bankruptcy, and they could use our help as much as we could use theirs.

Wish me luck, eh?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Slight Addendum, Plus Giving In To The Machine

I want to clarify something I said in my last post. When I said that Joy and I are done with Nevada, I meant to say that we're done with living here. I'll still come down to play with Steppen Stonz for as long as they need me. I have to take Joy home no later than this coming spring, because she simply can't handle another summer here. Nor could we as a couple handle the likely bills incurred by another lengthy hospital stay. So I'll just commute back and forth for the foreseeable future after we move back to Washington. I could use the tax write-off for the mileage.

And you may have noticed the Facebook button to the right of the post. Yeah, I surrendered. I gave in. Given that so many of my friends are already on Facebook as well as (or instead of) MySpace, I figured that I'd better start a profile while I had the time. And since I'm comfortably ensconced in our hotel room at the Carson Station for the next three weeks, I figured that I'd pull my desktop out of storage to have the extra computer available to work on a suitable Facebook profile. It's slow going, but it's going forward. So look at my FB profile, and tell me what you think, willya?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Holidaze and Departures

The holidays have always been weird for me. But it almost always means work as well. Ever since I started with Powerlight back in '98, I've worked just about every holiday season. Every Thanksgiving, every Christmas. This year was the first Thanksgiving I'd had off in quite a while. And after eating the cardboard that posed as the turkey my wife's daughter made, I'd have rather eaten one of those Jennie-O turkey slabs you can get at Wal-Mart for three or four bucks. And with Steppen Stonz playing the next four weeks in a row (next week at the Nugget in Sparks, the next three after that in Carson City at the Station), I'll be busy as hell. That is, if I'm still working my courier route. If not, then everything is up in the air except for Joy and I, as we'll be heading north for absolutely certain.

At least Christmas in a hotel room in Carson City is better than in a pop-up trailer in Reno. I can walk around a hotel room naked without fear of hypothermia. (Sorry about the visual!) One way or another though, it'll be our last here in Nevada. Joy's illnesses have gotten to the point where she won't be able to handle another summer here, so we'll move home no later than this upcoming May or so. Our friends and families back home are eager to see us in Olympia, Yelm, Port Angeles, and other places around the Puget Sound. I'll probably still commute to gigs in Nevada if the situation calls for it. But I think I've had just about enough of doing this for a living. I'd like to be able to do this for fun again. I don't think that's a realistic scenario here in Nevada.

I'm tired of the backstabbing. I'm tired of people making things up about me. I'm tired of playing to people who're only interested in getting another royal flush, no matter if they're eating ramen at home and the lights got turned off yesterday. I'm tired of the barely disguised desperation I see around me and within me, that feeling that the razor's edge I'm walking on is only getting sharper. That my own margins are getting narrower. That my wife's health is in decline.

I miss green.

I miss rain. Not that pelting rain we get here when thunderstorms roll through, but the gentle rain that I never had a problem walking around in, or better yet playing rugby in. To quote the Blink-182 song "Dammit", I guess that this is growing up. But growing up means dealing with the situation to the best of my ability, and that's just what I'll do for the next few weeks, until the run of gigs is over, and we'll have a better picture of what's to come. And as always dear reader, I'll keep you posted.

PS: I'm finally gonna stop being a wuss-bag and get a tattoo, from Joy's favorite artist, Ali Deceunynck at No Boys Allowed in Sparks. I should be getting it right around Christmas, So I'll post a few pictures when the deed is done.