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Monday, May 27, 2013

Music To Mourn By

Today has been an interesting day. I decided that since it was Memorial Day I was going to listen to some music that I knew Eric enjoyed. He and I had a lot of similar tastes in music but we also split off a little bit and in the process of doing this I found myself being introduced to two artists that I had never really given much of a lengthy listen too before and it isn't like I was not aware of them I just hadn't bothered to give them a listen. The two artists are Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. I actually feel kind of bad that I hadn't really listened to them before but I am going to do my best to make up for lost time and I am going to drag you along with me. I hope you enjoy the journey.

Leonard Cohen - Chelsea Hotel #2

A love of music was something that Eric and I shared, we went to a few concerts and shows together over the years but for me the one that stands out was a trip up to the Crystal Ballroom to see Flogging Molly. I remember we met up with my friend Travis in the downstairs bar and then headed up to see the show. I think at this point it was probably the third time that I had seen them but the first time I had seen them with Eric. Well the show started and pit started hopping and Eric just disappeared on me. I figured he would turn up afterwards. We were both adults and I had no doubts that he could fend for himself in the pit.

Leonard Cohen - Iodine

Well the show ended and I was kind of waiting on the outskirts of the crowd as people began to leave. Travis and I were chatting when we saw him. He stumbled out of the center area, wearing just his wife-beater tank top and had easily the biggest grin I had ever seen on his face, let alone anyone's. He was just covered in sweat and grinning like a maniac and psyched as hell about going to the show and living large in that pit the whole time. It was so amazing to see him looking so excited about the experience. That is a memory that I treasure.

Tom Waits - Blue Valentines

There was a time when Eric's sister (Nicole) and I were newly married and Eric was living in our basement. I had a pc and Eric had an Apple laptop and we were all networked up and I used to routinely check out his Itunes library  and I always enjoyed browsing through his collection and either mocking or praising his choices depending on whatever arbitrary criteria that I had put together. I don't think I ever actually disliked his music I just felt like I had to tease him about it.

Tom Waits - Telephone Call From Istanbul

I really loved having him living with us. I can't think of a time when he was a bother and I always just enjoyed hanging out with him. I would have guys over to play poker in the garage and he would join us every now and then but he really wasn't very good at cards so that didn't happen very often. There was a time after one of my birthdays when I had decided that I wanted to smoke cigars and drink some scotch and I wanted Eric to join me. So late one evening he and I and Nicole repaired to the garage to do just that. There was a time when I had the cigar band saved but I am not sure if I still do and I can't remember what brands they were either or the brand of scotch for that matter.

Tom Waits - Misery is the River of the World

So we poured the scotch and lit up the cigars and began to drink and puff away. Well I don't know what caused it but my head started to spin and my face got really warm and the next thing I remember was being bent over in the driveway and puking it all up. All the while Eric stood there smoking and drinking and laughing at me. I believe in between the laughter there was some sympathy but it was hard to tell at the time.

Leonard Cohen - Who By Fire

I was the best man at Eric and Devyn's wedding and I have never been more honored to stand up for a friend before. Their ceremony was beautiful and really the whole weekend was a great experience and one that I will always treasure. At the end of the ceremony they released some live butterflies from a box and as they fluttered away I remember thinking that it was one of the coolest things that I had ever seen. I truly love Eric and Devyn both and I was so happy to be a part of their ceremony.

I will continue to miss and to remember you brother and my hope is that I go I am as well liked and remembered as you so obviously were. I love you brother.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Saturday Night Music

I do a few things everyday. The two things that I do everyday and often more then once a day is drink coffee and listen to music. These two things are very important to me and I think in a lot of way vital to my mental health. Oh I suppose I could cut coffee out of my life but I can't imagine stopping listening to music. I do not know how anyone does that. I know that for me music is really something that I enjoy so much.

Led Zeppelin - Going To California

It really doesn't matter what the era of music is or even the genre and I do sometimes pick and choose what I am going to listen to. But that is usually just in my car. When I am listening to music as I am writing on my computer I often just put my music on total random and listen to whatever pops up. This can be good or bad because I don't like everything that I own. I might like one or two songs from an artist but no artist is perfect. Also at this point my collection is big enough that I have forgotten all of the music that I have on my hard drive and up in the cloud.

Pink - God Is A DJ

Take the song above, I believe that I have most of her discography but I am not sure if I would consider myself a fan. I have friends who really like her and I think I wanted to see why they like her so much. I do think that some of her songs are very catchy but I would not choose to listen to her regularly or go see her in concert. But she isn't horrible. Her style of music is not my cup of tea.

Even This Shall Pass Away - Robert Plant's Band of Joy

Your Southern Can Is Mine - The White Stripes

I really, really do love the White Stripes and I can honestly say that I do not believe there is a song of theirs that I do not like. I love it all.

Satisfied Mind - Johnny Cash

I also love everything that Johnny Cash has ever done. There is just something about him and his voice and the authenticity in which he lived his life that I find admirable.  

Friday, May 24, 2013


The Who - The Real Me

I know that I have posted this song before. I know that because it is from one of my all time favorite bands on my all time favorite album of theirs. I believe that the album "Quadrophenia" is the best rock opera of all time and I would also say that it is one of the best just plain albums of all time. But as I was listening to it today I also realized that this song does say an awful lot about me and who I am. This question..."Can you see the real me?" I think is a very real one and one that we all struggle with from time to time. The search to find the answer can lead us to some pretty dark places but also to some pretty good places as well.

Black Sabbath - Psycho Man

I have begun to realize that in the last month as I have been trying to process my feelings and experiences in dealing with the death and the loss of my friend and brother Eric that I have probably been far more honest about my feelings and emotions then I ever have before. At least to such a potentially wide audience. I realize that this also may or may not have made some of you uncomfortable as well. I am sorry about that. But that being said, I do not strive to make people uncomfortable, but I do strive for honesty and I do strive to stretch others in a good way that I hope. I also hope that my writing can be a help to others in some form or another. I know that for me, I believe, that it is helping me to do what I do and to process my feelings in such a public manner.

The Black Keys - Thickfreakness

This is my reality. This is my experience dealing with the pain of this, warts and all. This isn't even so much about me but it is about me experiencing this and me trying to experience this in the most honest way possible. I realize that I can't ask him but I honestly feel that this is what Eric would want me do. He would want me to live this without faking and without pretending that I have it all together and that everything is fine. Because honestly everything is not fine and to fake it would be doing a disservice to Eric's memory as far as I am concerned.

Toto - Straight From The Heart

Don't get me wrong. I am not telling anyone else how they need to be dealing with this. I am talking strictly in terms of myself and how I feel I need to process this in a healthy way. Because and for me this is the key that I need to keep reminding myself of. I must ensure that Eric's death is not not my death. On that point I have to be clear and hold myself to it. Because when I am at my lowest and I look at my life it is easy for me to spiral into this idea that why am I still here, because I have less going for me then Eric had going for him. I am not saying this to beg for sympathy and on the contrary I am probably the furthest away from suicide then I have ever been. But that thought is a real thought that dips in and out of my mind. That I have experienced that is the truth and to hide from that or to pretend that I have never had those thoughts would be totally wrong.

Fun - Some Nights

I do not know what the future holds for me. None of us do. Oh sure we want to think that we have a handle on it and we have it all figured out. But lets be honest. How many of us really do? We might think we do. We might have some vague idea of what tomorrow may bring. But that is just what it is a vague idea. Life is chaos and there is some real joy and beauty in that chaos. I say embrace the chaos. I say embrace the unknowing. I say embrace that experience and wrap it around you. I say live in the eye of the storm and thrive on it. 

Black Sabbath - After Forever

Wow...um I am not sure what just happened but there it is and I make it a practice to not edit my thoughts. So let me put my soap box away and bid you all a good weekend. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Take Me Back To Happy Valley?

The Bailey Bros - Take Me Back To Happy Valley

Well those tears came on fast. I was sitting here just kind of relaxing and minding my own business. I had just  watched the "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons" episode of Community and was feeling pretty good when that song that is above started playing on my computer. It just kind of hit me that for several people that I know and care about and I fear in some ways myself that the idea of an existence of "Happy Valley" is long gone and probably not going to be coming back again anytime soon. Maybe I can hope for some kind of "Somber Plateau". I just don't know.

Leonard Cohen - Bird On a Wire

I honestly do not understand what is going on with my emotions right now. I really thought things had leveled off and I have had several days without tears. There is a nervousness to my stomach and the tears are just kind of dripping out. Bah, I am really not understanding where this is coming from right at this moment. On a practical level my intellect wants to say that I just spent to much time alone in my room today and I suppose that there is some validity to that.

Toto - I'll Be Over You

Of course it might help if my music player, that is set on random, would stop playing sad songs over and over. I mean is that to much to ask. It isn't like I set it up to play songs guaranteed to make Lance cry. It is just randomly playing everything in my collection. I swear I think it has developed sentience. But back to this whole idea of a "Happy Valley". I don't even like the concept of that. I could see their being a "Happy Peak" or mountain top but valley are places of pain and sorrow. I can see myself rising out of the valley to like I said earlier a "Somber Plateau" but honestly I do not think happiness is in the cards for me and rising to some peak of pleasure and joy I fear may be totally beyond me.

Trampled By Turtles - School Bus Driver

 I try to live a life that is kind of anchored in the present. The idea of Zen Buddhism and being present is an idea that I like and one that I have had great success with. I don't dwell too much on the past and I don't worry too much about what may happen in the future. But the reality is that right now in the present there is a huge empty spot and it is always going to stay empty. I don't think it will ever get filled and I don't think it should. I think it should be a raw and open ache and it should color my daily existence in one form or the other.

Bill Monroe - Along About Daybreak

I don't say that as a bad thing necessarily but to acknowledge that it is my reality right now.

For whatever that is worth. 


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

REM - Begin the Begin.

I don't have much to say this morning. I didn't sleep very well last night and that bothers me. I actually had a couple of good days of sleep this weekend. But, sadly, it seems like things have returned to normal on this Tuesday morning. I hope my normal switches soon to me actually getting more sleep then I have been getting. Things went pretty well overall yesterday until I flipped the lights off and laid down to go to sleep. The chorus of voices started up again in my head and while I am aware of the pointlessness of them I seem to have a hard time controlling them or banishing them.

REM - Crazy

It isn't that I expect or demand total control of whatever random thought pops into my brain. Because to expect that would be just foolishness as far as I am concerned. I firmly believe like Peter Abelard that it isn't the appearance of a thought that is the sin or problem it is the acting on that thought that is the sin. That being said I tend to let my conscious  flow here and there. I like to think of it as my conscious being a stream flowing downstream and the different rocks that pop up here and there are my thoughts and so for a time a thought may surface and see the light of day but as time goes on things shift and change and the thought sinks back below the surface. That isn't always the case but that is how I choose to think of it.

REM - The One I Love

I really did love Eric. I know that may sound odd to some of you. But I don't really care about that. There are very few men in my life that I would think of as brothers, probably less then five and he was one of them. These are men that I care about and that I know care about me and would be there at my side in an instant if I needed them to be. That kind of brotherhood and friendship can be hard to find in the world and I feel lucky to have had that in my life. If, in Eric's case, it only feels like it is for an instant. But that doesn't make it any less real. That is just the reality.

REM - Be Mine

I really wish I had an understanding of what normal is supposed to be right now. I know that prior to his death things felt pretty normal in my life and I felt like I had a pretty good handle on things. This is not the case now. Not at all. But, what I hate even more then that is even as I write these thoughts out I question if I am feeling this in the "CORRECT" way. I wonder how other people are thinking I am doing and if they feel like I am doing it in the "CORRECT" way. Then I get mad at myself for even thinking that. Because even though I know at my core that such thinking is foolish, I am finding it impossible to break away from the self destruction of those thoughts. The unhealthiness of those thoughts.

REM - Cuyahoga

This continues to eat at me. I have lived a life being pretty successful at ignoring what other people think and doing what I want to do regardless of society. So it irks me that this should be an issue for me. Why, in this instance, should I care what other people think about how I mourn? It is my life and how I choose to live it is my business. It isn't that I am even that upset at the people that may or may not be judging how I process this. I am upset at myself for even caring that they might be. I know there is no "CORRECT" way so why am I even worried about it?

REM - Finest Worksong

Maybe I am missing the point and the "CORRECT" way is to do what I am trying to do which is to question and wrestle and process and fight and worry at this or maybe I need to set this aside and just let the thoughts surface and sink and just ride the flow downstream. I do not know the answer and right now I do not like not knowing the answer.

REM - These Days

"The key to wisdom is this - constant and frequent questioning, for by doubting we are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth."

Peter Abelard

I hope I get there one day. I really , really do. I suppose it is good to have hope in something, anything . . .

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Songs

Not much going on today I am just vegging out listening to music and feeling kind of spacey. I think I am trying to fabricate the inspiration to write something interesting and poignant. But honestly I am feeling pretty emotionally dead today. I am not sure what that even means. Just kind of numb inside. I suppose that should be a little bit of a relief to have some kind of emotional numbness if even for a little bit. But it doesn't feel normal to not be feeling anything. I am almost feeling like I should be emotionally on edge and that it isn't correct if I am not emotionally compromised or on the edge of freaking out in some way.

Bee Gees and Barbara Streisand - Guilty

That is a song that I didn't even know existed in my collection. It isn't that I dislike it I just was not aware of it and it may well be the only Barbara Streisand song that even exists in my collection.

Steve Martin - You

This is Steve Martin and the Dixie Chicks with his band the Steep Canyon Rangers, I like his bluegrass stuff a lot and this is a good melancholy song in general.

Billy Joel - Leningrad

This is a good Billy Joel song and I guess he does have some bad ones. But I like his music most if not all of the time. There is just a certain enjoyable quality to it. There seems to be often a pretty deeper message to it hidden among the lyrics.

I wish I had more nuggets of wisdom to put out there but I really don't. I guess it is just one of those days wear faking it until you make doesn't even work.  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Spring Appears too Have Sprung

Well it looks like the rains have returned to Oregon. We had a nice run of some much needed and honestly other then the uncomfortable heat of it. I felt like it was needed on a personal level for me. The ability to sit comfortably outside and feel the fresh air and also be able to feel the solitude without actually feeling like a hermit sitting on a mountain top was, for me, a good balance. When the weather gets like this it makes it harder to sit outside and still feel like there are people around. I still sit outside because I love the rain and the feel of the cold air but usually I am alone and it is hard to read a book sitting outdoors in the middle of a rain storm.

Black Magic Castle - Magic Kingdom

What I am dreading on the other hand if this rain continues is the potential for a SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) I know lots of people who this can affect pretty heavily and while I am not affected that much by it I can also get rather gloomy when the weather is gloomy and right now is not a time in my life when I want or need to be gloomy. So far this has been an okay week in a month of real shit. If I were to draw you a scale of it; there would be a huge huge drop probably off of the face of what looks like a cliff. That happened when I first received word of Eric's death. I know that people talk about looking for the small good things in these kind of things. But honestly I do not think that anything good has come out of this whatsoever.

Africa - Toto

What has come out of this is me slogging forward very sluggishly. This has been a month of zombie mindedness with a few moments of clarity and then it all gets very muddled again. The stew pot of emotions has so many different ingredients in it that I have a very hard time tasting just one. I am unable to taste the cleansing purity of anger without  feeling the touch of sorrow. If there is one flavor that appears to be always around it is that of sorrow. It is really hard to taste pleasure when the sourness of sorrow is underlying everything. Things that were fun are not fun anymore. There is a wariness to me doing them because of the fear of memories. Because when the memories start up the sorrow comes back with a vengeance and I have grown tired of crying alone in front of my computer.

The One That Got Away - Katy Perry

The song above, got to me last night as I was watching Katy Perry's concert movie (not ashamed). I realized as she was singing it that she was talking about her divorce and then that made me think of Devyn and Eric and then I started to think of my own divorce and then bam I was crying in front of the computer. I do not dislike crying but you began to wonder at what point are the tears going to stop. Do people ever just dry up and have no liquid left? I don't know that I want that. What does it mean when I stop crying everyday? Does that mean that I will have forgotten Eric? Does that mean that I will have forgotten the pain that his wife and family are in? If getting over this means that I forget then I never want to get over it.

Roll Away Your Stone - Mumford and Sons


Monday, May 13, 2013


Some days you wake up and everything seems fine but then there are other days where you wake up and get your coffee and sit down in front of your computer to continue your job search and everything just kind of breaks down. Sometimes all it takes is one thoughtful comment on Facebook and it tips you right over the emotional edge and you didn't even realize that you were on the edge. The main reason because you woke up with that moment of clarity when the reality of life has not been remembered and things seem good. But the reality is that things are not good and you are just putting one foot in front of the other because that is all you know how to do and you know that if you stop moving it will all fall apart.

Battle of Who Could Care Less - Ben Folds Five

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be able to not care. I think it would be freeing in some way. No, I am sure it would be freeing to not have this knot inside my belly of worry and pain for how the others are coping with this. To not be taken by surprise by emotions so strong that they leave you nearly doubled up as you try to fight off the sobs that you feel bubbling up inside of you. You have given up telling people that you are fine when they ask because that isn't true. But you are also tired of trying to explain to people why you are not fine and you are tired of seeing their eyes glaze over and you can see how much they regret even asking the question but that doesn't matter because they can't really understand the answer and how you are processing it is so completely different then how anyone else is.

La Villa Strangiato - Rush

Sometimes it is all you can do. It is all you are able to do. To sit and immerse yourself in a video game because then you can have a little bit of that emptiness that you crave. You can have a small break from the constant thinking. Because the thoughts never really stop and if you aren't filling the space around you with some sort of white noise they become overwhelming and the others faces and how much pain they are in pops into your head and flies around you like the specters in a bad horror movie. You are thankful that you are out of work because you do not understand how some of the others are even functioning at this time and wonder if they are able to use work to find their blankness.

Feb 20, 2000 - The Avett Bros

You try to meditate because that has been successful in the past. But you are trying so hard to find that Zen that it has become almost impossible to achieve.You smoke a little pot thinking that will help you to get their. It does not.

Pieces of a Story - Trevor Jones

The only thing that seems to help when you are in the middle of it is to grab someone and hold on to them. Because for some reason the feel their bodies the skin of their skin against yours validates your existence. You do that and you return to your blog because writing it down at least helps you to ride that bubble of grief it helps it to be manageable and it gives it a release and because you know of no other way for you to cope with this.

Turn Turn Turn - The Byrds

That and sometimes the strange randomness of the music can help as well because sometimes the songs seem more appropriate then you realize and you wonder, how random is random.

Am I Not Merciful? - Hans Zimmer

Seriously? How random is random because right now this not feeling random. Damn you Google and your mystical music player. 

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Random Thursday

Oh..my neck is sore today. I am feeling very groggy, I think the lack of sleep has finally started to catch up to me. I imagine a crash will be coming soon.

Picky Bugger - Elbow

It has been a pretty rough few weeks since Eric left us. I supper pretty rough doesn't do it justice at all. It feels like things have gone totally off of the rails or I suppose I should say that things are barely on the rails and it is taking most if not all of my focus to stay on the track and even then I am not sure that I can keep things on the track long term. There are fleeting moments of laughter but even that takes place in kind of a grey flatness and I am not sure who to even describe what that means. If you have been there then I suppose you know.

Liar - Queen

It is easy for me to start to feel acutely alone right now. On an intellectual level I totally realize that it makes no sense for me to feel that way and that I do have a lot of friends around me. But on an emotional level the intellectual just gets wiped out. The lack of predictability of the mood swings is almost maddening to me. There are moments during the day that I feel actually pretty good or I will be with someone and they are a good enough distraction that I am able to shut out the clamoring chorus of "Why" and "How Come". But I can't be around people 24/7 and the moments when I am laying in the dark and trying to actually get some sleep is when the voices seem loudest.

A Life For Revenge - Dark Moor

I have some really, really good friends that are doing all that they can to keep me busy and that means a lot to me. I think that in some ways actually in many ways I am scared to fully let myself go and experience the grief of this whole thing. I am scared as to what the end result will be of it. So because I am trying to keep everything totally locked down and only releasing the valve in fits and spurts I feel like I have a little bit of control over this. I fear that if I fully release things I may not be able to close the valve back up and I do not know how deep the reservoir is and I don't know what happens if I empty that.

The Educated Fool - Iron Maiden

 As usual I honestly do not know what any of this means. I am hoping that by writing I am able to achieve a little bit of control over this process and I can let the pressure out in a more controlled less insane manner. I do not need to be clutching randomly at strangers or hanging all over my friends because I am desperately craving the touch of another living being. I know, once again, intellectually that this is not socially proper behavior at all . But it feels at times like there is a emotional beast raging inside of me that just wants me to hug everyone around me to let them know that they exist and I exist and there is realness to the physical contact. I want to make eye contact with them and to hold their hand and let them know that they have value to me. I want to absorb their sadness into myself and give them some freedom from it and the only way that I know how to do that is to be able to put my hands on them and sadly not everybody is comfortable with that.

Hope Once Again - Kansas

So I guess if you want a hug or are okay with some hand holding and potentially uncomfortable intimacy then feel free to look me up.

In case you weren't sure I am obviously the curly haired one with my back to the camera. 

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Random Music Thursday...

Nothing start the random music journey better then some classic tunes...

Run Run Run - The Who

So far and I realize that it is still early, but today feels like a pretty good day. The sun is out and the Timbers play tonight. So I should be able to keep myself pretty well distracted for a few hours. I do not always try to do that and I do not think it is something that I actively do either. But sometimes it just happens.

An End So Cold - Dark Moor

I have been listening to a lot of music lately and I know that has made a difference in my mood that is for sure. The music, for me, serves two purposes. It helps me to relax and space out a bit and it helps me to remember Eric and the good times I had with him in terms of shared musical experiences. I really think he was one of the few people that liked music like I do and also had the vast and varied musical tastes like I do. I remember once taking a look at his Itunes library and being pretty impressed.

Oh My God - Pink - Phew, this song is kind of dirty. Wow.

Flying Dream - Elbow - Not much to say about this one. I enjoy it. But I do not listen to them all that much.

Beggar's Farm - Jethro Tull - I always enjoy a little Jethro Tull. They were a far better band then people realize I think.

Thank for reading, I'll catch you folks later.