“Chaos is a ladder.”

A Christmas Story is a holiday classic in my world.  I don’t think I’ve ever sat down and watched it from beginning to end, though.  It serves more as a favorite holiday background noise with a few scenes I deem worthy of my full attention.  I think Cinefix did an excellent job of sifting out the appealing bits.

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“Everywhere in the world, they hurt little girls.”

I think this is brilliant, frightening, thought-provoking, and hopeful (if you ponder.)

“Power resides where men believe it resides.”

Korg Monologue - black

Welp.  The Fleetwood Mac concert got postponed until February.  My ticket provider stated it was due to a scheduling conflict.  When I first got the message, I sensed an imminent meltdown.  My brain screamed, syntax error:  does not compute.  So, I immediately got on the treadmill.  I don’t know why, but I’ve discovered running in place can help my mind get back on track before it shuts down completely.  Sometimes.  Fortunately, this was one of those times.

Yamaha MX49 black

I have no idea how long I ran (in socks,) before I finally reasoned out shit happens.  (I didn’t realize this could happen, or I would have planned for the possibility.)  It felt like (mentally) trying to juggle and do trigonometry without a calculator at the same time.  The trick is not to panic, she said, while rolling her eyes over hindsight.  After getting over my brain hiccup, I went into a self-mothering mode and talked myself through it.  Heh.

I told myself it’s okay to almost melt;  what matters is I caught it in time and kicked it to the curb.  It’s alright that plan changes have, and likely always will, rattle you.  The good part is you get to make a new plan, and you love planning.  You’re an excellent planner.  Yay.  It also means another three months to look forward to going to the concert.  Three more months of randomly announcing (to anyone, but mostly my cat) I’m going to be in the same space with Stevie Nicks.  (!!!)

Korg Volca Kick

I added some equipment to my home studio, recently.  I got the Korg Monologue in black, and a Yamaha MX49, also in black.  Both are outstanding in quality, sounds, and feel.  I’ve spent so many hours on both of them since.  I had to rearrange my studio (yet again) and will take photos soon.  The best part is I got a free Korg Volca Kick with purchase of the Monologue.  Korg rules!  Lastly, I got the Akai mini MPK II Play.  It’s a fun addition, and it came with Pro Tools (entry-level version.)  The Yamaha MK 49 came with an entry version of Cubase, too, but I haven’t installed it yet.

Akai MPK mini Play

I’m planning to get the Akai Fire for Fruity Loops Studio soon.  I need to look into a better option for storing my guitars and bass, as well.  I’m thinking either wall mounts or one that holds all of them on a single floor stand.  I’m getting a lot better with performing on my Push 2 and Ableton Live.  My finger-drumming game is getting tight, yo.  🙃  Thank goodness for Decksaver dustcovers, as they allow me to stack the gear I’m not using.  Otherwise, my desktop would be insufficient at this point.  So many keys and buttons!  I love it!  I’m off to band practice.  ✌🏽

“Tell them winter came for House Frey.”

Lana Del Ray.  I’ve just become a fan.  In 2018, anyone who speaks up honestly about the status quo, where all evidence points to the end of homo sapiens as a species due to self-destruction, is worthy of my time.  That is all.

Lana Del Rey instagram comment
Message to the late Kanye West (died of thirst.)

“A girl has no name.”

Focus

Nineteen days until Fleetwood Mac perform in Sioux Falls.  I have my ticket.  I’ve survived off the anticipation for months.  Alas, I don’t think I’m going to be able to go.  I’m extremely triggered by the Kavanaugh issue.  It’s taught me a valuable lesson about reality.  It’s not a new lesson.  Just one I’ve been reluctant to embrace as truth.  My bad.

At the same time, I’ve been fighting for abuse-free care from my local VA.  It’s not going well.  Over the course of two weeks, it’s become evident the VA has no intention of doing anything about my complaints of abuse.  I thought access to the benefits I was awarded was worth fighting for, but now I’m having second thoughts.  I’ve been asking myself some difficult questions.

Why do I even want medical care?  I think I’ve been conditioned to desire good health and preventative care.  I listen to podcasts that support proactive mental health, and the benefits of therapy.  While I agree it can benefit most people, in my experience since acquiring PTSD while on active duty, mental health treatment is a synonym for abuse.

I don’t have the luxury of choosing a provider.  You get whoever you’re assigned to at the VA.  I resent the time and hope I’ve wasted.  It’s worsened my condition and provided me with more nightmares and phobias I didn’t have before making the mistake of seeking assistance.  I strongly suspect my skin color and gender are insurmountable barriers.

Since these are things beyond my ability to change, I feel foolish for even bothering.  This is earth.  People of color and women are abused on this planet.  I don’t know why I thought I could be an exception.  I’m a doof.  It’s not as if my life hasn’t been seemingly designed to reinforce this fact.  What was I thinking?  At least I finally understand my place.  No more shocks and surprises.  I hate them.

 

“I’m sure cutting off heads is very satisfying, but that’s not the way you get people to work together.”

Sheryl Crow at Isle of Wight Festival 2018I had a productive weekend.  After watching Sheryl Crow perform live on DVD and YouTube, I’m even more of a fan, if that’s possible.  It got me thinking about things like how I behave at a live performance.  I watched her audience at the Isle of Wight and noticed people were dancing, singing along, and nearly everyone had their cell phone out to record.

Despite being annoyed by how often they kept showing the audience, I paid attention.  When I watch someone perform, I stare with very little blinking.  I probably look like a doof, and it’s possible my mouth opens of its own accord.  I probably don’t move or dance.  I don’t bring my cell phone because I would lose it, and it would distract me.

I cover my ears when people applaud, whistle, and cheer because it hurts my ears.  I do suspect I at least look happy, but I’m not sure.  I have a hard time remembering to worry about to how I appear to other people, and rarely think about it.  Especially when I’m not the one performing.  These are the reasons I rarely go to concerts.  But some artists reach me so profoundly, I make an exception.  Sheryl Crow backstage at Isle of Wight Festival 2018

Sheryl Crow, Beyoncè, Stevie Nicks, and Fleetwood Mac are such artists.  I’d also love to see Amy Lee perform, but her fans scare me.  Her music has evolved though, so I’m hopeful for an opportunity in the future.  I can’t wait to see Fleetwood Mac soon.  I know I’ll be staring at Stevie Nicks and Christine McVeigh the whole time.  (I might watch Mick Fleetwood a bit, too.)

 

When I saw the Beyoncè show recently, I bawled a lot.  I couldn’t help it.  She’s amazing.  I was so happy I didn’t know what else to do.  It was my first concert in years, and I couldn’t even think about anything else for hours afterward.  It reconfirmed the fact you can’t die from being too happy.  It still blows my mind how people I’ve never met enrich my life so much.

As I watched Sheryl perform, I noticed several things.  She’s in excellent physical condition and can dance well.  She moved all over the stage while singing and playing guitar.  Her range is broader than her albums reveal.  Her music isn’t the simplistic three-chord progression of many other singers who stand behind a guitar on stage.  She has mad skills.

She engaged the audience by talking to them and encouraging them to sing along, all while singing, dancing, and playing the guitar well.  She didn’t get winded or pitchy from all the activity (like some singers I’ve watched.)  She sounded better than on her albums and didn’t perform them just as recorded.  Her professionalism and experience shined brightly.  I was so impressed.  Sheryl Crow at Isle of Wight Festival 2018

She’s older than me but has so much energy.  I could tell she was having fun, which made it fun to watch.  It was the first time I saw her band.  I don’t know if they’ve been with her since the beginning, or if they change up.  There were two guitar heroes, a keyboardist/backup singer, drummer, bassist, and slide guitar player, I think.  (It’s not an instrument with which I’m familiar.)

At one point, one of the guitar heroes was right behind her, and they were in perfect sync on fingering and strumming.  I love that they’re all skilled musicians playing complex music while having fun and making it look easy.  She seems pretty laid back, but clearly she has high standards.  Watching them made me want to practice a lot more.  I’ll never be Sheryl Crow, but I want to develop mad skills, too.  I’m off to beat my drums with sticks.

“But once the cows been milked, there’s no squirting the cream back up her udder.”

hate kills

I’m upset.  Despite my multiple listening sessions, I missed a single word uttered by Eminem on his latest album.  It’s a hate word said deliberately out of spite.  I love Marshall Mathers.  I can’t listen to his music anymore.  I can’t support him as an artist any longer.  RIP.  I’m an ally to the LGBTQIA community.  It’s a lifelong commitment I take very seriously.  I’m sad and disappointed by his decision.

More so by how he responded when called out for it.  When I was a child, I used this word flippantly without knowing what it meant.  I’m relieved my parents helped me understand.  I’m still ashamed of this because I now fully grok how words can cut so profoundly, people end their lives.  There are hate words that whenever uttered expose a bigot.  No matter how enraged you are with a person, these hate words are off limits.

I’m hypersensitive to the word, nigger.  Thousands of closet racists have outed themselves by using it in anger as a weapon.  The word Eminem used is no different.  Both are words that evoke terror, anguish, and pain that never goes away.  They inform us the person who spews it doesn’t view the target as a human being.  It often causes a physiological reaction:  fight or flight.

Sometimes, the target of these hate words will lash out violently as if they’re fighting for their life.  Haters rarely see it coming, and are usually shocked by the intensity of the reaction.  In some situations, it’s not even voluntary;  such as when being targeted by multiple haters at the same time.  I have PTSD, so in my case, I may freeze, or react instantly, or react in a delayed manner after freezing when attacked.  I’m also an Army veteran, which means my reaction could easily be lethal.

Lots of Americans carry knives and guns (much to my disgust.)  I hope I’m clear in relating how spewing hate words can get you killed.  There are no excuses.  Attacking anyone for who and what they are is always wrong.  Nobody gets to choose their body or mind.  Most of us try to build a joyful life with the body and mind we are born with and spend years growing and developing into decent adults.  Some opt for suicide because they can’t cope with being hated, attacked, and abused for things with which they have no control.  Children are especially vulnerable because they have little experience or coping skills.

RIP Eminem

I know of children as young as nine who committed suicide after being harassed by haters.  I consider it murder.  I don’t understand why anyone would want to inflict such horrific pain on any human, (especially a child,) for any reason.  Nobody can change their sexuality, neurotype, race, body type, etc.  There’s no such thing as conversion therapy;  It’s torture, just as it would be to strip off the pigmentation layers of my skin.

Hate is evil.  It’s ugly.  Frequently it’s fear and ignorance based.  It’s not a quality of a decent human being.  Hate is a vile defect.  I hope Marshall Mathers exorcises his willful hatred.  I also hope nobody who hears it is too vulnerable and hurt to carry the pain he amplified with his privilege.  I know for a fact Eminem had fans who are members of the LGBTQIA community.

I hope Eminem chooses to become a sincere ally to the community, instead of a cruel inflictor of devastating pain.  It’s never too late to grow and become a decent person.  The same privilege that allowed him to commit this crime can also be used to apologize as well as help others learn and grow.  Until he does, he’s dead to me.

“I thought you meant in life.”

Money, it's the music.

It’s come to my attention (thanks Jade and XD) that Nicki Minaj and Cardi B both use homophobic and transphobic slurs.  In light of this, I cannot support either artist.  It saddens me that people who possess such talent and creativity choose to be so hateful to a community of human beings.  Hate kills.  Life is full of choices and opportunities to grow.  There are no excuses.

I support artists who use their talent and energy to share their experiences, and add love and light to the world, not those who choose to amplify hatred and ignorance.  I’m fortunate to have people in my world who speak up, help me grow and strengthen me on my journey.  I apologize for not recognizing these crimes sooner.

I’m thankful to the artists and creatives who continue to help me become my best self, such as Jade and XD, Amy Lee, Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow, Beyoncè, and many others.  I look forward to spending more time growing with them.  ✌🏽💪🏽💜