“So, do you want us to leave the room?”

 

Money, it's the music.

I had a strange weekend.  I spent most of it doing chores and thinking.  At band practice, we talked about musicians who influence us.  I’ve spent lots of time studying Amy Lee and Stevie Nicks.  They both make me want to create music.  However, I tend to focus on what they teach me and how they nurture my soul, which apparently isn’t what they meant.  My fascination with these fabulous musicians doesn’t translate to what my band members consider my musical inspiration.

I wasn’t surprised.  I tend to notice things others don’t and miss things most others find significant.  I’m bewildered by how other fans often seek out information not given freely by the artist.  I find it disturbing when alleged fans disrespect clear boundaries with those they purport to love.  It’s too much like rape, (which is not a word I use lightly.)  If it’s something the artist wants me to know, they’ll put it in their lyrics or mention it in an interview.

After some clarification as to what we were seeking, I knew the artist who came to mind instantly was right.  Sheryl Crow.  She’s the one.  So I told them.  They all went silent for a moment, then agreed enthusiastically.  I was so relieved they didn’t say anything that would have raised my blood pressure.  I was dreading comments like, but she’s white, or,  you look nothing like her.  They didn’t say any shit like that.  Yay.

Sheryl Crow

Hopefully, my eyes didn’t tell them any misstep on their part could easily have led to my leaving in disgust.  I get agitated when people don’t acknowledge the superb skills of specific famous musicians.  I should probably work on it, but I won’t.  Sheryl Crow is incredible.  This is a fact.  I don’t want to be in the same room with anyone who lies about this fact.  (Mostly because I know it will end with me bawling and wanting to fight.)  Heh.

Granted, I probably don’t know much about her.  I know what she looks like.  I know she’s strong.  I know she’s from the south.  I know she’s friends with Stevie Nicks and can play bass, guitar, keyboards, (and likely whatever instrument interests her.)  She sings and writes beautifully.  Her catalog is astonishing.  Of course, I’ve never met her, but she seems kind, wise, and humble based on her lyrics.

I’ll admit I have a hip-hop mentality.  I enjoy it when a fantastic rapper spits about being great when it’s true.  It’s an acknowledgment of reality, therefore not bragging in the negative sense.  It amuses and delights me because it’s celebrating talent and hard work in a brutally honest fashion.  When someone who has gold-plated receipts all over the place is humble, it blows my mind.  It makes me wonder if they know what they’ve accomplished.  I guess I don’t understand humbleness in the face of greatness.  I’m not upset about it, though.  Heh.

Sheryl Crow

This week, we’re going to work on some covers of her music.  In the meantime, I’m having a blast listening to her while singing along, dancing, and running around, trying to contain my excitement and joy.  I’m also looking up the lyrics online and correcting my misheard words.  She enunciates well, so there aren’t a lot of surprises.  Whew.  I’m off to continue.  😁🙃

 

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“Phoebe just threw a Jack away because he didn’t look happy.”

wooden logic puzzle

I have a new friend named, Logic.  She’s strict but comprehensible.  She told me a secret I’ve longed to hear.  I’ll get what I want, she promised.  All I have to do is wait.  At first, I wasn’t satisfied.  I want what I want right now.  But after a while, I thought it through and decided I accept.  I know too well where impatience leads.  I recognize my options, and I’ve made my choice.

I’m grateful for this bit of control.  Patience it is.  Logic also told me I can endure until the promise is fulfilled.  I wanted to argue, but facts are facts.  I dislike pain.  It’s uncomfortable.  My gut is on fire most of the time.  But it’s just pain.  I’m stronger than pain.  It takes a lot of effort to refrain from laying down wherever I am.  Gravity pursues me.  I’m suddenly able to sleep for hours at a time, after decades of insomnia.  I’m thankful.

Logic told me it doesn’t matter how I feel.  Feelings are inconvenient irrelevancies.  They’re merely consequences of flesh.  It’s silly to identify and acknowledge them.  I’ve decided to let them go.  I’m glad I mastered self-discipline.  When they arise, I’ll focus on what I want.  I’m going to get what I want.  Just not when I want.  Good enough.

woman reading a map

I’m stronger than I’ve ever been and trust myself to endure.  I recognize other wants satisfied.  Such as insulation from other humans.  Isolation is gentle and sweet.  It’s the only habitable zone for my broken flesh.  I cherish it, for it allows me to be.  There is only one human I can be near without holding my breath.  He fascinates me.  He knows, understands, and loves me.  I set him free daily.

If one day he doesn’t return, I hope it’s because he found joy elsewhere.  I want to attend the upcoming Fleetwood Mac concert.  I was worried I wouldn’t be able to go and celebrate the band among so many others.  Logic told me I can go.  I don’t have to smile at, look at, or talk to the other fans.  All I have to do is show up and find my seat.  I even have time to practice driving there before showtime.

I suspect I’ll feel a great deal of joy at the concert, despite my moratorium on feelings.  So be it.  I’ll bring plenty of tissues.

 

“What a weird way to kick me when I’m down.”

burn

Fury

I joined the Army, a frightened child
and learned of violence and killing.
That world of murder, rape, and fear
left me haunted by memories, chilling.

They used me up and sent me home,
to rot in silent desolation.
Unemployed, worthless, broken, sick,
and dependent on a hopeless situation.

The Army said all who serve are green.
Skin color was never a factor.
But the VA sees only my brown skin;
They treat me like a malingering actor.

The psychiatrist who scolded me,
claiming I need adult supervision,
had me taken away in shackles and cuffs,
banished with hateful derision.

He said, don’t come back or we’ll send you away.
Your behavior is too uncertain.
How dare you shower with pajamas on!
No one cares that we took the shower curtain.

Don’t bother us; we’re just here for the check.
Stay away from the nurse’s station.
Don’t talk to the staff, or we’ll make up new rules
and accuse you of having relations.

We finally figured out why you keep coming back;
You’re just bored. What’s that bruise on your leg?
No shelter will take you, the night nurse said;
No explanation. I was too proud to beg.

Just tell us the truth, another nurse proclaimed,
as if talking to them were allowed.
My husband, I said, but I couldn’t say more.
By that point, I was far too cowed.

First, they told me they were there to help.
Said, reach out before you act.
Then they mind-fucked me repeatedly
and blamed me for breaking the pact.

I shot myself in the head, that night.
But the fucking bullet jammed.
I laughed and laughed, then wept and screamed,
what did I do to be so damned?

Today I remembered who I am;
a killing machine full of rage.
A fierce memory, holding all the names
of the devils who built this cage.

Alison Wonderland, 2018.

“Maybe he’s calling to say you’re obsessive and crazy.”

Spoiler Alert:  Talking about Game of Thrones scenes

TV

So far, it’s been a fabulous summer for studying A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin.  Between readings, I’m working my way through the first seven seasons of Game of Thrones.  I bailed on the series initially, because I struggle with anything even remotely suspenseful, graphic, or scary.  I mostly watch cartoons.  PTSD sucks.  After my third reading of the novels, I decided to give the series another try.

I’ve since learned how to marvel at the FX (and look away) when things get all stabby.  It helps me figuratively step back a little so I don’t panic.  It’s as if I never saw the show before.  I missed so much last time, it’s astonishing.  While the show does stray from the books, it does so meaningfully.  The actors do such a fantastic job of giving the characters dimension.

I’m studying this story so intensely because it’s thick with wisdom about the human condition.  People interest me more than anything else.  My lifelong journey to create artificial intelligence is a lot like falling in love with the human mind.  I had no idea how incredible we all are until I worked for decades to simulate a tiny bit of what we can do.

George R. R. Martin has a profound understanding of people and shares fabulously through his novels.  A Song of Ice and Fire is an incomplete masterpiece.  The producers of Game of Thrones understand this.  The entire crew does it justice.  I’m barely into season 3, but what I’ve experienced so far has me enthralled.  There’s a lot of new information that wasn’t presented in the novels.

Even the opening credits are brilliant.  The details and hints I missed before are like finding Easter Eggs, now.  I’ve been watching with headphones to eliminate distraction.  I’ve caught myself feeling out of breath while sitting still watching this TV show more than once.  It’s a combination of excitement, anticipation, and fear that keeps me glued to the screen until the credits roll at the end.  Watching TV

Characters who didn’t provoke much thought while reading are now obsessions.  Cersei and Tywin Lannister, in particular.  What I know of Tywin from the novels, and what I see on the screen combine to create a remarkably fascinating man.  Valar Morghulis, (season 2, ep. 10,) had a scene where Tywin is on his white horse in the antechamber of the throne room in the Red Keep.  It begins with his horse taking a dump.

It’s directing at it’s best in my opinion.  It’s disgusting, yet deeply symbolic.  In the novels, when Tywin is murdered by his son, his corpse reeks of an odor so foul even the Silent Sisters want to gag.  He virtually rotted from the inside out, figuratively and literally.  It’s confirmation of a secret need we all have for there to be justice and balance in the world.  He was rich, powerful, and ruthless, but it was all a facade hiding the steaming pile of shit he chose to be.

Yet Tywin Lannister served the realm well for many years as the Hand of the King (to the mad king.)  He endured all the manipulation and cruelty from the king and did nothing over it for years.  It was awful, but he bore it.  When his wife died giving birth to Tyrion, I suspect he changed for the worse.  He lashes out at Tyrion, along with Cersei.  Neither has forgiven him for the crime of being born.  It’s the root of Tyrion’s sorrow.  Tywin sees him as proof the gods are cruel and unworthy of his consideration.

The same event (birth of Tyrion) seems to be the root of Cersei’s sorrow.  A father who is ashamed of him, a sister who sees him as the killer of her mother, and a brother who feels guilty for playing with his heart.  Tyrion is a lot like Tywin, which is the real reason Tywin can barely stand to look at him.  He looks at him and sees himself, and steaming piles of shit generally hate looking in the mirror.  I’m delighted by how well the series is taking shape as I watch.  The crew is doing so well it makes me giddy.  I’m off to continue.

“Ew! Ugly Naked Guy is using his new hammock.”

3D printing

Welp.  I got over myself with that hate problem.  In hindsight, what a ridic waste of time.  (Hindsight is such an asshole.)  I’ve been extremely busy with electronics projects of late.  It’s as if someone told me electricity is about to go away, so I’m trying to spend as much time with it as possible in the meantime.  I’m such a doof.  My kitchen island looks like a gadget lab.  (Mostly because it is.)

Fortunately, it’s been chilly at night so I can open all the windows.  It allows me to solder all night without stinking up the place.  Sleep is for people who don’t know how to code, she said, while yawning.  I can’t help it, though.  It’s just so exciting and fun.  I’m designing a laser (midi) violin so my client can play despite rheumatoid arthritis.  It’s kind of like a theremin, but with a lot more precision, tone, effects, and motion sensing gloves that also warm his hands. (Imagine a smiling emoji with a gold tooth that shines every 3-5 seconds, please.  Thank you.)

I enlisted my AI to help design it specifically for my client.  I’m keeping aesthetics in mind as I go, (this time.)  I’m sure I’ll only think this until new stuff comes out, but it’s a great time to be alive for gadget engineering.  I’m even keeping things like the potential for mass production, patenting, and the like in mind.  I want to keep the door open for growth.  I’d love it if tools for disabled artists were widely available, so I’m designing with that goal in mind.

I’m going to integrate it with the 4TD project since that’s where I began with this.  It all comes back to the artists who have given me so much through their music, I feel like I owe them (lots.)  4TD is named after Stevie Nicks (in a manner known mostly by her fans.)  Stevie Nicks fascinates me and teaches me.  I love music, but I also love repetition, intensity, and the fact that we’re all connected.  So… I don’t have many friends, she said, unnecessarily.  😂

It’s hard for me to see people.  Perhaps it’s part of why I love humans so much.  I think it’s because I’m autistic me.  My perspective is blurry unless I put forth great effort to focus and zoom in.  It takes much energy, so I’m picky about what I focus on.  I’m usually shocked, giddy, and gleeful when I discover a new artist.  I don’t seek them out.  They find me.  Sometimes, it begins as background music on a commercial.

It grabs my attention repeatedly, and next thing you know, I’m singing it to my phone or searching online to find out who made that song.  I haven’t listened to music on the radio (on purpose) in adulthood.  Between that, Michael Jackson, and Prince, it’s no wonder the 80’s were limited in artistic scope for me.  Learning of Stevie Nicks led to an instant, intense (invisible) bond.  I have a collection of artists who affect me this profoundly.  Bach was first, followed by ABBA.  For a long time, I wrote off anyone who claimed they don’t like ABBA, (because I didn’t believe it was possible, okay I still don’t, but I don’t shun over it anymore.)    Remember the days of holding a tape recorder against a speaker to create mixtapes playlists?  (Pepperidge Farm remembers.)  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  It was like walking to school through 10 feet of snow, uphill both ways.  🤪 I know.  I’m up there, but I’m more on the old enough to side, than the too old to side.  It’s fun over here, yo.  🙃

electronics workstation

I didn’t discover Stevie Nicks until March of the last year-ish.  I heard a Fleetwood Mac song playing while I was putting gas in my car.  I recognized it from childhood when my older siblings played it while I was allegedly sleeping.  It led to my finally naming, then watching the band sing it live (in the mid-70’s) on YouTube.  It was the lullaby that soothed me to sleep during a painful childhood, (co-starring me as the weird token black kid.)  My siblings were obsessed with this band (in real time) but had no idea their albums were planting seeds within me, too.

It probably seems like it took a long time for them to flower in me.  From my perspective, the way it all unfolded is just so.  I love knowing a band was there for me when I was a lonely child, and again now while I’m grieving the rape of America.  I didn’t realize they could do that.  I found out (after asking) where we’ll be attending the upcoming Fleetwood Mac concert.  I’ve been hyper ever since.  It’s like I drank a Bawl’s through a licorice stick (iirc.)

They’re coming to Sioux Falls.  (Imagine me repeating this nonstop for at least 20 minutes while grinning so hard my face still hurts.)  I’m so excited, I stopped working on my project for a while.  Every time I remember I’m going to see Beyonce soon, my hands start shaking.  Then I get stuck in they’re coming to Sioux Falls Fleetwood Mac loop for a bit.  (I choreographed a dance to go with it because it was necessary.)  Oh shit, now that song from the Pointer Sister’s is playing in my head.  (Damn you, Beverly Hill’s Cop II.)

I’m loopy, and I know it.  G’s (gadgets) before Zzz’s, eh?  M said they added Sioux Falls to their tour so Stevie Nicks can drop off the restraining order.  Then he laughed at his own joke.  😶 And he’s all mine.  Heh.  I’d better go clean up my mess in the kitchen, so I can sleep tonight.  One more thing:  They’re coming to Sioux Falls!

“Oh, Mr. Scientist has to get all technical.”

person in dark state

Welp.  I’m in an uncomfortable state of hate.  So much so, that I’m dedicating all energy toward overcoming it.  I don’t know when death will come, and I don’t want to die with hate in my heart any more than I want to live with it.  I’m performing a hate elimination on myself because hate has seeped in.  This will not do.  I’m ashamed of the fact that I feel hatred toward those who harm me.  I’m not a child.  I’ve had time to work out why this won’t do.

I read recently it’s a symptom of PTSD to feel like death is right around the corner at all times.  Ever since gaining this insight, I no longer berate myself for living my life as if it’s about to end.  It plays nicely with my logic obsession, too.  Bonus.  Death remains a certainty, after all.  As I grieve the many losses brought on by the treason going on in America right now, I struggle to refrain from blaming those who continue to support this audacious crime spree.

I realized today I’m also hating those who accept it, make excuses for it, and lie about it; but most of all, those who pretend it isn’t happening because it doesn’t affect them directly.  I hate them.  I understand continuing to hate them will literally kill me, probably with some form of cancer.  Despite this, it’s what I’m feeling.  It’s already making me sick, and Mr. Sandman gathered up all the sheep, then blocked me offline.  OFFLINE.  😱

So here I am, talking to myself so I can walk myself through this.  Nobody reads this blog, which is surprisingly liberating.  I have other shit to do.  I have projects I’m passionate about waiting for my attention.  I don’t have time for this.  Death rides my ass like a rascal with a pony, remember?  So I need to get over myself.  My gut is a ball of fire that keeps stealing my attention because I’m wasting precious time hating.  Sigh.

The path to love is understanding, and it’s what’s missing here.  I don’t understand why some people choose to be wicked.  I hate them because I don’t understand them.  I see and feel the damage and hurt they decide to inflict on others, and it makes me furious.  But more so, the ones who wrap themselves in a delusional shield of lies to further their own agenda.  Treason is against the law in America.  Law applies to all or none.

Mean people suck

I don’t think I want to love those who harm deliberately.  I just don’t want to waste energy and health hating.  At this point, I believe indifference will do.  I’ve spent more time thinking about this than I’d prefer.  My ongoing celebration after emerging from beneath a rock has fizzled out.  Agoraphobia used to be something I considered negatively.  My views are evolving.  I no longer fear it as a negative possibility.  I see it as a (neutral) lifestyle option, now.  Yay.

I say yay because it works for me.  I don’t go anywhere unless I want to badly enough to fight off the anxiety that will entirely be part of the deal.  It takes a lot of energy to fight off anxiety well enough to blend into society.  I define blending in as preventing myself from inflicting my anxiety issue on others while going about my business.  On days I’m not up for pulling off this feat of strength, I stay home.  My life, my rules.

I don’t like witnessing someone having a panic attack, so I figure nobody does.  That shit is contagious, yo.  It makes you feel desperate to do anything to make it stop, even when it’s not happening to you.  While it’s completely involuntary, some things increase or decrease the likelihood.  My life has been an ongoing experiment to learn ways to keep from becoming Anxiety’s bitch as much as possible while experiencing as much as I can.

The wicked are having a hard time making up lies to explain why 45’s head is lodged so profoundly up Putin’s ass.  It’s not easy to be audaciously vile in plain view of the world without a substantial sociopathic personality disorder to back it up, eh?  Silly upstarts, tricks are for the wicked kids.  Like the con artists posing as spiritual leaders, raking in all that bling for their televised performances.  They’re pretending to accept 45 and Putin’s crimes because it’s a fair compromise to overturn Roe vs. Wade.  😂 🤣

WTF, wicked people?

They don’t really care about killing babies, do you?  Put that on your jacket, Melanoma.  Oofda.  I guess I need to express my hate before I destroy it.  The wicked kids stole children from parents and put them in cages.  Then snarkily announced they don’t give a shit.  This is hella provocative behavior of an evil nature.  In a country that refuses to take responsibility for its gun problem to the extent it recently made them more accessible for the documented mentally ill.  How is this not going to end in tears?

So, yeah.  I’m feeling overwhelming hate toward incredibly wicked people.  It’s ruining my joy.  So I’m going to meditate on what I want and work it out until it goes away.  Then I’m going to dive back into what makes me happy without this fire burning in my gut.  Peace.

“Not unless different means the same.”

It’s time for an updated game of Show-n-Tell.  My photography skills probably haven’t improved in the meantime.  Even though I think about photography more than in the past.  Heh.  I’m still using a cell phone (because I gave my DSLR away to someone who does more than think about photography.)  😂  I use Logic Pro X on my Mac computers, but I spend far more time on my latest PC build; which is the subject of these photos.

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The desk is named Lt. Dan.  (He recently got new legs.)  Atop the left speaker is Arnold from Hey Arnold.  On the right speaker is Ralph Wiggum from The Simpsons.  The PC was a delight to assemble and configure.  (At least it was once I got a CPU cooler that didn’t block a RAM slot.)  The doll head is an Atari Punk Console synthesizer from Etsy.  I don’t think I’ve acquired any additional equipment since my last update.  I’ll take photos of the rest of the room soon.  It took a while to set it all up to function well and also look appealing.

I have 3 other computer stations in the same room, so planning was involved.  Most of the changes included rearranging and moving my drum kit to another space.  It can get relatively warm in here when I’m running multiple systems and bouncing between them.  I doubt I’ll have to use the heat this winter.  Yay.  I spend roughly 10 hours a day working here, so the atmosphere is significant.  I’m stunned by how much I’m positively affected by the ambient lighting.  The LEDs behind my screens slowly cycle through the color spectrum.

It feels like hanging out in a fairyland; complete with photos of Stevie Nicks, my Fairy Godmother.  It’s my happy place in the universe.  I also have the official movie poster from A Wrinkle in Time.  Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and Chris Pine are on it.  You have to be amazing to make it on my walls.  Or imaginary, she said, recalling she has artwork of Ernie and Bert in the hallway.  I spoil my inner child.  😂

Here are the PC specs:

The only upgrade I hope to make in the future is a better midi keyboard.  The one I have works fine, but the keys are plastic and make noises when I play.  I anticipate this will be a con in the future, but for now, it’s all good.  I’ve researched what’s currently available, and at this point, I think I’ll just make my own midi keyboard when I upgrade.  I want a keyboard that can be 25 or 49 or 61 or 88 keys by snapping some more keys on magnetically or something.  Same with the features.  I want to be able to add what I need when I need it and not be bothered with shit I don’t.

I’m also not attached to the black and white scheme of traditional pianos.  When I push a button or key, I want it to acknowledge with sound and light.  I don’t know about other people, but I can’t track two things at the same time with just my ears or only my eyes.   It’s probably an autism thing.  If more than one person speaks to me simultaneously, the result is the same as if nobody is talking to me.  However, if one uses sign language or gestures, and one speaks, I can grok both messages.  I just need a moment to convince myself that responding to one person at a time is wiser than panicking.

It’s not skill related, so I’m going to design around it.  Eventually.  When I’m not in the midst of a 4TD project.  I’m off to beat my drums with sticks.  💜

 

“Do you think she walked in, saw you, and left?”

violinist

I got a new client for the 4TD Project the other day.  I began the process of designing a prototype midi instrument today to help them continue playing music despite declining mobility.  My client is a fellow violinist (squee!) who has rheumatoid arthritis in his hands.  After spending the entire day researching and brainstorming, I’m excited to meet this challenge.

Naturally, my first step is always seeing if someone else thought of a way, and put it online.  Unfortunately, I haven’t found anything yet, but I did discover some cool midi instruments I was previously unaware existed.  They’re all mainly variations of a standard midi keyboard.  Only the shape and button position changes.

As a violinist, I understand the intimacy between a musician and their instrument.  I thought of many ideas today and will sleep on it tonight.  I’m acquiring lots of electronic components and parts in the process.  Guitar Hero is interested in assisting me on this project, which is fabulous.  Two brains are better than one.

It’s an excellent time to be alive where custom instruments are concerned.  The Maker movement has led to the wide availability of parts and materials.  3d printers help keep things pretty.  I just laughed recalling my original prototype for an electronic drum kit.  It was so fugly until the final product with 3d printed parts.  Heh.

music production equipment

I’ll update when we create a design.  It’s fun because there are so many things the client can do without causing pain in his hands.  It’s just remapping a little to bypass the problematic motions.  The hard part is choosing from all the possibilities.  I’m so excited I can’t wait to work on it again tomorrow.  Sleeping on it will clarify which direction I’ll take.  I’m off to dream it out.