Monday, September 15, 2014

If I Should Die Before I Live...



Callie upchucked this morning.  As some of us know, animals know and sense things that humans can’t.  Last night, in my own horrid personal life, something happened, something unpretty.  The trigger was something really stupid - I was playing music at my usual Saturday night place, and a certain person – who thinks she knows better, that she is in charge of every goddam thing I do, and who thinks that her opinion and/or beliefs are the only ones that are valid, came up and started telling me how I should do my fucking job.  I don’t go down to McDonald’s and tell anybody how to cook their hamburgers, so what makes people think they should come into where I work and tell me how to play my music – especially somebody who doesn’t know the first goddam thing about music???  Anyway, as I always do, I shut my mouth – being perfectly aware of consequences of defending my own honor, or saying anything that the bullying warden does not approve of.  A little while later, she says, “Tomorrow we need to have a talk”.  Ok, so I know what that means – it means more threats, more smartass, more denials, more turnabout, more bullying.
Any person who has kept up with my blog here knows that I’ve spent my whole life being screwed with, lied to, exploited, taken advantage of, and bullied to beat hell.  I’m not talking about the kind of bullying that we hear about in schools, I’m talking about the bullying father, the workplace bully, the road rage bugeyed lowlifes out there in the streets who tailgate, racing around endangering other people’s lives, and other such adult type punks – and they come in the shape of male and female organisms.  I’m talking about people who claim to want to help, but really only want something for themselves – many times just a punching bag to take out their aggressions – aggressions that they would never direct at anyone who might be able to fight back – anybody who they don’t have something on.  What does this chicken shit have on me – I’ve been out of work for 2-1/2 years – and not by my own doing.  The money mongers will think I deserve what I get, while people who have any real insight on life will understand, and will be as appalled as I am – not only at my own personal plight, but at all similar B.S.
So, after the “We need to have a talk”, I got to thinking about my life – about the fact that I’m beyond sick and tired of being screwed with, of being stifled by people who, being the flaming cowards that they are, will never show their faces, while they play their little chicken shit game.  I got to thinking that my life is even worse now than it was ten years ago, and twenty years ago.  I fought with severe clinical depression for about ten years there, and it seemed to be dissipating somewhat, and it doesn’t feel like depression is setting in, this is just disgust and being tired.  I got to thinking that I don’t see any light at the end of any tunnel, in fact, I don’t even see a tunnel, just mostly darkness and bullshit – and angry, vindictive people.  All that in mind, I decided that when we had “The talk”, which was code for “I need somebody to beat up on right now, and you’re it”, that I would say my piece, maybe more, then cut the inside of my bicep open – where that big artery is, and bleed out in less than a minute.  This comes from a guy who doesn’t anymore take his own life all that seriously – the biological part – where most people say it’s so valuable and should be preserved at all costs.  Well, I don’t buy it, in my mind, when I’m gone, nobody will care, and in a thousand years, nobody will know about, or care about anything any person here now does.  I’ve always done good things, not because I was afraid of burning in some imaginary hell, or because I thought I’d be rewarded – I do good things because I want to, because I think it’s the right thing to do – and that hasn’t changed.  So, I had decided that I was done with this horrid place.  After all this, the dictator decided she didn't want to have "The talk" after all.  This takes me to a whole 'nother subject, which I won't get into now, but I found it bizarre and astronomically unlikely that this would have happened.
Getting back to Callie, I’ve had cats before, but I was never all that close to them, I liked them, and I cared about them, but they did their thing and I did mine – and they seemed to be ok with that.  Callie is different; she was severely abused for the first year of her life, and also starved within inches of her life when she came into my world.  While she hid under beds and dressers for the first 2 or 3 weeks, I would spend time talking softly to her, telling her it’s ok, and that nobody was going to hurt her.  I put food as close to her as I could get.  I even managed to pet her a few times.  Fast forward ten months, and she’s a happy cat – loving, non aggressive, playful, never gets into anything she’s not supposed to, non demanding, and unassuming.  Her favorite place to be is on my lap.  She doesn’t cower or duck anymore when I reach out to pet her.  She always has enough to eat, and she’s always welcome to be on or near me, and she knows that without any doubt.  Last night, I told her that I loved her, and that I was so sorry that things got to the point that they were, and that I would see her soon.  She stayed on my lap for the rest of the time until I went to bed – and she seemed kinda down.  I would almost bet my life that the reason she lost her dinner was because she knew something bad was about to happen, that she was about to lose somebody she loved and depended on.  I love this cat more than I’ve ever loved any human – and I’m so not kidding about that.  I know, some might think that’s creepy, but it’s really not, I love her for being the loving, unassuming being that she is – that’s a whole lot more than I can say for any person I’ve ever known.  People are so goddam angry and vindictive, and jealous, and controlling, and selfish.  This cat is none of those things.  If I’d met a girl who had those virtues, and who wasn’t so goddam angry, I would have happily spent my life with her, but well, that hasn’t happened, and I’m sure it’s not gonna.  I’m actually ok with that, in the way that I accept it as reality, not that I like it, but it is what it is, as they say.  When the time does come for me to check out of this disgusting place, I won’t really feel sorry for any person – for leaving any person here, but I will feel horrible for leaving Callie.  I don’t know how she’ll do without me.  Thing is, I hate this place, I always have, and I generally hate people – being that most of what I get from them is their hostility, and their shunning – a few exceptions, of course, but I’ve never really felt totally trusting with any person – and the few times I did let my guard down, three guesses….
I think Callie is afraid of most people – as she should be.  I wish things were just a little different, that I could stay here for her – and let me tell you, there is nothing else I can think of that I would want to stay in this shithole of a world for.  But, I’ve really had it.
I’m not going anywhere today, and probably not tomorrow, but I’m sure “The talk” will happen soon.
One thing I need to add is, anyone who might be reading this, I’m asking that you don’t step in – in the way of the law.  Last time I told ONE person about my plan to end this ridiculous B.S., and next thing I know, the cops are banging at my door – to take me to the Psych Ward – where I spent two miserable weeks.  I don’t need psychiatric interference, I don’t some idiot therapist showing me phony concern, telling me stories about how I should take control of my life, and how I should value life itself – because again, I don’t buy it.  I should be able to check out on my own terms, and nobody has the right to dictate to me that I can’t do that – it’s MY life, and it’s up to ME what I do with it.
So, I’m happy to say that I have a little more time to be there for Callie, but I believe I’m already on borrowed time.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Beating The Not So Dead Horse...


Well, the saga continues.  I’ve said a few times that I believe somebody is deathly afraid of me – afraid enough that they have sent highly trained people to make sure I never break out of the poverty level, and, that I never find my way to a bigger platform to speak from.  I’ve also said that I never saw me as any threat to anybody, but it’s beyond obvious that somebody sure does.
Ok, here’s the latest.  This, is on top of the countless other times that proved the quote, “Things do not just happen, they are made to happen”.  About three weeks ago, I auditioned at the Casino, “Boomtown”.  There is the “Guitar Bar” located inside.  I called there, and the current entertainment director told me to audition a couple days later, which I did.  Backpedalling just a little, I called the previous entertainment director (Katie) a few months earlier, only to get the classic runaround.  Ok, so, I do the audition, along with two other acts.  She approaches me (and not the other two – in fact, one guitar player looked like he said something nasty to the entertainment person) after my three songs and says, “We’re gonna get you in here, I’ll send you the email with the W-9, and the dates I have open, I’ll call you next week”.  She never did call, but that’s pretty much par for the course.  So, I waited two weeks and went down to the casino, at which time she did come down and briefly talk to me, she says, “Send me an email to this address and I’ll send you the W-9 and the open dates”.  So, I went home and immediately sent her the email.  She replies back with at attached W-9, but no list of open dates.  I wait two more days, and I email her, asking if she’d forgotten about me.  She replies now, with the classic runaround, “I haven’t done anything with the Guitar Bar”, and, “I’m booked through the end of October, and mostly through the end of the year”.  This is after she originally said she was booked partway through October, then the next time all the way through October, now mostly through the end of the year (“I haven’t done anything with the Guitar Bar” – which is it?).  I would almost bet my life that I will never set foot on the stage in the Guitar Bar, I recognize the classic runaround when I see it.  My question is, why would she approach me, and not the other two acts at the audition, tell me about the W-9 and the open dates list, send me the W-9, then suddenly do an about face and start with the runaround?  Easy answer – somebody got to her.  For the first year and a half in this town, after countless efforts to contact the entertainment staff at the various casinos to no avail, I figured that maybe I was on some master shit list – it wasn’t hard to fathom that all the entertainment people and the local booking agents would talk to each other.  After this, I’m not sure if it’s just the local Good Ol’ Boy network doing what it does, or if this crap is coming from higher up.  I ran into a similar set of circumstances when I was in Oregon for the couple years I spent there – just before moving here to Reno.  I figured it was the insanely jealous musician – Al Morales – who I believed was defaming me to the various entertainment people, and I’m sure  it was, but it was strange that every one of them just automatically believed what he said, without asking me, just blatantly cutting off any and all communication – which seemed to be doing just fine before Al did whatever he did – and I’m not convinced that he didn’t do and say something.  It makes sense that this stuff has been coming all along – from much higher up – on top of what the Al Morales’ of the world do.  Keep in mind, this is not new, this is something that has been going on for most of my life – and looking back, it looks even more fishy than any of the situations did at the time.  And I’m talking about going all the way back to when I was 8 years old (that I’m aware of).
As I said before, it makes the most sense that this has something to do with my dad, who is gone now, but was an activist of sorts.  He started out in the 50s as a disc jockey – spinning records, then in the 80s, started doing talk radio – first sports, then politics, social issues, current events, etc.  He was very controversial, in fact, all the radio station owners in the state of Hawaii were deathly afraid that they were going to be sued because my dad was surely going to say something to offend the wrong people.  Well, my dad knew the laws, the main part being that you cannot be sued as long as there is proof of your allegations.  He was on the receiving end of many death threats, he had callers who berated him, and he was fired from every station he worked for, in spite of the fact that he always had among the highest ratings – and there were quite a few stations that he'd worked for.  He not only interviewed celebrities, but he also had, right there on the air – mercenaries, military commanders, hit men, and other such people that we normal folks never hear about.  This was before the internet, he would receive letters from people who supported his allegations with undeniable proof, and information that would cause most people’s heads to explode.  My dad spent the last fifteen years of his life mostly in seclusion, not by choice, more by the control and demand of the girlfriend he had the misfortune of being with.  He had worn out all chances of working at any radio station long before, so I guess he just finally gave up.  He died being just eight years older than I am now.
I’m not ready to throw up my hands just yet.  Yes, I’m tired, and I’m disgusted, but that motivates me even more to want to get somewhere in this horrid music business.  I’m not sure what I would do as far as being any kind of activist – I pretty much burned out on that about five years ago, I figured I’ll leave it up to the youngsters to do the fighting.  As for whoever it is that has been seeing to it that I never climb out of this gaping hole that I’ve been in for most of my life, I’ve called them out many times, but they continue to hide in the bushes while they play their little chicken shit game.  I don’t know what they think I’m going to do, and there is even the possibility that some kind of agreement might likely be reached, but that will never happen as long as they continue to hide.  I cannot think of anything more cowardly.
I don’t have answers, just observations – lots and lots of creepy, bizarre observations. I believe there is no chance of my working here in Reno, maybe anywhere.  I continue to try to find other avenues for income, other avenues to get my music out to the masses, but I don’t see any light at the end of any tunnel just yet, in fact, I can’t even see the tunnel, just mostly darkness, shadows, and bullshit.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Story Of My Life

This is the guy who has been stifled for the most part of 30 years :O

I always say that it’s not a good thing to bullshit people – and I live by that, not because I’m afraid of some firey hell, or that I think I’ll be rewarded somehow, I stay honest because it’s what I want to do.  The only exception to that is when my life or my safety depends on it – and when I do find myself in such a situation, I do all I can to get away from it, so I can live my life my own way, without having to answer to any wardens or gatekeepers.  I’ve had wardens and gatekeepers for most of my life, seems to be the story of my life, something I’ve never understood.  Most of the time, getting out takes much longer than I would like, and I usually go from one crappy situation to another, but still…

In the spirit of being honest, I’ll once again state things as I see them, and not how I would like them to be – or even worse – how other people would like them to be.
In 1980, I played my first professional music job – otherwise known as the “gig”.  I learned things, how to play, how not to play, how to sing, learned to play ten instruments, and to play them well.  I learned how to be in front of an audience, how to communicate with them, read them, give them something that will make them feel, and I think I've accomplished these things - better than most.
In pretty much all businesses, a person will experience good, bad, and everything in between.  He will put up with bullying bosses, useless workmates, angry customers, and less than pleasant working conditions – all par for the course.  In my business, at least for me, I can’t decide which is worse, the people in power and their pathetic, egotistical bullshit, or the listening audience – namely the angry, resentful sourpusses who would do anything to take a person down.  I’ve been on the receiving end of some of the most vicious acts of vindictiveness and jealousy that you could imagine – and then some – again, par for the course.  I’ve been on the receiving end of foaming at the mouth wrath from venue owners and upper management – again, par for the course – especially being that I’m somewhat decent at what I do – the more you threaten their tiny, dysfunctional body parts, the more and bigger sticks they will try to beat you with.  I’m not convinced that I’m not on some master shit list here in Reno, and maybe even on a national level, because come on, I’m no bar act – I know, fathead, sorry, but I’m not going to water this down – the shit just is what it is – as they say.
I’ve seen people who would not recognize talent if it came down in the form of an asteroid and blasted them into outer space – if some guru, or some slick advertising trick didn’t brainwash them into believing this or that.  There’s Joshua Bell in the subway station, there are the street musicians who more often than not don’t even get a second look – no matter how amazingly talented they are.  One of the things I’ve noticed along those lines – in my own musical journey, is the way so many people will treat me with such gross disrespect.  They will come in with their sour face, see other people having a good time, and the first thing they want to do is complain about the volume – being that that’s an easy target, and they know that most managements and owners will not hesitate to pass this venom filled demand to the entertainment.  I did notice, though, that when I had the full bands, I didn’t get this much, if at all, most of it has been since I started doing the solo – it’s common knowledge that a bully will be more likely to screw with a smaller target than a bigger one – cowards that they are.  I’ve also experienced a few times, some dimwit will walk up to the stage and proceed to tell me how to play my music – “Do this song, do that song”, “Slow it down”, “Speed it up”.  I lifted a great answer for that, which I used on the few occasions – “Eh, I don’t come down to McDonald’s and tell you how to cook your hamburgers, so don’t come in here and tell me how to play my music”.  Works every time - thanks for that, Freddy Morris.  As if that’s not enough, I have somebody who claims to care about me, who treats me with the same disrespect – “It’s too loud”, “Play this song, play that song”.  AND, the latest, I went to a casino to try to get in touch with the entertainment coordinator who said she would call, and didn’t, and this person just HAD to come along, AND, when the entertainment person came down to see me, this shadow walked right up to the counter with me – observing every word that was exchanged, then added her own.  Had the entertainment person showed up with her husband or boyfriend hovering, I would have wondered what the hell his problem was – and I’m guessing she was probably thinking the same thing.  It annoys me beyond anything I can think of, that a person who has never been in the business, who has no musical background, has never dealt with a venue manager, owner, or booking agent of any kind, thinks she should tell me what I should do, how I should do it, and who I should do it with – that’s not to mention this is the case not only with music, but all the way across the board in my current life (that's a whole 'nother).  It’s not bad enough that the people in power in this horrid business have stifled me in every way possible, and not bad enough that the economic state of affairs in the world are what they are, but now I have to be talked down to, dictated to, instructed on how to do MY job by a person who has no f’n idea about the music business.  It’s as if most people think that not being signed by a major label makes me stupid, that being out of work for any length of time – makes me stupid.  Again, I get beat over the head with this crap in all areas of my life – by a person who should be on my team.  Once again, the current state of affairs has forced me to stay in a situation that has not been good for me.  I feel stifled in so many ways.  I don’t spend near enough time with my instruments – because I don’t want to listen to the thinly veiled snide remarks, or put up with the skulking around for weeks at a time, and if I dare stand up for mice elf – the bullying, the threats, the smartass, and whatever else.  I’m not allowed to pursue anything by going out to the venues – again, the thinly veiled bullshit.  I listened today, once again, to shitty remarks about money – as in, “I didn’t get any gas money from this or that” – which is actually more B.S., because when I was working, I did fill up the gas tank, I took the car to get washed, bought food, and even paid $500 to fix the heating and a/c system when it went down.  I’m also to understand that what I contribute to this “relationship” is worthless, since a monetary price tag cannot be put on it – how sad is THAT?  The disrespect, the hovering, the control, the jealousy that is violently denied, the sniping, the controlling of the money, the bullying, the threats – and this person cannot figure out why I can barely stand to be around her most of the time.  P.S.  I don't care all that much anymore about being loved, it's much more important to me that I be treated with respect.
It would be a good thing for me to get some kind of work, whether it be local work, regional national tours, or monies from royalties, before I get too old to do this anymore, or before all the numbskulls who have tried to take me down kick the bucket.  I want them to see that I kept at it, didn’t sell out, and didn’t let their vicious B.S. stop me.  This brings me to another point:  For whatever reasons, I have never been one to doubt me – in spite of the fact that most people in my life have been discouraging, envious, insulting, vicious, and vindictive.  I’ve always known what my abilities were – and are, nobody has ever been able to shake me on that.  I really don’t know why – it’s not that I’m some super hero with super powers, or some noble pillar of strength – quite the opposite, actually.
So, I continue to play my music – it’s all I know, it’s all I care to do.  There may come a time when I’ll come to a crossroads, where I’ll either have to cave in to society’s bullshit, and get a “real job”, or live on the streets – or, check out on my own terms.  P.S.  I will never cave in to society’s B.S., and I’m pretty sure I won’t allow the universe to put me back out into the street.  I wouldn’t be the first artist to end up broke and alone, going to his grave never having had a shot at a decent life.
I have no alternatives at the moment, all I have is that I continue to work on getting some kind of life of my own.  If it doesn't happen soon, well, I guess I don't know...

Friday, September 5, 2014

Let's Raise The Minimum Wage, Because That Has Worked So Well Before


We’ve been hearing all the hullaballoo about raising the minimum wage.  By show of hands, how many people think for one second that should the minimum wage be raised to $15, that these huge corporations would allow their multi-billion dollar a year profits to be cut into?  That’s a rhetorical – the answer is, not for one red hot second.  They will raise prices, and they will cut corners – AT OUR EXPENSE, do you people not get that???
As far as I know, there are no regulations on how far apart a particular franchised business can be located.  In all the cities and towns I’ve been in over the past 15 years or so, there is a Home Depot and/or a Lowe’s every three or four miles in any direction.  Same goes for WalMart, Starbucks, McDonalds, Burger King, and so on.  This makes it literally impossible for any true small business to exist.  Back in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, when this country was at its best, true small businesses were what made our economy and our country so great, and so prosperous.  In today’s world, true small businesses are one step away from being completely and totally a thing of the past.  There are anti-trust laws in place, but they don’t cover geographical limitations of franchises.  Yes, the Conservatives and the hardcore Capitalists will scream bloody murder about such a regulation, should that ever become a gleam in a politician’s eye.  As it is, Conservatives and hardcore Capitalists think there is already too much regulation – because they think that there should be no limits on how much of a monopoly, or how much money a company, or any individual should make.  They parrot such asinine cliches as, “Well, did you ever get a job from a poor person?”.  My answer is, “Yes, you’re damn right I did, back when poor people were who would work at the local gas station or hardware store for ten years or so, scrimp and save, and then open his own small business.  He would have created a few jobs, most of the time, he treated his employees and customers fairly, and still made a profit enough to feed his family and retire on at some point.  Most often, owners of such ventures were not obsessed with profiting in the billions – he was perfectly happy to make a decent living, create a few jobs, and offer a good product or service for the folks in his neighborhood.  I’m not implying Socialism, what I’m saying is that we need regulation on geographical limits on franchises.  And that’s just for starters.  There must be some kind of fairness act to make sure that the mom & pop outfit pays the same for his supplies as the corporate giant does.  And that’s still just for starters – as there are so many unfair practices that make it impossible for true small businesses to exist.  AND, when I say “True small business”, I mean a TRUE small business – not Rush Limbaugh’s definition of “Small business”.  Rush would tell you that Home Depot is a small business – sorry Rush, but that’s crap.
Increasing the minimum wage will not do a damn thing for people, and will not help the economy one tiny bit, all it’s going to do is enrage the big corporation ownership and upper management, resulting in not only making sure they make up for us poor folks cutting into their profits, but they will punish us for daring to try to expect fair play from these ruthless parasites.
Think about this, think about your financial situation three years ago, think about your income vs. your cost of living back then.  I guarantee your income bought substantially more than it buys today.  So, let me tell ya, it’s not going to magically change, three years from now, your income is going to buy you substantially less than it does now – and so on.  You can sit on your ass, you can pretend “It’s all good”, you can parrot such crap as, “Let’s all be positive and move forward”, and you can watch things continue to swirl down the proverbial toilet.  You can watch your kids and grandkids live they way people do today in third world countries – I lived in one of them, and take my word for it, you don’t want that for your kids, or for anybody. 
If I have any sayso, any suggestions for people, it’s to get on the phone and call your Congresspersons, email them, visit them at their offices, and scream bloody murder to get them to regulate the monopoly that is firmly in place – which is enabling the rich to get richer, and poor to move so quickly into the poorhouse that our heads are all spinning into oblivion.  Greed has destroyed every empire in the history of the world, and this one is no different.  So, be a pretentious chicken shit, or speak up – your choice.