(no subject)

(11:21:30 PM) Abstract Toast: like, I want one event where they make you wait until five other people show up. Then they throw a greased watermelon, greased grapefruit, and greased orange into the mud pit. If you grab the watermelon and get out, your first five drinks afterwards are free. The grapefruit, first three. Orange, first one.
(11:22:10 PM) taylorbigbabyfan: Where the fuck did you come up with that
(11:22:16 PM) Abstract Toast: Just did.
(11:22:19 PM) Abstract Toast: Doesn't it sound FUN

we are all in some way or another going to reseda someday, to die

So, I got The Book of Drugs and I felt I should write about it a little.

First: the history lesson.

My first few exposures to Mike Doughty, I didn't know what I was hearing. They Might Be Giants had a song with this mysterious guy rapping nonsense. There was a meme video set to Super Bon Bon I watched in 2004, I thought it was a silly song. Later, when I was dating Josh, he played Soul Coughing's "El Oso" and I still had really shitty taste in music so again, I thought it was just beats and goofy lyrics with no substance. I remember asking him to make me a mix of "silly songs, like that Soul Coughing stuff."

I went off to college in 2006 and had a radio show with a goofy guy named Nick Roelofs. Since Aquinas was such a small college, nobody ever listened to the radio station, so we'd pretty much go in there, throw an mp3 CD in the computer, queue up a bunch of songs, and then take our laptops and spend the whole time talking and ripping CDs from the station's library of indie rock. This was a time of a lot of musical discovery for me and I stole a bunch of CDs from there, including Rachael Yamagata and the Dresden Dolls.  We had these CDs we were supposed to play certain tracks from. One of them was Haughty Melodic. I think the song was Looking At The World... and I thought it was an awesome name for an album and a pretty cool song, so I snagged the album so I could play it for Josh because I thought he'd like it.  Josh was living in an apartment in Hudsonville with Gerred at the time and it was cold and miserable in the apartment so we'd often just drive around listening to music for a while, get coffee or food, and just spend time out of the apartment without spending much money. As I recall, gas was pretty cheap back then, so driving around in the Explorer was one of the staples of what we'd do when we were together.

So we got in the Explorer and I said hey, I picked up this CD called Haughty Melodic and I liked the first track off it, we should listen to it. Now usually Josh didn't let me play music that I wanted to hear, he's pickier than I am, but for some reason he said yes, so we popped the CD in and started listening. When it ended, we started it over again. We got lost, both in the music and literally. Somehow we ended up in Illinois, turned around and headed back, listening to Haughty the whole time.

I had fallen in love.

The next time I was at the radio station I searched the shelves for more by this Mike Doughty guy. The station had a copy of Skittish/Rockity Roll, and I grabbed that one but it was quite some time before we got around to listening to it because we were so hooked on Haughty Melodic. The first time we listened to Skittish was in the car on the way to a marriage counseling appointment. By that time I'd figured out that Mike Doughty was M. Doughty from Soul Coughing. I ripped Josh's Soul Coughing CDs and tried to listen to them but just couldn't get into it.

Then I moved to South Carolina and had an hour commute each way to and from work, so the guy I was living with lent me an 8-gig MP3 player and I dumped a bunch of music onto it. One day at work I headed over to buy a sandwich from Subway and had the MP3 player on shuffle and "Screenwriter's Blues" played. I couldn't believe Josh had never played that song for me before. It was amazing. It was poetry. It was gorgeous. From that day on, my view of Soul Coughing changed and I was a fan.

Things went sour in South Carolina but I felt too ashamed to think about going back to Michigan. I knew I needed an exit strategy but had no idea what to do. I lost myself in Doughty's music, read his entire blog, and desperately wanted to know his life's story. My fantasy was that I'd run away to Brooklyn, somehow meet him, and offer to write his biography and apprentice to him. I threw myself completely into his music, learning the songs on guitar, memorizing every nuance, listening anytime I had a spare minute.

Anyway, that's when the obsession really kicked off. I've faithfully listened to every album since -- loved Golden Delicious while I was working in the factory, wasn't big on Sad Man Happy Man when I was going through the worst mental health shit of my life and missing Brian (I didn't relate to it. It wasn't until a few months ago that I started liking it), jammed out to Dubious Luxury, and adored Yes & Also Yes from the first listen (it made me fall in love with Doughty all over again because my experience discovering it was so similar to when I first listened to Haughty Melodic).

I read his whole blog. I followed him on Twitter. I friended him on Facebook.  I subscribed to his Tumblr. I got a tattoo of his album art. I saw him three times in three different states, none of which were the state I lived in at the time. I met him twice. I learned all the trivia I could about him. I have fifteen bootleg Mike shows, four bootleg Soul Coughing shows, and an alternate, unreleased version of Skittish on my iPod.

There are artists I listen to more, but none I care about as much. And no amount I could learn about him was enough. I still wanted to hear the story he had to tell. And then I heard he was writing a book. And then the book came out, and I bought it on Amazon and signed up for that free trial of Amazon Prime just so I could get free 2-day shipping on it. It came to my mom's house yesterday and I read the whole thing over five and a half hours with about four breaks.

Here are my thoughts.

First off, I couldn't recommend it to everyone. While I did enjoy the fact that he got all romantic and poetic about all the different women he's slept with, my mom was wondering if she could read it (because of the addiction and recovery aspect) and I had to mark out the specific parts about addiction because I know she would hate reading about the times he fooled around with prostitutes, the discussion of going down on a few women, and the three pages where he just counts off a bunch of wildly diverse women he fucked while touring with Soul Coughing. Also, anyone who doesn't follow his music probably wouldn't give a rat's ass about the conflict between him and his band members.

But I found it fascinating. I'd wanted to know what went down to break up one of the most different-sounding and creative bands I've ever heard, and I was not disappointed. I now fully understand why he's bitter about Soul Coughing and why he doesn't want to play those songs in concert anymore. I was also fascinated by his descriptions of his creative process. It made me ache to pick up my guitar and write again, and I think when I go back to my apartment tomorrow I'm going to fiddle around with some songs I've had bumping about in my head. And of course it was really cool to be able to pick out the origins of songs like True Dreams of Wichita, Houston, and American Car. It was a little disappointing to find out that at least four songs off Haughty are about the girl with the unsingable name, but I know what it's like to have someone who inspires you creatively and write about them constantly.

I identified so closely with the mental health stuff. He's got that voice in his head saying he's worthless and sabotaging him too. I think the thing that rang the most true is that his former band members say that he's a liar and he starts to wonder if they're right and he was never an addict, he never wrote those songs. Sometimes I look at my life, at the mental illness, the hallucinations and delusional thoughts and I wonder if I made the whole thing up. It's easy to second-guess myself now that I'm medicated and stable. Was I ever actually crazy? And then I go off my meds and it's so plain that it was real and that I don't have to doubt myself anymore.

The addiction parts were extremely hard to take. I had known he'd been addicted to heroin but I didn't know he was an alcoholic after that, and I definitely didn't know how bad it got for him. He talks about pissing the bed every night while on tour, about getting fucked up on Ecstasy while onstage with Soul Coughing, about his heroin dealer cutting him off because he looked like death. Look at my history with this guy: his music has pretty much saved my life multiple times. I understand that people have pasts and that addiction is a powerful thing. I remember that when Sad Man Happy Man came out, I made a few comments about wishing that he'd relapse and make another Skittish. After reading this book, I hope he stays clean for the rest of his life. I want him to continue having that peace he talks about.

And along those lines, the recovery stuff was so encouraging. I hope people who are struggling with addiction pick this book up and it changes their lives. I know that hours after I read it, I couldn't shake it off. I fell asleep thinking about it. I'm not an addict, but the recovery message was so strong that I feel like I can apply it to my own life. It's just a message of pure hope, that you can hit rock bottom and with some help, pick yourself up again and make a new, better life. But it takes work and action, and now I know that I need to get my ass into gear and create the life I want for myself.

I'm glad that this was the first book I read in the new year. It's inspired me. 2012 is going to be different from last year, I'm going to try like hell to be less passive.

Anyway, I wish I knew more people who are into Mike's music so I could lend them this book. Angel wants to read it but I'm not sure she's old enough yet, and Josh likes Mike but isn't interested in the book. I really want to discuss it with someone. And I kind of want to pick it back up and read it again right away. It touched me more deeply than a book has in a very long time, even deeper than Infinite Jest did. I want to shake his hand and thank him for writing it. I know I'll read it many times in the years to come.
  • Current Music
    The Fray - How To Save A Life

it's a beautiful world, everyone's insane

I spent the night at the house last night so I could babysit Jackson. He is super cute. Right now he's trying to do a science experiment -- it involves a balloon, a fork, and an empty Dr. Pepper bottle, but he won't tell me what it's supposed to be. I also put on the Tron: Legacy soundtrack and he did a crazy dance. He likes Daft Punk. When he was making his robot costume out of cardboard boxes, I told him that I listen to a band that's two robots called Daft Punk and maybe when his robot costume was done he could do something like Daft Punk. He liked the music but didn't want to, because in his words, "I don't want to be a punk." So cute.

I think the Bush binge has passed because they weren't in my top artists last week. I've mostly listened to my Zune on shuffle this week, partly because I have four rehearsals this week, which adds up to a lot of bus and walking time. I've been reading Infinite Jest during the days instead of watching shit endlessly, but right now I'm taking a wee break to let Paul catch up to me. Ha.

I'm back to having crazy vivid dreams every night. Nightly headaches too, at least they were only nightly for a few days and now I've got one in the middle of the day. It's making me a little nuts, but it's a good excuse to drink lots of strong coffee. Not that I really need an excuse. I'm currently drinking some kind of Starbucks African something or other and it's tasty, and also, more importantly, it's helping.

I'm worried about Chrissie. Her doctor has her on Xanax for panic attacks and Klonopin for her restless legs. I'm afraid she's going to end up addicted to benzos. I got pretty close with my anxiety and endless supply of Ativan, especially in December. I'm happy to say that I haven't touched my last two Ativan refills and am only taking it once or twice a week now. So hooray for that. I think being a part of this show has helped me more than I can express.

I'm planning to get Josh the DVD of The Secret To A Happy Ending for his birthday, now I just need to actually do it. His birthday's not until July, but maybe this year I won't put shit off until the very last minute.
  • Current Music
    Burlap to Cashmere - Digee Dime

when i am with you, i feel a little brave

Coming home is strange to me these days. I live at the apartment most of the time, but I come spend the night at the house a couple times a week usually. This is because with nothing to do but talk to people online and watch stuff on Netflix, it gets very boring and lonely at the apartment and I start getting really antsy or depressed and feel like I need to be around real people or go crazy. So I come home. Not a whole lot has changed, the house still feels like home, I love sleeping on a real bed instead of a futon, and the basement is still freezing so I pile on three blankets and feel like I'm sleeping in a cloud. I spend time with Angel and laugh, I hug my mom, I eat home-cooked food. The thing that's changed is the same thing that's been changing since I moved home -- this house is no longer the peaceful, tension-free home it used to be.

I see my mom cry every time I come home. She looks older now, tired all the time. None of the little kids will mention Dad when she's around. The TV is always on, nobody plays outside anymore. The kids don't have their friends over for dinner; it used to seem like an evening could hardly go by when we weren't setting another place for dinner. It's strange, and I don't like it. I hate feeling tense every time I come over here. Still, it's better than the aching loneliness I feel when I'm at the apartment.

I've been thinking about that stupid sci-fi novel I was writing for a long time and wondering if I should work on it more. It would give me something to do. Then again, if I did, I'd never stop listening to Bush.
  • Current Music
    Drive-By Truckers - Goode's Field Road

when i was young the smallest trick of light could catch my eye

 Josh: I mean, I haven't even listened to Institute all the way through yet. It could be really good and I just wouldn't know.
Me: Maybe you should. Bush usually has a couple really good tracks as the last ones on their albums.
Josh: (looks at the back of the album) Yeah, I guess "Save The Robots" could be amazing.
  • Current Music
    Justin Timberlake - Senorita

it wasn't good enough, i wanted love

After fighting it off for a few days, I finally gave in and admitted that Bush is pretty much all I really want to listen to right now. Josh's taste in music is infectious; he's been listening to a lot of Bush lately because he was rereading Ender's Game and has a sci-fi story that he'll never write down brewing in his mind. So after going from Science of Things in his car to Razorblade Suitcase and Golden State in his smoking room, hearing him talk about how he associates the song "Float" (which is amazing, by the way, and I've listened to it like fifteen times over the past three or four days) with a sci-fi short story he read in high school, BAM, I'm addicted. I haven't listened to one band so much in a week since that one week where Queens of the Stone Age clicked for me and I racked up 80 plays for them on alone.

The short story, by the way, is "The Cold Equations" by Tom Godwin. He couldn't remember the title or author, I ran the premise past a friend of mine who's like a dictionary of sci-fi, he identified it, and I found it online and printed it out for Josh. I'll give it to him when I see him on Sunday.

Mom's in Chicago this weekend for a Montessori convention, so Lili is coming to stay with me. She always gets so excited to stay at the apartment and I feel lame because there's not a whole hell of a lot for a ten year old girl to do here. So we watch a lot of movies and take the bus downtown Holland and make coffee and play Skip-Bo and I make food she likes. I went shopping for the occasion; I don't keep a ton of food in the apartment because I'm more of a grazer than a meal-eater these days. So I got stuff to make tacos and spaghetti, which has the added benefit of killing some time rather than just making sandwiches.

I just talked to Paul on the phone for a while. Talking to him always brightens up my day.
  • Current Music
    Drive-By Truckers - Danko/Manuel

she acts just like a nurse with all the other guys

The problem with being disabled and not having a car is that I spend a fair amount of time just sitting around, surfing the internet, strumming my guitar, knitting, doing passive things. I watch things on Netflix, talk to people online, call Brian, make a sandwich. Being in the musical was good for me because I'd actually get up off my ass, sing and dance, socialize. Now that the musical's done, I've found myself in a place where I need to find something else to do with my time and I'm not really certain how to proceed. I've never been very self-directed; I'm better at having someone tell me to show up here and do this, rather than being handed huge chunks of time and needing to fill it with activities. Left to my own devices I'll just watch most of a season of Weeds in one sitting and smoke half a pack of cigarettes in one night. So it's hard to have all this time and nothing to do with it.

I need to find more activities. Being alone and bored for so long I think is one of the reasons I was so sick for such a long time, and working on the musical, being around people, having something that took up most of my thought processes left me with little time to really sit back and indulge in depression and "symptoms." In spite of the flu, as I finished up that last weekend of performances I looked back over the last three months and was really proud of myself. I hadn't felt that good in a very long time, I hadn't stayed out of bed that much in more than a year, and I hadn't been that positive about where my life was headed since that happy time in Massachusetts where I worked on music every day. Coming out of the musical, I feel good. I feel healthy and normal, I feel like any other person.

And I want to make that feeling last. So I can't let myself fall back into the trap of staying in bed doing nothing all day long. I have to stay involved with my life. The problem is that without the musical to guide me, I have no idea how to keep hold of the steering wheel. The next show doesn't hold auditions until August (as an aside, the musical they're doing is streaming on Netflix, and you bet your sweet ass I'm going to learn it backwards and forwards so I can get a decent part). I've been trying to brainstorm what to do next and I'm coming up empty -- I have no idea what to do with myself.

Today was good though. Woke up, made coffee, Mom picked me up and we went to the bank and opened a checking account for her to deposit a percentage of my SS payments so I can be in charge of my own finances rather than asking her for $20 at a time. We went out to lunch with Jackson, I grocery shopped and got snacks for Angel and Jaemin's visit tonight, had my appointment with Deb, came home feeling like I'd gotten something accomplished, and sat down to watch a movie. But I felt like more needed to be accomplished, so I turned off the movie, turned on "Fantastic Planet" by Failure (which is, by the way, an incredible album, holy shit) and made a lasagna for when Josh comes over on Sunday, then washed all my dishes. And I still feel like accomplishing things. I haven't felt this motivated in forever, and that's with the tail end of the flu still clawing its way for ground. I wish my laundry was dirty, I wish my apartment was a mess. But I don't really have anything else to do except to walk down for cigarettes.

Anyway, I'm just in a thoughtful, get-shit-done mood, which is nice considering how scattered I've been for the past few days -- even sitting down to watch stuff has been more than I've felt like I could handle. Now I just need to find shit to get done :)
  • Current Music
    No Doubt - Sunday Morning

you learn too late you've used two wishes like a fool

I've been mostly staying at the apartment. There's really nothing to do here except cook and clean and knit and watch things on Netflix, but that's okay most of the time. Then sometimes, people come over and I make them delicious cups of tea. Josh came over in the middle of the night last week and did his laundry here and while it was drying I made BLTs and we listened to the new Drive-By Truckers album, which is disappointing in its mellowness but overall not terrible.

Saturday was the last performance of Working. Once we got into it, the whole thing flew by like nothing. I got all excited for the cast party and then spiked a fever during the second act of the last performance and ended up staying at the cast party long enough to eat a few snacks and then caught a ride home from the music director, fell into bed shivering and slept. Woke up the next morning and knew I wouldn't be able to stay at the apartment, so my mom came and picked me up. I stumbled out of the building all disoriented and weak and spent the day in bed in this hazy fever-dream state. The next day I tried to tough it out but after pretty much eating nothing for 48 hours because of nausea and not being able to sleep because of the cough I went to Urgent Care where they told me I have the flu after having me put on a gown and wait in a cold, bright room with a fever and a pounding headache for a couple hours.

I didn't really have time to miss the show at first, but now that I'm feeling better, I really do. And I'm pissed that I got so sick that I left there without saying goodbye to people and that I didn't get to stick around for most of the cast party. That sucked. Now I just need to find something else to keep me busy.

Hoping to have Josh over for lasagna this weekend. Angel's spending the night tomorrow night.
  • Current Music
    Wilco - Radio Cure

love me like a monster one last time

My musical opens in a week, holy eff. Last night I was the only one singing the housewife song correctly and I got shit on for it today, Cathy was like "Well SOMEONE was singing their lines a measure too early..." NO I WASN'T. I have practiced that song so many times, I put the soundtrack on my Zune and listen to it all the time, I know damn well when to come in and you don't. Brian and I were talking about being in shows last night and he mentioned that when you're in a musical you get to a point where someone's singing something wrong and you want to stab them in the throat and sing their part correctly while they bleed out. I am so there.

Tomorrow is going to be a baking day. I'm making white cake with vanilla frosting and chocolate therapy cheesecake (chocolate crust, milk chocolate cheesecake filled with white chocolate chips, dark chocolate ganache on top) and it's going to own. I'm bringing them in to the cast lunch on Saturday because I want people to like me, whine whine.

I feel like I have more to say but I can't think of anything I haven't already written.
  • Current Music
    Alison Krauss - Down In The River To Pray