Saturday, December 13, 2008

I don't wanna feel the hurt no more, smile on me baby (Day 9)

One of the flat out blessings of this blog (and it's cousin blow, Piss and Vinegar, is that I've got to interact with people around the world.

For a small town kid such as myself, that's completely amazing.

Through it, I've made a companion in a guy, Thomas Rumbold, a musician and resident of the UK/Germany. A very intelligent and talented dude who I've gotten to engage in conversations a few time. Go check him out.

Recently Thomas lost a friend of his. Death is always hard, especially when it's such a staggering age of only 27.

Right now, Thomas is calling Germany his homebase. His friend past away last weekend in the UK, and honestly...I can't imagine a moment more heart wrenching immediately after finding out a loved one has succumb to mortality so far away. A country separating you in that time in your life has to be one of the most difficult things to endure, especially when you don't have much money.

But several of her friends chipped in and bought him a ticket to her memorial.

Thats an act I couldn't believe. It nearly drove me to tears hearing him talk about it.

The way he spoke of his friend, I wished I'd had a chance to meet her. There are some people that you can just tell are special from the get-go. People that are going to mean so much more than just an acquaintance, and it was clear she was one of them.

Tom played a song between each person that went up and spoke, and wound up playing an entire set. At 10pm, they released Japanese balloons into the white.

Hearing him talk about it, being outside in the snow with everyone else being each others show of support and source of was special, and I wish you could have borne witness to him speaking of it.

It recently passed the five year mark of my Aunt Jane passing away. The way her passing affected my father shook all of us to the core. Where all who know him on a deeply personal level, to see him be shaken to the very foundation, and have his faith rattled as such...left all of us stunned.

Theres a feeling of loneliness and abandonment when someone we love ultimately leaves us.

But the words, the spirit...all of that has to remain, or all of this was for naught.

I'm grateful to've been able to have had Tom share this experience with me, as I get the sense he's a pretty reserved individual.

For you pal, I thank you entirely.

Strangely enough, it inspired me enough to try to swallow everything thats effectively been eating at me as of late. I want to get better, and I want to be a better person.

I can't explain how grateful I am to have been able to experience what I have today.

For your lost friend, I'm terribly sorry to hear that horrible news. Life is entirely too fragile. Bones break too easy, cancer ravages too quickly, sickness can consume in a moments notice and it catches us all off guard. But when you can make an impression on a person you'd never met before, when you can make them regret not ever having crossed your path...the god damn it, something was done right.

Maybe this world isn't so fucking evil after all.

Maybe hope hangs above our heads in Japanese balloons, as reminders.

Until tomorrow.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I Wish That I Wrote You One Original Note. (Day 8)

I almost forgot to take my medicine today. I actually just took it a little bit ago.

Truth is, lately I've not been of sorts.

Sometimes these shifts in mood just last for so long, and you don't want to keep taking that bucket to the sinking raft you're in, because you have no idea if you're going to be making it back again and this could all be for not.

That'd be just so much easier and fulfilling to just lay back and left whatever may come, come and split with the consequences. Then at least you'd have an answer: Maybe you were meant to reach dry land; or maybe you were meant to start stashing your belongings in Davey Jones' locker.

Speaking of taking a bucket to a filling raft, the past few nights I've wound up having to sleep outside in the bed of my dads truck:

That's his bumper.

Why've I been sleeping in the bed of his truck you may find yourself asking. Valid question, e-friend, valid question.

About two weeks ago, I went to use the lieu (Spiced up for you European kids, for you English kids, that's the crapper.) I have the master bedroom of the house, so my bathroom is connected to my room. The carpet from my room ends right at the doorway, where it turns into linoleum. As I stepped on the carpet, squish...squish.

Two problems with this: One I hate, more than anything in this world, wet socks. I'd rather wake up on fire.

Two: Stepping on wet carpet...I didn't have some sort of water party last night. Or did I? I'd been taking Ambien....but where's the slip n' slide? Something is askew....

It took a few days for it to register that as a pre-cautionary, when we first moved into the house a few years ago, I'd placed a bucket under the sink. So I checked under the sink, and sho' nuff the bucket was filled to the brim with water.

The faucet had a slight drip to it, so I though..."eh, five years and only one bucket fill? Not too bad." Emptied the bucket, and within a few hours the carpet seemed to be drier.

The next morning, the carpet was drenched again, so much more so. I checked the bucket again, and yep...filled to the brim.

Now, I don't know anything about tools. I write for God's sake, they aren't exactly a strong spot. I might play sports, but nothing requiring a tool; like baseball and hockey (I'm aware of Tennis, I just refuse to consider that anything more than a boring version of ping-pong...only boring). I like those sports to watch, but to play...count me out. Way too complicated.

But it becomes apparent that the water had eaten a hole through the plumbing. Go American tap water!

For the past few days a plumber friend of my Dad's, and he have been working early...early morning to correct this problem. Problem is way too loud to sleep, especially when you don't sleep well to begin with, and are an extremely light sleeper.

Hence sleeping in the back of my Dad's truck.

But the past few days I haven't wanted to sleep to much.

I just want to be gone. I'm just now a little bit over half-way past the first landmark with these medications. In the next five days the dosage will be increased by double.

But I'm so frustrated. With everything. I'm tired of sitting on the borderline.

Borderline between sanity and...just not being "here" anymore.

Borderline between confidant, or more.

Borderline between moving on to something some people want to believe I'm capable of, or just being what was always expected of me--nothing.

It goes back to the sinking raft. You have this bucket, and at first you just work so hard to stay afloat. But at some point, after 23're just going through the motions of staying afloat. You have no clue if some miraculous boats coming to save you, if you'll reach dry land, or if you'll eventually succumb to either the elements, or sink to the bottom.

If you board the boat, you could be in worse company than before. Or if you believe that boats coming...what happens when it doesn't come? You can't ever put your faith in the unseen, hoping thats the trump card.

If you reach dry land, what if it's a deserted island? At least in the raft you had clear cut options, but now...if it's deserted, there really isn't much to look forward too. Even if it is populated, you might be too used to being stranded for it to even matter. Every man can be an island.

If you succumb to the elements, Murphy's Law dictates that the second that death rattle is done is on the way.

Whats left is sinking to the bottom. Or risking it, and letting the cards fall where they may.

And sometimes that feels more comforting than anything else I can think of.

I have no knowing if I'm going to see the end of this tunnel. It's too dark right now, and I can't just turn back, either.

I just don't care right now.

Theres a lot of roads left ahead of me. They all point to one thing, though: I'll never be that contender...I'm addicted to shooting myself in the foot and offering the other one for extra transport. Some people serve as cautionary tales: I'm one of them.

I'm sick of being that sixth person of the bench. We can win games, but it's the starting line-up that gets the nod night after night.

"I wish I wrote you one original note."

I really do. But Jesus Christ, I'm such a scam.

Until tomorrow.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

You want your 15 minutes? Just shut your mouth and flash your tits. (Day 7)

The title of this blog is a shout out to a friend of mine, Jason P. Woodbury's band, Arizona's own--Hands on Fire.

Just a little bit about these guys; all of 'em are really nice and talented. They are hard working, make great pop music, and their shows are an awful lot of fun. If you're in Arizona, more or less the Phoenix area (since no one reads this outside of the Metro area...) and you're bored on any of the following nights; go check 'em out. I hope you won't be disappointed.

Dec 17 2008 8:00P
Club Congress W/ Young Mothers Tucson, Arizona
Dec 20 2008 8:00P
Festivus Holiday Show @ The TrunkSpace Phoenix
Dec 23 2008 8:00P
Jason Woodbury (Hands on Fire) solo @ Modified Arts Phoenix, Arizona
Jan 8 2009 8:00P
Trunk Space W/the Donkeys Phoenix
Jan 17 2009 8:00P
Yucca Tap Room W/ Earthmen and Strangers, Digital Leather Tempe, Arizona

Supporting local artists is a good thing, especially when it's something worthwhile.

Sometimes I wonder if being an asshole is the only way to come out on top in this world, in this life. So many times I've given everything of myself, only to come up feeling like nothing was even noticed; and truthfully thats fine.

At what point, when you feel like you've got nothing left to offer, do you find your reserves.

They say nice guys finish last. I know I can be a dick at times, but it feels like sometimes the race done started without me, and I'm still stuck tying my shoelaces at the finish line while I'm getting lapped.

And I get angry at myself for a lot of this. I don't feel like I have anything to offer except....

Except I follow my heart, and I try to be as honest as possible, no matter the outcome. It comes at a heavy penance, and I'm not so sure I'd ever suggest anyone else do this.

You look to the media, and you see these people who's every move is draped in decadence and vanity. People flock to this, seemingly to cling to what it is they can't have, when in all reality if they opened up Lindsay Lohan's wallet--they might find a hefty portion of their paycheck cashed.

All I know is right now I'm dirt poor, and I'd do whatever it took to claw my way to the top, and never look back. But I can't justify doing that on anything less that an honest route.

But that honest route leaves a damned dirty taste in your mouth long after you've been passed by sometimes.

I want to exorcise every demon, but at what cost? I feel so guilty hearing from a friend of mine who's recently went through a tremendous tragedy I'd never wish on anyone, tell me my blog drove her to tears.

I get a lot of feed-back from this. It's strange, because I'm not used this kind of attention. Throughout this year though, I've been the subject of a lot of controversy, a lot of attention by respected artists. Some of it's been positive...for every one negative comment I got, I got six others giving encouragement. I rubbed Max Bemis (and his fans) the wrong way, I mentioned several times in stories...and all of it feels surreal, still, that people are still coming to this blog, as well as Piss and Vinegar around the world.

But the feedback from this blog itself, Days Gone By, has been one mostly of drastic concern over my well being (for the most part). And I'm not sure how I feel about that, honestly.

This isn't a call for a pity party. I have a disorder, and I'm trying to take back control of my life. This isn't a cry for attention whatsoever, just my attempt to breathe and stop feeling so worthless and confused.

So much of it is dripped with humor, albeit dark at times, but it's meant to hopefully shed light on something thats controlled my being for my entire life.

Whats left is a gigantic fear; Putting everything on display. Everything thats out there so far, it's my hope someone can relate, can also formulate a thought process to put aside what holds them back too, and maybe get a smile here or there as well.

But then theres the other side of that coin, where every night I lay awake and feel completely useless, worthless and alone. I know I'm not the only one, but at's becoming more apparent thats not going to change.

Some people serve as cautionary tales. I feel thats the way I'm going.

And I've made my peace with that, but it doesn't mean it gets any easier to swallow. This world's going to keep spinning long after I'm gone...

My friend that I'd mentioned above, a little bit ago, recently experienced a loss I don't feel any woman should ever have to go through. Her husbands out trying to secure a future for them, far away from her. I feel for her more, because what shes can't just shake it off.

And I feel guilty that this is something that makes her feel bad for me.

It isn't the point, at all.

I'm crazy, I take pills, and I write. So I make I'm trying to make sense of it all, but I don't want this content to drag anyone down. These are stories, these are the things that I've dealt with. I'm not different from you, I just can't process it as well as most of you can.

And I'm right now trying to make peace with always coming in last. I want to cheer for the Underdog, cheer for the bad guy/heel, because they get admonished or overlooked entirely.

Where do you go from the bottom? It's logical to say you can only go up, but the truth can go beneath the bottom. It's tougher to walk up an incline than it is to fall.

And I appreciate everything thats been said, I don't want to give that impression either. I'm very grateful for the kind words, I just feel bad for making anyone think I need pity. This is an attempt at expression, and entertainment. Who doesn't laugh at the crazy in the movies?

Thanks for sticking with this, everyone. I'm sorry if this comes off as a pity parade. I'm just trying to make sense of everything.

Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

On October 4th, 1980-something I was born to a new proud mother. (Day 6)

One of the goals of taking these medications is to help me become more focused.

I've been entirely worried about losing what it is about me that allows me to write. But I've been told I can't do this or that my entire life, and as a result...

As a result I live to spite everything, and everyone.

When I was four years old, a condition appeared in me that would cause temporary paralysis of the legs and my entire body would emanate with pain.

That was what I remember about those years of my childhood; confusion and pain. One day I was called into class early with my mother to have a conference with my teacher to see about having me being taken out of school while my problems were sorted out.

But even being five years old, I knew that Doctors who'd flown from around the world to come look at me to try and make heads or tails of it, they hadn't figured it out now...they never would.

I always got treated with gloves on. What I mean is, I got treated with such caution as to not injure me. And I never understood it, because I always felt like a normal kid.

One of the worst things I've ever had to deal with, was shortly after that meeting and having declined to be removed from school for an unknown amount of time, one of the conditions the doctors would only allow me to stay in school was I had to wear this black, uncomfortable back brace.

Four whole years I wore that brace.

Instead of just letting that be what inhibited me, one day I picked up a basketball.

For those of you who don't know me, I'll explain it the best I can: I have a lot of loves in my life. Movies, books, writing, chess, education, comics, history, instruments/music, etc. If it stands in my way, I'll figure it out, and I'll do it right then and there, and move on. Because I have to prove it to myself. I don't care if you think I should or shouldn't do something physical; if anything it validates and warrants my need and wanton desire to become better at it than anyone else in my way.

I'm not saying I'm the best at any of these things. Don't get me wrong, I've met a better in everyone of these subjects and thats fine. But I hold my own.

But one day I picked up a basketball after having read about James Naismith, during the Phoenix Suns 92-93 title chase which they ultimately lost to the Chicago Bulls. You just can't touch Michael Jordan, BJ Armstrong and Scottie Pippen.

I picked up a basketball, and every single day after school for four years I practiced. Hours on end, rain or shine, I would stand behind the arch and shoot. If I missed I'd shoot from the same spot 10 more times, and if the average wasn't in my favor...well, I just stayed in one spot.

One of the issues that came along with my back problem was my right foot is turned to an outward angle of about forty-five degrees. I never found out what my back ailment was, but the foot thing would come back to haunt me.

After years of playing basketball and football, without correcting my foot's turn it took a lot of strain on my knee, eventually causing a torn medial meniscus. Over the years I've re-aggravated the injury about six times. The last time was in January of this year, resulting in the most serious the injury can get, the Unhappy Triad.

I've had surgery more times than I can count all over my body, but only once to correct the problem. I've never done the rehabilitation.

But the initial injury to my knee was the most depressing of my life. For five months prior to the surgery I couldn't walk without heavily relying on crutches or a cane. another two months after the surgery, since I couldn't afford rehabilitation I just had to keep on going.

So you keep on going, right? You pop a couple pain pills and move straight, because what waits behind you is so god damned depressing. Being restricted from the things that gave you joy when there was nothing else because your body is falling apart takes its toll on the soul.

Recently I've begun playing basketball again. Weekly, for upwards of 4 to 6 hours a night throughout the weekend. For the first time in years, I can run almost as fast as I used to be able to. My stamina has drastically improved, and I no longer feel like after twenty minutes that if I were a horse, someone would've mercy killed me by now, and I'd be glue.

But the aftermath is a swollen knee.

The catch-22 is that people still want to treat me with gloves on, when all I want is the best from everyone at ever turn, whether it be basketball or anything else. I'm capable of so much more than I get credit for...but if I go down, I go down hard and the next three months suck.

The catch-22 continues outside of that realm: I need arthroscopic surgery to repair the tears in my knee (and shoulder, another story) but I can't a) afford the surgery and b)bare to be out of an active commission for the long period afterwards while I "rehabilitate".

Every aggravation to my knee makes it weaker. A wrong step, a slip in some water, kneeling the wrong way, falling the wrong way...thats it. Game over.

And to look at my body...I wonder why I've pushed myself so hard. I haven't proved anything, and I've sacrificed my body just to push the envelope further.

So one of the purposes of this drug is to help me focus. I've been all over the place...I'm a Jack of all Trades and a master of most. I just wonder if the damage has already been done.

Mentally, physically, sometimes I wonder if it's too late to salvage any of this. Especially mentally.

I love my mother, but we aren't particularly close. My Step-Father who, to know'd love him immediately. He's the last of what I'd consider a 'real-man'. For every adversity he has ever faced, he's been there to say fuck you to it at every turn. He's 73 years old, and he's had injuries you don't just "come back" from.

He was a truck driver all his life. Worked on ranches, with his hands in the earth. The way he knows his tools is nothing short of's inspiring. He can build a car blindfolded, and to me thats amazing.

In 1979, a poorly secured load by the person in charge of securing said load caused Ed (my step Father) to almost be killed.

A two-ton piece of pipe became unsecured and landed on him, crushing his pelvis, hip and leg. There isn't a single solid piece of bone in his leg that isn't fastened together with screws, nails and steel rods. It's particularly entertaining in this day and age to try to get on a plane with him.

You don't just walk away from that. But somehow...he eventually did, after a year of recuperation.

He was there with me playing basketball. He was there to push me when I couldn't walk, he never allowed me to just give up.

In August of 2007, I lived three thousand miles away from home. Home is may always be my idea of home, even if one day I no longer reside here.

I called him on his birthday. What he got for his birthday that year was pancreatic cancer, and both of his knees were shot. His left knee enough so that he had to have it fully replaced with a steel knee. His right knee suffered from the same ailment as myself, a torn meniscus.

I moved back shortly after learning this.

Fathers are over looked in our society, with most of the grace falling on the mother. And while theres nothing necessarily wrong with that...he taught me more than any book, any teacher, anything.

He was a father he didn't have to be. He'd raised a son already. His own flesh and blood.

But he never treated me like I wasn't his own. When so many fathers leave, or ignore their very own seed, he took the helm the SS Crazy that is me.

To hear that he'd been wracked with a disease that has such a high mortality rate, to see his legs taken from him was the worst thing I've ever experienced in my life. Yet he never let on if he was worried or not, continuing to smile and crack jokes. To be proud of me...for God only knows what reasons.

When I moved back he started radiation treatment soon after. Extensive, five times a week.

At nights I'd be sitting right where I am right now, and he'd come out of his room soaking wet from perspiration, in agony from the radiation coursing through his veins.

Only once he complained saying, "It wasn't supposed to be like this."

Soon after his radiation treatments, he had the knee replacement surgery. As a testament to his being, and who he truly is, after the surgery he asked when he would be allowed to leave the hospital.

"When you can walk 100 feet."

Within hours of having his entire knee replaced, he walked the destination without the aide of anyone. To the astonishment of the doctors, he walked it. They wound up keeping him for a week anyway.

If I hadn't seen it, I'm not sure I could believe that.

Everything thats remotely good about me is because of him. He taught me how to read, and while that might seem par for the course...consider this:

He's severally dyslexic. In the age he grew up in, he was just viewed as stupid, resulting in his father pulling him out of school at the age of twelve to drive a truck.

The human spirit is something that cannot be defied. Focus, patience and living with a "fuck you" mentality is probably the most pure and unadulterated concept of thought humanity has overlooked completely in way for quick fixes.

The will to prevail is so much more dense, so much stronger than bones and cartilage. But if that breaks...then what?

So heres to the future. Whatever happens at this point happens, but I won't let medication be the deciding factor in my life. If anything, it's the neosporin to this cut that just won't go away.

Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Take a load off Annie, and put the load right on me. (Day 5)

So one of the effects I've noticed a lot with Lamictal are the headaches. I know that I most likely won't be feeling anything else, minus a slight bit of nausea and an increased sensitivity to light. But the headaches are really prevalent.

Truthfully, I'd never really had a headache until the day I began taking the lamictal about a half hour afterwards. The headaches aren't bad, or anything. They waiver from the cusp of dull, to momentarily splitting. But it's a dull split if that makes any sense at all.

So I'm really hoping that this effect goes away, because I can't really fathom having to deal with this daily. I'm not a fan of this.

So a little bit ago, the Gaslight Anthem made their television debut on Conan O'Brien.

It meant a lot to me to see them reach that level. This year has been extremely good to them, and they are all tremendous guys whom I've had the pleasure to meet.

When I lived in Albany, New York it felt like I was constantly fighting a battle to find something to do with my free time besides down pain killers and get drunk with hippies at Valentine's bar. Something about living in a new town you'd never previously been too before really exploits how big this planet really is.

And somewhere along the line I began to just solely exist to work, come home and get drunk and eat week old Chinese food while watching Scrubs online. A very numbing existence for a while.

That was until I came across a little band making big waves from New Jersey. The Gaslight Anthem.

Theres something about them thats special. Something that isn't found in most bands. Theres an old soul in a new child's body thing going on with them.

And every song off of that record, Sink or Swim, hit with a vicious onslaught of nostalgia, emotion, soul and hope. And this was only their debut album.

When I moved back to Arizona a few pals and I went to their show while they were on tour. This was during my time when I wrote for an online magazine, with which I've since parted ways. But this night I was set to interview them.

During the interview, something odd happened: While I was in the midst of asking Brian Fallon (lead singer) some schticky, dumb and irrelevant question a homeless man came up.

A thing with a lot of homeless people is the fact that they by and large are crazy. I know I'm not exactly shinning some light on something thats nothing short of an astonishing revelation, but it's true. Mental illness is rampant amongst the homeless community. And this individual wasn't any different. He proceeded to warn us that our lives were in danger, and that he'd witnessed the mayor wipe a few people out.

Me being who I am, I kept the tape recorder rolling and began to interview him as well. This is both an attribute to my willingness to talk to homeless people, and a glaring insight into my ineptitude and unprofessional approach to everything.

But watching Brian speak with the homeless man, I realized that this guy wasn't an egotistical ass too busy for poor people. Sure, they aren't selling out arena's, but theres a buzz about them thats not only actually warranted, but they also do well for themselves in terms of success.

I've talked to people who were much less established who thought they were God's gift to us mere mortals. I'm looking at you, Polyphonic Spree.

But the way he spoke with the homeless man, and the mans reaction to Brian told a story all in it's own: He was treating him with grace, dignity and respect; like he was a human being, and the homeless man hadn't obviously been treated that way in quite a spell.

It made me realize how honest the music was, and I figured out why I'd liked it as much as I do: It was universally human and relative.

They've since released another amazing album, the '59 Sound.

The title track, 59 Sound, has a rolling verse near the end that goes, "Young boys, young girls ain't supposed to die on a Saturday night."

For me that reminds me of many years ago when a friend I'd grown up with had passed away, named Kyle Nathan Long.

It was evident from the moment we all met Kyle that he wouldn't be with us for a long time. Kyle suffered from a disease called 'cystic fibrosis'. It caused his pancreas to expand out of his stomach, prompting him to make countless 'pregnant' jokes. And it was so hard to actually fathom that what he was joking about would one day get the last laugh, and carry him off into...whatever happens after that final breath.

Over the years Kyle's health deteriorated, causing him to have to withdraw from school and be home taught. You could tell it killed him not to try his hardest to live a normal life. It was horrible to watch a friend be robbed of something everyone else got to take for advantage.

But he was a fighter. Each and every time he withdrew, he'd be back looking no worse for the wear. There was something enigmatic about him, where everyone accepted him. It always struck me as strange because kids can be so cruel. But he was loved by everyone.

After we all graduated the 8th grade, I only saw him a handful of times after. Shortly after my Freshman year in high school I received a call telling me he'd died. The next few days were a bit of a daze, and I lived in constant dread of going to his memorial.

I'd just started a job as a dishwasher in a Chinese Buffet that wound up lasting slightly longer than I worked there. In fact, I worked there for about half an hour.

The mortuary was a few miles away, and I didn't really have a ride. But...I'm also no stranger to hitch-hiking.

And elderly man picked me up, and as we drove to the parlor he expressed with great sorrow in his voice how much it troubled him to see youth pass. He asked how he'd died, and I told him about Kyle's condition.

The rest of the ride was silent after I told him that. When we reached the mortuary I went to offer him money for his troubles, when he stopped me and said, "My wife passed two years ago. She suffered from cystic fibrosis, but every day she fought it. There isn't a day that hasn't went by that I don't miss her, and up until now I'd given up on the idea that I wasn't alone in this world..but I don't feel that way anymore."

During Kyle's memorial, there was a moment I won't ever forget.

A mutual friend, because this town isn't all that big so most everybody at least knows of everyone, Tim Hantsche (I could never spell his last name) gave his fond memories. He and Kyle had a very close friendship. He'd been like a big brother to Kyle, everyone knew that.

He told of a time when they'd went to Hooters where Kyle had smooth talked his way into flirting with multiple waitresses. And it destroyed Tim to relive something that would never happen again.

Kyle never had a real funeral. He'd insisted that he donate his body to science, to help research for his condition. It's the most selfless act I've ever seen.

But there was a moment where Tim stared at Kyle's memorial picture, smiled through his tears before he walked away.

A few years ago Tim passed away from medical complications from an illness he'd had for quite a while.

But both were strong throughout their endeavors. It always stuck with me; Kyle's ability to make peace with the fact that he'd never get a real chance in this life. That Tim affected so many people with his humor, and that voice is gone now, too. But what they did in short bursts went on, and continue to do so well beyond themselves.

Theres another line in the song, the 59 Sound, that goes, "Did you hear your favorite song one last time?"

It might be the greatest line ever penned in a song. Something so short and concise, yet ultimately profound. Like life itself, if worked in the context.

I wonder if they'd heard their favorite songs one last time. If there was that much justice available somewhere, I pray that they did.

Near the end of High School another kid who'd also grown up with us passed away.

Me being no stranger to trouble, I was in the Principals lobby waiting to add another notation on my growing record.. As I waited, chaos completely broke loose.

Where our Main Office was, it was right across from the Cafeteria/Auditorium/Drama Room/Band Room/Weight Room. All of these things were compressed together for this...cluster fuck of a building.

Andy Zambrano had been lifting weights, when his heart just gave up on him.

Andy had came into our Elementry/JR High (at the time they were combined) but had instantly been popular, especially with the girls. He was really a great kid.

Watching the ambulance pull up, watching the fire truck pull was a chaotic scene. Eventually I'd been dismissed back to class, and didn't think too much about what'd happened. Later on that day an announcement was made through the loud speakers that Andy had passed on.

At some point, some things stop hurting. It becomes a dull ache that you wish would either dissipate, or become ripped open again. This however alternates between dull ache, and splitting.

Kid's who'd been in my Cub Scout troop now rest while the world puts emphasis on owning stuff. It's a very difficult thing to make peace with, and I hope one day I do.

But I don't want to forget them, either. Their time, everyones time that I've had the privilege of sharing moments with has never been over-looked.

Sometimes life sweeps us away, and there are periods where I completely forget about them, and I feel guilty.

But to be able to find solace in a three chords, verse chorus verse; something I could never express my gratitude for. Words fail me, and to be quite honest...thats fine. Somethings are better left unsaid.

I hope one day though that the entire world knows of their existence, no matter how minute. Each of them were great kids, and it's hard to think about a kid dying. Death, in our minds is reserved for the old who've lived a full life. Who've had a chance at heartbreak, love and everything in between.

The hardest thing in the world to do is make someone laugh and smile.

But each one of them did it effortlessly. Thats something special.

So thats about it. Please feel free to leave a comment, spread the word...all of that. You can email me at: aaron.halewilliams at gmail dot com as well.

Until tomorrow!

You Can Cover Our Ears But We Won't Stop Screaming (Day 4).

I'd like to say thanks to the extremely nice show of support from everyone in this last Sunday's Navel Gazing (My user name is Dudley_Shale). Especially, if she ever reads this, Rebecca. That was extremely nice of you to take time to tell me your experiences.

So a few years ago, I had a little bit of a breakdown. Whatever, it happens.

The thing is, all my life I'd been entranced by those who just picked up and left. Went to somewhere new, where they could recreate their identity, and fix all the things that were wrong with their old life.

Just look at Jack Kerouac. On the Road reads out like scripture for those youth with a pioneering spirit, and cavalier attitude.

And God, I'd day dream in class of waking up in San Francisco one day, and Portland, Oregon the next. To see these places that are enshrined in those places, as a haven for those wayfarers...was all I'd ever wanted out of life.

After my breakdown at work (referenced in the inaugural update of Days Gone By) I got a call from a friend, who asked if I'd like to go to the airport to pick up her father.

I'm kind of weird in this aspect. While everyone else seems to abhor airports, airplanes, and the whole tyrannical excursion of the depths of ones soul in the confines that this particular building seems to exploit, I've always been enthralled by them.

Theres something freeing about airports. Somewhere in this world is a black tarmac, and you hold a ticket to a destination. No matter how much you try to plan whats going to happen when you land, circumstances will gladly take the reigns where it sees fit.

The adventure, the world left to discover for yourself....Why just take the word of someone else. How do I know that there are pyramids? Those could just be oddly shaped candles. How will I ever actually know Timbuktu exists unless I pass out drunk in a hotel room there?

I want to visit Charles Bukowski's grave. I want to visit Edgar Allen Poe and Billy Shakespeare's graves, and make sure that those assholes are really dead.

So I went with her to the airport.

As we were walking to her fathers gate that he was coming in, I found myself running to a ticket counter and throwing my money at the ticket lady, demanding a ticket to Los Angeles; a place I'd never been before.

Two weeks later I was on a bus from LAX to Hollywood and Vine. Not necessarily my intent, it's just the only place I could find a hotel that was under 100 dollars.

But as circumstance dictates, that hotels price got awfully steep when the old Mastercard hit the counter top. As a result, I wound up lugging my back pack down Sunset Strip looking for the dirtiest place I could find. Dirty equals cheap, and to be honest...I don't mind sleeping against a door because the lock was MIA, as opposed to meandering the strip and rolling the dice with the night life.

I ran out of money, I didn't eat for week. I wound up sleeping in the International wing of the LAX for three days straight, huddled with some endlessly delayed Aussie's for any semblance of warmth. During the day, it was exploration by bus and foot.

My last 37 dollars went to a motel that served as a temporarily-permanent lifers of the Worlds Oldest Profession, a footlong subway sandwich, and all my change to a man who refused to be called anything less than Nigga James.

Nigga James was a cool fucking guy, though. We sat outside of my hotel, him smoking cigarettes faster than Paul Mall could roll 'em, me wishing the alcohol fairy would bless me with a forty, talking about our lives.

Nigga James was born and bred in Los Angeles. A self-made product of meth abuse, and a trepidation towards holding down a job, he'd eventually wound up on the streets doing what he could to get by. Some of it wasn't so great, but some of it was quite creative as well.

Nigga James took advantage of the performing arts. If you've never been to the Sunset Strip/Hollywood area of California (really, why wouldn't you have been there?) about, oh...every four feet theres a gangly individual who didn't get the memo that a) they aren't Jimi Hendrix, and b) this isn't Woodstock '69.

But theres something honest about playing music for any random person to hear, without expecting to yield any sort of financial result.

Of course, theres still that guitar case propped wide open, and she's begging for your spare change. That spare change thats been slowing you'll fit nicely next to the tie-dyed bandanna and rogue picks that've seen better days.

Nigga James took an alternate course, between break dancing and free style rapping. While it's not enough to afford even a Dodge Neon, or soap box apartment...or even soap,'s enough to keep liquid bread in your guts, and a double cheeseburger at arms length.

And really, at that point...what else do you really need?

The next day I wound up in Santa Monica. God bless the Los Angeles Metro.

But I wound up in Santa Monica.

Good or bad, no matter what the story in soil might be, seeing the Pacific was one of the most examinate times of my life.

Despite everything, to see the Pacific Ocean...I mean, to really dig your toes in the sand and feel the water rush over your feet is something most people would take for granted. Lives were lost to secure this bit of beauty. And somewhere over that ocean theres a kid experiencing a heartbreak you could never fathom. But theres joy there, too.

And theres so much left to live for once you cut through the muck and mire.

That was one of the best days of my life.

Somewhere along the lines, that moment of sanctuary slipped through my fingers again. But I'm bound, and god damned determined to find it again, because gets so much better. It gets so much more fun, and amazing.

So maybe coaxing my brain with psychotropic additives isn't such a bad thing.

I don't see how it could if it leads me back there again.

But you gotta be willing to make that move. This worlds gonna keep spinning, time waits for no man, woman or child.

I'll be god damned if I let it get much more of a head start.

Until tomorrow.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Now baby take my temperature, it's 150 degrees. I am burning up, I am keeling over and no one is saving me. (Day 3)

I constantly worry about getting old and becoming irrelevant.

I hate the idea of turning on the radio one day, for some unknown reason (because face hasn't been a beacon of decency since Journey stopped being a powerhouse) and hearing some song I'm familiar with and it being considered 'classic' rock, or hip hop.

Ever more so, I'd once been so opposed to having children...but as time has progressed, I don't think thats something I would be so against anymore.

But what would my kids think of me?

My tattoos, my ideologies...what if I fucked 'em up worse than I could've ever imagined?

Would they ever hear a Chuck Ragan or Alkaline Trio song, and think it was lame like a lot kids do about their own parents music?

I know I'm focusing a lot on music right now. But to me, music has always been the greatest benefactor for humanities soul. It's one of the few things, cosmetically, all of humanity has in common. While we might not all be Beatles fans (like me), or appreciate acts like Fall Out Boy, every culture in the world; East and West can agree on music as a whole.

To sing deeply from your soul, despite what your voice might be like, is one of the most ethereal things we can do in this life. To hear a composition that can break your heart, or put the pieces back together can save more lives than all religions and self-help books combined.

When asked if a person could have any power they wanted, inevitably right up there with flying, and instant sex-making is the wanton desire to read peoples minds, to know their inner-most thoughts.

With music, you do get to hear that. Whether it be the pinning loneliness in Morrisseys' croon, or the guttural yell coming deep within them guts of Roger Daltrey.

But I hate getting older. I hate the idea of not being able to go shows any longer, and it depresses me more than most things I can think of at the moment. Where do you go when that day inevitably comes that the one thing you connected with, that you knew 100% of the time you could go to when there was nowhere else to turn.

It's hard for me to talk to people. It's extremely difficult for me to do this blog, but it's easier than face to faces, because I'm the person that listens rather than speaks. What makes it so much easier through this blog is I don't feel like I'm directly talking to anyone.

But where do you go for solace when the rest of the world seems so wrong?

I've never had an answer for that question, and as a result I've buried myself in music. I've spent more on headphones than I have on shoes in the past few years.

And I can't help but feel that I've made a mistake.

Earlier this year a man close to me, and my family was stabbed to death outside of the church he helped build. All for his car.

The hardest part about losing him was that I never got a chance to breathe throughout the situation. As much as I'd wanted to be angry at his assailant, I couldn't bring myself to do so and the only thing I felt was guilt within myself. Pissed at me for not being able to've been able to grant myself the ability to feel something I think I should have, because I don't believe he'd have been angry.

But everyone around me who knew him had a place to go. So many people found comfort in God, and the 'good word', which is all well and good...except that I'm an atheist. Many people found comfort within their families, and loved ones...and I'd never felt more alone than at that very moment.

At his funeral, reading his memorial script, I got the full picture of him. A man who'd lived through two wars, who'd lived a life. Who'd seen the world, sometimes on his own terms, sometimes on the terms of the worlds strife. A man who'd started a family and touched peoples lives. And it struck me that he'd accomplished a lot of this by the time he was my age of 23.

And I had no where to. I have nowhere to go, now. Theres not been a day where I haven't lost sleep over his death, and how someone could live through two wars...who could be a Preacher. Who could harbor faith while seeing humanity at it's darkest, and provide comfort to a man who was dying. How someone could exist like that, and die over his car in a dark parking lot is the hardest part for me to swallow. It's things like that that make me realize I could never believe in God.

And the only thing I felt I could turn to was a song, and I hate myself for that. Instead of being a human being about it, the only thing that kept me going those first couple of days was Chuck Ragan's song, "Do You Pray?"

It's not like there weren't people willing to listen. I just never knew what to say.

Even now I don't know what to say. About anything that effects me directly. Whether it be these god damned pills, or that god damned death....the only thing I can do is just listen to something that hits me like scripture.

And something rings so hollow about that.

Thats really all I've got today. Please feel free to email me at: aaron.halewilliams at gmail dot come, message me on AIM: Herextoinfirmary; MSN:; or yahoo: Or of course, leave a comment.

And feel free to spread the word. Thanks to those who do.

Take care. Until tomorrow.