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Category Archives: Weekapaug Groove

Sharing in the groove- things/people/places that inspire me

Man in the Box

When it comes to “Seattle Sound”, I am firmly in the Ed Ved as minor diety crowd. I have always felt a pull from Pearl Jam. 

Nirvana and Alice in Chains are in serpentine contest for number two. Both bands are guilty “pleasures”. The music is hunkered down in pain, misery and despair.

Man in the Box. I remember how jarring it was when the video appeared on MTV. The imagery and the lyrics were an affront to Christianity, though I still felt much of the message.

Layne Staley, as I am positive I have reiterated here more than once, was the type of artist whose pain was front and center, beautified at times. I don’t think it was glorified ever, but the spot light was on a soured, sick soul.

And so, as I come to accept things that are not as I wish, I realize the release of such sorrow can have beauty, inform and allow a step forward. 

Or it can be an anchor, as it was for Layne. I didn’t know the man, of course, but the shine of his soul left a mark. I am thankful for it.

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Posted by on 05/16/2015 in Weekapaug Groove

 

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Another Know Nothing Jon, broken time with Tyrion and Snow, So it goes and other related and unrelated musings

11/30/10. It was a day that was easy and simple in hindsight. Terry Pegula purchased the Buffalo Sabres with money stained in polluted water. 

I ranted a bit at work about it today. Because not 24 hours after I enjoyed the last Buffalo Bills game Terry Pegula purchased the Sabres with money so intertwined in fracking Billy the Buffalo should shit fracking fluid everytime the team loses.

I quit the team the Monday after the 2014 started. I cried. More from the relationships that were held strong by decades of shared allegiance to our gladiator team of choice, the Buffalo Bills.

I used to grunt and cheer with the masses at Rich Stadium when Mike Stratton’s clothesline tackle would play on the Jumbotron. It was to be the 30th season at the stadium.

I don’t miss football. I still watch hockey. But when I see hard hits with my 41 year old mind wincing, body aching, I cringe. Especially dirty shit like Brooks Orpik’s elbow tonight, but I digress.

I’ve been actively dealing with a chronic illness for 18 months. It is no deadlier than life, when managed. I am excelling there.  

But I am not fooling myself any longer. I am broken. Tyrion Lannister spoke for me as much as Jon Snow at Winterfell.

It is not the external rationale presented by Tyrion, rather the internal one that builds that hope- Tomorrow I wake up whole.

I didn’t have it as a mantra, but it was a clause in every statement related to my disease. Well, I continue that diet, the supplements, the vitamins, stretching. It is the road to less infirmity if done proper.

That being said a stick is likely in my near future.
So my point of view is parallel to the differences in Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire, summerized easiest with Tyrion.

TV Tyrion- stylish scar, handsome to a degree, polished, chokes his betraying lover, but does not watch the life ebb from her.

Book Tyrion- Nose gone, grotesque, two different colored eyes, chokes his betraying lover watching the life fade from her.

I am book Tyrion in acceptance. It is ugly, this situation and while it is possible to regain function it is probable I do not.

So it goes.

The night is dark and full of terrors, winter is coming, hear me roar!

 
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Posted by on 05/13/2015 in Weekapaug Groove

 

I took a whole pill

Pain pulled back like a pony tail

pried, positioned like a chorus

Lead vocals, a brief respite

I mumble like Michael Stipe in 1985

 

10.12.13 resonates

I am not going to claim a family budget free of bloat (obviously I am one of the lead bloaters, no matter whose behalf I bloat on) I attempt to limit anything that is too short term impact.

Concerts, especially something as audacious as a national act, were pretty verboten. The tense is correct. On 10.12.13 I went solo to see Pearl Jam and it was as transformative an experience as I’ve had since my children were born.

Already a year and a half into some challenges and any change I made was yielding mixed results. Not committed enough, not the right approach, I couldn’t tell you.

What I can say for sure is I was reminded of the power of a single experience.

My wife can read me like I am a rudimentary reader of the “Run Spot, run” variety. I lobbied (“you need this” -direct quote) for an overpriced bad seat purchase a day or two prior and through the magic of Facebook I had my ticket secured. I actually formulated and shared a Wishlist set. Off he goes.

I parked on Delaware and made the mile plus mosey down Pearl Street. A preshow palaver with a friend and her husband set the tone further and I was ready.

I was in the land of misfit toys of the arena. I had a decent view of the inner workings of stage left. The guy next to me had to head to work at some point. The woman on my left had a fiancé two sections over. The band was late to start. Guy to the right of me was displeased with the first three songs. They rocked me.

Pendulum was the opener. It was my first time hearing it. Haunting, it grabbed me- “This might pass, this might last, this may grow” I didn’t fall into how on the nose that was for me, though I’ve pondered it a time or three since.

The next song is a favorite, Low Light. I am not one to quibble with a well placed F bomb, and to be fair Eddie could’ve been feeling this way this Autumn evening, but “All I feel is calm” would’ve sufficed. Eh, small detail- he was feeling it. Ed Ved was definitely getting smashed throughout the evening, the good kind.

Sometimes was another treat. I took in new (I had yet to listen to Lightning Bolt) and old with delight. Relaxed. Anxious. Both at the same time. No battle. They just were. I just was.

And I am. Better, though worse. More intune, though out of focus to some. That one experience. One year later it still feeds me. It still informs me.

All I feel is fucking calm.

 
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Posted by on 10/12/2014 in Weekapaug Groove

 

Me Again, Several Shades Later, Having an Amaring moment or three

I started out today as many of late, shaking off the late in the “rest” REM that tries to hug me tight, luring with lucid opportunities to climb to Orion’s Belt or dive to the deepest trench in the Atlantic- reality check- the Pacific is still receiving chemo treatments from Japan.

Throughout my life I have found comfort in articles of clothing: a favorite pair of Umbros (or Sambas for that matter), my Joker Converse from the 1989 Batman film, my soon to be retired on the way to fitting mumuish baseball style Stealy and so on.

During the course of the last three months I have begun pulling out older clothes, hoping to find an article or two that wasn’t mangled by the journey outward.

I unearthed a piece of clothing so central in me that it was jarring to see it- My Ernest Hemingway T-shirt I purchased in the Spring of 1990.

It was not only there, but in remarkable shape, sure, some wear, a few holes, but in wearable shape(my definition).

My sophomore year I had Brother Fred Dihlman for English class. He had me hooked from the first class when he had us diagram the first sentence of To Kill A Mockingbird

When he was nearly thirteen my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.

1984 he had a class period where people monitored the classroom from every corner and reported on infractions being committed by people in the class.

He was always trying to get us engaged in literature in ways that were inclusive- numbers together, engrossed in learning.

The only Hemingway assigned that I recall was in essay format. Probably due to this, I was headstrong on reading The Old Man and the Sea on spring break.

While on vacation what did I find but a portait of Ernest on a shirt, marlin surrounding the portrait, with a quote from The Old Man and the Sea. Vacation souvenir acquired.

Literature is what lead me through receiving my expensive advanced piece of paper, sure. But literature has enriched my life beyond measure. It is tattooed to my soul.

This morning was teetering between wallow and centered. As I assembled my clothes for the day I reached far back into the T-shirt section of the deep bottom drawer (Atlantic, again) I pulled Mr. Hemingway and that giant marlin from the back.

I felt the sense of serenity and being I experienced on 10/12/13 waiting for Pearl Jam to start, no misplaced urgency, engaged. I felt calm. They played a stellar opening three, Lowlight sandwiched between two beauties, Pendulum and Sometimes. It was a night that sparked me.

And so I lumbered in. I lead with the best I had. It was enough.

 

Here again, faster than ever before

What a quick year. The pace of it takes me back to one of my unrealistic wishes, that for a three month period it could move as slowly as those summers as a child did.  I’ll take the current time frame, just dash it with some ether, make me feel like I belong The Bugs Bunny/Gossamer (Red Hairy Monster) cartoon.

More time for the kids, more time with my wife, more time for the kids, more time to read, more time for the kids, more time for the kids, more time to write, more time for the kids and more time to just stop, sit and think.

I’m ending 2013 on one of the best/healthiest notes in a long, long time. It is only perfect in its imperfection, but I am striving to improve and enhance every part of my life that I can.  There are some long term goals that I would love to see come tomorrow. Too bad I didn’t start them years ago. So it goes. I will start them now.

You go do the same, if so inclined. If you are not, well, what the hell are you waiting for?

 

2014, enter with this quote in motion in more people-

 

“Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies-“God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

Indeed.

 

 

 
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Posted by on 12/31/2013 in Weekapaug Groove

 

My Favorite Albums, a top ten #4 Document – R.E.M.

Document is an album that acts as an aural time machine. Spring 1990 on a family vacation on Siesta Key. At its very opening I am walking the beach at dusk listening to a worn cassette. Stop, eject, flip, play.  Finest Worksong, The One I Love. The One I Love, Finest Worksong.

Document is one of the ‘purchased on more than one format’ albums in my library. The tape was beat up well before there was any concern for having a tape deck available. I have lost at least one CD to damage, theft or time. Exhuming McCarthy is timeless in that fear politicking, especially when it tweaks at false nationalistic bravado.

It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine) is about as fine of an apocalyptic ditty as you will find. Over played and often poorly incorporated into other art it is one of R.E.M’s best known songs. It doesn’t ruin the song at all for me. I no longer seek it out (FF, Stop, Play, Rewind, Stop, Play) so much as happen upon it. But it sits well, leaving me feeling content that there is far more I can’t control than what I can and that fretting too much on the former is time ill spent, even for a full time ponderer.

 

 

I feel like I am in some film noire a la R.E.M. when I listen to Oddfellows Local 151. The preacher PeeWee reminds me of a darker, more sinister version of the preacher man in Estimated Prophet by the Grateful Dead. The lyrics are pained when paired with the instrumentation which opens with a rather haunting feedback. I can feel a bit of the chaos, though the story pulls me in. It is pretty dark for R.E.M.

 

 

King of Birds is a song that has always fascinated me.  It has mostly felt like a song about alienation, an inability to connect with other people.  There are a few times a week where I have said something, perhaps even gone on about something at length and I have been unable to connect my message to the person I am speaking with.  This song takes me to those moments.

Its marching tone leads me into the story and I love taking the verses into the round(more evident in the studio cut than this live one).

“I am the king of all I see/my kingdom for a voice”

 

 

Welcome to the Occupation. This song is kind of like listening to Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It says a lot, while saying a lot of things that may appear to be gibberish or unrelated but if you pick at it and think about it, 2:49 seconds can take you on a half hour adventure.

Since 9/11 morphed from an event we could come together on as a nation on into agendas based on fear, misinformation and polarization at the expense of reason (maybe 10/01 at some point?) this song makes me think of how we as a nation are making easy prisoners of ourselves. I am not suggesting that day didn’t impact me greatly. It did.  Our botch job of the aftermath is more troubling than the event itself.   Anyway, that is how Welcome to the Occupation can twist in my head.

 

 

Disturbance at the Heron House twists in my head like Welcome to the Occupation.  What a beautiful, poetic breeze.

 

There are no weak point on the 11 track album- Strange, Lightning Hopkins, Fireplace are all fantastic songs.  The album doesn’t leave me trapped in 1990, though it allows for a view back through that lens. Damn, I was a putz. But at least I was a putz who recognized the beauty and depth of this album.

 
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Posted by on 09/02/2013 in Weekapaug Groove