1. I’m going to do a blog with 5 things and that’s it.
2. That didn’t count and this doesn’t either.
3. Haha. I’m so funny. Did you know that there is an improv game called five things? Even if you did, I’ll tell you about it anyway (even though an alarm just went off on my Wrist Cylon–who is the boss of me–and it’s telling me I need to go take my morning pills even though it is after noon!)
The five things game is when you have one or more improv partners and you say to one another “five things! five things! FIIIIIVE THINGS!” or some other improv chant or none at all maybe. And one of the people goes (for example) “five places where you store your winter wigs!” and they point at one of the others!
The other person has to think of something on the spot so they say (for example) “ANTARCTICA!” and the crowd goes “FIVE!” or “ONE!” (I think we count up so we say “one”) and then so on: “The creepy basement!” (“TWO!”) “your mom’s hope chest” (“THREE!”) “in the BUTTER DISH!” (“FOUR!”) “in a wormhole connecting SPACE but not TIME!!” and then the others go “FIVE! FIVE THINGS!!” and then the person who named the things goes and points to a new person. Or the next in the circle or whoever and that took too long to explain and perhaps maybe I should have done a mini list or whatever. FIVE THINGS!
4. I use a lot of exclamation points when I talk about improv (!!!!!). This is because I really miss doing it live and performing it and ever since last March I’ve felt weird and off my game. Instead of just being behind on projects, now I am WAY behind on projects and WOEFULLY behind on my own and this is because of mood lameness and brain fog. Not exciting (!!)…:
5. Tonight, I stream again. This is a weekly thing. I need to get excited about this and I am on many levels except for a mild to moderate crippling fear of FAIL. Crippling fear of fail is BAD and Anathemic to improv. ‘Anathemic’ is apparently not a word but should be. It should be “anathema” but that just sounds like the scientific name of an anxiety spider. Yes, I have always known what the word means but words are weird and I wish I could telepaport.
6. My timer went off again also indicating that I make writings that are too wordsy which I could have told every hypothetical reader long, longly ago. Also I need more coffee but this is not relevant to you, to me, or to my dead basil plant which mocks me from the sad garden.
6. I am going to engage in Self Care before I stream because I am making healthy choices. We should all make healthy choices. I suppose.
7. We all have the right to turn off our phones and the internet if we want to, and that is just the way it is. I think don’t ever feel badly about that because you are the one who has to live inside your own skull.
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I think this blog is linked to my Twitter. So if you are here because you clicked on a link and you do not want to be, that is what happened. I should be sorry but am trying not to be this sorry thing as much because you should only be that when it needs doing.
Someone is making coffee at my house. So I’ll keep this short.
I have decided to write this because I am going through a thing where I am taking medication that is affecting me cognitively. This has happened before, but I’m more aware of it now. I want to keep track of it. I didn’t write about it before because I thought maybe this is not funny or entertaining to people. I didn’t want to be depressing or whatever.
I’m making videos about this too, and working on other projects (like I said yesterday), but they take time and brains to edit.
I feel very slow (slowly?) ugh.
I have flannel sheets with penguins on them ice skating and roasting marshmallows. The spouse picked them out.
I think this place is not long for this world and I’m going to move it to my new place soon but I’ve been dragging about it. It’s hard to change after a decade of Behavior.
my breath could improve. but don’t we all miss hearing about my adventures with dental floss though? Maybe my dry wit bits still work. It’s hard to say. I feel like I live underwater with the strange apathetic eels. Life is very weird.
So I’m thinking ‘2020 is not really worth a blog post from me,’ and that’s probably true but I have these thoughts and they’re blog thoughts. Not tweet thoughts and definitely not Facebook post or Instagram and certainly not tik tok or whatever. I don’t know. I just wanted to write a bit. I’m just in a weird angry headspace of surly to be around. I don’t want it to start infecting people that I deal with artistically, so I suppose I have to kill it where it stands while I can.
I’m doing this thing where I’m streaming musical improv with this guy in my improv community. I’m stressed while I’m doing this because I’m out of practice at this and it’s not at all like riding a bike. Especially for someone like me with a few subtle (but still needful-of-management) extenuating brain circumstances. I don’t advertise the things that make musical life more difficult for me—but if I don’t do extra things and make allowances then life indeed does get more difficult.
There’s a hard Suck Factor to it. In this case, I’m out of practice because I’m used to there being an audience for the improv. Some back and forth. Chemistry. Repartee. I can see faces, I can make adjustments. I remember almost a decade ago I could understand the abstract reactions of people who had online opinions about my musicianship and I could process this, I had to learn to let those opinions go. It took me a long time to come to terms with not being able to game them away. But I rejected that way of being and live theater has been my mode of being and doing. This new shift into ‘what are they thinking on twitch if I stream?’ or ‘how many followers do I have watching?’ or ‘if I stream this performance where I make stuff up on the spot on Facebook will it be ruinous?’ It’s hard to have bravery and hard to not think of yourself so preciously that you talk yourself out of going out there. You have to have nothing to lose.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the best. There is no question ‘should you be doing this?’ You obviously can do it so you do it until it works. So I’m trying to kill all this pride and these questions and hangups so I can work again. That’s what worked before and it’s the only way it’ll work again. When given an offer you enthusiastically agree and double down on it and do your best even if the best you do isn’t good enough. Repeat until it’s better. So I’ll keep streaming every week until the suck stops for as long as I’m welcome to. As others have done before. That’s what happens when you stop practicing certain things. Don’t even want to talk about the state of my drumming, my guitar playing…
And I’m behind on more than a couple projects. And I owe people work I said I’d do. And I’m having some health problems that are awkward to talk about and no one wants to get into that stuff anyway. Because there is really only one health problem on the world’s plate and that’s The Health Problem. I mentioned this in the stream—that I feel curmudgeonly and whiney but there is nothing really to whine about. If you are a person with privilege then you feel bad feeling bad even if you feel bad. It’s a hole of Suck, you see. This accomplishes nothing for anyone. And I took the pandemic personally because I felt I was doing so well—personally. I was happy, getting along just fine and looking forward to so much. I had slight burnout and a small amount of theater fatigue and I needed some redirection but I had/have zilch to complain over. But when it all hit, of course I thought “of course this is happening to me..now!” not realizing this disrespect his entails when I have my life and—if not stellar health, then at least functionality and a shot at improvement within my own control.
This is a depressing blog about nothing and I know this. I wanted the first write back to be funny and lighthearted but there’s nothing lighthearted about this stupid year except that we might not have a planet exploding into flames. Wow. It’s weird because I’m writing this and there are literal sirens screeching down the street blocks from my house. This happens a lot all over the city. Probably in every city in the whole frickkin world though. I just notice it all the time now and really notice every time I improvise that it’s almost impossible to fit lines into meter and rhyme. I need to try harder to be a better ray of sunshine, but I’ve never been very good at this sort of thing. Flarg and all that.
ps. Also, whenever I make up songs and get stuck, I don’t know why I keep doing bad improv about this tall basketball player I liked from the seventh grade. I think I lose my way somehow in an emotional sinkhole of awkwardness. I hope this guy never hears about it because I always say his whole name when I mention him. Ugh. What a mess.
Except aaaaaaaaaack. I actually have already written a poem that is exactly the instructions for the next song title and challenge. Weird. I don’t think it would have made it through, not for a second–it’s way way too oblique. But it satisfies it for me so I will maybe set it to music if I am booted out of here. It’d be my first Nur Ein shadow, at any rate.
I am not going to get too into doing more song contests because I have to set up in other ways. Already behind on other projects and am panicking-but need to find a deadline-centered work ethic which feels different from “Be here at this place now at this time” which is calendar-like and something I understand. I understand gigs better than projects.
Grow up, self.
I am writing comedy right now and I am noticing the key to doing this is thinking of it like music, with rests and breathing and dynamics.
I am way behind because I have actually been writing music. But this is actually because I was doing standup so one thing being good for the other is a success story.
I am blogging again too so this is also a success.
I decided to stop blogging and go back to writing comedy. Because of work ethics and all. Later, I will be giving dating advice to friends–which I am in no way qualified to do for so very, very many reasons.
My brain is fried. I feel like lava does when it has broken up with someone. You want to explain but you really can’t go back now, can you?
I have to finish writing a stand up comedy routine, of all things. I do not feel very funny today, or even silly. I open my mouth and this strange whiny noise comes out.
I have not worn makeup in many a moon so I found a mascara-laden portrait of myself which I took in a dressing room.
I like when I practice piano but I will go on and on with that and it’s not really constructive the way I do it, like I’m trying to board an enemy ship.
I’m concerned about my hands because they go numb a lot and I don’t know why. I’m trying not to over-do the elderly schtick.
I do miss working the way I used to and I miss the theater.
I miss doing musical improv. I didn’t think it would happen. Maybe I will do some soon. You can do that over the internet and you can even do it with other people. I just haven’t been wild about trying with anyone in particular–and I know that this is really on me.
I have a person who is annoying and I have complained about this person before. Apparently they are on facebook again, taking credit where credit is don’t. This should be like that Far Side cartoon. Like acid off a duck’s back?
I have been way too caught up in old mentalities. There are so many of them to choose from. They make me dusty and unfunny. I do not think to speak in funny accents and it wouldn’t occur to me to put on a jaunty hat. I wrote about important things before but I also did so while I was reading far too many news articles. I think coming across as stodgy for the sake of stodge is not very important. No one wants to wade through a lake of word brick. I think I have strong opinions about this.
I sound like an old movie that did not make the list of better podcast options.
I have a new fear of the old vampires. Not the sexy kind either.
If I’m out of the contest that’s all fine. I need to get used to the fact that the thing about a list of things to do is that it has items on it and that one ought to do them.
I’ll just fix my song in a leisurely way and do things that are the most important as the priority. Move toward what will get me paid first. Song contests feel good and you meet deadlines but you are not getting money to do this. Of course, if I did not do all the things that did not give me money, I would die in obscurity and no work would be done at all ever.
have actually been putting things up on the internet more than I used to so there is a small line of credit going into my self-satisfaction pig bank.
I have most assuredly been drinking too much. I am most definitely too old to be doing so. I’ve never even been that much of a drinker. But beer tastes better when you ought to stay home. Hey! That’s on an unlucky number! :O
Gardening is more difficult for some people than for others.
Don’t even ask about dental floss. It’s insane to speak of these matters.
I think this blog right now is meaningless. But I don’t care. I need to start just doing things for myself or I am going to disappear.
I wrote a song yesterday (last day/night) which I have not done in ages.
It was written in a very brief amount of time. I don’t know how close I am to making it something I feel songfully about. I don’t know if I got this blog entry about it right. I don’t typically write “song bios.” I was thinking about starting to make videos about my process. Before I didn’t. It seemed self indulgent. But maybe I ought to get over this, and get out here. I ought to admit that I am interested in myself, because people are interesting and I am actually not a cynical person.
I wrote this blog entry last night in the dead of night and hit publish quickly–much like I rushed to get my song entry into the Song Fight people last minute. This time, I am going to say I got my point across through mood and content rather than through production and flash. Now I don’t believe that mixing properly is bad, not at all, I just think that in my case the pursuit of perfection holds me back from the actual composition of the thing.
I was going for a feeling of detached concern and a deeply passionate but distanced advocacy. Sort of surfing the breakers of white guilt.
White guilt is a fraught, bullshit topic and there is really no pretty way to be frank about it. Its awkward how atrocious my presence is in this conversation, no matter what I would say, even if it is helpful. This is not about me in the least. I wanted to try to explain this last night, because if you don’t say anything you are just wearing your fuzzy blanket, really.
I have wanted to explain it before. But wanting to explain a horrible thing and NEEDING to explain a horrible thing and having a responsibility either to DO or to JUST SHUT UP or to Show Up quietly is sometimes a thing that it is on just each Individual to navigate. Thusly, this is a song TO me, and for my sake and feelings. There’s a “you know why” line that’s an elephant in the room. And it’s addressing people like me because we know why all of those things in the song and we’re “sure that…” Ellipsis. Because what can one add to the conversation?
In the song I talk about being at the end of a life but paradoxically knowing you’re “not going to die.” This basically means that there’s a likelihood of a long life and statistics are kind if you are privileged in society. I used a lot of words like ‘lies’ and ‘smile’ and ‘sneak’ and ‘teeth.’ Words that make my voice sound tinny and cause hastily applied last minute effects to jar a bit. I wanted some more little treasures I may add later and help with proper mixing and of course a real master. I had a metallic piano and some scrapes. I’d recorded some dripping water from my kitchen and a steam sound and I have an immersion microphone in the mail coming to me; and I was going to do some things with that. The song is worthwhile, so sauce will be added later. I have a few songs like this so maybe they can make an entire recording. You never know…
The more I listened to it, the more I liked the presentation. I like the pauses. My recording itself is cleaner and my ears are improved, I think. I didn’t worry that it needed a bridge and rush to clutter the song with more and more changes. It feels songwriterly… again. My other recent material does not. It feels like part of shows, which is different.
I almost didn’t need to blog about it, but you come to a realization that it is your blog, at a certain point. So I have to stand for something and report my whereabouts even if I am vague and quiet about it. And to say that I do not support the wanton carelessness of one group of humans toward another–let alone the violence–that’s necessary. But if every effort I make to even feel towards a thing is lost in a sea of pleasant couch cushions, this is also an issue. It’s problematic if we are silenced by the huge reality of our own insultingly mundane unimportance in the scheme of things. We are raised to feel exceptional. We are not, and we are not necessary. And it’s dangerous … to feel -unUnique. For ANYBODY.
It’s a hypothetical that isn’t so hypothetical. It’s about a shade of gray that is actually quite black and white in this case. It might mean different things to different people, but this is what it means to me. In any case, it would be about personally showing up morally unprepared and trying to put a cartoon bandaid over a gaping hole and showing up to a funeral in your stupid party dress. So making excuses.
It’s hard to explain my emotions. The recording was like this. I was in half a new room setup. I was setting up a new machine and the last times Ive tried to do a round of one of these on a brand new machine I’ve taken collaborators down with me because the sound’s been off. At the end, I had to swap machines to get a vocal down because my newer machine didn’t want to talk to my legacy interface and was having assignment and routing problems. These things make me feel like a dork, particularly after getting quick at routing and problem solves–but at I’m a little better at slapping apology demo FX on things now. She says this after sending a mildly distorted track 🙂
After some self-flagellation on the forums which I did not need to do, I regretted saying anything because I think now this track has sort of grown on me. I like the chords I chose and the ebb and flow of intensity like it’s also a musical option to just opt out. I feel like I ought to give myself more credit for making good musical choices and having the intent there in the beginnings of things. It’s important I respect this songwriter thing in myself or I’m going to get into a bad habit of abandoning my work again at the first sign that someone thinks a negative thing about it. Maybe they are right about me, I will think, although I ought to know better by now that the opinions of others do not really matter and this is a head game. Making songs for other people will always leave your work sounding contrived and fake-ish (at least for me). Even if you have a commission or an assignment of some kind or a fan base to please–they have requested YOU, and so you must show up with your whole mind and body.
This is a highly edited entry, as I said before, and I probably should try a little harder with song bios next time. This is probably true of songs as well. All I know is that my sleep is off and I have comedy to write-write for a class I am taking; and also.must cook and bake and get back to normal. There’s bread, I hopped on that train. And who knows if I’ll be back in here to change more of the record. Or not. Maybe I’ll just make a list-ier one later about other random stuff (no one believes).
To close (finally! :D) I honestly don’t expect much or to get through to be top 25 of 41 people with my rushed little offering, no matter that it was earnestly performed. But you never know because sometimes the weirdest things of mine get liked the most. I made second place with an educational “bad rap” about a piranha track I did in less than 2 hours. I think people were surprised. No one will be surprised about exposed vocal and sparsely emotional piano. Either way, this could be me making personal history fizzling out of Nur Ein in a Round 0 or even just skating thru to an ultimate and unlikely stupid win (HA!)…so we’ll just have to see.
I wrote a song once years ago for that song contest I have historically done (Song Fight!) called Colorblind. So not recently. Recently-now I am thinking to finish a song called ‘This is Fine.’ At the moment, I don’t know that they’d have a title like “colorblind or Only I think it is meant to be spelled in the overseas sort of way with what I think of as ‘vacation vowels’—so with the ‘U.’ Like in the improv game Be More British.
Anyway, I did this long ago. Because it was the given title and we were told to. This had to have been sometimes between 2009-2011. I think I was supposed to not have a chorus and sort of meander along or maybe tell a story or I don’t remember. Typically for me at that time, I wrote it about a super secret almost-relationship I had had which was frustrating to me. I wanted to write about this thing that had happened so briefly that nobody in the entire universe even knew about so much so that I often forget it was there. Now, this is decades ago and I was so different.
In songwriting, not even five-ish years ago, I used to be vague but also forthcoming. I wrote in metaphors. But always, I look for signs. Maybe I’ll do this #songcontest I used to do again and maybe I will not. It seems to be a deadline my songwriter clock respects for some reason. The only other way I hustle is for an opening day or money.
I found these old lyrics, looking for paper. These were not the ones I used. These were full of flowery metaphors and obfuscations about what I was going through then. And my songwriter muscles are a bit out of whack after the switching gears into improvising and not sitting and crafting scenes and moods and a musical agenda. But there has to be a balance, right?
This is a photo of something bloggish and relaxing so that your eyes are not bored. I saw it when I had a lunch break from doing something exciting.
Is that cryptic? I’m really sorry. I’ve gotten really burnt out on the internet and social media in general. I could blame a lot of things. The political climate just…everywhere. The general level of discourse. Cyber overcrowding. My basic moodiness. But I’ve been good and fine and happy and stuff. Just normal me. And I’ve been busy and the things I used to complain about here are mostly mischiefmanaged and all that.
I’m not ready to get into specifics. I’m really just kind of feeling “why”ish and lazy about it. I want to do the stuff that might get me paid and/or that promises emotional or experience payoffs that benefit me or people I care for in some way. I don’t want to type into a vacuum. But there was something that this blogging did for me. I’m trying to remember it. Maybe when I do and I can form a sentence about that, I will do more of it. Stay tuna-ed…
Today I am going to post in this blog. It is not going to get overly cerebral. It is not going to get weird. I am not going to write an apology, or a long treatise on where I’ve been and why I havejourneyed there. I’m not going into long metaphors about dental hygiene or my cats.
I actually don’t know what I’m going to say.
I used to know the purpose of blogging. It was like a public diary. Of course people wanted to know everything about me. I’m terribly interesting. Right? Of course. Now that we got that out of the way.
The problem was when the internet got mean and no one thinks other people are interesting anymore. It’s what my great (possibly great-great) aunt Mamie used to call “making the game schmeary.”
This is a situation of playing Uno and you keep getting all the skips and reverses and draw fours (none of the other wild cards where you can just peacefully change the color and move on). And the person to your right (where the direction of play is heading) keeps getting slammed by what they think are your dastardly dealings of death and pain. Draw 2. Draw 2 again. Oh. A Skip. Then someone else skips to you then you lay down a Wild Draw 4. You’ve said “uno” every time. In fact, one time you said it slow and they viciously said “UNO” at the same time but everyone at the table said “nooooooo,” that you got it in in time and now player-to-the-right is turning into a thunderous raincloud right before your eyes and the living room is about to be a category 5.
Scores are tallied. You’re only 3 rounds in and you were going to play 5. or six. But player on your right THROWS the cards into the air (you find the one of the missing Blue 4s two weeks later, chewed up by cats) and storms out and that’s the end of this metaphor. But did you MEAN to draw all those cards? Were you supposed to be NICE about it and just rack up the points so that they could win? Apparently so …….. apparently you’re supposed to let the wookie win or he tears your arms off.
This is not the way that things should work, and I said that I wasn’t going to do this but this is why I don’t write much internet anymore or post and why nobody can have nice things or coffee and pie in public. Unnnngh and flargh. You have all heard this before. “Go brush your teeth, Denise!”
Obviously the card throwers of the world are making the game schmeary and if you hold your breath and kick and scream in the cereal aisle because mommy won’t buy you Count Chocula then you are a SPOILT BRAT, right? This should happen across the board RIGHT? RIGHT??!?!
Does it happen? No. Some people can just have and do whatever they want. Some people can just WALTZ down fifth avenue and…
no. I wasn’t going to do that. Who cares? Who listens? Does this even HELP. So no. Not from me …
NOT TODAY! (throws improv dagger)
I will talk about improv tomorrow. I will talk more about myself, soon. Because I will come back here tomorrow (or soon) and write here in this blog some more (or soon).
Yesterday was my “Improv-iversary.” That means it was the first time I went and did Improvisation with other human beings. My life changed.
I thought I was a performer before. But not really. After a slow series of failures and private humiliations in which I slowly lurched from one group of people to another trying to do subsistence level music; I finally got to the point where my mind said ‘enough. You probably suck.’
An artist. Maybe a sort-of musician. Sometimes I didn’t think I was any of those things. Other people in my life certainly were, and I certainly know a lot of very, very cool musicians who in turn know really cool, sometimes famous musicians. But despite a degree, years of training in several disciplines, and many legitimate experiences–I questioned my basic right to call myself what I in fact basically was. And it became something that wasn’t about that. It was about who was where and looking like what and knowing who. Not about how I FELT or the sounds I liked or wanted. Not about what made me happy.
Any simple criticism could set me off and make me feel like a poser and a charlatan. It took years to get over the feeling of constantly feeling on the verge of having my musician’s license revoked. Now, I don’t want it. I don’t need it anymore. I am happy to say I have never heard of that song you think I should have known since I was three. But I’m happy to listen. 🙂
After years of never fitting in anywhere, I have been hanging around new people and waiting for a shoe to drop. The shoe is on my foot. I have on both shoes. They are clown shoes, and I’m no longer afraid of clowns. And I’m also no longer afraid of musicians because I’m a musician and sometimes I play one on stage. 🙂