Monthly Archives: January 2012

I’m still here…

Everyione’s sick at home, and we had a birthday to celebrate, so I’ve been busy. Apparently I pissed a few people off with my God post, so I may do a followup post to that, trying to explain my reasoning on a few things. Who knows.

But anyway, I’ll be posting more soon. In the meantime, here’s a funny picture of a pissed-off cat.


PHISH!!! (or “Why I’m obsessed by the band”)

In a text to me the other day, my wife said “I love you because you’re obsessed with Phish” and it really got me thinking. Am I? If I am, WHY am I? I’ve never been this nuts about a band before – ever.

With the piano solo to “The Squirming Coil” playing in the background as I write this, I think I can sum it up for the most part with a few sentences, and then expound later. Phish are 4 dorks. They’re 4 extremely smart guys who are all talented musicians who just play for the fun of it. They don’t take themselves or their music too seriously, and in doing that, they manage to make some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard. I mean, LOOK at them!

Listen to “You Enjoy Myself” for the entire song (it’s long, I warn you; sometimes 20 minutes long)  and see if you can count the different musical styles interwoven into the whole piece. It starts off almost classical, then evolves into a free-flowing abyss, followed by Page’s never-played-the-same piano solo, followed immediately by a nice funky groove that hangs out for the rest of the song before deteriorating into an A-Capella ending of the song. Listen to “Harry Hood”, and you can almost see Trey squinting his eyes shut in concentration while he makes that guitar channel his inner-spirit out into the audience and it absolutely HOWLS. Let it catch you with its intensity and hard-pushing riffs, and I promise you, you’ll be hooked if you’re not dead. You can feel what he’s feeling through his music. I’m serious.

Look, I know that their music isn’t for everyone. I get it. I know some folks don’t dig jam bands or 30 minute songs. Me? I’ve always had a hard time letting go of myself or expressing certain feelings. Phish allows me to lose myself in the music, letting the notes wash over me and lifting myself out of any negativity I’m in. I can drive to work in the morning and play “Wilson” and it’ll erase any feelings of foreboding I might have, or any bad moods I’m in on the way home. It’s just a good way of re-setting myself back to zero.

I go to Phish shows, and I meet an incredibly large amount of very friendly people. Yes, you get the odd Dickhead or Wookiee (a “wook” or “Wookiee” is a person who only goes to Phish shows to get spun on ‘shrooms or acid, and doesn’t get into the music for music’s sake. They’re in it for the drugs) but really, everybody gets along pretty well. Everybody just gets together at shows and dances. Those of you who know me, know that I hate dancing in public, but for Phish shows, I just can’t help it. My eyes close, my head nods, and I start to groove – in place at first… then harder, and before I know it, I’m dancing around all over the place. It’s so incredibly liberating. Like dancing in your room by yourself. Nobody gives a shit how you look, and people encourage you to keep it up.

Let’s not forget the light shows. Chris Kuroda, their light guy, started out in the mid-80’s as a friend/fan of the band. He used 1 light and some colored cellophane, and now he’s using multi-million dollar lighting equipment. He’s in demand all over the musical world, but his roots are with Phish. The light shows just blow you away, drunk, stoned, or sober. They’re timed to the music, and they just look incredible.

I have books on Phish, bootleg CD’s, posters, shirts, hats, you name it. I believe in supporting a band that has been so instrumental in helping me find that calm place inside myself. My wife loves Phish too, and jams to the music also – but she’s nowhere near the Phreak I am for them. It’s okay. She’s such a musical genius for it all anyway, that I love going to shows with her and listening to new music with her. Lately though, she’s been listening to a lot of Phish, because that’s all I have in the 6-disc CD player in the truck. She doesn’t complain though. I love her. 🙂

So, am I obsessed with Phish? Yep. I guess I am. Give ’em a listen sometime.

 

Cheers!

-T-

 


God. Is he or ain’t he?

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“Dear Heavenly Father, I believe that you died on the cross for my sins, and I’m asking you to come and live in my heart. I accept you as my Lord and Savior, and dedicate my life to good deeds and telling others about your goodness. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

I prayed that when I was 7, prayed it again when I was 11, again when I was 18 and in Basic Training and feeling like I had nobody, and again at 22. I’ve “gotten saved” a few times in my life. I grew up in a family that embraced the Christian faith intensely. So intense that we went to church on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, Wednesday evenings, and Thursday nights for music practice. We went to church. A lot. I listened to bands like Stryper and Petra (hey, it was the 80’s) and all those folks. I can quote scriptures fairly well, and definitely know the basic principles that the bible teaches. I believed in a God that demanded complete compliance and constant praise. I listened to many preachers’ views on God and life, and I tried to keep myself on the straight and narrow. All for a deity that I’d never seen, heard, or felt.

Thing is… why?

I’d been questioning God’s existence since age 12, when I heard someone give the parallel examples between Christianity and ancient Egypt, and how close the two religions are. I won’t go into detail, but watch the movie “Religulous” and they cover it pretty well. Heh… my parents HATED that movie. Anyhow, I started to wonder how come we prayed to this god who never talked back, and never seemed to really give a shit one way or the other WHAT we did. I mean, in the Old Testament, God was one jealous cat. He would jack you UP if you didn’t believe in him. He told King Saul to “smite the Amalekites and leave not one of them alive, down to the last dog or mouse.” Jesus! (pun intended) God told a king to basically commit genocide and kill women, children, babies, animals. All because He was pissed they weren’t praying to him.

I’ve gone to many churches over the span of my life. I’ve known pastors who were alcoholics, who were sleeping with the female members of the young adult ministries, and pastors who could preach a tough game, but their personal lives were all sorts of fucked up. I thought a lot about churches, and pastors, and all of that. Basically, a Pastor is the guy who has excellent public speaking skills, knows the bible, and is able to convince people that HIS interpretation of the bible is the way they should live their lives. If they’re any good, they gather a large following of people, build a huge church, and drive around in their Mercedes convertibles to their $500,000 homes. What these Pastors do is preach the bible, while inserting their personal brand of values and suggest strongly that everyone live by them.

I saw a lot of families at church that had money. Hell, my family was one of them. There were churches we went to growing up that placed my parents in high positions – simply because they made $100 offerings once a week. Money buys a lot of redemption I guess. I also saw poor families that went to church dutifully and tried to interact with all other members. Problem was, the rich folks just didn’t want to associate with the poor folks. Been to jail/prison and got saved there? Don’t go to church to find people who will accept you. You might get to go up on stage a few times to tell your “story” about how bad you were and how good you are now, but I’m telling you people honestly: Christians don’t like dirty people. They don’t like those folks who live in halfway houses and come to church wearing jeans and dingy sweaters. They’ll smile, sure… but you don’t get any invites to Sunday Lunch.  No, I have NEVER been arrested or incarcerated, but I do know several people and have seen for myself the several examples of new Christians getting roundly ignored because of their history.

So, back to my original question. God. Is he or ain’t he?

I have a very hard time believing that this god, who did all these miracles 2,000 years ago, is mutely silent today. I mean, shit! There’s wars and death, and unbelievers, and all that all over the world. Where’s the damn heavenly fire and all that? God supposedly stopped the Sun in the middle of the sky for 3 days so Joshua could win a battle – way back in the old testament. How come that doesn’t happen now? There’s some prophet in the bible, Elijah or Elisha, who made fun of these other religious priests who tried to call down their god to burn up this symbolic pile of wood. Basically, the pagan priests prayed and they couldn’t get a result. The holy prophet guy starts messin’ with them and says “Hey, maybe your god is taking a shit or something. Where is he?” He then proceeds to douse his ceremonial thingy with water, prays to God, and *ZAPPO* fire comes outta nowhere and burns that bastard right up! Pretty cool huh? Why hasn’t’ it happened lately?

My parents think I’m going to hell for my thinking. Sucks. I’m sad, because they really think that way, but I can’t for the LIFE of me understand why they have to put their faith in some invisible deity? My father retired from GMC a couple years back. He’s now got some form of blood cancer that requires chemo, Motrin, and hope that it helps him out. My mother has been dealing with Degenetive Disk Disease for over 20 years now.  She’s messed up! She can’t get around very well because of how bad she is. They haven’t been to church in 10 years. I just don’t understand why they keep praying blindly to some deity to make them better, when the power of human will is PROVEN to be so incredibly strong, that people have completely turned their lives back around from the abyss of death – through sheer force of will. My father is the strongest man I’ve ever known. He’s got a demeanor like granite when he’s onto something. He’s honest and adroit, and will tell you how he feels about something. He’s too smart to be relying on this invisible man to magically take his cancer away. Can’t tell him that though. He won’t listen. So, they think I’m headed to hell, and I am sad that they’re wasting away in their home, praying for some cure or relief, when they could be out there living their lives and enjoying their twilight years.

I can’t believe in a God that does nothing to help his people. I can’t believe in a religion that preaches goodwill and peace towards all, but abuses its followers and forms cliques. Fuck that.

-T-

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Inaugural Post… and other musings

So I’ve wanted a blog for a long time, but just haven’t gotten around to making one. I want to get some things out of the way right off the bat:

I know that my folks, Gina’s folks, my siblings, or even my ex-wife might read what I post here. I know that not everyone agrees with my beliefs or my outlook on life, or anything like that. That’s fine. I don’t particularly care one way or the other. This blog is for ME. It’s my pressure-valve. It’s where I’m going to go for an online journal and post my thoughts and things. That said, I use harsh language sometimes (okay, fuck it… a lot). I make fun of religion and politics. I talk about what I feel like talking about. I’m happy to have folks read my writings, but if the things you read offend you, please don’t read them.

All of that said, I’m not using this place as a forum to rant to people. It’s just a way for me to get funny thoughts and things out of my head. I might talk about my family one day, or my newborn son Easton. I might talk about the time in 9th grade when I got suspended for playing a drum solo in the school talent show. Who knows?

I love my wife and best friend, Gina. I truly believe that she saved my life. I won’t get into details on HOW she did, but she did. I know and she knows.

I love my parents very much. My Dad is one of my personal heroes. My Mom cracks me up and has a personality a lot like mine. That said, I hate that they’re sitting home wasting away in the midwest praying to God to heal them, when they could be using the freedom they have with their lives (my Dad retired a couple years ago) and go DO stuff.

My Ex-wife. I won’t use her real name, but I will give her a pseudonym. There’s a LOT of shit to write about life with her (ugh, I feel bad for her new boyfriend but hey, he’s got money and that’s the best way to keep her happy) but I’ll keep it toned down as much as I can. I guess I’ll just call her Laura.

Me? Call me T. I was once an I.T. computer geek, a professional Soldier, and a professional Musician. (there are plenty of other things too, but I don’t wanna list my damn resume) My favorite food is Ribs, my favorite band in the entire fucking UNIVERSE is Phish, and I’m just a laid back person. I’ve lived a complete life already (no, I don’t believe in reincarnation), and have been embarking on a new one with my best friend and wife.

So yeah… welcome to my Blog. Read around, leave a message, disagree with me, or just stop by and say hi.

-T-