Until I see my "new cardiologist" I am gonna cut myself just a LITTLE slack in my sodium intake. I'll stay as close to 1,000 as I can, but I'll allow myself an extra 500. That doesn't sound like much, but I'm hoping it will keep me from going hungry. I'm also hoping that the doctor says I can have at least that many milligrams of sodium.

Music Video of the Week: Mahavishnu Orchestra

"You Know You Know"
Mahavishnu Orchestra


Well, I don't guess I will ever be mowing the lawn again. It needed doing this evening and I didn't want to bother my son with it, as he's had a fever all weekend. Perhaps I only over exerted myself, but when it was all done I felt awful. I must have sweat a gallon of perspiration. My lower back muscles throbbed. Afterwards, while taking a shower, I became naueseous and had to lay down. Even then it took quite a while before I felt "normal".

I've recovered, I think, for now. My back still feels sore, but otherwise I'm good to go. I never thought I'd say it, but I am going to miss mowing that lawn. It kind of took me back to my youth, mowing the same lawn I worked on in those days. The time has come, however, to pass the mantle to Bryan. I'm sure he will not enjoy it as much as I have. :)

Currently listening to "The Roaring Silence" by Manfred Mann's Earth Band. Now there's another blast from the past. I found it on a music blog that I frequent often. The guy who publishes it has uploaded some REALLY good stuff. He's also filled a few of my requests.

Okay, that's all I've got today. I wanted to give my computer a small break today.



There's GOT to be a payoff for this diet.
The low fat, low sodium diet has been in effect for about a week now, since last Friday. I let Stacie worry about the fat content in the foods I'm eating...it's enough for me to count sodium. I get 1,000 miligrams per day, and people, let me tell you, that is not much.

I've had to practically give up beef and pork (which is a real drag, because I do love pepperoni and bacon so much). I haven't eaten chicken in years, having somewhere along the line developed a distaste for it. Now it's about all I CAN eat. It was very difficult, but in a couple of days I was fine with it. Don't tell anyone, but I actually liked it in a stir-fry the wife whipped up. I suppose it's the kind of situation where you're going to eat whatever it is you have to eat to keep your belly full and stay alive. You might as well cultivate a taste for it. If your only choice was dog meat I'm sure it would take a long, long time, but eventually you'd find something tasty about it. Given a choice between chicken and dog, well, I guess I prefer the dirty bird.

One thing I am glad of...I seem to enjoy fruits a lot more now. Satisfies the sweet tooth. Especially oranges. I can have about as much fresh squeezed orange juice as I want, too. Pricey stuff and will surely put a dent in the pocketbook, but when you take into consideration all the money I spent on junk food, soda pop and such, it will likely even out or maybe even save some money. Granny Smith apples are tasting better and better every day, as are Gala apples. I use a salt substitute called Nu-Salt and pour that stuff on like it was sugar on a grapefruit (speaking of which, I'm not sure I can have grapefruit). It doesn't taste much like salt, but it does something to the tongue that kind of sensitizes it so that the flavor of the apple is, IMO, enhanced.

We're off today to Shawnee for a few things...maybe we'll stop at FireLake or Wal-Mart and check out their produce. Stacie was at Wal-Mart in another town yesterday looking for fruit, but she said that none of what they had looked very good.

Emotional situation still looking pretty good. I've kind of dropped out of the "moment of clarity" phase...I can feel a little depression coming on, but it's not quite as awful without all the meanness, hatefulness, anger, and all that stuff that fueled it before all this happened. In a way I'm actually glad that it has returned to this small degree, because it means that I'm not escalating to a manic phase. Which means that my medication for that is working.

Even so, I seem to be enjoying music at just about the same level...I don't think I mentioned it, but my depression had convinced me that I didn't like music anymore, that I was burned out on it. I would try and try to remember what it was that I loved about it. One day I would be positive it was the musician's talent, the next it would be how intricate the composition was and so forth and so on. I had forgotten that the main point of music is to EXPERIENCE it, not to dissect it. So maybe that's a good barometer of how serious the depression could get...


I think a lot of what is happening right now in my mental/emotional situation was indirectly inspired by a post on a blog called and I have to remind myself to smile. It's called "I Hate Bipolar", and it prompted me to issue this response:

Hi. I read this post I guess it was a little over a week ago. The whole idea of "hating my bipolar" was intriguing. Really, seriously venting my anger at this demon that has robbed me of so much over the past 25 years. Last week I had a real breakthrough with my depression, which was eating me alive. I honestly think that the really aggressive hate that I directed toward my illness was the catalyst for that. It made me see that *I* am NOT my bipolar. I had blamed myself for so long for things that *I* was not even responsible for. That I had, in so many words, become it's unwitting partner and grown too comfortable/complacent with it. Emptying my anger, my hatred, all that stuff by separating myself from it and allowing myself to hate *IT* instead was incredibly cathartic and, I believe, liberating. I have not felt as good as I do now in 25 years.TWENTY FIVE YEARS!!! Hard to believe. Everything seems so fresh and new. Like I've been re-united with the person I was before the bipolar diagnosis and I'm only just experiencing things I have done, seen, felt, tasted...My only fear is that this could be the genesis of another manic episode. But I really don't think so. When you've been wallowing in depression for that long (once again I have to emphasize: TWENTY FIVE YEARS!!!!!!!) you get so used to it that it's really frightening, because everything DOES seem so new and even different. But this seed you've planted, this advice to hate my bipolar, I think will give me a line of defense against a really bad upper swing (plus, I have faith that the medication I'm on will do that, as it is supposed to). I don't know why I didn't think of it, as it sounds like a logical thing to do. But I am glad you did, and I am very grateful. May you have peace as well. JAC
I want to attempt a chronicle of the aftermaths of the event I experienced last week on this blog (along with all the other horse shit), so here is the response to a letter I received from a friend who asked me what the chest pains were like. Presented here replete with all grammatical and spelling errors that tend to occur when a person is typing something in the heat of the moment.

Hey, Eric. How goes it?

Let's see...the chest pain..Jeez, almost can't describe it. Like a fist was squeezing it maybe just a little bit and the pain from that caused the entire region around it (and in my back muscles) to tense up to an extraordinarily high degree. Have you ever had a pain that was sharp and lasted long enough that you had to sort of grimace and hold in your breath...not really 'had' to, but maybe like your whole upper body seizes up and you feel like your pushing down pressure in your pressure by not breathing out? Obviously I have difficulty putting it into word, but at least that gives me a chance to think it out a little. If I had to just explain it in person I am sure I would stumble over words trying to find the right ones. Then, as the pain subsided, I began to shake quite uncontrollably, as if I were very, very cold (it was not cold at all in the room). That kept on for several minutes before I decided, yeah, the wife probably ought to take me to the ER. The shakes continued for quite some time after I got there. I almost nodded off a couple of times, but I would open my eyes and look at Stacie and Bryan then determine not to close my eyes. I don't know. They didn't say it was a heart attack, at least I guess the tests that came back didn't indicate that. But the nodding off was a little disconcerting to me (though not really frightening).

Anyhoo, I guess that's about as good as I can answer your question. It's been a week now, and for the most part I've felt pretty good physically...maybe a little weak and sore from the events of last thursday, but tolerable. It gets kind of scary when I think about the angina, what it is capable of. But if I distract myself from those thoughts I seem to get better.

As for the mental condition and the lifting of depression...so far, so good. I haven't felt this good since 1985. That's a long, long time to fuel depression with anger and the other bad things that I fed it. I had a short, extremely heart-to-heart talk with my wife while I was in the hospital...really frightened, but even more concerned that I not leave her and Bryan with nothing but the memory of a real bastard. You know..kind of told her what I'd really been thinking about all day, that I still loved her very much but that my bipolar/depression had built a wall so strong that I wasn't even feeling it, even thought I knew it was there and has been there all along. I said I hoped she would remember that it was my "condition" that was responsible for all the negativity...and then the next night I just felt it lift...and I think a lot of it has to do with opening up that little chink in the "wall" and letting some light shine in. It didn't take too long for more of the bricks to start crumbling. I'm sure you notice the "religious connotations" in that :)

Oh, I could go into greater detail, but I don't imagine it would enlighten you any further than what I just said. Suffice to say that I have zero tolerance for "phony Christians", and that's what I was between 02-07. I'm not a "phony" anymore, and this after practically turning away from faith for almost 2 years. I accepted a lot of "theology" at face value, and now I see that absolutely none of that stuff matters. All that matters is that the Spirit is in you, and I think, no, I *know* that It/He is in me, because all I could think of on that table (and especially during the times when I started to "nod off") was how I would have to trust the lord in this whole mess...I mean, that He was all there was in that moment. And I realized, I guess, that He IS all there is *in this moment*. God, I hate to sound like one of those people who are all about "I saw god" or "I found god in my darkest hour"... it wasn't like that at all.

But look...I've digressed and this message is even longer than it was when I said I needed to shut 'er down. So I guess I'll let you go before I find myself rambling on about other aspects of this whole experience. Hope you don't think I'm crazy. I think we've got this thing under control and I don't even want to think about it going back down to where it was. I'm pretty strong in that area, though, so there is hope for optimism, if I can only reign in the anxiety that's still there (even if it's not nearly as strong).

I appreciate your concern. :)


Music Video of the Week: Joy Division

A Joy Division Two-fer this week

Joy Division

Joy Division

You know, I tend to live in denial about certain things that I fear. For instance, as a result of my bipolar disorder I am not really to be trusted with money...you never know if you might fly into the manic zone, pull all your money out of the bank and move to Vegas (though I really don't think anything like that would happen to me)...so I let my wife totally handle the finances...and I do not want to know how much money we have, because there is this fear of not having enough to get by on.

Similarly, I usually don't want to know how serious my medical condition is. I know, that's completely ridiculous and irresponsible. But when I was told I had Angina Pectoris I only knew one thing: it was some serious shit. So, this morning I googled it and this is what I found:

Angina pectoris is the medical term for chest pain or discomfort due to coronary heart disease. Angina is a symptom of a condition called myocardial ischemia. It occurs when the heart muscle (myocardium) doesn't get as much blood (hence as much oxygen) as it needs. This usually happens because one or more of the heart's arteries (coronary blood vessels that supply blood to the heart muscle) is narrowed or blocked. Insufficient blood supply is called ischemia.

Angina also can occur in people with valvular heart disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (this is an enlarged heart due to disease) or uncontrolled high blood pressure. These cases are rare, though.

Typical angina is uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest. The discomfort also may be felt in the neck, jaw, shoulder, back or arm. Many types of chest discomfort aren't related to angina. Acid reflux (heartburn) and lung infection or inflammation are examples.

When does angina pectoris occur?

Angina often occurs when the heart needs more blood. For example, running to catch a bus could trigger an attack of angina while walking might not. Angina may happen during exercise, strong emotions or extreme temperatures. Some people, such as those who experience coronary artery spasm, may have angina when they're resting. (See below, unstable angina, Prinzmetal's or variant angina pectoris.)

Angina is a sign that someone is at increased risk of heart attack, cardiac arrest and sudden cardiac death.

What is stable angina?

People with stable angina (or chronic stable angina) have episodes of chest discomfort that are usually predictable. They occur on exertion (such as running to catch a bus) or under mental or emotional stress. Normally the chest discomfort is relieved with rest, nitroglycerin or both.

People with episodes of chest discomfort should see their physician for an evaluation. The doctor will evaluate the person's medical history and risk factors, conduct a physical exam, order a chest X-ray and take an electrocardiogram (ECG). Some people will also need an exercise ECG (stress test), an echocardiogram or other tests to complete the diagnosis.

What is unstable angina?

In people with unstable angina, the chest pain is unexpected and usually occurs while at rest. The discomfort may be more severe and prolonged than typical angina or be the first time a person has angina. The most common cause is reduced blood flow to the heart muscle because the coronary arteries are narrowed by fatty buildups (atherosclerosis). An artery may be abnormally constricted or partially blocked by a blood clot. Inflammation, infection and secondary causes also can lead to unstable angina. In a form of unstable angina called variant or Prinzmetal's angina, the cause is coronary artery spasm.

[b]Unstable angina is an acute coronary syndrome and should be treated as an emergency. People with new, worsening or persistent chest discomfort should be evaluated in a hospital emergency department or "chest pain unit" and monitored carefully. They're at increased risk for:

* acute myocardial infarction (heart attack).
* severe cardiac arrhythmias. These may include ventricular tachycardia and fibrillation.
* cardiac arrest leading to sudden death./b]

What is variant angina pectoris (Prinzmetal's angina)?

Variant angina pectoris is also called Prinzmetal's angina. It usually occurs spontaneously, and unlike typical angina, it nearly always occurs when a person is at rest. It doesn't follow physical exertion or emotional stress, either. Attacks can be very painful and usually occur between midnight and 8 a.m.

Variant angina is due to transient coronary artery spasm. About two-thirds of people with it have severe coronary atherosclerosis in at least one major vessel. The spasm usually occurs very close to the blockage.

Just to read those words makes me feel weak and slightly nauseous. It is the "unstable" kind that I have, and I think the occurrence Thursday night may have been triggered by something I did earlier that day:

I have always been of the opinion that crying is a healthy emotional catharsis. My depression had become so bad, or I should say that the anger and despair were at such a serious level that I felt I had to do something, so I decided to make myself cry (no small feat).

I dragged out some letters that my grandmother (who passed away in 86 at 89 years of age) had written to me while I was in the Naval Hospital. That was in 1985, at the time when I was first diagnosed with bipolar. I have always cherished those letters. I don't get them out very often because I don't like to think about the period in my life when they were written.

I read them very carefully, thinking of how much I loved her and missed her, about how I was so doped up on Thorazine when she died that I really didn't have the opportunity to say a proper "goodbye"...I guess I shouldn't go into much more detail, huh?

But it worked. Within minutes I was bawling like a baby. A part of me, some kind of demon in the back of my mind maybe, mocked me and taunted me with the thought that these weren't real tears, only manufactured, seeing as how I had forced them with a specific purpose. I mentally denied that, believing that regardless of any personal benefit I might receive, the bottom line was still the same, the emotions were still the same as they had always been, the tears were as real as they ever were...and it was like a struggle between two opposing sides. I was winning, though. And I kept on for as long as I thought I could stand.

I was in the moment when it was all done. "A moment of clarity", as they call it. In that state I realized what a bastard I'd been to my wife and, indirectly, to my son, all these years that I've let my anger and hatefulness (among other things) fuel my depression. It may be a cliche, the whole concept of Pink Floyd's "The Wall", but it is so true...I had built up a wall that my real self had been hiding behind. This experience opened a little chink in it, and I seized upon the moment to write a letter to my wife, trying to explain that beneath all the bullshit that had built up, there was still real love in my heart for her. I told her I was sorry for the way things had turned out, whether they were my fault or the bipolar. And I told her she didn't need to respond to the letter, that I would just as soon she didn't acknowledge it. But something inside of me didn't want me to give it to her in person. So I hid it in one of the drawers in her chest of drawers, underneath a stack of clothes, and figured she'd find it eventually.

Long story short, in writing the letter I became even more rattled than I was reading grandma's letters. I don't know how it is with "normal" people, but when you suffer serious depression this kind of emotional overload is wonderful and there is a real feeling of contentment and almost bliss when it's all over with.

I felt pretty good afterward, as is the case with a good cathartic experience. I felt at peace. I felt more "in the moment", though I was sure it would be temporary and there were still some negative, pessimistic feelings hovering about in my spirit (once again, for lack of a better term).

If anything could be considered "strong emotions", that was it. I don't think I was shaken that bad even at my father's funeral back in 99.

And it wasn't until I lay down in bed, settling in before going to sleep that the thing hit me. The only thing that doesn't absolutely convince me that this is the main cause is that it was several hours between the emotional upheaval and the angina attack (I guess that would be what it's called). It does make sense, though.

I can actually feel my upper body tense up just thinking about all this, so I suppose it would be advisable to stop for now.


I've never written a post like this one. I've never had to.

Thursday night, at approximately 10:30 pm, I experienced severe chest pains. They lasted somewhere between 1 to 2 minutes in duration. Immediately as the pains settled I began to shake uncontrollably, as if the room were very, very cold. After several moments of this my wife asked me if I felt like going to the emergency room. I don't like hospitals in general, so I told her I'd try and ride it out. But it did not subside, so she took me to the er. They laid me out on the table and I still could not control the shakes, though they didn't seem to be quite as intense as they initially were.

I honestly thought I had experienced a "light" heart attack. The pain was so bad...the nurse asked me, on a scale from one to ten, one being the least and 10 being the most pain I had ever experienced in my life. I didn't have to think very long...it was 10. They took my vitals, gave me oxygen, put me on a heart monitor and took a couple of EKGs. It had to have been an hour before the shakes subsided, and then I felt pretty damn weak.

The doctor told me I had high blood pressure, GERT, acid reflux and angina. He also said that the fat levels in my blood were extraordinarilly high. He made me stay in the hospital overnight, so they could do a couple more tests. I was there until 3:00 pm the next day when they released me. I was given 3 prescriptions and ordered to get a referral for a cardiologist. He also said I would have to go on a low fat, low sodium diet. I thought that all sucked pretty bad, but at least it wasn't an MI or congestive heart failure (thank god).

I began to feel a bit better throughout the next day. Then something happened that really threw me for a loop...

It was at 10:30 pm (just as the heart issue had been on the previous day). I was lying in bed, listening to my XM radio through the headphones, as is my nightly routine. I sat up on the side of the bed, needing to go to the restroom, I kind of looked straight ahead, at the light on my stereo...then, it sounds weird, but I felt the depression I've suffered, basically all my life, seem to slowly break up and dissipate. It was really confusing, and I feared that I was coming into the initial phases of a manic episode. I had grown so accustomed to the effects of depression--the anger, the underlying hopelessness, the cynicism, the inability to enjoy things I know I like--that I had forgotten what it was like to be in the "normal zone", and so I got kind of rattled.

I went to the restroom, sat down, but all I could do was think about what was happening, what it might be. I don't want to go into it here, but I came to a few conclusions that I can only hope are correct. I don't want to think about the possibly that it's just a break from depression, that I'll sink back into it because of my condition, that it's nothing more than the fulcrum of a mood swing. But just thinking of it that way brings me down and discourages me. So now that I'm in this place I am determined to be vigilant, to consciously and continuously keep my attitude in check, to try and appreciate everything and everyone around me like I've been unable to, or more correctly, afraid to throughout my life (well, not ALL my life, but a significant portion of it).

Over the last few days I've put a lot of thought into WHY my attitudes and personality are the way they are. I think I have learned a lot, that I've correctly made the connections between the events in my life and their effects on me. No doubt there is a lot more work to be done in that respect, but I'm feeling very good about it.

Not so much the physical condition. Maybe it's the shock of switching from an unhealthy diet to the low sugar/low sodium that has me feeling a little weak. It was pretty easy to think that might be the culprit until last night, when I experienced the shakes again. Not the heart pain, though I did have some pain in my back, which typically happens when the chest pains begin...(yes, this has happened on a few occassions in the past, but the pains were not QUITE as severe and there was no shaking, so I figured it was just gas pressure or something like that). So that was a little disconcerting.

I'm not really sure how serious all this is, as I tend to live in denial about these kinds of things. But it IS a serious concern. The thing I worry about the most are the fat levels in the blood, which are unusual. My father passed away as a result of "bad blood" (and a blood clot), so to contemplate that is very, very sobering.

I am doing well in sticking to the new diet, and I hope I can also hold on to the positive changes that seem to have happened to my mental/emotional state. I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts, that's for sure.


Sorry I haven't posted in the last couple of days...some very significant things going on in my life, so the blog has not been as high up on the "priority list". When I'm up to it I will explain everything and let you know what's happening. I'm sure I'll be ready to share in the next couple of days.

Speaking of "sharing"...I'm in a mental/spiritual place right now where I feel like I want the blog to take on an aspect of the confessional. I don't mean "write down all the bad things I've done in my life", but rather relate some of my history that has shaped me into the person I am. Being much more transparent, as it were, about everything.

I am not going to change anything else here, though. There will still be the creative writing (which, btw, is archived at CHROMOSOME 11), the interesting and/or humorous shit I've pulled from the Internet, the Music Video of the Week...nothing much will change other than that.


Fear the Conjurer (for C.Z. & C.C.)

The powerless gods
Whose names I have not counted worthy of remembrance
March like high school bullies
Neither I nor they
Understand the reason for their swagger
Some dumb determination to enlighten me, may be?
A cause, a campaign
A small favor
Willingly performed for the Conjurer

Who steals from the Dream World
Who makes enemies in the Real World
Because he will not share his loot
He labels and tags and stores the treasure
Describes it all to anyone with ears to hear
Quite eloquently
With an air of pomp and mystery

Listen. He brags that his coffers are full
So much more than he needs
So much more than he wants
Still he hoards

He's convinced the brutes
That he has anything more to give them
Than flowery words
(As words he worships)
They believe him
Though it was not his intent to convert
As it is not his intent to keep his word
So more fool them
They look like bunglers, trolls, monsters
Rounded up into a posse
I would laugh at them if not for the fact
That I'm the one they are coming for

Before the next five minutes are over
They will have twisted my arm behind my back
Spat in my face
Kicked my legs out from under me
Held my head in their hands
Pinched my nose shut
Stuck their fingers in my mouth
Pulled it, stretched it, as far as it goes
Then, when my screams cease
They will speak to me for the very first time


"Why should I fear the Conjurer?"

"He will laugh to watch you
Sink into his vat of language
The jewels he's plundered."

"Why should I fear the Conjurer?"

"He will confuse you
He will dig forks in the road
To throw you from your cherished path.
He will brand you
With pentagrams
He will tattoo a goat's head on your back
Worst of all, he will convince you
That they mean something."

"Why should I fear the Conjurer?"

"He desires to pick your brain
Hoping to pluck
A slither of flattery to fuel his narcissism
He will become very angry when he finds out
That you've never heard of him
Perhaps you have never heard of him
But you know him

"You know him well
You've even seen him
Though it was not his true face you beheld
He roams the land
Behind a smiling cartoon face mask
That hides a blank stare of greed
Derision, scorn, contempt, lies, pettiness,
Dishonesty, depravity, perversity
And the insatiable lust he has for validation
Respect and Recognition
They have twisted his visage
Into stone and dirty crystal
Ugly diamond
The sight from which even he recoils
A reflection that pulls at his intestines
And pours ice cold fear down his naked back
So we say FEAR HIM."

"Why should I fear the Conjurer?"

"Because he knows you're looking for an enemy

"He is possessed of demons
One in particular
But he willingly let it in
Shared communion with it
Offered it a bed for rest
A home, a host
Gave it a book of Crowley and said, 'Occupy yourself'."

"A demon?"

"Yes, and a powerful one
It is a testament to the Conjurer's will and power
That the demon dwells complacent
Content to let the Conjurer study it
To take notice of it's wickedness
(For he delight's in wickedness)
To search for murder in it's black heart
(For he knows that there is a murdered in his own)
To dig through the egg shell surface
Hoping to find a germ, a genesis, or just a reason for it's evil
(As he is convinced he has many legitimate reasons
For the evil embedded into his soul)
The demon understands death, toys with it
Laughs at it, wishes it on all people
The Conjuror laughs with the demon
And this makes the demon laugh even harder
For it knows that the Conjuror has no understanding
Of death
Past the idea
All he has done is flirt
With an ugly girl at the prom
Made it the realm of heroes, his role models
Idols that don't talk back
Held high it's banner
Dreamed of mausoleums and tombs
'At last, something I can embrace'

"He let this demon be his teacher
And learned much
The powers of darkness
The father of lies
The hierarchy of celestial beings
All the arcane symbolism (tossed out the window by science)
Black-robed men carrying candles in the dark
Their teachings ancient, their lessons unheeded, unwanted
Diluted through millenniums
Cracked and drained of any power or
Purpose they might have one day possessed
Robbed of relevance
Outdated curiousities
A good scary movie to watch on Sunday afternoons after church
Morbid fascinations
Spooky dry-ice rituals
That once scared the shit out of him

"His demon goads and teases him
'You can resurrect it", the demon croaks
'You can close your eyes
Make believe it's all real
And just as long as you stay in your hidey-hole
With eyes closed you can call it your own
Posess it
Give it power in your own mind
But keep this thought nestled in the back of your mind:
It's all YOURS.
No one else wants it.'"

There is logic, I think, in what these giants say.

"The Conjurer will drag you into his heart core
And there he will take back the book of Crowley
From his demon familiar
And together they will beat you down with it
Pulverize your skull
Crack open your head
The book of Crowley
Is a very heavy book
Good for pummeling
If not for much else."

And with these words
Power given to brute gods
Transferred to the meek
They will soon learn wisdom
To see the Conjurer as he really is
To realize he has nothing they need or
Prepare themselves
To rip out his soul
To cast out his demon
And to burn that goddamn book of Crowley




Haven't done one of these in a while...

1.What was the last thing you put in your mouth?
Dr. Pepper

2.Where was your profile picture taken?
In the front lawn from the driveway at our house, in 1975 or thereabouts.

3.Can you play Guitar Hero?
No, but I can play the guitar.

4.Name someone who made you laugh today?
I ain't been up long enough to find an occassion to laugh.

5.How late did you stay up last night and why?
About 1:00 in the morning. Lost track of time while listening to my XM radio. Then I was attacked by Munchies, ate a ridiculous number of caramel rice cakes then went to bed.

6.If you could move somewhere else, would you?
Probably Iceland, cause I could sure use a change of scenery. Otherwise I like where I live just fine and would rather not have to go through all the trouble of moving again, even if I were so inclined to do so, which I am definitely NOT.

7. Ever been kissed under fireworks?
If I have I would not remember it. It's not as if you get to make a wish if you kiss under fireworks, is it? Because if that's the case, and I'd known it, I would have run around the park every fourth of July kissing random strangers (okay, not THAT random), because I've long known that the "kissing under mistletoe" method does not work.

8. Which of your friends lives closest to you?
They all live too far away.

9. Do you believe ex's can be friends?
In the big picture, I doubt that what I personally believe makes a damn insomuch as ex's are a curious lot and you just can't pin them down to say "well, this is the way it is, the way it always has been and the way it always will be" in regards to a transition between erotic love and philo love. Do I "believe" it? Well, why the hell not? It happens. Has it happened in my life personally? Nope. But, you see, there are usually some pretty good reasons that ex's part ways for good.

10. How do you feel about Dr Pepper?
How do I FEEL about it?

11. When was the last time you cried really hard?
Really hard? That's pretty damn hard. Don't rightly know that I would want to share that information with just anyone who happens to see it here.

12. Who took your profile picture?
I'm pretty sure it was my brother, but that was so long ago I couldn't say.

13. Who was the last person you took a picture of?
Probably the wife. It's a lovely portrait of the back of her hand.

14. Was yesterday better than today?
I don't know...today just started. I can only hope that today will be better than yesterday, but as long as it doesn't get any WORSE I don't think I'll have a problem with it.

15. Can you live a day without TV?
I can live a day without anything. No music would be the hardest, but nothing to read might be even worse. No TV? Oh, boy. If the biggest thing TV has to offer these days is Jay Leno at 9pm 5 nights a week...it should be easy why there's no sacrifice involved in spending considerable time without it.

16. Are you upset about anything?
I am still a little upset that my good Bose headphones bit the dust a couple of months ago. I am upset that the DVD-ROM drive in this here laptop is dead and it will cost me a hundred bucks to get it fixed. I'm upset that the last two DVDs Netflix sent me were cracked (one was broken completely in half). I'm upset that the chances of eating brisket at the Fillin' Station are slim to none today. I'm upset with the steadily declining quality of Sirius XM's programming. I'm upset that I don't have the money to raid the Half Price Books & Records store in Oklahoma City.

17. Do you think relationships are ever really worth it?
Of course, as long as you don't equate "worth it" with "getting what I want(ed) out of it".

18. Are you a bad influence?
I try to be.

19. Night out or night in?
Well, if there's an opera going on, I'm night out. Or a Sigur Ros concert or something monumental along those lines, I'll be night out all you need me to be. Otherwise, unless somethin's goin' down, you won't find me around.

20. What items could you not go without during the day?
Foodstuff. Beverages. A pot to piss in. Various music players and their respective media. And probably, hate to admit it, this damn computer.

21. Who was the last person you visited in the hospital?
I do not like to go to hospitals, so I don't do it unless I absolutely have to. As far as I can remember, the last time I visited someone in the hospital it was my dad, just a day before he passed away, right at 10 years ago.

22. What does the last text message in your inbox say?
I don't use text messaging. I've discovered something far better and much more convenient. It's called a telephone.

23. How do you feel about your life right now
About the same way I FEEL about Dr. Pepper, only not quite so much.

24. Do you hate anyone?
Can't say that I really do, but who knows. Tomorrow's gonna be another day.

25. If we were to look in your facebook inbox, what would we find?
I imagine you'd find pretty much what you'd find in any facebook inbox...messages and such.

26. Say you were given a drug test right now, would you pass?
There's absolutely no reason on earth that I would be given a drug test, so it's kind of like "if a tree falls in an empty forest, does it really make a sound?".

27. Has anyone ever called you perfect before?
Yes, on many occassions.

28. What song is stuck in your head?
I don't think there is one in there right now. Just wait until Bryan starts learning a new song on the piano...that will be the one, whether I like the song or not.

29. Someone knocks on your window at 2:00 a.m., who do you want it to be?
Well, Ed MacMahon is dead now, so...

30. Wanna have grandkids before you’re 50?
I've got 'em. I would hope that the majority of people would be delighted to have them before they turn 50.

31. Name something you have to do tomorrow?
Finish up that stuff and make a resolution to give it, who knows, maybe even a whole month.

32. Do you think too much or too little?
Too much. Unfortunately most of my thoughts are considerably less than "lofty", so I might as well not be thinking at all.

33. Do you smile a lot?
No, but if you see me smiling you know I'm sincerely amused. I don't roll with that bullshit.

Click on image to enlarge.


Not once, but TWICE Netflix has sent me a damaged disc of Wagner's "Die Walkure" Acts 2 & 3. The first one had a crack between the hole and the end of the disc. The second one, which I only received yesterday, was completely cracked in half. How this doesn't get noticed at their distribution centers, I will never know. What makes it worse is that I watched the first act, has to have been at least a week and a half ago. I'd hoped it would be a short turnaround so I could get to the 2nd and 3rd acts promptly. But this is not happening. By the time they get a replacement disc sent I will need a refresher course on what I've already seen. Even worse, I don't think I like this particular production of the opera. Tries too hard to be modern. There is a lot of unexpected sexuality to it (at least the first act has a good lot), and this helps. It's not terrible but it does make me reconsider giving the Copenhagen Ring's "Das Rheingold" a second chance and to see what come from that. I don't guess there are any traditional productions available on DVD (especially when DTS 5.1 is a necessity). I didn't get "Das Rheingold" with this production company...actually, now that I think about it, the DVD was not the one that was shown on the Netflix page. Description was different, cast listings...I don't know how they could have fucked this one up so bad. Members, in their reviews, have complained about this very thing. To be honest, I doubt very seriously that I will watch the other "Ring" cycle operas with this production company (Stuutgardt, I think).


^^^^^This is AWESOME!!!^^^^^

Okay, now that a few days have past since Warty's visit to the city, I believe I am now ready to relate some of the events of that monumental occasion.

Of course I got lost in the residential areas not even a block or two from Freddy's house. No problems whatsoever until I get to within a couple hundred yards from where I'm supposed to wind up. This is my luck as a traveler.

I was able to find the house with the help of Warty and a cell phone. When I arrived it was plainly obvious that Warty had been dipping into the ice chest for Budweiser all morning. He was by no means "drunk"...I've rarely seen him get to the point of inebriation, as he holds his beer well, but I most definitely have witnessed his descent into behaviors that will test a man's patience...The situation didn't quite progress to that point on Saturday night, but I would say that it got pretty damn close. At any rate, he looked a little confused, like a deer in the headlights, when I pulled into the driveway. At least I mean to say that he wasn't reacting the way you would think he would having just seen someone for the first time in well over a year.

Went into the house and said "hey" to Fred. He looked like he just woke up...maybe long enough to take a nice toke from his one-hitter. That would explain a lot. I like Fred a lot, so it was easy to just lay back and hang out for a while.

The OSU football game was either just getting started or had only been on for a short while. We watched a good chunk of it while doing some other stuff that I have no memory of. A friend of mine, who I'd hoped to meet up with later that night, was at the game. I was hoping he wouldn't be too tired to come around when the hassle of game traffic was conquered.

The Cowboys won their game, so spirits were high. I think it was at this point that Freddy began to prepare the BBQ ribs. I was a little disappointed because last year he made some steaks that I heard were quite good (I'd passed out before they were off the grill). I never eat ribs, so I tried to think of a way to get out of it. Why, you ask, do I not eat ribs? I don't know...it just seems like an awful lot of greasy work for such a little bit of meat. And I do not like eating meat off the bone. That's the bottom line...that and having to eat around fat and cartilage, yuck. I hadn't eaten ribs since I was a very young child and couldn't even tell you if I liked the meat or not...I'd forgotten everything about it except for the grease and the mess.

OU football was on the television when he came back. I think everyone in that house was under the impression that the Sooners were going to trounce BYU. It did not turn out that way, but I was surprised at how relatively well these OU Football freaks took it.

I should mention that it was at around this point when Fred's wife offered up a hot cream cheese dip that was uncommonly delicious. It didn't seem all that hot when you first put it in your mouth. It seems to warm up a little bit between then and when it's swallowed, but after that the heat creeps back in, stronger than before. Warty and I both had to restrain ourselves from eating the whole bowl (and it wasn't a small bowl, at that).

At some point during the game I broke out the guitar (with Warty following suit with a nice Gibson acoustic he had recently purchased). We fiddled around for a while with Fred listening. After a couple of these half-ass jams I was asked to sing a song, maybe something new I'd been working on. So I thought I'd give them "Runaway", which I'd ran through a lot in the last few days.

All appears to go well. I thought I'd get some compliments (as my friends generally enjoy my music), but instead I got a worried look from Wart. Apparently he had been offended by two lines of the song towards the end: "Crosses burn to the left/Hanging tree to the right". A heated discussion ensued, with me realistically inquisitive as to what was offensive about them? "Oh, it's not so much that I find them offensive," he said, "but there will definitely be people out there who would take offense at something like that". On and on the discussion raged, to the point where he actually had me convinced I need to write the entire song over. Even then, when his "logic" had won me over, he STILL wouldn't stop railing about it. I think a lot of it was just to freak me out, but you never can tell with Warty, because he always seems so serious and sincere. Long story short, the debate, having become one-sided long before it ended, tested my patience and my friendship with the guy, and eventually, after many repetitions of his opinion, died down.

Freddy's dad showed up just as the discussion was winding down...he only caught part of it so I had to fill him in on what the topic was and all that. I don't believe he thought the "burning cross/hanging tree" was too much to get riled about. He's a pretty laid back guy. He brought his guitar so the chances of another hoe-down were back up to 99%.

Of course, this is exactly what happened. It wasn't really much of a jam session, though. Warty seemed amused that Fred's 6 year old daughter was interested in his guitar. So all the time me and Fred's dad are trying to play he's over there on the edge of the couch "giving her guitar lessons". What a joke. Haven't seen the guy in a year, one of things we love to do together is play our guitars, and here he is giving that time to a little girl who will forget every single word he's spoken to her.

But it may have been all for the good. Fred's dad is a really good guitarist in many senses of the word. He has an impressive command of chords and he plays some lead stuff that sounds fantastic. I seem to have a hard time providing good backing rhythms for his solos. I admit that I am fairly rhthmically challenged when it comes to acoustic guitar. But I think I'm good enough to provide some bare bones padding. Alas, it just didn't seem to work right for me. If it wasn't my fault, it had to have been his inability to fit all those lead line notes into their alloted spaces. This is very possible.

By the time I gave up it didn't matter anymore, because he was pulling out songs from his repertoire of only slightly obscure adult contemporary fare. He plays it with a small bit of a "guitar jazz" flavor, but the songs themselves, from the likes of Kenny Loggins and James Taylor, are kind of bland, and are in need of much more than a "guitar jazz flavor" to gain any interest. It wasn't long before all guitars were returned to their respective cases, not to be taken out again.

The ribs were produced and so I politely declined. Warty started in with how there must be something "wrong" with me because I didn't eat ribs. He played on this riff for a minute or two, after the point had been made at least 1:59 earlier, and, to be honest, was a point that I dismissed, that he knew I would dismiss and so I have no idea why he decided to waste the breath to voice it when he could have brought back the Burning Crosses argument. (that's just a joke).

Freddy, however, was much more subtle. He didn't come right out and say it, but you could tell he was disappointed that it didn't look like I was going to eat. Maybe even offended a little, because apparently he has this reputation as one of the best BBQ ribs cookers in the immediate area. He was asking, sincerely at that, why I didn't eat them. Was it against my religion? Did I have a problem with eating meat off the bone? I tried to assure him that it was neither. Then he asked me if I had an open mind and if there might ever come a time when I WOULD try ribs. Maybe he caught me with that one. In the "condition" I was in, I couldn't lie and say, "no", because I was starting to get the munchies pretty bad and the prospect of not eating anything at all was not appealing. In the back of my mind I was thinking that, yeah, if it got much worse than this I would have broken down and tried some. So Freddy says that when that time comes he wants to be there so he can cook them (if you haven't eaten his ribs, he would say, you haven't eaten ribs period). I say, "Okay, sure"...To which his I-Should-Have-Seen-It-Coming response was "Why not tonight? You say you might do it some day, why not tonight?" The aforementioned munchies kicked in even harder as I contemplated the logic in what he said. I'd told him, when he asked whether not I eat meat at all, that I love brisket...he replied by making the grand statement that rib meat tasted better, not only than my beloved brisket, but that it was the best meat, period.

So I broke down. I ate some ribs. They were DELICIOUS!!! I don't know if it's just ribs in general that are so tasty, or if it's mainly Freddy's special sauce and cooking technique. Probably a combination of the two, but I was surprised that there was so much meat on one rib. I had been under the impression that it was scarce. My earlier fears of fat and cartlilage were founded, and I didn't enjoy eating around them. Still, it was a revelation. One more item I can add to my personal menu.

Most everyone was disappointed with OUs loss...perhaps this non-celebratory mood contributed to the relatively early bedtimes, but it wasn't too very long before the entire party had crashed out in beds or on couches (unfortunately I fell into that last category and, consequently, did not get nearly enough sleep).

My other friend had called at about 9pm to let me know that he would not be making it in but that I was welcome to come over to his house in the morning to take care of the business we had begun a day or two before.

That being taken care of I departed for home, and a pleasant trip listening to Joy Division on my mp3 player. Not only did I return with the spoils of the aforementioned business transaction, but Warty sent me off with about 9 CDs he'd burned for me. A couple are by Steve Earle's son (something Townes, I forget his name). I doubt I'll be listening to it anytime too soon, as such fare is not what I'm into right now (which is mainly opera). A few discs from another artist I'm not familiar with (couldn't even tell you his name at the moment). I don't even know what genre those fall into, though I suspect it likely does not veer too far from well-produced smooth jazz. I could be dead wrong about that. The guy might blow me away, but it will have to wait, because I am just not in the mood.

He also gave me a disc of songs that he and my other best friend Redd have been working on for who-knows-how-long. It has apparently reached a stage of production with which Warty is somewhat satisfied (which is saying a lot, because he is a demanding producer). In a couple of months I think I'll be spending a weekend in Texas (where Wart lives) and I have no doubt more work will be done on this project...I would rather kick out some new songs, but I kinda doubt that's gonna happen. Anyway, the CD...It has it's moments. Musically it all stands up. But I think Redd is inconsistant throughout. I never have enjoyed his singing voice, and nothing on this CD changes that (re-affirms my opinion, maybe). But I have always regarded him as a top notch lyricist. Unfortunately a good batch of the lyrics in these songs lack a similar depth. Not too many, to be sure, but enough to notice that he's "not on his game" (as the youth of today would put it).

Everything seems to have been consumed by a thick haze since that point so I'm not good for much of anything. I did, however, want to post this, seeing as how I would have forgotten it soon enough.


Music Video of the Week: New Order

New Order

Damn. It's gone. I don't know why these morons at record labels fail to realize that music videos are nothing but commercials for their own product and that making them available on YouTube will do more good than harm.


Asked in a letter by a friend to touch upon what I think of "religion", this is what I came up with as a response:

Don't have too much time to write at the moment, but I guess I'll touch upon religion.

I don't consider myself a Christian. I hate to say I "tried" it...let's just say that I did proclaim it and tried to...well, you know...but I felt like a phony, like I was just wanting to be accepted, like, ahem, I was having to TRY to get it right. And I realized that what I was doing was actually contrary to what I thought Jesus had actually teached and what the rest of the bible preached. So I reached a point where I said, well, God, if you're real and the stuff in this book is true then I don't feel like you're forbidding me to find Who I Am in any way that I can, in any way that you bring my way. It seems like so many people I went to school with have "found Jesus" and I feel like I'm very alienated from that. From my own experience I suspect that Christianity is a security blanket for a lot of them. And I suppose that's not a bad thing. This is a hard world, uncertain and unsure. It's hardly possible to live it on your own. Of course, that's IF we are EVER alone, which I don't think we are...but most Christians seem to have come from a viewpoint of being "lost" and now "found", and I just can't go that way. Nothing against them as long as they don't look down at me as if I haven't got something I need and which they think they can give me.

I don't like to try and spell out definitively WHAT I believe. I'm open to new revelation. But a constant has been very influenced by Eastern religions like Hinduism and Buddhism. I believe in reincarnation, but not necessarily the "law of Karma"...obviously I don't exalt cows or not eat meat, so there's another two strikes against me being a full-time Hindu. I don't particularly like to chant, either. :)

If you've ever read a book called "Conversations With God" by Neale Donald Walsch then you have a pretty good idea of what I believe "God" is. A lot of what Walsch wrote in that book really influenced what I understand about these topics. The basis of what is known as "New Thought" informs a lot of my religious contemplation, even new age teachings (though I draw the line a lot sooner with new age than with New Thought).

God dwells in me, as in you as in everything, seeing as how "creation" is "what God DOES" and therefore the fact that you and I ARE, then we are the creation...the creation is as much a part of the creator as is the creation process itself, meaning that it is all ONE, there is no duality in "eternity", which, contrary to Christian doctrine which defines it as "never ending", actually means NO TIME. Eternity lies outside of time and space, so there is no way that the human mind can or will ever be able to experience it in the space of a lifetime. Life has an ending and a beginning, so it is caught in the web of time and space, from whence it came and to where it will, in time, lead back to. We fear death because of this inability to know the before and after. We cannot conceive of it as being a "good place" or a "bad place"...because "place' implies "space" and there is none "behind the veil" (if I may use trite terminology).

But if we cannot conceive of it then how can we "experience" it? You know, like being rewarded for good works (or for "accepting Jesus" or whatever)...being punished for evil deeds (and/or lack of "repentance")? But consider this...perhaps only the Self can "experience" infinity, as Self, who IS all, has CREATED all (and, furthermore, IS infinity). Perhaps it is AS US that the Self experiences LIFE. There are probably an infinite number of OTHER things in all universes (besides LIFE) that Self wishes to experience, and no doubt does, but as far as WE are concerned, in this moment, Self has chosen to experience this paradigm, this plane of existence, this world, in the form (and guise) of US, as individual human beings. In order to do this the Self has to "forget" what Self is, so as to be "born again" into the physical dimension. This is why very young children are innocent, like clean slates, ready for time and space to write yet another tale of love, pain, peace, anger, joy, hate... Ready for that first taste of chocolate, first sensations of cold & warmth, laughter, kisses, sex, wonder and awe but also to throw that first punch, to savor the way it feels to curse a man, to sympathize with and live vicariously as murderers on television and movies, to consider every evil deed there is to commit and to place them on their own scales where the decision is weighed as to which to choose or reject. It all comes with the package. It's not something that demands punishment "in the afterlife". Any judging takes place in this realm, in one form or another, and punishment is not always meted out by peers, but can come from within as well.

So, anyway...with eternity being "outside of time" it can only be surmised that we could remain in that state for eons and have no memory of it whatsoever if/when we are manifested in this paradigm again. So for all intents and purposes we incarnate immediately into time and space when the decision is made (by whom? I don't know) to go on the journey again (and not neccesarily into a "future" time, but into ANY place or time in which the MOMENT exists (all places, all times)...

Okay..okay...obviously I have put down this letter when "religion" was just a touching point...I've taken it up this morning to elaborate, very probably more so than you expected or needed, on a subject I could talk for hours about. I know a lot of that is very unorthodox, especially in the culture that we, as Americans, have come to accept. Some would even go so far as to say that such thinking is "crazy". These people, however, have not "thought it out", or have not delved deeply enough into the ideas to glimpse it's potentiality of being "truth". So, not knowing how you feel about it, I will wait for another day...


Click on image to enlarge.

I've just stumbled upon my new desktop background. This is the view from the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in 1937. Awesome!

Reincarnation from Memo Akten on Vimeo.


Okay, okay...no, I don't have a personal vendetta. You say "why do you let it get to you?" I don't know...maybe I'm just offended by crooks. "So why do you pay any attention at all to it, Jimbo?" Well, it helps me to remember that no matter how shitty a person I may be, there are even shittier ones making big time money on religious TV. I need that reinforcement sometimes.

So here's a couple more and I'll lay off. The first is a hilarious collection of clips presented by a couple of British blokes (?...assuming they are from their accents), and the second is the real, god damned deal, with Mike Murdock at his most conniving.

I guess I'm just in the mood to hate on TV preachers...the last couple I've days while channel surfing I've landed on the Daystar Network and their Fall Sharathon. Pony Boy Marcus Lamb and Satan Imitatin' Mike Murdoch were worse than bums on the corner begging for a dime. I thought to myself, if there really is a hell then there must be a special room for these guys and the other swindlers out there in the satellite holy land.

I don't think I'm gonna be able to find any footage of the Daystar Carneys, so here's a little morsel from the always amusing Jan Crouch.

"Calling Benny Hinn"

Finally finished this song I first started at least a year ago.

"Calling Benny Hinn"

Calling Benny Hinn, calling Benny Hinn
My arthritis is flaring up again
I know he ain't no doctor but he's got the healing hand
He's a miracle man...I'm calling Benny Hinn

Well, the way my doctors treat me, Lord, it's a crime
I got a tumor in my brain and I ain't wasting time
My cancer's in remission but it's bound to come back again
I don't need no chemo, I need a prayer from Benny Hinn

Calling Benny Hinn, calling Benny Hinn
I wanna get my spirit slayed again
My bladder's 'bout to blow up and I'm fresh out of Depends
I need a Christian friend...I'm calling Benny Hinn

Apostates say ol' Benny Hinn's a fake
They're way too concerned with all the money that he makes
I don't mind donating cause my pucker string's about to break
I'll take it on the chin...I'm calling Benny Hinn

Calling Benny Hinn, calling Benny Hinn
I just got one lung and my heart's filled with sin
As long as he ain't scared to touch my oozing leprous skin
He'll make me whole again...I'm calling Benny Hinn

I was lost and now I'm found, but I'll soon be lost again
Free me of my sin, apostle Benny Hinn

You might be a phony but you're a very, very rich man
Y'know I understand...I trust you, Benny Hinn

"There's a sucker born every minute" - P.T. Barnum

"Chromosome 11" kicking a small amount of ass

I'm enjoying an unexpected surge of traffic at CHROMOSOME 11. My mind is boggled as to the reason why...I would give credit to the cool new design, but I doubt that's what drives folks to the blog. At any rate it has inspired me to write and post some new things that I probably won't put here. I've also posted a few songs that weren't there before, so if you think you might be interested in that sort of thing, by all means click the "Shit I Wrote" icon towards the top left in the sidebar and tell me what you think.


Warty's coming up from Texas Friday night and I'll be heading up to the City Saturday afternoon to spend the day with him. It's been at least a year since I've seen the guy and I'm very much looking forward to it. Will be quite nice to hang out with one of a select few people I call "best friends". It sucks that he lives in Texas now, but he's doing very well for himself there, so I can't hold it against him for not wanting to stay in OK.

The last time he was in town we joined Freddy and a slew of friends and acquaintances for a cook-out that turned into a very festive occasion. I know I'll never forget it. That was the day I found out that my tolerance level was not quite as high as I thought it was. Or, to be more accurate, the tolerance level was probably as strong as it had ever been, but it was assaulted with forces so powerful that it didn't stand a chance. It is my hope that I'll be able to test that level again this coming Saturday. Unless things have changed drastically in those quarters the chances of that happening are probably between 90-100% of happening (and that's in the upper 90s).

I wish I could buy some guitar strings, for the ones on my wood are ancient and somewhat dull. But I'm hoping to be able to spend my money on other things that weekend.

This is going to be so good for me.