It's fucked up to dig your own grave... aka music videos are the best

It's strange to dig your own grave.  The work that goes into making a hole big enough, especially in the shitty, clay-infested Oregon soil, sucks fucking ass.  Even with someone's help, it isn't a quick endeavor.  My biggest alibi against any murder case is the director of my latest music video, who can vouch for my inability and "inadequataquatulence" to bury people at the depth necessary to avoid detection.  Also, you realize the soft person you've become by the pain in between your thumb and pointer finger after digging a 4 and 1/2' deep hole.  We could've gone deeper, but fuck it (ha! Butt fuck it!), we were tired.  To be honest, it was kind of fun.  I miss doing manual labor and it's more fun given the reason:  a music video.  My good friend Kevin Pietila is an amazing director/writer and came up with this fucking fantastic video idea for "Let's Go Out Tonight," which I couldn't be more fucking happy about.  Kevin's script is amazing, we have people flying up from L.A. to help shoot the video and some amazing actors/dancers/choreographers to help as well.  I feel like such a Rock Star and can't wait to blow them all away with my acting...  Jesus, I'm talented but I'm so fucking glad someone wrote something so fucking badass.  I'm so blessed to know talented muthafuckers who believe in me and my music.  Life is great sometimes.  Only sometimes...  But, now is one of those times.  I'll let y'all fuckers know how it's going and how awesome I am.  Pretty fucking awesome is my guess.  Check this shit out:

 

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That's a fucking hard day's work, capped off by some Coors Banquet Beers and french fries.  After two hours of digging, that shit never tasted so sweet. Not sure why musicians like to act and actors like to play musicians but seems like we're all fucked up in the same ways, so it probably helps.  We'll find out next week...

Video blog, silly shit videos and music on Youtube... aka Bradley is officially multimedia muthafucker!

Hey Internet.  Bradley is going to start making videos!  And by "Bradley" I mean me.  Not sure why I said it that way.  Fucking weirdo.  Or am I?  Yes, I am, sometimes.  Anyhow, you can check out my very first post, the Introduction if you will, right the fuck HERE:

 

 

I will still be posting here on this blog as some topics lend themselves to the benevolence of the written word.  The videos on Youtube will be a mix of video blogs (or "vlogs" for those short on time, because who the fuck has time to goddamn say "video blog" when you can just say "vlog" and move on with your life?  Right?  Who's with me?  Now, I've taken up way more time to explain, henceforth ruining the advantage of the shortened "vlog."  Drat!), stupid/silly videos that have little to do with anything other than that I find them amusing, some absurd spoken word poetry (trust me, these will be hilarious; at least to me), some music playing/storytelling, and a lot of me ranting and raving about things that maybe wouldn't be the best written out and that really give you the full "Bradley Wik Experience," which may be the name of my next Rock N' Roll project...

 

So Subscribe (there is a big red button on the right that says "Subscribe" for those uninformed about the internet.  I had to figure it out myself just recently) to the BRADLEY WIK YOUTUBE CHANNEL to stay abreast (ha!) of my doings apart from what you see on here.

 

Anyways, that's all I have for now.  New videos/blogs coming soon!

1996 and the memories it brings... aka who loves Bush?

Let me take you back to 1996 for a bit.  Young Bradley (or "Brad" as he was know then) is just beginning his lifelong obsession with music, specifically Rock N' Roll music.  He's taped some of his mother's vinyl records like "Born to Run," "Bat Out of Hell" and Neil Young's "Decade" compilation.  He loves those cassettes but soon learns there are other stations on the radio besides WKLH - the Milwaukee-based Classic Rock station.  (A quick check of WKLH's "last 50 songs played" list reveals the usual suspects - Led Zeppelin, Mott the Hoople, Boston, the Stones, Petty, Floyd, Eddie Money, Journey, Whitesnake, Def Lep, Foreigner, Van Halen, etc., etc.)  Brad starts inching up the dial and runs into what they call "alternative" stations.  He hears what is currently his favorite band in the world, Metallica.  What song, you may ask?  Jesus, that was over twenty years ago.  What the fuck?  How am I supposed to remember that shit?  Wait, I forgot that no one knows what the right answer is so I can just make it up.  Never mind what I just said, I totally remember it like it was yesterday.  It was METALLICA'S "FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS."  Odd choice for a radio track as there's no lyrics for over two minutes, but fuck, who cares, it goddamn rocks!  So, needless to say, Brad was locked in on this new station.  He couldn't wait to hear what was next.  It was a song that would rock Brad's young world called "Lithium."  He would later learn that this was the song that played during perhaps THE GREATEST PERFORMANCE MTV HAS EVER SEEN (the "Rape Me" intro, Krist hurling his bass towards the heavens only to catch it with his face, clearly concussing himself in the process, or as they said back then, "getting the wind knocked out of him," and, the finishing touch, Dave Grohl's "Hi Axl" taunt to wrap it all up).  What was this music, and who the fuck was Nirvana?  Brad would later learn that Nirvana is one of his favorite bands ever and he would have the unfortunate pleasure of visiting Kurt's hometown of Aberdeen, WA multiple times.  First with a future girlfriend who grew up there and later for other, more random reasons.  But, Nirvana is not what I'm here to write about, we don't have the fucking time.  So, let's jump to the next song Brad heard on the fateful day.  What was it?  This time I fucking remember for sure.  Not sure why I can't recall the Metallica song, but it's probably because I already knew it so it didn't stand out to me.  Anyways, next up on the "alternative" station was:


"MACHINEHEAD" BY BUSH


If Brad had any mind left to be blown after hearing "Lithium" then it was surely destroyed by "Machinehead."  The energy, the guitar sounds, that voice, fuck, THAT VOICE, those nonsensical lyrics, the inverted chorus; damn, this shit was real.  But, remember, this is 1996.  Brad is quite young.  How would I get more of this band called... "Bush?"  What stupid bandname, but so is "the Beatles," so fuck it.  If the music is good...  And it was.  But, I wanted to hear more.  So, I did the only thing a child could do back then to hear a song again:  listen to the radio nonstop for the next couple days, with a blank cassette in the brand-new Sony boombox (a CD player no less!  Though we owned exactly zero CD's...) we got from my mom and stepdad cashing in their Camel cash.  Oh, the 90's...


But, seriously, it took two days of sitting in front of the stereo every goddamn moment I wasn't at school, doing chores, eating, pooping, sleeping or playing baseball.  It was excruciating.  Then, FINALLY, it came back on!  Sort of half-listening, I missed the first five or ten seconds as I scrambled to push the "red circle" and "play" buttons as quickly as possible.  It was an art to get the whole fucking song, and I was a determined muthafucker.  Every song that I missed the first few seconds on, I'd wait and wait til they announced it was coming up "after this break," and I would memorize the commercials so I could time it just right to have the song in its' entirety.  I was unparalleled at this unique skill and eventually people would hit me up for copies of my cassettes since they were so much better than theirs (and because they were too lazy and unfocused to make their own) and had music they had never heard before, like Bush, Rage Against the Machine, The Wallflowers, Nirvana, R.E.M., etc.  


Pissed that I missed the opening bars, I waited to hear it again.  Another day passed.  Then, they announced that Bush was coming up after the break and I wasn't going to miss it this time.  The brief pause after the familiar commercial and record/play, here we go!  Only it was different.  It wasn't "Machinehead."  I was stopped in my tracks.  I loved this song even more.  Wait, they have more than one good song?  This was great news!  Maybe I should save up my chores money and buy this cassette.  Actually, fuck that, I wanted to get it on CD.  I can do that now!  But, what was this new song called?  After the song ended and I started breathing and being conscious again, I heard the DJ say "COMEDOWN."  I NEEDED this album, ASAP.


I asked for extra chores so I could slowly work my way towards the $15 or $16 I knew it would cost.  I wasn't going to get there quickly enough for me.  Cassettes were cheaper, so fuck it I could get that now.  Off to Sam Goody in the Beaver Dam mall (RIP to both).  I raced to the "B" section and grabbed the first Bush tape I saw.  I was so excited!  I was going to get those songs at home and whenever I goddamn wanted now.  Except, in late 1996, Bush had TWO albums available and I picked... the wrong one.  Don't get me wrong, I love "Razorblade Suitcase" as much as the next guy (as long as that guy like fucking loves "Razorblade Suitcase" as much as I do.  OK, chances are I love "Razorblade Suitcase" more than the next guy, unless the next guy is Gavin Rossdale and, in which case, I can't believe I'm next to Gavin Rossdale!  He's so talented... and sexy...) but it definitely does not have "Machinehead" or "Comedown" on it.  I was so bummed.  I'd have to start saving all over again...


In the next few weeks, I slowly fell in love with "Razorblade Suitcase" but more rapidly fell in love with some song called "One Headlight" by the Wallflowers.  I found out it was Bob Dylan's son and I was in.  Although, Jakob sounded like if Bob and Tom Petty had a kid...  Which, I know, not possible outside of a "Junior" type scenario, but that's what it fucking sounded like.  I got distracted and as soon as I had my $16 I convinced my mom to drive me to Shopko where I could buy... "Bringing Down the Horse" by the Wallflowers, on CD.  My very first CD!  I had my Bush on cassette and that would get me through the next few weeks as would this Wallflowers record, which would go on to be one of my favorite records ever.  Not top 10 or anything obviously, but definitely top 25 or 30.


Meanwhile, my sister had heard of Bush, perhaps because I couldn't stop talking about them or playing the songs I taped off the radio on repeat, between spins of my brand new CD.  Or, perhaps she saw one of the videos on MTV.  Kids probably don't know this, but MTV used to play music videos.  I found many a great artists via this extinct medium (RIP MTV as a music channel).  So, now she wanted in on this band.  We saved our money, headed to Walmart and were gonna get us some Bush!  But, it didn't make sense for us both to buy "Sixteen Stone."  I wanted it badly since I already had "Razorblade Suitcase" and had been jonesing for this album for about two or three months, at least.  But, she was older and had the final say.  She was buying "Sixteen Stone."  Dejected, but determined to buy a CD, I purchased my second copy of "Razorblade Suitcase," this time on CD.  Why, you may ask?  Because I have Asperger's and once I decide I'm going to do something, I have to do it or I will go insane.  And, I had decided I was buying a Bush CD that day, so I did.  I dubbed my sis's copy of "Sixteen Stone" but worked so hard to convince myself that "Razorblade Suitcase" was better.  It was not, but man, did I try hard to believe it was.  It's like WHAT MARK KOZELEK SAID IN "HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN":  "When we were kids, we hated things our sisters did..."  Sisters were not cool and conversely, neither were little brothers.  For years, "Sixteen Stone" was "my sister's record" so I couldn't love it the same.  It made no sense and makes even less now, thinking back on it.  But, it was what it was.  Eventually, months and months later, I had badgered my sister enough that she gave me the CD.  Finally, it was mine!  Plus, she had to make room on her shelf for that hot, debut record from this up and coming band called Hanson...


Now that I finally owned the damn record, it was one of my favorites.  "Comedown," "Machinehead," "Little Things," "Everything Zen" and, of course, what quickly became my favorite song "Glycerine."  Again, watching MTV, I SAW THIS PERFORMANCE OF "GLYCERINE" and was never the same.  The second best performance on MTV after Nirvana's "Lithium" took place at MTV's Spring Break and was shot during a hurricane watch.  MTV told the band they needed to stop playing as the rains came pouring down.  They would be risking electrocution and it was unsafe to continue.  The band retreated to drier spaces but Gavin said "fuck it" and went back out for one more song.  You can tell during the performance, which even now brought a tear to my eye, that Gavin realizes the magnitude of this moment and how special this is, even sitting on a chord while the crowd slowly crescendos in appreciation.  It's a magical moment and I've never forgotten that.  To me, that's part of this album.  As are all the hours I spent trying to tape "Machinehead" and "Comedown," the disappointment of buying the wrong cassette, my sister buying this album so I couldn't (even though it made no difference since I had a taped copy and could borrow her copy), the album being one of my earliest introductions to music beyond classic rock, all of it is packed in there.


And none of that is to mention Gavin himself, who young Brad thought was the coolest guy on the planet.  I mean, that voice (I learned much later that he was English, I just thought he "sang cool").  Some years later while learning the guitar ("Glycerine" was the first song I ever learned), I was so disappointed to learn that my voice was not raspy and sexy like Gavin's.  It broke my heart.  I just wanted to sound like that.  I could get my Epiphone Les Paul Special II to sound kind of like his guitars sounded but my voice was so "clean."  I didn't understand why I couldn't sing like him.  Found the trick later in life (lots of bourbon, cigarettes and good old fashioned hard livin') and I've been pleased as punch that I can finally sound more like Gavin.  The other point of contention was his hair.  He had wavy hair and mine was Native American straight (damn you, genes!).  Also, he was handsome and I'm, well, pretty damn good looking but I'm not a model-looking muthafucker like Gavin.  Now, lyrically, I feel like I've got him since so many of his songs seemingly mean gobbledygook.  Now I'm sure, to him, this makes sense but here's the lyrics to one of my favorite songs off "Razorblade Suitcase," "A Tendency to Start Fires":

 

Strange zoo, strange blaze
Douse my head in flames
Coming through got to get some
Happiness is a bad son


Forceps, kitchen tools
Deconstruct your every move
Feels better when you're here
Guillotine just got here


Back bend, back break
Please yourself to make it rate
Live it all at your own cost
So many just got lost


Leaning to fire
Leaning to fire
Leaning to fire


Here's tomorrow man
Best of my ability
Chasing what I can
Here's tomorrow man

 

Umm... Yeah.  But, I can't tell you how many times I've screamed along to this song.  I just have no clue what any of that's supposed to mean, if anything at all.  It could be the Asperger's, as many lyrics that are metaphorical float over my head, but those don't seem like they fall into that category.  Anyhow, I'm nitpicking.  I love Gavin Rossdale and have idolized him since 1996.  His voice, his songs, his look; I mean, come on, look at this man:

 

 

Also hilarious, "The Fall of Apple."  But, the headline for Bush is so appropriate.  They never really got their due.

 

What brought all this Bush love on?  I heard the last verse of "Comedown" in the car the other day.  That's all it takes and it's such a sense memory that it enveloped and took over the next three days of my life.  I was Bush, Bush, Bush, and not in the fun, sexual way.  But, I'm so glad it happened.  Although, it did get me in a mid-nineties kind of way and dreaming of reruns of Wings, Caroline in the City, Newsradio, etc.  Good thing I own those shows on DVD...  Good times...

"Black Sheep Boy" and the sadness it brings... aka the guilt is overwhelming some days... Pt. III

As a refresher, this is the third entry in a series of blogs about "BLACK" BY OKKERVIL RIVER and why that song haunts me so much that I've literally blocked it out of my memory until recently.  Years passed and slowly one of my favorite albums of the mid-aughts was erased from my brain, which hardly ever loses something musically-related.  The notable exceptions being TWO SONGS THAT DROVE ME FUCKING INSANE FOR YEARS.  As it turns out, it's hard to find info on a song when you only have a sliver of the melody and no lyrics, no discernible musical reference points (can't hear the vocal in my head, who might be singing, other things like instrumentation or any other clue that can help) and are left just humming some random thing and hoping someone fucking loves that song enough to pick it up from there; which, of course, no one did...

 

But, I had completely forgotten about "Black Sheep Boy" until I was dicking around on Spotify and saw an Okkervil River song pop up in a playlist.  I couldn't even remember the name of the record and had to locate it by the cover.  That's how much I had drained my brain of the album, and all because of one song:  "Black."  To get caught up:

 

HERE'S PART I

 

AND HERE'S PART II

 

Anyways, let's get back into it.  As I've previously mentioned, there are two things that haunt me to this day about this particularly terrible episode.  One is something I did, and one is something I didn't do.  I've covered the thing I didn't do ("accidentally" murder someone, which is a probably a good thing).  Now, here's the thing I did that I regret:  I kept bringing this terrible memory back up to her...

 

I didn't know.  Again, I kind of knew, but I didn't really know.  I didn't.  I couldn't.  She never told me but I knew something happened.  I had no clue what it was.  I figured she'd kissed him or possibly more.  I shouldn't have ever brought it back up since I could tell it was something she definitely didn't want to talk about, but sometimes it would creep into fights we had.  Which, over the years had grown more numerous in nature, so the amount of times it could potentially enter into the "conversation" grew as well.  It was also something that brought out the worst in me and what I'd later learn to be my Asperger's.  You see, people with Asperger's (or, at least me) are keenly aware of peoples buttons and how to press them.  It's a skill I learned at a young age.  If I could get the other person all riled up and I APPEARED COMPOSED SO I WAS, I SUPPOSE, the other kid would always get in trouble and I'd walk away scot-free.  It was a handy trick in my youth that would later prove to be something that would get me in trouble later in life, kind of.  I'm not sure how much of this skill is attributed to the Asperger's but it's a fair amount, I'd reckon.  I hate that I can find and manipulate awful things in people and that sometimes I do it without realizing it.  I think a lot of people secretly know the exact wrong thing to say to other people but keep it to themselves, knowing the emotional pain it would bring.  I don't always have that option, though I'm much better now that I can, at least sometimes, identify that I'm about to say the most damaging thing possible just to win an argument and keep my fucking mouth shut before ruining another relationship.

 

I wish I would've known earlier.  I never, and I mean NEVER, would have ever mentioned it again, but I honestly didn't know and had always assumed that it was something that wasn't a big deal.  Which made it maddening as to why she wouldn't say.  For years, I figured after we had all gotten drunk, they had made out and she felt bad about it.  I even thought maybe they fooled around and slept together which bothered me some but it was right after we met and weren't living together or anything, so, again, I was bummed but I could move past it if she would just tell me.  But, the more she wouldn't say, naturally, the more curious I got.  I wish that I hadn't.  I wish I could've been a better person and just let it go.  But, my stupid Asperger's kicked in and now it was a mystery/riddle that needed to be solved.  So, at least once or twice a year, I'd ask her again about what happened, why she won't talk about it if it was nothing (clearly it wasn't), why she was so distracted/distraught the next time she saw him, and on and on.  It eventually, and rightly so from her perspective, not at all rightly from mine, became a burden on our relationship.  By then, we were living together and things grew tenser by the day.  It was all my fault but I couldn't stop myself.  I tried so hard, but even if they had slept together (which was the worst case scenario in my head), it wasn't that big a deal to me anymore so why wouldn't she just tell me?  She eventually copped to making out, to which I smiled and told her I loved her and I didn't care.  It was so long ago and before we knew that we loved each other.  But, the look on her face wasn't from admitting that she made out with someone.  I could tell it was more.  I kept telling her that I loved her and didn't care what happened (again, having sex with him was the worst case scenario I could imagine...) so she shouldn't feel scared to tell me.  It was borderline manipulative and I hated myself for trying so hard to figure this out.  But, at this point, I was obsessed with finding out exactly what happened.  I wish I hadn't been.  She didn't deserve that, no one does, and I was making it so much worse by not letting it die.  So much worse...

 

I remember the night she finally told me.  We were about to break up, things had gotten that bad.  We were barely speaking to each other.  Everything we did or said ended up in a fight.  I became jealous and distant.  Asperger's makes it easy to not care sometimes, which is awful.  I was convinced she was having an affair.  There was no reason or basis for that but I became convinced there were more things she was hiding (there weren't).  I resented her for not being open with me which, in turn, made her feel, and rightly so, like she couldn't be open with me or I would get mad at her.  The less she said the more my mind wandered into terrible places.  Asperger's also helps bring about some of the worst thoughts from relatively insignificant things.  I was a complete asshole.  I wish I hadn't been but I was.  I know that now but I wish I knew it back then.  The more I pulled away the more she mirrored that.  She was protecting herself, and I get that now.  She didn't deserve to be in a relationship like our's had become.  No one does.  But, in my head, it was all her fault.  All she had to do was tell me one little thing (or so I thought) and it would all be back to normal.  My confidence would be restored in her and we could move on.  I once thought I would marry her and now one stupid, drunken night years ago threatened that.  God, I was fucking idiot...  So selfish...  So distrustful...  So unaware...  So mean...  

 

Then, after we (sort of) broke up, she finally said fuck it and told me.  I was devastated for her.  I was heart-broken for her.  I was so mad at him.  I wanted to kill him (for the second time).  I was so mad at myself.  I was SO FUCKING MAD AT MYSELF.  I held her as we cried together.  I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  I had never expected anything like this.  This was what I had tortured myself to find out.  This was what I was holding against her.  I couldn't have felt smaller at that moment.  It finally clicked in my brain how shitty I had been by bringing this up the five to ten times or so over the years.  Every time, every fucking time, she had to remember this and put on a brave face to get through my bullshit.  Needless to say, I never once brought it up again...  I was too ashamed.  My only hope is that some small part of her felt relieved to speak it into the world.  I'm not sure she had ever told anyone before.  I'm sure saying it out loud didn't make her feel any better nor remove any of the anger, guilt, shame, sadness, distrust, feelings of vulnerability, hate, or any other emotions but I hope releasing the secret didn't make it worse.  I never should've known unless she wanted me to know.  It was not my place and I never should have pushed her to tell me about it, and by doing so, bringing it back into her mind.  It was a painful lesson and I've learned that sometimes I need to shut the fuck up.  I don't need to know everything about someone.  That's not how it works.  I get to know what they want me to know and I need to be OK with that.  If I'm not, I can hurt someone I love...

 

I'm not sure why I've packed all that into "Black" by Okkervil River but my life is dictated by music and I associate most of my memories to music.  And, this just happened to be one I wanted to forget.  And did...

 

"Black Sheep Boy" and the sadness it brings... aka the guilt is overwhelming some days... Pt. II

I stressed long and hard to determine whether I should indeed tell this story, or, more specifically, what parts of the story I should be allowed to tell as my involvement is fleeting and merely a side story, so it's technically not mine to tell.  I decided to move forward but be very intentional on what is revealed.  I will not be talking any details, people, places, etc. and will actually skip most of that part and stick to why this memory is so indelibly linked to OKKERVIL RIVER'S "BLACK."  That's the only part I own and it's my dreadful memory/association which still haunts me to this day.  I wish I could shake it but the loyalty part of Asperger's makes this feel like one of, if not my largest, regret.  Well, I should specify "regrets" as it's a two-parter.  More on that in just a bit...

 

This story has caused me to not only give away my Okkervil River albums (I may have thrown them out, but I swear I donated them to a less musically diverse friend.  But, then again, I can't count all the brain cells I've destroyed over the years, so maybe I'm remembering that incorrectly, or more likely, it doesn't fucking matter and I'm already rambling...) but to completely forget about them until last week.  I literally (yes, literally, not figuratively, or "literally," as the kids say) blocked out the band, the albums and the songs.  I couldn't remember the lyrics to a song I used to cover at shows.  I know I "knew" these songs but, for the life of me, couldn't bring them back out.  It was weird.  It was like going back to your hometown, population 3000, and forgetting where the baseball fields were that you spent almost your entire childhood playing on.  Or, forgetting where the pool was even though that's where you spent literally (again, fucking seriously literally) every fucking day in the summers.  I remember waking up each morning, eating a Pop-Tart (for those too young to know, put butter on the brown sugar flavor as soon as it comes out the toaster.  Ooh, fuck yeah.  It gets all melty and the sweet and savory all mix together for oohh, yeah... oops I came...) with a bowl of Corn Pops (shit, so much "pops" in the 90's) and speeding off on my Huffy to my best friends house for a few rounds of 2-player TEST DRIVE: OFF-ROAD (the original muthafuckers!  Chevy Z71 was my jam, fuck a Hummer) on his PC.  After we complained about who cheated to win and some various back and forth, it was off to the pool for two or three hours, back to his for lunch (since he lived closer) and then back to the pool for the afternoon to stop in the slides, piss off the lifeguards, flirt with girls, trying desperately for just a kiss and finally some swim-tag.  Afterwards, it was a quick rinse off (miss that chlorine smell.  I often step into the pool at hotels for a fond remembrance of time gone past...) and onto roller-blading or basketball (and flirting with girls, again) until dinner.  After dinner, more basketball, roller-blading or maybe some three on three or five on five football (trying to impress the girls watching but pretending not to) until it got too dark and someone inevitably got hit in the face with a ball and maybe broke their glasses for the 19th time...  Luckily, we had that glasses insurance (free repairs/replacements for two years if they should break) which the store in the Beaver Dam mall tried to revoke after our fifth redemption.  Fucking insurance, always trying to fuck you over...

 

Wow, sorry.  That was way off track.  Also, not sorry, not sure why I said that.  Congratulations, if you're still reading this nonsense...

 

BUT, back to the story.  The things I regret from this story are two-fold.  One is something I didn't do, and one is something I did.  For the sake of time, let's break this up (again) into two parts and start with the thing I didn't do:  murder someone...  (ominous sounds)

 

I wish the actual story was less dramatic than that but, unfortunately, it's not.  I'm not a particularly violent person.  Yes, I'm prone to Asperger's freakouts and meltdowns (just ask my poor girlfriend who happened to be home after I got a terrible haircut...  I asked for, and I quote, "an inch off and to clean up the back so it's not so mullet-y."  She made the first two cuts and my heart stopped.  "Kind of like that?" she asked.  It took everything I had to only say "not quite that much but it's too late," where I wanted to say "WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!  YOU MUST BE FROM ANY OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD BESIDES AMERICA CAUSE YOU CERTAINLY DON'T KNOW WHAT A FUCKING INCH IS!") but I'm not normally angry or violent.  Seriously, despite that all-caps rant, I'm actually being serious.  Lot's of things perturb me and I enjoy getting riled up about things, but rarely feel legitimate anger towards another human (the members of Grouplove excepted.  Stop trying to ruin my one of my all-time favorite shows with your GODAWFUL CREDITS SONG.  Even the whole world hates Grouplove, JUST WATCH THEIR OWN FUCKING MUSIC VIDEO.  God, that songs sucks so much, how could you let this happen?).  

 

But, on this day so long ago, I met her old friend from high school.  Normally, I enjoy a glimpse into someone's past and meeting people from other dimensions of time and space (time revolves around relative to me so everything before and after exists in alternate dimensions and nothing exists outside my realm of understanding.  Asperger's is weird sometimes...) but something was off here.  Long ago, I'd learned that I have a strange knack for understanding people extremely quickly.  It could be the Asperger's but there's so much you can tell about a person within a few seconds if you're really looking, which I always am.  I don't use this power for evil (read:  to manipulate people) very often, but more for my own good (read:  determine whether this person is interesting, talented, kind-hearted, etc. and I should spend more time with them or the opposite and I should JUST WALK AWAY...).  Yes, like most people my age, I learned more about this by reading Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink" though I try to block out the actual person/Bill Simmons occasional cohort Gladwell as he annoys the fuck out of me.  He is a very smart man, but does not always wear it well, to put it mildly.  But, give me six seconds and a greeting and I can probably tell you all you need to know about someone.  Insecurity, manipulative behavior, etc. or honesty, kindness, talent, etc.  I've been proven wrong so rarely that it usually seems like a willful mistake.  I can't tell you how many times I've shaken someones hand, made bold predictions, and sometimes weeks, sometimes years later, was finally proven right.  It's a great skill of mine, particularly when I used to debate people.  You assess, find their weaknesses and poke at it until they come unhinged and you can become the reasonable, logical one to their insane person, thus winning handily.  It's a good skill to have unless you value interpersonal relationships, then sometimes it can be a drag.  Not for me, mind you, but for those who get angry at me frequently, not for out-debating them on the facts but for outsmarting them personally.  What the fuck am I talking about??  

 

Back to the story, I instantly fucking hated this guy.  He walked in, to my apartment no less, where we were hanging out.  I gave him a beer, Miller Lite, naturally, and we casually introduced ourselves.  They began to catch up and I joined in, trying to be nice as I got that "don't be a fucking asshole like usual" look from her.  I asked pertinent questions and maintained conversation like a normal (read:  not like me/a person with Asperger's) person.  From the outside it seemed perfectly normal and jovial.  I positioned myself in the only chair (my Hampton desk chair from Office Depot, which I stole, allegedly.  Just kidding, no one ever knew...  Maybe it's not true.  Nudge, nudge, wink, wink...) so they would sit by the window on the ledge/chunk of wood over the steam radiator which heated my apartment.  In the summer, when the heat was off, it doubled as the only other seating in my apartment.  To set the room, I had a computer on top of a small TV stand against the left wall, my recording interface (Mbox 2) and random mics/stands next to it, my Martin D-15 acoustic guitar in the closet behind me, my stack of books (Kurt Vonnegut's "Breakfast of Champions," Woody Guthrie's "Bound for Glory," Johnny Cash's "Cash," etc.) that I always traveled with, on display to prove I could read, my portable 5" DVD player and DVD's ("Pulp Fiction," Bruce Springsteen "Live at the Garden," Bewitched seasons 1 and 2 and Monty Python's Flying Circus collection, an odd bunch, for sure) on the floor next to the computer desk and, in the closet next to the guitar, some blankets I laid on the floor at night to sleep on.  It was a bachelor pad for sure.  So, again, I'm in the chair by the desk, they're on a chunk of wood that's been painted white to hide the fact that it's just a chunk of wood over a radiator next to the window.

 

Now, this window did not have a screen on it, which is weird, but it did not.  So, in the summer my windows were wide open, five floors above the street.  There was a moment where she went to the bathroom and he was looking out the window onto the street below yelling crude things to the girls as they passed by, beer in hand.  

 

"You want another?" I said as I got up to head to the kitchen.  "Sure," he said, "why not."  I stood for a moment and slowly made my way towards the kitchen, which was right past him sitting in the window.  "She would never know," I thought.  "No witnesses."  Tear off a piece of his shirt and it looks like I tried to catch him.  He was drinking and fell.  It was a dark thought.  I felt weird but it also somehow felt right.  I felt torn between what I thought was right and what I thought was "right."  I was confident I could get away with it but was reluctant for some reason.  I should have, probably, but I didn't.  In a moment of weakness, I hesitated too long and she came back out the bathroom.  I barely knew her and she barely knew me.  Why did I care so much and why did I hate this guy so much?  I didn't "know" but I knew.  And worse, I knew that I knew.

 

She came back and said "What were you guys talking about?"  "Just grabbing another beer, you want one?" I asked.  "Sure," she said.  I should've known.  I did know.  That was the worst part.  That's the part I live with.  I just didn't do anything...  The next day, it happened...

 

(to be continued...)

 

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"Black Sheep Boy" and the sadness it brings... aka how terrifyingly common sexual assault is... Pt. I

Every once in a while (OK, maybe more than once in a while, thrice in a while?), a song will stop me in my tracks.  Not because of its' beauty or familiarity or awesomeness but because of a powerful memory that's associated with it.  I know this happens to other people too, but it's so strong and overwhelming for me due to the way I process time.  Time, as we all know, is infinite, strong-willed and unrelenting while also being short-sighted, moldable and relative.  Time for me is usually defined by records.  For example, I don't think of 2004 as "2004" but more of the year of walking through Tenney Park in Madison, WI listening to the Arcade Fire's "Funeral" on my Sony Discman (with Sony MDR-7506 headphones.  Yes, I was, and still am, a headphone snob.  And, even now I own a second pair of Sony MDR-7506's since I gave my first pair away.  Seriously people, the 7506's are $99 while people pay two to three times that for Beats...  I don't get it...) while I had Sun Kil Moon's "Ghosts of the Great Highway" and Great Lake Swimmers eponymous album in the pouch of my hoodie, ready to put on after my first lap through the park and while sitting on a bench watching Lake Mendota roll in and out against a starless summer night, the pitch black water aching for you to listen to her song as she lulls herself to sleep, with the occasional duck or seagull interrupting our slow dance but doing little to shake our intense gaze deep into one another, remembering all the times we shared and the moments of insecurity revealed with such timidity, and relief, that only those who've experienced tragedy (read:  all of us) could relate.  Wait, what the fuck?!

 

But, sometimes there's a song.  And this song brings back memories we no longer want, that we no longer enjoy.  Sometimes, those memories are too much and we actually block out both the memory and the associations.  Sometimes, we can't forget...

 

So, this weekend I was filming a quick intro to my Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/bradleywik.  No, the video is not up yet, hold your horses.  Later this week...) when I suddenly felt sad.  I didn't know why.  I finished the video and immediately starting tearing down my video setup.  I didn't know why.  I still had other videos I wanted to film.  Why take down the lights and backdrop and camera when you just need to set it up again.  It didn't make any sense but I wanted to.  And, while I packed things up, I wanted to put on some music to help get me out of my funk.  I instinctively grabbed my phone, fired up Spotify (though my Pro-Ject turntable and vinyl sound better, as does iTunes through my KRK monitors), linked onto my bluetooth speaker and fired up "Black Sheep Boy" by Okkervil River.  This record was the year after "Funeral" and "Ghosts of the Great Highway" and "Great Lake Swimmers."  It consumed my ears and stole hour and after hour with its' rugged beauty and heartfelt tales.  Well, I guess it was more painful tales than heartfelt.  One in particular...

 

Okkervil River's "Black" is a song that I have literally loved and lost.  The moment I heard it, I felt such a strong connection to it.  The upbeat music, the tragic (seriously fucking tragic) lyrics and the earnest vocal crushed my baby, eighteen year old heart.  To convey sadness, depression, pain, terror, sorrow, empathy, sympathy, anger, resentfulness, forgiveness, avoidance, passion, hope, and all the other "human" emotions, into one song as wonderful and simple as this, well, then fucking congratulations, you goddamn nailed it.  And Will Scheff did.  He really fucking did.  I couldn't stop listening that song because of the range of emotions I could interpret (Asperger's baby!).  Little did I realize I would eventually come to understand the sexual abuse overtones (undertones?), which I would decipher much later in life, of that song.  Again, with Asperger's, it's difficult to understand the meaning of things that are not explicitly laid out for you (well, me, in this case).  Things that are said metaphorically are way over my head.  I don't get them and I don't care.  That's why I've always been drawn to songwriters like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and Neil Young, I need clarity and beauty in the simplicity of honest, personal storytelling.

 

But, I now understand the singer's point of view.  I've watched someone struggle with the, sadly, all too familiar pain of sexual abuse, someone I've loved.  And not one, but multiple woman.  Unfortunately, their stories are not uncommon.  It's depressing to think about the amount of women who have to deal with this shit.  It's terrifyingly common.  And, one time, I saw all the ramifications up close, as it happened to someone I loved.  I can't imagine what it was like or any of it, but I do know what it feels like to want to hurt someone immensely for what they've done to someone you love...

 

(to be continued...)

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Vodka or video games... aka what the hell are you talking about?

Is there any video game better than Metal Gear Solid?  The answer is "yes."  It is called Metal Gear Solid 4 and Metal Gear Solid 5.  But, that's not what we are here to talk about.  Or, is it?  I'm not sure...  Wait, this is my fucking show and I can write about whatever the hell I feel like.  Like, for instance, that my favorite vodka is Belvedere (fucking pay me!  I'll drink and talk about your shit all day).  It's so tasty, in a martini or my favorite, by itself.  Sometimes, I even break my own rule (the only thing you mix/add to booze is MORE BOOZE) and drink it with some delicious La Croix pamplemousse.  I know, I know.  Apparently, hipster girls love La Croix.  Well, shit, I've loved fizzy water (yes, that's what it's called) for the past 15 years, which goes back to the beginning of hipsters, so fuck that.  Y'all can duck a sick...  Wait, what was I talking about?  Oh yeah, nothing...

 

But, as I watch MELON THE FELON PLAY MARIO 3, I realize that I didn't come here to talk about my favorite video games (Metal Gear Solid 4, Metal Gear Solid 5, Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 3, Metal Gear Solid 2, Mario 3, in that order), but to talk about... well... OK, shit.  I don't have much to talk about as my Meniere's has been playing nice this week and I didn't have any Asperger's breakdowns.  Life's been good.  My back did go out and caused me to be unable to move for two hours, but that is doing OK these days.  But, fuck, I was in fucking agony.  It was an hour before I could even physically move an inch.  I laid on the living room floor (which needed a vacuuming for sure!) face down trying not to pass out from the pain.  I was hard of breath of few times because of it.  I tried to take some ibuprofen but hurt so bad I couldn't move my head enough to drink a gulp of water or throw back the ibuprofen.  Luckily, it only lasted like 4 hours, then I medicated and felt a lot better.  Like, could move around enough to go to bed.  Then, I woke up and decided that I was going to be better and did.  Or, it was a weird spasm thing and went away (well, I still feel it today but was able to do "normal people shit" like work, call people, eat food, walk around, poop, read the newspaper, drink wine, write a blog, play guitar, be sad, eat some cheese, with a Lactaid, of course, hire your PR company to promote your videos/tour, do some mixing on your solo record, mentally take stock of your vinyl and determine your next targets; you know, "normal people shit") once I drank a fuckload of water, took a fuckload of turmeric (anti-inflammatory) and slept a fuckload.  Either way...

 

My lucks gone down ever since I started playing basketball again a couple months ago when I got my HARDEN 2S.  Maybe a short (5'8" on a good day), half-white guy who can't jump (thanks Injun blood) isn't meant to blow up the court but still, it shouldn't ruin my body and ear.  Just a coincidence that I buy the shoes of a guy I'm not a fan of (he's fantastic as a player but I hate the Rockets offense) and suddenly my health goes to pot.  Or, I'm thinking of this way too much.

 

Speaking of too much, have been questioning my Asperger's a lot lately.  I know that I know things, but for some reason, I don't trust myself.  Not sure what happened but all of the sudden I can't make decisions and shit like I normally do.  It's fucked up for someone who is always sure of everything all the time always (30 ROCK, ANYONE?).  But, it could be the mercury retrograde hippie bullshit.  Or, I could just be adjusting to getting out of this nearly 3 month long Meniere's issue (clogged ear, intermittent dizziness/vertigo, increased tinnitus, vision problems, etc.) which is getting better due to my chiropractic visits and lame diet (low sodium, low sugar, low alcohol, low caffeine, small meals, no packaged/processed foods), at least that's what I believe.  And, that's really all the matters, right?

 

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(dictated but not read)

Good times... Not now, but here's some shit from back in the day

So, coffee was a bad decision.  Was coincidental that it helped for a few days.  Not a long-term strategy.  Turns out I needed to return to my more "natural strategies."  Anyways, I went to a chiropractor who worked on my "cranial imbalance," whatever that means.  But, it did help significantly with my ear.  Not sure how, but she definitely knows her shit.  I'm compressed in areas she says aren't good and that can be improved.  God, I wish I understood this better and felt confident that I wasn't getting ripped off but I do feel better, so I have that going for me, which is nice...

 

Seeing as I still don't feel great (going on 3 months of this shit, but even I'm sick of hearing/reading myself talk about this bullshit Meniere's shit), I'm going to repost an old blog from back in the day...  Enjoy as I'm struggling quite a bit.  I'm pissed off and my Asperger's is not fucking making this easier.  All I want to do is figure this out and fix it, but I can't do a goddamn thing...  It's infuriating.

 

Outside of Meniere's and Asperger's, I recently did my taxes for last year and that made me sadface.  Wish that I knew how to make more money at this shit than I currently do, but such is the life of an independent musician.  I pay rent and have money for food, so I shouldn't complain too much, but I still do.  Fuck it, I get to hate myself if I want to, that's my right.  There's nothing more depressing than quantifying your artistic pursuits while presenting it to the government so they can give you some back because you don't make what they deem enough for someone of your stature.  Sadface again...

 

Anyways, here you go, Bradley from back in the day (aka a few years ago):

 

This Old House and various other amusing things…

 

            So, I was initially going to try and make a slightly less angry and much more thoughtful blog, but that got sidetracked right off the bat.  This morning, right as I was ready to leave for band rehearsal, I had to poop.  Normally, I would squeeze it in and just head out but it felt like one of those “eight thirty in the morning,” “quick and light” shits.  It was not.  I hate being blindsided by my own bodily functions.  It threw my whole morning off kilter.  Now, I was fifteen minutes behind schedule, had to carry my guitar eight blocks in the rain to my car, which some drunken asshole, presumably a fucking Timbers fan, had decided to kick multiple times and put several dents in my drivers side door for which I now have to call the fucking cops about(there was a police officers business card on my window, I don’t know); and, worst of all, I still had not had a cup of coffee.  I currently have a pretty nice headache from my lack of caffeine intake this morning but that’s my problem I guess.  And so is the pooping and the door dents.  Well, not really the dents unless you count living in sort of shitty neighborhood my fault.  But anyway, there goes the less angry and more thoughtful.  I now want to punch a person that I have never met, in the back of the head, Homer-style, for kicking my fucking car and have already mentioned bowel movements.  Hot dog, we’re off and running…  But, on a more positive note, I just found out that the entire series of “Duckman”is on YouTube.  So, peaks and valleys.  Some people go out and have fun with other human beings on a Saturday night.  Others have no money, hate everybody anyways,  sit at home and watch “Duckman.”  I, sadly, and to my girlfriends dismay, fall into the latter category…

 

            What I wanted to talk about, before the unexpectedly large shit and the door dents, was memories.  Specifically, their subjective nature and the romance that we, as imperfect humans, project onto them.  So, where might a thought like that come from?  Well, if you’ll be patient, I’ll tell you.  Last night, I was getting drunk and playing guitar(one of my favorite hobbies) and started playing some songs I haven’t played in a while.  Songs that I had written that never really made the cut or songs that the band hasn’t played in a while; which is most of them.  BWC(Bradley Wik and the Charlatans, for the uninformed) has been busy getting ready to record our second full-length album, tweaking and obsessing over the same twelve or so songs for the past two or three months.  It’s fun…  If you could see my face, it would reveal the necessary Seinfeld-like look intended and widely used for indicating sarcasm.  But, in all seriousness, it isn’t all terrible.  It is kind of fun to see how far you can push a song before it sounds stupid and you throw out all the changes that you just spent six hours pursuing and implementing.  Its all part of the process for people like us.  That is to say, people too neurotic and anal to just leave it alone without first proving that any other way is just terrible(see:  Billy Joel’s alternate, “Reggae” version of “Only the Good Die Young.”  Just thinking about it gives me the shivers).  Basically, that’s been our band rehearsals for a while now.  And, because of that, we haven’t played hardly any of the old songs in a long time.  So, I dusted some of them off last night and played “This Old House” for the first time in months.  I forgot how good of a song it was.  Man, I’m so fucking talented.  So wise and full of insight as well.  I was so taken aback with myself that when I finished, I paused for a moment of reflection.  You want to know the first thought that popped into my head?  Probably not, but I’ll tell you.  I immediately thought of that episode of Wings, also entitled “This Old House,” where Brian and Joe find out that the house they grew up in is about to be demolished.   They go through the myriad of emotions that a lot of us do when confronting a large block of memories all at once.  It’s a really good episode.  Brian and Joe’s first reaction is to be angry that the house is being torn down, regardless of the fact that the soil around it is eroding and soon the house will plunge into the ocean.  Their next thoughts are of all the good times and happy memories they shared there.  They, along with Helen, their childhood friend, decide to take a cooler of beer and head to the house to reminisce and pay their final respects.  After a few beers and some good memories, the boys head upstairs to their childhood room.  Within a few minutes of talking about how much they love and miss the old place, they quickly realize that they also had a lot of terrible memories at the house as well.  From trying to sleep through parental arguments to the eventual divorce of their mom and dad and so on and so forth, they slowly see that they also hate this place.  They then decide to start the demolition of the old house on their own.  The cathartic smashing of the house allows them to keep only the memories they want to and let the rest fall into the sea with the decrepit, abandoned house.  But the joke is on the Hacketts because Fay, unbeknownst to Brian and Joe, and clearly for our amusement as the watcher, has convinced the historical society that the house be preserved as a landmark, forcing them to deal with their anger towards it and all the bad memories it encompasses.  That’s a lot of bang for your buck in a scant twenty or so minutes of network television. 

 

On a personal note, it was not even one year ago, so it’s still quite fresh in my mind, that the bank repossessed the house that I grew up in from my mom.  I have to say, I went through the same series of emotions as the Hacketts.  The anger, the fond reminiscing and eventually wanting to destroy the house with my  own hands.  Unfortunately, I did not get the pleasure of smashing the house to bits nor do I have the satisfaction of knowing that it will soon fall into the sea.   The hardest part of going back to the house was knowing that it would be the last time that I would.  It’s nice to be able to keep those chapters of your life open because sometimes you need the comfort of nostalgia and the remembrance of simpler times.  I lost that.  And I miss it.  I really do.  And, since the house still stands, whenever I go back to visit Wisconsin I see it; and I still remember all the bad stuff.  When I was going through all the old shit that I had left there, I found a bunch of old notebooks wherein I had written terrible song after terrible song, from when I was still trying to figure out how to write a song that wasn’t a total piece of shit.  Needless to say, almost every song was a complete failure on that end.  There are only a few songs that I wrote in High School that aren’t completely unlistenable.  But, as I flipped through the pages, I noticed how much sixteen to eighteen year old Bradley hated living in the tiny, redneck town he grew up in.  The anger, the depression and so on was hard to read.  I wanted it all to disappear.  I wanted to remember it differently.  I might’ve thrown out all those old notebooks, but the house is still there as a reminder of it all.  Slowly, as an adult, I have begun to accept and appreciate the childhood that I had.  After all, a lot of kids aren’t allowed to spend entire days going wherever they want, doing whatever they want with no adult supervision.  We left the house in the morning and didn’t come home until supper and then went back out til the streetlights came on.  Not too many of the people I know now were afforded the same luxury as kids.  The places they grew up didn’t allow for that.  So I got that going for me, which is nice.  Hopefully, one day I’ll be able to reconcile the bad with the good and realize I quite enjoyed my childhood.  Or, at the very least, call it a wash.  I don’t know, however, if I’ll ever be okay with my teenage years.  But, then again, who is…  Also, since we’re on the topic of going back to the shitty towns we grew up in, I recently re-watched “Young Adult” and somehow, as if by magic, I have some pertinent thoughts on that as well.  God, it’s weird how this shit comes together…  I must be a fucking genius or something…  On a side note, I’ve realized there are actually three types of people in the world:  those who go out and have fun with other human beings on a Saturday night, those who have no money, hate everybody anyways,  sit at home and watch “Duckman,” AND those who have no money, hate everybody anyways, sit at home and learn how to play “All for Leyna” between episodes of “Duckman.”  I, sadly, and to my girlfriends dismay, fall into the latter of the latter categories…  The last one…  If you couldn’t tell, I’m going through a bit of a Billy Joel phase…  Anyways, Young Adult…

 

This is a very strange subject for me.  There are a lot of conflicting emotions and thought processes happening all at once.  Most of the time, I’m not quite sure how to feel about it.  There’s a lot going on.  But let’s see if we can sort it out.  First off, there’s my fairly intense hatred of Diablo Cody.  I watched Juno for the sole purpose of being able to make fun of it and the people who like it.  People always like to throw it back in your face if you haven’t actually seen the movie.  I always hear “How can you hate it if you haven’t even seen it?”  Which, is dumb.  I know what I like and what I hate by now.  I’ve refined my Tick-like abilities to sense this shit as it happens.  Also, I wonder why whenever I think of an annoying person they always have a Long Island accent.  “When is Jerry going to see the baby…”  Anyways, with Juno sucking so much, I was unsure of how to proceed with Young Adult.  I liked the blurb on Netflix.  It sounded like a movie I would probably watch.  It was depressing enough.  It was set in the Midwest.  The character was going back to the shit town she grew up in.  And, best of all, it had Charlize Theron in it.  BUT, it was written by Diablo Cody.  So, that was all kind of a wash.  Then, I saw Patton Oswalt was in it and that intrigued me.  Now, I’ve never watched him do his standup, but I have seen him in a number of things that I like and he was always funny.  I’m talking about Reno 911 as the weird, nerdy guy, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee as the weird, nerdy guy, King of Queens as the weird, nerdy guy…  So, what the hell.  At the very least, if it sucks, and I mean sucks my dead grandfather’s hairy, German nutsack, it’ll at least add to my arsenal of Diablo Cody-themed hatred…

 

 

But, it really wasn’t that bad.  In fact, I might even venture to say it’s pretty good.  Not great, mind you; let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  It made fun of the fake superiority people gain when they leave a small town for a big city.  It poked fun at the notion that those people still living there would have to be miserable while everyone who got out is so much happier; which is also not true.  Most people who leave places for other places seeking happiness are doomed to fail.  Happiness is not a place, nor can it be found in one.  Now, to be sure, this rule does not apply to people who are being discriminated against, in shitty towns across this great country.  Like where I’m from, that would be a gay person or anyone whose skin is not white.  In that case, leaving is definitely the right move and they will certainly be happier almost anywhere else.  But the happiness that most people crave, when they leave a place in search of it, is usually a happiness that they have denied themselves.  I’ve found this out the hard way.  I’ve put my theoretical “happiness” in a “lock box” where the only way in is the loosely-defined “musical success.”  It’s tortured me for years.  I’m slowly, again, as I get older, beginning to reconcile this with my actual life and what’s happening to me.  Believe it or not, I’ve actually become less bitter and angry over the years.  My girlfriend has a lot to do with that.  I’ve found a lot of lost happiness in her and the way she makes me feel about me.  It’s nice.  Hopefully, someday, that will be all happiness that I need…  Whew, and all this from a Diablo Cody-penned flick.  Who would have thought?  But the major takeaway from the film was that hardly any truly shitty people get what’s coming to them.  Even after Charlize Theron’s character was terrible to everyone that she came in contact with and was beaten down and hating herself, as she should, Charlize’s character still gets an esteem boost from Patton’s character’s sister.  Patton’s character’s sister tells Charlize’s character that she is a good person and that they sort of idolize her back in the shit town; and Charlize’s character gets to not hate herself as much as she should.  Which is, oftentimes, the way things work out in real life.  It’s bullshit and I should really pay more attention to character names in movies…  Also, I really want to punch the asshole who kicked my car in the back of the head.  I’m kind of obsessed with that.  Oh, right, I’m less angry and shit.  This is my “less angry” and “more thoughtful” blog. 

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Kidneys or coffee... aka that is the question

Well, I think my two car accidents may have exacerbated this stupid fucking Meniere's.  They (and by they I mean "doctors") would like for me to take water pills for the rest of my life.  They say the diuretics will help stabilize and remove fluids from my body, including my ear.  Well, brilliant.  But guess what was the number one thing I gave up after the car accidents?  I'll tell you because otherwise you may never know as you don't live inside my fucking head, thank God, for you.  It's coffee.  After the accidents, and during the concussions, I gave up coffee.  Caffeine really messed with me and gave me (what I now know as) light vertigo and nausea.  So, I figured, why not just continue to not drink any caffeine or coffee, despite my previous love for it; up to five or six cups per day.  Guess what caffeine/coffee is?  A natural diuretic.  Holy shit!  What if instead of taking fucking water pills that may or may not damage my kidneys long term, I could just start drinking coffee, which I love, again?  Are you fucking kidding me?  But, it sounds good in theory, but would it work?

 

I'll tell you what, early signs are great.  I could barely sleep last night because my ear was so plugged up that the ringing in my ears was like a goddamn alarm clock all night.  I woke up and it was worse than it had been for days.  I could barely stand up without feeling woozy.  Then, I had a cup of coffee.  Then, another.  Soon, I was back on the phone/email doing some work.  I barely noticed it at first but suddenly I had to catch myself.  I felt 75% better.  I could still notice some "plugged-ness" in my ear but my balance was once again perfect.  I could drive no problem.  I could talk to people and not feel like I was going to fall down or throw up.  It was amazing.  I know, it's not a perfect solution as caffeine can aggravate my Meniere's but, guess what?  WHO GIVES A FUCK!  I don't want to ruin my kidneys to help with my ear.  The hearing and dizziness is a pain in the ass but without kidneys, it's lights out.  Plus, they said the average person has Meniere's for 10 years, but that's because muthafuckers usually die as Meniere's mainly affects old people.  I'm not signing up for 30 years of pills assholes.  I'm just fucking not.  I have a more natural way to help with the dizzies and I think I may have found a natural reason I was keeping this shit at bay for so many years.  So, praise be to Maxwell's House!  CHECK THIS SONG OUT IF YOU HAVEN'T HEARD IT (of course, if I don't tell you what it is, then how the hell would you know if you've already heard it?  Well, I'll give you a hint:  it's an old blues song by one of my favorite finger-pickers.  OK, that may not be a good enough hint.  Just click the fucking link you would've already seen what it is versus reading all my nonsense and trying to figure it out from vague-ass clues.  It's almost pointless unless you know me, rough.  Seriously, why are you still reading?  I don't even know what I'm talking about anymore...)

 

Good luck, and Goodnight.

 

Maxwells house picture.jpg

Who's got Meniere's? aka I've got Meniere's...

Sitting here, watching MelonTheFelon PLAY OLD MARIO GAMES ON TWITCH (follow if you like games like Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, etc.), I can't help but think of... well, nothing; and, that's kind of the point.  Turns out I have Meniere's Disease.  Yay!  Wait, fuck that.  Needless to say, not a fun week.  I spent most of the week in bed or on the couch listening to the news (so soothing as they have the same stories over and over and over, and, as long as you're not watching Fox News or Hardball with Chris Matthews where they fucking yell a lot, it's easy to fall asleep to needless overanalyzing of everything despite the fact that maybe once in a while we could circle back to some stories like, oh, I don't know, how our fellow countrymen and women in Puerto Rico are doing, how are the Florida/Texas recovery efforts going, why it's so simple for people to buy assault rifles, what's going on in the investigation of the Vegas shootings and what's being done to make sure it never happens again, same with Parkland, etc., you get it).  Luckily, I've found some natural remedies for the dizziness, headaches, hearing issues, etc.  Otherwise, I would have been more miserable.  Miserabler?  Sure, that.  I get roughly 30-60 minutes every couple hours to try and get anything done before I fill miserabler again.  Anyways, since I'm still not 100%, or even anywhere remotely fucking close to that, I don't think I'll ramble on too long tonight.  Do have an MRI tomorrow to look forward to...

 

(dictated but not read)

You know doctors can't seem to figure out? Bon Jovi cures all...

So, you know when the doctor asks if you are allergic to any medications?  Well, I finally get to say "You betcha" in my best Tina Fey-impression-of-Sarah-Palin voice.  Not sure I'm excited about this fact but it'll make my (very few) doctors visits more interesting.  I am not a fan of doctors.  More often than not they just recommend to take some pills and go away.  My best example was when I was having repeated extreme acid reflux/ulcers, that were most likely stress and *cough* diet (or lack thereof or something...) related and they told 26 year old me to take a prescription heartburn medication each morning.  I said "For how long?"  They said "Probably everyday."  I again said, "But for how long?"  They said "From now on."  So, for the next 25-50 years I am supposed to just keep taking drugs that I may or may not need?  Needless to say, I was not very kind to them and the whole exchange ended with "Well, do whatever you want," as the doctor walked out the door.  I've never taken a fucking heartburn pill since and never had that issue again...  Turns out I was right the whole fucking time and cutting back on a few things (alcohol, cigarettes, stress, actually eating something beyond turkey sandwiches, tortilla chips and eggs and, some other things) and I've not had an issue since.  I was twice hospitalized with this condition (didn't pay for either trip to the ER's plus the overnight stays.  Tip to the young folks, find a private Catholic hospital as they have funding for poor people that come in and let them know you were raised Catholic and feel more comfortable in a hospital that acknowledges the Lord...  Trust me, it works...) and I figured it out my damn self.  Just like everything else in my life.  Doctors rarely give enough fucks to dig deep and figure this shit out.

 

Which, brings me back to my newfound drug allergy.  I have an inner-ear issue I've probably had since I was in my early twenties.  I've had degenerative hearing loss in my right ear which started out very slight and now is quite noticeable when compared to my left ear.  I used to barely hear a difference and think I was inventing it with my brain but not anymore.  It's also coincided with a rise in tinnitus in that same ear.  Again, I assumed this was due to many years of playing Rock N' Roll with very few years of wearing ear plugs.  Dumb as fuck, I know, but whatever.  It makes a difference to me and I can't sing for dick with ear plugs in.  I know, I'm not fucking Jeff Buckley with them out (or with them in, bada-bing! Sex joke...) but it makes a difference, trust me.  

 

This inner-ear issue was goddamn Fast and Furious style nitro-boosted after getting in two car accidents last year.  Both times I was rear-ended while at a red light and both times dealt with whiplash and a concussion.  Concussions are no joke and turns out if you've had one (or four or five) as a kid, they are way worse as an adult.  The second one lasted basically three fucking months, and, was timed perfectly with the release of my new album "In My Youth, I'm Getting Old..." so I missed the release and was unable to make any music videos/release singles to promote the record.  Not ideal when launching a record but God had other plans, I guess.  After reading some more shit on inner-ear conditions like Meniere's disease, turns out whiplash is a common trigger or can aggravate this condition.  It most certainly has.  I've now seen three doctors for essentially the same issue (clogged ear, balance/vision issues) and one said it was because of an allergy, one said result of a cold and the last one said there's some fluid from an infection that will dry up and I'll be fine, even after I mentioned this is the third time I've dealt with a similar issue in the past year.  She said there's a possibility it's Meniere's but it's highly unlikely since it's a rare condition.  Well, it's probably a rare condition since I've seen a doctor three times for the same thing and they still haven't even really entertained the idea.  They never diagnose it so it's rare.  Just like Autism/Asperger's was until they finally started to figure out how to diagnose it.  And, even now, I've met at least ten to fifteen people who have never been diagnosed who definitely live on the spectrum.

 

Oh yeah, my drug allergy.  It's a bit ironic that the drug that is supposed to help with dizziness, nausea and vertigo fucks with my eyes (lost my near-sightedness, which is scary as fuck since I'm heavily near-sighted, like almost fucking blind unless things are within four inches of my face with my contacts out/glasses off) and stomach (making me slightly nauseous not hungry) and, just for kicks, gave me a rash on the front and back of my torso.  Needless to say, it did not help...  I'm currently looking at natural, legal (at least in the NW) alternatives that are supposed to help.  So far, the information is promising...

 

Sadly, both Asperger's and Meniere's increase anxiety and depression.  So, in other words, not cool bro.  I'm still holding out hope that my ear issues are only temporary, though, based on the past six to twelve months, that is not the case.  But, maybe, it could...

 

Anyways, how about some good news?  Well, here you go:  we live in a world where a band called Bon Jovi made a record called "New Jersey" which has one of the greatest side-As (side-B gets a little hit and miss...) in the history of the world.  I mean, "LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME," "BAD MEDICINE" (fucking Sam Kinison, right?!) AND "BLOOD ON BLOOD" all on one side??  Come the fuck on.  How are we supposed to compete with that?  Now, while I don't compare women to a heroin habit, I'd argue side-A of "In My Youth, I'm Getting Old..." is pretty fucking good too.  "LOOKIN' AT LUCKEY," "LET'S GO OUT TONIGHT" AND "DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY" are pretty rockin' tunes as well.  OK, maybe not Bon Jovi level, but some of us don't do enough cocaine for that kind of shit...

 

New Jersey album cover.jpg

 

Anywhosal, have a great night/day/afternoon, whatever the fuck it is for y'all...

 

(still not 100% from the vertigo/inner-ear issue so, once again, dictated but not read)

Having vertigo whilst driving and Dead Indian Road...

Sitting here, underneath the covers at the Hampton Inn in Kennewick, WA, I'm feeling... fine.  After what was the second most harrowing driving experience in the past, I'm still recovering, though, and I'm not fully sure what is wrong other than it feels like I have another concussion but I don't, for once.  It's definitely inner-ear related the doctor said, but exactly what it is she was unsure.  I have my thoughts and she had hers.  I believe it to be Meniere's Disease that is getting worse.  She seemed to think the fluid behind the ear drum was a one-off, unrelated to my other symptoms as they weren't severe enough, I suppose.  The gradual hearing loss in my right ear, the tinnitus, the fullness of ear that comes and goes and the random hearing/balance losses I've experienced the past five to seven years apparently are unrelated.  I love doctors...But, anyways, I'll have to keep this one short as typing on the computer is certainly not helping.

 

OK. so, the second most harrowing drive this week started innocently enough last night.  I was headed to the Tri-Cities area when I stopped for gas.  I got out of the car to throw away some trash (you cannot, by law, pump your own gas in Oregon.  Which is both convenient and inconvenient depending on your situation) when I suddenly felt a little dizzy/lightheaded.  Thought it could be a blood sugar thing, so I ate a couple pieces of beef jerky, drank some water and was on my way.  A little while later, I started to feel weird.  Suddenly, it was really difficult to concentrate and it fell weird when I moved my head.  I thought I was just extra tired from playing a bunch of basketball this weekend, but wasn't sure what was going on.  I finally got to the hotel, and as soon as I stepped out, I swooned and nearly fell.  I was full on dizzy/lightheaded and started vertigo symptoms.  I quickly got up to my room and proceeded to try and stop the world from spinning for the next four hours, in addition to trying to fall asleep.  I was nauseous and feeling like fucking shit.  I was so glad it didn't get this bad while on the road.  It was not great during the drive but the really bad stuff was saved til I got here, fortunately.  Easily could have swooned behind the wheel and died, which only made it worse as my number one fear is dying behind the wheel as I miss a turn and drive off a cliff.  Which, made my number one most harrowing drive this next one...

 

Worst drive of the past week:  going to Klamath Falls from Medford.  It's a drive I've done before but not in the dead of winter.  I have a four-wheel drive Ford Escape and am pretty good at driving in the snow due to my Wisconsin upbringing, but we never had mountains and cliffs and unguarded corners leading towards hundred foot drop offs.  Not a thing in WI.  It was snowing pretty heavily along this extremely curvy and narrow road, which, by the way, is called "Dead Indian Rd."  No fucking joke, look at this:

 

Dead Indian Rd.PNG

 

So, there I am, driving like 20 mph and trying not to panic on Dead Indian Rd (for those new to this, I am one-half Native American, so...)  as my car slides all over the road and with my brakes are barely worth anything as I drive along.  Coming downhill towards a couple unguarded corner/cliffs was not fun for anyone...  Luckily, halfway across I got behind a plow and just followed him which helped a lot.  Was slow as fuck, but a much easier path for me.  So, yeah, snowy/icy conditions on a narrow road with some unguarded corners while driving over/through the mountains (again, my biggest fear in life is dying by driving off a cliff in an uncontrollable car...) was my least favorite thing to do in the recent past.  But, I survived, only to have a horrific bout of vertigo not many days later.  I wonder if the two are related as stress does make things worse, like my inner ear thing I've been dealing with until yesterday when it sort of cleared up then tried to murder me by giving me a touch of the dizzies whilst driving.  

 

The one thing that is intriguing though, is the fact that I've heard medical marijuana can help with Meniere's disease in addition to Autism.  I could regale you with stories of a girl and I who used to smoke to "feel normal" during some very tough times.  Times when we had no appetite, took too many drugs and became rather reclusive/co-dependent.  The weed made us hungry, social and reduced the massive stress we unnecessarily placed on ourselves to do something great and amazing with our lives.  And, it fucking worked!  So, we promptly stopped smoking and went back to other things and remained miserable during the limited time we spent together after those days of "feeling normal."  But, I won't for now since I'm already starting to feel dizzy again just staring at the computer screen this long... So, bye for now.  Hopefully, I can write more later this week.

 

(dictated but not read)

No more Olympics... aka no more excuses not to do "music business shit"

Well, the STUPID ASS WINTER OLYMPICS are finally over...  So, we have that going for us, which is nice.  At least for weirdos like me, who enjoy PROFANITY-LACED, DRUNKEN TIRADES ABOUT WOMEN'S FIGURE SKATING.  Yep, same link muthafuckers!  I'm still livid about that but my girlfriend has decided she doesn't want to hear me say "Medvedeva" anymore.  And, since she's much smarter than I am, and prettier, I'll oblige her because she's probably right that I'm borderline losing it over the Olympics I didn't even want to watch but was tricked into it when SHE, not me, started watching women's figure skating.  And I still can't believe what Mirai Nagasu and her bullshit, millennial, lazy, scared, SHITTY COMMENTS AFTER SHE LOST.  I don't give a fuck if SHE APOLOGIZED LATER.  Doesn't mean a goddamn thing.  I would have put her on a goddamn plane and sent her back if she didn't care enough to try.  So disrespectful of her coaches, teammates, competitors who worked their fucking asses off so they could compete with someone who cares more about a warm shower than representing herself and her country.  And don't even get me started on Tara Lipinski and her bullshit gold medal...  Thanks for not getting me started...  (sorry this is what my poor girlfriend has endured for like four days now...)

 

What I really wanted to mention was how hard it can be for a creative with Asperger's to get excited and motivated about doing shitty, boring music business things instead of trying to write my new favorite song or the best lyric or best hook or best guitar riff or best Moog sound or best anything other than doing bullshit-ass boring-as-fuck shit that "should be doing."   One of the perks about having money (not a lot but more than enough to waste on music and still be able to drink decent bourbon and get to eat a fucking cheese plate with a bottle of wine when we so desire) is that you can pay people to do the boring shit for you.  Only they never do it as good as you could have or as thoroughly or with as much passion or with as much tenacity or, fuck, I wish everyone cared about my shit as much as I do.  I can't do it all.  I tried.  It nearly killed me...

 

Five years ago, I self-financed MY DEBUT ALBUM "Burn What You Can, Bury the Rest..." (click and scroll halfway down to listen or CLICK HERE AND FUCKING BUY THIS SHIT, you won't regret it).  The band was fairly new and we hadn't yet discovered just how goddamn dysfunctional we were.  Fuck, were we in for a shit-storm like I never expected...

 

Good thing that happened during the making of my debut album:  I met my future girlfriend, as she sang on "This Old House" and "I am not Afraid."

 

Bad thing that happened during the making of my debut album:  every other muthafucking thing that happened during the making of my debut album...

 

Some Highlights:

 

- Our producer/engineer (and us) got wrecked during the making of the final mixes on Woodford Reserve and good weed because of a bad breakup he'd had (our "discussion" over the use or non-use, I won, non-use it was, of auto-tune notwithstanding.  Don't care if it's standard these days).  To be fair, the producer/engineer of "Burn What You Can, Bury the Rest..." is the best music partner I've ever worked with.  He made us and that record infinitely better than we (probably) were and even sang on "She Will Never Return to Me," in addition to playing organ on several other tunes.  He also supported my ban of our drummer from the studio over a background vocal dispute.

 

- Hearing Brianne Kathleen sing for the first time, on my record...  Figured we could just mix it low or cut a bunch out if she sucked but the opposite proved to be true.

 

- Hearing the "Just Like Jon Fickes" mix for the first time.  Fun fact:  I was so nervous about this song not living up to the sounds in my head that I had a panic attack, then self-sabotaged and drank all morning then had a second panic attack and passed out, missing the mixing session for this tune.  When I finally showed up to the studio, it was already done and I just got to hear it for the first time out of my head (even when we played it live, it was different and more majestic in my head).  It was wonderful and mystical and sounded more like my dream version than any other song I've recorded, maybe ever.  I'm glad I wasn't there to screw up the mix...

 

Some Lowlights:

 

- Banning our drummer from the studio for his petulance over not singing a backup part Brianne CLEARLY sang 1000x better than him.  Then, firing the drummer (and the guitar player quitting as a result, they're longtime friends) over disputes (fucking screaming matches) about the mixes, album title, the "Just Like Jon Fickes" song title, Brianne's vocals, the track order, what songs made the final cut and just about every other goddamn decision I made surrounding the album.

 

- Having to sell everything I owned apart from a free couch and a free bed, my guitars and my boots.  I have a lifelong distaste for "Madmen" after season 3 because I had to sell all the DVD's before I even got to watch them...  It's hard for millennials but I spent a year or two (who can remember?  COCAINE IS A HELL OF A DRUG) without a computer or TV.

 

- Firing my bass player for trying to create the album art without me, trying to hijack and control the publicist and her message, and basically trying to kick ME out of BRADLEY WIK and the Charlatans since his coke-addled mind knew better than me about how we should display and promote MY album...  Good times...

 

But, I did have the pleasure of playing "The Dark Lovely" for songwriter Jon Fickes at a show up in Seattle and getting to see him tear up a bit with pride and gratitude towards my love of his music.  Karl's drums got stolen from his car parked outside the show (he wasn't even playing due to a mishap on a backflip during his Seahawks marching band gig).  But, Jon's new album "Closer to a Ghost", under the band name A View of Earth From the Moon, is fantastic and I just got to see him on his tour ending show in Cottage Grove, OR last night.  Yes, I'm still fucking tired from the 2+ hour drive there, and back, and the 3 or so hours of sleep I got (the 4+ bourbons/drinks didn't help either.  4 is Favre's number and so that's my number, 4 + or -, a gentleman never tells...).  And, we did make good money on the ensuing tours, album sales, digital sales, etc. so I can't complain too much, until we decided to make another record......  (yes, that ellipsis had an ellipsis as that shit is far too fucked up and long to go into tonight)  I thought the making of the first record was rough, but I had no idea.  Seriously, no idea...

 

But, I learned a fuckload making "Burn What You Can, Bury the Rest..." and I wouldn't trade it for anything...

 

(dictated but not read.  I'm tired muthafucker...)

 

Album Cover(low res)_1.jpg

Medvedeva got screwed... aka Yes, I love women's figure skating

It's a goddamn travesty that Evgenia Medvedeva got screwed out of the gold medal.  Right?  Who's with me?  Seriously, how did THIS GIRL NOT WIN?!  Her component score was only 2.4 points better than Zagitova's component score?  Fuck that.  Her component should have been at least 5 points higher.  Zagitova saved most of her jumps for the last 30 seconds, well, brilliant bitch, doesn't change a goddamn thing.  Medvedeva nailed all her shit (I know, they both kinda biffed a triple in their sets) and it was a ridiculously more artistic skate.  I get that the scorers love more technical skating but this is bullshit.  Zagitova might have attempted a more technical triple-triple but does that negate the fact that Medvedeva's skate made me feel something?  Medvedeva gave me a reason to love the Russian skaters.  She made me believe in figure skating again, in the beauty of ice dancing.  

 

I know, I know, I was against Russians in the Olympics to begin with since they were initially banned.  I say, ban 'em or don't.  But, I agree with the Olympic Committee allowing these girls in as it was my favorite/least favorite part of the Olympics.  I tried to give the shitty fucking ass Winter Olympics could win me over, and they did with the ladies winning the Hockey, Vonn winning any medals, and US men's curling being a real thing. But if they are going to reward Zagitova's run over Medvedeva's then fuck the winter olympics and I'll go back to only caring about the summer games (Michael Phelps or no). 

 

Not sure how else to say this but since Medvedeva didn't win, I'm back out on the stupid winter Olympics.  Sure, curling is fun and so is the biathalon (a sport the US should win every year, skiing and shooting, come the fuck on) but figure skating is what the world tunes in for.  And, the US is fucking shit right now.  Nagasu even said it was her audition for "Dancing with the Stars."  That's goddamn a disgrace.

 

Regardless, Medvedeva should have won the gold and I'll never get over that.  She got screwed on the component score vs Zagitova.  Yes, Zagitova did win the technical score but Medvedeva was clearly the better skater, especially from an artistic level.  It wasn't particularly close even though somehow the judges ruled them approx. 2 points apart in that way.  Goddamnit, what a fucking travesty.  Sorry, I'm drunk and I'm pissed Medvedeva didn't win.  Such bullshit.  If you want skaters to game the system than brilliant, fuck you.  If you want the best skater to win, than you fuck you, you fucked up, assholes... You picked the wrong girl for gold...

 

(dictated but not read)

Belated posts and apologies... aka I'm an asshole but I'm back...

Fuck.  I'm sorry.  Goddamn two weeks in a row...  What an asshole.  Well, yeah and you knew that coming in here.  So, it's kind of your own fault.  I was doing so well but it's hard to write on a plane when you're tired as fuck and as soon as they announce there is no wi-fi you use that as an excuse to just fall asleep.  Which, I realize now doesn't make any sense but that's the beauty of Asperger's:  when something doesn't go according to plan it ruins everything, and thusly, I missed a week.  Side note though, it's weird that wi-fi on plane in only an invention of the past few years but now I was pissed when I didn't have it because it (not really) screwed up my writing of a blog then watching "CHIPS" as I flew through the skies like our ancestors could only dream of.  Jokes on the them, I watched "CHIPS" on my flight home, muthafuckers!  It wasn't worth it...  I goddamn love Dax Shepard, especially in "Employee of the Month."  I know, fucking Dane Cook, right?  But, that movie does ring true for anyone who ever worked big box retail, myself included.  I didn't have Andy Dick for spot comic relief but we did alright in the humor department.  Always thought that would be a great comedy show until I saw "Superstore."  But, I guess that just means that I need to kick my story into high gear.  Maybe it's time to fuck off this music thing and get to writing...  Maybe not yet.  But soon, maybe.  But, probably not.  But, Netflix is buying up fucking everything.  But, I'm still too young for that.  Or am I?

 

Anyways, I had to re-up(load) my video to youtube so I'd appreciate it if you CLICK ON THIS OR THE BELOW LINK to watch and make sure this comes up before the old/taken down version on google.

 

 

Editor's note:  Since I failed in my task of writing this every Monday, this next paragraph is old.  Thoughts from the Super Bowl...

 

Congratulations to THE "FINE" PEOPLE OF PHILADELPHIA on their Super Bowl win.  Fucking Nick Foles...  That muthafucker just made himself a lot of money, Joe Flacco-style.  All it takes is one great playoff run and BOOM some team will regret paying you for years to come...  But, he goddamn earned it.  I honestly thought the Patriots would win until their was :00 left on the clock.  I thought Doug Pederson made some terrific, and ballsy, calls during the game (going for it on fourth down multiple times, including on the one-yard line) and also made some horrific decisions I was convinced would come back to bite him in the ass (the two failed two-point conversion attempts).  I was so pissed Collinworth and Michaels weren't making a bigger deal out of the the lost two points which allowed the Patriots to have a chance at the end to tie it with a TD and a two-point conversion, just like last year.  I have no clue why they were points-chasing and fell into the two-point death spiral which was completely unnecessary with so much time left in the game.  I know Pederson loves to be aggressive and it, somehow, didn't come back to bite them in the ass but I really thought it would.  Either way, lackluster performance by both defenses and Justin Timberlake.  JT did... fine.  It was good and he had a cool stage setup but without bringing Janet Jackson back out which would have been his "holy shit" moment, the whole performance was good but not memorable.  He had a chance to go down in history by bringing Janet back to reference the moment that changed live broadcast TV forever and he played it safe.  Congrats on being the performance I'll forget in the near future just like...  well, all the performances in recent history not including BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN CROTCH SLIDING AND SLAMMING HIS DICK INTO AMERICA IN HD and, I don't know, maybe U2's performance way the fuck back in 2002.  Get it together NFL and Pepsi and get some good shit for us again... Boo...

 

OK, old shit over.

 

Holy shit, "The End of the Fucking World."  That's it.  What a show.  Show recommended and show loved.  Touche Netflix.  You've done it again.

 

It contains some of the most fucked up moments apart from THESE ON BOJACK when BoJack confronts a friend who's dying and almost sleeps with the underage daughter of a former crush.  Man, is there anything on TV better than BoJack?  The answer is no.  BoJack is the greatest show since Arrested Development and we'd probably be saying "since Seinfeld" if not for BUSTY'S "HEY HERMANO."  Sure, THIS RICK AND MORTY MUMFORD AND SONS JOKE COMES CLOSE but doesn't quite reach the heights (or depths) of Mr. Horseman.  So it goes...

 

If you couldn't tell, it's been a fucked up week.  Things have been good but that doesn't really mean much to someone suffering from Asperger's and depression who probably drinks too much and LOVES TINY RICK AND ALSO LISTENS TO TOO MUCH ELLIOTT SMITH.  Bonus points for Rick and Morty.  I may be "getting too old for this ship" but I still enjoy a solid funny/depressing reference, especially one referencing suicide.  Whoa, that shit's dark.  Sorry, y'all.  But, wait til you GET INTO THIS INTERVIEW WHICH I'VE BECOME OBSESSED WITH.  It's been eye-opening and comforting.  The openness during this interview is mind-blowing.  Music is not for the well-adjusted...

 

I apologize for not being present during these past couple weeks, but it's been harder for me than you, so fuck off.  Anyhow, I'm hungry and tired...  I know after two weeks you were looking for something grandiose and exciting but this is what you get. So, goodnight, y'all...

Well, it's Charlize Theron week, I suppose... aka nothing tragic happened so I'm feeling random

This has been a relatively calm week for ol' Bradley, which was nice.  I don't get many of those.  I'm happy to report nothing extraordinary happened in the past seven days, which in itself is extraordinary, so I guess I fucking lied, sort of, anyways.  My shins are fucking killing me since I suffer from shin splints and occasionally try to be "healthy" and play basketball (I gave up on running since it was boring as shit and hurt my shins even more) for an hour or so a day.  But, after goddamn two or three days, I'm in immense pain for the rest of the week.  It's really fun trying to work out...  Good thing I look good without doing it...

 

Obviously, I'm sure most of you are like get to the fucking point and tell us...

 

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What are your favorite Charlize Theron movies?

 

Well, good question, my friends.  As an avid watcher of Charlize, I have to break that down further.  I cannot, and, frankly, will not judge them all as one entity.  I also cannot say I've seen all her work.  But she is a woman of many talents who went absurdly quickly from modeling to acting, starting as an uncredited extra in "Children of the Corn III" and within a year or so was in "2 Days in the Valley."  Quite a jump.  But, she is crazy talented so let's get into it...

 

Kickass Charlize:

 

- "Atomic Blonde"

 

Runner Up:  "Mad Max:  Fury Road"

 

 

I remember making dinner, sitting down on my shitty couch and firing up "Fury Road."  The movie goes straight to 11 (though I feel nowadays many people who use that phrase aren't aware of it's origins anymore...  Sad).  I think I took two bites of food before realizing I should put it away til after the movie or it would be wasted.  I was captivated in a way very few movies are capable of.

 

BUT "Atomic Blonde" is downright fucking amazing.  This move kicks ass in a way that is rarely achieved.  This is up there with movies like "The Protector," "John Wick" and "HARD TO KILL."  OK, that last one might be a stretch but I fucking love it.  Mason Storm is going to be my first child's name, boy or girl.  Steven Seagal is that fucking badass.  Anyway, I don't care about the complaints about the ridiculous plot of "Atomic Blonde."  It doesn't matter one lick.  All I want is badass-ness and people getting their shit kicked in, LIKE THIS or LIKE THIS.


Serious Charlize:

 

- "The Fate of the Furious"


Runners Up:  "The Devil's Advocate" and "That Thing You Do!"

 

I know.  It seems absurd to rank a "Fast & Furious" movie ahead of her Oscar-winning role, but c'mon.  I know I will, scratch that, I have already have seen "Fate of the Furious" more times than I'll ever watch "Monster."  I get that they're two totally different films but this is my list muthafuckers.  "The Devil's Advocate" almost convinced me that Keanu was a legitimate dramatic actor.  Almost...  Pacino and Theron carry this movie though it is strange that Keanu has already been sorta mentioned twice on this list...

 

Also, who remembered that Charlize was in "That Thing You Do!" besides me?  Bonus points for your memory and her portrayal as the bitchy, yet incredibly sexy, girlfriend.  JUST WATCH THIS.  Yeah, that was fun.

 

Sexy Charlize:

 

- "2 Days in the Valley"


Runner Up:  every other Charlize Theron movie (she can't not be sexy, even in "Monster" somehow)

 

Ummm.  Like I said, within one of year of being an uncredited extra in "Children of the Corn III," here she is in "2 Days in the Valley."  Remarkable.  I'll never forget the first time I watched this movie.  I was 12 and at my buddies house.  His dad was one of those guys that loved TV's and surround sound setups.  So, with this being around the turn of the millennium, he had an enormous rear-projection screen type TV, approximately 60" if I remember correctly, with 8.1 surround sound.  They had a huge wrap-around couch that was leather and you just fucking sunk into.  His dad loved to host people so he could show off his movie collection, TV and sound system.  He bought this movie having only seen it once and fired it up for my buddy and his three 12 year old friends.  We dimmed the lights, sank into that huge couch with a giant bowl of popcorn, root beers at our side, with his affable golden retriever roaming between us trying to find the perfect spot on the couch and fired up "2 Days."  Come to find out his dad had completely forgotten about the R-rated sex scenes that we were about to watch on that 60" screen in surround sound.  Needless to say, there was a mad dash for the fast-forward button and some very happy pre-teens...

 

And lastly, my favorite, Funny Charlize:


- "Arrested Development"


Runner Up:  "A Million Ways to Die in the West"

 

OK, "Arrested Development isn't a movie but I guarantee you I quote her as Rita more than anything else.  100%.  It's not really even that close.  She's absolutely brilliant as a comedic actor and I wish she did more comedy.  But, to each his own.  I could watch her eat plastic fruit, show Michael her tiny teddy and be excited about getting "married, married, married" all day.  If I could choose one role to watch her in for the rest of my life, I would unflinchingly choose Rita.  Now, "Arrested Development" season 4 was shit (hopefully 5 is better) so I don't know about the future but we'll always have "Bumpaddle" magazine...

 

Anywho, that's what I got this week.  Be back soon to divulge... more personal information like I always do.  Peace!

90's nostalgia (and wine) cures any illness... aka I probably shouldn't be a doctor

I'm still sick but wine and metal (music) will fix me, right?

 

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As I mentioned yesterday, I am sick.  Turns out one day may not be enough to get back to normal.  I thought it was, but here we are.  I still feel like shit but wine helps; at least, it helps me not care so much.  Also, as I mentioned yesterday, insomnia is a bitch.  Not sure if any of you have ever experienced insomnia but it's not fun.  Yes, as shown in "Fight Club," I do watch infomercials and memorize them (hard to beat the Ronco, but the drunk Irishmen/Magic Bullet is fun, as is the insane, possibly murderous, making no claims but just saying, Copper Flipwich bitch; who, if you told me murdered everyone on the set after those commercials, I would say "Yep, OK") and even come to like them.  I do own a power pressure cooker.  Except that thing is fucking awesome and makes the best chicken or pork taco meat you can imagine.  The meat comes out, after only 15-20 minutes, like it was cooked in a crock-pot all day, fucking tender and juicy and full of whatever seasoning or flavor you added to it (usually tomatillo and cayenne or some variation, in my case).  It shreds easily and is oh-so-fucking delicious.  In 20 minutes you can make a meal and leftovers for the next couple days.  It's brilliant.  Wait, tacos?  That's not why we're here.  Shit, why are we here?

 

Oh, yeah, Asperger's and sleep, or more accurately, lack of sleep.  It's an issue I've dealt with since High School, and probably before though I didn't know it.  I used to play sports year-round, which helped.  Every day there were hours and hours devoted to making myself tired, physically and mentally.  After I broke my achilles, that changed.  A lot of things changed, but I do remember specifically my late nights starting.  Whether that be through video games (I used to be a fairly avid gamer, Dreamcast muthafuckers!  Oh, and way too much Counter Strike), reading, playing guitar, etc., I had a hard time sleeping.  Then I found the joys of music.  I'd always been a lover of music but then I found a new reason to love it:  sleep.  I, like many, found that listening to music that I knew and loved, not music that I hadn't heard or would force me to stay awake and listen, would help me fall asleep.  CD players had sleep timers or the CD would just fucking end.  Though, I was a fucking badass and had my Aiwa 3-CD stereo so I had to set a sleep timer and be careful was what in the next spot after my desired listen.  No Soulfly in slot 2 if you catch my drift. THIS DOESN'T REALLY HELP YOU SLEEP.  Fred Durst was a thing?  Remember?  Please don't...  COAL CHAMBER WAS ONE THAT ACTUALLY HELPED ME SLEEP FOR SOME REASON...  Wait, are these the same songs?  They sound the same.  Wait, all that nu-metal, scream-alot (not "o"), kinda sounded the same...  Except Godsmack, right?  WAIT, THIS IS THE SAME TOO.  Just kidding, that was definitely more on the Metallica spectrum.  Even to the "meeeeeuuhhh, yeah" accents.  It's borderline shameful how many times I had sex to that eponymous Godsmack record...  Borderline, I said.  It was also borderline admirable.  Turns out I had a different type of girl I was attracted to back in the day.  I'll never forget the early arguments with one girlfriend about the music we would play while we fucked so as not to make it too fucking obvious to her roommate that we were boning.  She always knew so I don't know exactly why we thought that helped that much, but we were young.  In fact, she used to fuck with us about it.  We were so dumb.  But, back to the point, it is so goddamn ridiculous to think back on what music we would play during sex.  She'd put in Godsmack, Korn, Disturbed, and I'd put in Nick Drake, Neil Young, Tupac, Modest Mouse, Radiohead, Jay-Z, Ryan Adams but we could both agree on System of a Down, Portishead, Iron & Wine or Led Zeppelin.

 

(Editors note:  Springsteen and Dylan are FAR too distracting to fuck to.  Just a note for the young ones out there.  It's too easy to start listening to the records and forget about "doing" what you're supposed to be "doing."  Maybe it's just me, but just saying.  I guess if you're trying to find ways to go longer they might be appropriate, but for me it changed the mood)

 

I know, a bit of weird "agreed upon" list but that's what it was.  Wait, I was talking about insomnia not sex...

 

It's difficult because everyone just says "why don't you just go to bed?"  Laying around not sleeping and just dwelling on all the things that make you stressed, sad, depressed, things that you need to do, things you should've done but haven't, why your life is a waste and everything you've failed at doesn't exactly help you drift off into slumberland, trust me.  Reading only makes me less tired.  I suppose I could read more boring books which would help me desire sleep, but who wants to do that?  Television helps but sleeping on the couch (which I did for three years due to some other issues) isn't ideal either.  No, music is the best thing for me.  Unfortunately, my girlfriend cannot abide me listening to music in bed.  It keeps her up.  So, I stay up instead.  Some nights drinking and watching "IT Crowd" reruns (well, I guess they're not reruns anymore.  Fuck, what do you call old shows you've seen before on Netflix?  Rewatches?) on Netflix until I pass out is enough to make me tired when I get to bed.  Some nights it isn't.  Some nights listening to records, and drinking, until my head hits my desk is enough.  Some nights it isn't.  Some nights writing blogs, and drinking, until I can't form coherent sentences is enough.  But a good chunk of the nights, nothing helps and I get to stay up until, well I may not sleep more than a half hour here or there.  It's not fun and it always comes in waves.  It's never one night, which you could get past with a nap the next day.  It's always weeks or months at a time.

 

The thing that sucks about Asperger's is that routines are everything, both positive or negative, and sleep is no exception.  Once you can't sleep, you can't sleep, and there is nothing you can do about it.  It's awful.  That's where I am now.  The beds at the Hampton Inn in Medford, OR aren't terrible by any means but I'm sure I'll barely enjoy them.  I'll probably just lay awake and LISTEN TO THIS OVER AND OVER THINKING OF A DIFFERENT TIME...  A time when getting an hour or two of sleep didn't matter.  Being 18 was good for something, I suppose...

 

I wish I had an answer.  I really wish I do.  Maybe if someday I could build a pattern and routine of sleeping like a normal person, then things could get better.  For now, I'll listen to MARILYN MANSON'S VERSION OF WILLY WONKA CRAZY ASS FUCKING SONG...  Obviously, I'm feeling like I'm 13-18 again tonight but apparently only the metal, shitty 90's side of me.  Saw a Marilyn Manson tribute band before the greatest AC/DC tribute band on the planet (Helles Belles) and I have to admit I knew most of the tunes.  Took me back to a younger time in my life when (speaking of Willy Wonka and Marilyn Manson) "THEY FAIL TO SEE THE ANGUISH IN MY EYES" was a line that just fucking hit me.  Shit, I guess that's still a great fucking line.  Marilyn Manson was always better than people gave him credit for.  And growing up in Wisconsin I heard a lot of "he's such a faggot" type comments, which forced me to explain things to people that they never would even entertain to hear.  I learned a lot back then.  I'm not surprised Wisconsin went Trump in the last election.  I remember sitting in the Mazatlan Mexican Restaurant in Everett, WA in November 2016 on election day thinking that if this comes down to Wisconsin, we're fucked.  Sure enough it was one of the deciding states.  My bartender and waitress, both Mexican, were nearly in tears.  I was aghast but I didn't know what to say to them.  They spoke of their families and their fear for them here in America.  It was so sad to hear.  I thought of where I grew up and was angry and confused and wanted to do something, but I couldn't.  It was done and I knew why.  I knew it would happen.  Now, I'm just rambling.  Probably a side-effect of the wine and habitual lack of sleep.  So, I'm signing off again.  Not sure this helped anyone but myself but I hope someone feels less strange when reading this at 2:45 IN THE MORNING.  I can't help you but you're not alone...

 

(written drowsily but not read or edited.  Sorry, it's fucking late and I have to not sleep.  I know, I won't be sleeping so I should be doing something worthwhile but that's not how it works, assholes)