And you know what? I'm a little too old to be posing at this point.
Here's a list of things I considered myself at one time and have pretty much realized that I'm not-at least not to the extent that I thought I was(with explanations to follow):
- The Baddest White Rapper on the M...I...C....
- A DJ
- A contributing member of any band that played out
- A songwriter
- A Doctor
- A Good Friend
- A Mature Grown Up
- A Hippy
- A fount of all things rap-related
- A Skater
- A CIA Summer Camp Spy
- Selfless and altruistic
- A Hacker
- A misunderstood Musical Genius (a.k.a. A Serious Musician)
Simple. I need to grow. I need to break some of these things down. Because they are barriers at this point. Part of a persona I've built up...an image I've got of myself...and it's just f**king false.
So let's break it on down.
The Baddest White Brother on the M...I...C....
Some of you might be familiar with Kid Chill. Kid Chill was my alter-ego in high school. I thought I was the shit. I had a kangol...I had Adidas (or whatever the K-Mart clone for Adidas was). I had a couple notebooks full of lyrics proclaiming my superiority in the realm of caucasian rhyming. Out of the 100 or so rap songs that I wrote, maybe 3 were good enough to pass for mediocre rap. The rest was shit. Seriously. I can't look through that notebook anymore. It's too painful. And hey, it's only taken me 20 years to see that Kid Chill was really more of a parody...as it should have been all along.
See if this one sounds familiar...."I was a DJ at a teen nightclub called 'Flamingo Isle.' Heard it? Yeah. It's shit. I had some 12" singles at the time. And I was 'allowed' to drop the needle a handful of times because I had some rekkids that the house DJ (Matt or Rob or Mark or something) didn't have. I was trying to learn from him and position myself to be a DJ there. He left the club under some questionable circumstances and went on to radio. He had a good touch And I wish I'd paid more attention. But No. I never got paid. Well....one time. It was some birthday party on a Sunday afternoon.
As a follow-up, though, my first actual "PRO" DJ gig came last year when I spun...er...MP3s at Dylan's 13th as DJ iTod. So, this one is only 1/2 bullshit at this point.
A contributing member of any band that played out
Devilcake was never my band. I was never IN Samarkand. I practiced with them. Played a couple gigs with them and then shit on Ian and our friendship. So, it's only fair that annals of that band exclude me. As for Devilcake, let's sort that one out because it's been f**king with my head for a while. The first memories I have of Devilcake was playing on stage at Apollo's with this little garage sale BTS turntable and some wooden flute thing that my grandparents got for me from Mexico or Africa or some shit like that. As I remember, the entire point (as it was explained to me, since it was quite clear to everyone at the time (but me) that I was NOT on par with the rest of the musicians in the band) was to get as many people in for free and on stage as the 'band' while every rocked out.
And I loved that. I really did. The Dark Lord influences on the band were less and the emphasis on food and fun were more. I did write the lyrics to a few of the songs (that may or may not be still played to this day).
And that ideal of Devilcake for me from the first round was exactly what killed it for me the second time. I tried to get on board. I tried to take it as seriously as everyone else did. But I didn't. I was too concerned with the having fun part that I didn't see where the band was going and what effect I was having on that direction...and the "fat guy on the Casio" became a parody of musician on the stage while the rest of the band was seriously rocking out and doing something. By the time I realized that I would have been better suited to manage gig-bookings, flyer creations, etc., it was too late. I was burned out and bridges that had been rickety to begin with were burned.
So, did I enjoy my time with devilcake? The first time, absolutely. The second run...sometimes. And sometimes I fucking hated it. So that's pretty much why I can listen to it on some days and other days don't even want to acknowledge my time in it.
This is one that I really struggle with. I have 4 or 5 notebooks with 1000 songs I've written. Only they're not really songs. They're lyrics to songs. Some of them have chords with them. But I can't call them anything more than poems, in all honesty.
So...this trait I think has been safely amended to Lyricist/Poet. And I'm ok with that. The 'songs' I have recorded really have been more for my own ears....well, THAT and to hear someone of greater musical talent than I say they approve of it. Yeah, I know it's crazy, but a healthy chunk of shit that went from lyrics to final recording was done so I could hear Ian or Darrin, or Nancy, or others say "F*ck yeah!!! That's BRILLIANT!!!" It took me a while to get to the point where I was recording for me. And I can name the songs that I'm proud of that fall into that category...because there's only about 4 or 5 of them. And to me, that's just fucking sad.
I think I need to go write a song about it.
I had it in my head that I was going to be a doctor. A Neurosurgeon, no less. I work tech support for a software company with a degree in Business Administration. Yeah. Not a doctor. Was an athletic trainer in high school....so basically I can tape my own ankle when I play soccer. Medicine? Um no. I'm a geek, yes, but I'm no McDreamy.
A Good Friend
This is probably the hardest one to write and clear out the cobwebs on. It's been on the mantle of my life the longest. And I have always thought that I was a fiercely loyal friend and that the friends I've made were lifelong. There are a few instances where I fell way the f**k short of that goal. And without going in to it in too much depth, I offer sincere and humble apologies to Ian, Darrin, and Duane. There are others that I've stepped on, but these three were three people that, at one time or another, I would have taken a bullet for and I knew in my heart that they would have done the same for me. At this point in my life, there's only one of those three that I have that certainty with. The other two I just don't know anymore. I know that I haven't talked to Ian in years (it seems) and don't know at this point what the hell I'd even say. And until last month, it'd been a year since I'd had any communication whatsoever with Duane.
And at the times of the fallings out, it was never my fault. I was the good friend. They were the ones that were being selfish and dissing me. And I had a laundry list of why this was the case. And if you didn't agree with me...then fuck you. But here's the thing that time and perspective have taught me.....
I'm a selfish bastard. I didn't see it then. And really probably didn't see it until the past year or so. But I have this way of pushing people away if I am not getting what I need from them. And usually what I need is validation that I'm a f**king Brilliant (fill in the blank). I know where that comes from and while I didn't want to admit that the problem was mine, I do recognize that a larger portion of the blame on these strained relationships is mine.
There's no way to go back on some of these. I've changed too much...and so have they. I can only hope that going forward, I recognize the signs and take a step back and just appreciate the friendship for what it's offering in that moment and now try to milk it for the 'tell me how good I am' shit like I used to.
That was probably the hardest one to write. It's shitty to realize that I was more of an instigator than the victim in the dark moments in my life.
A Mature Grown Up
Heh. I'm an adult. But I like looking at the world through my x-ray specs. I'll be mature when I have to be, but it's not my milieu.
Yes. I've been to Hookahville...twice. Yes I have...and I have inhaled. But I'm not a head. I can't tell you what the 2nd set of the 1983 Dead Show was. And I can't name any songs at the two Hookahvilles other than what Willie Nelson played. The extent of my Dazed and Confusion was about a 12 month period after my divorce and before I started seriously dating Nancy. I have never rolled E or any of the Woodstocky staples. And I'm ok with that.
A fount of all things rap-related
After talking to Sean at work quite a bit, I'm under the conclusion that my knowledge of rap roots is a bit narrow in scope. This was a more recent discovery and more of a blow to the immediate ego. But it also has the biggest potential for the 'poseur' label. So it must be squashed immediately. I know about a dozen acts that I followed in the heyday of rap. After that, it was all fringe shit to me. Sorry.
I could never and still can't ollie. My skating days are limited to the $15.99 piece of crap skateboard that my grandparents got me at Hills. And you know where I had to skate? A gravel road in Kentucky. Or a piece of plywood that my papaw put in the yard. A skater? F*** no.
A CIA Summer Camp Spy
This one's fun to tell when I've had a snootful. My step-grandma's son does something in the intelligence community and one year before I went to college, he wanted to know if I'd thought of interning anywhere and he started talking about NSA and CIA and Naval Intelligence internships. And somehow that ballooned in to me turning them down because a life in the Intelligence Agency just wasn't for me. This was is mostly harmless and will wind up in a movie one of these days.
Selfless and altruistic
This one goes along with the 'good friend' bit. I'm selfish. And I get mopey when I don't get my way. It's true. I'll try to do what's for the greater good, but most of the time there's an element of 'what the hell's in this for me?' (and this is one that I'm actively working to change, because let's face it...it's a dick move. And no one likes a dick).
I have never hacked a system. I have never reversed engineered any software. I'm just very (very) proficient with tools and have a good understanding of the technology and have a better than average understanding of the OS than most. But if it came down to Hacking, Cracking and Phreaking*, I'd definitely fall into the script kiddie category.
A misunderstood Musical Genius (a.k.a. A Serious Musician)
This one is a gray area for me. I'm not a musician. Sure, I can futz around on keyboards, guitars and blow the shit out of some blues harp...but I can't read music...and I'm not really gonna make it to Carnegie Hall anytime soon.
I love (LOVE) when Darrin comes over and we just roll tape and goof and jam. Because what I AM good at is coming up with lyrics and shit on the fly. And that fits the MO of Second Floor perfectly. I don't know that I'd necessarily call that music...more like musical therapy. I'm going to go back to proudly wearing the moniker of Lyricist/Poet and let the songwriter/musician labels go back in to the box for someone else (like my daughter) to pick up when/if she wants to.
Now I'll go a bit deeper into the explanation. See...I'm at the point in my life where I've finally figured out what my creative outlet actually is....it's writing, movies, and photography.
And the reason I'm coming clean about all of this other shit that I've just been dragging along up to now is that I do NOT want those things to be added to the list of things I 'talked a lot of smack' about but never truly delivered.
And that's that.
The name of the blog has changed. I'm not really do so much thriftpix anymore but am doing other pix and having other random rants, diatribes, and meanderings filling my head lately.
So... I thought it was time to the Darwin thing and evolve.
*I did have an 'accidental' phone phreak that Duane and I found at the SuperDuper on our way home from school. We found that you could hit the dial tone...hit 9 something something...then hit the flashhook twice and hang up and it would cause the pay phone to ring until someone picked up the handset again. I'm guessing it was a line test sequence of some sort. So there you have it...the extent of my hacking. A payphone accident. I wonder if there was a family of happy little birdies in that payphone