Tuesday, February 5, 2013

the new muse

It's all I do is think about you.


staring at each other under cover of night, 
neither of us can admit it, our tongues are tied, 

and I know you went home and slept just fine, 
I'll be up all night, just thinking about, 

the smell of your hair, the sound of your laugh, 
the glint of your eyes off the stage lights like glass, 

the move of your walk, the taste of your kiss, 
I will never know, never know, I think I'll never know, 

I miss your warmth as soon as you're gone, 
But I don't dare say anything, what if I'm wrong?

but you know I went home and kicked myself, 
for not grabbing on to your hand, now all I got is, 

the smell of your hair, the sound of your laugh, 
the glint of your eyes off the stage lights like glass, 

the move of your walk, the taste of your kiss, 
I will never know, never know, I think I'll never know, 

and if I didn't know better, 
say if I didn't know better, 
if I didn't know better,
I'd say you stole my heart, 

the smell of your hair, the sound of your laugh, 
the glint of your eyes off the stage lights like glass, 

the move of your walk, the taste of your kiss, 
I will never know, never know, oh won't you prove me wrong?


©AjB 2013

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hey, man. I'm happy. Lay off.

There's a lot of time in a moment. Time to have thoughts. Time to deliberate. Enough time to decide you want chocolate as opposed to vanilla. There are brief moments, and there are moments which seemingly last forever. Our little lives are constructs of these varied moments. Until eventually we run out of moments. And then we are dead. And then in a moment outside of this deliberation, we enter into another deliberation: What's dead? What happens after that? And the miracle, friends, lies not within the answer to those questions. It lies merely in the fact that those questions exist. The foundation for those questions is a miracle. What is that miracle? Existence.

There's a lot of pressure out there today on us. Especially us youths. Pressure to be somebodies. Go to school. Get a life. The status quo has changed. In order to get anywhere in life, you gotta have the exalted sheepskin these days. The college degree. Whereas when my dad grew up in the 60s, it was your high school diploma. College was a plus, but if you didn't have it, it wasn't like McDonalds was your only career option.

Every kid I know has this unmovable, engrained notion that as soon as they get out of high school, they've got to floor it all the way into college. What's the big rush? What is all that drive? That pressure? The societal demand for uniformity? I mean, in preschool, you had to color within the lines. And it hasn't changed. In middle school? Perfect attendance, straight As and a lot of other crap that you're finding out now is really inconsequential. And in high school it's college apps, graduation, GPAs, blah blah blah. And boy did they have us fooled into thinking that our future employers would be looking at our resumes and going, "Geez dude, a B- in social studies in 8th grade? Tsk, tsk, I don't know if you're right for this position."

So what is this obsession with being somebody? Better yet, by whose standards are we even somebodies? Society? The government? Our friends and family? Who set the bar and triggered this thirst for success? When did it go from Bob Dylan to "I've got an MBA, but I work at Starbucks"?

Anyway what I'm saying to you is this: It's all a load of irrelevant bullshit. All the hype, all the drama, all the build-up, all the hollywood, all the Big business. It's junk. Throw it out. You don't need it.  Especially if that's all you've got is your so-called success. Your success which is measured by some majority-rules manifesto composed of the dried up opinions of old scholars. Some of them participate in some pretty funky "extra-curricular" activities though if you.... know what I mean...

It's not about what people are saying now. It's important to know what they will be saying. It's also important to know what you are going to say back. And I sincerely hope, whenever anybody passes any kind of judgement on you, that your reply runs along similar lines as, "Hey, man. I'm happy. Lay off."

That's what counts. You find that thing that lights you up, gives you purpose, makes you genuinely happy, and you hold onto it for dear life. You don't let that shit go for anything. Not the prettiest girls, not the hottest guitar, not the fastest car (unless of course any of those things are the things which make you genuinely happy). Not even the sexiest six-pack. Unless of course it's just this unfathomably crisp, chiseled masterpiece of a six-pack. Then by all means, have at it.

And of course there are a few ethical and moral codes surrounding that statement that I think we can all agree on as being good guidelines for healthy lifestyles. Not by anyone else's decree, just by natural order. Like for instance: Don't kill people. Even if by some strange genetic mutation it makes you happy. Killing people isn't cool. Ever. Same applies for basically every major crime, i.e. arson, rape, grand theft, etc etc etc.

In all seriousness though, find your calling, people. Find your calling by your standards. What makes you look happy. <--Ponder that revision again. If nothing else, let's all leave this place knowing that at least we were peaceful, good, honorable, happy people. And by our own standards. Not Facebook status happy, not happy by way of what other people think. True, from-your-core, self-acclaimed happiness.

On a semi juxtaposed side note: SELF-SATISFACTION IS NOT A CRIME. Why shouldn't you be pleased with yourself? That's square one. And hell, some of you aren't even giving yourselves a chance. You're stepping up to bat, but in your mind, you've already struck out. It's like you exited the womb rolling snake eyes. This is not so. I'm saying that if you can obtain/retain/sustain that one thing vital to your well-being, whether it's a money maker and you end up with a mansion and a different matte black Lambo for every day of the week, or you scrape and scrounge and barely get by, yet you're doing what you love so it really doesn't matter. If you can find that, it's home runs and smooth sailing forever.

You do what you are. And nobody can't take away what you are. That's yours forever. But you gotta love it. Every ounce of it. Your hair, your eyes, your laugh, your smile, flaws, vices, whatever. Accept the imperfections. Because it's the originalities, the tooth gaps, the freckles, the knobby knees that give us any kind of distinction, any kind of character. That's the miracle right there guys. That's the "solve for x" you've heard tell about. Not, why are we here? Just that we are here, and we are cool and awesome and different. And we have the capacity to love. We could love everybody. But everybody includes ourselves. It's gotta come from within us.


And on a completely unrelated note (and this is directed only at one person in particular, but I'm sure it applies to lonely hearts the world over, and I'm just throwing it out to the cosmic void we call the internet because somehow it feels better writing it out anonymously than not telling anyone, or even telling anyone for that matter, but), I really hope you're happy with that guy. He seems pretty cool. But not as cool as me. And nothing about the two of you could ever kick ass as much as you and I. And I think you know that. And I'll wait here for you, sure, because I'm a nice guy and I believe in second chances and stuff. But I differ from the other nice guys in that eventually I'll leave this town in my epic dust, and I'll be so far gone the only way you'll ever be able to look me up is through my old, out-of-date LinkedIn page that I forgot to delete when I realized I actually wasn't cool for having one, and that Linkedin is just essentially a Facebook for white businessmen in their 50s.... their late... 50s.... Anyway. Rambling now. Basically, I love your friendship, but I hate that we are seemingly, irrevocably bound to be just that. Plain old friends. Forever. And to the guys in movies that say they're okay with just being friends with the girl they're head over heels for just, just because it means they can remain close? YOU DUDES ARE MASOCHISTS, I SWEAR. HOW YOU CAN YOU EVEN BE MILDLY OKAY WITH THAT? YOU ARE SO FIBBING. TOTAL FIBBERS. I CALL FIBBAGE. I'M SO ONTO YOU AND YOUR FIBOSITY. 

Goodnight, everyone. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

giving in to reckless desire

I'm waking up. Sweating. I've obviously been dreaming about something truly horrible. I click my phone. it's 10:37 PM. The last time I remember checking the time was when I was txting Almon. That was around 9:30. I've been asleep for about an hour. I'm still recovering from whatever neural mayhem my brain was suffering from. I start to grip reality. And as I do, I realize there's only one thing I want in the entire world:   a   s m o o t h i e . 

In 3-4 willful bounds I'm out of my room. I glide down the stairs with the finesse of some olympic figure skater. The dining room is a big blur of chipped paint and brick hearth. Here I am in the kitchen. Deep breath.

What follows may not be suitable for small children. Or democrats.

Recon first. Into the fridge. Yogurt. Check. Milk. Check. OJ. CheckJ. Fresh blueberries. Fresh check. Banana. Elongated yellow check. Let's get it yo.

Now I'm sprawled out on the counter. A single, clean 8oz glass sits sparkling in front of me. I assume my position over the vessel, dumping buckets of strawberry yogurt, pouring milk and orange juice together at the same time, creating a dairy/fruit vortex. The vortex to end all vortexes. And here I go a-mixing. But this is no sissy-mixer you're blogging with. I go hard. Several hundred arm-exhausting stirring motions later, I need to relax. A convalescence in between liquid-mixing and fruit tossing ensures accurate and even distribution.

I'm at it again. Blueberries are diving off my fingertips, like tourists at the beach resorting to five-year old antics. There's a lot of shoving, arm-flailing, screaming, chortling (yeah, blueberries chortle). It's a frenzy.

Now, I don't mean to brag, but I could probably win the Nobel f*cking prize for banana chopping. I'm like a samurai or something, from some ancient Japanese kingdom. Where fruit is a lifestyle. "フルーツは生活様式である".* Ninja shit. my blade is barely visible. With as much brevity and force as Ghenkis Khan defeats armies, I slay bananas.

It's over. The fruity-licious dust settles. We move in slow motion, the smoothie and I. Like the scene in Pearl Harbor when Rafe and Danny fly in after shooting down all those Zeros. I'm pretty sure I'm hyper-ventilating. Which looks like regular breathing when done in slow motion.  I've done it. I've created a masterpiece. I've forgotten all about my horrible dream. In fact, for a moment, I've forgotten all life's problems. I'm just sitting here. in the dark, indulging. It's a perfect, fruity instant. I know it won't last. I know tomorrow my poop will be really loose. But right now, in my immediate universe... I'm happy. Goodnight, world.

*"The fruit is a life format" #BadTranslation

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

welcome to my unfinished life.

Average morning. Wednesday. Sun’s out. Cute. Well, here I am again, laying in bed staring at the unfinished ceiling of my unfinished room in my unfinished house, where I’m composing my unfinished breakthrough solo album. It’s comprised of 10-12 unfinished hits. Welcome to my unfinished life. It’s 7:28am. My alarm goes off at 7 on weekdays. I’ve been ‘snoozing’ for the past 28 minutes. Alright, Lazy Ass, get up.
Floor’s cold- Scratch that. Unfinished floor’s cold under my feet. Quick stretch, neck pops, I walk forward. I instantly recall the dream I had last night: I’m at a water park with several friends, and one of them has invited these girls to tag along. One of their names is Haniv, which is either a Gaelic or Middle Eastern derivation (I have neither proclivity, so whatever). She is thin, blonde, the lines of her face are comforting. My dream self is this confident, familiar persona. During the dream it becomes evident that we are both interested. A few laughs, solid eye contact. I’m getting places. All of a sudden it’s time to go home. I offer to give her a ride, which is quite forward of me seeing as I’m assuming she lives nearby, and I’m assuming I have a car. But this is dream world, get off me. It turns out that both assumptions are correct, as she tells me she lives right down the street, but it’s a bit of a long walk, and she’s exhausted from the H2O-pallooza, so she would gladly allow me to drive her. We walk in companionable happy silence to my car, which turns out to be an old VW beetle, ’67, yellow. What a man’s car. Thanks brain. Un-phased I walk her over to the passenger side, open the door and say something cliche/suave like, “You’re carriage awaits.” She smiles. A cute, teenesque half-smile. She climbs in and I shut the door gently. This is the part where the dream begins to fall apart. I get in the car. I look across at her. She’s got the same half smile paused on her face. Weird. And then I see it. Looking down at the floor of the car…. there are 3 pedals. Standard shift. F*ck. I am a product of the ever so disappointing 21st Century. I cannot drive manual. Panic sets in.
Then I wake up. Oh well. Forget Haniv. She has a stupid name anyway. By this time I’m downstairs exploring deep inside the refrigerator, only to be disappointed by its contents. I make a cup of coffee, whistling the solo from Hendrix’s Bold As Love. #ElectricGuitarReferenceNo.1 Coffee’s cold. My whole day is ruined.
Bathroom time. Pee. Shower. Shave. By the way, I live with my parents. I mention this now because when I look in the cabinet I notice my Mother forgot to buy my special shaving cream. My Dad uses Barbasol. So do I, but I have to get the Sensitive version, because I get hives if I use the regular. Shut up, Dane Cook. Some of us are actually living with this stuff.
I can’t blame my Mom. My older brother is severely autistic. He’s a 22 year old 2 year old, if you follow. I love him to death. We have a common interest in Queen, Clapton #ElectricGuitarReferenceNo.2, James Taylor, and American dubstep. Our 2004 Suburban is equipped with a kick-ass Bose sound system. Needless to say, it’s a pretty good time. My parents are even more occupied than usual. My younger sister is taking driver’s ed. So, as usual, I am the non-important middle child. I wonder if there’s a support group for guys like me. “Hi, my name is Alex, I’m a useless, musically brilliant, guitar-playing teenager. I’m a middle child. I’ve been inconsequential for 18 years.”
Ok, that’s a little melodramatic sensationalized. Melodramatic is a stupid word. I hate that word. It sounds like an adjective for a soap opera involving cantaloupes or something. Not really. I’m getting off topic now.
BTW I have a best friend. Almon. He plays the drums. And the ukulele. I’m just putting that out there now, because I’ll probably devote an entire post to him at some point. I love him. Oh and I’m not gay.
Where was I? Oh yeah. Guitar. Since nothing is really going on in the house, I decide to go upstairs to my room and immerse myself in my one passion*: Blues electric guitar. Beware because for this part of my post, I’m about to get slightly less clever and a bit more rudimentary. I’m about to tell you all about my guitar.
I am obsessed with the blues. More importantly I am obsessed with electric guitar. More importantly, John Mayer is one of the greatest musicians of our time. But I digress. Playing the guitar: This is really the only element in which I feel completely safe from harm. My own world. Something I have complete control over.
I flip the red switch of my Marshall 80w Valvestate amplifier. It clicks on, a few electrical pops and fizzes let me know I can relax. In my head I see a vision of electricity warming up the tube, an original Marshall, running through all the wires and capacitors. The dual 12 inch Celestion speakers revving up like some kind of hotrod engine.I pick up my guitar. A black, relic stratocaster. It’s weight is so familiar in my hands. I built it. It’s perfect. It weighs nine pounds exactly. For those of you who are unaware, that is obnoxiously heavy. Regular stratocasters weigh in anywhere from 6-7 pounds. I did this on purpose. Why? Excellent question. The denser the wood and the heavier the instrument, the longer the sustain, which is pretty much the most important quality of a guitar. I bought a 2007 USA 70′s reissue Fender neck with a rosewood fretboard used on ebay for $300. I had a custom body made out of 3-piece solid hard rock maple. I ripped the pickups and hardware out of a vintage 80′s Bently strat. Technicalities aside, it’s a beautiful instrument. There you go. That’s my “I have an impressive knowledge of guitar shit” speech. Be impressed. Moving on.
Music, to me, is like a lifeline. I need it. Without it, I’m 150,000% sure I would cease to exist. Nothing kicks my ass harder than a masterfully clean blues solo. Or a smooth transition between major and minor pentatonic scale. Some kids heroes are Superman and Batman and Spiderman. Mine are and will always be Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughan, BB King, Hendrix, Clapton, and John Mayer. I love the blues. Did I hit on that 3 times already? Well, fourth time’s the charm. I play guitar for most of the day. No Joke. Most of the day. As in, 51% or more of the day.  I’ll break for food once in a while. Actually, I’ve been working on this technique where if I’m hungry I’ll place a sandwich on my shelf. That way, I can keep playing guitar, and take bites out of my sandwich by walking over to the shelf. My heart stays happy, and my stomach shuts up for a while. Am I getting weird yet?
I was joking about the last 1/3rd of the above paragraph. I’ve never done that in my life. But I probably could.
This is my first blog post, and I had no idea my insipid thoughts would take up this much space. Suffice it to say, I’ve been playing guitar all the live long figurative day, and now the cover of night, like a big “show’s over” curtain, darkens my one man stage. And seeing as there is not enough electricity upstairs in my unfinished house, to play through my amp and have a light on, I’ll have to live another unfinished day, put to rest another unfinished riff, lay down my ironically unfinished guitar, and go to sleep. Nothing spells out home like an Army grade fold out cot that I bought from the military surplus store in Conway. Sweet Dreams, you Bluestrovertant Man.
*Maybe I’m exaggerating. I have several other passions, which include but are not limited to: old cars, ultimate frisbee, beautiful women, baseball, fishing, the beach, etc etc etc. “Oh! Nice to meet you Mr. Average American Teenager! Do you want a f*cking medal or something?”