Angry Ghost Poem

Inkblot03

it’s hard to take this and grin and bear
the frustration i feel is beyond compare
a case of misconception, are you not who i thought you were?
caught up in a reflection, was i in love with a blur
i hate to say that my ideal was just a dream
i hate to say that you’re not what you seem

my words get twisted, there’s no outlet for vengeance
one day i’ll see a Fury, revenge instead of remembrance
that’s a sad fate for any vessel to accept
i’d rather take my chances, and dodge the doubt that has crept

slowly but surely, like a tortoise are these thoughts
they wind their way through my mind, little vats of poison waiting in pots
i dread the day they become overfilled
because i know that’s when my anger will be spilled
in the meantime they sit, smoky and steaming
the me inside me is silently screaming

so i let this venom take shape on this paper
these thoughts and these words disappear in a vapor
i’m left with the serenity i was granted at birth
but still i’m drained of joy, living a life without mirth

i could say that i’ve only let myself down
i jumped in high water and i wonder why i drown
my hopes were unreal?  no, i don’t believe this
i can’t shake this feeling that something’s amiss
too many voices, clouding my decisions
i have faith in no man, only in my visions
i know for sure things won’t be this way forever
i’ll stand up straight, alone but together

i’m searching for release, let these dramas fall away
the roles that i’m playing just won’t heel and stay
the show keeps on and on, and I’m beginning to get tired
there’s quicksand at my feet and I’m hopelessly mired
so while i’m stuck and sinking, i’ll take a moment to think
how can i take this bullsh*t when i feel i’m on the brink
there’s a door in front of me, one I’ve never seen before
i can almost reach the handle, i’m almost at the core
i recall the outer layers, where i’m a slave to human habit
in the forest out there, i’m nothing but a rabbit
but the further i go in, the more clearly i see
that those games of who-rules-who, are all in essence “me”

destroy your weaker selves?  seems like a simple solution
but what are the repercussions of this psychic pollution
strength to overpower others is not strength when you really look
strength is flowing on, despite the rocks, with the wisdom of a brook
the aim of this endeavor is to achieve continuous motion
wave and trough through your existence, know the persistence of the ocean
the ripples on it’s smooth face can be caused by one small action
be aware of what you do, know there will be a reaction

John Frusciante

Serendipity brought me back to John Frusciante.  Although I was a fan of the free-spirited energy of the Red Hot Chili Peppers back in the 90’s, I hadn’t listened to their music since then.

It wasn’t until I started making Spotify playlists that ‘Pretty Little Ditty’ reappeared.  Overcome by a wave of nostalgia, I went to YouTube to watch a live version.  There’s this great video of Flea and John, foreheads pressed together for a moment, playing with what can only be described as brotherly love.

The emotions that arose were so deep and real that I was compelled to watch more Chili Peppers videos, if only for the purpose of hearing John’s soulful playing.  It was then that I discovered everything that’s happened in John’s life in the decades since I’d last tuned in.  Like many who walk off the beaten path, what Frusciante experienced during that time was truly life-altering.  Some might say that it’s a miracle he’s still alive.
(to read more about John’s life, see his wiki)

“I used to always see things in the outside world as being ‘the enemies of an artist.’  I don’t see it that way anymore.  To me, everything an artist needs is inside of himself, and it really doesn’t matter what’s going on in the world. Nothing else matters.  You don’t need to have things perfect, you don’t need to have a lot of money or a beautiful girl.  If your job in life is to create, you can find inside yourself what you need to make beautiful art and beautiful music.  But you might have to clean yourself out, spiritually or physically.  You gotta constantly purify yourself, living in the city, around human beings.  There might be people close to you who affect you inside yourself in such a corrupt way that it screws with your ability to do what you do.  But if you make sure that the people who are close to you are good people who are there for you and love you, you can create your temple everywhere you go.”

Not only did I become interested in hearing what he’d been up to musically in the years that had passed, I also had a growing interest in him as a thinker.  His originality of thought pointed towards a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of music and existence that I found compelling.

“Music is not something that you are in control of.  It comes from somewhere else.  If you’re that middleman between the cosmos and the real world on Earth that the music comes through, you are very lucky.  When you record music, it’s not your job to try to control anything.  It’s more about being in the right place and flowing with the energies that are in the air around you and with the people that you are making the music with.  The second that someone thinks music comes from themselves, and that they are the ones responsible for it, is when they go off track.  The most important thing you could realize is that you are the least important part of the whole process.  Music is going to be made whether any one artist is here or not.  If John Lennon or Jimi Hendrix had disappeared, music still would have gone on, changed, grown, and been the beautiful thing that it is.  You take away the music, all you have are the individuals, and they don’t mean anything.  The individual is nothing, it’s the music that’s in the air all the time that’s important, and you have to be humble in the face of that.”

In reference to the media and their fascination with image, he had this to say:

“It’s not because Jimi Hendrix looked the way he looked.  It’s not because Jimi Hendrix danced the way he danced.  Or because his name was f**king Jimi Hendrix.  It’s like these things are just meaningless, yet the way the business uses these media tools has perpetuated this idea that what’s important is that he’s the greatest guitarist ever, and he’s Jimi Hendrix, and there’s his picture, that’s him.  And it’s like, you know, the only real picture of him is his music.”
(to read a synopsis of this July 16, 2008 interview, click here)

His solo work is just as riveting as his life story.  It’s been a long time since I’ve listened to anything that has had the evocative power that John’s music has had on me.  He’s a natural artist with a real penchant for melody and arrangement.  Here’s a song from his album “Curtains,” called “Anne.”  Currently one of my favorites, the album has simple but beautiful acoustic guitar.

Expression is a Function of Being

For someone who once aspired to be a writer, I don’t write very often anymore.  Normally I have really good excuses.  By “really good excuses” I mean the same excuses most writers or artists tell themselves when they’re not following their inner inclinations to express themselves.  Not having enough time is a common one.  Taking a break from writing is another.  Working on another project certainly sounds like a legitimate excuse.  There isn’t actually anything wrong with the excuses I’ve just named off, with one exception — when these excuses are a cloak for a different excuse entirely.  I’m talking about that nefarious Doubt that lives somewhere, if only for a moment, in each human’s mind, that delights in disguising itself as facts and realities.  You know the one.  It tells you all the reasons why you can’t possibly write, and how, if you did, it wouldn’t be that great, or how there wouldn’t be any point.  It’s this Doubt that I’d like to uncloak and banish.  For myself and for other writers out there, it’s essential that this Doubt be downgraded to a mere passing thought and be relieved of it’s duty as Commander of your creative impulses.

Part of what makes us unique is that we each have a different viewpoint — each terrible and beautiful experience we’ve lived is a facet of our being that, when used as a filter for the universal energy that flows through us all, paints a particular picture that no one else can replicate.  Authentically expressing that energy is part of why we exist.  The other reason is so that we can affect one another with our energy.  In light of that, why should we not express ourselves?  Laziness, lack of motivation, or shyness are no longer valid excuses.  Instead, we’re charged with a higher purpose.  Yes, you are as well.  In my opinion, it’s this:  Exist to the fullest, be the best you that you can, and share your life/love/story with the people around you.

Time to Wake Up

Been gone awhile…  It’s time to wake up from my 7 months of hibernation.  There have been some subtle inner adjustments that may very well equal bigger changes in the future, but for now the main difference is that there are some new things on the radar these days.  I’ll just briefly hit the high points:

I’ve started watching more movies.  Thanks to Redbox and Netflix, I have access to new releases as well as goodies from the past.  This was a great boon during the phase I recently went through, where I was watching everything I could that Tom Hardy had been in.  What a talented fellow!  He has a commanding presence and an almost palpable charisma, but it’s not until you see him in a few different movies that his acting ability truly becomes evident.  The first few times I saw him, it didn’t register to me who he was, as he’s one of those actors who disappears into his characters.  I came to appreciate his range and intensity of emotion after seeing him play diametrically different roles.  I recommend “Stuart: A Life Backwards” and “Bronson” as contrast.

As Tommy Conlon from “Warrior”

 

After much anticipation, Guild Wars 2 was released this past August.  I’ve been playing it quite a bit since then, and am only just now taking a little break.  In the months that it’s been out, I’ve met some new friends through the Wayrift [WAY] guild and leveled my main character Gavin Whitehawk to level 80.  As for the game itself, it’s visually stunning.  It has a different style of graphics that appeals to my sensibilities, somehow stylized and realistic at the same time.  The gameplay is engaging and dynamic, and while you’re playing you get the feeling that the developers wanted players to really enjoy their experience.  By that I mean, a lot of little aggravations that are customary in games of the past are noticeably absent.

Gavin and a land-bound ship

 

Lately I’ve been treating my ears to the  emotive stylings of John Frusciante.  He is simply amazing.  My favorite songs are from “Curtains” and “The Will to Death,” and I can safely say that his guitar playing must be what love sounds like.  You can feel that he’s putting every ounce of his being into his music and it’s heartbreakingly beautiful to behold.  He’s a true artist and I have a profound respect for his work.  Thank you for existing!

Been listening non-stop for the past several days.

Guild Wars 2 – Professions

A couple of weeks ago, ArenaNet announced the pre-purchase date of Guild Wars 2!  There are a few different options, all viewable here.  Although pre-sale doesn’t open until April 10th, it’s nice to finally know when.  As an added bonus, those who pre-purchase will be able to participate in all future Weekend Beta Events…!

In light of that news, now seems like a good time to look over the different professions and decide what your starting character will be.  There are 8 playable professions:

  1. Elementalist – “Fire, Air, Earth, and Water.  I can deal with any of them.”
  2. Warrior – “Axe or Mace?  Rifle or Greatsword?  You know, they’re all good.”
  3. Ranger – “Good dog!  Hold the enemy down while I shoot them!  You get a biscuit!”
  4. Necromancer – “The great thing about minions is that they never last long enough to work up a horrid stench.”
  5. Guardian – “I’ll guard you.  Let them come through ME first!”
  6. Thief – “I’m sorry, did this belong to you?”
  7. Engineer – “I’d explain it all to you, but a demonstration would be more useful.”
  8. Mesmer – “When I’m done with you, you won’t trust your own mind.”

If you’ve played the original Guild Wars, most of these professions look familiar.  I’m really glad to see Mesmer on this list, and am excited to see what playing Guardian is like.

 

Thrice’s Farewell Tour – Spring 2012

I think I’m finally O.K. with talking about it…  Back in November of 2011, the Thrice guys announced that they would be going on hiatus.  Although they were specific that it’s merely a break from being a full-time band and not a break-up, us fans know what this portends.  I’m so sad knowing there will be no new Thrice to look forward to.

But since I’ve already had about 3 months to mope about it, I’ll focus on the future instead.  Recently Thrice announced the dates for their Farewell Tour.  It pains me to say those two words in the same sentence, but I’m grateful that they decided to let us have one last huzzah.

In fact, Thrice has decided to pull out a bunch of old songs this time, and have asked us what we want to hear.  Click through to their online poll to give your input.  I’m going to share one of the many on my list of must-hear songs.

“So Strange I Remember You”

So strange I remember you in protest of a prayer
Falling back from seas we fear to sail
I swear I saw the shooter, gold teeth and a double dare
Postmortem warnings seem inclined to fail

Feigning an apology
Those words they never left your lips
Those five years in Bermuda
Slide by like the lights of passing ships

So strange that I remember you
Knee deep in Nietzche’s lies
My throat was an open grave
I drank your stained glass eyes

And they taste like dead cathedrals
That are crumbling beneath a weight
Ten thousand jaded tourists
Who’ve traded in their hearts and hands for
Disposable cameras
Set to document decay
Set to capture just enough of life
To catalogue the things we throw away

Breathing the fumes of our machines
We’ve lost our way
Breathing through television dreams
If we could only see us now
If we could only see us now

The words of the dead ring in our ears
But it’s only a lie
The voice in your head brings you to tears
But you don’t know why
The words of the dead ring in our ears
But it’s only a lie
The voice in your head brings you to tears
But it’s only a lie
Yes, it’s only a lie isn’t it?

And, Thrice tour dates for 2012:

04/29 – Meerhout, Belgium @ Groezrock
04/30 – London, England @ Forum
05/04 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues-San Diego
05/05 – Las Vegas, NV @ Hard Rock Café
05/06 – Tempe, AZ @ The Marquee
05/08 – Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom
05/09 – Dallas, TX @ The Door
05/10 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s East
05/11 – Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
05/12 – New Orleans, LA @ Tipitina’s
05/13 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
05/15 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution
05/16 – Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House of Blues
05/18 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
05/19 – Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore Charlotte
05/20 – Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa
05/22 – Lancaster, PA @ Chameleon
05/23 – Washington, DC @ The Howard Theatre
05/24 – New York, NY @ Best Buy Theatre Times Square
05/25 – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
05/26 – Boston, MA @ Royale Night Club
05/27 – Hartford, CT @ Webster Theatre
05/29 – Montreal, QC @ Metropolis
05/30 – Toronto, ONT @ Phoenix Concert Theatre
06/01 – Detroit, MI @ St. Andrews Hall
06/02 – Chicago, IL @ Metro
06/03 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave
06/05 – Lincoln, NE @ Bourbon Theatre
06/06 – Denver, CO @ The Summit Music Hall
06/07 – Salt Lake City, UT @ In The Venue
06/09 – Seattle, WA @ The Showbox @ The Market
06/10 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
06/12 – San Francisco, CA @ The Regency Ballroom
06/13 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst
06/14 – Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues
06/15 – Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues
06/16 – Los Angeles, CA @ Club Nokia LA Live

Guild Wars Price Check Tool

Ever tried to buy something, but been unsure of how much you ought to be paying? Some people get around this problem by simply asking for a price check over All Chat. While there’s nothing wrong with this method, normally you’ll only get one response that can range from outdated to wildly inaccurate. Trying to sell something is even more challenging, since not knowing the current market value of an item puts you at risk for severely undercharging/overcharging. What a mess… It’s enough to make you want to vacation in remote Kaineng Center and relax your trading troubles away with a nice massage.

Hot Trot Angel, Ji Whitehawk, and Ana Hunt in Kaineng Center

Luckily, Argos Soft created this neat tool to do your own price checking, called the GwEstimator.  Here’s a screen shot of what a common search looks like:

ArgosSoftScreen

As you can see, you get a range of recent trade posts from Kamadan.  With this many “price checks” it’s easy to get an estimated value, as well as find out what kinds of things people are willing to trade for.

Thanks to Ana Hunt for sharing this valuable piece of info, and thanks to the people at Argos Soft for making this available to the Guild Wars community!

Thrice @ The Masquerade – 2011

I’ve always heard that Thrice is amazing live, and now I can say with absolute certainty that I agree.   This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of seeing them for the first time.  As an avid listener of 10 years or so, I’d say it was long overdue…!  Here’s a list of the songs they played:

The new songs from Major/Minor sound amazing live.  And I didn’t expect to hear ‘Circles’ or ‘Of Dust and Nations’ on this tour, so that was a nice surprise.  To top it off, Thrice decided to play a couple of songs from their earlier albums as the encore. ‘Phoenix Ignition’ and ‘To Awake and Avenge the Dead’ brought on some insane nostalgia, and instantly made the crowd go wild. The most involving song of the night, though, was ‘The Earth Will Shake.’ Thrice + Atlanta were definitely shaking that bouncy floor in The Masquerade’s Heaven. Their performance was most excellent!

At the end of it all, Dustin Kensrue took his acoustic across the street and played a few songs. The purpose was to say thank you to the fans, and to raise awareness for Invisible Children.  Here’s a short article where Dustin explains, in his own words, Thrice’s involvement.

I love this band and the songs they played more than words can express; I feel incredibly lucky to have been present that night.

Thank you Thrice.  Your music brings hope and inspiration to people everywhere.

Thrice Images

Since the release of their new album a few days ago, and their upcoming fall tour, I have to say:  I have Thrice on the mind.  What better time to post my stash of Thrice pics…!

Remember when they used to look like this?

These pics are of Ed Breckenridge, Riley Breckenridge, Teppei Teranishi, and Dustin Kensrue from Thrice, over an unspecified span of time.