I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

June 05, 2013 - 12:24 p.m.

Cogito Ergo Sum

A latter start than I like this morning. I fell asleep while doing something on the computer last night,. Woke up, did a bit more on the computer, then went back to sleep. When I count up how much sleep I got do I include that first part?

So my health issue from the night before cleared up that's good. I didn't say it but there was a fear I might need to be hospitalized and I don't have insurance.

There are times on Facebook I'll get a warm glow from just making a comment on Facebook. It's not from the post or the comment but because it makes me think of the person who made the post. Some people make me feel good by simply existing. Sometimes I understand why. It makes sense, they are good friends. Sometimes it's people I know far less well but they still affect me that way.

Yesterday I did something I do far too often. I went to Columbus Circle to get my mail but left so late the timing was close. There was a two minute delay on the train and that was enough to make me just miss the so I got to the post office one minute late. If the crowd on the platform had just let the people off the train I'd have made it.

Then I had a few hours to kill. I used them up trying to figure out how to kill a few hours. I ended up not having time for a nice dinner and got 99 pizza. I should do that for lunch when I'm teaching. Sure it's not great pizza and they are small slices but two slices and a can of soda for $2.50 is a great deal. I almost paid that much for my dessert, a mini-chocolate pie from the pie place on Broadway and 53rd.

I then headed back to Brooklyn to see Karen Dahlstrom at Jalopy the heart of Brooklyn's traditional folk scene. The schedule said "8:30 Open Mic 9:00 Karen Dahlstrom" I walked in at 8:45 and there was nothing going on. I was asked if I was there for the open mic. It hadn't started yet. I said I was there to see Karen,. That seemed to confuse him for a second then said it was next door. I had no idea they had bought the bar. First time I went to Jalopy that's what I walked into. But a year and a half ago they bought it and renamed it The Jalopy Tavern. That's where Karen was. I wish I had known. They have food, good cheap food. I ordered the jalapeo tater tots and a diet coke. I love the tots.

It is terribly suited as a music venue but this seems to be the new thing, at least in Brooklyn. It's a typical bar space, a long narrow room and the performer stands in the middle against the wall. The audience is off to the sides. She can't face the audience as they are in opposite directions. Not good for acoustics either. And this is a place that really cares about the music. I love Jalopy. It isn't just a theater. It's a school and a place for the traditional music community to meet. It's a cultural treasure.

Speaking of treasure lets get to Karen. She's in Bobtown, one of my favorite musical discoveries last NERFA. She also has a solo career that has a very different sound. She's your basic folk singer. She plays an acoustic guitar and sings folk songs. Some are traditional, some are her own, and some are covers that weren't written as folk songs but that's what she transforms them into. She even yodels! she played for two full hours and held my attention the entire time. She got pipes. She can sing. She can vamp. She was joined by a banjo player who harmonized with her for a few songs. They never played together before. They didn't prepare and pulled it off. That's being a natural musician; Well two natural musicians.

This is the second time I saw her where the audience wouldn't be quiet. To make it worse both times it was musicians that should know better that were talking. I'm not sure these were musicians but I think they came from the school next door. Good thing I grew up in a loud family. We could have five conversations going on at once at dinner so I learned to focus on one and block the rest out.

I spent a lot of time talking to Karen at First Acoustics on Saturday even though I had lots of friends I know better there. That's something I would have never done years ago. I am naturally shy. I made a conscious effort to overcome that. I was lonely and didn't want to be lonely. So I worked at overcoming my fear of approaching people. It worked. In fact I just decided that I'm not longer shy inside. I just used to be shy. Sure I sometimes get butterflies in my stomach. Yes there are times I can't do it. But I think most people are like that and a term loses its value if it describes most people. I'm not shyer than average.

I have been talking about things like that with my therapist, it's called cognitive behavior therapy. This is something I did on my own, long before I started seeing a shrink. It isn't working on my big problems with anxiety but it's still what I have the most hope for. It's about changing the way you deal with things, the way you think.

It's even helps with something I still have problems with, being easily hurt. I live a lot of my life inside my head. It's hard to judge that sort of thing but I think more than most people. Lots of that spills out here. I think about everything. But that doesn't mean I dont need other people. I do, a lot. One situation I have trouble with is being pushed away, or just ignored, by someone I care about. It's going over to talk to a friend at a party and not getting anything back when you try to talk or even simply not being able to have a conversation with the person. What I do now in social situations like that is instead of moping, what I've done most of my life moving on to somebody else. If there isn't a friend to talk to then talk to a stranger or someone I know less well. All conversations aren't equal and it can still bother me but not nearly as much. I'm thinking of a situation that I think of as a really good day where I couldn't talk to people I really felt a need to talk to. But it clearly wasn't a need. It's good to remind myself of things like that.

On a related note a good friend wrote me to apologize for not being friendly. There was absolutely no need. she was legitimately busy. I could see that. I do exactly the same thing, "dont' talk to me I have to " Some things require all your attention. So I wrote back and told her that she didn't have to apologize. She didn't have to but it was really sweet that she did and it makes me happy.

Sometimes it's a longer term thing and a friend seems cold, not at a moment but repeatedly. That's something that is very hard for me to deal with. What I try is "it's not me it's him (or her)." I know with my anxiety I sometimes, too often, have trouble reaching out to people. I just can't call them. It isn't them. It IS me. Why shouldn't that happen to other people? Now yes I never act cold when that happens. If we do talk I apologize, profusely. I feel terrible and let the person know but perhaps others don't react that way and even doing that causes anxiety or whatever her or his issue is.

This is getting long but while thinking about this something else worked its way into my head. I had a lot of walking to do yesterday and this is what goes on when I walk, I mental blog. How often have you seen or been in this situation. A does something that bothers B. B reacts in a way that A takes as an overreaction and over-reacts back. The entire situation escalates. Now in my mind what is supposed to happen is that the next day or next time you talk you realize that you value the friendship far more than you are hurt by the over-reaction and you make up. It is what usually happens. Usually but not always. I had one friend who in a situation like this said things that weren't just in the heat of the moment. Things that show that on some level she doesn't respect me. I did still value her friendship and I let bygones be bygones but we've never been as close since.

That was just cognitive behavior therapy because I was really thinking of the other situation, where I'm not the one forgiven. I find that so hard to deal with. I try and think of the shoe being on the other foot because that's always a good thing to do. But I also try to accept it as one of the things I cannot change. It is not me it's him or her. All I can do is wait.

Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Late to Bed and Late to Rise - September 30, 2017
On Your Feet or On Your Knees - September 29, 2017
Why Life Doesn't End on Closing Day - September 28, 2017
Anna and King of I Am - September 27, 2017

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Horvendile June 05, 2013
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