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
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
November 05, 2016 - 11:09 a.m.
I'm sleepy but I'm going to try and write before coffee. I might very well fail.
I am going to spare you the details of writing about doing my laundry. I know that some of you are heartbroken. How many loads did I do? What brand detergent? What temperature was the water? I have to leave some mystery in my life.
I do have to tell you one thing. I always say that Jane is the nicest person in the world. I might have to rethink that. As I was doing the laundry she said, "I got my Standing Rock Support t-shirt."
I said, "It's standing, it's a rock, it doesn’t need support."
She responded, "Go Fk yourself." Some people just don't appreciate logic or humor.
Last night I went to see Pesky J. Nixon at a house concert in Scarsdale. It was the very first house concert hosted by Bruce and Rebecca. It's PJN so as soon as I go the Facebook invite I said, "yes." I had an issue on how to get there but that was solved when Gene & Isabel went too. I'm pretty much on the way for them. Thanks to traffic we were running a bit late. It looked like we might arrive just as the show was about to start. Isabel pointed out that Ethan takes at least a minute to introduce a song. My reaction was? "A minute? Did he turn into the Flash?" We know these guys very well.
When we arrived, nobody had taken a seat even. It was still at the schmoozing/noshing stage. I checked out the room where the music was, saw a couch up front on the side and grabbed the closest seat to the "stage." Then I schmoozed and noshed. The only ones I knew there were the band, the people I drove up with, and Carter. We ended up being the front row, well not the band; they are too stuck up and didn't sit with us. Everyone in the front row were not just friends of the band but we've all hosted them multiple times. We were described as groupies. I prefer rabid fans.
This was the full band, Jake, Ethan, Dan, and Kara. That required lots of schmoozing and hugging. My seat was right next to Kara. We decided we'd high five during the show.
Pesky J. is clearly one of my bands. They have played the Budgiedome every year but once since I met them. I've gone up to Ethan and Robin's home to see them do a Christmas show. I see them at NERFA even though I don't see people I know at NERFA. I usually see them about five times a year but now it's been ages. Three months ago, is ages. But it's longer if you don't count Falcon Ridge. I'm not sure the last time I saw them do a full show. I don't want my heckling skills to get rusty.
They started off with their hits; their very first song is perhaps my favorite, Talk About Heaven. Then came Atlanta. Ok that's all I remember in order. I can talk about PJN's harmony or songwriting or musicianship. I can discuss how they have great banter but that all misses the mark. I can put it much more concisely; they make me happy. Talk about Heaven but Heaven has nothing on hearing PJN sing Talk About Heaven. Is there anything better you can say about a band? If you see Peaky J. Nixon, you'll come out of the show feeling better than you did coming in.
Near the end of the first set I had an anxiety attack. I know what set it off but it morphed into general anxiety that I couldn't shake. That has not happened since I've been on the Neurontin. I had to use techniques I learned in therapy. I always start with the diaphragm breathing. I have that down pat. It brings down the heart rate and blood pressure. I still felt anxious. I started immersing myself in my sensations. I tried the music but I was too anxious or respond to it; it requires too much intellectual activity on my part. I kept things as primitive as possible. I closed my eyes and concentrated on the tactile senses. I felt the chair under me, my feel on the floor, the temperature. While I was doing that Kara, Ethan, and Jake were singing three-part harmony. I was closest to Kara and she was the only woman singing. After the other preparation, I was ready to focus my mind on the music. I could get in my best listening mode. I could hear Kara separately from Ethan and Jake. Then the two men's voices separated in my mind and I could hear the three voices not just the combination. With that the anxiety was lifted.
Isabel made chocolate cake so I rushed over to that during the break and had some. Chocolate is how I self-medicate. It was wonderful. Then came schmoozing and other snacking.
The second half started with rarely performed songs for the benefit of the front row. One was Ethan solo and on the second he was just joined by Jake. They succeeded, none of us had heard those songs before. I should not state that as a fact as my memory is not good enough to know if that's true. I have a suspicion I heard Ethan's solo song. It might have been off stage. It isn't easy not having a brain.
I was thinking about what songs I would request if they asked. I figured I'd say, Anthony da Costa's Last Call and add that I don't think I need to request their original, Who Will Love You. I also wanted to hear Wagon Wheel but decided that requesting three songs was greedy. With two songs to go Ethan mused, "What should we play." I'm not sure it was a solicitation for a request but I shouted out. "Last Call." I didn't mention the rest. They did Last Call and followed it with Who Will Love You. Then when it was time for an encore Bruce said, "I won't let them out of the house if they don't do this next song." It was Wagon Wheel. I was happy. That was redundant, I told you they make me happy.
We schmoozed for a while then Gene and Isabel drove me home. That saved me over an hour. I'm not sure I could have stayed to the end otherwise. Know what else makes me happy? Spending time with the two of them. It's so much fun talking in the car. I got into my room as close to midnight as I could tell on my analogue watch.
I have two more house concerts by close friends this weekend and they are both at the homes of close friends. We're About 9 is the headliner at both shows. Tonight's is at Coco and Bruce's, different Bruce, in Brooklyn. The Lords of Liechtenstein will be opening. I have to remember to wear argyle.
I'm finishing this right before 11:00, that's exciting.
It's Not America; It's NERFA - November 14, 2016
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