I could blame it on my computer, but the reality is that I didn’t get off my ass this past week to write anything. My aging MacBook is reaching the end of its lifespan, it seems, and I don’t have the cash to replace it right now, as I’ve got to make some amends with the taxman, to make up a fraction of what Mitt Romney isn’t paying. But the honest-to-goodness explanation is that I haven’t made the time.
So, I will be back sooner than later. Promise. —Jackson Griffith
Comrades, I return from the socialist paradise of Obamastan bringing great tidings! Which is to say, my bee-yotches, that I’m gonna start writing again, because that seems to be one of the things I do well when I apply myself. So, rather than kick off with a really long-winded post, I’m gonna start out simple, kinda.
Where have I been? You know, working, coming home, practicing a bunch of tunes I’ve written on guitar, staying out of trouble, living a boring life, sleeping, getting up, lather, rinse, repeat. It’s hardly the stuff of wonderful comedy. The biggest excitement lately has been the parking lot wars in my apartment complex, which culminated in a jeremiad posted on everyone’s door that included tow-truck threats, stuff about the pool that I never use, and a new sticker, one allotted for each apartment.
Here’s hoping that puts a crimp on those ladies in the back apartment, who take up two spaces plus one more sometimes when one of their boyfriends stays over. Not that it’s a hassle or anything; I can go park on the street if the lot’s full. But I like parking back there since I pay rent here. Stupid, huh? I mean, the rent is reasonable, and I only have to put up with the orgasmic moans of one of my downstairs neighbors once in a while, which can be amusing if you yourself are finding satisfaction somewhere, but when you’re going through a drought, the effect of hearing that can be mild butthurt escalating to full-on crankiness.
The remarkable thing is that I’m not getting cranky or even butthurt, even though this has been one of the more prolonged droughts of my existence since my pre-sexual years. Aside from one brief emotional rocket-ride-slash-crash-and-burn earlier this year that I may or may not have completely hallucinated, I’ve been pretty much the mystified lone single since Jerry Brown got elected governor to replace that little orange Schwarzenshmeggege fellow. The last time ol’ Jer was governor, he supposedly was getting sideways with Linda, and I was working in a record store and dodging the amorous advances of horny MILFs left and right, not to mention getting busy with plenty of fine ladies closer to my age. So I can’t blame Governor Moonbeam, but these days I have a happy day if some sweet lady smiles at me, or gives me a hug.
Anyhoo, it’s gonna be time for Plan B, methinx. Gonna hook me up some fly suits, a low-riding Cadillac, and a new body of mellow but sexxxy songs with a lot more of an Al Green or Marvin Gaye feel, maybe. Gonna get me a band that can walk the jawaka right out into the audience and drop some panties, and I’m gonna work on my neo-soul man act. Yes, that’s it: If I can combine Al Green and Marvin Gaye with maybe a little Leonard Cohen and perhaps a touch of Serge Gainsbourg, I most likely won’t be complaining about any dearth of lovin’ down the line.
Or, maybe I’m just done and don’t know it. Ergo, shuffleboard, horseshoes, bocce ball. More soon. —Jackson Griffith
Figure no one is bothering to read this thing anymore. It isn’t that I’ve lost the passion for writing. More like, until I can get enough money together for a new computer, I won’t be posting much. This wonderful old ‘puter has been quite good to me (well, except for a couple of buttmunched hard drives), but it’s a tad touchy these days, and the battery life is not nearly as robust as it once was.
I’m just not sure what to say these days. I’m surprised that it’s taken this long for people to get really pissed off in this country, but therein lies the power of shiny objects. We got so lulled into distraction by foist after foist after foist that we didn’t see the foundation and structure of the house we lived in getting taken apart underneath us while we were hypnotized by whatever distractions were being sent our way to keep from noticing how bad things were getting.
So why am I not out there standing with the 99 percent? I dunno. Maybe it’s because when my life fell apart a few years ago, I was relatively alone, while so many people I knew were fat and happy. I lost a wife, a family, a house, a car, a lot of other stuff, a job, and enough of what I once thought was my life that I was pretty sure what was left was going to end soon. And then things started getting better, around the time a lot of other people I know started going through hardships. And now, there’s a job I have to get to five mornings a week, and a lot of things to learn, so I honestly don’t have time, or maybe it’s the inclination, to sit with others in the park.
It isn’t that I’m not in accord. Hell, most politicians, by my observation, seem to spend the lion’s share of their time jerking off contributors to help fund the next election cycle, and most of those contributors seem to be corporations, banks or other vested interests. It doesn’t take a person of brilliance to figure how that’s all going to play out. But didn’t it once seem that banks and other instruments of greed would try to maintain a modicum of sustainability, and would make sure to keep their customers alive enough to pay their notes? These days, it’s like we’re all roaches being fed to assassin bugs, who stab their razor-sharp proboscises into our bodies and suck our insides out like we’re just tasty milkshakes, then leave our dried-out husks by the side of the road as they speed toward the next victims.
So it’s a Sunday night, and my schmattes are in the dryer, and I figured it was time for an update, so hey. Off to work tomorrow with clean clothes. Gonna record some music tomorrow night, if it all works out. I’ll do the next week as well as I can, one day at a time and all that. Life is good, or at the very least okay. Yeah, I’m just your basic loner weirdo, who’s left his dreams by the side of the road with the dead bugs the bankers sucked dry. I’m not bummed to be in this involuntary monk mode anymore; I’ve just let go of all those movie scripts that were clogging up my waking and sleeping consciousness, so now I can just do life without expectation of dreams come true.
And that’s all right. Really, it is. —Jackson Griffith
This has been the blog version of a dead letter office for way too long. I’d had another writing project, a personal one that has nothing to do with publication, hanging over my head for a good amount of time, and I got away from posting here. Which is a mistake, really, because getting back that writer’s discipline is going to take some work. I probably won’t be here every day, but two or three times a week ought to be a reasonable goal.
Anyway, good to be back doing this, at least right now in this moment. What’s been going on is work (this is a good thing, for someone who spent two and a half years out of work), recovery work, and then just the leisure of coming home and trying to improve my guitar technique from working out of tablature books. Mostly I’ve been doing a slow boat to China through a couple of books of songs by James Taylor, which is kinda funny because that was so not my taste in music for a really long time. But one cannot deny the absolute mastery and depth of his guitar style and technique, and learning even a few of his songs has helped me deepen my own finger-style guitar technique.
So, well, my life is pretty boring these days, really. I live alone, got no cat or dog or even anything remotely resembling a sweetie, and I’ve just been trying to be a better person. Some days, that works out pretty well. Other days, not so much; I make a bad decision or revisit an old resentment I should have let go of long ago and give it renewed life, and that really doesn’t do anyone much good.
So here it is a Sunday morning, and I’m sitting in a laundromat typing this as my stuff spins in the dryers. I got up pretty early, a little later than when I normally get up to go to work, but still pretty early for a Sunday morning, and early enough to beat the rush here. Pretty soon, people will be shlepping their baskets and hampers in here, and it becomes harder to find an open machine, not to mention a place to sit and relax. I’m kind of surprised that I got here before 49ers Guy, who occupies the only bench that’s close to a power outlet, and sits, sans computer, reading Star Wars “novels” while decked out in Niners swag. Maybe it’s because his teal plays this morning at 10 a.m., and he didn’t want to miss the game. That, of course, is fine by me.
I’m going to clear out of here in a bit, maybe swing by the open air Farmer’s Market but probably not, and then hit this meeting I go to on Sunday mornings, because an old friend who was here when I got sober 19 years ago is chairing, and it’s his last meeting here before he moves to Oregon where the more humid air and weather suits his medical condition better than this hot, dry valley. I keep telling myself that I’m going to stop going to that meeting, because it’s a “tag” format — one person talks, and tags the next person, who tags the next after he or she is done, and it usually turns into a daisy chain of the same people every week, many of whom ran out of cogent things to say a long time ago. There’s this one clown-like guy who shows up halfway through the meeting, sits right up front, and invariably gets called on. I’m pretty tired of hearing his shtick at this point, so oftentimes I vote with my feet and leave. But today is goodbye to my old pal Dave, so I’ll have to stick it out.
How’s that for boring? Time to fold my schmattes already. See ya. —Jackson Griffith
I suck. I just haven’t been able to write lately. I don’t know what’s wrong with me; usually the words just flow. But instead, I typically sit idle in my batcave of an apartment, trying to elevate my guitar playing from the rudimentary to something more complex and tantalizing. I’m not sure I even know why I do it, because 56-year-old white-guy singer-songwriters aren’t exactly the rage on the local club circuit, especially if they come with that dynamite cocktail of performer’s insecurity and entitled butthurt that I’m guessing I must be projecting to the bookers.
Which is sad, because I have a number of pieces composed in my head. I just have to write them, and hope that I haven’t lost my touch. But fuck that; I know what I’m doing. I had a nice long conversation with my first serious girlfriend today; she lives in Minnesota now, where one of them deer ticks bit her and laid her up with a gnarly case of Lyme disease. Anyway, we were discussing this whole business of writing or making music or creating, and how we can’t expect others to validate what we’re doing to give us the strength to go on (although it’s pretty nice whenever it happens), and I had one of them cartoon-light-bulb-over-the-head moments: What separates the true artist from the rest of humanity is that the true artist doesn’t need other people to tell them they’re on the right track. The true artist already knows.
There’s your nugget of pondering for today. —Jackson Griffith
Nah, I haven’t been on vacation or anything. I just went through a period where I didn’t have a whole lot to say that wasn’t about some navel-gazing crapola about me me me, so I decided to take one of them hiatuses until I could sort things out. I still haven’t sorted it out, but I’ll probably be back more regular-like, especially when I figure out how to post recordings of some tunes I’ve written and recorded.
Lately, I’ve been working. That, and practicing guitar, trying to bring my playing up to the point where I’m too damn good to ignore. That may take a while. Other than that, I started circumnavigating the park up the street a few laps; I try to do it several times a week, if not every night. I wish I were that perfect, but no. Some days, the time just seems to slip away. Oh, and I’m eating way more salads. Huzzah!
The best part is that my formerly heavy mood has lightened considerably. Till nest time. —Jackson Griffith
Okay, so I figured that before I pull the hard drive out of this MacBook thingee and give it back to the guy I borrowed it from, I should post something on this blog in case anyone wonders how to get hold of me. Not that you might want to, but I’m gonna give you the option if you like. I may be back soon, or more likely it will be a while. I’m working again, but I’ve got some, ahem, government-style amends going on right now that are taking a pretty nice bite out of the ol’ paycheck, and that imposed poverty’s going to be going on for a while, so it’s likely to be later rather than sooner that I can get a replacement hard drive for this troubled MacBook and then get it serviced and back up to snuff. I’m prepared to not be posting anything online until sometime after, oh, 2010 turns into 2011. Which isn’t the situation I’d prefer, but that’s just the way it goes. I’m not Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, or Kim Kardashian, or even David Hasselhoff, and I haven’t figured out how to get paid for being a groovy guy or how to channel money from the aether. I’m stuck.
Not to mention somewhat of an idiot. Not only did I lose the under-warranty hard drive that I was going to send back to get a replacement during my recent move, but I also lost all the Mac OS X program discs, so I won’t be able to get this thing back up even when I do get a new drive. Being that rare combination of frustrated and stupid, I’m too flummoxed right now to figure it out. After a few good nights’ sleep and maybe some quality food, I will figure out what the next step is. Right now, I don’t. I’m too mad at myself for messing up once again. Yes, I am an idiot, or a moron, or a cretin, or whatever.
Anyway, there’s always notebooks, and music. I want to continue this blog, but I can’t access it from work, nor should I access it from work. Work is work. Writing blog stuff is just one of my avocations. But if you’d like to get in touch with me, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I can access that on Mondays through Fridays, and on the weekends, well, mental telepathy works, unless you want to call me.
Have a really great holiday, and maybe I’ll see some of you around town. Or, maybe I won’t, if I get too embarrassed to own my recent rash of dumbness. I can’t remember a week when I’ve lost my phone so many times like I have this past one. I feel like I’ve had a lobotomy, or else I’ve been doing stand-up comedy with mortgage brokers and life-insurance salesmen. The operating word is feel.
Anyway, happy solstice-related shenanigans. Warmly yours, Jackson Griffith.
Remember what I was saying about hey, it’s good to be back, and more soon, I promise? Well, I kinda jumped the gun. I’m going to be going offline now, maybe for a while, and I won’t be able to access this blog or Facebook, at least until I get a replacement hard drive for this troubled MacBook, and then get this computer serviced or overhauled or whatever it’s going to take to bring it back to the living and functional.
The good news is, I’m working. The bad news is that I’m probably going to be broke for a while, or diverting my capital resources to other, more pressing obligations, and so it won’t be right away that you see much from me. Which may turn out to be a good thing. At least I’m going to look on the bright side and take that tack, and catch up on some other things, like reading and Top Ramen recipes. So be well, have a great holiday season, give somebody a big hug and I’ll catch up with you all down the road.
Gosh darn, if I’da had the $300 extra for that AppleCare warranty three years ago …. —Jackson Griffith
Enough of apologies. I ain’t sorry. I just haven’t felt like writing much. Which might have something to do with the change in the weather, or my reluctance to embrace the oncoming holiday season, or something. Suffice it to say that I’ve fallen hard away from the discipline of daily oversharing. Maybe I’ll get back up to speed. Maybe not.
So here it is a Sunday morning, and I’m sitting in a laundromat typing away. ‘Tis a good feeling, having hit the Safeway for more detergent and other sundries, and Peet’s for some coffee, and then the outdoor farmer’s market for some fresh fruit, vegetables and honey, and now here I am at a little after 9 a.m. with my laundry almost done washing and ready to go into the dryer.
For a while I hadn’t written anything; I went through one of those seasonal dark nights of the soul that seems to be par for the course around this time every year, and the resulting darkengloomenwhatthefuckdoidonowensnurfen, or whatever the right German word for that is, and just general angsty angst kinda kept me from writing anything. I mean, the Giants won the frickin’ World Series, and a bunch of other good things happened, and I couldn’t get it together to write anything. Such is life, no?
So now, at least this morning, writing feels good. Lately, I’ve been more inclined to get home, fix dinner and pick up the guitar than I’ve felt like writing. I have this huge backlog of songs that I’ve written over the years, and it’s become really important to work out arrangements to them and practice them to the point that, should I ever get lucky enough to play another gig, or be stupid enough to stumble through the gauntlet of ego-crushing inanities that make up the average open-mic night, at least I’ll be ready. I’ve really been wanting to sit down with Kevin Seconds or somebody else who might have sage advice on how to construct a really killer set, but so far I’ve just chickened out.
In fact, chicken is my middle name, even if I no longer eat yardbird. I’m working on making some really positive changes, especially so that I can make amends to people who helped me out during the couple of years I wandered in the wilderness of not having a job or a fixed address. If any of you should read this, I just want you to know how grateful I am. And so now comes the hard work of making good and righting balances and doing what we in certain circles call the serious footwork. I don’t know why I’m so willing all of a sudden; maybe that I’m so very tired of living with pain, whether it comes in a dull chronic thrum or an acute and overwhelming blitzkrieg, and I’m tired of watching opportunities go whizzing by because I’m too damned incapacitated to deal.
So here I sit on a warm, nearly winter Sunday morning, typing on a bench in a laundromat. The sun is out, which makes for a healthy antidote to seasonal affective disorder, and my clothes are in the dryer, which means that all I gotta do is fold ’em and go home and put them away, and that part of the deal is done. Then, a little housecleaning. Yeah, boring, mundane, shoot me and all that, but life just seems to function better for me when things are reasonably squared away.
Tomorrow, back to it. One of the stupid little things I regret now is that I never stopped in for breakfast at Rockin’ Robin’s off the Jahant Road exit on Highway 99; sometime around Thanksgiving, I drove by there and the giant bass guitar and all the crude hand-lettered signage were gone, and the building was empty. I’d fantasized about going in there and, although the risk of ptomaine and other gnarly gastrointestinal afflictions seemed high from the looks of the place, ordering breakfast from some proprietor who, in my head, was my age, but had kept it up with all the cocktails and recreationals over the years, and now was cooking dog’s breakfasts for anyone clueless enough to stumble through his doors, while peppering them with questions about now-obscure late ’60s and early ’70s English boogie bands: “Who do you think was better, Blodwyn Pig or Budgie?” Or maybe want to argue the finer points of Jethro Tull lyrics.
These are the stupid things I think about sometimes. I’m still like this weird little kid who would seize upon one thing like a dog with a chew toy, and wring everything out of it; such is the occasionally rampant Asperger’s geek in me. Like Jahant Road: Did you know that “the Jahant” — pronounced “jay-hant” (two even syllables, second one’s vowel sounds like the “a” in “hand”) — is now an American viticulture region? This would necessitate the changing of the pronunciation of Jahant to “zha-HAWN,” to rescue the word from Okified English and put it in a context where pretentious Saab-driving oenophiles won’t stumble over it. There’s a lot more, like the San Joaquin County obituaries I found when looking up stuff about Charles and Peter Jahant, and, well ….
Well, my laundry’s done dried, and I gotta fold the schmattes and blow this popsicle stand.
More later. I promise. —Jackson Griffith
So sorry to have forgotten you, my good friend the blog. I have missed you, missed typing my little updates into your pages, missed the longer extrapolations pulled out of the netherworlds of my cranial downmarket caucasian neighborhoods, the ones with the rusting Plymouth Dusters on blocks in the oil-stained driveway behind the waist-high cyclone fences, with the goat tied to the passenger-side door and the rottweilers feigning sleep but growling at imaginary cats from under the porch.
Truth be told, I couldn’t write there for a spell. I lost my mojo. I’ve still lost it, but I’m feeling this broke-ass hillbilly vibe this Friday night, and I’m sitting here all by my lonesome typing out a bunch of nonsense to try to get something started again in the scrivener department. But lately I’ve been feeling all jinky, janky, saditty and dicty, all rolled into one not very bad-ass whiteboy sense of autumnal malaise. I don’t know what the problem is, really. I’ve done a bunch of things to try to right the ship, but I still feel like a bad robot in a cut-rate Japanese horror film, where everything is wired just a little bit wrong so the damned thing goes to move and it’s like it’s clanking apart. I’d rather not go into the particulars, but thangs’ve gotten kinda hincty for me here going into the holidays, which one person I know who normally has sterling predictive abilities assured me months a go would be a season of bee’s knees. More like a gosh-darned head full of spiders.
And so, after having crawled back from my own personal refugee camp over the course of the past few months, now it’s starting to sink in that I’ve got a lot of work to do to get back to even keel, and a lot of amends to make and bills to pay and old scores to settle, and who knows what else. It’s just weighing on me pretty heavily, and all I’ve wanted to do is hole up and play hermit. That isn’t the answer, of course, but lately I’ve been in Walter Sobchak’s world of pain, psychically speaking, like I stepped over some unseen line when I was trying to roll a nice strike or even a spare and the universe keeps yelling “You’re over the line! Mark it zero! Mark it zero!”
Shoot, maybe I’ll go for a walk in the park. On second thought, though, um, no. —Jackson Griffith