“You know, eighty-five percent of all homeless rickshaw businesses fail within the first three months.”

I’m having a day.  I have a lot on my mind of late.  I feel the need to express some vulnerabilities and flaws.  (Please, don’t hurt me for it.)  I talked on the phone with the woman who was my buddy in basic training earlier.  She explained I’ve hurt her feelings because the only time we communicate is when she contacts me.  I felt like crying, but I didn’t.  She said she wants us to be close again.  This is confusing to me.  I didn’t know we stopped.

I have no idea what took place between us to lessen the bond.  I love her dearly.  I have all along.  She’s a beautiful person.  Plus, she significantly improved my Sesame Street-level Spanish.  She survived basic training with me.  It’s one of the tightest bonds I’ve ever formed with a non-family member.  I didn’t know it mattered who initiated contact.  How can time weaken a friendship?  I don’t understand.  It’s like saying, I love you when I’m standing near you, but when I’m far away, my feelings change.

I told her I was confused, but I also apologized and asked her to tell me the rules.  (It’s an inside joke.)  She laughed and said she needs me to contact her once a month for no reason.  I’m relieved to know.  She said it’s not a universal rule, which frustrates the crap out of me, but at least I know what data to collect.  I told her she can count on it.  I’m going to contact her twice a month to make up for the fact I’m clearly using my calendar.  (I’m an optimist.)

It will take a while for my heart to stop aching over this.  I don’t know how to explain why I suck at being a friend.  I only have hints to work with.  I feel like I spend my entire life walking on eggshells.  They feel more like landmines.  It’s not for lack of effort on my part.  It seems like what I intuit is often wrong.  From there, I usually end up overcorrecting, which makes it worse.  By the time I find the golden zone, most people have decided to cut their losses and move on.

People are like art.  Each a universe of information and potential.  As with art, interpretation is everything.   The closer you observe, the more you get in return.  If it’s music, close observation entails repetitive listening with intense focus.  With people, you have to worry about observing too carefully or too often.  Most people feel vulnerable when scrutinized.  My working rule is to allow others to decide when they’re open to it.  (I devour what’s shared consensually and no further.)

The problem lies in the fact people usually express their discomfort in secret code.  I say secret code because the hints given vary widely from person to person.  (Aside from outright proclaiming, “Hey! Take a picture, it last’s longer!”)  All my data is from past failures:  I ask too many questions.  That’s a big one.  I ask weird questions.  Questions nobody ever asked them before, and they don’t have an answer already loaded, which is apparently annoying.

What I understand, is that people don’t really want to be as present in the company of others as is currently in vogue, but prefer popping in and out at will.  (I’m working on this, too.)  “Keep it light.”  “Don’t be so deep.”  “You’re too intense.”  “Relax.”  I hear it a lot.  I’m trying.  It’s counterintuitive and exceedingly counterproductive to my goal of understanding and relating to others.   I know it’s possible.  Other people do it all the time.  I just have to decipher the secret code.  (This is why I use a smartphone as an external hard drive for my meat brain.)

I need a computer to mostly fail at being a good friend.  Oofda.  I’m grateful I have a smartphone to help turn always fail into mostly fail.  I’m making progress.  I just hope the singularity occurs soon.  I’m going to need a lot more time at this rate.  I’m off to play my violin to some cows.  I need to spend some time with creatures I understand for a while.  Then I’m going to design an electronic drum kit for my foster brother who has cerebral palsy.  In exchange, he gave me his old Tama Cobra 600 single bass pedal!  He’s also going to show me why the way I set up my kit is apparently wrong, and give me other tips.  (He’s an excellent drummer.)  🙃

It’s fusilli Jerry.

The rest of my Stevie Nicks music and videos arrived yesterday.  I’m further along with the In Your Dreams documentary.  I had to pause again when Stevie Nicks went to visit military people at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital.  The footage was from 2005, so it was a few years after I was at Walter Reed.  As a disabled veteran, there aren’t words for how much we appreciate such visits.

I’m overwhelmed in a good way.  First I find a unicorn in plain sight (Stevie Nicks,) then I discover she makes rainbows in her spare time.  I don’t know a better way to express it.  I’ve been beating on my drums, trying to match Mick Fleetwood beat for beat on Dreams from the Rumours album.  The first time, I spent most of the song like a deer in headlights.  I didn’t want to mess up the song by playing wrong notes, but I wasn’t ready to play the right ones.

It turns out; I needed to learn how to play the blues first.  I practice the forty drum rudiments, then play along to blues songs in my drum module.  At some point, it clicked.  Now I like the blues.  I didn’t recognize the rock connection before now.  Now I can match him for the first half of the song consistently.  Unfortunately, I get too excited at that point and ruin it.  At least it makes me laugh, and I won’t stop until I can nail it every time.  Good thing I love practicing.

After playing on a studio grade acoustic kit for two hours, I figured out why acoustic drums are necessary.  While my electronic drum kit is all kinds of awesome, it’s a different experience.  I  remember the fullness of sound being nearly tangible while playing the acoustic kit.  I still smile when I think about it.  I plan on booking more time on the acoustic kit in the future.  Real cymbals are fucking fabulous compared to electronic versions.  I can’t wait till next time.

 

I’ve been dating a guy I met at the gym for just over a year now.  I adore him, but he’s getting on my nerves.  His sister is visiting from India, and I’m spending more time with her than him.  It’s logical to me because she goes home in August.  I told him I’d rather hang out with her if I have to choose.  He said I don’t have to choose.  I’m glad.  His sister likes Stevie Nicks as much as I do.  He asked if we could watch something else while we were watching the documentary.  🙄

I have a feeling he’s not going to be thrilled by the rest of the videos.  Welp.  His sister and I have a Twilight marathon in the works, to boot.  I think he has to work this weekend, anyway.  I understand he wants me to spend more time with him doing what he wants to do.  We’ll have to talk about it again from this more accurate perspective.  I’m sure we can work something out.  I’m off to firm up plans for a Twilight marathon.  Squee!

So he’s Bizarro Jerry.

I took some photos of my drum kit (and more.)  This is the visual reference for my previous post.  I decorate my home with things that inspire me, amuse me, and make me feel comfortable being myself.  Aside from family and maintenance, very few people are invited into my space.  But you can see lousy photos instead!  Yay!  I’ve been purging my excess possessions in phases, but the following images will prove I need to keep working on it.  It’s probably odd I feel sharing photos of my home is an intimate glimpse into my me-ness.  Think of it as a hug.

 

My name is George. I’m unemployed and I live with my parents.

I feel like I could go back to bed and sleep for hours.  I did sleep last night, but it wasn’t good sleep.  I lay down unusually early (around midnight).  I awoke at 3:42 AM, to see how much time I had before my cat got hungry.  I decided it wasn’t enough time to bother going back to sleep.  Soon after, Amelia Bedelia came tearing into the room at top speed.  She has a new trick where she stands beside me, leans over, and without bending her legs, plops on top of me like I’m her personal ball pit.  Upon impact, she makes a high pitched little grunt sound, then looks at me.  It cracks me up every time.

My new Yamaha 12″ textured silicon snare arrived yesterday.  It feels huge to me as my toms are 3 x 8″ and the 10″ pad I constructed.  I’m so in love with my drum kit now. (I know! I should totally marry it!)  I put the new snare on a PDP chrome snare stand I got from Musicians Friend.  It was the cheapest one from a familiar brand.  It’s too high, but I just raised my throne.  It pinched my fingers when I set it up.  It hurt so badly I couldn’t even swear at first, but it was just a flesh wound.  😂  The Yamaha DTX 502 drum module has training tools and built-in songs of various music genres.  The first time I tested my timing, I got a 62 out of 100.  Naturally, I continued testing until I got a 97, (ego sufficiently stroked.)

My issue is my hi-hat.  I’m having trouble positioning it correctly.   (I should suck it up and buy the proper hi-hat/pedal.)  I love the look and shape of the curved tubes, but adjusting them is difficult.  I put just my hi-hat and module on the left arm.  I’m researching a laptop mount.  My crash and ride are posts-mounted.  I should have gotten bigger cymbals.  I got all 10″ 3-zone cymbals.  They’ll do.  The rim trigger is spotty, though.  Fortunately, at my skill level, this matters not.  I still haven’t RTFM for the module.  Several reviews claimed you had to read it to set up non-Yamaha triggers.  (False.)

I did notice a few who said it was too complex and they returned it.  My Alesis dual trigger 8″ mesh toms were plug and play.  The mesh pad I constructed was plug and play as a single trigger pad.  I ordered a splitter to make it dual.  Yamaha is brilliant for selling this module at such an incredibly low price ($269).  The comparable Roland module costs double.  Both Yamaha and Roland use proprietary equipment, which irks me, but they also both justify it with excellence.  I discovered I can jump up to the next level Yamaha module for $599 (if I ever find it necessary, which is hard to imagine now.)

The price for the same American module (warranty) is $799.  If I buy it directly from Japan (no warranty), it’s $599.  I can’t read Japanese, but I don’t see myself reading the fucking manual anyway.  So 1980’s.  I just type my question into a browser and find all sorts of people who wondered the same thing on forums.  Some of whom RTFM.  Some individuals enjoy sharing this information online, and others enjoy reading it.  A good time for all and fewer dead trees.  (I know, but it sounds good.)

I sold my big ass TV on Craigslist.  It’s one of the perks of living in South Dakota.  Craigslist works better than eBay in smallish towns.  (You’re far less likely to get ripped off by someone when you can take umbrage in person, I suppose.)  I loved the TV; I just didn’t think ahead when I bought it four years ago.  I don’t like owning things I can’t move.  It was too big (55″).  I ordered a smaller (49″) replacement through MassDrop.  It’s a crowdsourcing site, which means I got a good deal, but it won’t arrive anytime soon.  They estimate shipping on May 29th.  Having ordered lots of quilting and mechanical keyboard supplies in the past, I estimate mid-June.  I propped a canvas of my artwork on the TV stand in the meantime.

I have a hard time watching movies on giant screens.  It’s overstimulating.  My 5.1 surround sound has triggered more than one panic attack, as well.  Hearing shit going on behind me when I’m home alone is not cool.  It’s rare I can tolerate things with suspense.  It bothers me how much media I have to avoid.  I love movies like Minority Report and The Matrix.  I would like to watch Gattaca right now.  I love so many films I rarely have the stamina to watch.  At least I’m okay with comedies and animation.  I think I’m going to watch My Neighbor Totoro.  I’ve been helping a friend unload her Uhaul and it’s hot outside.  I need to be still for a while so my body can figure out I’m not doing heavy labor anymore (before I start hurling.)  I’ll try photographing my kit later.  Just a reminder:  I suck at photography.  (Didn’t RTFM.)

You were making out during Schindler’s List?

 

I’ve been upgrading my electronic drum kit.  Nothing from the original kit survived.  (I’m using the entry setup for Rockband, instead.)  I got a beautiful, shiny rack.  It took me an embarrassingly long time to assemble it.  It didn’t come with any instructions, and the Gibralter website sucks.  So I studied what is possibly the only photo on the internet of this particular rack, and winged it.  (Every musician site I visited had the same description and photo pasted from the Gibraltar website.)

It’s all curved, which made it more difficult than the straight poles on the entry kit.  It looks great.  So shiny.  I got the Yamaha DTX502 module.  I also got three 8″ Alesis mesh pads, each for cheaper than it cost me to make one.  I did a lot of research to find what will help me improve and get the most for my money.  It’s so quiet now.  I decided to try Yamaha’s electronic 3 zone choke-able cymbals.  I love them so much, I ordered the Yamaha 12″ 3 zoned textured silicone snare.  It hasn’t arrived yet, but I’m excited.  I’m not skilled enough to justify the Roland TD 30K V-Pro kit (yet).  I’m using trigger pedals instead of a traditional hi-hat pedal and kick pedal because people live below me.

I also have 2 rug pads, a wool rug, and a thick workout mat under my kit.  It’s my third kit, but the first one never even made it out of the boxes.  It was a Roland TD-11K V-drum kit.  It went to a nephew with an acoustic kit whose neighbors were complaining.  I didn’t have the heart to tell his parents I gave him the amp, too.  He promised to use headphones at home.  He plays for their church now.  I wish he were local so he could have helped me set up the new rack.  Now that it’s done, I do feel a sense of accomplishment.  Even though it took me a really long time.  I’m cracking myself up.  I started assembling it at around 6 PM because Seinfeld was on.  I wiped all my fingerprints (and a few tears) off just after 3 AM.

I took a few frustration breaks.  I distinctly recall playing with Amelia Bedelia when she dragged her string toy into the mix, too.  It was so cute!  I have a habit of narrating what I assume my cat is thinking.  (I blame Mystery Science Theater 3000.)  I’m pretty confident she sees herself as the Queen, and I’m her faithful servant (who occasionally forgets her place.)  I hope all cat owners do this.  Cats suck at playing fetch.  One time, years ago, I tossed a plastic cat toy down the hall, and she chased after it like a puppy.  Unfortunately, when she discovered what I tossed wasn’t edible, she decided she was done with fetch forever, I think.

Her idea of fun is playing Peek-a-boo, I’m Gonna Get You.  I have a love/hate relationship with the game.  It makes me laugh really hard, but it also can trigger a panic attack.  It’s not like playing with a toddler.  She stalks then pounces, but never when I anticipate.  I’ll think she wandered off and peek around the corner to see her little butt shaking in preparation to get me.  One time, I looked at the same time as she pounced and we banged heads.  It was hilarious, but I suppose you had to be there.  She has a few blankets I rotate for her to drag around.  She knows they belong to her, which surprised me.  My nephew tried to borrow one, and she had a cow, so I made him give it to her.  She sat on it and stared him down for a while.

I made the wrong decision of narrating her hissy fit in front of my then 13-year-old nephew.  He started doing it too.  Only, his narration turned my beautiful, sweet cat into a sarcastic little shit waiting for me to die so she can eat me.  (It was still funny, though.)  I’m off to serve breakfast to her majesty.

It’s like my brain is facing my penis in a chess game.

I laughed when I chose today’s Seinfeld quote.  Mostly because I love referring to my (figurative) penis when going postal on a misogynist.  There are few groups I consider fair game for an all-out verbal attack.  Misogynists top the list.  I barely consider them human.  They’re contaminating the gene pool.  They cling to ignorance, and a false sense of superiority like their life depends on it.  It’s sad.  I’m happy to report they’re dying off.  In twenty years the word misogynist will only show up in novels and word games.  Glory days.  In the meantime, they usually insist on identifying themselves within minutes of contact, so at least they’re easy to avoid.

I’ve been enjoying the hell out of my electronic drum kit.  Unfortunately, I damaged the snare drum pad.  Now, It only plays softly no matter how hard I hit it.  Disclaimer:  I void warranties religiously.  I took it apart.  I could fix it for a few bucks, or I could build a better one.  I wasn’t about to fix a cheap rubber snare drum pad.  Clearly, they’re too easy to break.  Although, for a cheap entry kit, I’m astonished by what I got in a good way.  The rack and module alone are worth what I paid for the whole kit.  The drum pads and cymbals are temporary, and I’m in the process of replacing them.

I love the rack because it’s matte black everywhere, it’s compact and sturdy, and I can use standard hardware on it.  I ordered a 10″ rim, some 35mm piezo discs, foam tabs, a 1/4″ instrument input, cables, and a mesh head to make a better snare drum.  It’s now a dual trigger, shiny, mesh pad and is a joy to beat with sticks.  I can do rolls, and the velocity triggers beautifully, too.

I’m debating on how I want to address my hi-hat replacement, which is next.  Part of me thinks I’ll never want an acoustic kit, and shouldn’t limit my choices in that respect going forward.  I much prefer having the sounds from multiple super expensive kits recorded in high-end studios than whatever I could reproduce.  In that instance, I’d prefer using a mesh head pad for my hi-hat and cymbals, too.  It’s a quiet enough trigger that I can practice anytime I want, day or night.  How very attractive to this insomniac.  If I decide against the mesh cymbals, I’m just going to get acoustic cymbals because the rubber and plastic cymbal pads currently being sold are unbelievably shitty substitutes.

I have a tendency to read all night.  I’ve been doing it often since I learned how to read.  I was raised to believe laying still in bed while wearing pajamas counts as sleeping.  The laying still part really means being silent enough not to awaken others.  Laughing out loud at a book while reading is something I’ll admit to often doing.  In my head, I’m in another world where something funny just happened.  Not laughing would be weird.  Immediately after, I feel guilty for making noise.

The guilt part is just a habit at this point.  When Heather died, her diaries were given to me.  (All my siblings kept a journal growing up but only the girls continued in adulthood.)  She wrote about my late night giggles with fondness as an adult.  She wasn’t so fond of them at the time, I recall.  We shared a bedroom until I started 7th grade.  My Mom decorated it, but it looked like Holly Hobby threw up in there to me.  Yellow gingham fabric with lots of ruffles everywhere.

Starting in Junior High, I got to decorate my own room.  Heather was so worried about me having my own room.  She didn’t think I could handle it (Queen of Nightmares is my original title).  Thinking back now it makes me laugh.  She was really the big sister at times.  She was my self-appointed voice for much of my childhood.  At first, it was because I didn’t speak, but later because it amused me so much.  (Heather was always a bit of a loud talker who didn’t hesitate to demand being heard.)  We were opposites in so many ways, but we always had the same sense of humor.  On that nostalgic note, I’m off to continue reading Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving again.  It’s so fucking good.  (That’s my review.)