Sunday In The House

Sometimes I swear I’m Huge Laurie from House. A simple twist in the night can send pain shooting through my lower back, down my left leg…pain that shoots straight through to the Vicodin bottle in the medicine cabinet that hangs askew in the remodeled bathroom that will most likely never be completed…an opiated, Winchester Mystery bathroom…belonging to the poor trash grandchild of a cabinet maker from Poland…looks to be a fog shrouded Sunday in more ways than one.

In the house – I’ll curl up with a Sunday paper, coffee, and wait for the warmth of the poppy to creep into to the corners of the pain, two part call and response, to an as of yet unwritten ballad…how fitting that the front page cover story in today’s,  “All the news that’s fit to print” has a perfectly centered, color photo of a field of poppies. Coincidence? Power of suggestion? Excuse to stay in bed?…most certainly all of the above, but there is no denying the sweet, seductive, electric pulses that start at my 5th vertebrae, travel up the spinal chord, then on to the cerebral cortex centered, neuromatrix, that is related to the sense of touch:

the call – I’m in pain only because my brain says so.

the response – me bee-lining to the the medicine cabinet.

It’s Sunday all right…and I’m in the house. Its cold and  foggy…Summer can’t be far away.  Carnaval drifting up the Mission valley, percussive rhythm followed by Portuguese sing song phrases echoing irregularly from building to building, backyard to backyard, through open windows, at once close by then fading, only to rebound louder and even more demanding as another Carnaval float rounds the corner of 24th street, turns right,  and heads north up  Mission…dancing is good for back pain. Samba the cure for those unnatural twists in the middle of the night. Those simple twists that send a message straight to the neuromatrix that tells me I’m in pain.

Call, response…music, dance…fog is lifting, sun will have its way…and the parade goes on. With or without me the parade will go on. Sentimental slumber enhanced by the cosmic nature of a simple, bright red flower…thoughts of the history of this City I love…celebration of a bridge known the world over…sepia photos with curled edges of faces once familiar if not long gone…truth mixed with stories passed on through word of mouth, one ear at a time…generation to generation, a never ending game of telephone…fountain pen inscribed details on the back of chemically coated paper – magic…Stow Lake, Russian River, Boyes Hot Springs, Fetters Hot Springs, Auntie Millie’s house, my Dad, bronzed, fit and shirtless…Burma…

All this, a simple twist in the night…recollections, free associations, history in the making…making up of history, fact checks fail in the poppy haze of the gray…day.  Sometimes I swear I am somebody, somebody…sometimes, I swear.

In the house, and it’s Sunday.

Luv you all…



When Sunday Never Comes

Having my pre – pre record release party June 9th…why pre-pre? And, where’s the record? Got a minute?…To the three or four of you that actually read My Personal Mess regularly ( thank you…thanks very much!), I started this blog way back in December of 2011 to document what it is like to go into a studio and make a record (CD)…and it’s been fun. Writing this has  given me something to do, a way to pass time, a way to unwind after lots of hours in rooms with no windows and stale air…the writing process must be good for the brain right?…discipline and all that…but I will admit, writing is like a drug, an addiction…I’ve developed this grand sense, this idea, that I have to deliver my 500 + words weekly, to the masses (all three of them)…or somehow the world will stop spinning…I know I know…narcissism…yes I fit the profile sure enough, anyone who dares jump up on a stage, only to refuse to get off, ever, even when the lights are shut off, surly must fall into that particular personality disorder…and oh so many more!…but…

The record? Well, it’s not ready. I am. And for that reason I am having my pre-pre record release party, and you are all invited! It’s free. So please come. But you can’t have a record…or CD…at least not yet.

Not having done something when you’ve told the world that you will have it done can be problematic. Some would just fade into the daily fabric and hope that people would forget…some would come up with elaborate excuses that no one wants to hear…what would you do? Me? you’re looking at it! I’m advertising the fact! No excuses…there are none to be had. Who really gives a fuck? The damn thing isn’t done yet, but it will be, and when it is we can have another party!

As for the recording process, star date Sunday, May 20, 2012: I have 11 new songs recorded, drums are done, thank you Michael Urbano! still needing to record a few vocal bits, or at least clean up what we’ve got, and some guitar tracks need a tweak here and there. Waiting to track bass on a couple of songs still, going back and forth on accordion for 2 tracks, likewise keyboards…gave up on the hipster cello parts, everyone and their dog seems to have cello on their records…not knocking cello because I really do love the warm, sensuous, middle and bottom tones but we just couldn’t find anyone to record the tracks… seriously not wanting to add too much to what is essentially an acoustic, singer songwriter vibe of a recording…all these finishing touches should, could, might? happen in the next week…or two, then it’s mixing time! Then mastering…then…then…

Oh shit. Photo shoot if I want my pic on the damn thing…I could really use a younger, stunt double for this but…naaaa.  The label artwork. Printing. Shipping. Receiving? And hey? Whose going to manage this “juggernaut’? Ok…really, joking about the juggernaut but I definitely need management…but the recording of a record requires much more than just recording…and it takes time. I know there are some musicians that could throw a simple project like mine together a whole lot quicker…but not me. Whats’ the hurry after all?

Thinking back a bit, when I was younger, I did a road trip from London to Mumbai…yes, road trip…I can remember looking at a map of the world and comparing the distance from San Francisco to New York, and then from Istanbul to New Delhi. Having driven cross country from SF to NYC I had a pretty good idea of how long that took. Looking at the map of the world, I thought, hum, not too much of a difference as the crow flies…like I said, I was young…SF to NYC took 3 days…the overland trip to India took a little under 6 weeks…time is just one of those things. In retrospect, 6 weeks now seems like an instant, a blip in time…and SF to NYC? No cross country drive for me…I fly now…and those 5 hours?… most often those 5 hours seem like an eternity…

So there you have it fan(s)…your tortoise and hare tale for a Sunday in May…patience will pay off in the end…I just know it.

luv you all…RV

Sunday with Mom

Never much cared for Hallmark Card holidays…Coca Cola Christmas, Cadbury Easter…belated Birthdays and middle school graduations…new babies, new puppies, new car…Get Well cards, and My Sympathy for your loss cards are ok I suppose, but if I were feeling sick or recovering from gallbladder surgery, if I had just lost someone near and dear to me I think I’d rather you just drop by and say hello, or bring over some soup or something rather then putting your dollars into some multi-national, non tax paying corporation…emotional manipulation for corporate profit never really sat well with me…especially when I am missing a galbladder or loved one…

I do have a heart. Really. I saw it beating during my last ultra sound…A-fib you know…there it was, on a screen, the Russian doctor pointing out each valve, Aortic – check, Mitral – check, can you please roll to your side and hold your breath, Pulmonic – check, Tricuspid – check…it’s my Mitral valve that seems to be misbehaving…but, there it was, my heart. I saw it plain as day on the monitor. Beating.

My mother had a heart. A wicked tongue and shopping bag full of opinions but an exceptionally kind heart. She loved a good laugh and all my friends adored her. Her generation, especially those from the Protestant side of the bible, and earlier, those from the white European invasion of the early 18th century, came to these shores with some peculiar habits and beliefs when it came to child rearing. Guilt and shame not exclusive to any one culture or ethnic class of course…but those Protestants…let’s just say, oh, let’s not…it’s Mother’s Day after all.

It’s Mother’s Day and I won’t be buying any cards, chocolates, perfume, silk scarves…I will be cutting some flowers from my garden…placing them in one of the fabulous vases that were, my Mothers’…vases that somehow landed in my possession after she left us…and I do love the cute, hand made stuff that kids make, stuff from the heart that they so lovingly wrap and present to Mom on Sunday…see, I do have a heart.

So, I would like to dedicate this rant to my Mom, a Mom who did the best she could do with the fucking mess of a child that was me…

Mom, thanks to you I don’t steal, and only lie on occasion, and just those little white lies that don’t hurt anyone, and no one really believes anyway…Mom, thanks to you I make full stops at stationary stop signs…and remember to use my turn signals, and Mom, while shopping, I only eat a few pieces of fruit, or candy, or those fancy nuts and olives on display at those hipper then thou organic markets, without paying for them (not really stealing right Mom?)…Mom, thanks to you I work hard and know that no matter what job I may hold, from dishwasher to teacher to artist, the important thing is to show up on time, do the best you can do, and try to keep the complaining and whining to a minimum because nobody enjoys a whiner (still working on this one Mom)…Mom, thanks to you I’ve somehow managed to stay with the same partner for 25 years because you taught me that no one and nothing will ever be perfect, and when there is conflict it is usually because you have been an asshole and haven’t taken the time to listen to the other point of view…really working on this one Mom…and Mom, even though you had such unreasonably strong opinions on just about everything, even things you knew nothing about, you still somehow managed to judge, without being judgmental…for this lesson, I truly am thankful…and like so many of the other lessons you left me with, I haven’t quite got them all figured out but I am still trying Mom…and Mom…I sure do miss you an awful lot…and I know what you would say, I can hear it now, “Oh hell, I was old, my back hurt, my head hurt, I couldn’t shit without someone wiping my ass, I peed the bed, had diaper rash, food was no longer a pleasure, there comes a time when taking up space is just not enough…”

So Mom, I guess you traded in taking up space for traveling through space…good career move, you always were one step ahead of the curve. Hope to see you there someday…

be good to your Moms everyone…

Luv RV