Another New Year! Damn This Brain!

Hi. How are you? Enjoying the new year yet?

2021 wasn’t as bad as 2020, I guess. It still blew, though. Shit always happens. My minivan has been in and out of the shop all year long. I have proof that the mechanics have been sabotaging it. Every time I brought it in for one thing, something else went wrong within a few days. I took it in for the radiator, passenger door, and brakes. That led to the transmission going completely out. They half-ass patched that up, which failed when the weather got cold. I got it back from them again with only two gears working, and now the exhaust pipe between the engine and muffler is gone. It looks like it is a clean cut. It is not rusted off. So, I think it has been deliberate. I talked to a lawyer about my options. He said that, because of the age of the vehicle, I wouldn’t get much after paying legal fees. He suggested that I talk to the police about it. But, I probably won’t. It wouldn’t do me any good.

I consolidated some of my debts, to bring the interest rate and monthly payments down. It was killing me, financially. Hopefully, if I maintain this for a couple of months, I can raise my credit score a bit. I need to borrow enough to replace the car, among other things.

Many businesses have gone bankrupt during the pandemic. Music venues seem to slowly be coming back again, though. Will I book any gigs? I dunno. Some of my musical gear is in need of repair or replacement, which got me thinking about something. It would probably be a good idea to leave all of this stuff at home if I perform live again. That is a BIG if! Keeping a stable band together has never been one of my skills and I don’t enjoy playing alone very much. There may be temporary fixes that I can try. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. I already decided, months ago, that the Korg M3 Sampler/Workstation is too fragile and expensive to be lugging around everywhere. Some of my gear is very old and getting more costly to find replacements for. I’m always looking for equipment & methods to shape my sound a particular way that I like. There are inevitable trade-offs between what I want and what I can afford. I don’t mind trying just about anything when I’m recording at home or in a studio. Translating that into a live performance can be tricky, without a lot of money.

As a general rule of thumb, it would be a REALLY good idea to avoid taking anything on the road that can’t easily be replaced in a day or two, preferably by an insurance claim. Something will always get damaged or stolen when you play out for any considerable length of time. It is not a matter of if, but when. It has happened to me before. Renting a van and an equipment backline could supply most of what is needed in any venue. That might be costly, unless I can get guarantees from the booking people to cover the overhead. If I’m playing DIY shows in some kid’s basement, that isn’t a viable option. So, by necessity, I would have to play some bars/clubs to do anything at all. In my experience, I think some of those place are just fronts to launder drug money. I could be wrong. But, how else does an empty building stay in business without any customers?

I have ideas to build myself a few custom instruments that could handle the wear & tear that typically happens when schlepping stuff between gigs. If they happen to break, I can find parts at any music store and fix it myself. Would it sound EXACTLY the same as my recordings? Maybe not. But, I think I can come pretty close.

Since getting supplemental insurance for my Medicare plan, my doctors are out of network. I owe my psychiatrist hundreds of dollars now and can’t get my medications refilled. So, I’m looking for someone new… and a new general practitioner, while I’m at it. With my current transportation problems I need to find people closer, too. I have been stretching my meds as much as I can. But, the difference it has on my mind is very noticeable. Since I’m not taking them as much I have been drinking more. Alcohol diminishes their effectiveness. So, if I’m not taking them anyway, why not?

One upside to this is that alcohol does help me to stop overthinking and being hypercritical of myself as much, completing more tasks that I begin. I still hyperfocus a lot. But, at least it is more productive than being a hindrance, like usual. DAMN THIS BRAIN!

Bullet journaling has helped me a lot in the past year or so. It is better to store information on paper than in your head, where too many distractions get in the way. I need to improve my method of cataloguing ideas, though. There are tapes misplaced all over the apartment full of demos, riffs, samples, etc. I try to keep the notebooks with my bullet journal. I lost one for a couple of days, then, found it again in an old backpack.

Don’t Look Up is the best movie of 2021, IMO. It is a dark comedy mix of Network (1976) and Dr. Strangelove (1964) with a lot of Idiocracy (2006). Originally conceived as a satire on climate change, it has taken on other layers of unintended meaning. The coronavirus pandemic hit during production and the establishment’s response made satire redundant. The director wondered aloud if completing the movie was even necessary. Now, I want to find a red MAGA hat that says “DON’T LOOK UP!”

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