Vlogging Update: May 2017

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Hey y’all,

Sorry for the long absence.

My computer died.

I gave it to my aunt to work on.

She does IT work for the local school district.

Unable to fix it, she gave me another one that a school was getting rid of.

I tried to salvage what I could from the old one.

But, most of my programs and files were lost.

I’ve been searching for the missing software and restoring what I can.

My scanner/printer didn’t want to cooperate with the new computer.

I tried replacing it.

But, the replacements didn’t work either.

After a couple of days messing with it, I finally got it running.

My van has a million problems.

But, at least I got the front tire fixed that kept going flat.

I’ve replaced that tire THREE TIMES and it still kept going flat.

I thought maybe the rim was bent.

I had it looked at and they found a piece of metal lodged inside.

They patched it up.

Now, it shouldn’t be a problem anymore.

Only cost me $15 bucks (thank God)!

I tried to repay my grandmother $700 dollars I owe her.

She forgave some of it.

My ex forgave the $200 I owed her, too, since I’ve been helping her relocate and move her stuff.

Not sure how I’ll get my other debts paid.

But, I try not to get stressed out about it.

That really fucks up my creativity.

Boo Boo the Christmas Kitty

I have somebody living with me again.

Her name is Boo.

I named her after Boo Boo Kitty, the beloved stuffed animal on “Laverne & Shirley”… not Yogi Bear’s sidekick.

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A couple of years ago, about a week before Christmas, I stopped at a Kroger’s for some food and pop.

The weather was pretty bad.

It was really cold and the snow was kinda deep.

But, we were out of everything back at our apartment.

The first thing I saw upon entering is somebody holding a cardboard box with a meowing kitten inside.

The employees had found it by the dumpster behind the store.

There were no other cats in the area.

The clerks at Kroger’s were looking for somebody to give it a home, or else they were going to send it to the pound.

Animals aren’t kept there very long before they are put down.

My then-girlfriend and I already had four rescue cats.

But, I didn’t want the poor thing to be harmed.

So, I bought some cat food and took her home with me.

I put the box in the backseat and went home.

But, she managed to get the lid open halfway there.

Totally freaking out, because she never rode in a car before, she jumped onto my head and held on for dear life.

I was able to move her down to my chest, with her arms around my neck, and continued driving the car with her like that.

I put her back inside the box and walked in.

My girlfriend tried guessing what I had in the box.

But, it wasn’t long before Boo popped her head out, purring loudly.

We never had any extra money around to buy Christmas presents for each other.

But, I think Boo made up for it that year.

The other cats raised her, like a foster family.

The next year my girlfriend left, though.

It isn’t like we were fighting or anything.

We are still friends.

But, I think, between our disabilities and state of mind, we were bringing each other down.

She took three of the cats.

I was forced to give away one and euthanize the other, who was extremely sick.

It was very sad.

In the few years since we have lived apart, I have managed to get an affordable apartment of my own and somewhat stabilize my mental condition.

My ex was less fortunate.

She had many ups-and-downs after getting married, until finally their relationship seems to have acrimoniously ended.

She stayed with a friend for a few weeks, sleeping on the floor.

But, now, has a place of her own.

She couldn’t take all of the cats with her.

So, I got Boo back.

The building where I am only allows one pet per tenant, has costly pet fees, and the rules are kinda strict.

She had to get shots, a collar with a name tag, and a bunch of other stuff.

But, Boo is happy to be with me again.

I got her a cardboard scratching pad and a free cat tree from Craigslist someone was throwing away.

I made her litterbox from a plastic tray, construction grade trash bags, and a cardboard box that I found.

I can only afford dollar store cat food and litter.

But, she doesn’t mind.

She follows me around like a shadow and always wants attention.

She often sleeps on my chest or stomach while I’m in bed and curls up on my lap.

She has become my new meditation partner, reminding me to get started and joins me.

Sometimes, when she gets bored though, I can tell that she misses my ex and the other cats.

But, a little catnip and quality time cheers her up.

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Groundhog Day

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I was gonna record a vlog to go with this (including a new song!). But, I didn’t get around to it. I’ll try to get it out this weekend, maybe. I have been digging through my old practice tapes and recording new demos for a couple of months now. I am not happy with a lot of it. But, you always have to dig through a lot of shit to find anything useful. Since I haven’t put out anything in a long time, I have been contributing to other people’s projects. I was asked by Uncle Ghoulie to provide some artwork and sounds to Truth Porn MilitiaNo Budget Radio Podcast. So, that is cool. I will be getting that out soon. There have also been some zines and other things requesting my input. So, I haven’t been completely unproductive, I guess.

I’m really beginning to wonder if maybe I should just give away my notes & artwork to let someone else make my movies. At least then they would get produced SOMEHOW. Tim Burton had almost nothing to do with making Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, yet his name is still in the title. He just gave his old sketchbook to another director and said, “Here. Knock yourself out.” Good idea? Bad idea? I don’t know. But, it looks like if I’m gonna produce it, it will likely be a few years until it it is done. Even if I cut costs to the absolute bone and it looks like dogshit, I don’t think I can get it done.

I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that I can get Theee Urban SpaceCat finally going this month. I should have enough raw material for a few issues already. I’ve been continually painting, drawing, recording, writing, etc. It really comes down to paying for putting it out there. I’ll deal with other expenses later, if it becomes necessary.

After over a year of keeping my stuff in storage, lacking enough funds, I recently had to let go of my storage unit. I have downsized a lot of it. So, at least I can fit everything in my grandmother’s garage (between the Christmas decorations and patio furniture). She gave me a nice bookshelf that was no longer wanted. So, I finally have somewhere to keep what is left of my vinyl LPs. I was very disappointed to realize how much of my collection that I’ve sold off.

She also gave me a free pizza promotional card that she got in the mail from Domino’s Pizza. I later brought the pizza back to her house. She, my nephew Michael, and I enjoyed a large deluxe. Mmmmmm.

I gotta finish cleaning up here, soon. There is an apartment inspection coming Monday. The landlord is making sure that no bed bugs have returned. Thankfully, the place has been pest-free for a year now. As a matter of fact, it was during the bug extermination last winter that I began renting my storage unit. So, it lasted one whole year.

I just got a small loan to cover my rent problem (last month’s check bounced!). I needed to pay two month’s rent and late/returned check fees IMMEDIATELY or I would get evicted. I’m not sure how much more financial Jiu-Jitsu I can pull off before it finally catches up with me. The van has a lot of mechanical problems needing fixing. I still cannot afford to put insurance on it. I’m risking jail time for driving without it (a misdemeanor in Michigan!). I’m in debt to my eyeballs to doctors & hospitals, credit cards, collection agencies, etc.

I set up a Patreon account. Maybe, I can find a little help from some folks, to fix my money situation. It is a long shot, I guess. But, what have I got to lose? I will post music, videos, and other stuff for patrons that won’t get released anywhere else. I’ll be adding more bonuses for supporters (t-shirts, stickers, magnets, flamethrowers, meat cannons, etc.) when I have them available. Any assistance is appreciated! Thanks.

Become A Patron!

Some New Year’s Resolutions

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Some New Year’s Resolutions:

1) Get the damn cassette-zines published fer chrissakes!

a) It shouldn’t be so damn difficult. Rather than stick to a strict schedule, as I had planned, I will probably just be putting them out as I am capable of. It could be an issue every few months. It could be a deluge of material within a few weeks. I don’t know.
b) Putting out some vinyl and getting it distributed would be nice too, if I can get it done.
c) Make more music & art.
d) Making some music videos might help getting The Island of Misfit Noise Movie off of the ground, as I accumulate more equipment and resources. It would help me add more videos to my vlogs too.
e) Get the legal business side of things taken care of.

2) Perform some live shows again. It has been a long time.

a) I SUCK, SUCK, SUCK at booking gigs. I think almost every show that I’ve played was set up by other bandmates, or invitations from venues and other bands (not including free parking lot “guerilla gigs”).
b) Playing out-of-state would be nice. The closest I have come to this is driving / roadying for Mog Stunt Team and a cancelled gig in New York City with The Impaler and N2-Submission.
c) Solo shows will probably just be me on bass & vocals with backing tapes. If I’m lucky, I might be able to set up some sort of video projection backdrop and lightshow. I hate this. It doesn’t feel like a “real” band or anything without at least a drummer up there with me. Performing Dadaist noise shows as Mike Damn Nobody is a little different. It isn’t supposed to make sense.
d) Island of Misfit Noise shows would be nice, if anybody wants to do it. I consider this more of a collaborative project with whoever is interested than just “my band”. We all have input into original material. If they want to play any of my solo stuff too, that is fine by me. A basic line-up that I would like to have is:

i) Myself on bass & baritone guitars, vocals, and Dictaphone tapes.
ii) A decent drummer.
iii) A “Junk Percussionist”.
iv) Two guitarist / keyboardists (if they can sing, that would be great too).

3) Set up some art gallery shows, if that is possible. Put some paintings & stuff out there.
4) Pay off some goddamn debts and dig myself out of this hole.
5) Improve my mental health and get better organized.
6) Find a new doctor, who is closer and less difficult to get an appointment with.
7) Have my eyes checked-out and possibly get glasses or contact lenses.
8) Fix or replace the van (and other broken gear).
9) Downsize more stuff.
10) But, get a bike. Get out more.
11) Lose some weight. I’m too fat.
12) Things to give up;

a) Self-Doubt
b) Negative Thinking
c) Fear of Failure
d) Fear of Success
e) Negative Self-Talk
f) Procrastination
g) Depending on Others for Motivation or Help. It isn’t coming.

November Wind-down

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Black Friday is over and the “Holiday Season” sorta officially begins. But, Christmas keeps arriving in stores earlier every year. No shit. They had Christmas stuff out BEFORE this Halloween! Jesus! I would like to have just one holiday at a time, thank you.

The dumpster fire that we call 2016 is entering its final month and, honestly, I dunno where the time went. I tell everyone that time speeds up as you get older. That’s why old people wear clothes that are so out of style. To them, it was still fashionable only just yesterday. I’m still mourning the death of Lemmy Kilmister.

I may or may not post a vlog online for this month. I haven’t been up to very much of late. The apartment building where I live is public housing. HUD transferred authority of this place over to another department, RAD, I think. So, I have been a little nervous about evictions. I am ALWAYS nervous about evictions, but more so when anything changes. Change is seldom good, in my experiences. The management will be doing an annual inspection Monday. So, I have been doing a lot of cleaning.

I haven’t received very much mail in a long time. Except, the wrong mail. The post office has repeatedly given me someone else’s mail this month. I worry that my mail may have disappeared somewhere en route.

I have been reading a few new books over the past few weeks; “Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind” by Jocelyn K. Glei, “ME Inc. – Build an Army of One, Unleash Your Inner Rock God, Win in Life and Business” by Gene Simmons, “Gunny’s Rules – How To Get Squared Away Like A Marine” by R. Lee Ermey, and “Music Law: How To Run Your Band’s Business” by Rich Stim.

The first book, “Manage Your Day-To-Day”, has been very helpful to me. It gives tips from many professional creatives on how to prioritize your schedule, stay creatively sharp, and keep from going insane.

Gene Simmons and R. Lee Ermey are both interesting characters. They both have their moments. Each of them have written what simultaneously serve as autobiographies and self-help books. Their personal stories help to make the points of what they have learned in life. I don’t agree with them on everything. But, I still respect them for the useful advice that they offer here.

I am just beginning “Music Law.” So far, I haven’t found much inside that I didn’t already know. I was looking for cheaper alternatives to doing some things. But, maybe I will just have to get enough money together for them somehow, eventually.

I am (at least) seven grand in debt right now. Thankfully, my van is running okay. But, my computer has really been acting up recently. It may be dying soon. I have no insurance on my van (or myself, besides Medicare). Not something I am happy about.

This is partly why I have not produced anything substantial in awhile. Money always gets in the way of everything. I have been recording demos, finishing some painting & drawing, etc. I feel a little embarrassed when friends with fewer resources than me are able to get so much more accomplished in much shorter time. But, that is why I usually prefer working with collaborators. They keep me motivated and offer encouragement.

I am trying to set aside a few bucks each month for my artistic expenses. But, it disappears quickly when there is no food in the kitchen. I visited Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores a few weeks ago for some supplies. I had not been inside one for ages. But, I liked it. I used to go to Michael’s Arts & Crafts and Hobby Lobby (before Hobby Lobby’s Jesus freaks started fucking over their workers). I will no longer go to Hobby Lobby.

I have been updating old artwork from my previous releases, preparing to make Recycletapes available of all Mike Damn Nobody and other related recordings. My Bandcamp has been updated with new information and artwork. I am gonna begin making some T-Shirts again soon. Not really professionally, more like DIY stenciled. Since I can produce them on-demand instead of ordering a ton to be screened at once.

Theee Urban SpaceCat will get published when I can afford it, I guess. I will cut corners and try to get it out there sooner. But, I am really disappointed with how long it has been taking. It should have been done ages ago. At least I have had plenty of time to make changes to it.

Likewise, The Island of Misfit Noise (Movie) is going to take a lot of time to get anything done with it. I have been working on some rough drafts for the script and making a few notes about the production. I can probably begin shooting, sporadically, once I acquire a decent chroma key compositing (green screen) kit. The rest is pretty cheap. Mostly, it involves cardboard, papier-mâché, tinfoil, latex, and junk.

I have been gathering parts for a new ShitKit. They are in my storage unit, with the other stuff that won’t fit into my apartment. I have other parts to build some new noise machines with, too. After the apartment’s inspection, I will probably take everything over to my grandmother’s garage and use my grandpa’s tools to work on them. Who knows? Maybe I will arrange some live noise performances as Mike Damn Nobody again.

Is There a Mike Nobody Sound, or Visual Style? Maybe.

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When I am jamming with other people, they motivate me and kinda help focus what I am doing.

So, I am always bouncing ideas back-and-forth with them, trying to see where their talents and interests are.

If half of the group is into a specific style of music, that gives me a vague reference to work from.

I know what will work and what won’t.
My improvisational skills are kinda crappy, I admit, though.

Ironically, I need people to get out of my way and let me work alone when I am writing original music.

Cutting & pasting jam sessions into songs kinda works.

If I have no one to work with at all, I am kind of at a loss.

The music can go in all sorts of different directions.

So, finding my own “sound” can be difficult sometimes.

I am trying to shape what I do into a cohesive sound of my own, without tying my hands too much.

I would like to maintain the freedom to play whatever that I want.

Near as I can figure it, I guess that I kinda sound a little like Beck with a weird bass setup and tapes, maybe.

My working process, and limited resources, probably have more to do with any style that I may have than anything else.

I don’t have a drummer.

So, for percussion I must rely on drum machines, keyboard sounds, and whatever found objects that I can bang on.

I do not have other band members.

So, I rely on recordings of myself on guitars, noises, and assorted samples, to fill out the sound.

Compositionally, I like the cut & paste approach of artists like Magma, Cardiacs, Omoide Hatoba, Boredoms, Melvins, Ruins, Mr. Bungle, Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention, John Zorn, Carl Stalling, etc. and “mixtape style” of the Butthole Surfers, Ween, Faith No More, David Bowie, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, etc.

I like a mixture of Hi-Fi and Lo-Fi in recordings = Mid-Fi!

But, I prefer a specific squashed compression sound found on early Primus, Ween, and Butthole Surfers records.

I was able to ask guitarist / producer Paul Leary once about how he achieved that sound for the Butthole Surfers.

He said it was due to cheap tape recorders, and only having one microphone.

So, I think they recorded directly from their preamps a lot.

I know that Primus did.

That works great for me, since I only have shitty cheap microphones anyway.

Vocally, I have a kinda nasally high-pitched voice that I never liked.

Kind of a bit like Neil Young, Wayne Coyne (Flaming Lips), Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), Curt & Chris Kirkwood (Meat Puppets), Marc Bolan (T. Rex), etc.

Although, I try to give it a little bit of a Tom Waits-like growl on the lower end.

I guess that I compensate for my voice with cheap microphones and whatever vocal effects that are available, trying to bury it.

Visually, of course, everything is very cheap by necessity.

I like papier-mâché and cardboard props and sets.

Puppets and miniatures can be very useful, too.

Green screen, data-bending, and other cheap effects.

My mixed-media paintings and artwork kinda have a cheapniz aesthetic, too, I suppose.

I use stuff from thrift stores, hardware stores, dollar stores, and found materials a lot.

I tend to visualize the exterior world, the “real” world, in black & white colors.

A cold, decaying, dying, world.

The interior world, the world of the mind and imagination, by contrast is warmer and more colorful.

It is vast and endless.

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I will probably post more about my gear setup & playing techniques later.