Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Grabbing at Straws

Clever, eh? The title of this blog describes drinking for me now.

Let's placate my ego for a paragraph. 8 alcohol arrests. 15 years of drinking. 4 fights...about 12 near misses, fight wise...2 totaled cars...countless great moments...and double that in scary awful nights.

Let's be real.

I am a huge fan of alcohol and drugs. I am the Charles Barkley of drugs. Big fan...just can't play the sport anymore.

Yay for me. I haven't done hardcore shit (aka heroin) for a long time. But yet, I'll drink after work like I can do it normally. Guess what? I can't.

I came to San Antonio to get away from drugs. That makes my friends here laugh, but hey, I don't have contacts here. And seriously...White guys in their late 30's can't just wander around going, "Hey, do you have the drugs?" here.

But you can drink, can't you?

I went to Austin last week for two days. I visited the bars I wanted to, did a show, and hung out with good friends.

Some of these friends bought me alot of drinks upon my request. God bless them for pretending I was the same guy from 2005-6. Turns out I'm not.

I'm not going back to Austin. Not to avoid drug dealers...although I couldn't find them if I wanted to. Seriously...I used to buy junk on east 6th...but dealers have been replaced by white hipsters. Weird, man.

Not going back to Austin until I get sobriety in check. If you ask any friend of mine about the worst they've seen me, they'll tell you about the dark time I was a shadow...a junkie...a leech on anyone that came around me. And thanks to Lifetime Recovery and people who truly love me, I pulled out of that life that almost killed me 4 times.

But if you analyze shit right...I have never been arrested for drugs. 3 DWI's. 5 PI's. Heroin may have destroyed my job and relationship in 2010, but alcohol bumped and setted that shit way beforehand.

I forgot that this past year. I slipped...started getting drunk like a "normal person" again...sure, they don't have syringes on display at Valero, so it's easy to avoid that demon...but man, ain't beer great after a hard day?

Tonight was the last straw. That really sucks because technically last Monday should have been the last straw. Last Monday I saw all my Austin friends for the last time, and wow...they got to see me...they got to see me be self-centered, drunk and douchebag-ish. (I'm sorry Steph, Tim, Roger and especially Jen)

Even posting this blog is dangerous to my probation, but I've already told my p.o. about shit...and as much as the truth hurts...it's better than to continually lie to yourself.

A week ago today my friend blasted me with truth. It was not anything that I already knew...no revelation...but it sucked because someone else other that myself knew it. "Hey, you sucked and you know it." Fuck.

A week later...Doing great, then I decide to dabble...and I discovered something.

I am emotionally detatched. I used to think I drink because of boredom, but I actually drink to avoid any possibility of experiencing feelings because past heartache may arise and I'm avoiding pain.

That's just my intro to psych analysis.

So tonight...I say goodbye Jameson...I say goodbye Lone Star...goodbye Irish Carbomb, you inappropriately titled motherfucker. I'm done, assholes. Otherwise, my friends will organize pallbearers instead of bar friends for a half-assed intervention. Oh, and seriously...You guys really should stop worrying about me and then have a shot. That's fucked up. Hahahahaha...

Goodbye booze. See you when I see you.

"I'm down on the upside now. Turning back around..."

Monday, July 23, 2012

Character Development

In movies, you get to see characters evolve or devolve over roughly 90 minutes. Good films have decent character development...and others don't develop shit and are filled with one-dimensional characters. "The Dark Knight", for example, has Harvey Dent, and by the time he becomes Two Face, you don't see him as an "evil" villain. Hell no...I felt empathy...or sympathy. One of those. I felt some sort of pathy...um...let's move on.

Then there's Billy Zane's character in "Titanic", who should have just had a big goddamn black moustache and tied the chick to train tracks. This would have been strange on a boat, but he might as well have. Just a big ol' one-dimensional pile of crap.

I think our lives have characters in them in the same way. We have well developed characters in the form of friends, family and coworkers, and we have characters that are just flat, undeveloped, and there to be judged by us and our lack of knowledge of who they are completely.

I'm bringing this up, because it is the answer to the questions we all occasionally ask:

-- How can anyone be a Republican/Democrat?
-- How can that person believe in Jesus/Allah/nothing?
-- A vegan? Really?
-- Capitalism/Socialism/Communism is evil. Can't you see that?

We don't have to agree with the other person, but it is so much easier to not take the time to walk in their shoes and get to know why they believe that way and just flat out say "fuck them".

I grew up a preacher's kid, son of two teachers, lower middle class. A Christian. I became an atheist for a while. Buddhist/Taoist. When I was married, we were close to upper middle class financially. I've been homeless. I've voted Republican, Democrat and Libertarian. I was straight edge and a junkie. Alcoholic.

This is why I can log into Facebook, scroll through the Newsfeed and see posts for gun control next to "I love guns"...posts of Bible scriptures next to atheist memes...pro-Obama followed by anti-Obama. I know where each of my friends are coming from with their posts, regardless whether I agree with them or not.

Believe me though...I daily will read or hear something from a person that makes me go, "You are a fucking idiot. Suck a tailpipe." That's the easy reaction. I want to go the hard route and step back...see why someone thinks that. Converse rather than argue. Talk to them without the ego as it's not about winning or losing...it's about making a connection. If it doesn't happen, move on. End the discussion and go mess around with the damn phone. Not everyone is an idiot...they just walked a different path in life than we have.

Some are just really misinformed and brain-damaged, though. But hey, haven't we all been at one time or another?

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Bird Clock

In 1998, one of my classy relatives gave me a bird clock as a wedding gift. My exwife hated it, and I didn't much care for it either...except that the owl at "12" always sounded like he was saying, "noon...noon..." It was an awful, annoying Cracker Barrel item that hung on the wall clashing with our nice furniture and framed posters/art.

I change my mind. I think I did like it.

When I left my ex, I did not seek legal counsel...mainly because I already had a lawyer for two pending DWI arrests. I didn't need two lawyers tag teaming my bankroll. I did at one point tell a homeless man who asked for change that I was going through 2 DWIs and a divorce at the same time...he gave me some change.

I told my ex she could whatever she wanted. She moved out of our house, and I moved back in. She left a mattress, a shitty futon, my cat and the forsaken bird clock. I was starting over...and I was fine with that.

When I bailed on the house and into an apartment for 5 years, the bird clock came with me. I hung it in my apartment, and left all the batteries in. I could tell when I needed to leave for work because of the woodpecker at "9".

When I lost the apartment and slept on a friend's couch, I put it in a closet. When I left Austin, I took it with me.

14 years later, my room has three things on the wall: framed Nirvana boxed set from W.White (TCB), a postcard of Seattle (where I want to move to) and the bird clock. It serves as a reminder to me that among all the stupid, stupid things that I've done...among all the shitty decisions...among all the hurt that I've caused other people that I'll never be able to reconcile...I made one choice. One choice that ruined me financially, shook me out of comfortable suburb life and turned my world upside down just so I could be happy. While it was a badly executed and poorly timed act, I don't regret it.

I look at that thing on the wall and it reminds me to never be comfortable with aspects of my life that I don't want there. Shake it up, John. Change starts with you.

I did finally take the batteries out that make the chirping and hooting noises. Fuck birds.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain...

Carl Sandburg and his accompaniment, piano player Jenkins, play "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain" so he can put the song on paper for the first time. 

(Jenkins plays)

Sandburg: (singing) She'll be coming 'round the mountain when she comes...she'll be coming 'round the mountain when she comes...she'll be coming 'round the mountain, she'll be coming 'round the mountain, she'll be coming 'round the mountain when she comes...

She'll be riding six white horses when she comes...

(Jenkins stops playing)

Sandburg: What's the matter? We're going to the next verse but it's the same key...

Jenkins: No, I got it. It's not that.

Sandburg: What is it?

Jenkins: Well, how does a person ride six horses? The verse doesn't mention a carriage. Is she on some special platform that is connected to all six, or is she in constant motion from the back of one horse to the next for the whole trip...

Sandburg: Um...

Jenkins: ...because that's impressive...wasteful and careless, but impressive.

Sandburg: It's just a symbol of how big of a deal it is when the "she" in the song arrives, that's all.

Jenkins: I see. Well, if you really want to make it a big deal, you should have her be coming over the mountain. Hell, I can come around the mountain on a three legged donkey.

Sandburg: Can we continue, please?

Jenkins: I'm just sayin'.

(Jenkins plays)

Sandburg: (sings) Oh we'll all go out to meet her when she comes...

(Jenkins stops)

Jenkins: Oh, how? Does the person singing have a watchtower with a guard waiting for his chick and her horses? I'm sure the whole town is just dying to meet her.  "Oh, yeah, I'd love to leave work and go out to the edge of town in the hot sun just because today's the day you might get laid. Sign me up."

Sandburg: Look, I don't know the "why" of every verse. This used to be an old plantation Spiritual that has been adapted to be...you know...

Jenkins: More white?

Sandburg: What?

Jenkins: Nothing. Okay, forget my playing. What are the other verses?

Sandburg: Well, there's "she'll be wearing pink pajamas when she comes"...

Jenkins: Well, that's disturbing. Crazy lady hopping from horse to horse in her undies in broad daylight being met by the whole damn town...

Sandburg: UNDER her clothes! She'll be wearing fancy pajamas signifying the event!

Jenkins: It's ridiculous. The writer here is delusional. The next verse should be, "And we'll have unrealistic expectations when she comes."

Sandburg: (sigh) Jenkins...

Jenkins: Don't stop now.

Sandburg: Fine. The next verse is "And we'll kill the old red rooster when she comes".

Jenkins: What...the...fuck...

Sandburg: For a big feast, I imagine!

Jenkins: No way! If you celebrate, you slaughter the cow or a big pig...or at least several chickens! You don't go kill the rooster who's been around for so many years breeding he's probably worn out and skinny as hell! I mean, if this is such a big deal, you don't go, "Hey, gang, my girl will be here soon with way too many horses and bright-ass pink jammies..."

Sandburg: Okay, that's enough...

Jenkins: "Let's fix her a nice platter of old stringy rooster meat..."

Sandburg: Stop it!

Jenkins: Or maybe the rooster is so damn old that it's just hideous, all broken down and covered in growths on its beak and neck and shit. "Well, I can't have my girl dry heaving at the sight of that fucking thing. Kill the old red rooster now!"

Sandburg: You're fired!

Jenkins: Good. I'd rather go play jazz anyway. Enjoy your repetitive bullshit.

The song appeared anyway in Sandburg's "The American Songbag" (1927).

Friday, April 27, 2012


"Meditation is concentrating the front mind on a mundane task so that the rest of the mind can find peace." -- from "Layer Cake"

Ever since my stint at Lifetime Recovery, I've meditated on and off...I don't know why it has been difficult to do it on a consistent basis. You're basically sitting and fucking breathing. It's not like putting off laundry or some shit. But there you are...sleeping too late that you can't take the 10-20 minutes to just relax.

Eh, it happens. The thing about it is, some of you may meditate in your own way without you realizing it. The Vimalakirti Sutra introduced that anybody can be "enlightened"...meditation during every day life. Monks used to do walking meditation. I believe that if you have ever had a day where you were not stressed about something and you were at work...and you suddenly discover that an hour passed without you realizing it...you were working without really thinking about it...that was a form of meditation.

I still need to make myself sit the fuck down and do it. However, my mind is the most at ease every day I'm at work between 6pm and 8pm, roughly. In the dishpit, the first half hour I'm figuring out my game plan...but after doing so, I set to the "mundane task" of washing pots and pans...and my mind just wanders...and apparently finds the temporary peace it needs.

Traditional meditation is fairly difficult because you attempt to clear your mind and focus on breathing. This is especially difficult for normal people...and it's hard when you are a recovering junkie, barely sane and have regular conversations with yourself. "Okay, crazy voices and sounds in my head...let's shut up for a second. I'm introducing my mantra. No, really...shut the fuck up!"

I loved the part in the Beatles Anthology where Paul McCartney talked about meditating with the Maharishi...and not being able to focus on his mantra.

I've often had an issue with focus. My brain likes to work overtime. But something weird happened recently.

For once, my brain was blank. I sat completely still. Deep breaths. No random thoughts. It was a peaceful, relaxing moment. Then...I heard something.

I think the best way to explain what I heard is through YouTube:

I'm gonna work on that.

Fucking Outfield.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

John F***ing Rabon Analyzes Country Lyrics: Alone With You

Alone With You, by Jake Owen

I don't see you laugh
You don't call me back
But you kiss me when you're drunk

Well, Jake, I gotta say...yeah, that's not a good sign.

I don't know your friends
Don't know where you've been
Why are you the one I want

Probably because you don't know shit about her and she's good in bed. Get to know her and you'll find out she's married...or just a really boring person when she's not downing tequila shooters.

Don't put your lips up to my mouth and tell me you can't stay

She won't. She can't talk with her tongue in your mouth. Duh.

Don't slip your hand under my shirt and tell me it's okay

But it probably is okay...you know...to her. And to every other guy she does that to.

Don't say it doesn't matter cause it's gonna matter to me

I think you don't understand the concept of the "fuck buddy", Jake.

I can't be alone with
You've got me out on the edge every time you call
And i know it would kill me if I fall
I can't be alone with you

I'm not understanding the issue. If you don't want the booty call, don't answer the phone and go back to masturbating.
Man...you ever think to just flat out ask her where you stand instead of singing whiney lyrics?

Please don't chain that door

Literally chain the door, like in a hotel room? Or is that a metaphor for the door on her heart? Can you spell "metaphor"?

I can't win this war
Your body's like a pill I shouldn't take

What...like Midol?

Don't say you love me cause you know you're gonna love me and leave

Wait a second. You know what? After rereading these lyrics...this sounds a girl singing about a douchebag guy who is using her. Yeah...completely. Jake Owen singing about some chick doing it to him while he battles with it emotionally inside his head...creeps me the fuck out, I'll be honest.

Oh shit. He's...singing about a dude. There's no pronouns in the song. Ahhhh...okay...Hey Jake, my bad...good luck with that guy.

In retrospect, I should have figured this out from the V-neck T-shirt and Fabio hair.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


There are few people that truly inspire me. Louis CK is one of those people...and so is a guy named Ze Frank.

From March 2006 to March 2007, Ze created a daily video blog that was creative, intelligent and fucking funny. He was ahead of his time...and now he's back. Here's the first video of his return, "A Show With Ze Frank":

"This is an invocation for anyone who hasn’t begun, Who’s stuck in a terrible place between 0 and 1. Let me realize that my past failures that follow through are no indication of my future performance – they’re just healthy little fires that are gonna warm up my ass."

Amen to that. I needed a jolt from someone I respect and admire...who isn't afraid to put it all out there because they can...and that's not dead. I gots a lot of dead heroes. Feh.

What have I been inspired to do is the real question. For now, I know I need to write...here...in my comedy notebook...fuck, even on Twitter. Facebook status updates and Twitter are frustrating because they appeal to our lack of attention span, and seriously, I am so much better in long form. 15-45 minute comedy set trumps 5-7 every day in my mind. It's why I hate comedy contests.

Ah yes...stand-up. It would be nice to do that again regularly. I've used the understandable excuse of, "I work nights...I can't really do that right now." But I can make an effort can't I? This past year had a really important purpose: stability. Get back into the world as a functional member of society and not as a junkie. Yay, me. It's has its ups and downs, but here I am.

And there's one thing that I know. I am not like a lot of you. I see your pics and updates on Facebook...you and your kids...your career...your house...all that. I will probably be broke the rest of my life...401K can suck it. I don't think I'm ever going to settle down like that. In my head, I'm a fucking artist and a lost soul that wanders, restlessly. I don't think it's better than suburbia...just different.

So what now? Well, I'm gonna blog regularly, that's for sure. I'm going to get back on stage soon as shit. Time to quit putting off other things too, like finding a job during the day so I don't stay up so late and sleep all day.

Oh yeah...I need to quit fucking smoking, man.

Anyway...thank you, Ze Frank. Like you said, "life isn’t just a sequence of waiting for things to be done."

Onward through the fog, yeah?

UPDATE: Btw, I don't necessarily think I'm a GOOD artist, but I technically consider the bullshit that churns in my head and that is occasionally spit out into the world to be art.

Friday, March 9, 2012

That Moment

I get off work at night, and I skate home (on a skateboard...so stop the mental image of me on rollerblades). There are a few blocks that are a bit shady at night, and I wouldn't recommend most people walking around there alone. I, however, am completely comfortable traveling through them.

And I know why. It's the same reason I had no problem living on the west side of S.A. for a while. It's because I used to go to dark, horrible spots in Austin to score. In retrospect, I really put myself in questionable situations...but I didn't care, because I needed junk.

There was a moment that I'd like to share. One night, I contacted my guy to meet later than usual. He had me meet him at these stairs that lead from the I-35 overpass to the edge of Town Lake. I got there, and as I expected I had to wait a bit for him to show up.

It was creepy and pitch black there. I kept looking to make sure there wasn't anyone around. I started thinking about what I was taught as a kid...don't talk to strangers...don't go to certain places in the big city at night...watch out for "bad guys"...the ones in the shadows looking for an easy target or a score...

And I looked at myself. I was unshaven, dirty, strung-out, wearing a hoodie, and carrying a knife and a skateboard. I was standing in the dark, waiting to get drugs. I thought, holy shit, I'm that guy. Nobody wants to rob a sick, desperate and armed junkie. I can even imagine thugs in a car I skated or walked by saying, "Lock your door, holmes..."

It's just something I was thinking about recently that makes me appreciate where I am right now and what I have that much more. I intend to start performing again, by the way...but I'm no rush. I still have a long way to go to get back on track.