Monday, September 19, 2016

9/19/16: Happy Birthday! It's (another damn) Blog!

Welcome to blog #4. It wasn't supposed to be this way. That's a good sign. Perhaps you've heard about me and "plans" (ha!)?

Eight years ago, I set off on what was intended to be a simple escape. I had naive visions of Survivorman. Or that, like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, "I might end up somewhere in Mexico". I went so far as packing an SAS Survival Guide. My little "escape" lasted less than a week. Much less. With Dennis, it almost immediately became clear that this was more of a poorly-defined, ill-planned exploration than escape. In the next few months, my little notes became a blog. I named that one "Running With The Wind." It's still out there somewhere.

Seven years ago I set off on what was supposed to be a global adventure; one personally guided by "the Universe" and its "synchronicity". Then I met my dad's family. Then I met Andre. Then, I met Mr. Quixote. I named that one "Te Nosce": Know Thyself. It's still out there somewhere.

Six years ago, I was quietly reeling. Mr. Quixote had knocked me from my poorly rationalized Center of the Universe pedestal, and there was no climbing back. I took a few trips, but they were At least relative to the previous years. By this time in 2010, I was a quiet, hot mess.

Five years ago, I discovered "The Abyss" and realized I'd been trapped in it for two years. Thanks, Quixote! I began traveling south to Latin America. The writing dried up as I simultaneously lost my compass and began searching for ways to "monetize" my travels. Like every other pimple-faced "travel writer" I found in every fucking hostel from Cancun to Puerto Escondido. That failed. Miserably. I kept trying. This was also the last time I saw any of my "new family".

Four years ago, I ran into a former comedian Facebook friend who convinced me that video was the right and prosperous path to take. Thus Kirk helped beget Toddzilla. Toddzilla X to you. to the Internet. "That Motherfucker Toddzilla" to entire swaths of Teabaggers & Trumpeteers.

Three years ago, I had a rather...lets call it an "existentially negative" experience with the "old" family while we gathered back in Michigan for a funeral. That combined with the now-negative "new" family outcome to calcify my cynicism and The Abyss blackened. We moved from the southwest to Chicago. Once here, I began dabbling (very lightly) in standup comedy as, with apologies to Carlin, a "place for my stuff". But, The Abyss just made me angry; I wasn't "funny". At least not on purpose. It failed before I even let it get started. The Abyss was winning.

Almost two years ago, I slowly began breaking free. On a spontaneously planned trip that wound up taking me from Mexico to Colombia by land/ferry, I found photography. Or, maybe photography found me? Not sure. Either way, I returned to Chicago with the seeds of a plan. I bought a camera, and learned how to use it.

Last year, I took my camera to Peru and paid a long-overdue visit to Friar Chris at The Hof, his off the grid Andean playground. I honed my photographic skills and returned with a bounty of photos. My intention was to print them up and sell them to fund traveling to more exotic locales. India & Nepal for instance. Then the Family Vultures reared their ugly beaks once again. In an uncontrollable  fit of existential, self-destructive rage, I decided to "scrape" everything. I sold the camera and resolved to just "get the fuck out of here".

I never went. There was a significant, mysterious, persistent psychological block combining with my urge to print the Peru photos that combined to keep me here to do a small photo show in August. The show went much better than expected and inadvertently gave me the excuse I needed to just "Sit Down & Shut Up" and come to terms with one simple fact: I've changed.

Apparently against my wishes, I've slowly evolved over the last 8-years. Significantly. I'm not the same guy who wandered off from Jackson Lake State Park in May 2008. Nowhere close. Thank God! To borrow from Thomas Jefferson, that jacket no longer fits and it's become clear that I've spent a long time in that depressive Abyss compounding things by beating myself for not being able to squeeze into that old coat; not living up to an out-dated self-image. Sure, that guy had some wonderful adventures and met some incredible people. But, he was also--in some ways--a damn naive fool! It may sound weird, but that's a wonderful thing to realize. Evolution. If I believed in Sky Daddy, I'd pray that I'm saying the same thing about who I am today in another 8-years.

So what is this? A new chapter? Section? Phase? I don't know. It's "something". As I sit here on this blog's, and coincidentally my own, birthday I've come to only a few tenuous and likely very malleable conclusions. I reserve the right to edit this list as time goes on.

1- I'm done trying to monetize anything. I'm the worst businessman/marketeer on the planet. It makes me feel filthy, whorish, and triggers self-loathing self-destruction. This isn't new. This anti-Mammon trait polluted most of my radio career and, in retrospect, it should have been obvious why the last 4-years have been largely, hollow, depressing, and frustrating. I firmly believe the mark of Sky Daddy's "beast" looks like this: $.

2- The Upper World theme says it all. If you're not one to read the classics, it's from Plato's Cave. I intend to get back to the ideas that were at the root of my initial "escape attempt"; my initial trek forth from The Cave: That the world we're caught in, observing, and fighting over is an illusion; something much closer to big shadows projected on Plato's walls. Or, The Matrix, if you prefer. For better or for worse, I'm a little fucking philosopher at heart. This is my notebook. The photo album is here:  (Jesus wants you to buy something. He told me so.)

3- This blog won't have a political bent. If you were secretly hoping for more of that based on my Facebook history, sorry to disappoint you. To recycle The Matrix Metaphor, your political machines are the equivalent of Agent Smith. Too many metaphors? Want to stick with The Cave theme? Fine. They're the ones projecting shadows on the wall and selling that as "reality". "That one over there? That's a puppy dog! That one? That's a Mexican who wants to rape your daughter and take your job!" The fundamental point of this is to expose the shadows for what they are and offer glimpses outside the smokey, isolated cave; the air tight bubble self-sealed by anxiety, fear and dependence. With a heavy dose of poking fun at the unavoidable absurdity of it all. Presumptuous? I know! Ain't it great? 

What's that? You don't approve? Well, you should probably just...fucking leave. Quietly.

4- Rather than trying to tie everything together, I decided I wanted to start this with a fresh, clean slate. As you've noticed, I'll link things as they apply, but I don't want to be distracted by trying to tie everything together. I'm not sure I can at this point. So, I'll worry about the connective tissue later on. Friar Chris and I have something brewing down that line. That's foreshadowing. See? I'm literary and shit.

5- Im likely going to combine old methods. Lots of writing, some video from the road, and a few pics. I intend to use this to largely replace the Facebook Social (media) Disease. Plenty of reasons for that. 

What are they? They both affect and reflect on you. Watch this space, fuckos. And welcome aboard.