Wednesday, December 16, 2009

a question asked and answered.

It's easy to become jaded and bored with the world when so much experience leads to the same general range of emotion. When one's affect is truncated to no longer include the vast extremes of mania and depression, everything else seems like a half measure. This is half blessing and half curse. It is easy to presume that I am lucky because all I must do to fall asleep at night is take a pill, but it is equally easy to presume that it hurts to not care.

That sounds like somewhat of a contradiction. Apathy, however, genuinely is painful. It is made more-so by the insight into one's desire. Just like belief, no one chooses apathy. One can make the motions of caring, but to actually have a deeper part of oneself activated there has to be the turn of some key, a key to which I haven't access.

When becoming jaded with all of the shortened range of experience that fill my life I fluctuate between contentment and complete discontentment. At least in that I have a full range of experience. Also along with becoming jaded I am thankful for the ability to operate in culture despite my chemistry, and so it is all shot through with ambivalence. I love the ability to function, and hate the inability to feel as deeply as I could before. Each night and each morning is a sacrifice of range for functionality. I'm pleased that I get a choice, but I'm not pleased that the only real acceptable choice is to submit myself to drugs and society. My choice is rendered meaningless because no one would accept a decision to forgo my medicine; no one would accept my decision to, by society standards, fail.

I continue with this course of action because unmedicated I have lost relationships, liver function, and financial stability. I resist the action because unmedicated I am given days of wakefulness filled with writing, a flow of ideas which never stops, and feelings others take illegal drugs to experience. I take my pills in the hopes that they will lengthen my life, prevent another depression, and lead me to a successful job in research, but all I'm truly guaranteed of is a restricting of my affective range.

The question every bipolar person has to ask is haunting me. Is it worth loosing mania and hypomania for a normal life? If the continuation of my illness weren't likely to lead to suicide, debt, and potentially so many other unpleasant ends, there would be no question at all. I'm stuck knowing that I sacrifice a unique ability to experience life with the seasons and to feel more deeply than nigh all my peers. I must take my pills and know that by doing so I cut off a whole range of possibility that so many others have mined successfully to create some of the greatest art there is. I must subdue the wildness in me, and perhaps a modicum of the greatness, in order to aim for a more acceptable success.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Another installment of my seasonal affliction.

Daylight savings time was invented by people who's alarm clocks went off at 6. The sun was painfully absent from the beginning of their days. They saw fit to set our clocks back and hour when the light began to fade so that their mornings would feel like mornings rather than the ends of the previous night.

If only the world ran on my schedule. My nights have been so much longer. by the time the clock has struck Five, the sun has set, the crows have flown off and the cold has begun the leech into my bones. It doesn't help that there's a sort of cold that has reached its fingers around my mind.

I was feeling the icy fingertips of winter slowing my thought before the time changed, but the removal of the sun from the bulk of my daily activities didn't help slow the progression of depression's insidious tendrils.

Lack of sun, determinism of season, and a cruel chemical trick played on my by my DNA, has left me feeling slow, snappy, and altogether deficient. This isn't new for me, but I had hoped this seasonal shift would no longer be a factor in my life. I did expect to begrudge the leaving of the sun, and I did expect the season to have a slowing effect on me, but I did not expect to still be so beholden to my moods.

I fell into the trap of thinking that modern medicine could solve my ills in a single swift strike. This is a silly error, which I would not have made had I been thinking more clearly, or even paying attention more closely. I should well have known that my little fluctuations are far from over.

partly of course I was simply hoping that I could be strong enough to subsist on a single medication. It's not surprising I wasn't quite that strong. With so much going on in the way of school and work, as well as my creative endeavours, it is no surprise that a single chemical change would make me better.

I feel that I most certainly could subsist on few, or no, medications if I were in an etirely different social situation, but in school, in this world of schedules and responsibilities, bills and tests, I am left to the wills of my moods, or the modifications of medication.

It's no wonder that the successful manic depressives of eras gone by were so often from families with money. With the money to spare, and the time to really put towards a creative endeavour, perhaps I too could have been great. Perhaps I still can be, but time is the important variable here.

Perhaps when I get some new drugs, and more time I'll write more, and sing more, and play more, but these aren't things I want to put in the sector of what if. I want to say fuck you to the mundanity of undergraduate edcuation and just put my time into my two favourite artistic avenues (music, writing). I don't suppose I'll drop all my current responsibilities, but the temptation is pretty great.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

the ridiculousness of the 24 hour news cycle

The 24 hour news cycle is rather ridiculous. I'm sitting in a coffee shop and there's a TV in the corner playing CNN. for the last hour there's been some ridiculously indepth coverage about some kid getting blown away in a balloon. It's being treated with the same gravity and importance as a military coup, and the result is one child having had an exciting, potentially scary, day, and no injuries all around. This is the sort of thing which gets covered now. It's somewhat sad. Now that we have to have news at all hours of the day news has to be made. It's notable that so little really happens in the world during a single day. There are far more notable things occurring today than a child being blown away in a balloon, and yet that's the most sensational thing, so millions of dollars are spent covering the event.

It just seems like a rather ridiculous use of money, of time, and of human resources. I know this criticism has been made before, but I feel like it's reasonable to make it again.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

the nature of apathy, and how I hope to fight it.

I often have these grand designs before I sit down to write something. Before dosing of in my earlier class I had wonderful ideas about what to write, and little bits of them still stir in the back of my mind, but the will is gone. So much now that is the way of things. I have some idea for which passion flows, yet when I actually get to implementing the idea my passion has gone. Some of it's the drugs.

I can't say if I'd be apathetic without the medications, but I do believe it wouldn't be quite as bad. Of course it's not as bad as when I was taking SSRI's, but the issue is still there. Only the deeply bothersome, can make me angry (which was not always the case). I don't like apathy. I was such an idealist, and I so much wanted to spread the wondeful things I had found to all those who surrounded me, now I don't feel that desire so much. My idealism has fallen by the wayside, and though I can find myself having a small bit of caring for other's plights, I just can't seem to get worked up about it as I could in the past.

Of course apathy seems like a relatively harmless ill, but it bothers me. One of the few things about which I can care, is that fact that I don't. It's one of those lesser ills that feels like a gateway to the greater ills. The less one cares about bad things happening to others, the less one does about those things.

So here's my suggestion, Though I suppose it's primarily to myself; when apathy grasps at your chest, breathe in deeply and pause, and then breathe out quickly and do something. It sounds silly, modifying apathy with breath, but I swear that's a key way to get around the problem. Just stop and force yourself to care. It's easy to see after a while, that the things we do often leave marks on us. The things we seem to care about become the things we actually care about. The things we think about tend to come up again and again. Forcing yourself to do something, forcing yourself to sit down and breathe in a breath of action, a breath of willingness to do something will change that apathy and inaction into action, and eventually into caring.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

a few things to look at.

here are some lovely things to look at to go along with the things to listen to I posted a short while ago.

some cool Indian illustrations

Art made from different coloured rice planted in rice paddies.

The Moon Fell On Me
some beautiful, stark drawings and captions.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Where my time has gone.

When I'm not doing this I'm actively doing something else. It's been a long month full of excitement of various kinds. I started work on Monday. I had a shift Monday and Yesterday, and have one tomorrow. It's a fun job thus far. I like the general nature of it. I'm working at a mental health facility. We're a transitional facility for people in crisis. The idea is that we provide a place for people to get through whatever their current issue is, be it an active mania, a suicidal depression, or a psychotic episode. The idea is that after the client has finished with service at a more restrictive mental hospital, or some psych ward after a 5150 (the designation in CA law underwhich someone may be kept against their will for psych evaluation, requires intention to harm oneself or others)

We're here to help people in crisis get through that crisis and set them up with services afterwards. We can get them in touch with social workers, housing, monetary assistance for prescriptions, all sorts of things. It feels good to be doing something that really does help. We are indeed making a difference in the lives of our clients. Even clients who come in more than once are positively affected by our programme.

I'm pleased to be working above all. Having a job is so relieving. I'm getting back into the flow of working, which is a nice feeling. I haven't worked hours this long in a very long time.

In the time leading up to starting work at this job I've been really busy with my band Oh Wait, Too Late. We had a show opening for two wonderful Sacramento bands, Knock Knock, and the English Singles. Knock Knock is one of my favourite bands, so I was rather excited. It was a good go. I've also been writing, though that's fallen a bit by the wayside with school and work.

When I have work I wake up at 9 ish, go to my 10 o'clock class, then I'm in class unitil 2pm. I take a bus back to my house at which I get in my car and drive to work. I work from 3 to 11:30. It's a long day, and when I come home I just deal with the necessary things.

It's disappointing not being able to get writing or music done on those days but it's worth doing and I enjoy finally having money.

I've also been working on some songs on my own. Some have been in the experimental vein I've been mining for quite some time, and one is more standard.

I've been trying to get my musician friends into a group where each of us writes a song each week, or couple of weeks, and then we play all of our songs for eachother and then we write another. We decide on one topic for the song to be about. I basically just want to get my musician friends in one group so I can get them into a band mode.

The first song we're doing is about New York. I'll write about New York later, and why I want to move there, but the song is a bit about that. One of my friends just moved to New York and she sort of stirred the spirit in me. I want to be in a place with a real scene, and a real variety of music. I don't feel like anyone will care, listen, or appreciate my weirder stuff in a place like Davis or Sacramento. I don't know if they will in New York either, but I feel like musicians migrate there. It's like a mecca where I can find other musicians of similar sprit.

Oy. This has been rather ranty, but for the first post back in a while that's ok. I'll try to post again on a regular schedule, but I don't know if that will actually happen. I certainly do hope to try.

but as I said earlier, if I'm not doing this I'm doing something else. So these months of inactivity haven't been pure inactivity, they've been activity in different sectors.
If there's any interest I can get people links and contacts and all that. I'll try to write more because I feel bad for leaving this blog so barren.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

more music people should hear.

Radiohead Vs. Dave Brubeck - Five Step

Radiohead - Bangers + Mash

one great radiohead song, and a great mashup of Fifteen Step, by Radiohead, and Take Five, by the Dave Brubeck quartet.

Something good out of Kansas, who would have thought.

pretty awesome stuff. The pop crossover of all the guitar interplay I love

better than any band based on Harry Potter deserves to be.

It may be impossible to dislike the song Dying is fine, by Ra Ra Riot.

So awesome. The wonderful band Vampire Hands

Music everyone should get to listening too.

This is music ya'll should listen to. most of it should be stuff you many not have heard. So this is the music I love. There's plenty more, but these are just the things that are mostly overlooked and the things that are so good they could never suffer from over exposure.

A great song by a great band.

as good live as it is recorded, if not better.

definitely a favourite.

this one is a Defining album, and song, for my high school years. "I just got this symphony going" by The Fall of Troy.

A little too awesome, Battles performing "atlas"

ridiculously catchy Sia singing "the girl you lost to cocaine"

Gomez "in our gun" my first dabblings in Indie Rock started a bit with these guys. Before that it had all be Jazz, Ska, and Punk of various stripes.

This is an obvious influence on so many artists, and I'm not going to pretend most people haven't heard David Bowie, but he's so good. David Bowie, doing Rebel Rebel.

Friday, June 05, 2009

in conflict with the daily grind

I've been wasting my days. Nights go late, and early mornings are a thing of the past. I've been biding time until my break comes. I don't know what my break will be. I have all of these goals, and I can't quite get all of them in order. It's not a problem with indecisiveness. I can settle on a goal, and keep following it, but so far it seems that most of these decisions will be made more by the pattern of events than by my on will and desire.
Today and in days past my life often feels like a pretty big waste of effort. I would rather be writing, or playing music, than working on papers and taking tests. I've been fighting against the things the world requires of me, and begrudgingly doing just enough to continue getting by. There aren't any good guidelines for how to live the way I want to, or the way I need to. I don't want to be dulled by drugs and arbitrary responsibilities.
How much money I make isn't going to have any influence on how good my life is, nor is it likely to get me remembered. It's a selfish goal, being remembered for something, but it's not the sort of selfish that detracts from anyone else. I have to create and discover. I've tried being stagnate, or just living through my life in the haze that everyone else seems to live in, and I can't seem to do it.
I don't feel real in my days of taking classes and working. I feel like I'm wasting the days of my life that I'm never getting back. It's more important that now be brilliant, and enjoyable, and remarkable considering the fact that I don't believe in something afterwards. I don't want to waste what, by all reason I can muster, is the only time I have.
I only put time into my creative goals when I'm procrastinating about doing the work required of me. I can't start doing research tomorrow, and thus far only a few people are willing to pay for my music. I can't spend all day writing and then expect to be able to pay for rent and life and all these things.
So I'm writing this now because I feel conflicted. All of my goals are contrary to the way the organised world works. I can't work with society on these things. The life of a musician isn't one that's easily obtainable. That life means working temp jobs and playing music in all the free time you have. Being a writer means doing your writing when you're alone in your room, forgetting about the work you do all day. People don't treat these things I love so much as careers. Finding someone to pay you to write is ridiculously difficult. The same goes for playing music. I don't know how to go about this. The things that most fulfil me, the things that most give me reason to keep on living, are not the things that will give me money for rent, for food, for a phone. The stuff that gives me what I need to survive and be involved in modern society has nothing to do with that which fulfils me.
Maybe when someday I'm making money as a researcher I'll be ok about all this, and will be able to put all my efforts into creative things, be it creating experiments, or writing, or making music. That day can't come soon enough. Slogging through every day, feeling worried about how I'm going to sustain my life, worrying about being alone, worrying about if anything I do is worthwhile, all of that shit is going to populate my days for quite some time. I can't seem to get past all of that superfluous shit, that drags me down into the mundaneness that seems to keep everyone else mildly content.

Monday, June 01, 2009

A tribe without history, description or subordinate clauses

Living without Numbers or Time

By Rafaela von Bredow

The Pirahã people have no history, no descriptive words and no subordinate clauses. That makes their language one of the strangest in the world -- and also one of the most hotly debated by linguists."

I heard about these guys a while ago, it's very very interesting, and brings up some interesting problems for linguistics as a whole. If you're remotely interesting, go and read this.

School getting in the way of my Learning.

It's so tiring existing in this life and timeframe I've ended up with. I'm happy with my life I suppose, but sometimes I feel like I don't have time to do the things that really matter to me. I don't like the way that school works. Grades don't mean a whole lot to me, and the way time is structured doesn't work as well for me. The weird mix of strict schedule and completely unstructured time is hard to parse. I'm not the sort of person who has my life on a schedule.
But that's not where the worry really occurs. I prefer the sorts of goals one has for a job. More particularly I prefer the sorts of goals one has as a researcher.

I often feel like school gets in the way of learning. I have a lot of things to get done that have nothing to do with school. I've learned more from my own research and my own reading than I feel I ever have from school.

I wanted to go to university because I love learning, and I thought that university was about learning. It isn't. That seems obvious now, but at the outset it wasn't. Of course I learn things while in school, but that isn't the prime directive. The primary goal of school is either to get a degree, or just to figure out what one wants to do.

Grades aren't an accurate evaluation of one's intelligence, or of ones skill, it's simply about study skills, and a certain devotion to minutae. I've never been the best at studying, or the best at managing my time, but there's never been any doubt about my intelligence.

I'm just frustrated that I can't strike out on my own yet. I can't do research on my own, or just put time into my writing and my music. I am stuck doing work on papers that are of little interest or ultimate import, I'm stuck studying for classes which will not further my goals in any way. I'm tired of doing work that isn't worth anything. I want to do the things that I love as my prime activity. Maybe just work a job and then in all the extra time do what I'd like. With school it's not like that, I don't get off after the class is over, there are papers and studying afterwards. If I'm done with work, I'm done with work.

With research it's like work with the possibility of involving myself in mental machinations afterwards as well. I think about that sort of thing and enjoy it, but when I have to write papers and study instead of being able to spend more time doing research or music or writing, that's all I feel like I'm doing.

It's just a little frustrating seeing my creative endeavours falling by the wayside while I gain nothing of import.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Learning for learning

I have piles of books everywhere. I had to steal milk crates to supplement my shelving. Even after that addition I still have books on my floor because I don't have any space for them. I don't have an excuse for the pile of clothing. I have a little alcove (about one metres by two metres) with my amps and guitars and basses. It's a nice organisation I guess. I want to have a space where the living room can have my books and instruments, that way my room just has the books I'm working on reading and my work desk, and a dresser. I really would be down for having spartan space if it weren't for the books and music.

That's somewhat indicative of my personality though. The over flowing of books. I haven't read all of them of course (what's the use of a whole bunch of books you've already read?) but it's nice having all these books. At least once a week I end up pulling books off of my shelves or out of their piles to find some passage or some line. Sometimes it's simply to see what I wrote in a margin, or to find inspiration for a band name, or a story.

I don't really understand people who don't have books. I go to the library too. I understand not buying books, but sometimes you just can't find it at the library. Beyond that used books are brilliant to have around. I have so many books that I got for free from either dumpster diving, or library purges, or the shelves of teachers moving classrooms. I have piles of books that were curiculum for classes I never took. I got some brilliant books on discount that were intended for an English class in Irish literature which I didn't have time to take. The books were great though.

That's the point. I don't really get how people couldn't enjoy these worlds created by others. The sorts of people who end up with favourite television shows should have a similar affinity for reading. "The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." (Mark Twain) I love stories of all sorts though. I end up watching television shows and feel enthralled. That happens with great books too. I think it's even better with books. I have more stories from books in my head than movies and TV.

That whole gap in my understanding is lined up with my disappointment in so many of the people I've met in college. I've met plenty of wonderful people, and even the people I've met who I didn't like weren't particularly bad, but even among that group of wonderful people, I've found a stunningly low percentage interested in learning. There are people interested in grades, and people interested in careers, and people interested in social activities, but the people interested in learning for learning's sake are few and far between.

When I get excited about what I study, and go on these wonderful little rants from the books I've read, the studies I've read, I feel so lively. It's like a way for me to filter out the people who aren't excited about learning. I drop facts too much. I just bring up random facts in a conversation, or take things literally and explain things to people. I know some of that comes from some of my own insecurities, but I'm pretty damn sure that some of that is me trying to seek out kindred spirits.

I don't think the method really works.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


It's hard to get away from one's moods. It would be radically difficult to write something happy right now. I'm feeling despondent. This melancholy has settled on me, and I'm not sure what to do. There isn't much I can do.

I wish I could control all this. Of course I've gotten better at sorting out the world around me to improve moods, but there are some things I'm just not any good at yet. I'm still essentially alone. I've not gotten any better at turning basic connections into more meaningful relationships. Sometimes it's just like a cycle of missed connections. I really wish there were something I could do about it though.

yesterday Matt and I were talking about how everyone has insecurities. We were also kind of trying to single in on our own insecurities, and I couldn't think of mine. I wasn't in doubt that I had some, but it took me a while to figure out what they are.

I'm worried that I'll end up alone. I'm also worried that my creative output is all shit. I latched on pretty heavily to my diagnoses after figuring it out, but I feel like that was just me finally making sense of a large part of my life that couldn't be reconciled otherwise.

Before I got treatment for OCD I was spending a whole bunch of hours a day just doing rituals. So latching on to the definition and diagnoses for me was just a way of finally making that part of my life able to be dealt with.

I do have insecurities about who I am on drugs, but those aren't what are bothering me right now. I'm feeling lonely. I was desperately in love with Julie while I was going out with her. I really did think we'd get married or something of the sort. When all that ended it left me a little out of it. I had to deal with going crazy, and getting better all while dealing with her leaving. I just tend to doubt that I'll ever find something like that again. Even when I feel like I will find something good, I lament my immediate loneliness.

I like having time to myself, and I can entertain myself, but I need someone to confide in in a certain way. I need companionship. I so miss that. I don't know exactly what to do to get back in something like that. I'd do whatever I could.

the first glimmer of a career in music.

I just skateboarded home. It was lovely, and I sung an Irish drinking song on the way. I do really wish that most of my nights were like that. I play a show, I drink and have fun dancing and talking, and then I go home to write and listen to music. It is the best way a night can end. I feel like I may be on the brink (the brink being within a year of) of becoming a musician at least part time. I do believe that my guitarist and I could continue on playing music for a living, and working shitty temp jobs in the interim. we just had a great show. The turn out was low, but everyone at the show felt engaged, and felt like the show was fun and enjoyable. we are learning to be entertaining. The music has never been an issue, it has never been in question that the music was good. What we needed was a show that people enjoyed. we are finally getting to that point. We have some great shows with great people, and I feel like we are finally getting to a point where we can be amazing. we can do a show that everyone will enjoy, regardless of their opinion of the music. That's how we work. Our music is very poppy, but has depth. So it is something to which people can dance, and can have fun too, but if they take the time to listen, they will find a different layer of meaning.

I haven't been this excited about a band ever. I've been in a few bands, and none of them have had as much potential as that which I'm in now. I feel like there is potential. I have never looked at music as a career. It always seemed like something I do on the side, but Matt and the band I'm in (Oh Wait, Too Late) has given be cause to re-evaluate the situation. I don't know if we'll go anywhere, but if we do, I'm happy to go all the way with this band. I've never felt dedicated enough to feel like that was an option. I will agree to whatever the band requires, because I really do love what we're doing. I really do feel like this can be my life. Living on a tight budget doing a temp job but putting my creative effort towards a band. I feel like maybe this is a new branch I can move my life into. I never thought of myself as that sort of person, who would be happy to be in a band, and do shit jobs to do it. I always pictured myself as a researcher or as a clinician, but now that's changing. I think that that's an important change. It's interesting to feel this progressing. I feel like I could do anything right now. That sort of freedom is hard won, and I feel like grasping it as long as I can. I have time for a career in research later, I should just take this opportunity at face value. I have done this far, and I think we can keep it going as long as people care to listen.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

just another post.

While taking my shower I was dreaming up blog topics. I kept coming back to some grand article titled "confessions of a serial monogomist" it's an entirely ridiculous idea. I was going to write about being in love and not being happy as a single person, and what that means.

Ultimately it's not very interesting to talk about myself in that way. I highly doubt anyone wants to hear about my feelings on romance. It's one of those things that I get tempted to write about, but don't because as self serving as this is, I like to keep up the illusion that I'm writing for the purpose of being read.

I'm also going to avoid writing once again about how blogging is so much wankery. I'm sure anyone who reads this is well aware of how mastrubatory this sort of writing can be.

In a lot of ways this is here for my dreaming. I dream up so many ideas in a day, fewer now on my drugs, but still a large amount. I sort of need to filter them out. Or maybe it's not really a dream sorting process. I'm pretty sure I just need to remove myself from the equation. By getting all of the stuff that irks me out onto a page I can use my other ideas without so much interference.

I'm not sure if that's true either. I may just be keeping my muscles flexed while doing school and music. I'm just writing as a way to keep my skill with the language and my ability to rant intact. I haven't been working nearly enough on stories, though I have three or so in the workings. I feel like maybe I'm just writing here to keep my writing abilities on hold while I'm busy with other things. I don't really know if that's a good thing. Perhaps I should just throw myself back into my writing. Of course it's not like I have time. I don't make money writing. I don't get closer to the end of my schooling by writing. Basically I'm at a point where I have to either sit tight and just keep my writing skills oiled with inane things like this blog, or I can go all into it and neglect these other sections of my life. I'm really tempted to opt for neglecting everything else.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The California part of my upbringing

I didn't grow up quite like anyone else. The main place I grew up is right where the Cascades meet the Sierra Nevada's. Mount Lassen is just at the end of the Cascades, It's volcanic rubble from an eruption in 1914 reminding us of that. My front yard was not a yard. There was a paved road and then forest. The forest was owned by somebody, and trails went through it, but it still felt like a living breathing thing.

It was a walk across my small five road town and across the train tracks into PGandE territory before I could find a slightly more wild bit of the forest. The forest in front of my house had felled trees all over after a particularly windy storm, and the debris made running and jumping about rather fun, but the lack of animals to chase and observe left it feeling less real than the meadow behind our house, filled with ducks and geese.

I know so much of that forest so well. I injured myself on more trees than I can count. The sticking up branches sometimes would scuff my knee, and the trees with lower branches were never safe from a climbing.

I still love a good tree to climb. The deciduous trees down in this valley have so many more bends and so much more to grab onto than the pine trees of my youth. The heat here is so much worse than the relative cool that was always there in my home town. 80 degrees was a hot summer, and we'd had snow almost every month of the year.

we were where the air was thin and the water unfiltered. My friends and I would go to drink from the broken pipe over at the spring that spouted fresh clear water that was being pumped to the houses in the small town.

As intellectually confining as the place was, it was definitely physically freeing. The forested half of my upbringing makes me feel a little boxed in when surrounded by anything other than trees. I still climb trees whenever I find one worth, and I still feel like there is little better to do with ones day than go on a walk to just write in some place with birds and trees, and a little bit of water.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Sometimes I just want to leave.

I love stories and films and shows in which people just leave. They drop things and go to some other place. Find themselves dropped into New York, or London. I've always wanted to just drop things and disappear into some foreign place. I'm surprised I never did anything like that while manic.

Now I'm remembering something like that though. I think the part of these stories I always miss is a partner. I have to have someone I'm running away with. Once when Julie was visiting me in Davis, we drove all the way to San Francisco just because we could. Just because I so wanted to take her there. We didn't practically have the time. We went to the Amtrak to see if we could take the train and that wasn't an option because it was too late.

I drove us there anyways. All the way to Japan town where we stopped at my favourite udonya, and I had great Kitsune udon with Julie. I don't remember what she had. I remember getting lost in north beach where the signs began showing up in Korean, and Chinese, and then I hit the coast. We drove back and the sun set down on us as I pressed the gas pedal and listened to the loud rev of the engine. She sat beside me and we held hands. It was great.

I've never done any disappearing act on my own. I'd love to, but I feel like now that I'm relatively sane, it's too late. I had my chance, but going it alone wasn't what I wanted. I never wanted to disappear into the world alone and isolated while surrounded by city walls. I wanted to go into the void with someone to share the isolation with. To gradually find solace in this ordered world. I wanted to explore a city with a lover.

I never fully fulfilled that desire. It's something I'm not entirely ok with. One of those desires I never got to fulfil. I've had weeks of writing. I am having relative success with my band, I'm working on towards becoming a neuroscientist. I've met other goals, or at least explored their bounds. That disappearing act is one I may never get to fulfil.

I've not really had a partner in quite some time. I'm sane again, and I feel like I can finally give as much as I get, if not more. I want to asuage this loneliness, and I'm ok with how selfish that wish is. I want to be with someone, and I'd like that to be sooner rather than later. I'm not sure how to make that happen, just like I'm not sure how I could ever fulfil my disappearance fantasy. I'm in a limbo which isn't mediated by insanity or by the less kind arms of fate. I don't really know what to do in my situation. I've so many options, but no idea on how to act.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

some things brought up by a walk.

I went for an hourlong walk today. That's not something I do often. The whole time I was reminded pretty heavily of the situations in which I used to take long walks. When I was manic I would walk late at night or even early in the morning, still up from the night before. It cleared my head, and let out some of the energy that builds up. I always felt like the world was more open when I was walking.

When I would get seriously Obsessive Compulsive I ran. I had a few routes I'd run. Things would just get to be too much and I'd put on my running stuff and just run out of the door. It was the only real respite from all of the terrible things I imagined and the strictures of ritual. Even while running some of the stuff that so bothered me during the rest of the day would come up, just not as badly. I would run past trees and imagine them as gallows, and run past cars tensing my fist and imagining the process of slamming my fist through the wing mirror.

Running had less of the rituals, and less of the rules of my every day life. It felt so good to be out. The suburban sprawl still felt somewhat confining, but it was better than my room. I've thought a lot about how a strictly ordered environment, with concrete, and numbered streets, and walls and stoplights effects one's mind.

I don't suppose I would have been saved from the OCD had I stayed in the wilderness, but I don't feel like it would have been quite so bad. I just connect the going mad with leaving the mountains because they occurred in concert. The mountains were a different sort of confining. The social world was small, and the intellectual world even smaller. I felt unfulfilled in many ways. Leaving was good.

The strictures of suburbs may not have been very healthy though. It's a trade off. In order to have the intellectual challenges and opportunities I had to trade that physical freedom and space.

I only lament the loss of the forest when I'm alone. When there aren't people with whom to interact, when I would like to just go on a walk not bordered by houses and sidewalks. When I'm with other people I'm thankful for the density. It's only when by trick of fate or turn of mood I end up alone but energetic. A walk around Davis doesn't fulfil the way a walk through the forest does. I can stop at a bench and write, but I don't feel the same way. Cars pass, and houses are lit up. There are open fields if one goes far enough, but they're flat, and homogenous. Those fields aren't like the meadows of my youth. The house lined streets don't give me a feeling of openness.

I was raised in such a wide open place, that to live in a place with walls and doors and cars and sirens is a big adjustment. I'm stable here, but only with medicines. I'm happy here, but still confined. Of course my father went mad in the mountains. The wide open spaces didn't prevent his madness, just gave a large space for it's expression. He could feel manic and go on a huge hike into the wilderness. He could go wild in the woods rather than running into people and parties and all the things that occur in a college town. I don't think I would have avoided madness by staying in the woods, I just don't know that it would have been as bad if I had space to spread out into.

my dad didn't need medication for some forty years while in the mountains. He was able to live manic, and depressed, and cyclic. He could live out his wild life without confinement. The social structures confine, the world doesn't. It's almost the reverse here. Pavement sprawls endlessly, but people are in all sorts of configurations. I can never burn enough bridges to not have friends somewhere. I'm not one to burn bridges, but it's comforting to know I could. I know so many people, doing so many things. The freedom I once had when I walked out my door now only spreads to intellectual freedom and social freedom.

I won't knock what I have, but I will lament that which I've lost.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Other People's art.

I found an amazing album on Stumble Audio, but I don't really have the money to buy the album. It's Harajuku No Emo Ko by Tober. It's really charming. I feel like I'm listening to a nice middleground between pavement's loose indie rock and Braid's emo/indie. The album was made in 2004 and I can't find anything about the band. I'm really surprised to find an album that sounds like this from a band I've never heard. I feel like an aficionado of that early indie rock scene. That whole Urbana Illinois scene, and the influence of a bunch of New Jersey and Washington DC bands.

It's refreshing to find something I missed. I could probably spend seven bucks on an EP but I'm trying to be as frugal as possible now. Music is one of those thins that I buy whether I have money or not. Most of the bands listen to are small enough that it actually hurts them if I steal their album. Sometimes download is the only way to get a hold of something, but I'd much rather pay the artist. I like buying demos at shows. I usually buy shirts at shows though, because I've usually got the album already, and I'd like to wear the shirt, and I know the money is going into the bands hands.

A book I really liked "the boy detective fails" by Joe Meno was obtained at a reading. There were only about ten people there. I brought a copy of Meno's Hairstyles of the Damned from the library. I got both Hairstyles' and Boy Detective' signed, and felt really cool about it. Also a plus was the fact that I knew he was getting the money for the book. I put the money in his hands
He was actually going to spend it on gas, or food, or booze, or cigarettes, while on the road.

It's a much nicer way to support an artist.

I've been finding lots of great music lately, and lots of great stories, and lots of great shows. I'm just in a mode of discovery right now. Sometimes going through all this work by other people helps me with my own. I love reading anything I can get my hands on. So many books so little time. I read for pleasure rather than reading for classes. It's a passion. You kind of have to be into it for it to make any sense. There are just people who read.

I've also been finding cool people lately. Cool musicians and cool scientists. It's just a nice time for me, finding all these people and things that I had missed for a while.

It's a very nice part of settling in.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Some Misconceptions about OCD

After a while it gets pretty hard to write about yourself. There's only so much interesting material to delve into. That's one serious issue I have with the nature of blogging. I've never been the sort to make posts with links to various things. I'm not the sort who really blogs news. Basically all I have to write about comes from my own experience and my own interests. The occasional post about neuroscience or storytelling gets written, but the nature of those posts is pretty centred on me too.

I've written about it before, but I feel a little narcissistic writing about myself so much. I know that's not why I do this, but it is a problem that sneaks up on me now and then. I've always been pretty self critical about that sort of thing.

So while I was seeking treatment for OCD I was pretty paranoid about misrepresnting myself. If I told a psychologist I was doing rituals for 3 hours a day, I was probably doing rituals for more like 4. I just couldn't get myself to say how many hours I was actually doing because I had convinced myself that I was just seeking attention. I had this whole worry that I was just being a nuisance when I admitted to how often I was doing a ritual.

That's part of OCD actually, that whole worry that you're misrepresenting yourself. People with OCD will sometimes convince themselves that the police are looking for them to arrest them for murder. The way it works is you have a thought about killing someone you love. The thought is graphic and scary, and you are appalled by it. The thought is so real you're even a little convinced that you did kill the person, or that you're going to. SO you do something to keep from thinking the thought, to keep from killing the person. I would touch my left shoulder to my left ear 6 times, touch my left cheek with my tongue 6 times and turn around counter clockwise 6 times. Sometimes I'd do this stuff in multiples of 6. That stopped the thought. Problem there is that you have to do it more and more to stop the thought. So you'll be lying in the foetal position on your bed picturing the death of your girlfriend and doing these rituals in 6s but it just won't fucking stop.

That's one of the most terrifying things in the world. I've never had a panic attack, but I can't imagine it being much worse than this. There are little things that bother you too. It's not just that big thought that haunts you. Things not being straight is bad. If there's a stack of papers I would fix it. after exams I would go up to the front to turn it in, and spend a minute or so making sure all the papers and testing forms were in straight orderly piles. It didn't matter how embarrassed I was to be doing it, I would still go through the motions.

Eventually even stepping on cracks and segments in the pavement would bring it on, so I couldn't do that. I couldn't go into bathrooms with small tiles because I would end up stepping on lines. I had to watch where I was walking all the time.

I went to a therapist to work on this stuff, and when taking the scale (the yale brown obsessive compulsive scale) I filled it out so that the final number was a 6 and I wrote over each number six times so that it was bold and clear.

So I wasn't just into keeping my room clean. Things didn't just need to be straight. I wasn't the colloquial definition of OCD. I was the clinical definition of OCD. I imagined my girlfriend dying in gruesome ways, and sometimes imagined myself killing her. If I had bad thoughts on the sidewalk, I would lick tyres to keep them from coming on. Sometimes in going someplace I would lick the whole row of tyres.

It always annoys me when people use OCD in a colloquial way. It's always for something silly. I just can't see OCD that way. Something silly that means you like your pencils straight. I see OCD as that thing that makes some people wash their hands until they bleed, that made me so afraid I spent 3 or 4 hours a day (probably more in actuality) doing rituals to avoid seeing my girlfriends death. OCD was the thing that convinced me that I was going to slam my fist through a wall, and watch the way the rough drywall tore at my skin.

OCD isn't someone being anal. OCD is actually pretty fucking horrible.

(for those of you who are seriously anal, but enjoy keeping things straight, and who don't seem to have many other coping mechanisms I suggest you look up OCPD or Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

happy to be on working drugs.

I'm so glad to be well. I've been helping out a manic friend for most of the weekend, and I remember how good that felt, but also how bad all the consequences could be. It's so nice to be well. I can fall asleep at a reasonable time, I can do what I'd like. I love not being thrown about on my moods.

Of course I did love manias. People take cocaine to feel the way I feel if I just don't take my drugs and stay up for a night. It's just the depressions. The depressions are too much. I don't know how long it would be. 5 years, 10 years, but after enough of those depressions I'd just say fuck it and get the hell out of the living world. I'm glad I have another option than going through those horrible downs.

Seroquel really is a miracle drug. My dad is stable (without doubt) for the first time in probably 40 years. I am back in school, and able, and well, and succeeding. I still have my doubts about my creative process, and about the things I produce, but I feel like I've been given and early reprieve from what is meant to be a lifelong struggle.

I feel quite sorry for prior generations of manic folks, tossed about with no ability to avoid all this wildness. The Woolfes and Byrons. I'm so lucky to be in the situation I am. Tonight I'll go to bed thankful.

Monday, April 27, 2009

a short bit on stories.

I can't get over how interesting stories are. I just love reading, and hearing, and watching, and telling stories. I don't really care where they're from, or how true they are. I almost feel like a story is truer than the actual events.

Ultimately our pasts are just the stories we tell about the past. I often feel like I've integrated some of the bits of stories I've read and seen into the fabric of my own life. Those bits of me that are most like Holden Caulfeild are that way because of and interaction between how I am and how the book made me.

There are a few important functions of language. One asks for things, and passes on information. As far as pure necessity goes, it's difficult to figure out what stories are for. Of course there are those elements of passing on knowledge and instilling values, but I suppose that's what I was getting at. We use stories to encode our societal values, and to suggest what is expected of each individual. We use stories as a way of keeping entertained.

There are a lot of wonderful things we use stories for.

I've more to say, but will get to it later. This post felt like pure speculation, and not in a good way. But such things happen.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

How we relate to stories.

Sometimes there's nothing profound to be said. My posts the last few nights have been short ones. That's not necesarilly a bad thing, but it is something I take notice of. I'm not sure what's turned me towards these shorter posts. Some of it is just lack of inspiration, but some of it is a better idea of what I want to say.

If I have the simple desire to recount my day, then the post is likely to be more concise. If I warble on about some topic, not fully knowing what I'd like to talk about, then the post will be long.

I'm never sure how a post will be take either. Some of the posts I've written that people mention to me afterwards aren't the ones I would expect to have a big draw, or a big emotive force. It's really interesting seeing what of my writing is taken up by others.

It's that intersection between reader and writer that's so interesting. The way some people attach to a book, or a story. I'm really interested in how that interaction works. There are certain stories and posts that really enthral me, and I don't know how much of that is an interaction with the author or how much of it is simply the story embodying part of me.

It takes some serious thought to figure out why we like some story so much. What of a character do we see ourselves in?

Some stories are easier to peg than others. The reasons I love Catcher in the Rye are pretty obvious. There are certain things about Holden Caulfield that seem to fit for me as well. I loved Catcher in the Rye the most when I was disaffected, and crazy, and gradually falling out of step with the whole lousy world.

Some are more difficult to figure out. I still don't quite know what it is about Ender's Game that enthrals me. I've read the book tens of times and I still don't know. I can see some ways I relate myself to Ender, but it's not as simple as the relationship I have with Holden Caulfeild.

It's never what I expect people to latch on to. The posts that I write as a one off, on a whim, tend to be the ones that people adhere to. Same goes for parts of a story. People always take something a little different than was intended.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A manic friend and some drinking.

I really should be asleep by now. Normally I would be, but I just spent the last hour helping my friend by bringing her some of the drug I take. She too is bipolar, and currently In quite a manic. She was prescribed what I take, but there's no where to fill a perscription at four in the morning.

She should be asleep by now. I made sure not to leave until she was well on her way to being passed out. Normally my drugs get taken by somewhere around eleven thirty. That I didn't take them umtil ten minutes ago is mostly because of the sort of night I've had.

I went to a friends party. It was great. I ended up drinking more than I have in quite a while. I haven't been drunk enough to puke in months. I'm pretty sure that I went off to puke and after a bit of puking was given a ride back home. I do hope I wasn't any trouble for them. That tends to happen when I loose control over things.

I rather hate not being sure what happened to me for the bulk of the night. It's bothersome. I've no reason to be particularly worried about anything I may have done, but it's bothersome to even thing that I may have.

There's a reason I don't really drink so much anymore, and I feel like tonight is meant as an affirmation of that fact.

Friday, April 24, 2009


I have a threshold for dealing with people. I may have gotten the hours down. 4.5-8 hours is my limit. Within that window I start to get really annoyed and unpersonable. I can still be a nice person, but it's really hard. Those hours don't have to be spent in the same room either. If for thirty minutes of that I'm watching tv and the other person is in my room I still am going to get a little peeved. It's nothing personal.

I get energy from the inside. I stay in and read, and play music, and write, and these things recharge me. Being out with people, no matter how much I enjoy it, is draining. That's true of everyone from my family to my best friends. I've occasionally had girlfriends who I could put up with for longer, but that's an exception to the rule.

I hate to make people feel put off or unhappy because I'm getting annoyed, and I really do try to prevent it. I just have to have a refractory period before I can start going again. I love people (well sometimes I hate them, but for the most part I love them). It's not a function of my like or dislike of someone. My favourite people annoy me after a while.

Such is Introversion. No matter how personable someone is when you meet them, or how nice they are, they still may be introverted. One may still get their energies from the quiet spaces of home. I live in my head, and I'd rather not do anything about it.

So if you know someone like me, give them a break every once in a while. If they get snappy after a few hours of time with you, it's probably not personal. Rationality is hard when you're drained.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Some thoughts on Death and Life.

It's hard to not think of death when the sun sets. I'm never sure how afraid to be. It's something that's bothered me ever since I stopped believing in a god. That's something no one can deny about religion; it sure is comforting.

I still cross myself when I hear sirens. When I was daft I used to pray a rosary to calm the fuck down. I didn't think anyone was listening, but the repetitive action felt good. I was raised with religion. Hell, I worked at a church camp for most of my highschool summers, and two of my college ones.

Belief isn't really something we chose though. My dad believes in god because of a vision during a psychosis. I do have to admit that if I saw something like that I'd probably be swayed, even if only to make myself feel better about the impending END that awaits us all.

I always read before I go to bed. Lately I've been rereading a collection of Philip K. Dick stories. I don't know why these tend to bring thoughts of death up more than anything else I read before bed, but the simple fact is they do.

I haven't been having the horrible experience I used too; wake up scared and breathless, having a clear realisation that after this there is nothing. It's more been a feeling of death looming and then a desire to be sharing my bed with someone, anyone really.

That whole experience of finding oneself alone at night, the reaper knocking at your door, and your heart beating out of your chest is something I've heard described by other non-believers as well. It's not a pleasant experience, but there's not much I can do about it.

I really do think I'd believe if I had a choice. Once you're out there's no getting back in though. So what I want to get at here is on how I've been thinking about death lately. I don't know how I feel. I'm not afraid of it for the most part. I do think it's the end, and I've only got the time I'm alive to experience and be. That's bothersome but like so many other things I can't help, I just deal with it.

The reason this comes up, besides the fact of the thought coming to me at night, is that I don't feel like I have time to put up with pointless things. There are so many trivial things that one does to keep on in this world, but frankly, most of them aren't worth my (or your) time. Dealing with the busy work parts of classes, working in jobs we don't like in order to pay bills.

That's part of why I usually say fuck it to all the things that seem trivial. I don't tend to study so much, though some of that is just because I don't usually need too. I don't care about administrative things. I spend more of my time playing music, writing, consuming stories. I do things I enjoy because I must. It's not something I want to negotiate. We tend to negotiate our lives away. We don't ask someone out because we're afraid of rejection, but the more time we waste being wallflowers the less time we have between now and death to find happiness.

I don't know that long life is really a great thing unless you're really living. I want to find out how we tick, and unless I'm doing that what good is my life. I want to make music that no one else can make, and if I'm not doing that what's the point. I want to write things that only I could write.

Do you see a theme here. I want to be fully. I've experienced more in 21 years than most people do in forty. I don't say this because I want to make you feel guilty or worried, I don't say this because I think everyone is wasting their lives. I say this because I want people to think a little. If this is all there is, what are you going to do with it.

If you live your life fully and then you get heaven, then great. If there's an afterlife you're not going to be penalised for living well in this life, but if there isn't one, you've penalised yourself.

Now is when you can make a difference, and now is all that you know for sure you've got. Tomorrow is unsure. Death is unsure. Maybe sorrow is all that awaits us, but something that we can all be sure of is that we are alive now.

I'm afraid of death, because no mater how bad life gets, it's still life. I want to be tired by the time I die. I want to have experienced so much that I'm simply tired of being here. I can't see that happening any time soon. And that won't ever happen if I don't just grab life by the balls.

Tonight I'm going to think about death, and I'm going to worry about sleeping alone, But tomorrow, I'm going to go to try to enjoy things. I'm going to stop being so cautious about everything. I'm going to stop treating things as if they are just hazards to be crossed. Routines should be thrown by the wayside unless you can make them enjoyable.

Tomorrow I should stop worrying about falling asleep alone and do something about it. Instead of waiting all day to get to writing, I'm going to write. Instead of waiting for permission to do what I want to do, I'm going to do what I want to do.

That's basically been my philosophy thus far, but I feel like right now is a crystallising moment. The Episcopalian in me wants to bring up the confession of sins, I have not loved you with our whole hearts. Apply that to life. I have not loved life with my whole heart. I've been cynical and disappointed. The world has made me look down on this life, but it's all I have.

My bicycle is not the best one there is, but it is my favourite because it is what I have. The same is true of life. I have not loved thee with my whole heart. I have sinned in thought word and deed. The only person I was hurting was myself.

Now's the time to stop all that.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


It's not always easy to come up with new things to write. That's particularly true of draining days. Matt and I played a show. It went well, but it still drained me of a bit of energy. That's the primary deficit I've felt since going on my drugs, I don't have thoughts going on all the time.

There are now times where I don't have more than one thing going on in my head. It's odd, and it seriously hinders my ability to produce more creative output. so I try to wrack my brain, but it just doesn't want to cooperate.

It's a little maddening. I already knew I couldn't rely on my brain for accuracy in perception, or for stability of moods, but finding that I can't rely on it for creative output is seriously disheartening. Of course I had months where no creation occurred, during depressions. I suppose the daily decrease in great ideas is part of spreading my uncreative state over a longer period, as well as spreading my really productive periods over a longer time span.

I don't know if the maths work out for that though. If I produced more in the earlier condition where I had my ups and downs or if I'm likely to produce more now that I've got everything even.

It's hard to know if the trade off is worth it.

That is the central question of my life right now. I'll have to figure it out eventually, but it's hard to have perspective on something so close to oneself.

I could deal with it if the products of this lack of creativity didn't irk me so much. Posts like this where there isn't a whole lot of outside interest make me feel a little like that creative decline isn't worth it. The saddest thing is I can't immediately do anything to stop all this. I have to keep on working with my brain hindered.

So I may keep writing these horrid posts with so little to offer. I may continue to feel the effects of declining creativity. It's something I haven't come to peace with.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Achille's dilema.

Well Matt and I have another show tomorrow. This one will be acoustic. I'm really looking forward to more playing. I like having shows. Besides that I've two tests tomorrow.

But of course that's not what you're reading for. Information about what I'm doing tomorrow isn't really important in this paradigm. Giving info about what I'm doing isn't worth shirking off studying. So I have some larger goals with this post.

Partly to remember why I'm writing this blog at all. Of course my life is less tumultuous now, my drugs working, my sorting out of the world coming a long a little better, but that doesn't mean that the centre of all this needs to be left behind.

All the while I've been intending to ask serious questions about my nature and where I fit in things. With the coming of better days I'm having to redefine that. My days are largely a set of things that need to be done, and the time that before filled with a million thoughts now only fills with one or two. The slowing of my cognition, though to some extents useful, has somewhat hindered the sheer volume of ideas I used to have.

I've written too many times about what it's like finding out how to be oneself in a different situation to not know where this ends. I'll find some small truth and latch onto it hoping to avoid finding more. It's a continual process and surely enough after explaining it, it will continue.

So what may be more important is what is going on in my past rather than my current life.

Today wasn't wild. It was nice and slow, and eventful but in a good way. That isn't how my days used to be. I had a few different descriptions of my thought. I almost forget them now being so far removed from Sane and un-medicated thought.

I used to think in probabilities. In the book Dune Paul Atriedes through the drug Melange and a genetic gift found the fabric of space time and could see the golden thread that led through the weave. Before my drugs, and before my madness (sometimes during as well) I could see the weave. No golden thread stood out, but the whole weave was visible to me. Within three weeks I could see the repercusions of an action. All this went on while my brain processed tens of other things.

All the time a song was playing as well. If I wasn't singing, it was playing in my head. I cannot know if my mental experience is like someone else's, and being mildly dyslexic, I'm rather sure that what I see as a P probably looks a hell of a lot like a q would to anyone else. I know that through madness I have a different perspective than just about anyone.

The change of that perspective on drugs is so drastic. I am no longer the person I was. I had such a view on the world. I could see everything as the parts that make up other things. Objects broke down for me. Stories filled my brain and all the time things were flying by waiting to be grabbed back up.

I wrote on my arms because there was so much I needed to know, and there wasn't space in my brain to remember assignments or appointments. I had pages everywhere of various thoughts and Ideas. While everyone else was paying attention in class or leaving it alone entirely, I was half attending and half reading.

A teacher would call on me while I was reading to try and trip me up, and I would still answer the question correctly. When I actually payed attention in class Teachers often had to add a caveat to their questions "What is the bla bla bla , Someone other than Patrick this time."

So having a brain that is otherwise so disordered is a change. A drastic change that I haven't really talked about before.

I often wish that I could just go crazy for just a little longer. Make enough money to support myself for a few months and then go off of my drugs, induce mania, and go back on them before I hit a depression. I could create so much. The rate of thoughts will be maddening, and I'll have so much to produce. Not just these nightly posts of maybe three pages. I could make something amazing.

I can't do that though. I have too much to lose. I don't know If I could take another depression. I don't know if I could live through it. And frankly, if I have a mixed episode there's a gauranteed suicide attempt in the works. I'm not someone who wants that, but I know what depression is like and I don't think I could take it.

God if I only could get both. I have to dull my brilliance to keep my life going. I get to choose a long life of moderate (or realistically, very minor) brilliance and productivity, or I get a short life of wild brilliance that may end before I'm thirty.

The Worst thing about this paradigm is how tempted I am to aim for the short but brilliant life. I know I could produce amazing things on my drugs as well. Just my continuation of this blog and my music and writing is a sign of that. However I can't help but feel a bit worried. Look what this blog has devolved into. I tell you about the happenings of my day, and give analysis. The people still reading are doing so in hopes that they will find something exicting or interesting like the things I used to produce. I have a feeling I'm letting them down.

It's not all my fault though. I still have all this information filling my brain, I still have all these thoughts to be had, but I just can't keep them going at the same rate. I can't just close my eyes an have ten things going on at once. Where before I had writing problems because I had too many Ideas now I have problems because I've too few.

There has been a significant cognitive twist. I don't think that it is the worst possible side effect, but I don't know if I can keep going accepting this hindered brain as mine. It's only painful to think the way I do now because I know the brilliance I once had. I know how unique my mind could have been. My life short, and wild, but oh so productive. Were I just to stop taking my medicine it would be mine in a week. It is hard because that life is so close.

People don't adhere to their drugs because of this, because their minds aren't theirs. There are places where I've arguably improved because of the changes in cognition my drugs have afforded, but it's not all about thinking, a lot of it is how I feel.

It doesn't matter if my writing is more connective and cogent if there's so little of it. It doesn't matter if I can put effort towards something if I don't have that inspirational spark.

While in a hypomania I can produce half a book. And I could do it again, and again any time I get in that state. Without hypomania I have to work everyday for a year to produce half a book. With my new brain I have to sit down every day and write just to know what my mind is.

Though I'll keep taking my meds because I believe I'm smart enough, hell, even brilliant enough, to overcome the cognitive deficits that now befall me, and because If I can be brilliant with drugs I have 80-100 years rather than 30-50 in which my life can unfurl and my works can be written and played.

I don't want to die, and I'm confident (or overconfident) enough to think that I'm still smarter than most people even when my drugs slow me down. So my drugs will keep being taken. My life will keep on going, without suicidal thoughts, and days where I cry for no reason.

That doesn't mean I have fully forgiven fate, or genetics, or that God I don't believe exists, for giving me a taste of brilliance and then making me choose between a short life that leads to fame, or a long one with no notoriety.

The mother of Achilles gave him the same choice. To die in battle, famous, strong, forever remembered, or to live on a farm and be remembered by only his family. We know which choice he made. His rage, His pride, are things of legend.

Perhaps I'm less proud. Perhaps I'm humble enough to take the offer of the farm. Or maybe I'm more fully taking on the mantle of pride and thinking myself above the choice. Thinking of myself as able to create my future despite all the evidence to the contrary.

A good show and Hot day.

Tonight I just played a show. It was hot and sweaty despite being outside. I described it to my room-mates as sweating the pacific ocean. I really enjoyed playing but the sweat ran down my face and it still was for a while afterwards while I sat watching the band that followed us, with a beer by my side.

It was nice having a beer and some relaxation. The band that followed us was good for that. I'm not really into them, and Matt and I left before their set was over, but they're good. I don't listen to them on my own because they aren't really my thing.

We publicised a lot, so plenty of people who we knew came. Not as many people as we had hoped took our free demos. If anyone wants one let me know and I can get you one some way or another.

I wrote a little verse in my notebook while the other band was playing

the sun is down, the heat remains
my head is clogged and I'm bereft of all compose
Or metered rhyme
I can't control the tongue of mine and on I go though meaning's gone.

I'm hoping tomorrow isn't as how, but I don't expect it to get cooler. The sun was out so hot yesterday and today. I'm not ready for the heat of summer. maybe this will get me there, but one is never prepared for the drastic heat of a Davis summer.

I would like more nights like this though. I like playing shows. The more we do the happier I am. Matt and I are playing one on Tuesday, just the two of us. That should be fun. Have some work to do tomorrow, on top of practising. Looking forward to playing, but I should probably be focusing on the classes a bit more.

Oh well.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Picnic Day.

Picnic day was good. I woke up and had a nice breakfast with friends, and then drank some, then went and wandered campus with them. I ran into other people I knew and hung out with them as well. The whole day was pretty nice. It was the hottest it's been in Davis this year. I was really glad I'd worn shorts.

I've been thinking about a lot of things. Mostly I'm just excited about the show my band is doing tomorrow. It should be good.

I had some nice conversations with a few people, some of them about neuroscience, some of them about mental illness, some about the value of translations of literature. I'm not sure how many of them were anything more than time wasters, but that's fine by me at the moment.

I still feel rather warm, and feel like I may have gotten a sunburn. That's not a farfetched idea. I don't much like sunburns, but I dislike sunscreen more. I don't know where I got the dislike from, but I just really don't like sunscreen. I'm not built for the heat. I'm far to white for that to be my ideal environment.

I left campus around 10 and I felt like I was going to come home and play guitar and write, but by the time I got back I didn't feel creative anymore. I hate it when that happens. The creativity is sometimes sapped out of me by hanging out with people. I really can't put up with people for more than 4 or 5 hours without getting really tired and out of it afterwards. I have a bit of a refractory period, where I need to rest and recover. I'm not particularly moody anymore when I've spent to much time around people, but I do feel drained. I just sat about and watched an hour of Ashes to Ashes. I didn't create anything and I feel somewhat deficient for that.

It's something I would have kicked myself for in the past.

I want to make things, but somehow I don't get to it.

I don't really want to live a life where making things is a side project to all of my other goings on. I don't really feel real except for when I'm making things. That's a problem for me when I have classes and other things to do. I don't want to live by just doing things and getting by. I want to thrive rather than just exist.

I'm ok with my life right now though. Things are amazing and I'm happy about it. Sometimes I just get in a funk. I can't hang out with people for so long without feeling at least a little misanthropic.

It's one of those things that's genuinely me rather than whatever is wrong with me.

It felt good just spitting out a post. That's usually true. I still feel uncreative, and out of it, but I'm guessing that'll pass after a while. I'm guessing all I need to do is eat a little bit and then I'll feel right as rain. It's hard to tell these things. I still don't fully know how I react to things. I guess it's just a matter of time.

Making a Demo and waiting for picnic day.

I spent most of the evening Burning CDs making CD cases, and drawing on said CDs and CD cases. All this for my band Osabear. It was a fun little night though. Matt, Nico (his girlfriend, my friend) and I worked on these things and a poster. We're getting ready for our show on Sunday. I'm really looking forward to it. It'll be really nice playing a show with the whole band rather than just Matt and me.

I'm also really psyched because some of the art on our demo's is really tight Nico did an awesome job on all the ones she did. I did ok, and Matt did pretty well. It was a good use of time. Next time we're totally designing one and just printing it out. Of course this way they're all unique.

The demo isn't bad. Not as good as us live, but that's to be expected until we can get a recording with a really good engineer or producer.

I'm also pretty excited because I found a CD on my windscreen under the wiper, along with a note and a pretty case. It was from a cute girl who walks by my car from time to time and likes my bumpersticker. What's doubly surprising is that it's good music. It's a nice ecclectic mix, and I'm just really happy with it. I always end up making mixtapes for grils, but I've only ever gotten one or two, so it's really exciting.

I was looking for something to get what I can't have off of my mind, and sure enough, here it is.

Life is good right now. Tomorrow is picnic day, so that means lots of people on campus and generally lots of drinking. One nice plus of my drugs is that if I drink in the morning it takes far less alcohol. Tomorrow is a traditional day to drink in the morning, so don't think it's becoming a habit or anything. I'm still being nice and responsible. It's all part of figuring out the balance.

The whole figuring out of my balance is getting easier and easier, and it's nice that life is so good. I like it quite a lot. Things haven't been this good in a while, and I'm really glad to note that.

I tend to be a bit wordy (confirmed by Matt) so I'm gonna stop it around here. I'm looking forward to tomorrow, and it's nice to be doing that again.

Friday, April 17, 2009

an obsession with stories.

I'm a bit disappointed that the sharks lost the first game of their series against the Ducks. That was sort of a cap to my night. The bar was nice though. had two pints, groaning along with about 20 other sharks fans.

I don't know why I've lost so some of my abilities of observation. I haven't had a whole lot to write about, part of it might be that I've started keeping this comic diary thing. It's pretty tight. I'm not very good at the drawing just yet, but it's nice to make observations with a visual component.

It's an entirely different sort of thing than just writing a journal, or posts. The character of it, even with the large amount of writing that I do next to the drawings, is one which better suits to logging events. I don't feel quite so narcissistic when I have drawings to go along with the stuff about my day.

On a different note, I want stories. I get sort of obsessed with stories. Be it television, or books, or music, or comic books. I love reading stories. I love watching stories. I don't really know where it came from, but stories just fill my head. I know a whole bunch of stories, from all mediums. I love trying to make stories too. It's hard to come up with something that hasn't been told one way or another, but it's fun sorting through all the possible events and lines.

Most kids like stories when they're growing up, I guess I just never grew out of it. I spend most of my time (excepting a lot of the time I spend on music) consuming and producing stories. Even some of the music has to do with stories as well, but that's more about the tune and the variability.

This caries over to myths. I've read a lot of different ranges of myth. I'm particularly fond of Irish Myth. the overlaps between these myths and greek myths, and norse myths are interesting. It's interesting to see what sorts of things crop up more than once. There's a lot of stuff that consistent in myths of all sorts.

All of the crossovers and all of the consistencies may be able to tell us something about ourselves. I like having a window into the anals of history, and the stories we've told for so long.

I'd love to figure out what my obsession came from.

I feel like I've not been writing very interesting posts the last few days. If I'm right about that I apologise. I'm likely to produce something interesting eventually.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tax Day.

I'm busy watching south park. I've been letting my TV watching take a lot of my day up. While watching though, I've been drawing while watching though. I'm not too bad at drawing objects but my pictures of people are pretty bad. I've been working on comic like drawings. I'm pretty pleased about what I've figured out today.

I've started keeping this big notebook, with drawings and notes. It's a nice thing to get started on. I've been keeping notebooks for years, but it's really nice to start keeping one with pictures. The only times I've let people read through my notebooks they've said I should do more drawing. I think it's mostly because people like to see drawings in notebooks, but besides that, It's a nice skill to have.

I really do need to stop watching so much TV. I don't really know why I've been watching so much.

Part of it's the stories. Easily consumed stories. Of course we don't process most of what we see on television. Id really like to do some studies about it in the future, but still. TV really does get to be addictive.

I'd love to have more interesting things to write about today, but I was a little neglectful about the fitting everything in on time. I filed my taxes today. I made so little money. That's not a horrible thing, it just makes me feel like all that time wasn't worth much.

It's nice to finally be twenty one so when I finished my taxes I could just go down to the store and get a pint of new castle brown ale. It was very nice. Having something to relax with after being done with taxes.

It's been a busy, but not busy day. It's like I did a whole bunch, but didn't do anything at all. I guess the TV watching was basically a reward for finishing stuff I needed to get done.

Sorry for the disinteresting post, but that's what Tax day with do to me.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

maturing perhaps.

Sometimes when I don't knoo what to write about, or what to sing about, or what notes to play, I just babble and something comes out. I write a few sentences which don't have any meaning, and they'll just open up the floodgates.

It doesn't always work so well, but prodding myself doesn't work any better, so I tend to treat writing as writing, no matter what it's about. That's the best attitude I can muster when it comes to feeling uninspired.

Having fewer thoughts in my head has been something to get used to. That's a topic I'm talking a lot about, adjustments and the such. It's interesting that these things are so up on the foreground for me. I'm markedly different than my peers, but I don't really mind. I like this adjustment. I've been doing far better than I would have expected too. I haven't smoked marijuana since getting on my pills. I don't think it would be a problem if I did, I've just come to realise that when I did smoke it had no purpose. I didn't do it to calm down, or to relax, or to improve my social interactions. I just did it with no real rhyme or reason. So I've just decided I don't really care to anymore. Perhaps on occasion I will still, but I don't really feel like it's something that will fit into my weekly life like it used to.

I think maybe I did use marijuana to calm myself down in the past. Self medicating almost definitely occurred. I don't need to anymore though. The things that gradually go by the wayside are interesting. Certain tendencies are mostly gone. I've replaced the me that has a serious difficultly waking up for classes with one who goes to bed at a reasonable hour. It's not to say that those prior tendencies were entirely my fault, or even all of them bad, just that some of these old things have fallen by the wayside.

It's wrong to associate this change solely with drugs though. Some of these changes are me growing up. I don't like to think of my drugs as the actors in the changes going on with me, but more as helpers. I can do certain things because of my drugs. I don't wake up early because of my drugs, but I am able to because of them. It's like the lyrics of a song I wrong "It's my music that keeps me sane, My morning pills just help me to play"

That's not a huge thing to realise, but it does make me feel more in control. Thinking of my drugs as tools that I'm choosing to use rather than as these things that force me into a very particular box. I guess that's one of the key changes in my view of things, I am viewing myself as the one in control rather than seeing myself as someone blown about on moods, and wills and whatever else have you.

I don't know if it matters, but I want to know what of this change is my drugs and what of it is simply me maturing. I doubt I'll ever find out, but it would be nice to have some sort of idea what I have control over and what is just the effect of all the things surrounding me.

On another note. My mental length metre may be broken if I consider seven paragraphs painfully short.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I really need to get this order of when I take drugs and when I write down. Today was a bit odd because I had actual work to do, so I guess that's an excuse, but It's not a good one. I've been rather good about the scheduling thusfar, but tonight I just missed the ball. On the upside, I'm not so out of it that I can't write. I did take my pills and I was laying down rather happily, ready to just drift off to sleep, but I feel like it's important writing this, It's also important brushing my teeth, which seem to always have problems.

So I guess this goes under the heading of taking care of myself. That's a rather unusual way to treat writing, unless I'm completely out of touch with writers everywhere and secretly that's all writing is for anybody.

I think I've come to the conclusion that my solution for anything should be either writing a post about it or writing a song about it. Whatever it may be. There are some obvious exceptions, like bills, and gaping head wounds, but for the most part, a song or a post are the best tools I have to deal with the world around me.

This is a little disconnected, but anytime a message, or a phonecall isn't returned I entertain the idea that whoever isn't responding may be dead. I end up sort of figuring out how I would find out, and if I really am close enough to the person and their family and friends to be notified if they were to die. It's epically morbid, but it's not done in any depressing way. It used to worry me endlessly, at least when I was still suffering from OCD, but now it's just an interesting exercise in thinking about how closely I am connected to people I know. Just whether you would be able to get a hold of someone's parents if you had to is an interesting indicator of how closely interrelated you are. Of course it's not the only one, but it's an important one for the whole them dying scenario.

It's one of the options for why someone doesn't call back, I always end up thinking in possibilities. All the little probabilities of certain things ocuring flutter through my brain. It used to be, before my drugs, and before my madness, that I had a very unusual representation of probability. I now know how biased it was, but I could see all the eventual events pretty well. I'm not sure I remember exactly how it worked, but there was something unusual about the way I imagined the future.

Things don't tend to surprise me. I always feel like I've already accounted for events. I've already figured out what the possibilities are so when one of them occurs I'm not surprised. I'm pretty unsurprised by everything. I'm not sure if the possibilities plotting is an adequate explanation.

anywho. I need to be getting off to bed. Buenas Noches.

Avoiding and Arduous research paper.

I'm trying to work on a really arduous paper right now. It's for my cognitive development class. The problem I'm having it sorting through all the studies that are about subjective shit, and trying to find some that are more empirical. I'm also having trouble finding research on the things I know about, language and the such.

It's hard searching for research papers in a topic one doesn't know a whole lot about, and even harder when that topic shows up a whole bunch of qualitative, subjective studies, even among the peer reviewed material. I would think that Cognitive Development could be a vitally interesting topic, but only if the topics breached were done so in an empirical fashion.

I may be dismissing it too soon, but it is disheartening thus far to look through the available research. The really clever research seems to be done by people who are outside the field of development looking in. It's a bit like sociology so far as I can tell. I'm still willing to give it a chance, but thus far the available resources are not promising.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Importance of Forgetting songs.

after my recounting of that argument I had with Matt, I had an interesting realisation regarding my writing process. I'm someone who writes songs, and then leaves them never to be heard. I've forgotten more songs than most bands have. That's not a qualitative analysis, doesn't make me any better, just different.

Tonight I played 6 songs. Two of which I have distinct parts to, and the other four which I made up on the spot. 3 of those made up ones were relatively good. I didn't record any of this, and I can't remember the four I made up.

These were complete songs, with lyrics and full construction an everything, but I won't ever play them again because I can't remember them. Not a single part of them has survived except whatever has gotten into my brain.

That's why the whole forgetting of a song doesn't bother me. I do it every night. I have hundreds of songs I'll never play again. Most of them are what I think of as songs for the moment. Some of them are only good once, because they are so heavily tied to whatever time I wrote them at.

One of the songs I wrote was a song to that girl I can't get out of my head. It had some clever and yearning lyrics. It's good that she won't hear it. It made me feel a bit better about the whole thing too.

That's a lot of what these songs I do by myself are for. What I'd really like Exactly to do is to just do songs like that and just be together enough that we can do performances where the songs are never the same. Just whatever we do right then, and whatever lyrics come out of my mouth. I've gotten good at just blurting out these things over all this time that I write songs most nights.

I can just produce a song if you give me my loop pedal and a guitar. 9 out of 10 times the songs are good, and that's better than the hit and miss ratio of most bands pre written songs, so I feel good about it. I guess sometimes I lament the loss of good songs that I should have recorded, but as I said before, all the songs I forget are scrapped for parts. So I have the good things from songs I've forgotten and those good things go towards my new songs. It's a lot like the Improvisational methods and improv practices of really good jazz musicians. There are things that they pick up on from prior improvisations that make their solos better.

Each song, and each solo, though done on the spot, is actually the product of many different solos played and forgotten. All those lines one's heard and played and taken note of influence the parts that they play. My guitar parts don't all sound the same because I have so many old ones to work from. The things that were good about my old songs come out, and the things that were bad gradually get filtered away.

That's the logic of the songs I just make up on the spot.

The lyrics are another thing. I'm unproven when it comes to that sort of improvisation on stage, but in my room (for all that that's worth) I tend to be pretty good at putting together interesting melodies and lyrics. Sometimes quite affecting, Often with a cogent theme. That's something that could be told from the times I have recorded things.

I like that method of loosing things. That's why Matt's worry about it doesn't resonate with me. Loosing songs, and having all of this material that will never be heard is just part of my process. It's somewhat a part of a lot of musician's process.

That's one thing I like about what we do with Osabear, we record the random songs we just make up, but we throw away most of it, so the interesting things from the old songs can be taken up and used again. That's probably the reason I've stuck with it, besides the performance of good songs we already have.

The whole point is that loosing a song isn't something that bothers me. It's not quite like having something you want to figure out on the tip of your tongue but not quite out, it's more like having all these cool ideas just below the surface waiting for the right stimulus to pull them out.

a bit about moods and band dynamics.

Just had a bit of an argument with matt. He had a chord progression he started working on. By that time we had been done with practice for about half an hour, and we were sitting around basically doing nothing. Jason was in his room studying, and matt while playing this chord progression asked if I had my recorder. I didn't have it with me, and using the vocal mic through the computer didn't work. So that went wrong.

anyway, he went into Jason's room to try and get him to play a beat to it. Jason wasn't much for that, and I was feeling a bit dazed too. So I went in and messed around a little bit, and matt got a little pissed cause he lost the thought that he had.

He was still talking about it while we left te apartment and in the car ride back to my place. He didn't really accept the point that by going in and just interrupting Jason's studying he was making it seem like what he wanted was more important than what Jason wanted. Ironically earlier in the day right before practice he was talking about some of the people they were hanging out with last night and how he dislikes dealing with people who are so set on what they want to do that they don't consider the opinions of others.

I can understand where he's coming from with the fact that he'll loose the song if he doesn't get to it just then, but I don't think he really accounts for other's enough. I know that a song will disappear, but when he wondered how often that happens, I wasn't that interested. I know how songs get lost that way, but it doesn't bother me so much, if only because the stuff that disappears ends up integrated into other songs. We sort of pick up all the stuff from songs that we've lost and forgotten and we incorporate it into our new songs. So I'm not just dismissing his thought, and his disappointment at loosing a song, I'm just not bothered by it because the song's aren't lost, just parts of them are. Each song we forget is put into our other songs. Every song that we don't use can be an influence on the songs that we do.

So while my terse, and sommewhat annoyed answer of "that doesn't interest me" seems insulting, I don't mean it to be, I just mean that the phenomenon isn't one which I can A: do anything about B: that seems to cause a whole lot of detriment to the overall writing process or C: one that I care to discuss at length.

Today I just haven't been in a mood. I don't really know what that means. These moods affect me more than other people. So when I say I'm not in the mood for something I mean it. It's not something I can easily change by some active process, it's something that I have to either let pass, or just sit with.

I'm not just copping out when I say that. I was just sitting down and feeling despondent, and wishing that I had more to do. Matt was playing the guitar, and I didn't have a guitar or a recorder, or a penny whistle. I was there with a ukulele that I wasn't used to, and expected to feel involved and creative. It's not a situation that makes me feel particularly like playing and singing.

I always end up feeling like an outside observer. I feel like I can understand more than one point of view. I also end up feeling like Matt can't. Or like he can but doesn't.

he doesn't feel like he's asking all that much, and most of the time he isn't, but that's not always true.

All I wanted right then was my loop pedal and my guitar. I didn't want to just sing over guitar, or just play along on a little ukulele. That's not something that I could do a whole lot about.

Matt often talks about the way a location or an orientation can change the music produced, but he doesn't seem to be able to incorporate that into his understanding of how other people can be out of a mood. People have moods that vary based on situation, and he understands that, he just doesn't seem to fit it into other stuff.

Of course I have my own issues, so don't take this as a general boo matt thing. I just feel like stating all this stuff that I can't really manage to say in actual conversation. I don't have much patience for people when It comes to explaining things. So I much prefer explaining in writing. it's far easier, and it allows me to take more time to deal with comments and refutation. It's useful.

Anyhow, that's all I had to say. Will likely post sometime tonight as well, but I felt like I wanted to get this whole little explanation out.