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Monday, February 9, 2009     Welcome to My Pre-Birthday Depression
(10:44 am)

When I woke up this morning the world had changed. It still looked pretty much the same, sounded the same, smelled identical to what it was like previously, but it was different somehow. I can't even tell you what it is. It just felt a little different. As far as taste, I don't know; I've not eaten anything. One thing, coffee is pretty much the same. I think it may be my pre-birthday funk. Usually that arrives a couple weeks prior to my birthday, but this year, like spring according to the local groundhog, it's early. Last night I dreamed I checked my blood sugar (BS) and it was 645. That's probably impossible since I'd be comatose were that an actual reading. I had other disturbing dream snippets as well, most of which have receded into the dream dumpster. It must be the pre-birthday blues which is affecting me. Otherwise I'd have to think the world had changed.

Maybe it's me that changed. Somehow death seems less frightening, pain seems a mere concept. Emotions are just bits to plug in as a response to stimuli, thought a mere exercise in cleverness. I still "feel" like me, sort of, but different, too. I'm not comfortably numb. Comfort, indeed, seems just like another concept. In a way it feels like my head has been split open and what was contained is now unbounded. I can almost see the tentacles Don Juan talked about as connecting that luminous egg which is me to everything else. Only thing is they're invisible, even to me, yet. . .


Today's Fortune:

Be Here Now

I've been thinking about "me." Not me, per se, but "me" as a concept. That's really all it is. It's a bit of the universe deciding that it's more important than the rest of the universe and setting itself apart, protecting its identity with a label that delineates it and makes it a separate entity. It's all semanitcs. (see Nietzsche)


Quote of the Day: "All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything."

-- Swami Vivekananda (Indian Spiritual leader of the Hindu religion, Vedanta. Disciple of the famous 19th century mystic-saint Sri Ramakrishna of Calcutta. Founder of the Ramakrishna Order of Monks. 1863-1902)


There were a couple people across the street on a second floor porch yesterday playing a guitar and banjo. I'm glad to see something like that on the street. We need more public music. I dreamed about Nashville last night. I'm as comfortable there now as I was in Atlanta in the late 70's. When I was there previously I wasn't nearly as comfortable, but I was just passing through then. Of all the cities I've been in, Nashville, Memphis, New York, and Chicago are the ones that resonate most. I suspect music has something to do with it.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009     URI
(2:49 pm)

And no, I don't mean the University of Rhode Island. . . I have an upper respiratory infection, probaby a rhinovirus or some such. At any rate, it sucks. I do, however, feel a little better today than I have for the rest of the week. I started feeling a little out of sorts on Friday, not too much, just enough to notice. Saturday was a lot worse. Sunday was a little better. Monday? Fuggedaboudit.


Today's Fortune:

Shine on you crazy diamond.

Friday night was the Open Stage at Unity hosted by Ron Sowell. I've been going there every month for about two years now. It's the one place I play consistently. This time I did a set for Valentine's Day, since the Open Stage was the day before the holiday. I played The Temptations' "My Girl" and Van Morrison's "Brown-Eyed Girl." The reception was heartwarming. The audience (probably 30 or more) were my backup singers for both songs and did a superlative job of it, especially those three-part harmonies on the latter song. After both songs I got a rousing round of applause, including "hoots & hollers," cheers, and whistles. I was shocked. Dick Patton even told me I did a good job, and he's a Republican!! I wish I could have recorded it. The songs and audience participation, not Dick's comment. Well, maybe that too. . .


Quote of the Day: "We are not victims of aging, sickness and death. These are part of scenery, not the seer, who is immune to any form of change. This seer is the spirit, the expression of eternal being."

-- Deepak Chopra


I met a fellow who sings for a group called "SImply Sadie." It's hard to put a name on their style, but what I heard, I liked. Anyway, the singer gave me his name and cell phone number so I could call him this week and we could get together and work on some songs to present at the Open Stage in coming months. He want to sing back-up for me??? Maybe I'm not so bad at this singing stuff after all. . .

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Friday, February 27, 2009     Adding to the Sadness
(2:12 pm)

One of my buddies has died. Bernie Wiepper was one of my favorite "characters" around town. I used to run into him quite often at the Kroger on Delaware Avenue. He lived just over on Grant Street. Bernie and I traded jokes over the years, in the parking lot at Kroger, in the aisles, at Pro-Art down on Summers Street, on the sidewalk, wherever we happened to run into each other. I'd been to his studio on Capitol Street a few times. It was a marvelous place, speaking strongly to the history of art in Charleston. Bernie was an icon. With his black beret (a habit I picked up, if not necessarily from him, then out of sheer artistic necessity) and cigar or pipe, until he finally quit the demon tobacco some years ago. Bernie gained weight after he quit smoking adding to his already somewhat portly physique. Later on, at the behest of his doctor, and probably of his wife, he lost weight. The last time I saw him he had gotten so thin as to be a bit disconcerting.

Bernie always has a wry, sick, or lewd story, some true, some just jokes, others, I'm sure, completely fabricated, but artfully crafted as one of his sculptures or portraits. Bernie was old school. He smelled of tobacco, sometimes of booze, always of humanity. I recall one day when Bernie and I sat having lunch at The Strand on Hale Street, conspiring on how to build a 40-foot Brontosaurus neck and head and how to mount it so that cars coming down Lee Street would see what appeared to be a dinosaur between the rows at Arlington Court, munching on the foliage above the roofs. We never did build it. Couldn't quite work out the logistics of getting it in place in the dark without anyone finding out about it until the next morning. But, we had some laughs. Bon Voyage, Bernie.

This is probably my favorite of Bernie's sculptures. It's call Lincoln Walks at Midnight. It sits in front of the West Virginia State Capitol. The steps behind Mr. Lincoln are where Ann and I got married nearly 29 years ago.

Lincoln Walks at Midnight

Quote of the Day: "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone."

-- Pablo Picasso


Tomorrow's my birthday. I've had too many of those. However, I'd prefer to keep having them as opposed to not having another. Not sure why, though. Things just seem. . . unfinished. It's been an odd week. Probably will get stranger in what little there is left of it.


Today's Fortune:

Sounds delightful.

Often, I feel best when I'm going somewhere. Anyone have a job for me that pays a fair salary to travel to various places? I think being a truck driver at this late stage is probably to strenuous, but I could drive a car or van to various states to do whatever it is you need doing. I used to pick up and deliver cars part time. That was okay. I'd prefer a gig where I could spend at least a little time in the places I had to go to. Any takers?

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