Not another one…will miss you Chris

I haven’t written anything here in quite a while, but I am coming back out of the shadows because I am so saddened to hear of Chris Cornell’s death. While his death was ruled a suicide, his family thinks that it may have been related to an accidental overdose of anti-anxiety medication.  Either way, the world has lost another highly talented musician due to personal struggles.  I know from personal experience how hard suicide can be on a family, and my heart goes out to his wife and children.

Every time the world loses one of the musicians who has struggled with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, and whose expression of life through music has provided comfort to me in my darkest times, I can’t help but feel several things very deeply:

  • The loss of a family member (I have found there is something that connects all people that struggle with depression and anxiety that just can’t be fully explained; it’s just a shared recognition of going through the same things);
  • The sobering realization that it could have been me in the past and could, one day, be me in the future;
  • Anger at the world / creator /  evolution for all of the suffering caused by mental illness; and
  • A soul-sucking loss of inspiration (hearing people express their struggles while making it through is inspirational, but when they succumb to the struggles the it’s hard for the inspiration not to transform into despair).

There’s no way around it — this just fucking sucks.  Chris joins a group of several other giants from the Seattle music scene that helped to define Gen X  have met untimely deaths from personal struggles.  All My Favorite Grunge Musicians are Dead.  Is Grunge Cursed?  nails it:

…while Mick Jagger and Keith Richards defy the upper limits of mortality, grunge’s icons aren’t making it halfway.  Turns out Kurt and Lane Staley were just the early warning signs.  Scott Weiland had a delayed reaction.  Cornell polished it off.

There’s still Dave Grohl.  Highly-functioning, creative, fatherly, energetic.  And Eddie Vedder.  Constantly touring, writing, and playing.

Hope there isn’t another shoe waiting to drop somewhere.

Yeah, no shit.

I was formed in the 1990’s, with all 4 years of high school, 4 years of undergraduate studies, and 2 years of graduate studies occurring during that decade.  Grunge music provided one of the most important channels in the soundtrack of my coming of age.  Sometimes angry, sometimes brooding, sometimes dark, and sometimes beautiful, the music often expressed a general dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and sometimes with life itself, with which I have a deep and solemn understanding and connection.

I always thought that Chris was the best singer from the grunge area.  His voice could change from a soft vulnerability to a scratchy growl in an instant, a perfect match for the music and what it expressed, to some extent, the times.

What’s worse is that this happened during May, which is mental health awareness month (and week).  May is not over — check this out for a few things that you can do to get involved.  If this makes you feel like donating to help people who struggle from depression, Nuci’s Space here in Athens GA is a good choice, as they specialize in helping artists and musicians.

A random thought — Seattle music was known for heroin.  Thank the universe I didn’t try that when I had the chance.  Luckily, I was more scared than I was tempted (scared more of how much I would like it, not scared of what it would do to me).  I’m quite sure I wouldn’t be writing this right now if I had.  I’ve made a lot of bad decisions in my life, but that was probably my best one.

As you should have expected, here are a songs, one from each of his two main bands, one from solo work, and two collaborations.  I went for solo live music where I could because it showcases his ability to create mood with voice.  I usually say enjoy, but that just doesn’t fit this time.  Listen, marvel at that voice, and pay respect.  RIP, Chris.  I never met you, but I feel like I knew you and your music is a friend.

“Fell On Black Days” — Soundgarden

Whatsoever I’ve feared has
Come to life
Whatsoever I’ve fought off
Became my life
Just when everyday
Seemed to greet
Me with a smile
Sunspots have faded
And now I’m doing time
Cause I fell on
Black daysWhomsoever I’ve cured
I’ve sickened now
Whomsoever I’ve cradled
I’ve put you down
I’m a search light soul
They say but I can’t
See it in the night
I’m only faking
When I get it right
Cause I fell on
Black days
How would I know
That this could be my fateSo what you wanted to
See good has made you blind
And what you wanted to
Be yours has made it
Mine
So don’t you lock up
Something that you
Wanted to see fly
Hands are for shaking
No not tyingI sure don’t
Mind a change
But I fell on black
Days
How would I know
That this could be
My fate

 

 

“I Am The Highway”

Pearls and swine bereft of me.
Long and weary my road has been.
I was lost in the cities, alone in the hills.
No sorrow or pity for leaving, I feel, yeah.I am not your rolling wheels – I am the highway.
I am not your carpet ride – I am the sky.Friends and liars don’t wait for me,
‘Cause I’ll get on all by myself.
I put millions of miles under my heels;
And still too close to you, I feel, yeah.I am not your rolling wheels – I am the highway.
I am not your carpet ride – I am the sky.I am not your blowing wind – I am the lightning.
I am not your autumn moon – I am the night… the night.Yeah!
I am not your rolling wheels – I am the highway.
I am not your carpet ride – I am the sky.

Well,
I am not your blowing wind – I am the lightning.
I am not your autumn moon – I am the night… the night.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

 

 

“Dead Wishes” — Chris Cornell

Staring in the mirror with two borrowed eyes
Looking for the part of me that’s still alive
Waiting for my chest to fall… and rise
Standing on the corner With my shirt tucked in
Summer turns to autumn winter turns to spring
And it all flies by… like a speeding train
Dead wishes on a broken chain
White roses in a dead man’s dream
Down and out with everything to lose
If these long dead wishes
Ever do come true
Waiting for the night to come and chase away
All the flies hovering around my head
With my memory for a pillow
And all my regrets for a bed
Standing on the corner now I’m passed surprise
Yelling out a warning to some passer by
I stand just as God made me
And I lie down in disguiseDead wishes on a burning lake
White roses from my soul to keep
Down and out with everything to win
If my long since sunken ship
Ever does come in(Round and round we all fall down
And that’s how ancient mountains crumble)

Time keeps moving slower
Like falling from the sun
Come and knock me over
I keep getting up
Throw a line down to me
Keep hanging on

Standing on the corner don’t apologize
You don’t have to bow your head or raise your eyes
Or pretend that you don’t see me

Dead wishes on a broken chain
White roses in a dead man’s dream
Down and out with everything to lose
If these long dead wishes
Ever do come true

(Round and round we all fall down
And that’s how ancient mountains crumble)

 

“Right Turn” — Alice and Chains featuring Chris Cornell

Inside always trying to get back inside
But it’s so hard to penetrate pig-thick skin
I’m ’bout as low as I can get
I’d leave but I can’t forget
Still I wonder why it ain’t right, mmm it ain’t right, oooh
Ain’t right, mmm it ain’t right, yeah’
Bout as low as she can get
She’ll leave me but she won’t forget
And she wonders why she ain’t right, she ain’t right
Ain’t right, she ain’t right
Now we’re as low as we can get
Can’t leave and can’t forget
We ain’t right, we ain’t right
Not right, we ain’t rightWell it’s hard to believe that somebody tricked you
When you can see you were only high
It’s all up to you so you gamble
Flat on your face and into the fire

 

“Say Hello 2 Heaven” — Temple of the Dog

Please, mother of mercy
Take me from this place
and the long winded curses
I keep here in my head
Words never listen
and teachers, oh, they never learn
but I’m warm from the candle
though I feel too cold to burn
He came from an island
and he died from the street
and he hurt so bad like a soul breaking
but he never said nothing to me
So say hello to heaven, heaven, heaven…
So say hello to heaven, heaven, heaven…New, like a baby
Lost, like a prayer
The sky was your playground
but the cold ground was your bed
I said poor stargazer
She’s got no tears in her eyes
but smooth like a whisper
She knows that love heals all wounds with time
Now it seems like too much love is never enough
Yeah, you better seek out another road
’cause this one has ended abrupt
So say hello to heaven, heaven, heaven…
So say hello to heaven, heaven, heaven…
I never wanted to write these words down for you
with the pages of phrases of all the things we’ll never do
So I blow out the candle
and I put you to bed
Since you can’t say to me now
how the dogs broke your bone
there’s just one thing left to be saidSo say hello to heaven, heaven, heaven…
So say hello to heaven, heaven, heaven…
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Autumn in North Georgia

I was getting a little stir-crazy last weekend, so I headed up to the north Georgia mountains.  Amy-Leigh’s stomach wasn’t feeling well, so she declined.  I had a good day, even though all of the time in the car didn’t make my shoulder feel any better.  Every time I venture into the GA mountains, I am impressed and surprised.  On this trip, I went to Brasstown Bald, the highest point in GA at nearly 4,800 feet for some views.  There is a fire tower and observation deck at the top that provides 360-degree views of the GA and mountains, and you can see into North Carolina and the edge of the Great Smokey Mountains as well.

Looking North towards North Carolina

You know me.  I’m always thinking of moving for some reason.  Of course I always fantasize about moving out west again, but I have decided that I would stay relatively close to here as long as I’ve still got some family in the area.  I have thought of moving closer to the mountains, somewhere that has a lot of outdoor activities, and have considered investigating areas between Chattanooga, TN and Asheville, NC.  North Georgia is somewhat in the middle of those two.  I thought that I might like a small town, even smaller than Athens.  After some research, I realized that Blairsville, GA might fit — it is in the middle of the GA mountains, is near a couple of lakes, and has a population of under 1,000.

It was a cute town, and the surrounding area is beautiful; it is surrounded by mountains.  It seemed less touristy and less junky than some of the other Georgia mountain towns.  I could definitely live here, I thought at the time.  However, I still like Athens and moving just seems like such a pain.  So, I will probably stay put and just go camping in the mountains a lot once my shoulder is healed!

After checking out the town, I headed over to Brasstown Bald.

Brasstown Bald Observation Deck from the Parking Area

You can take a shuttle or a 0.6-mile very steep hike.  I took the hike and took my time.  Even going as slowly as I was, only one group passed me on the way up.  It was an easy-to-walk paved path through the trees.

The Walking Path to the Bald

Once on top, I spent nearly an hour taking in the views.  It was late afternoon, and the shadows and the changing clouds kept making the scene morph.  It was cool but not cold, just a perfect day to take it all in.  It was hard to get good pictures because of the sun and shadows.  But standing up there, I thought that the view approached the level of what I’d seen out west.  Perhaps from growing up in the east, I like trees on the mountains.

I forgot to mention that the Appalachian Trail is nearby, in fact I crossed it when driving.  I realized that this area of mountains is more extensive than where the A.T. is located in Maryland and Pennsylvania; in those states the mountains consist more a single ridge compared to this, which was mountains all around as far as the eye could see.  I think a goal for next year (once shoulder is fully healed) will be much more hiking along the A.T. in Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina.  2016 has been about traveling out west, and perhaps next year will be more about traveling closer to home.

Some Autumn Colors

Did I mention that autumn is my favorite season?  I think growing up in Georgia, where the summers are so brutally hot and humid, there is something special when the humidity lessens and the temperature begins to drop.  Combined with the spectacle of college football in the south, it makes October one of my favorite months.  I’m a little bummed that I’m so constrained because of my injury, but I will not complain much since it’s my own damned fault (hey that makes me think of alternative lyrics to Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville — Fell off my bike, lost my flip-flop, made it home with a broken bone).

This is my favorite picture, because it captures fall colors, lakes, and mountains

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Recovery from the Physical, Mentally Optimistic

I seem to be recovering nicely from my broken collar bone.  I am pretty much completely out of the sling at home and I can tell that the bone is healing, as I can’t feel the broken ends moving and rubbing together anymore.  I think I may have also broken my elbow cap, if there is such a thing.  The elbow continues to be tender when I straighten my arm or rest it on something.  It doesn’t really hurt so it can’t be too bad, but I will have it checked out to make sure there is nothing to be addressed.

Mentally, I am still on a high of sorts resulting from my discovery that, while I’m certainly far from normal, the issues I have with myself are pit and parcel with my personality type.  For whatever reason, that makes me feel better.  I am trying to just be amused by myself rather than taking myself too seriously.  For now at least, it seems to be mostly working.  Keeping fingers crossed!  If this keeps up it would turn out to be the biggest life hack for me ever.

I realized that I know of a Jimmy Buffett song that includes mention of a broken bone (I’m assuming that he is talking about himself, but for all we knew he is writing the story of someone he met in a bar).  I would certainly be remiss not to share the song, and it has other appropriate sentiments for a newly 40-year-old man (or man-child?)  to share.  Enjoy!

 

Growing Older but Not Up

I rounded first never thought of the worst
As I studied the shortstop’s position
Then crack went my leg like the shell of an egg
Someone call a decent physician
I’m no Pete Rose, I can’t pretend
While my mind is quite flexible
these brittle bones don’t bend[Chorus:]
I’m growing older but not up
My metabolic rate is pleasantly stuck
So let the winds of change blow over my head
I’d rather die while I’m living then live while I’m dead

Sometimes I see me as an old manatee
Heading south as the waters grow colder
He tries to steer clear of the hum drum so near
It cuts prop scars deep in his shoulders
That’s how it flows right to the end
His body’s still flexible but that
Barnacle brain don’t bend

[Chorus]

So now don’t get me wrong
This is not a sad song
Just events that I have happened to witness
And time takes it’s toll as we head for the poll
And no one dies from physical fitness
That’s how it goes, right to the end
As the days grow more complicated the night life still wins

[Chorus]

Let the winds of change blow over my head
I’d rather die while I’m living then live while I’m dead

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Ain’t Nuthin’ but a “P” Thing Baby

The “P” could stand for perspective, as mine changed a lot recently and that has got me all fired up and smiling.  Why did my perspective change?  Well, it has to do with the real “P”, the one in “INTP”, one of the 16 MBTI personality types.

I first ran into these personality types a couple of years ago after I first moved to Athens.  I have been thinking of myself as a malfunctioning INTJ, but recently I tested as an INTP and after reading this type description, I knew for sure.  That “P” makes all the difference.  A few tidbits (italics are my comments):

The INTP personality type is the most independent and philosophical of all types.  One site said most likely to be a loner.

Many enjoy exploring unifying theories and metaphysical truths that explain the underlying nature of things. Toward this end, they may devour stacks of books on philosophy, religion, psychology, evolutionary theory, and the like.  Devouring books – no wonder I gained weight.

Like other introverts, INTPs can be anxious and self-conscious characters. It is not uncommon for them to display a handful of nervous habits, or at least some sign that they are not at ease.   Hence all the drinking.

INTPs often conceal some of their most dominant personality features, namely, their highly cerebral, rational side.  Falling off a bicycle after drinking is a rather extreme way of hiding intelligence, but hey anything worth doing is worth overdoing, right?.

When it comes to relationships, INTPs can also have a rough go of things. INTPs’ internal tug-of-war between their independence and the relationship can inspire a host of problems.  No shit, Sherlock!

INTPs must explore a breadth of ideas before they feel confident about who they are and what they believe. Some may struggle with nihilism or cynicism, worried that they may never find absolute truth. It can therefore take INTPs a great deal of time, even decades, to discern what they believe about the world, themselves, and their place in the world.  Yea, many more years of this to look forward to!

In order to succeed in these [self-imposed] personal challenges, INTPs are apt to impose rules on themselves. However, because of the wayward influence of their auxiliary Ne, they commonly end up breaking or sabotaging them.  Let me count the ways.

They commonly enjoy and assume the role of wanderer or seeker, rarely knowing in advance exactly what they are seeking.  Just a squirrel trying to get a…wait what the hell was I looking for?

[It is] difficult for INTPs to arrive at firm conclusions or make important decisions…can leave them feeling discouraged and restless, worried that they may never find what they are looking for.   Yes, deciding where to go to dinner can be a big decision.  See: cause of relationship problems.  Sorry Kate!  It wasn’t me, just my dumb personality 🙂

INTPs also have a diminished need for novel physical pleasures, lavish surroundings, or material comforts. They are minimalists to the core, relatively unconcerned with their physical surroundings.  This is why I wore the same outfit to work every day for several years and go though long phases of…messy.

Because INTPs, wittingly or not, rely on others for affirmation, they may often feel they cannot live without at least one other person in their lives. Yes, just one is usually plenty.  At other times, they can feel incredibly independent.   Yes, just me is usually plenty. 

Especially when their work is going well, they may feel they don’t really need other people. If they manage to completely isolate themselves from others, they will soon begin to feel that something important is missing from their lives. This prompts them to reinitiate contact with others, at least until they feel compelled to assert their independence again. This cycle of alternating between needing and devaluing others is common among INTPs and narcissists alike.  Hey, got to be good at something.

INTPs’ emotions seem to have a mind of their own, coming and going as they please.  Yup, just like a freakin’ cat, always going in and out.

In addition to all of the crazy that comes with the above, I came across a new classification that can apply to all personality types, either T for Turbulent or A for assertive.  I’m clearly a Turbulent – emotional, sensitive to stress, perfectionistic, and a constant desire to improve.  Read more about that here.

I was fascinated by these new windows into myself.  I read two books on INTPs by this author over the weekend, and read a number of forums.  It seems that many INTPs have a rough go it – many of us seem to chasing our tails, when we’re motivated enough to do anything, that is.  And depression and anxiety and loneliness and all sorts of things that I have struggled with at times seem to happen very frequently.  Apparently we are some of the most serious and least happy people around, at least a decent chunk of the time.  Always searching for something, we don’t know what, and never really seeming to find it.  Yikes!  But for INTPs that can somehow get it together, they can do great things.

Realizing that so many things I’ve struggled with throughout my life is essentially just built into my personality caused a 180-degree shift in how I think about myself.  Rather than seeing myself as a smart dude that is never living up to his potential, I all of a sudden see myself as a smart dude doing pretty well considering all of built-in tendencies.

I mean, I read all of these forums and many INTPs have such a hard time concentrating and being motivated that they can’t hold down a job.  I certainly have my moments where I feel that I cannot force myself to think about what I should be thinking about (usually work), but I can get things done enough of the time to get by.

This is truly wild, like someone giving you a mirror into your own soul.  I’ve been riding around on a high ever since.  It feels the first time in my life since I figured out that I was “different” that I have realistic expectations for myself, and I’m not constantly disappointing myself.

Anyway, plop plop fizz fizz what a relief it is!  I am curious to see how this all turns out.  At the moment, my being seems to be thinking well if I’m not going to figure out the answers anytime soon anyway, might as well reign that brain in a bit and spend some more time enjoying things.  So far, it’s working.

I leave you with a fitting song, The Seeker by The Who.

 

I’ve looked under chairs
I’ve looked under tables
I’ve tried to find the key
To fifty million fables

They call me The Seeker
I’ve been searching’ low and high
I won’t get to get what I’m after
Till the day I die

I asked Bobby Dylan
I asked the Beatles
I asked Timothy Leary
But he couldn’t help me either

They call me The Seeker
I’ve been searching’ low and high
I won’t get to get what I’m after
Till the day I die

People tend to hate me
Coz I never smile
As I ransack their homes
They wanna’ shake my hand
Focusing on nowhere
Investigating miles
I’m a seeker
I’m a really desperate man

I learned how to raise my voice in anger
Yeah but look at my face ain’t this a smile
I’m happy when life’s good and when its bad I cry
I got values but I don’t know how or why

I’m lookin’ for me
You’re lookin’ for you
Were lookin’ at each other and we don’t know what to do

They call me The Seeker
I been searchin’ low and high
I wont get to get what I’m after
Till the day I die

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Chicken Soup for the Melancholy Soul

Note: I pulled this together yesterday morning.  By the time I was finished, I was already feeling somewhat better (hence the soup for the melancholy soul).  I went to a nearby state park and Amy and I did a short hike.  Although my collar bone hurt like hell by the time it was done, I was glad to get out and about and it helped me to feel better.  Even though this period of melancholy, which has been around for a month of so, seems to have mostly lifted, I will go ahead and post this anyway.

____________________________________________________________

After a fun and exciting spring and summer traveling around, fall appears that it will be different.  Revisited by some old and familiar haunts, and mostly confined to the house because of a tumble off a bicycle and a resulting broken collar bone, here I sit alone with my thoughts and emotions.  It is a scary place to be sometimes!

I believe that I enjoy traveling and getting outside so much because it distracts me.  The mind stills, the grey mist of melancholy temporarily is burned away by the sun, and in its absence, there is a calm and a peace.

Part of me has been wondering why I seem to do things and think things that bring back the fog and the mist.  Am I a masochist?  I don’t think so, but I’m quite sure that I prefer sadness to not feeling at all, and I seem to often to feel more comfortable being sad that happy.  Perhaps I’m just more used to the former than the latter, and perhaps in some sense melancholy is just more “me”.  I understand the longing, disappointment, and rage of music coming from artists that clearly are not in happy-happy land.  I often prefer pictures of the moon and a snow-covered night in the mountains to a bright sunny beach.

When the melancholy comes on more than normal, and it often seems to do so out of the blue, I take comfort in the darkness…I feed off of it.  I dwell in it for a little while, and then it fades away.

I experience ups and downs as most everyone does.  It’s just that my balance point seems to be a little lower than “normal”, whatever that is.

This is not new.  I remember in middle school, I would often retreat to my room, door shut, headphones on, singing along with whatever music happened to move me at the time.  Music really became an outlet and a stimulant for my melancholy in the 90s, the age of introspection in alternative rock that seemed to be borne out of a revolt to the material excesses and ostentation of the 1980’s.  Many a night during undergraduate studies found me riding alone in my car, going nowhere in particular, singing along with a sad and reflective melody.

I mostly love self-reflective music, and I take it in all sorts of forms.  Angry and not-so-subtle.  Beautiful and subtle.  The chilling and the haunting,  And yes, the hopeful.  These all stirs different facets of the darkness.

My life’s experience centers around a hopefulness tempered by reality. Sadness is the catalyst of hopefulness; it is responsible for the ups and downs and therefore the times of (relative) happiness could not occur without.  I have little memory of extended periods of happiness.  Without sadness, I don’t think that I would ever feel a thing.  But it is the source of inspiration for me, a driving force.

I should note that this darkness is not evil, that is I have no wish to do harm to anything.  I think that it is a simply a realization that tragedy seems to outweighs triumph in this life.  No matter what happens, I will end up back here.  This is “real” for me.  This is my natural set point.  That’s ok.  I’m learning more and more to live with it and to use it rather than fight it.

Anyway, enough blabbering.  Here are some songs.  I’ll do this a little differently this time, by including a little bit about what I take away from each song.  I try to hit a few different facets of the melancholic experience, and try to end on a hopeful note.  Enjoy!

Whispers by Passenger

This seems to be the theme song to my life since turning 40, completing my big adventure in Colorado and returning home.  Kind of a like, “Ok I just crossed off a bunch of things on the bucket list.  But now its over and it seems like a different lifetime.  What now?”

I’ve never found my meaning, purpose, calling, whatever you want to call it.  The song communicates the yearning for meaning and belonging as well as anything I’ve come across.  Beautiful music, great lyrics, and an out pouring of emotion.  While I feel that happy music often seems fake, this seems to come straight from the soul.  Just replace “I broke my mobile phone” with “I broke my collar bone” and it could really me about me the last month. The constant “I should know by now” is me thinking that I would past this point before hitting 40.  I guess the universe had other plans for me.

I include two versions.  I like the studio version because of all the instruments and its a great arrangement.  Also a live version where it is the first encore — I love how the buildup before the bridge.  And he’s an amazing performer.  Now that is some real music!  Just don’t listen to the happy song that follows 🙂

Well I’ve got open eyes,
And an open door,
But I don’t know what I’m searching for.
I should know by now.Well I’ve a big old heart,
This I know for sure,
But I don’t know what my love is for.
I should know by now.Well I wait in line,
So I can wait some more,
‘Til I can’t remember what I came here for,
But I can’t leave now,
Cause I’ve a light that shines,
And a love so pure,
But I don’t know what to use them for.
I should know by now.Well I spent my money, I lost my friends, I broke my mobile phone,
3 a.m. and I’m drunk as hell, and I’m dancing on my own,
Taxi-cabs ain’t stopping, and I don’t know my way home,
Well it’s hard to find a reason, when all you have is doubts,
Hard to see inside yourself when can’t see your way out,
Hard to find an answer when the question won’t come out,Everyone’s filling me up with noise, I don’t know what they’re talking about
Everyone’s filling me up with noise, I don’t know what they’re talking about
Everyone’s filling me up with noise, I don’t know what they’re talking about
You see all I need’s a whisper in a world that only shouts.

The Gift by Seether

People have a lot of different takes on this song.  Through my life lens, I take the gift to the singer’s life, and he’s having a conservation with god / gods / universe / etc.  He feels that he’s not living up to his potential and something is wrong with him.  I’ve felt like that for as long as I remember.  Sometimes I feel that I’m wasting my life away, and that I don’t deserve to be here if I can’t figure out how to be happy.  This is a very powerful song to me, and on the quieter side for this artist (a couple of louder ones are below).

Hold me now I need to feel relief
Like I never wanted anything
I suppose I’ll let this go and find a reason I’ll hold on to
I’m so ashamed of defeat
And I’m out of reason to believe in me
I’m out of trying to get byI’m so afraid of the gift you give me
I don’t belong here and I’m not well
I’m so ashamed of the lie I’m living
Right on the wrong side of it allI can’t face myself when I wake up
And look inside a mirror
I’m so ashamed of that thing
I suppose I’ll let it go
Until I have something more to say for me
I’m so afraid of defeat
And I’m out of reason to believe in me
I’m out of trying to defyI’m so afraid of the gift you give me
I don’t belong here and I’m not well
I’m so ashamed of the lie I’m living
Right on the wrong side of it allHold me now I need to feel complete
Like I matter to the one I need

I’m so afraid of the gift you give me
I don’t belong here and I’m not well
I’m so ashamed of the lie I’m living
Right on the wrong side of it all

Now I’m ashamed of this
I am so ashamed of this
Now I’m so ashamed of me
I am so ashamed of me…

 

California Wasted by Toad The Wet Sprocket

Off a fairly recent album from my all-time favorite band, this is a more matured sound and song that hits familiar themes.  There is also an interesting congruence — the video is filmed in and around the band’s hometown of Santa Barbara, CA, where I happened to spend about 5 weeks earlier this year over the course of several trips.  I absolutely fell in love with Santa Barbara — I will definitely visit there again.

Many of the group’s songs deal with existential searching, depression, etc. and so it is right up my alley.  This one expresses a familiar frustration of realizing what’s going on, not necessarily being able to do anything about it, and feeling that life is wasting away with you being stuck inside your head.

No time, where did the time go?
What was I thinking?
No compass, no maps
No sail on the mast
And this boat is sinking
We’re going down
There’s too much in my head right now
I’ve got no way to slow it down
And no one’s gonna pull me out
Oh I still make the same mistakes
Oh California’s wasted on me
I’ll stare at the sun
Let the fire fill my eyes
See nothing but light
An endless day
To banish the night
I could set this rightBut there’s too much in my head right now
I’ve got no way to slow it down
And no one’s gonna pull me out
Oh I still make the same mistakes
Oh California’s wasted on meOn the line where the ocean meets the sky
I’ve been hoping I could see a sign,
Hoping I could see a sign

There’s too much in my head right now
I’ve got no way to slow it down
And no one’s gonna pull me out
Oh I still make the same mistakes
Oh California’s wasted on me

I still make the same mistakes
I’m wasted out in California

There is too much in my head right now
I’m wasted

Too much in my head right now
Oh California wasted on me

Down in a Hole by Alice in Chains

Time to get really dark after that last one, which was relatively happy considering.  There are a number of songs by Alice in Chains that ooze the darkness.  The combination of lyrics, moody music, and harmonies create a sound not quite like any other.  The layers in this song are just amazing.  This is one of those songs that should be felt rather than heard, and playing this at just short of the ear-bleeding level helps.

A little factoid for you – the song is in a minor key but ends on a major chord, which is known as a Picardy third (I guess I did pick up something from band class).  Anyway, it gives it a bit of a hopeful ending of sorts.

Bury me softly in this womb
I give this part of me for you
Sand rains down and here I sit
Holding rare flowers
In a tomb… in bloomDown in a hole and I don’t know if I can be saved
See my heart I decorate it like a grave
Oh, you don’t understand who they thought I was supposed to be
Look at me now I’m a man who won’t let himself beDown in a hole, feeling so small
Down in a hole, losing my soul
I’d like to fly,
But my wings have been so denied

Down in a hole and they’ve put all the stones in their place
I’ve eaten the sun so my tongue has been burned of the taste
I have been guilty of kicking myself in the teeth
I will speak no more of my feelings beneath

Down in a hole, feeling so small
Down in a hole, losing my soul
I’d like to fly but my
Wings have been so denied

Bury me softly in this womb
Oh I want to be inside of you
I give this part of me for you
Oh I want to be inside of you
Sand rains down and here I sit
Holding rare flowers (Oh I want to be inside of you)
In a tomb… in bloom
Oh I want to be inside…

Down in a hole, feeling so small
Down in a hole, losing my soul
Down in a hole, feeling so small
Down in a hole, out of control
I’d like to fly but my
Wings have been so denied

Grey Street by Dave Matthews

Dave Matthews has a number of introspective songs.  I love this one as it expresses the hopelessness that one can have in the melancholic state.  It’s slightly more upbeat in this live version compared to the studio cut, but it is worth it for the sax.

Oh look at how she listens
She says nothing of what she thinks
She just goes stumbling through her memories
Staring out on to Grey StreetShe thinks, “Hey,
How did I come to this?
I dream myself a million times around the world,
But I can’t get out of this place”There’s a loneliness inside her
And she’d do anything to fill it in
But all the colors mix together – to grey
And it breaks her heartHow she wishes it was different
She prays to God most every night
And she wells it doesn’t listen
There’s still a hope in her it might

She says, “I pray
But my prayers fall on deaf ears,
Am I supposed to take it on myself?
To get out of this place”

There’s emptiness inside her
And she’d do anything to fill it in
And though it’s red blood bleeding from her now
It felt like cold blue ice in her heart
When all the colors mix together – to grey
And it breaks her heart

There are voices outside her door
Says take what you can from your dreams
Make them as real as anything
It’d take the work out of the courage

But she says, “Please
There’s a crazy man that’s creeping outside my door,
I live on the corner of Grey Street and the end of the world”

There’s an emptiness inside her
And she’d do anything to fill it in
And though it’s red blood bleeding from her now
It’s more like cold blue ice in her heart

She feels like kicking out all the windows
And setting fire to this life
She could change everything about her using colors bold and bright
But all the colors mix together – to grey
And it breaks her heart
It breaks her heart
To grey

A Lack of Color by Death Cab for Cutie

Continuing the theme of greyed out and dulled colors, I bring you this gem from Death Cab.  This shows off their slower softer works, but is a great example of his interesting lyrics.  Here he uses some quirky facts about the way that our vision works, that we see things upside down.  Also, as melancholy tends to cause relationship problems, this one is fitting from that standpoint as well.

And when i see you
I really see you upside down
But my brain knows better
It picks you up and turns you around
Turns you around, turns you aroundIf you feel discouraged
That there’s a lack of color here
Please don’t worry lover
It’s really bursting at the seams
For absorbing everything
The spectrum’s a to zThis is fact not fiction
For the first time in years
all the girls in every girlie magazine
Can’t make me feel any less alone
I’m reaching for the phoneTo call at 7:03 [and] on your machine I slur a plea for you to come home
But i know it’s too late
I should have given you a reason to stay
Given you a reason to stay [x3]

This is fact not fiction
For the first time in years

Hurt by Nine Inch Nails

Back to really dark.  This reminds me of a really bad dark period in grad school.  Why would someone who is feeling down listen to music like this?  When you’re at your worst, it is comforting to know that there are others out there that feel the same way.

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everythingWhat have I become?
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end
You could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurtI wear this crown of shit
Upon my liar’s chair
Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
Beneath the stains of time
The feelings disappear
You are someone else
I am still right here

What have I become?
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end

You could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
If I could start again
A million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way

Hey You by Pink Floyd

Hey you ! out there in the cold
Getting lonely, getting old, can you feel me
Hey you ! Standing in the aisles
With itchy feet and fading smiles, can you feel me
Hey you ! don’t help them to bury the light
Don’t give in without a fight.
Hey you ! out there on your own
sitting naked by the phone would you touch me
Hey you ! with your ear against the wall
Waiting for someone to call out would you touch me
Hey you ! would you help me to carry the stone
Open your heart, I’m coming home
But it was only a fantasy
The wall was too high as you can see
No matter how he tried he could not break free
And the worms ate into his brain.
Hey you ! out there on the road
Always doing what you’re told, can you help me
Hey you ! out there beyond the wall
Breaking bottles in the hall, can you help me
Hey you ! don’t tell me there’s no hope at all
Together we stand, divided we fall.

Fine Again by Seether

Here’s a post-grunge song that captures everything that was great about grunge sound and comes with a great video.  In addition to the addiction lines that resonate with me (“why try to stay sober feels like I’m dying here), this is just a general expression that the world and many of the people in it are just simply fucked up.

Some people figure out a way to ignore it, or at least keep it at bay, most of the time.  But others of us can’t get it out of our minds and it basically drives us crazy.  I’ve wondered since I was a little kid, how can anyone pretend to be happy in a world like this?  How can anyone actually BE happy in a world like this?  I still don’t know.  Sounds like Shaun doesn’t either.

The other thing that comes across here is the feeling of futility…that life is just ridiculous and sometimes it feels like it makes more sense to just give up.

It seems like every day’s the same
and I’m left to discover on my own
It seems like everything is gray
and there’s no color to behold
They say it’s over and I’m fine again, yeah
Try to stay sober feels like I’m dying hereAnd I am aware now of how
everything’s gonna be fine one day
Too late, I’m in hell
I am prepared now,
seems everyone’s gonna be fine
One day too late, just as well

 

I feel the dream in me expire
and there’s no one left to blame it on
I hear you label me a liar
‘cause I can’t seem to get this through
You say it’s over, I can sigh again, yeah
Why try to stay sober when I’m dying here

And I am aware now of how
everything’s gonna be fine one day
Too late, I’m in hell
I am prepared now,
seems everyone’s gonna be fine
One day too late; just as well

And I’m not scared now.
I must assure you,
you’re never gonna get away
And I’m not scared now.
And I’m not scared now. No…

I am aware now of how
everything’s gonna be fine one day
Too late, I’m in hell
I am prepared now
seems everyone’s gonna be fine
One day too late, just as well
I am prepared now,
seems everything’s gonna be fine for me
For me; for myself.
For me, for me, for myself
For me, for me, for myself

I am prepared now for myself
I am prepared now and I am fine… again

Torn by Toad the Wet Sprocket

A little depression mixed with existential angst…  I included this version because of the images and quotes.  The audio is not great at times but it is the mood and the lyrics that matter for this one.

I fear nothing
Besides myself
Please don’t touch me
Love like an infant trying to stand upAm I two souls
One hard, one whole
Am I real
I don’t want to feel anything
AnymoreI feel nothing
Besides this pain
Please don’t watch me
Love like an infant
Scared and crawling

One hard, one whole
Am I real
I don’t want to feel anything
Anymore

Somewhere I Belong by Linkin Park

From introspective to loud and angry.  Part of what has plagued me for as a long as I remember is a feeling of being disconnected, especially from people.  I always felt “different” somehow.  I was always treated differently.  I never felt like I was really part of my family in some ways.  I felt distanced from my friends in some ways.  I never really felt completely comfortable at school or at work.  Even the places I’ve lived that I really like, I always think about moving on.  Every time I visit somewhere, I fantasize about moving and starting over.

I have never felt like I belonged to any people, place, or time.  Just drifting around in my own little world.

(When this began)
I had nothing to say
And I get lost in the nothingness inside of me
(I was confused)
And I let it all out to find
That I’m not the only person with these things in mind
(Inside of me)
But all that they can see the words revealed
Is the only real thing that I’ve got left to feel
(Nothing to lose)
Just stuck, hollow and alone
And the fault is my own, and the fault is my own

 

[Chorus]
I wanna heal, I wanna feel what I thought was never real
I wanna let go of the pain I’ve felt so long
(Erase all the pain till it’s gone)
I wanna heal, I wanna feel like I’m close to something real
I wanna find something I’ve wanted all along
Somewhere I belong

And I’ve got nothing to say
I can’t believe I didn’t fall right down on my face
(I was confused)
Looking everywhere only to find
That it’s not the way I had imagined it all in my mind
(So what am I)
What do I have but negativity
’Cause I can’t justify the way, everyone is looking at me
(Nothing to lose)
Nothing to gain, hollow and alone
And the fault is my own, and the fault is my own

[Repeat Chorus]

I will never know myself until I do this on my own
And I will never feel anything else, until my wounds are healed
I will never be anything till I break away from me
I will break away, I’ll find myself today

[Repeat Chorus]

I wanna heal, I wanna feel like I’m somewhere I belong
I wanna heal, I wanna feel like I’m somewhere I belong
Somewhere I belong

Brain Damage & Eclipse by Pink Floyd

Great songs wrapping up one of the greatest albums of all time by one of the greatest bands of all time.  Helps to make one feel not quite so crazy, or at least not so weird for being so.

The lunatic is on the grass
The lunatic is on the grass
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs
Got to keep the loonies on the path
The lunatic is in the hall
The lunatics are in my hall
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paper boy brings more
And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
And if there is no room upon the hill
And if your head explodes with dark forbodings too
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon
The lunatic is in my head
The lunatic is in my head
You raise the blade, you make the change
You re-arrange me ’till I’m sane
You lock the door
And throw away the key
There’s someone in my head but it’s not me.
And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon
All that you touch
All that you see
All that you taste
All you feel
All that you love
All that you hate
All you distrust
All you save
All that you give
All that you deal
All that you buy
beg, borrow or steal
All you create
All you destroy
All that you do
All that you say
All that you eat
everyone you meet
All that you slight
everyone you fight
All that is now
All that is gone
All that’s to come
And everything under the sun is in tune
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.
There is no dark side of the moon really.
Matter of fact it’s all dark.

Black Sun by Death Cab for Cutie

Another great Death Cab song.  Not sure what I think it is about exactly but it feels like it belongs on this list.

There is whiskey in the water
And there is death upon the vine
There is fear in the eyes of your father
And there is “Yours” and there is “Mine”
There is a desert veiled in pavement
And there’s a city of seven hills
And all our debris flows to the ocean
To meet again, I hope it willHow could something so fair
Be so cruel
When this black sun revolved
Around youThere is an answer in a question
And there is hope within despair
And there is beauty in a failure
And there are depths beyond compare
There is a role of a lifetime
And there’s a song yet to be sung
And there’s a dumpster in the driveway
Of all the plans that came undoneHow could something so fair
Be so cruel
When this black sun revolved
Around you
How could something so fair
Be so cruel
When this black sun revolved
Around you

There is whiskey in the water
And there is death upon the vine
And there is grace within forgiveness
But it’s so hard for me to find

How could something so fair
Be so cruel
When this black sun revolved
Around you
How could something so fair
Be so cruel
When this black sun revolved
Around you

Rise Above This by Seether

Since that last one was a little more upbeat, I think I’ll switch to a couple of more hopeful songs.  This song is about Shaun dealing with his brother’s suicide, but it applies fairly well to anything that you’re having trouble overcoming.

Take the light, and darken everything around me
Call the clouds and listen closely, I’m lost without youCall your name every day when I feel so helpless
I’m fallen down but I’ll rise above this, rise above thisHate the mind, regrets are better left unspoken
For all we know, this void will grow
Everything’s in vain, distressing you though it leaves me open
Feels so right, but I’ll end this all before it gets meCall your name every day, when I feel so helpless
I’ve fallen down (fallen down), but I’ll rise above this, rise above this
Call your name everyday, when I seem so helpless
I’ve fallen down (fallen down), and I’ll rise above this, rise above this doubt

I’ll mend myself before it gets me
(I’ll mend myself before it gets me)
I’ll mend myself before it gets me
(I’ll mend myself before it gets me)

Call your name every day, when I feel so helpless
I’ve fallen down but I’ll rise above this, rise above this
Forty-eight ways to say that I’m feelin’ helpless
I’ve falling down, falling down, but I’ll rise above this, rise above this, rise above this, rise above this doubt

Ever Stone by Manchester Orchestra

This is one that I’m still figuring out what it means to me, but the combination of happy music and wistful lyrics fits right in.  Now I’m thinking that it means so many relationships with friends and lovers drifted away, in large part because I get so withdrawn when the darkness kicks in.  The efforts to maintain relationships are somewhat in vain, because they all fall apart.  However, there is some freedom in just letting go.  I find this one uplifting for some reason.  I love the big fat major chords and wall of sound.

You might just have missed the mark
If you’re keeping everyone away
Didn’t mean to
Didn’t want to
Well we might just leave a mark
If you don’t give anyone a say
Never want to
Never mean toEvery stone I’ve thrown has gone away
Has gone away [x2]Every stone I’ve thrown has gone away
Has gone away
It’s gone away
Away [x2]It’s a notion
That doesn’t matter even if we stay
And it’s overrated
And manipulated
Nobody ever has a say
It makes me wonder who can wait
And attest my patience
Cause it’s not worth waiting

Every stone I’ve thrown has gone away
Has gone away
It’s gone away

Every stone I’ve thrown has gone away
Has gone away
It’s gone away
Away [x5]

 

Tonight by Seether

Sometimes I wonder if I have Clyclothmya, which is a milder form of bi-polar.  When things are going good, I tend to get really excited and motivated really throw myself into things, and then I eventually burn out and end up back in the melancholy.  Anyway, I bring that up because this song reminds me of how I feel when the going’s good.

Most people interpret this as a new relationship, but I like to think of this song as someone talking to themselves.  He is feeling happy and he wants it to continue, and is trying to convince himself (and his other self) to keep with it.  But, he is aware that the two sides are like mixing “sugar and cyanide” and the high won’t last.  Still, he want to hold on to it while it is there.

I’m not gonna waste this
This opportunity’s mine
I’m sick of complaining
About a beautiful lifeHow did we get here?
Did we forget all the things inside?
And how do we stay here?
Do we embrace all the things denied?I feel so alive tonight
You got me feeling sublime
I want to yell it from the rooftops down
Until it’s over, and we’re olderFor my entertainment
You tell a whimsical lie
To keep me complacent
You knock me down with a smile

How did we get here?
How do we pretend everything’s alright?
And how do we stay here?
Do we erase all the fear inside?

I feel so alive tonight
You got me feeling sublime
I want to yell it from the rooftops down
Until it’s over, and we’re older

Like sugar and cyanide
These worlds are gonna collide
I want to yell it from the rooftops down
Until it’s over, and we’re older

So take me, but go slow
Let me hide somewhere I know
And let this seed grow
Until we finally call this home
So take me, but go slow
Let me hide somewhere I know
And let this seed grow
Until we finally call this home

If I was to die tonight
Would it tear you apart?
Would you yell it from the rooftops down?
Until it’s over, and you’re older

I feel so alive tonight
You’ve got me feeling sublime
I want to yell it from the rooftops down
Until it’s over, and we’re older
Like sugar and cyanide
Our worlds are meant to collide
I’m gonna yell it from the rooftops down
Till it’s over, and we’re older

_____________________________________________

That’s it for now.  I’m in a better mood today.

My all beings find their Chicken Noodle Soup when they need it, however strange it might be.

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Praying for the Southeastern Coast

Thoughts and prayers out to all those affected by Hurricane Matthew.

Here are two songs from Jimmy Buffett referencing hurricanes.  The first is one of my favorites off of the later albums.  It is a moody song, well at least for JB.  The second is about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  As usual, JB dispenses some good life advice.

Savannah Fare You Well

There is something in the wind tonight
Some kind of change of weather
Somewhere some devil’s mixing fire and ice together
I got a feeling that the dark side of the moon is one the rise
Black as a crow’s featherI could stay another day or two
But what’s the use of stalling
Deep in the winter even holdout leaves start fallin’
Lately every night above the declarations of our love
I hear the road callin’

It’s such a fragile magic
A puff of wind can break the spell
And all the golden threads are frail as spider webs
Savannah fare you well

In a vision I had yesterday
It rained so hard that I drowned
While I waited for a hurricane to die down
The raging water rolling over me was wild as a heart
That love cannot tie down

It’s such a fragile magic
A puff of wind can break the spell
And all the golden threads are frail as spider webs
Savannah fare you well

 

Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On

I bought a cheap watch from a crazy man
Floating down canal
It doesn’t use numbers or moving hands
It always just says now
Now you may be thinking that I was had
But this watch is never wrong
And If I have trouble the warranty said
Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move OnAnd it rained, It was nothing really new
And it blew, we’ve seen all that before
And it poured, the Earth began to strain
Pontchartrain leaking through the door, tides at war

If a hurricane doesn’t leave you dead
It will make you strong
Don’t try to explain it just nod your head
Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On

[Guitar Solo]

And it rained, It was nothing really new
And it blew, seen all that before
And it poured, the Earth began to strain
Pontchartrain buried the 9th Ward to the 2nd floor

According to my watch the time is now
Past is dead and gone
Don’t try to shake it just nod your head
Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On

Don’t try to shake it just bow your head
Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On

 

 

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Some Spring and Summer Travel Pics!

Hello, hello.  It has been a long time since I’ve posted anything.  It’s a combination of feeling pretty good (i.e., not depressed) and being very busy, especially traveling.  Since the end of March, I’ve spent 6 weeks in California, 4 weeks in Colorado, and one in Louisiana.  I think I’ve got some coming before the end of the year.  Unfortunately, I had to recently cancel a trip to Maryland/Delaware.  I really wanted to spend some time with friends and places there, but it didn’t work out.  But, it’s given me a chance to catch up with some pictures, and I’ve got a bunch of good ones.  Below are just a couple of favorites.  Check out some more here.

Well, here goes – a couple of favorite panoramas from each place, in order of visiting.  And then a few critter pictures.  Click to enlarge.

Santa Barbara, California is one of my new favorite places!

 

You can still find yourself alone along the dramatic California coastline.

 

The Cache le Poudre river near my old home of Fort Collins, Colorado.

 

Pretty good view from the campsite one morning!  This is looking across Lake Granby, Colorado toward Rocky Mountain National Park.

 

The giant granite outcroppings of Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park.  Wow.

 

This is one of my favorite outdoor pictures that I’ve ever taken.  This is during a hike beyond the “end of the road” in Kings Canyon National Park (between Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks).

 

Some elk in Rocky Mountain National Park.  Hey – nice rack!

 

A stunning wolf at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center in Divide CO.

 

While camping near Grand Lake, Colorado, I went into town to get coffee one morning and this little one was out having breakfast.

 

 

A black bear cub in Sequoia National Park.

 

I finally got a great picture of Amy-Leigh!

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Some Spring Hiking in GA

I’ve been away two of the last four weeks for work, so I haven’t posted anything.  I have been getting out and about as much as I can while I’m here.  Enjoy some hiking pictures from around home (click for larger versions).

Dick’s Creek Falls…

…and the Wild and Scenic Chattooga River

Lake Chapman (Athens) at sunset

On the trail to Dick’s Creek Falls

Hanging out at the top of the falls

The River below Watson’s Mill Bridge, about 20 miles from Athens

Yep, me happy too

See these and a couple more here.

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Happy outdoors from the last month!

I’m sitting enjoying the first morning of the year where I could open up the doors and windows downstairs, one of my little traditions when it is nice and I’m having my morning coffee.  I haven’t been doing everything that I said I would put into practice in last year’s Thanksgiving post, with respect to spirituality and all.  But I have kept my promise to myself that when it comes to outdoors stuff, this will be a year of less planning and more getting out there.  I’ve had some great hikes this last month.  Here are some highlights.  You can click of the pictures to open them up in a larger size – that is good for some of the panoramas.

Second Colorado Skiing Trip

I went out for close to a week, and skied four days with one day off.  Unfortunately, I am still battling issues with boots that make it tough to really enjoy, so I had to focus on the beauty and the thrill of just being out there.  It was an interesting trip.  I spent the first couple of night in a cheap place with “motor lodge” in the title, trying to save some money.  It was okay, but I don’t think I’ll be doing that again.  I skied Winter Park the first couple of days.  I found some good food and drink in the town.  There was one place that specializes in putting green chiles on everything because the owner is from New Mexico.  I love green chili, and I found out that it goes great on a burger.  Good stuff.  On my day off, I visited some apartments near Central City (an old mining town that is now a bunch of casinos)  that I have been on a waiting list for.  The apartments were nice looking, and they had an almost 360 degree view!  I could definitely live up there.  Adjacent to the apartments is a KOA campground, so I can go camp there if nothing else.  I then picked up Stef in Denver and we spent a couple of days skiing at Copper Mountain.  All in all, a great trip!

I enjoyed these easy blue runs at Winter Park.

 

It was nice to see some sun on this trip!

 

Chaos after one of the lifts closed because of wind and they told us to walk back up the mountain.  Thankfully, they changed their minds and ran the lift slowly up.

 

A view of the apartments from the middle of the KOA campground.

 

Here is the view from the back of the apartments.  Wow!

 

And here is the view from the road on the way to the apartments.  Wow again!

 

Hiking around Lake Russell, Chattahoochee National Forest

I took off early one Friday afternoon to go hiking.  I had been to this lake several times, but I had never made the hike all the way around it.  I would definitely do this hike again.  The area was technically closed, but you could walk into it.  Amy-dog got to do a bunch of off-leash hiking.  She was good – she stayed relatively close.  She’s turning out to be a good little hiker-dog.

Looking down Lake Russell from on top of the dam.

 

Amy checking on me.  “Dad, why are you so slow?”

 

I’m cute, even when I’m out of focus.

 

Signs of beaver!

 

The moon never looks near as big in pictures as it does in person.

 

Hike up Mt. Yonah

I have been wanting to hike up Mt. Yonah ever since I saw it in a trail guidebook.  Every time I drive up to the mountains, I see Mt. Yonah off in the distance.  I decided to continue my Friday afternoon hikes by climbing it.  It is only 4.4 miles up and down, but it is steep enough to get the blood pumping.  The hike reminded me a cross between Stone Mountain, GA and Rocks State Park, MD.  It was a crisp and windy day, or I would have stayed and watched the sunset (well, if I had a headlamp that is).  Amy was pretty tuckered out after the hike.  A good summary of the hike along with some good pictures can be found here (my pictures are washed out because the best views were looking into the setting sun).

Mt. Yonah looming off in the distance.

 

Amy dog posing, sort of.  I can hardly ever get a shot of her looking at me.

There was a little bit of scrambling.  Amy almost got stuck in between the rocks.

A look up the mountain from a clearing about 25% of the way up, and the first good glimpse heading up.

The summit is a big grassy bald surrounded by trees.  You have to walk along the edge to get the good views.

 

Like this.  There’s a heck of a drop-off just over that ledge.

 

A big old hunk of granite, just like Stone Mountain.

 

Washed out by the sun, but you get the idea.

On the way down.

 

A nice view of where you just were on the way down.

 

The mountain being lit up by the setting sun, from the parking lot.

 

Watson Mill Bridge State Park

Yesterday’s hike was supposed to be easy, a nice little stroll through the woods to recover from the Yonah hike (and the little fall I made from one granite boulder to another).  However, I got bored and we decided to go off-trail hiking.  This was fun until we wandered off park land, and ended up getting turned around (not quite lost – I knew where I was but couldn’t figure out how to get back to the park) and stuck between a bunch of electrified fences on farms.  Eventually, we found out a way out to a road, having to scoot under the electric fence.  It turned out to be more of an adventure than we were planning on, but was fun nonetheless.

The falls and bridge nearing sunset.

 

I think this is the highest I have ever seen the river downstream of the bridge.

 

All sunny at the start of the hike.

 

“We’re lost?  I’m still having fun!”

 

Links to more pictures :

2016 CO skiing #2: https://goo.gl/photos/1u7meHGoKcMvg86P7

Hike around Lake Russell: https://goo.gl/photos/1JtScbbpv7srb7FC7

Hike up Mt. Yonah: https://goo.gl/photos/mmJGGcqU6n1WfXr56

Hike in Watson Mill Bridge State Park: https://goo.gl/photos/ceuDEwPENwu3RdqPA

Posted in Local outdoors | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some musical expressions of the heart

After writing this morning’s post, I was listening to some music and realized that the subconscious had chosen to listen to a song that expressed things well.  This happened the other day as well.  So I share as a sort of music before-and-after.  Or, more accurately, and current-and-potential.

The truth is that while most of the parts of my life that have to do with only or mostly me (work, school, future career, health, spirituality, etc.) have all been trending upward, the parts of my life that have to do with others (family, friends, lovers) has been fairly stagnant for a while now.  Part of that is due to where my focus has been, but part is certainly just a reluctance to get “out there”, or whatever.

Anyway, a couple of songs along those themes that you would not normally hear back-to-back.  The sad one first, off of Sting’s second solo album.  The video cracks me up — he’s like a cross between David Beckham, Zoolander, a teen trying to cover up the fact that he has braces, and a vampire character !?  On a personal note, I may have just committed to developing this hairstyle.  Monthly updates are forthcoming.  And I will totally work on that clapping style at the end – I bet the ladies love that!  The funniest thing is at one point, it sounds like the VHS tape pinches…haha.  Pre-digital bitches!

And then a more upbeat tune from Widespread Panic, rapidly becoming one of my favorite songs of theirs.  I give you the studio and one live version of the Panic song (to appreciate the live version you must have decent speakers — DO NOT think that what is coming out of yur dippy computer speakers is what this band sounds like live.)  They are…well…exactly what they are…a bunch of old(er) (mostly) white dudes playing some uniquely funky (yet poppy) variation of southern rock in front of a bunch of screaming and dancing (and also mostly white) people who are typically doing either the hippie-I’m-on-drugs dance, the I-just-think-I-saw-Jesus-and-so-have-both-arms-up-in-exaltation-dance (which somewhat surprisingly fills in as the default heavy metal dance at times) or the favorite of white folk everywhere, the frat-boy-sway-back-and-forth-without-arm-movement dance, which is similar to the old-white-guy-dance except the old white guy hold his arms somewhat up and forward and snaps his fingers slightly off of the beat like he’s pretending to be a cool jazz musician.  It’s not a complete shock that Panic leads consecutive sell-outs of Colorado’s Red Rocks Ampitheatre, as Colorado is one of the least diverse places imaginable, as well noted by the following:

On a personal note, even though I was not a frat boy, I generally fall into the sway-back-and-forth dance category, unless, of course, I happen to be on drugs, in which case, I switch to full-on hippie craziness.  Luckily I stay away from old white man dance, or at least I have to date.  Weddings are an acceptable exception, according to standard white guy by-laws.  By the way I hope I didn’t offend any white people with these comments about white dancing.  But seriously, we suck.  I guess it is the cold medicine talking, after all I have step throat so I’m on drugs.  Two parts Gentleman Jack, one part Ny-Quill.  Yee-hah!

As usual, lyrics are below.  May all beings find love and companionship, and may white people eventually, for the love of god and all that is holy, develop some god-damned rhythm.  Enjoy!

Be Still My Beating Heart – Sting

Be still my beating heart
It would be better to be cool
It’s not time to be open just yet
A lesson once learned is so hard to forget
Be still my beating heart
Or I’ll be taken for a fool
It’s not healthy to run at this pace
The blood runs so red to my face
I’ve been to every single book I know
To soothe the thoughts that plague me so

I sink like a stone that’s been thrown in the ocean
My logic has drowned in a sea of emotion
Stop before you start
Be still my beating heart

Restore my broken dreams
Shattered like a falling glass
I’m not ready to be broken just yet
A lesson once learned is so hard to forget

Be still my beating heart
You must learn to stand your ground
It’s not healthy to run at this pace
The blood runs so red to my face
I’ve been to every single book I know
To soothe the thoughts that plague me so

Stop before you start
Be still my beating heart

Never to be wrong
Never to make promises that break
It’s like singing in the wind
Or writing on the surface of a lake
And I wriggle like a fish caught on dry land
And I struggle to avoid any help at hand

I sink like a stone that’s been thrown in the ocean
My logic has drowned in a sea of emotion
Stop before you start
Be still my beating heart

Climb to Safety – Widespread Panic

you can hear, hear it comin’
like a train out of control
it surely leaves you wonderin’
exactly where your ticket goes
scream at the conductor
he’s been deaf for 20 years
hear the other people laughin’
as it grinds to where it began

go to grab your nerve
you find that it’s been missin’
see you’ve lost your faith
in everyone you know
well i surely hope
that you dont plan on winnin’
there’s no payin more attention
won’t until you care
you are seconds from the impact
and were movin way too slow

you say time will surely mold you
into somethin’ you dont like
now your runnin’ like a rabbit
stick your finger in the dyke
look around your room
you find the bed is peelin’
your effective skin is fallin’ off your bones
well i must admit i know just how your feelin’

we must grab eachothers collar
must rise out of the water
to know as well as i do and
it’s no fun to die alone

after all that i’ve been through
your the only one that matters
(climb to safety)
you never left me in the dark
here on my own
(climb to safety)
i can hear the water risin’
let me be your ladder
(climb to saftey)
i promise you’ll be dry
and never be alone

tell me love has always scared you
like the things under your bed
baby we can walk on water
like some junkies swore they did
you call me on the phone
you say that it is crucial
stick your fingers in your ears till they explode
mind his business and roll along as usual

we must grab eachothers collar
rise out of the water
to know as well as i do and
it’s no fun to die alone

after all that i’ve been through
your the only one that matters
(climb to safety)
you never left me in the dark
here on my own
(climb to safety)
i can hear the water risin’
let me be your ladder
(climb to saftey)
i promise you’ll be dry
and never be alone

after all that i’ve been through
your the only one that matters
(climb to safety)
you never left me in the dark
here on my own
(climb to safety)
i can hear the water risin’
let me be your ladder
(climb to saftey)
i promise you’ll be dry
and never be alone

yeah yeah climb to saftey
whoa whoa climb to saftey (safety)
yeah yeah climb to safety

 

Posted in Happiness is an Attitude, Laughter is the best medicine, Musings from the home base | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment