Post No Rants

I am not Dennis Miller. His rants are inspired, angry, funny, opinionated slices of everyday truth.

My rants here in cyberspace are just bitchy, whiney, complaint fueled diatribes that have no value.

Except that every word is mine and comes from my gut.

Even if I have a point I am not collecting my thoughts here very well. I write on this blog “live”…I may edit as I re-read but I am not planning or plotting anything out.

I just tap a vein and pour my bile into this blog. It serves as my electronic therapist. I don’t believe anything I’ve written thus far has enriched anyone’s lives.

All I am doing is spewing forth my discontent. If you can relate to my frustrations then that’s great.

If you are just entertained by reading the disconnected thoughts of an aging wanna-be professional cartoonist then that’s great too.

I just want to make a few bucks at this…then I might feel like the crap I dump here is serving a purpose and is content worth charging for.

If I can keep Pop Tarts on the shelf then I can say my writing is paying off.

NaNoWriMo is just around the.corner. I am charging into it head first, not planning on coming up for air until I have pounded 50,000 words or more into a word document.

Then I can start to rewrite the madness that it is.

Its my cycle of the werewolf. Seasons come and go…I create and then I don’t. I need to forge ahead and never look back. Bleed the truth, get my version onto the page and fix it later.

Someday my kids will uncover all this shit…my sketchbooks, notebooks, word documents and scrap paper filled with all these disconnected thoughts that successfully made it out of my head.

It’s stringing them together that worries me.

I have probably written a few books considering all the words on paper I have collected into piles, jammed into drawers and left exposed between covers of random composition notebooks.

Maybe I should start sifting thru all that madness. I’m sure there are threads of truth to start weaving together.

A writer writes. And I have written, a lot. Just not in any kind of linear order that would make sense to anyone.

Yet.

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Published in: on October 28, 2011 at 12:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Holidays.

“Happy Horror Days” should have been my greeting a long time ago, but I just wrote that.

I have despised the “holidays” for decades now. From the God awful waste of time that is Halloween right on thru to New Years.

I find no enjoyment in any of this crap.

Mostly because of family issues and my late mother’s insistance on tradition on the seemingly holiest of family get togethers…Christmas Eve.

Its not all my mother’s fault, I’m not sure who is completely to blame but consumerism, advertising, wall street, television, malls, anything and anybody who has sucked the life out of why we celebrate anything as human beings is to blame.

The holidays are like enriched white bread. All the good stuff has been removed in favor of the shit put into it to make it good for you.

I get nothing out of decorating. (So I don’t partake, my wife does…and I bitch about the energy she’s wasting and all the extra holiday themed crap littering the house)

Shopping.

Traffic.

People (generally assholes to begin with become bigger assholes during the ‘horror days’)

Parking lots…cars and people and people and their cars.

Shitty weather. WE ARE FARTHER AWAY FROM THE SUN PEOPLE…who jammed these holidays into the end of the freakin’ year. It rains and snows between October and December! (At least in most of this country, especially the north east)

Food. Too much food for too little people. And its always the same shit…TURKEY or HAM in some form or another.

We run around seeing people (mostly the family we moved away from) stuffing our faces and watching football or tearing open presents no one really wants, knows what to do with or has room for.

Not to mention the extra debt accumulated as well.

Unfortunately I don’t have a solution to the horror days. I would skip them all, if I could. Not one if them means what they used to…every single get together we will have in the next 90 days is a manufactured hallmark greeting card commercial engineered to increase profitability for everyone in the BUSINESS of taking your money.

Sorry if that is an overly pessimistic way of looking at it but…lets be honest.

In 2009 we went as a family to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The view from the street was unbelievable. The kids LOVED it. It was so much better than the 3 hour “commercial” you get on TV.

But it’s still sponsored by a retail giant…there is no escaping that. The whole reason the parade exists is to sell you MACY’S. Duh.

I recently had to explain to my kids about advertising. Advertising between their favorite TV shows and within the same shows sometimes.

My daughter was enlightened.

TV was invented to sell us shit. They invented the Soap Opera to keep that 1950’s mom glued to the TV long enough to convince her she needed to buy Tide or some other brand of detergent.

Its all a game.

The holidays used to be about something. Since I’ve been around its been about ‘Stuff’ and that’s why these are horror days not holidays.

Even that definition is wrong.

What is a holiday anyway? Supposed to be a day off or vacation basically. A day you get away from everything and everyone…short of a day off from work (which many of us don’t actually get) we surround ourselves with stress.

And family which is inbred stress.

And bills which keep us at work longer to pay those bills off, also stress.

We stuff too much food down our throats into bodies too inactive to not make us fat.

Stress.

And we let the marketing departments of all these corporations keep us locked into this endless cycle of bullshit.

Its high time to stop the madness.

But we never will.

What’s that? Did I just hear a Christmas song?  It pretty much starts the day after halloween…(used to be called All Saints Day, thus giving us All Hallows Eve. Which has become the confectioner’s wet dream that has become halloween…)

Ok. I have to stop.

Happy Horror Days.

Scott

Back to basics

I will be returning to drawing cartoons for the kids like I did much of last year. I want to see if I can affect the 2nd and 6th grades with the silly humor my kids come up with.

I ask them what they want and I draw it.

In High school a friend of mine and I used our study hall period to draw cartoons we left for my best friend at the time. (And brother-in-law to be since I eventually married his little sister).

Mike usually wrote the gags while I scribbled them on notebook paper in the 40 minutes we had “studying”

My senior year got me no where. I took everything I needed to graduate by junior year so I could spend my last year in the Art wing and all my electives.

Wanting to be a cartoonist is one thing, but I should have gone to tech.

But I digress…

My self appointed goal set in 8th grade to be a syndicated cartoonist like my heroes Charles Schulz, Bill Watterson, Berke Breathed and Gary Larson would soon come and go. Almost as quickly as the newspspers changed.

I no longer want to be syndicated but I would still love to get paid for my cartoons. My sketchbooks mock me.

I concentrated on writing well before cancer struck, because I realized how much writing actually went into a cartoon or a daily comic strip.

I have bounced back and forth looking for a balance between the two…because in the back of my mind that 14 year old kid who decided to set this goal to begin with gave me until my 30th birthday to accomplish it, continues to haunt me with the fact that I in fact did not achieve this goal (but researched the crap out of it into my late 20’s) AND that 14 year old kid still thinks a cartoonist is a gag writer at heart.

Trouble is I might be able to write…I just don’t have a lot of confidence in my gag writing.

And since I’m not trying to sell cartoons to the New Yorker…my days of being a gag cartoonist are behind me.

All the greats started out as magazine gag cartoonists. Kind of like a comedian’s rite of passage coming up in vaudeville. I think that’s why I keep coming back to it.

I have no ambition to start a web cartoon. I still enjoy a good single panel gag cartoon when I can find them.

And there is always Richard Thompson’s “Cul de Sac”…as good as Calvin and Hobbes ever was.

I doodle a lot and I experiment with watercolors and abstract art. I am looking for a happy medium somewhere in between.

I don’t think I will ever find it. But I need to get back to searching for it. Art is the only thing that keeps me sane.

When I make my kids laugh with a cartoon their idea sparked its worth all the money in the world.

Maybe I should collect those and just publish them.

Later, Scotty

Published in: on October 24, 2011 at 1:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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I fail to see the humor

I am sitting in my kitchen, second cup of coffee winding down. I’ve attempted calling Unemployment this morning, to call in my numbers but I am getting a fast busy on both numbers.

This is usually a quick and painless transaction, but if I cant get thru today at all I have to wait until Wednesday to call again. This prolongs the delivery of funds into my account and again stresses me out as too many things need to be paid…yesterday.

I find that I am not dealing with stress very well at all anymore. It has me thinking about job choices I need to make because I used to be accustomed to high volume, tight dead-lined type of work.

But I think that has changed. I think I need a low intensity, low stress, non-decision making position somewhere.

The days of thinking something medical or emergency related are thinning out.

I had considered joining the local first aid squad with the intent of EMT schooling paid for by the state, which could lead to all sorts of medical related possibilities.

The slightest thing raises my blood pressure now. Dealing with intrusive parents with my cub scout den gets on my nerves now.

So much so that lately I catch my breathing patterns changing and I start to pace…like a caged animal. (See previous posts)

I am not happy with where I am in life right now (To say the least) and it bugs the living shit out of me.

Maybe its just too expensive in Jersey. Maybe its the business climate. Maybe its just the economy. Maybe its…me.

It’s no surprise that Jersey costs too much and it is high time to get out of dodge. Go south, south west. And also because the cold is wreaking havok with my body…

Last winter was brutal. It gets worse every year.

How am I supposed to successfully rob liquor stores when my joints hurt so much I couldn’t make a clean getaway?

“It was a cranky old guy in glasses and a baseball cap. Oh and he had limp and complained his fingers and shoulders hurt” 

How’s a guy supposed to make a living suffering with cold weather related arthritis-like body and joint pain?

I worry too much. My days as an over-churched youth reminds me to not worry and to cast my cares onto God. But it isn’t that easy when the electric bill still reads in bold print: “Pending Shut Off scheduled for…” after I gave the bill to the Almighty.

“How are you gonna pay it God? Do I tell them you’re sending a check or money order?”

Did I mention how much I hate where I am in life right now?

I could list all things we are doing without, but it wouldn’t change anything. It would just depress me further.

Stress can kill you. I have blogged before that I didn’t beat two cancers to die from stress, but then again…it appears I probably will.

Life is all about irony. Ha Ha that’s the joke. Right God?

Well. I fail to see the humor.

Random Fiction/Nichole Nordeman song

The words I need escape me.

Know this, the journey is over. The adventure has to end here.

We’d be crazy to believe to that fate isn’t working against us now. The odds are stacked in favor of the house.

And the house ain’t us.

Together we sailed uncharted seas, drank deeply in forbidden love and bathed in the warmth of another sun.

We discovered amazing treasures along the way, but sadly we can only keep the bittersweet memories. I will always hold them dear.

The temptation is too great to ignore, I admit… but I cannot risk losing you forever.

I have to go against nature and deny my heart this time. I fear it will be our undoing and will cost us more than this pain we feel now.

If we go back, it will cost us, everything.

I will never forget.

I will never, ever forget.

********************

“HOME” Nichole Nordeman

“Bright are the stars that shine in somebody else’s sky, green is the grass that grows, some place different.

More possibilities, more than you offered me. More than I cared to see, from a distance.

I was certain that the truth would be in a place that kept eluding me, but every stone turned and unturned again would only serve to prove that I never had to move to find you.

And you will always be the only love I’ll ever know, home. And you have made for me the only place I’ll ever go, home.

God, for the shameless pride, the times when I rolled my eyes to laugh at simplicity, show me mercy knowing what I know now, its hard to imagine how I could feel anything but unworthy.

And the mystery of your love for me is not as hidden as it seemed to be, should have known then when you said to me “seek and you will find”… it was right here all the time.

I believe in the quest and the journey, I believe that the answers come in time and where we begin is where we arrive.”

words by Nichole Nordeman ©2000

********************

And you will always be the only love I’ll ever know…you have made for me the only place I’ll ever go…home.

The seas were deep and unforgiving. The journey was always the destination.

You went with me. Thank you.

…fin

Want vs Need

On what planet can a family of four live on $39,942 sufficiently?

Apparently that’s the dollar figure some hoity-toity-not-sweating-the-bills-over-paid-politician decided was a living wage.

Everything below that number is considered Poverty level.

I lost my job in April this year. We were struggling when I was fired by the greedy asshole who decided he no longer wanted me to work there. We have been wrestling with not going under ever since.

We lost our house already, so right now we are struggling to make rent, keep the lights on, keep the cell phones on etc.

We applied for state aid again, like when cancer and job loss hit us in 2006/2007.

Qualifiers have changed. Unemployment was a hassle at first. Asstiance has come and gone. The church we haven’t been faithful in attending came thru for us.

Other help asked for never came to fruition.

We learned most people are in the same position. But when I’m wondering which bill to pay this month and planning on what to go without…and word of friends we know that have always done better than we have are struggling only because they continue to over extend themselves, pisses me off.

The moments when you have to decide what to do without and what you tell your kids breaks your heart.

I wonder how the hell we’re going to pull off christmas.

1 out of 4 families are below the poverty threshold. As a nation we should be ashamed of the wealth we don’t share.

I have heard stories of people who cant afford to tend to give more to charity than the richest among their peers.

The problem is the “I, me, mine” attitude in this country. I’m not saying you didn’t earn what’s yours but there are people who hoard and flaunt and consider the less fortunate as below them. I’m not trying to be political here but I see who is more for the people than not.

And even below the poverty line my vote counts…you stupid pachyderms.

We are drowning. My ties to this state are solely to my Father. My mother died last year. I have one foot out of this state already.

My wife has other issues with older parents who unfortunately are also burdened with disease. How she keeps her head up as high as she does while juggling our family stresses amazes and inspires me.

She wont leave Jersey until she finds some closure with her parents’ issues.

New challenges with her mom’s cancer are going to push her to the limits of her strength.

And at every turn we can’t catch a break.

I hate the life we’re living. But some good has to come out of this miserable journey. Maybe our kids will grow up to be leaders in their communities and influence change that will help people. Maybe they will just understand and be proactive to make change happen.

They are growing up in this shit storm. I don’t know what they understand and our oldest keeps her emotions close to her chest. Maybe she is stronger than I realize. Maybe she will

accomplish some common good.

Or maybe we all just live lives that generally suck and we just up and die.

The struggle to make ends sucks…its worse when you really are strapped. Shopping at the dollar store, thinking cheaply because you have no choice. Buying what you can afford rather than what you used to buy when money was slightly better.

I’m sitting here weighing options on two bills both over due right now.

Need vs want.

Convenience is a luxury we can’t even afford right now. We have learned how to be creative in order to meet our needs and when all is said and done, we as a family are all we have to get us thru this.

People have offered to help but then let me down.

I am disappointed in them, but I can’t make them help. And all I can do is wonder if they realize what this is like when they inadvertantly flaunt what they have.

We all have our crosses to bear.
No one said this life would be easy. But I have wanted to give up so many times…

I don’t know how I get up in the morning anymore.

I’m tired.

How much more can we endure?

And…the kids need winter coats yet.

Now when I see a kid in line at school in less than 40 degree weather in a t-shirt…I no longer question his parents motivations or lack of attention to their child. Or if that kid forgot his jacket…I know how easily that kid could be my kid who just doesn’t have one.

It breaks my heart.

It breaks my heart that I’m am that close, sometimes.

It breaks my heart that I understand.

But maybe thats why we are going thru this…

Maybe its so we can help, because we are there too.

Not an Excuse.

I am not looking to discount my erratic behavior of late (see recent posts), however there is some truth to the fact having lost a kidney to cancer I am only working with one kidney as well as one adrenal gland.

Chemically I am “off” because I may be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue. ( I believe I have written about it here in previous posts) and in that case the amount of cortisol I am producing is not the same as most people.

My fight or flight response is off kilter. So when I totally went off the wall a few days ago and unloaded on my son…I have to believe my cortisol levels were either too low or too high.

Given my behavior, I’d say I’m running a little too high. My one kidney is over compensating in response to stress.

They don’t tell you about this stuff when they remove a kidney. There is no pamphlet to read before or after surgery.

So stress isn’t being managed correctly biologically and it certainly isn’t being managed correctly by me either.

I need better coping mechanisms. More sex? More hobbies? Personal holidays? Time by myself?

Dawn and I discussed this last night, more about my frustrations about goals, dreams, ambitions I had…or are holding onto as an artist since my original dream/plan to be a syndicated cartoonist by the time I turned 30. (I set this goal in 8th grade and my ego I suppose has been constantly reminding me of what I haven’t accomplished, YET)

Creatively I continue to get in my own way and end up where I am right now, completely blocked.

I go thru cycles. I hit the wall everytime I start over the first drop on my personal rollercoaster…just when its getting to be FUN to make art…

BAM!

Everytime. Add this to any daily stress, kids, homework, scouts, work, bills, marriage, car troubles, money…

The wall gets bigger and thicker. It becomes insurmountable.

I am my own worst enemy.

So…after our talk last night it was decided the best thing I could do for me and the rest of my family was to stay in my “studio” and get whatever is lurking in my head out onto paper and start making art again…pick up the cartoons I was drawing for the kids again, get back to watercolors and my abstract art again.  And for added measure I will completely surround myself with Jazz when I work.

I love Cheap Trick (see last post) but Jazz soothes my soul.

Always has. Always will. Jazz don’t stink. Jazz IS…

So, life goes on. Watch for posts about work being produced even crap will get posted, I need to get it out there.

It needs to live outside of my skull.

And I will continue to blog. Maybe I will discover stress management/anger management techniques that work and will actually have something to write about that matters.

More on this soon.

Be well.

“Good girls go to heaven…”

“Good girls go to heaven. But Bad girls go everywhere” was what Jen was singing out loud rather enthusiastically standing next to me in 1988 at my first Cheap Trick concert. I only recognized their current hit at the time “The Flame” which they saved for late in their set.

But that night I became a Cheap Trick fan. And it’s because of guitarist Rick Nielson that I came to love the unconstructed baseball cap.

It is his signature look along with his special 5 neck guitars and black and white checker board designs and clothing he wore on stage. And while he was a serious musician, he was funny and full of bullshit at the same time.

The band consisted of two good looking and two goofy looking band members. Rick and drummer Bun E Carlos made up the goofier half but their energy, humor and solid performances have never failed me.

We stood on our feet during the entire show at of all places Six Flags Great Adventure, in Jackson NJ. And apparently Jen knew a few more songs than I did. (She was a few years older than I was, had some “experience” which made her the Bad Girl in that song and the reason my parents didn’t like her) She sang along with most of the songs that night. But like most girls I’m sure she only wanted Robin Zander the skinny blonde lead singer.

Either way I would see countless Cheap Trick concerts in the coming decades and stick with them thru the years and buy their new music. I sing every word of every song I own.

Jen and I didn’t work out. We weren’t exactly on a date while at that concert but we might have had a spark between us. I was the too chicken shit kid who didn’t have the balls to find out how long that fire might have burned.

See, prior to this concert I started dating the girl I would marry just that month and this Wednesday we will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary.

If you are keeping score…I mentioned we started dating in 1988. On our first date we went to see BIG with Tom Hanks. Remember that movie?

We’ve all gotten older. My how time flies.

To my Cheap Trick, Police and Billy Joel collection Dawn brought a young Bon Jovi into my cassette player. I know, I know….but her passion for Bon Jovi would only last 20 years. She finally out grew that hack, but not until she tested my patience with years and years and years of mediochre shit music. But he has a couple tunes I’m ok with. But not many, trust me.

My wife replaced Bon Jovi with Rick Springfield. A better choice by far, but enough about Bon Jovi.

Anyway…my love of unconstructed baseball caps, character driven films and documentaries, my corny humor my wife no longer laughs at (except when she finds it honestly funny, because I still know how to make her laugh…) is all part of my Rick Nielson inspired sensitive artist-self still scribbling words and doodles into notebooks, trying to find my sense of artistic direction, my rock-n-roll lost soul that was born that night

I want to write a play.

I wish I had the nerve to perform something I wrote as a one act, one man play or monologue ala Spalding Gray.

I wish I was a better story teller. I think that’s why I write all this bullshit down…thinking it will come in handy some day.

Like recounting my first Cheap Trick concert with an experienced older woman singing about the bad girls.

Dawn says Jen had a “thing” for me but doesn’t think we would have lasted. I agree with her…but if I could find my way back to my 19 year old self I’d tell me to steal that kiss when we were alone (which was more than a few times as I remember it)

But then…I wouldn’t be who I am today with the incredible woman who said “Yes” when I poppd the question with the two amazing kids we created together.

Even if life would be different, I might not have avoided the Cancer…there is no way to know. It’s not even worth a guess. But I don’t think it’s worth finding out…just more fun speculating.

And telling stories about.

Who knows. All I do know is that good girls go to heaven, and bad girls everywhere”

I guess there is some truth in that?

We’ll have to check with the band someday.

-Be well
Scotty

Happy Birthday to Me.

Today is the 42 anniversary of my birth. But the way I see it I start my 43rd year tomorrow.

This way of thinking annoys my family. My 11 year old daughter was getting tangled in my logic…until my wife advised that she let it go.

My logic works this way…I was, like everyone (for the most part) technically 9 months old when I was born in October of ’69. When I reached October 16th 1970 I was technically 1 yr and 9 months old. (Or almost 2 yrs old)

If the gestational period for life in the womb lasted another 90 days we would be a full year old at birth BUT we count our new borns as Zero days old on that magical day they’re born.

Why?

Everyone is 9 months older than they say they are and each birthday is just an anniversary just like any other. Which means that anniversary Marks the end of said year.

Today marks the anniversary of my birthday 42 years ago. But technically I’ve been living in my 42nd year all year long.Chronologically speaking (2011-1969 =42) regardless of when my “anniversary” lands in that year.

So, that being said I am actually closer to 44 than just “marking” or “passing” my 42nd year on this earth. (Add in 9 months in womb, that makes me 42y, 9m….Given the benefit of first 3 months out side of womb to complete the first year of life…I should be celebrating my first year alive in January 1970)

Every anniversay should follow each January and this would mean Jan 16th I am actually 43 years old and the very next day begins my 44th)…so I am a year older than my Drivers Licence says I am.

Keep in mind I was one of those guys who counted 2000 as the end of the 90’s NOT the beginning of the next decade or millenium. That started in 2001.

We count 1 to 10…not 0-9.

So I am clearly in my 40’s chronologically, but also counted as being within my 5th decade. Because at the end of this decade I will be “turning” 50. The next day I start on 51st year. And the beginning of my 6 th decade.

Frustrating? Apparently. But it makes sense that at the very least we are all almost a full year older than our birth certificates say we are.

********************
Last night the crowd of Scouts and parents and other den leaders sang Happy Birthday around the camp fire as our evening wound down for the night after a full day of activities for the cub scouts at the Cub Scouts Camporee.

It was a terrific weekend.  My kids had a blast as did the kids in my den. It was a much better go ’round my 2nd year at Camporee this year.

Weather was perfect.

********************
One way or another I had a birthday today. And most people missed it.

Sad but true. That is a post for.another day, until then…

Be well.
Do your best.
Always be prepared.

Have a nice week, if I don’t post again anytime soon.

Sorry if I gave you a headache.

Published in: on October 16, 2011 at 9:36 pm  Comments (1)  
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When in doubt…go for a walk

I was in a much better mood yesterday, or so said my wife. But regardless of the meds once again in my system…I still felt antsy a few minutes ago.

So I went for a walk.

I don’t know what it is…but something keeps gnawing at the back of my mind and I am getting cagey.

Thankfully this weekend we will be outdoors with our scouts and the chances I will even remotely feel trapped is slim to anorexic.

Stole that line from Neil Simon’s autobiography.

Time to walk home and maybe throw some paint around. I need to get my brushes wet and start making art for me again. I always lose sight of who I think I’m making art for…

I will continue to cartoon for my kids as I noted in this blog last year and maybe in the midst of that creating find some peace.

I have plenty of notebooks to write in…so my therapy is cheap.

Ok…that’s it for today.

Be well.

Published in: on October 14, 2011 at 9:44 am  Leave a Comment