Another Drinking Song

•June 29, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Almost every day as I get ready for work,  I stand in the shower and make a simple promise to myself.

“I am not going to drink tonight.”

As I drive to my job, I repeat my promise in my head and come up with all kinds of reasons why I should keep it.

“It’s Monday, there’s no need to drink on a Monday.  Plus, these jeans are digging into your gut and you look like a trussed up sausage in all of the new, smaller clothes you got for Christmas that looked so good on you.  You’re not getting any younger and you need to take care of your health for your sake, your girlfriend’s sake and your family’s sake.  Also, there is no need to drink on a Monday.”

Eight hours later as I leave work, the interior monologue has changed.

“Well, You can have a beer when you get home, but that’s it.  Just one to help you unwind after dinner.  Or wait til you’re gaming with your buddies and have it then.”

Three drinks later, I feel the same guilt and remorse as I do every day when I drink for no reason.  Sometimes I tell myself it’s justified after a hard day at work.  Other times it’s to help a gaming session be even more fun.  Then there are the standby excuses “it’s Thursday/Friday night,” or “you need it to help you sleep.”  After several months of my daily morning lie and evening capitulation, it finally the point where I stop and asked myself “is this a problem?”

Drinking has always been a part of what I do, for better or worse.  I get immense enjoyment out of finely crafted beer, wine and whiskey.  I hate getting drunk, but that happy two beer buzz sure helps cover over a lot of the doubt, fear, anxiety, sadness and self-loathing I feel on a regular basis.  Even when those feelings aren’t there, denying the urge to have a bourbon or IPA often leaves me wiggling in my seat.  It’s not the same full-body, my skin is on fire and I’m going to murder feeling that used to course through me when I was quitting cigarettes, but there’s a definite discomfort if I’m alone and there is no bottle in front of me.

I’m a little frightened by it.  I talked to my therapist about it and he is of the opinion that I can’t just come home from work, nap and then find an excuse to crack a beer.  I have to do more that feeds my soul and gives me the same happy tinglies as a sip of Jim Beam.  So here I am, writing and feeling the buzz of being creative.  I’m hoping that if I can find enough ways to give myself that same happy buzz, be it creative or physical exertion, my daily morning promise will stop being a lie.

I am not going to drink tonight.

The Sound of Failure

•June 22, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Failure is usually measured in absolutes.  Your tire can fail, leaving you stranded along the side of the road.  A water heater can fail, forcing you to suffer through an icy shower.  A sports team can fail and lose a single game or a shot at a championship.

Those scenarios are very black and white, but how do you tell if a life has been a failure?  It’s not as simple to assess the success of years of decisions and outcomes, and often the best you can do is to compare one life against the lives of several peers.

I have a perverse habit of constantly comparing my own life against the lives of others, be they friends, family, random acquaintances on facebook or even people I’ve never met.  This always ends with me coming out on the short end of the comparison and end up feeling that the sum total of my actions and decisions over 38 years of life has been a complete waste with nothing at all to show for or be proud of.

My girlfriend and I spent the past weekend in a small colony of vacation homes in Old Lyme, CT.  It’s the kind of place where families rent a tidy little home close to the beach for a week or two.  You see all kinds of people either walking to and from the private beach or making the rounds on golf carts.  I spent most of our time there fantasizing about having enough money to rent one of these places and spend a week relaxing and entertaining friends.

Upon returning home and being faced with the prospect of heading back to a job that not only can’t pay for a vacation home but can’t even pay our rent without help, I felt the crushing weight of failure descend upon me.  I can barely pay the bills and put gas in my car while my peers post pictures of their vacations in locales around New England and beyond.  Have I failed at life, or am I just failing to appreciate what I do have?  It’s easy to lose perspective when I am being cruel to myself and playing the game of “How I don’t Measure Up.”  It’s a game I wish I could stop playing because there is no way to win, and the only prize is a big pile of self loathing.

Return of the Mack

•June 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Let’s face it, this song should play every time I walk in a room…

I’m back after a long hiatus.  A lot has happened since my last real post  in September.  I lost a bunch of weight and gained it back.  I lost my job and got a new one.  I’ve been broke, super broke, super ultra broke, and back to just broke.

It was a struggle to find a consistent format for this blog when I was writing for it regularly.  I wrote pieces about food, drink, sports, politics and music.  I’m still not sure if it’s better to cover such a broad range of topics or if I should focus more on personal, introspective posts.  I have been concerned about blabbing too much about myself, my life and my issues…who knows if anyone would even find that interesting.  I’ve recently started down a path of self discovery and getting to the root of the anxiety, melancholy and mood instability that has plagued me since childhood.  Maybe sharing some of what I learn will make for good reading, we’ll see.  I’m not going to put pressure on myself to write constantly, but I do need a creative outlet and will challenge myself to at least find something to say once or twice a week.  It will help me spend more time plugged into my mind instead of my computer.

SotD: Rilo Kiley “Capturing Moods”

•September 24, 2014 • 1 Comment

After a long interruption, I’m bringing back the Song of the Day in a limited capacity.  I won’t be posting one each and every day like I had in the past.  The feeling that I had to post something every day, regardless if I was inspired to or in the mood to write, is what led to me completely abandoning this space for so long.  I’m going to take it a little easier this time and see if I can avoid burnout.  I’ll toss songs up here a few times a week when I have a particularly clingy earworm or discover a new piece of music that captivates me.

Today’s tune is a song that was bouncing around in my head when I woke up this morning.  It’s a classic example of what made Rilo Kiley such a great band.  Jenny is at her plaintive and emotive best, and Blake’s tricksy little guitar riffs stitch the patches of lyrics together perfectly.  Oh goddammit Blake, why couldn’t you have been satisfied with your lot in life?  You were a crucial piece in an incredible band and then you had to fuck it all up by getting butthurt about not being more front and center and blew it all up.  You know what happens when a song that you sing comes up on an RK album?  People press skip, that’s what happens.  Nobody has any patience for your reedy warbling except maybe your mother…and I’m not even sure about that.

But I digress.  There are no Blake lead vocals on this song, and for that we give thanks.

Another Dio-bolical Guest Piece

•September 8, 2014 • Leave a Comment


A couple of weeks ago, I did a guest piece for Drew Grosman’s blog, DioramaWatch.  Drew graciously/foolishly offered me the chance to analyze another of the Diorama Lady’s creations, the Back to School diorama.

Checking in on the Pumpkin Beer Fad

•September 8, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I decided to take a test last night to see if I still hate pumpkin beers. I asked for a sample of Southern Tier Pumking, which is supposed to be THE pumpkin beer according to palates that I trust.  I’ve been assured that this one tastes like pumpkin-enhanced beer rather than pureed pie and baking spices.

Did I like it?  Nope.

It wasn’t terrible, but I couldn’t have consumed more that the 3 or so ounces of the sample. It sure didn’t taste like a liquefied baked good the way some of the more awful pumpkin offerings do, but it wasn’t anything I could have gotten more than halfway through without surrendering.  The foundation of the beer was quite solid, but as soon as that earthy-sweet pumpkin note registered on my taste buds, the honeymoon was over.  As much as I love pumpkin bread or pumpkin pie, I simply cannot abide gourds in my beer.

At least stout and porter season is nearly upon us!

A Guest Spot

•August 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I recently was handed a guest spot on Andrew Grosman’s blog, DioramaWatch.  Drew’s blog centers around the diorama window on a local (to him) woman’s home.  She puts together dioramas to mark major holidays like Memorial Day or the Wisconsin State Fair.   The assortment of dolls and props used range from campy to creepy to oddly macabre.  A while back, I did a guest piece on a Valentine’s Day diorama, and it was so well received that it only took five years for me to be offered another go at it.  The piece published yesterday is about an odd, transitional, not-quite-diorama that’s currently on display.  I’ll also be giving my take on whatever appears next in the magic window.

I know I’ve said it before, but I’m going to try to get back to weekly posting if not a few times a week.  My last post talked about how I was emerging from a down period, and then I immediately went through a huge upheaval in my life that is still being sorted out.  As it stands now, some days are great, some days are ok and some days are downright miserable.  Who knows how long things will be this all over the place and unstable.  At the very least it should make for interesting writing.

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