Sunday, March 28, 2010

"One Twisted Sock Monkey Comes Home!"

picture by Corrina & Adam Carlson

I have always loved Hunter S. Thompson, and not just for his booze and drug filled writings. He was a twisted, dark voice of reason in times when we needed a anti-hero. He hated hypocrisy, greed, human stupidity, and Nixon. President Jimmy Carter once said. " Hunter was a Delightful, unpredictable, and unforgettable friend of mine for more than 30 years". He even credited him for helping him get elected by bringing him the youth vote.
Pic by Me

 He was as a writer also always intertwined in his tales, usually drunk and or stoned he penned 18 books, changed the way we approached editorial journalism, and sparked 4 movies.

  So when I met Corinna Carlson (Gus Greeper) and her husband Adam we became fast friends. We share a love of sock monkeys, books and weirdness then I discovered that they make custom sock monkeys ( @sockmonkeyarmy on twitter) so I asked them to make me a HST (Hunter S. Thompson, not the tax ) they jumped on it.
 Yesterday I officially  adopted HST i call him "Dr. Gonzo". Adam lovingly hand embroidered Hunter's famous "Fist on  Knife" logo on his back. as you can see below.
photo by Corrina & Adam Carlson

They have since I have known them been amazing supportive friends, through my illness, and I accept the sock monkey as a sign of love. Dr, Gonzo will now travel with me everywhere. taking photos in compromising places and positions and will post stories and pics of him in my journeys.

 "Sock Monkey Army" monkeys are one of kind, inventive companions you can see their amazing work here on flickr; The Sock Monkey Army and they have a Facebook fan page as well. 

Below are more pics of Dr. Gonzo.......and a Huge THANK YOU to Corrina & Adam for being my friends.
   Picture by Corrina & Adam Carlson

Picture By Corrina & Adam Carlson

Saturday, March 20, 2010

" The Loneliness of Pain, The Isolation of Illness"

Today Cancer kicked my ass and as I write this continues to do so. I have tried to be lighthearted about it all, I joke have fun at my own expense and do not generally whine about feeling shitty. Tonight that stopped as I hit a wall of crappiness that I can only from now on call, "The Night of My Cellular Coupe". It all started to go genetically pear shaped a couple of days ago with extreme pain, mixed with spinal swelling, fever and less energy than a pot smoking sloth.
 I am if you do not know undergoing gene therapy, in which they alter a virus then pump it into me to try and turn off the cancer's DNA. Not as bad as Chemo from what I have gleemed from others but a whole different bag of side effect goodness. This week I have maintained this lovely list;

  1. A Running Fever: oh yes like swine flu but without the nose crap and hacking and look of fear from strangers.
  2. Weight Loss: Yes I can use to loose some weight but I love 10 lbs. in 7 days
  3. Headaches: Holy Baby Jebus it feels like Nancy Grace is screaming in my head
  4. Opportunistic  Bugs: I now have some flu like symptoms but different, it seems by Immune System is working off the reservation, deciding to throw a spring break party in my body.
  5. Nose/Mouth/Eye Bleeding: Oh yes it is like i was bit by that fucking ebola monkey from "Outbreak".
  6. Pain Extreme Freakin Pain: My back where one of my tumors is pressing against a nerve root has me in constant pain and leg strength loss. Also I have a tumor on my pelvis which also causes bone pain.
 I do not ask for help much as I am a stubborn old badger, I am not good at it. I am trying to get better at it but it is a work in progress in the same way that I am a work in progress as a good man.

   Worse than the pain, hives, and immune system that is running amok like a grade 6 class after eating 50 lbs of sugar is the abstract loneliness. I know that I am not alone, I have many wonderful friends who care deeply about me. People who call me all the time to check on me, offer assistance, spend time with me and have shown me on a regular basis a kindness that I do not know that I deserve and hope I can show them someday in return. But I still feel alone, when what I really want is to be tucked in, have my hand held until I fall asleep. I am not looking for the "awww" factor just some selfish care taking.

 I feel that for me the worst part of this illness is the isolation you feel, and for me the battle not to seem needy or weak. Again thank you for reading this post, as I know that if you know me this was not a easy read. I hope that soon I can be the man I once was again

Friday, March 19, 2010

"Who Will Sing Me Lullabies"

Kate Rusby is a Traditional Folk singer/ songwriter from Yorkshire in England. Her voice is stunning and hypnotic, and her songs are beautiful and evoke a strong emotional response from me. Especially this song " Who Will Sing Me Lullabies". She is playing tomorrow night here in Vancouver. I just found out about the show and it seems she is sold out.. I will try to buy tix on the street as she does not come here often and she is in my top 5 singers list. I am posting the lyrics below for you to follow along. This song in particular resonates with me right now, as I battle loneliness that is brought on by my illness.

Lay me down gently, lay me down low,
I fear I am broken and won't mend, I know.
One thing I ask when the stars light the skies,
Who now will sing me lullabies,
Oh who now will sing me lullabies.

In this big world I'm lonely, for I am but small,
Oh angels in heaven, don't you care for me at all?
You heard my heart breaking for it rang through the skies,
So why don't you sing me lullabies,
Oh why don't you sing me lullabies.

I lay here; I'm weeping for the stars they have come,
I lay here not sleeping; now the long night has begun.
The man in the moon, oh he can't help but cry,
For there's no one to sing me lullabies,
Oh there's no one to sing me lullabies.

So lay me down gently, oh lay me down low,
I fear I am broken and won't mend, I know .
One thing I ask when the stars light the skies,
Who now will sing me lullabies,
Oh who now will sing me lullabies.

Who will sing me to sleep
Who will sing me to sleep
Who will sing me to sleep
Who will sing me to sleep 

"Telling You That You are Important to Me"

 Our lives are rushed, the daily moving and shaking of adult life keeps us uber busy, despite all of our fancy smancy technology that promised us more free time to do the things we like to do. Modern life, mass media, the internets have connected us in ways we could not have imagined 10 years ago. But in this rush of life have we lost sight to a simple act, one that really connects us with others, Those wonderful words of " Thank You" or " I appreciate who you are"? I feel we have, it is easy to take our connections with others for granted, we have become complacent in our interpersonal relations.
 If I was Religious I would say that there needs to be an amendment to the 7 deadly sins, and at the top of the list should be "Complacency" it is a silent social virus. Complacency runs amok quitely killing relationships or at least leaving us empty unknowing of how we make others lives better.

 I feel we should tell the people around us that matter how we feel. Let them know that they make our lives more full, allow us to feel loved, welcome, and safe. And we should do this right now. Even if we know we are loved and appreciated it feels good to hear, and share. I simple reminder that our place on earth is not empty, allowing us to see that yes, even in simple acts I make a difference in someone else's life.

 This is not only for close relationships like family, friends, and lovers, but for the people you interact with everyday. The sometimes invisible folks who weave their way in our lives. It seems we are so quick to tell a manager when we receive bad service, but rarely do we let someone know when we are treated well. Possibly because we have developed a sense of entitlement, "expecting" service directed at us should be above and beyond. Why because we are self important. I call Bull Shit! we get good service everyday and bad but we rarely let the good ones go rewarded. It is not enough to be a good tipper, yes that is important to, still let the manager know you were treated well. Tell the clerk you appreciate there time spent on you.

 This little act, simple in its words and execution go so far to make the world nicer, to make us feel appreciated. So go out and tell someone what they mean to you today and everyday... Lets make the world a little bit nicer.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Re-Booting Your Heart"

 Blue screen of death? Spinning pinwheel of doom? All of us with a computer have experienced this. Then we restart and the same thing occurs. safe mode may work but it only leaves us with half the experience, it kinda works but does not offer any of the experiences we want and need.
 The same can be said about our hearts. We have experiences that leave our hearts in a open loop of emotions. We see and feel the same feelings over and over and no one in emotional tech support can help. Separating what we emotionally know from what our hearts tell us is real battle, as the heart and mind are both stubborn and do not like to loose. For me it extra difficult as I wear my heart on my sleeve like a huge arortic cuff link for all to see. I am a pretty transparent guy, if I am sad I look and sound sad, if I am angry I look and sound angry. This is not bad or good just who I am.
 The only way to get our hearts & minds in sync emotionally is to reboot, to see in all it's painful reality why we feel the way we do. We need to communicate with others exactly how we feel and why. Sometimes more than once. Understanding how and why we feel is a skill few of us learn or use, self awareness is our button for a clean emotional install. Yes there will always be legacy feelings, but they get easier the more transparent you are with yourself and others.
 You can fight it, ignore it, cover it in other crap like some emotional hoarder but it is always there. Re-booting is the only answer in my opinion.

 I will use me for example. I am by either nature or nurture sensitive, my heart is my dominant side. I have tried to be a asshole, a cold man who does not feel in order to cover my exposed heart. This has been a massive failure, because it is not true to who I am. Yes I use my burly off colour darkside to form a shell around my heart insulating it from the emotional viruses that will give my mind the blue screen of death. But know me and I mean really know me and you will find a very soft, gentle man. So if i keep this protective barrier up, my emotional system crashes like windows ME.
 Today I did a hard re-boot... it may or not work time will tell, as a clean install is impossible in our emotional lives. What I do know is, at least I can still feel, pain is better than no feelings at all.....

Friday, March 12, 2010

Who's Agenda is it Anyway?"

Recently "Agendas" have been discussed in my world, it would be foolish and naive to think that people do not have them. They are tools we use to maneuver our lives to bring us places we wish to go. Sometimes they are benign, simple transparent, open. Like when we invite people we like over for a gathering. We wish to surround ourselves with people we like. It makes us feel good, loved, welcomed and in doing so we hope it does the same for others. Healthy agendas are also when we are open with people giving advice when such advice is not always what they want to hear, because it creates trust and deepens personal intimacy. These benign agendas are two way streets symbiotic living things that deepen our collective relationships.
 Then there are Malignant hidden agendas, dark, selfish tools to manipulate. People use these to control when they lack any real sense of personal intimacy. Hidden agenda damage people leave walls in their selfish wake. All for one's own insecurities, and needing to seem important without being selfless and kind. It is a shallow empty way to live, to interact with others.
 These are serious symptoms of emotional dishonesty a way of creating a false connection with others, a inability to allow personal intimacy into ones daily life.

 We are sometimes victims of "hidden agendas", left always wondering when the next shoe is going to drop. Keeping people from knowing us due to fear of trusting. Sometimes we are victims of being accused of having a "agenda" when we are simply nice or care about another in a open transparent way.

 Is it jelousy that motivates this? Past emotional trauma? Who really knows it is most likely both, none or somewhere in the middle. But what i know is doing so on people who are kind, gentle giving souls is just evil as you will quickly turn them into walled fortresses not allowing anyone to enter, or only let in on a leash.

 I have now choosen to distance myself from people who have them or assume everyone has them as this thought pattern is poison for my soul. I seek and need personal intimacy with others and this cannot grow in the shadow of this little known demon.

Monday, March 8, 2010

"Life's Baggage Carousel"

  As adults we all have acquired a collection of emotional baggage of all sizes, shapes and colours. It is inevitable that in our individual and collective journeys of life each time we are harmed, perceived we are harmed that we add to our emotional baggage carousel. Having a luggage collection is not always a bad thing. Our life's experiences help develop who we are, our personalities, likes, dislikes our creativity. 
 It is how we manage our emotional luggage that  tends to be the issue for most of us. Whether our bags have wheels, carry straps, or is it a steamer trunk, effects how we maneuver in our lives. Some of us over pack a small bag, stuffing so much emotional detritus into it so it spills out on the ground and on everyone around us, open and exposed. This being so easy to carry we can navigate our personal terminal easy but we leave our crap everywhere becoming emotional litterers. Some of us ,have a huge hardsided suitcase, filled with lots of our stuff, some of it dirty, stinky laundry . Sure it is easy to move around, and looks pretty good. But it's hard sides are a wall that hides who we are. It protects our emotions, not allowing others to see who and what we are, a shield to letting other know us. They see the bag and they know it has stuff in it but cannot see in it. Others still have a huge steamer trunk with just a couple items in it, banging around in big space. We expect to fill it someday because, "well I just may need it based on the fact that I already have something in it". This trunk is hard to carry not because it is full, but because we expect it to be full someday. The emotional steamer trunk says, "Just stay away", as I have been hurt and expect to be hurt again based on the few items in my big box.

 In life we sit at the life's airport baggage carousel waiting to see our bags arrive so we can continue our trip self exploration. But when we choose the wrong bag to carry our crap in, we dread claiming it, only removing it from the moving belt out of fear, that the management of our bags will make our trip unpleasant. My emotional travel advice, well simple, get a manageable bag, maybe a backpack. Choose the items we need to take with us. The things that make us function , interesting, real people. Leave that extra crap at home. Allow your bags to enhance your experience not weigh it down or scare the shit out of you, others and small animals.. So enjoy your trip, take some pictures, meet some new people, collect your memories, all of them good and bad. And soon emotional travel will not be a burden but an adventure again...

Friday, March 5, 2010

"A Voice in All This Noise"

Simple thing a spoken word, simple in how it effects us all. We learn to react to voices when we are babies, hearing our parents we move smile, drool, we are soothed. So it is no surprise that the sound of a voice continues to evoke emotions throughout our lives, we still need it as much as then and in some ways more so.
  I grew up before the internet when people actually talked not just typed, yes the written word is amazing it can bring us many places, and make us feel and think. But something is not there, a tone, softness, firmness. I can tell when someone is smiling when I hear them without seeing their face. A voice will will