New Series of Stories

I started a few series of stories that are getting published by The Good Men Project. I got the idea because there are two things I say often.

“I swear this story sounds made up, but I promise you it is not.”

“My life is a cartoon.”

I have more weird shit happen to me in a month than most people do in their entire life. Yes it makes me crazy, but it also makes me who I am. I’ve often tried to hide these things, choosing instead to only share the parts that make me seem cool, awesome, or scholarly. But that’s not writing. It’s faking it.

The truth is that I’m none of those things above. I’m just a regular person who has had a bunch of weird ass shit happen to him. I’m a riot at the local dive bar. I’m good on long car rides if you don’t mind the sound of my excited voice. I’d be a hell of a guy to get stuck in an elevator with.

So that’s what I’m attempting to do. Be honest and be entertaining while telling the absolute truth. In the past I’ve written articles on sports, current events, and political views. That stuff was real too, and I had read up on the subject and then wrote from the heart, but it wasn’t me. It’s not exactly how I talk. I’m still searching to find that balance between voice and paper.

So TGMP has been gracious enough to allow me to exercise my demons to an audience. 2 have been published so far, with at least 2 more to go. There’s about 300 in the hopper, but I think we’ll start with 4 and see what the reaction is. If people are buying, we’ll keep it flowing. If they fall by the wayside, well then it may be back to the old drawing board.

Here’s the published versions:

My Pot Thing and Murder Friend

I Could Have Been a Drug Dealer

Thanks for clicking and reading.

I’m continuing to work on my 3rd novel, currently called Shoot the Breeze. It’s a story about losing and gaining identity and gun control. It’s a depressing story and it’s been actually difficult to write. But the world is kind of depressed right now and this is what’s flowing out of me, so I continue to go with it.

Homeless in Seattle

What’s amazing to me, coming from the east coast, is the amount of homeless individuals there are here. The reasons are varying, depending on who you talk to and what side of the aisle they vote on, but the reason doesn’t change the truth.

New York City has had a gradual increase in homelessness almost every year since stats on the subject have been recorded. Manhattan and it’s surrounding boroughs have sharply climbed in homeless numbers over the past 5 years as did Seattle. The issues can be attributed to Democratic or Socialist or Republican matters, but again it doesn’t change anything. That’s just finger pointing and blaming.

In Seattle, the homeless shamelessly camp on city sidewalks and in public parks. It’s completely legal since it’s public grounds. This may or may not be true in New York City, but I don’t have to look it up, because there are 2 huge differences between the streets of New York and the streets of Seattle that make why homelessness feels like a bigger issue here in the Emerald City.

Before those differences, it’s interesting to point out that the total number of homeless in New York City is around 66,000. In Seattle it’s about 12,000. Not surprisingly, these are almost the same percentage of individuals, approximately .03% of the population. Without looking into every other major American city, I would imagine this to be true across the country. It’s a product of the general population of America. Certain people refuse to take their medication, some people have fallen on seriously hard time, and others have let their addictions rule their life.

But Seattle FEELS different. The homeless here don’t try and hit you up with stories like they do in DC (my sister is in the hospital and I’m trying to get bus fare) and they don’t accost you like they do in New York, shaking a cup of change in your face and making you feel guilty. They just kind of hover about, signs adorned, or sometimes leaning against the bench next to them, too weak to even bother holding it. You can feel their lost dreams, lost among the brackish sloughs of Puget Sound.

The two main differences between New York and Seattle are vehicles and violence. In New York City, many people don’t even own a car. Walking is a main transportation option. People are out constantly walking many blocks from their home to shops, work, or other appointments. You tend to live and work close by and your doctors and other appointments tend to be close by. You become near and dear to your neighborhood.

There’s a lot of driving in the Emerald City. It’s a newer city and lots of complexes and other communal style living situations have parking, which allows for more cars. Without walking you don’t necessarily have to come face to face with as many homeless folks. There isn’t the strong need for public transportation, eliminating spots where people can congregate. So it seems like there’s more homeless because the city is small. The areas like Pike’s Place Market where people congregate are fewer, leading to more homeless to be concentrated in areas where people are guaranteed to be walking.

This leads to the violence part. When you feel territorial about your neighborhood, if someone without a home made a tent out of found items on your block, the tendency in New York City to get that person to leave is much higher. I one time witnessed a woman of small stature get harassed by a homeless man of much bigger stature in New York City. She turned and punched him in the face, knocking him on his ass. I haven’t spent as much time downtown Seattle as I have in New York, but this doesn’t feel like a west coast thing to do.

It’s so laid back as compared to New York, that the violence from residents just seemingly doesn’t exist. For someone who has lived here their whole life they may feel different, but the vibe to me is true. I feel that the homeless feel like more of a problem here because the residents of the city aren’t necessarily going to take action to get rid of them (at least on “their” block).

The reasons still don’t change the truth. There are homeless people. Lots of them. America in general lacks the programs to identify and assist individuals who may have mental health problems. Instead of addressing the issue, we blame Democrats or Republicans, City Council or the Mayor, or the lady up the street who feels bad enough to make some of them dinner, and wait around for someone else to fix the problems that we ourselves have created.

How did we create homelessness? Being part of this whacky machine called America is the problem. It is one for all and all for one here. Every day is a grind and all of us are just trying to scrape by daily. The wealth gap is growing, at this point, exponentially, and taxing the rich more won’t do a damn thing unless we convince them by doing so will somehow make them MORE money. What were doing is standing on one side of the aisle and screaming for change, just like the homeless we can’t stand to see. The truth is we know how close we are to being in their shoes and it’s simply to much to bear.

Dreams Exists, Somewhere

My friend Ian texted me the other day to say that he had a dream about me that made him laugh so hard he woke up himself and his wife. He had tears streaming down his face and luckily remembered the dream.

It reminded me that recently I found a hand written sheet of paper. I’m not sure when I actually wrote the thing, but I remember I had found and lost it about 5 times since I first wrote it. I have these really vivid dreams from time to time. Most of my dreams are sporadic and I can never remember them, or just little blips of quotes or something. A while back I kept a notebook next to my bed so that I could write down any of the interesting ones. There’s a couple of dream sequences in the first book I wrote, Path, that reflect dreams from that dream notebook.

I stopped keeping that notebook next to my bed a years ago, but had a dream right before I left for the west coast that really still bugs me. I woke from this drea laughing so intensely that tears were streaming down, just like my buddy Ian. The only thing that I could think of is “I can’t wait to tell Kevin that. He’s going to die laughing.” (Kevin is a friend of mine in Seattle.) I thought that I would remember it until the next morning when I could call him, but of course forgot. It irks me that I can’t remember what was so funny and why Kevin would be the one to really appreciate it. I digress

But for a while I was in the habit of writing dreams down and I had found this little half sheet of scrap paper in a notebook and then lost it again. Ian reminded me of my dream about Kevin and that reminded me of this little sheet of paper so I went looking for it and by luck, found it. So here it is exactly like the sheet reads, which I’m not sure if it was written directly after the dream, or later at my old job at QCI (2006?), because it looks like its on QCI scrap paper. (it is actually, I just flipped it over and it’s a purchase order from a school system.) It reads:


Dream –
Blind man who solves serial murder through figuring out palindromes left behind by the killer. He also uses his heightened senses of smell and sound to lead head detectives on trail. He has “inner visions” of what the killer would do by feeling out the landscape of the apartments and areas in which the murders happen. He gets involved at first by being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Figures out a palindrome then starts helping w/ investigations.


Maybe I meant there is a list of palindromes and every fourth or fifth letter or something could be rearranged to give the next clue, but a palindrome just wouldn’t make any sense. Palindrome examples: Neil, a trap! Sid is part alien – Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas – Rats live on no evil star – 58285 – in the dd/mm/yyyy style, the 20th February 2002 (20-02-2002) was palindromic.

The odd thing about dreams is that they exist. I mean, this dream about the detective exists, somewhere in the ethos, roaming around, let loose from my brain. Another story that may never be written (I don’t like to read detective stories so I can’t imagine writing one.) Ian had that dream and what’s odd, thinking back to a few weeks ago, I was thinking that I missed having my friends all around all the time, because of the laughter. We would laugh until we cried daily. It happens so rarely now, laughing until I cry, that I actually had that thought.

Maybe Ian feels the same way and that’s why these dreams exist. As if just thinking about it makes it exist in an alternate universe, sneaking through in bursts, only when your mind is at ease enough to accept it.

The Day I Fell Astray

A few years ago a bar and restaurant in Rochester, NY had a song writing contest. I thought I could use it as an excuse to write some new material and get all of my instruments and equipment out, taking over the dining room.

They sent a topic to you although I don’t remember what mine was. I got mine and started writing. The song went through a few different iterations until the day of the contest. I think you had a month or something. The song went from a 50’s doo wop vibe to country to pop. It was a weird wild ride with pages of notes and lyrics. I did not win the contest, but had a fun night with a few friends, drinking beers and performing. I made a little kick drum out of pieces of rafter from my basement and an old bongo and used it to cover Can I kick It by A Tribe Called Quest.

The strangest thing about that is that I never recorded the song. I almost always record myself, a few different times actually, to listen back to the song and make it better. I’ve been doing that since 98 so I’m not sure why for this track I didn’t, or if I did do it I lost it. What’s even stranger is that I’m an obsessive lyrics person, saving the original lyrics and scrawlings, sometimes even stapling them to the finished version so I can look back at the differences. I have no lyrics at all for this song. I can’t even remember what it was called! No idea what it sounds like, no idea what the lyrics are…it’s almost like this song never existed!

This has happened to me before, but not very often. I’m fairly certain I wrote the song for my son, and that it was about being happy for who you are not what you are. But that’s as far as I can get from memory. It was performed once in public at The Lovin’ Cup. I don’t even remember the date. March of 2018 maybe?

What did come from that era was the track that got me into the contest in the first place. In order to be selected you had to send in a track. I hadn’t been writing much since my son was born but was playing a little piano at the time for his entertainment. I used to record a song in the morning that he could dance to throughout the day when I left for work. It was usually something quick and made up on the spot.

But one day I did a little fugue and it stuck with me for a while. I kept whistling at it until I reached an idea for a chorus. After a few beers one night I put it together on the piano and thought it sounded kind of cool. I wanted to pen some lyrics but couldn’t think of anything to say. It sat around for another week or two.

Then one day the line “The day I fell astray” popped into my head. I thought it sounded good enough to be a line in the chorus. But fell astray from what? My school work? My life? The last band I was in? I decided that maybe it was planet earth singing and not me. Maybe earth has always thought of herself as another inhabitant, a self-aware being that sees itself as one of us, just another human trying to survive. So the chorus came out “I’m melting away and I’m staying away, the day I fell astray.”

New Music Starts with Old Music: It Almost Feels like Something’s Wrong.

You need to understand where you were to know where to go and as an artist that means going back and digesting what you’ve already done, which can be painful.

I’ve always thought that I released the best of what I was working on at the time. So why go back and put out stuff from 15 years ago? But this is more about me growing personally than it is about filling up my blog.

From summer of 04 until fall of 05 I wrote over 100 songs. There’s so many little recordings, clips, blurbs, lyrics, bar napkins, and notes that I have no grasp at how many there actually are. I was hell bent on writing a hit for my band at the time, Drunkenpor, that I was writing a few songs a week or more. But sometimes those songs didn’t fit Dpor (which was a reggae/rock sound) but they got recorded, usually in one or two takes and a just a few tracks.

It was like they needed to be recorded to get out of my head. That year was an intense one in terms of song writing, and some of the tracks I penned then were still being kicked around by other bands in 2010. I’ve had a few periods since 04 where I’ve written several songs, but never as intense as that one.

The two songs below I forgot about completely. Over Now was meant to be the last track off Static in the Attic 2, a follow up to an album of complete acoustic songs that I self-released in 04 or 05. I had just as many electric songs and decided to split them up between two albums since they were all written around the same time. Static in the Attic was a term I had used when my electric piano would occasionally pick up someone’s Ham radio when I lived in an attic apartment in Syracuse in 03.

Static in the Attic 2 was never compiled and released. Two songs that were supposed to be on that album came out years later as Pat Buchanan’s Hearse songs; The Clash and Robot Counter Culture. The Clash got some radio time and when I heard it one night driving home from work, my own voice cawing through my truck speakers, I remembered its humble beginnings in Adams, NY that year when I wrote too many songs to remember.

Wow, I don’t remember writing or recording at all. I think it was written in 05. But I have no lyrics sheets with notation which sometimes I would label with a date to see how long it took me to finish. I was going through an old jump drive when I found it. It’s not recorded all that well, and there’s some pretty obvious mistakes during, but I found this song enlightening in a strange way. There was some good emotional writing going on here, with good foundational lyrics.

The chorus needs a lift for sure, but it’s just catchy enough to be remembered. It surprised me a little, as do so many tracks that I have been finding, for their sincerity or durability or lyrics or some other aspect of song writing that now I feel like I have to try to connect with. It was just happening then, even if I had no idea how or why.

I’m writing songs again. But this time with a new purpose, which is to see them through how I hear them in my head and not stop at what they sound like when they come out. This has so far led me to getting other people play my songs, other people would better guitar skills, better voices, more presence. I wrote a post recently about how I tried to give up writing songs only to launch myself full bore back into it.

I plan on releasing more of the old stuff as I find it. Having a full time job and family doesn’t allow me the luxury of setting up camp for a week and getting through all of it, but it does allow for just enough time a few days a week to spend a few minutes reminiscing over time well spent and looking forward to a future full of writing more songs.