rhetorical questions

i am awesome.

I think I’ve figured it all out. I’ve been feeling pretty good for the past week or so, and a week of feeling pretty good hasn’t happened in a long, long time.

I think this trip to Europe thing that I did may have changed me after all. I spent almost a month, minus a week in the middle, completely by myself. Alone in various foreign lands where the number of people that spoke the same language as me was often quite close to not that many. And through all this hardship, I survived. I got a glimpse of what people are really capable of surviving. Like the holocaust, or poverty, or war, or famine, or whatever. I didn’t go through anything nearly as horrible as all that, but my capacities for empathy and imagination are above average, so I can extrapolate those experiences from my own. In other words, in Europe, I think I learned my own ability to survive in some tiny way that is turning out to be a moment in my existence that will shape the rest of my life. I mean, when people ask me about my trip, they are often incredulous that I went alone. But I did. And I came back an even better person, because I know that whatever happens now, I will survive.

And this nature show = life idea is really starting to grow on me. Not just accepting my beta male status, but accepting the idea that failure is inevitable. In fact, failure is natural and necessary. Failure is supposed to happen and it’s the successes that are out of the ordinary. This idea feels awesome. Like a revolution. I can do whatever I want now and if I fail… Cool, that’s how it’s supposed to be. I’m not wording this very well. There’s something about accepting the inevitability of the failure of my every action that gives me the courage to go through with things. All of the sudden I am an excellent conversationalist and I have interesting stories and I have great eye contact and I laugh at your jokes and I am smiling a lot and I am awesome. Most importantly, I’m not overly concerned if you know it or not.

Since I’ve started thinking like this, I’m seeing more good things than bad things. I feel a little bit like myself again. And I’ve done some awesome things in the past week. For example:

My team won the music round on Trivia night.
I ruled at open house.
I took my sister to see Def Leppard and Poison for her birthday.

Okay, I should talk about that show here. I bought the tickets a long time ago for my sister’s birthday. 15th row, super expensive, but a great gift. Then, I unknowingly signed up for this contest by RSVP’ing for an event on Facebook. Then, I accidentally won. I got my prize of some free tickets and a meet and greet with Def Leppard. I inquired as to when and where to pick up my gift and was told doors open at 6 and show at 7. Ok, I’ll show up sometime between those hours then. We watch the first half of the Sounders game at everybody’s favorite local gourmet burger family style joint and proceed to arrive at the show at 6:30. Walk up to the will call counter and they know nothing of this contest. They give me the excellent directions of: “find the person that’s walking around doing the contest stuff, I don’t know where they are or what they look like.” So we find the security supervisor and they go off to find someone else. They come back later and say we’re out of luck. Since I’m so awesome these days I say “well, I knew it was too good to be true,” and we make our way to our seats. I use my cellular device to contact some people in the know and start to fight for our prize. My contact tells me to get the people to call a guy named Brad. So I talk to two security guys who tell me to talk to a guy in a yellow shirt named Ben who tells me to talk to a guy in a white shirt named Robert who uses his radio to fail to call Brad and then tells me to go up to the box office and look for him. I get there and talk to a lady who tells me to find Heather but ends up finding “Chops” who tells me there’s nothing they can do because they all have their heads up their asses. Oh no, they don’t deserve that, I guess. But I was a little pissed that my sister expected this big surprise only to have it ruined. I tried to give those free tickets away before we went down there, so I guess it was lucky that no one took them. Luckily I never go to these stupid mega-shows and won’t have to deal with this nonsense again. The show itself was ridiculous. Cheap Trick was supposed to open but never showed up. Poison was pyrotechnics and ridiculous outfits and long guitar and drum solos and fist pumping sing alongs to songs 15-20 years old. Bret Michaels’ voice was pretty ruined, but this was the last show of the tour, so I guess that’s to be expected from a 46 year old rock star. It was still pretty awesome and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much at a show. Def Leppard was ridiculous as well. Their stage set up was three levels of massive TV-stage. They didn’t have any pyrotechnics, though. I didn’t laugh as much, because they took themselves a little more seriously. They still think they’re bad ass. In all, the show was awesome and my sister and I had a fun time.

And today, I went out for breakfast. It was awesome.

I can’t wait for all the awesome stuff that’s going to happen. Like all the shows I’m going to (Dr. Frank, Twilight Sad, Grand Hallway, Get Up Kids), for example. How many times did I say awesome in this post? 10 if you count the title.

rhetorical questions

Red sky at night, sailors delight.

If I can’t win, I will win another way.

I just spent the last hour playing drums. PLAYING DRUMS!! I’m pretty excited but, as usual, I’m holding it all in until the moment that things go horribly awry so that I’ll be protected from the inevitable failure. It’s not that I’m scared to be happy, it’s just that I’m scared to have once been happy. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, as regular readers (both of you that use google reader) know. I’m working on it. When I get back from Europe, I’ll find a non-religious therapist.

But enough therapy, let’s talk about rock and roll, the last great thing this nation ever did before it’s eventual demise. I have been listening to the Exohxo CD in my car for the past week or so in preparation for possibly joining the band. Today I got a chance to set up some drums and try the songs out. Tracks 1-4 are mine and I own them. 5-6 are okay and I can fake them. 7-8 are a little weird to me but I’m 80% sure I can fake them as well. Track 9 is one of those tracks that’s more complex than it seems. The high-hat upbeat with the subtle rim shots and the bass/ride on the quarters (or is it halfs?) is messing me up. I can do the loud part of the song, but the first 2/3rds of it is a disaster. I’ll have to play something less complex if I get to try it out. Which of course I will because I am awesome at everything.

At any rate, here’s a recording of what drums sound like with practice pads and a bad ass fan blowing cold air straight on me. It is Exohxo’s “Crushed Ice”, with all the non-drum intro and outro cut out. Play or laugh along at home.

[audio:donproject/drums60809.mp3|titles=Crushed Ice (Exohxo) (drums)|artists=The Don Project]

In other news, I deleted two RSS feeds that make me sad (again). I’m not positive it will do much good, but I’m going to try harder. I need to try harder. When I get back from Europe, I’ll take over the world with my awesomeness.

Here are some pictures from my phone that I took in the last little while. They’re pretty good ones.

On my facebook, I’m going to post a link to another video of me and high school students. My part is pretty hilarious in my typical understated and subtle way. Almost by accident.

In case you forgot (because I usually do), I am awesome. You should probably date me or set me up with someone that likes good music and is shorter than 5′ 6″ and older than 27 and cute in a non-traditional way. Or just give me a high five.

rhetorical questions

“Cool this madness down.”

I wanted to write a song to channel all this into something good, but I’m never satisfied with what I come up with.

Back in January, my plan was to be awesome all the time. Sometimes, I lose that plan and am not awesome. My old personal ad (step #6 of awesome 2009) said I chose awesome 70% of the time. That off-hand random number has been turning out to be rather accurate in the long run.

Well what I did today was programmed some more for this rally thing I’m doing, cataloged the stack of records I recently bought, listened to a bunch of those records, attempted to write a song and practiced some songs, played Epic Pet Wars for a million hours, screwed around on Facebook and added more people I don’t really know, uploaded some rally car photos and make a rally blog post, watched The Office episode that I missed, and that’s about it, really. I wanted to list it all here and then look at the list and say, “Hey, that’s not too bad.” but that isn’t happening right now. I feel physically rested, but mentally restless. I’m too impatient these days.

So, now how to turn it around? Do I delete all the not awesome lying around here? Maybe that would be dishonest. Part of being awesome is being honest. And I don’t think I am out of line for saying what is going on in my head. I’m not asking anyone to do anything about it, I’m just blasting it all out here in a vain attempt to figure out how to figure it out. It would just be nice to know what the hell I am doing.

Well, let’s re-cap on the plan progress, then. Let’s place our eyes firmly back upon the prize.

1. be physically active
2. attend at least 50 shows this year
3. finish the house
4. start a vegetable garden
5. go to europe
6. meet new friends and new ladies
7. listen to music constantly
8. play fewer video games
9. volunteer for some charitable organizations
10. do something musical 30 minutes a day
11. fix my posture

1: (exercise) currently weighing in at a svelte 150 pounds, putting me at a BMI of 23.5, in the “normal” range. I skateboard once or twice a week. I have to go on more walks, but I need more time or a walking partner. I might even consider running. Ugh. Martial arts wander around my peripheral thoughts, but nothing concrete.
2: (shows) seen 14 shows so far, that puts me on course for 56 shows this year. doing well.
3: (house) I hate this place. Researching a refinance and buying a property out in Ocean Shores. But this week I worked on this hellhole for the first time in months. My dad and I installed the water piping to the gas hot water heater. There is no gas yet. I got angry when the pipes we just hooked up leaked. I hate this place so much. I need a new housemate, by the way.
4: (garden) I pulled some weeds in the front yard. I blasted some fertilizer spikes into the ground around the fruit trees. I think I’ll tear up the garden space in the back and plant that cherry tree I wanted. I don’t want a garden. I don’t want a house.
5: (europe) I have a eurail pass. I have a plane ticket. I bought a ticket for my brother to meet me in Finland. I have a deposit on two spots on a Finland rally tour. This goal is all about success!
6: (friends and ladies) I am reconnecting with old friends and filling up my phone’s contact list with new acquaintances (I count 10 new entries in the last few months). I had some random lady give me her myspace and then grind all up on my leg at a show. I’m trying to be more conscious about my social persona. It takes a lot of energy, but whenever I leave the house, that consciousness is there. I almost talked to the guy in the band that I exchanged emails with, but then I was all grinded up on. I’m on the road to social butterfly, though my car is really slow.
7: (music) I have bought 48 records this year. I have a fancy stereo hooked up to my computer and try to play music through it whenever I can. This was one of those goals you set that you already do so that you can say you’ve accomplished one of your goals.
8: (video games) My PS2 is sitting on the floor, ready to be ebayed. I’m almost done with Colin McCrae Rally for the mac. I need to work on this one, though.
9: (volunteer) I sorted apples for Food Lifeline for a couple hours. I’m signed up to collect money before the Sounders game on the 25th for them as well. I have a list of other things to sign up for.
10: (30 min. of rocking daily) I think I’ve played piano every day this week. I have a notebook of lyrics. I sorted through my recordings and found some stuff I like. I just have to put it together.
11: (posture) Whenever I sit in my car, I use the “sport” seats to correct my posture. Whenever I walk down the hall at work, I try to think about posture. My BFF and my dad have both pointed out that my posture has improved. Some days, it’s improved so much that my lower back muscles hurt from telling my shoulders and humpback what to do all day.

Yes, that was exactly what I needed to do. I’m making real progress on some of these things that I want to do. I have direction despite my seeming stagnation. Despite my unassailable desire for perfection in the things I have no control over, I am pretty much ruling the things that I do have control over. My life is going well. And though it could be going awesome, I have to forget about that life for now. I have to focus on “good enough.” Which is, of course, giving up. But maybe I can keep the fact that I really haven’t given up a secret from myself just long enough until I forget about it. Or until my Alzheimer’s finally kicks in and I can re-live the best years of my life just like my Grandpa did.

rhetorical questions


With all the new hits for my reviews for the crazy show marathon I went on, it’s hard to go back into the routine I’ve committed to for Awesome 2009.

If you’re new around here, how it works is I usually write a bunch of depressing stuff and then delete it and then try to play up my minor successes each day. My overall goal is to learn how to have a more positive outlook on life so that I can stop clenching my teeth all the time and recognize, for once, when I have something awesome and do all I can to maintain that awesomeness. Mostly, I’m just trying to learn how to be less invisible. I’m also trying to catch up on my rest after five shows in a row and less than 6 hours of sleep each of those days (hey, I’m old, okay?), so I’ll just list some successes and climb in the soon to be warm confines of my new bed. If you’re curious about the minor goals leading up to my major goal, just read the posts near the start of the year. 2008 didn’t ever happen.


laughed out loud at lunch at work and nobody said, “hey, you laughed!”

a visiting former student asked me if i had lost weight, so i guess losing that 10 pounds or so was noticeable.

ate a recipe I made up: potato filled burritos. made home fries, warmed up black beans, added cheese, avocado, salsa and lettuce. enjoyed too much food for dinner.

reminisced on my various successes over the weekend which I was entirely too exhausted to expound upon here.

tomorrow I make a phone call and maybe buy some plane tickets or a fancy record player. not all at once.

rhetorical questions

Day 3: ha HA!

It’s it okay for nearly 32 year-olds to giggle a little bit? I feel really good about today’s adventures. I am awesome.

Woke up this morning and went and checked out a Kung Fu class. (goal #1) It seemed pretty cool and the folks were friendly and answered all my questions. It’s about the same price as the karate class I checked out last year, but with far fewer kids and a much longer history. I think I’m into it. I’d like to scope out at least one other Kung Fu place, if possible, before I decide.

After observing Kung Fu, Jason and I met and played keyboard and guitar a bit. (goal #10) I mostly just screwed around, kind of ‘soloing’ over the top of Jason’s stuff. I really haven’t gotten the hang of how to write a song yet. But we talked about songwriting and music in general and stuff in general for a few hours. It was good times. We’ll probably go on a second band date. I have a thumb drive here with a bunch of music he gave me. I’ll be filling it with Treasure State, Joules, Bronze Fawn and some other bands and returning it later on.

Then, my date! (goal #6) It was really fun! We met at the finest falafel place in the U-district and had the falafel combo (mine with Dr. Pepper, hers with Orange Crush). We discussed various topics all the way through Wheel of Fortune and into Jeopardy! Since the evening was going swimmingly, we decided to take the option of continuing the adventure. Since it is cold and Joanna (that’s her name. nice, eh?) was recovering from a recent illness, we opted to keep the activities indoors. Down the street, that Button whatever movie was playing, so we made an attempt to see that. However, everyone in the entire city had shown up. Upon considering the options, Joanna informed me that she had a Wii. She then offered to let me play this fine device. Having never done so, I gladly accepted the invitation. We played various Wii games (bowling, tennis, baseball and a bunch of balance games for the Wii Fit) for a couple hours. It was a fantastic evening and there are plans for second adventures in the works. She’s a cutie and a very nice person and pretty fun to be around, so I’m pretty happy about that idea. Plus, I get a chance to be the new, awesome 2009 Don that I’ve been practicing to be. Let me tell you, I was pretty awesome (comparatively speaking). Good times!

Tomorrow I need to work on schoolwork and the rally car all day. That’s the plan. Good night!!