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Entry date: 1-4-2023 – Down to Four – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

 

I have gotten to the point where I am counting down my days again. At first it was seventeen glorious days of a break, and I was looking forward to doing all kinds of fun things and now I am looking at four days of getting stuff done. This is my life.

 

It may seem like I was complaining, but I am not. I am ready to be busy again. There are things to look forward to and, as much as the holidays are nice and all, they are exhausting. I spent much of last week very tired.

 

So far, though, 2024 has been productive. I have been getting some writing done and that feels nice. I’ve also helped out a little bit in the house to de-clutter and that has been good, too. Liam goes back to work this weekend, so I’ll get my “Dad Taxi” hat back on. Life rolls on. This is my life and I like it.

 

*****

 

I saw that a friend of mine lost his son the other day. 25 years old and now he’s gone. I can’t imagine what my friend is going through. The scariest thing in the world to me is something happening to one of the kids or grandkids. At this point, I am not super scared of anything happening to me. When and if something bad does happen, I can accept that a lot easier than if something terrible happened to one of the kids.

 

The thought of losing one of the kids before I die terrifies me. I know people experience it every day and I know plenty of people who have had tragedy in their lives. It happens, sure, but the thought of it is awful. I’ve spent a good portion of my time in the last 12 hours or so thinking about my buddy and wishing there was something I could do for him.

 

I know there is nothing I can do except be there if he decides to reach out. Putting positive hopes for peace for their family is a nice sentiment and I’m doing it, but I wish there was more I could do. What makes us want to feel other people’s pain for them, I wonder. I’ve seen a lot of things that others have written about this lately and it is a fascinating subject. I’d rather be the way I am than indifferent to other people’s pain and suffering.

 

Hug your kids. Tell them you love them. I certainly don’t do that enough.

 

***** 

 

Nirvana – Bleach (1989)

 

This record, for most of 1991, was my holy grail. I searched high and low for it on CD. Idiot that I was, I stopped by vinyl when CDs came out and I probably could have had this record on wax well before I finally found the CD if I had just not been a toad.

 

When I finally got around to realizing how good this record was in 1990, my girlfriend, Alexa, had the record and she made me a tape of it, if I remember correctly. She was the one, too, who invited me to go to the Mason Jar and see them, but I got them confused with Soundgarden and decided not to go. I was a toad that night, too.

 

Come to think of it, while she and I were a couple, I skipped many a good show. Toad, toad, toad.

 

Enough of that, though.

 

To put it simply, I think Bleach is the coolest thing Nirvana did. I love their other releases, but Bleach has a certain power, tone, and beautiful sloppiness that perfectly articulated what myself and so many others were yearning for from punk rock. It is a punk rock record.

 

When I first heard it, I was blown away. They were like Mudhoney, who was my first Seattle love, but heavier and meaner. Immediately Nirvana became a huge influence on how I looked at music. Over the course of the five years that I consciously shared the planet with Kurt Cobain, he showed me a way to go about making music that helped me see how I could do it, too.

 

“About A Girl” is kind of the moment on the record where you have a minute to absorb the bludgeoning of it’s predecessors (“Negative Creep” and “Blew”) but it is really only fleeting. You get too caught up in the poppy deliciousness that “About A Girl” delivers with perfect punk rock snottiness.

 

Then “School” happens. A one-two punch that always lands. I always thought he sang, “You’re on acid, again” during the part where he is repeating “You’re in high school again.” Maybe I really wanted it to be that way or maybe he did say. Either way, it is just about perfect.

 

There is no filler on Bleach. Every song is pure punctuation. Each one tells you exactly what it is and what you should do.

 

It is no accident there is a Hillbilly Devilspeak song with “Paper Cuts” in the title. I paid homage to Cobain and Nirvana several times in my lyrics for that band. We had a little song called “Courtney,” that wasn’t too flattering for her, but a helluva lot of fun to play.

 

The second side of the record is just punk rock. I dare you to listen to “Mr. Moustache” and not want to go into a circle pit and push people around. It’s the type of riff that anyone who likes to play loud, weird, punk music writes. Something to make the fingers go in a crazy pattern and get it down to the point where you can play it with precision. Sofa King Fun!

 

Eventually I did find the record on CD at Amoeba in San Francisco. I had searched the whole time I lived in Berkeley and finally got it around the time Nirvana opened for Dinosaur Jr. at the Warfield. It’s still in the collection today if a kid hasn’t absconded with it.

 

Listen to Bleach today.

 

*****

 

See you tomorrow.



I hoped I hadn't used this before. It seemed like a perfect image for the day so I changed it up some. I forget that you can have fun with pictures these days.

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