Posts Tagged ‘geek stuff’

OptimumDesk.exe / ODService CPU hog won’t uninstall

Sunday, November 26th, 2017

My last 24 hours:

1) Did the steps in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyYB07SUPcI&feature=youtu.be to confirm the title executables were the reason dad’s win10 machine blared at 99% cpu usage unless in safe mode — did all those steps with every instance of eventvwr or task manager taking upwards of 4 minutes to load.

2) Found this, which confirmed for me that these programs are malicious — weird company, very little cross-pollinated information about the program online, uninstall instructions reference an uninstall executable that is not installed, requires downloading another program from weird site to supposedly uninstall, see for yourself at http://www.advanceduninstaller.com/OptimumDesk-6ef36ef217edb1361947a381152d63b2-application.htm

3) Downloaded malwarebytes, spybot, and ran dad’s native mcafee scan twice — none of them were able to quarantine and delete the rogue install. During all this testing, the machine was still at 99% CPU and running at an absolute crawl.

4) Tried loading safe mode and deleting program file directory – reinstalled itself. Tried deleting the service from elevated command line – reinstalled itself. Tried removing registry keys directly with regedit – reinstalled itself.

FINAL SOLUTION: Removed all access permissions from C:/Windows/Program Files (x96)/OptimumDesk.exe and ODService.exe including to SYSTEM, leaving the files but rendering them completely useless. Before coming to this conclusion, I pretty much had to extract every little thing I once knew about the windows operating system, which I frankly haven’t used in any capacity since Win7.

System idles at 4% CPU now, and I feel like I’ve just been hit by a truck.

Serendipitous gifts

Friday, August 5th, 2016

“The role of the artist is exactly the same as the role of the lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.”
James Baldwin

Just now, I texted everyone I have a current iMessage conversation with “Thank you for being human with me”. It is because I associate those people with the ones I maintain the closest friendships to because we share our phones messaging app between devices.

This is, invariably, a false equivalency, though it became more balanced when I changed my phone number and worked through (am still working through) who to tell.

The truth is there are many filters that would leave deserving people out of the loop about this mass, and yet personal, messaging spree I just went on, but what alarms me is to discover that the selection process is not as intentional as I’d like to think it is.

It’s not even a selection, really. It’s laziness, lack of awareness, automation, which causes me to turn to iMessage. The fucking automation. The fucking machine that plugs my supposed need for that kind of connectivity and false belonging to sell me unethical products that are not meant to last.

Look. There are people I will never talk to again who deserve to hear me say “Thank you for being human with me”. Every single person I’ve ever met deserves this recognition. And I deserve that recognition from all of you. And I think it’s fair to say that it seems pretty universal that we have all been unconsciously programmed not to acknowledge one another in this way, but to pretend that we do. Like the quotes in Embodied said on the walls of Fred Wildlife Refuge,

“I am the collective effort of everyone I’ve ever known.” — Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

Apart from never being able to truly trust anyone, I wasn’t a hacker, or a bone fide hardware geek. I appreciated that stuff, but I was drawn to hackers because I was a *communicator*, and I could relate to hackers. I like being clever and sneaky and destroying shit as much as I like creating it.

For a long time, being a part of the hacker community — and later the little red studio, specifically, had me feeling very special. I felt popular, I could say whatever the fuck I wanted, I threw weird parties, and I had a community with which to be creative.

In both those instances I’d locked societal woundings with whole communities, and the learning was fertile and priceless. We were communicators who wanted to build our own god damn platforms, to cultivate relationships with our expression forms, and with technology, that mattered.

Well, as far as I can tell, most of us still want to do that. But where the fuck are we? What the fuck are we doing? We are on facebook, and google, and twitter, and none of us trust these fuckers with the soul we give to them.

How is it that we got to the point that your fucking words, your thoughts, your fucking anniversaries, your fears, your personality scores, your rants, your sorrows, your calls for justice AREN’T YOURS, AREN’T OWNED BY YOU, instead being fucking manipulated and distilled and romanticized for profit.

What the fuck.

My space. My fucking space.

That’s fucking better.

I have a deep desire to be in structured school, with a goal, challenges, variation, and letters after my name. So many of us do, I think; we crave knowledge, a safe space to explore not already knowing, guidance, and we crave our own continued understanding. We crave the idea of education that the educational system abandoned in order to survive civilization.

For people like us, right now the best we can be doing is learning by teaching what we know to our communities, but more importantly to each other, our fellow activists; especially those of us who recognize that without drinking water, without being able to be naked outside in the sun, without food, without air, without the ancient peat bogs and rainforests holding so much carbon for us, we are fucking lost. Those of us waiting for the cleansing fire. The birth to the destruction to the birth.

It’s people like us that need to be learning from people like us who are focused on different parts of The Thing.

Start hosting workshops to teach the shit you know. Start risking your ego to make a difference, to open yourself up to learning by empowering others. Make that shit happen, and do it with fucking integrity. Give credit where it’s due and don’t make money off the backs of those society deems yours. Admit you don’t know it all. Explore. Let them come to you, and when they do; Teach.

Teach.

Y’all want fucking revolution? Then let’s use our fucking skills to prove it, and create one.

One day at a time, one habit at a time, ween yourself and take responsibility for your own shit.

Stop fucking leaning on the systems you recognize are corroding your fucking soul.

Learn what it is to nurture and toil the food you eat before you eat it. Learn what it means to be have less stuff. Explore options of supporting yourself that don’t rely solely on the internet, or invisible slave labor. Invite a friend over to your house to chat. Share your mentors with the people you love. And ffs stop fucking maneuvering your most precious relationships via fucking text messages, ya fearfulass Previous Me insufferable text-dumping asshole.

I’m not sure exactly what that looks like, but when I really sit with what it feels like to give facebook and even instagram the product of my mind, I feel a gross sense of self betrayal inside. I’ve grappled with it a long time, but I think I’ve made good headway lately.

And I’m fucking watching you, Patreon. Every greedy fuckshit mistake you make by us, I’m holding your asses accountable and taking fucking notes. You have to earn the shit out of my trust. The shit out of it. Do better.

The Notebook

I am noticing one of the blockages I experience around my writing, is that I rarely write. I type. And that’s different.

I have also noticed that my organization of ideas is scattered as shit. Self sent text messages, voice memos, emails to myself, google spreadsheets, soundcloud, patreon, my blog, the notes app on my phone, and hardcopy notebooks — all house my fractions, experiments, and prose. Ideas for my current album, Cold Front, span all of these mediums. Even if I wanted to work on it, just going through my fucking notes is like looking into a shattered mirror.

While I excel during projects when I allow the process to be messy, and I do best while fragmented and having multiple, different projects in the fire at once, I recognize that I lose myself in obsessive tracking and procrastination when I do not start those projects from a place of organization, grounding and levity.

It is time to carry a notebook. Everywhere. And to utilize technology as a backup, a failsafe should something happen to it, rather than.. Whatever the fuck it is I have been doing. Amusingly, I was just gifted one by a new pal.

I made him sign it. Oh, the pressure I put upon y’all.

One of the people who passed through my life at one time is a very famous, beloved author. He understands the value of a hand written page. I am thinking about him as I make this commitment to myself, and my work, to intentionally try things just a little bit differently, now.

Besides. I know how the brain works, at least in regards to how it processes information in the context of expression methods. I learned this as a student at Brian Utting. Writing, with my hands, on paper, making marks, will download the essence of what I want to capture into a place that is very unlikely to be taken away from me, even if something happens to my notebook.

And when I was out in the woods, exhausted, overwhelmed, spread to the breaking point while literally holding up another human being, losing my own mind and breaking my own heart and remembering what really fucking matters; the safe, private notes I drew to myself kept me going.

Keep Going.

I trust me, and my mind, which god damn fucking WORKS, to level up about the kind of care, thought, and and attention that goes into my functioning effectively. Efficiently. Conservation, restoration, nutrients; they are not just for the world around me, and not just applicable in the literal senses I am learning these skills via.

I trust me to fucking take care of myself, even though I have spent, and will still spend, effort and time struggling, and making mistakes, in that department.

I am ready to take another step towards strengthening me, so I can hold what it means to be bigger. Braver. More. Less.

Funny, how significant, this dumb little shit can be.

I’m Courtnee Fallon Rex, and this is only barely scratching the surface of what kind of writer, activist, teacher, and human being I can be when I am fulfilled in my work, selective with my friends, appreciative of my fans, careful how I spend my energy (and why), have the means to support and nurture myself, bathe, farm and harvest my own food, am seen, and paid, and create and perform my music on my terms for fans who truly appreciate my. Fucking. Work.

So thank you, for being human with me. I know I am not alone in this. I know I am not alone in my frustrations, my desire to see more empowerment outside of the constrained, incompetent systems that are all we’ve ever been truly encouraged to know ourselves by. In every career path I’ve taken, I’ve been the one standing up and asking: Why? Why are we bowing? Why do we immediately attempt to contort under these strains, these fucking invented, arbitrary oppressions? When the fuck are we going to stand up?

We are. It’s just.. slow. And I am going to keep doing what I need to do, respecting the influences, the tides, and the sheer fucking magnitude that is the task of standing up. Over, and over, and over again.

I am angry, at society. Today, and to some degree, every day. Today I also accept the possibility that this will not change.

Returning home has been a long, steady, breakthrough; a return on previous investments. Level: up.

Next challenge: learning how to respect my opponents.

Ugh.

Process of a digitally edited watercolor

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

This is a 6 inch by 4 inch watercolor postcard. I used watercolor pens, tea, ballpoint and pencil. I used the above self-photograph image as a reference.

IMG_7562

http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7562-768x1024.jpg 768w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7562-261x348.jpg 261w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7562-688x917.jpg 688w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7562.jpg 1152w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" /> I started with pencil to sketch the basics


IMG_7563

http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7563-768x1024.jpg 768w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7563-261x348.jpg 261w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7563-688x917.jpg 688w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7563.jpg 1152w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" /> Then began adding watercolor pen to the dry paper

IMG_7564http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7564-768x1024.jpg 768w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7564-261x348.jpg 261w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7564-688x917.jpg 688w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7564.jpg 1152w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" />

IMG_7565http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7565-768x1024.jpg 768w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7565-261x348.jpg 261w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7565-688x917.jpg 688w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7565.jpg 1152w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" />

IMG_7566http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7566-768x1024.jpg 768w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7566-261x348.jpg 261w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7566-688x917.jpg 688w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7566.jpg 1152w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" />


IMG_7567

http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7567-768x1024.jpg 768w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7567-261x348.jpg 261w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7567-688x917.jpg 688w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7567.jpg 1152w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" /> Now time to start adding tea and blending

IMG_7568http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7568-768x1024.jpg 768w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7568-261x348.jpg 261w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7568-688x917.jpg 688w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7568.jpg 1152w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" />

IMG_7569http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7569-768x1024.jpg 768w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7569-261x348.jpg 261w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7569-688x917.jpg 688w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7569.jpg 1152w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" />

IMG_7570http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7570-768x1024.jpg 768w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7570-261x348.jpg 261w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7570-688x917.jpg 688w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7570.jpg 1152w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" />


Adding ballpoint

http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7571-768x1024.jpg 768w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7571-261x348.jpg 261w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7571-688x917.jpg 688w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7571.jpg 1152w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" /> Adding ballpoint

IMG_7572

http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7572-768x1024.jpg 768w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7572-261x348.jpg 261w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7572-688x917.jpg 688w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7572.jpg 1152w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" /> Adding more watercolor

IMG_7573

http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7573-768x1024.jpg 768w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7573-261x348.jpg 261w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7573-688x917.jpg 688w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7573.jpg 1152w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" /> At this point, I realized my facial dimensions were off. I had made my eyes too small, and too close together. I tried shading and highlighting to make up for the issues.

IMG_7574

http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7574-768x1024.jpg 768w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7574-261x348.jpg 261w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7574-688x917.jpg 688w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7574.jpg 1152w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" /> At this point I realized that not only were my eyes too far apart, but my mouth was too small and too low, also. These are very typical issues for me to have when I am working from a portrait reference.

IMG_7576

http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7576-768x1024.jpg 768w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7576-261x348.jpg 261w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7576-688x917.jpg 688w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7576.jpg 1152w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" /> Once finished, with added highlightsI knew I wouldn’t want to use this as my avatar representation as I’d planned. Though it’s a good painting, it just didn’t look enough like me. The eyes were too small, too close, and the mouth was too small and far away. In addition, the head/hat was a little wonky, too.

IMG_7576 adjusted

http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7576-adjusted-768x1024.jpg 768w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7576-adjusted-261x348.jpg 261w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7576-adjusted-688x917.jpg 688w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_7576-adjusted.jpg 1536w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" /> But then I remembered I have digital art skills too, even though I’ve never used them to fix watercolors. So I adjusted it in Photoshop. :)

The journey that began thrice

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Originally, I was planning to leave for Spokane last Friday, giving myself a whole day to prep for the house show I was to be headlining in Spokane on Saturday.

Alas, a 3 hour brake job ended up taking all day long on Thursday, setting me back and causing me to be working late on other elements of the trip. It took forever because my emergency brake light was stuck on. They checked and checked and checked, and had gotten to the point of tracing wires and dealing with electrical, convinced that it was not a brake problem.

By 5:30 I said fuck it, and just decided I would pull the damn handle before I moved the van ever, and call it good until I could get down to New Mexico to hang with my pal who has a shop (and who I will be doing work on the van with anyway) to figure out what the stupid electrical problem is.

And of course, the tow equipment I ordered arrived late Friday evening without all the proper hardware I needed, so it was a somewhat stressful pain in the ass to get put together, too.

By the time I was planning to leave on a 5 hour trip Friday evening, I still had some things to deal with in Seattle and I was a deep fried shade of worn out tired. So much tedious shit had gone wrong I was walking around muttering ‘skullfuck’ most of Friday afternoon. So I decided to leave Saturday morning, rested, instead.

That was the first time I didn’t start my trip. No biggie.

Take II:

IMG_6413http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_6413-1024x768.jpg 1024w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_6413-460x345.jpg 460w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_6413-688x516.jpg 688w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" />

I left around 11am Saturday morning, driving by that fuckass eyesore inconvenient ass canoe fucking sadium for the last fuckass time in a long while, commemorating my pleasure at this by snapping a picture while I waited at the light.

Not long after North Bend, I started having the roadtrip feels. During my first solo road trip in 2011, the surge hit me as I was maybe 20 miles south of Seattle. Pearl Jam’s “I’m Still Alive” came on the radio.

I hadn’t heard it in years, but that trip was all about confronting the darkened hallway of my past in California. I didn’t understand exactly what I was in for at the time, but I did sense that song was the perfect floodgate opener for what would come in the weeks later.

This time it was about 20 miles outside of town again, east this time, listening to Keep Going, when my cover of Heavy in Your Arms came on.

Like the Pearl Jam song, there were a lot of applicable layers to why it hit me like it did. It’s a fresh wound that’s also been salted recently. And like the Pearl Jam song, there is hope there.

I recognize how I anchor myself stationary in order to ‘be’ with people. How heavy I HAVE to make myself to justify doing that, how hard I lean in to them because of it. And I also recognize how much I received from them while I stayed. I recognize how much I still miss some of them, sometimes. A lot, sometimes.

But mostly I recognize how done I am with all that shit. I cried out my doneness. I cried out the regret and the pain and the loss and the missing. And I let in the goodness and the openness and the raw cold air taking its place. Just like I’d done with Pearl Jam, when I’d finally gotten done being anchored by my heavy past life in Sacramento.

Mixed in with the missing and the hope and the exhilaration was a sense of relief, of freedom. Against many odds and my own resistance and fears, the van was packed, running, stopping, full DOT inspected, puttering down the road. My motorcycle was softly swaying on the tow carrier and I had alternative, maneuverable, affordable transport other than the huge van. Just that I was here at all proved I could count on myself, and that I could trust my instincts well enough to ask and receive from people.

I started smiling through my tears. I started feeling the excitement. I started believing in the possibility, in the adventure, in all the shit everyone ELSE has been so excited about while I’ve been making big asks, and doing a lot of physical and soul grinding work to make this actually happen. I started believing in the positivity of my choice to leave, not just the necessity of it. I started having faith.

And then I smelled the smoke.

The first time, I figured it was the semi next to me, burning some brakes, like they do. I recently saved a friends van transmission with my nose and insistence that we pull over in Maui, so even though I thought it was likely nothing, I rolled my window down and sniffed and paid attention. Then the smell went away.

..And then it came back, right next to a road construction site another mile up the road or so. I wanted to believe I was smelling something in the air, but as my friend Neil so elegantly taught me not long ago, while wandering a crowded area with a friend, if you smell the same fart twice, that means it’s your friend farting.

In that teaching moment, I was the farting friend, in case you’re wondering. And in this case, I was pretty sure I was the farter by now, too.

Trouble is, I had no shoulder and nowhere to pull off for another 3 miles or so. The smell was getting worse when I opened the window. It took me a while to figure out my cab was filling up with a delicate haze of white smoke. And my brain kept spinning back and forth between believing it was me and thinking it was some horrendous tire fire or something somewhere.

As if I didn’t know tire fire smoke is black, or what burning breaks smell like. Stupid brain.

I finally pulled into a rest area, went to the semi side, got out and popped the hood. Nothing. The smell wasn’t even very strong now, mostly in my scarf and clothes. Then I took a look down the passenger side of the van and saw this:

Neato.

I wasn’t particularly worried — I have AAA, I’d mentally prepared myself for breakdowns of many types, expecting things to go wrong. I wasn’t expecting them to go wrong on my first day, with a system of the van I’d just had worked on two days ago.

I knew it would take forever to get a tow (I was right – 5 hours), and that I was too far from Spokane for that to be my destination, so I cancelled my performance immediately, thankful that the house show organizer had found a couple of openers and the show would still be great without me (it was). Then I started trying to figure out wtf went wrong.

At first, I thought it might have been the weight of my motorcycle on the back. That was the only thing that was different from yesterday, when I’d eaten half a tank of gas driving that damn beast around running errands, and the back of the bike made for the load to be slightly heavier on the right side.

I know how ridiculous that sounds NOW, but at the time I had decided I wanted to take the bike off the tow carrier, turn it around, and try to make it the 30 miles into Cle Elum without waiting for a tow.

I walked around a bit and asked a couple truckers to help me get the bike off the rack (it’s not possible for me to wrangle it off myself). Once we got the bike off, one of them asked me what was up with the van, looking at my tire pensively.

We talked a bit about what happened, and soon thereafter I had confirmation from three separate people who tow shit for a living that there was no way the bike caused my breaks to seize up. We tried backing the van up to release the brake adjustment, which we confirmed was stuck slammed to the inside of the drum.

I suppose you could say the van moved.. If two inches of strenuous lurch and then locking up again under a tremendous amount of engine torque counts as moving. I tried both directions. Both back wheels were stuck as fuck. Which begged another question — why wasn’t the left back wheel of a rear wheel drive vehicle, which wasn’t brake seized, spinning?

Thus began the wondering of whether the ebrake was stuck on, perhaps the cable broke while I was driving or something. Plus that stupid light being on. But that seemed unlikely, given that I’ve left my ebrake on before (who hasn’t) and it’s more of a lagging kind of thing rather than a seizing up kind of thing, and I felt nothing while driving. I thought maybe it could have been the ebrake, and with the drag at 60mph for god knows however long I was driving, maybe I’d friction welded my breaks or something.

“You got a jack?”
‘Yeah.’
“Well, I’ve got tools. And I don’t have anything better to do, my pick up got cancelled and I’m stuck out here til Tuesday. This sort of thing happens to our rigs all the time. I’ll bet we can get this fixed”

The plan was to get things cracked open to see if I’d thrown a spring into the brake which had gotten stuck, check the shoes/see if I’d need to ride over to Cle Elum to get parts or not. So my new friend Marcus started working to get the wheel off and the brake cylinder open, while we talked about what could have caused the seize and what to do next.

*bang*bang* .. and the break cylinder open. *pry* … and the break cylinder open? … *tap taptap* OPEN SESAME, FUCKING BREAK CYLINDER!!..

Or, not. Not is fine too, I guess.

By this time, I knew I was getting towed back to the place that had done my break job, Tire Factory in South Park, and I’d be spending another night in Seattle. In fact, Owen eventually worked out a way for him to come in the next morning (Sunday) to get me back on the road, so I didn’t have to wait the entire holiday weekend.

That sounded about right, to me. I was convinced this was their problem, anyway. In fact, I was pretty pissed off, especially about that brake light, and letting them convince me my breaks were fine while the fucker was on. I was handling it super well, though. Like someone I didn’t really know very well.

Like someone who knew they could count on themselves, maybe.

Many hours, a nap, and much conversation later, including two more people coming over to see if I needed help/drinking water/etc, and my tow driver stopping by to let me know his person before me needed a tow to Tacoma (4 hours! yay!), Eddie from Cle Elum towing showed up, for the second time, to rescue Vandwell.

IMG_6373http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_6373-1024x768.jpg 1024w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_6373-460x345.jpg 460w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_6373-688x516.jpg 688w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" />

Day 1: Spent at a rest stop outside of Cle Elum, waiting for this. Rear right brake (which was adjusted along with other brake work two days ago) stuck and burned to utter shit over the pass, van won’t move. Met many helpful people, was actually a pretty enjoyable day all considering, perhaps a blog post about that tomorrow. For now, lotion on my increasingly roughed up hands, an unexpected extra night of KEXP radio, van tea, and sleep.

PS: Loretta’s in South Park for breakfast around 9:30, if you want the in person version, or are curious what fried brake smells like, cause everything I own smells like it now.
I will quit you yet, Seattle. (And sorry I am not performing tonight, Spokane)

Her name is Vandwell now, btw. And as she was pulled onto that tow bed by a metal rope with a skid under her back paw, I saw her big pretty face for the first time, a little sad, a little scared, a little sick, and I realized: I love my van. I love my big stupid rusty gas guzzling van. That, and also there was something in my eye.

I also noticed that with the skid, passively, all three of the other wheels were rolling, and the ebrake caused a noticeable change/lurch when Eddie took it on and off. So, no ebrake sticking there.

Eddie and I took my tow carrier off the van, since her fat ass took up his ENTIRE tow truck bed, and ratcheted it to the bed floor near the cab. I rode the bike back to Seattle, into the sunset, as it were. I beat Eddie to the tire place by a few minutes, hung around while he dropped off the van, got the tow gear back on her big dirty butt, and wished him a safe drive home.

And that was the second time I didn’t start my trip. Somewhat bigger biggie.

Take III

IMG_6338http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_6338-1024x768.jpg 1024w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_6338-460x345.jpg 460w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_6338-688x516.jpg 688w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" />

I didn’t sleep very well that night, in a deserted parking lot BY THE RIVER (y’all happy now?). On Sunday morning, Owen rolled in around 9 and started getting to work on what I felt surely would be a much bigger deal than he seemed to think it would be. I was thinking for sure I’d friction welded my breaks dead and I’d be in Seattle another fucking week getting them fixed. But hey.. better than Cle Elum where I don’t fucking know anyone, right?

I started wandering around to find a place to get breakfast. The place I wanted was closed. I met an artist rapper named Kaev on the sidewalk. We walked for a while, chatted philosophy, drugs, trust, art. Sat in the Subway for a bit, until I gave him the $4 he asked for to cover the gap between what he had and the sim card he wanted. Then he disappeared. Funny how that works.

Did you know, btw, that if you stop in at Subway really early in the morning and order a cookie (so you can kill time in their shop, being the only place open at 9:15am on a Sunday in South Park), there is a possibility they will tell you with a crinkled nose that those cookies are from YESTERDAY, as if you wouldn’t want them? And when you say, well, how about selling me two cookies for the price of one, then, they might look over the entire case of cookies, about two dozen maybe, and offer to sell you the whole fucking batch for three bucks? Cookies have been on me ever since. YMMV.

Since I was back in the area, my friend Chris, who walked me through making the brackets for my bedframe last weekend, met up with me to get breakfast. Around the time Loretta’s was about to open, I got a call from Owen, asking if I was ready to hit the road.

I stammered a little, cause actually, I wanted breakfast now (that wasn’t cookies), and I was a little shocked that it’d taken less than an hour. Incredulous even. I had questions.

“You got the cylinder off?”
‘Yep! Needed a chisel and hammer, but yeah, it came off. Those semi’s, they’re big, they use big tools. I’ll bet what your friend had just wasn’t small enough to get in there.’
“Wait.. the pads are still good?”
‘Yep! You caught it early! They’re still super thick.’
“And the spring is still there? It didn’t break/get caught?”
‘No problem with the spring. Your adjustment wheel just froze up. I had to really work at it to get it loose’
“I’ll be right over. Do you still have the wheel off? Can I see?”
‘I can totally take it back off for you and show you.’

And show me he did. The shoes were, in fact, in darn good shape. There was a fresh coat of shiny metal goop on the adjuster mechanism that I found out was lubricant. He also told me about how neither wheel would move under engine power because the right wheel is always the drive wheel, so the left wasn’t trying, either.

I got under the van and looked at the star wheel through the adjuster hole and was taught how to use a screwdriver to adjust my breaks if they ever lock again — which they shouldn’t. But, as is made clear by the existence of this story, sometimes shit happens.

Slowly and surely, it was coming back to me, how much I liked working on my own cars when I was a kid. I started remembering my drum breaks on the Superbeetle, how I’d change my own muffler, and how I’ve periodically been thankful for my Dad teaching me about tools and cars when I was younger.

Chris, Owen and I put the bike up on the rack, and said our goodbyes.

The moment when I put Vandwell in reverse and she MOVED was very exciting, indeed. We were back in business, and while I wasn’t thrilled with losing 60 miles of gas, I was very glad I’d taken her back to Tire Factory and gotten complete with them, without being charged, or having to wait for the holiday weekend to be over, even. I gave them a chance to take care of me, and it worked out. Otherwise, like if I’d gotten towed to Cle Elum instead, I might have been farther along in my miles, but I would have been out more money, and stayed pissed at those guys for a good long time.

I took the opportunity, since I was in Seattle again, to hit up Ballard one last time to pick up my NAS, which I’d realized I’d left just before this break shit went down. I was getting low on gas, the needle had hit empty, and I remembered still having about 6 gallons left the last time it’d been there — plenty to get 9 mostly-highway miles away to the Safeway by the shed for the cheapie gas. Right?

#nope.

Not only did I run out of gas, like full on engine death out of gas, I ran out of gas … on 99, in the battery street tunnel.

For those of you not in the know, it’s a two lane one-way tunnel with a 40mph speed limit where people regularly do 60+, with zero shoulder in sight, an onramp/merge point about 50 feet past the tunnel, and a concrete median between lane directions once you’re in the daylight again.

In short: A motherfucking death trap. Even if I could have gotten out and pushed, it would have been a level of stupid I just won’t go to anymore.

I can still hear myself mumbling encouragement as my dead full ton van full of everything I own in the world rolled along like a fucking steel whale in the dark. Just a little farther, boo, and we’ll be heading slightly downhill. Maybe we can get off the highway and onto Harrison if you have enough momentum, big girl. Hoo, that’s not looking so likely, creepy mccreeperson. Just get us out of the tunnel, then. Keep rolling until we’re out of the tunnel.

I came to a stop a few car lengths outside of the soul eating dark, with my hazards on, and my eyes unable to stop watching in my rear view as people blasted out of the hole, seeing a horizontal motorcycle hanging off my ass end, gears in their heads turning, changing lanes around me.

First things first: I called 911. I never call 911, and honestly, I was pretty cool and focused about this whole thing. I knew what to do, that I wasn’t getting out of my car no matter the fuck what, and that I had AAA and I’d be covered (if you don’t have AAA, fucking get it.).

But I did use 911, because that was the quickest way to get the information I needed to get to the people I needed to get it to rather than trying to fuck with my shit cell service to look up numbers. Besides, I knew I was about two freaked out drivers away from having the cops called on me, anyway.

I am in a very large stalled vehicle in a very, very unsafe location. I said, yo, you need to know I’m out of gas on 99. I’ll call AAA after you, it’ll be a quick fix, but I have no idea how quickly they can come to me, and when they get here, they’re gonna be a sitting duck in the road (my gas tank is on the drivers side, and I was in the right lane where I’m supposed to be). You might wanna get someone down here. Like, now.

I called AAA for the second time in as many days which is as many days as I’ve been on this fucking ‘adventure’, and get an estimate ‘within the hour’, but I’ve been red flagged, so it should be less than that.

Well let’s fucking hope so.

I settled in, continuing to watch Rear View Roulette in some weird abstract fascination. Being a holiday weekend, traffic was fairly loose. I wasn’t bogging anything down save for maybe two or three cars when someone had to actually stop and wait a few seconds to get around me. But it was steady, always cars coming.

I remembered hearing that they generally ticket people for breaking down on the bridges and wondered if I’d have to deal with any shit when the cops showed up. I hoped since I wasn’t actually fucking traffic up they wouldn’t think about it.

At one point, a big truck changed lanes smoothly behind me, seeing me in plenty of time — but the Car to Go that had been tailgating that motherfucker blind barely, barely missed my bike.

Every time a large vehicle came up on me slowly, I fantasized that they’d stop, hop out of the car with a gas can and come ask if I just needed gas.

I wondered if maybe I should make a cardboard sign that says “Need Gas!” and keep it in the car, cause, despite the encouragement from my friend that I keep 10 gallons of it with me in the cab.. that ain’t gonna happen.

Then my phone rang.

“Hi, this is Mikey from AAA.”
‘MIKEY. How far away are you man.’ (in my ‘I have a sense of humor AND this is fuckin serious’ voice)
“I’m about 5 minutes away. Are you past the denny onramp? Or before it?”
‘I am just outside the tunnel, before the onramp. I’m blocking the right lane.’
“Ok. I will be there soon. Hang tight.”

5 minutes. Ok. Cool.

About two minutes later, a giant truck pulled up behind me. I watched in the mirror as the door opened and showed a big WSDOT on the side. Then I noticed the light bars — not tow lights. MOVE THE FUCK OVER lights. They started blinking bigass arrows toward the left.

The tension broke and I laughed. FOR ME?

The driver walked to my passenger side, I shuffled over (the van is so wide, I can’t adjust the rear view mirror while sitting in the position I drive in.. it’s like two steps to the passenger side) rolled the window down and let him know AAA was close, and thanked him for showing up so quickly. I wasn’t sure what they’d be sending, but I was really pleased it wasn’t a cop, which is what I guess I was expecting.

I really don’t like cops. Not because I have anything to hide or reason to fear them, other than not having the money to pay the damn tickets they write, but because the police as a system require a bunch of brainwashed (in the best cases) uniformed oppressors masquerading as service workers. The institution of policing is one of the most violent dirtyworker tools of the imperialist capitalist colonialism bullshit I fucking hate about America that’s infecting the rest of the world. Their jobs exist, and have always exited, to bully and injure and kill a demographic of people I have come to care about, and many Seattle police have fucked over and hurt and maced friends of mine. Upon first glance I pretty much fit the stereotypical demographic they’re supposed to ‘protect’ (rich/not obviously poor, white) but I don’t trust them, I don’t think we as a society need them, having them around makes me nervous, I can’t pay their fucking ransoms, and I don’t like dealing with them basically ever. Which is kinda why I don’t call 911.

But I’m glad I did, in this case. For me, it was the smart thing to do, and having that truck on my ass felt like the most direct protection I’ve had in recent memory. I was in a bad way and someone flat out had my fucking back, no question, literally, standing up and in the way for me. I really felt the bigness of the truck, the power in the engine, the magnitude of that signal saying, fuck off, get out of the way, heed, we’ve got this. I felt covered. It was good.

I’ve had a lot of support from a lot of people in recent weeks, amazing support. And, I didn’t realize until I wrote this, after having some rugs pulled out from under me by people I thought I could trust to stand the fuck up for me and help me when I’d fallen flat on my face, how much I needed to feel something just like that truck at my back.

And then a second WSDOT truck came, stopping behind the first, and I chuckled again. YES I AM THAT GUY. I AM THAT FUCKING GUY WHO RAN OUT OF FUCKING GAS IN THE WORST POSSIBLE PLACE EVER.

IMG_6412http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_6412-1024x768.jpg 1024w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_6412-460x345.jpg 460w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_6412-688x516.jpg 688w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" />

I called Mikey back to let him know I had a posse behind me now. He said he was almost there and he had an officer with him. I had a flash of a cop in the cab with him waiting to fingerwag me and write me expensive tickets. I pushed the thought away and decided I’d play that as it came.

Mikey showed up a few minutes later, escorted by a police car with lights on, who rolled right past us and kept on his way. Mikey got me my gas, shared a few commiserating words (He has a suburban that likes to run out of gas before empty — I just didn’t mention I actually WAS empty :P), was helpful, fast, and friendly, and did in fact completely avoid getting run down in the middle of the street just as I’d suggested.

Mikey left. The WSDOT guys smiled, waved, told me to have a good weekend. I was moving again, about 15 minutes after I’d stalled in the tunnel. I got back to Ballard and picked up my NAS, filled up my tank, and went on my way toward Spokane.

I stopped at the same rest stop, which will be closed permanently in two days, to get a healthy picture of Vandwell, pleased to not have been inhaling break smoke getting up there this time. It’s really a shame, save for the Bonneville Salt Flats rest area, this was by far the nicest one I’ve been to.

IMG_6411http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_64111-1024x720.jpg 1024w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_64111-460x323.jpg 460w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_64111-688x484.jpg 688w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" />

I caught up with Marcus in Ellensberg for lunch, still hanging out waiting for his next pick up of hand sanitizer or apples. “I wish I’d thought of lube!”, he said. Indeed. :P

And, I stopped at a scenic overlook, walked up (and down) a bigass hill in flip flops to snap some pictures.

IMG_6407http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_6407-1024x688.jpg 1024w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_6407-460x309.jpg 460w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_6407-688x462.jpg 688w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" />

I’m now safe in a little attic in Spokane in my friends, Craig and Mark’s, house, who have been fans of my music from the beginning. I played their house a couple years ago for their wedding, my first house show ever, and here is my home base for the next week or so, complete with a bath tub that I am using indiscriminately, along with the ridiculous selection of bath sauces Mark picked up for me knowing how much I dig his tub.

I’ll be getting the glass tinted in the van on Friday and after that, be continuing on my way, potentially camping a night in Coeur d’Alene. I’m thinking Zion, after that, but the for-sure part is that I’m heading south, toward Los Almos, and what is sure to be a prime selection of problems to solve, working on getting the AC functional in the van.

Here’s hoping I’ve gotten this good batch of teaching moments and calamities out of the way, and I’ll have mostly smooth sailing for a while. I was shocked at how tired I am today after all that excitement and problem solving and learning. Which, it turns out, I’m remembering, I’m actually quite good at.

Also; My stupid parking break light? Still on.

It’s been a long time since a blog post took 4+ hours to write. Time for another bath, I think.

A place to lay my head

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

Over the last two days, with the guidance and collaboration of my friend Chris, I used a hacksaw, a jigsaw, both a table AND hand held grinder, an oxygen torch, assisted with two types of power saws and a drill press and all sorts of other shit I don’t even remember, in order to make metal brackets and holding pins for the wood base of my platform bed, which utilizes the seat rails that are already in the van and is totally removable.

Grinding metal (on purpose) is fucking awesome. I am glad, regardless of the things that aren’t really ideal about this vehicle, that I got the chance to play with some power tools again — and I’ve never worked with metal before. Sparks and bending red hot torchassed metal rod, FTW. I wanna do more of it.

It had looked like, and I had hoped, that I would be upgrading to a shuttle bus before leaving — however, that didn’t pan out, and the pre-bedframe part of me was kinda ticked off about that. Now that it’s done, more space creation and organizing energy is moving, and the van seems less cramped and oppressive than it did yesterday.

I kinda wanna make a table that attaches to the frontward seat rails, now…

*whistles innocently*

FuckYouDelete

Friday, January 16th, 2015

It’s become so amazing to me how much commonly-accepted forms of dialogue are just flat out silencing, erasing, entitled fucking bullshit.

Not long ago I would feel ‘irrationally’ slighted over it, and blame my ‘damage’ for my ‘sensitivity’ and wonder what was wrong with me.

Fuck that noise. I ain’t internalizing that manipulative crap anymore.

“Grow some balls and smile” while I systematically minimize and belittle you, little girl… unless of course I am appreciating how hot I think you are. FuckYouDelete

“Feel free to delete this patronizing, uninformed comment” that I as a complete stranger have left on your accessible facebook post about feminism, which I see as my right as an entitled white guy rather than a courtesy you offer. (I did).

“Notice now how I’m coming in here to point out something completely irrelevant which paints you as a naive overemotional idiot so I can talk about this thing I think is more important. Also I didn’t read the article this conversation is linked to” FuckYouDelete

Y’all. These are just some of the silencing, minimizing tactics used on me this week. It’s rather incredible how utterly common this shit is. But in particular, here’s my thing lately:

“You should be helping more caustic abusive men because they’re just wounded, not calling out the privilege and misogynist sexism which keeps them from seeking help for themselves in the first place”. Mmmm. Right.

I have a soft spot for these privileged, wounded geek males who are whining about how mean girls are being to them by insisting they wake the fuck up and level the playing field by, I dunno — unlearning their ridiculous fucking programing and not treating women like subservient magic objects that are supposed to make your life worth living for you, maybe.

I grew up with them, and in a lot of cases, they’re still basically exactly where they were back then, stuck in their same old patterns, which basically look like: ‘your poontang would save me if you’d just give it up more/differently/better/easier/whatthefuckever’ or ‘your poontang scares me’ plus ‘and that’s your fault somehow’, even though I’m so immature and emotionally stunted all I really have to consistently offer is paying for shit and standing around impotently when life hits the fan and you actually need real loving support and some fucking backup.

Hearing their tales of misguided blame and agony is sad. Even though 5000 years of women being treated as livestock and sexual property is immensely sadder than the plight of these nerdlords who still think they’re being oppressed by society into the bowels of their parents basements, I recognize that they are fucking trapped, and I’m all about doing what I can, safely, and within my scope of skills and ability, to combat the consequences of the capitalist patriarchal conditioning that’s causing these guys (and ME) so much pain.

AND: It is not feminisms, or women’s, job, to heal the men who make feminism needed right now. It is the job of feminism to work toward equity by raising up and supporting the people who are systematically beat down by the existing structure of inequality (women: US. WOMEN.), and to point out how the privilege of that structure is hindering the powerful from healing themselves (and one another) so they can address the power dynamic they perpetuate among themselves.

The idea that a feminist should shift to focusing on healing men is simply another symptom of the patriarchal ideal that women are supposed to sit around taking this shit and ultimately focus their efforts on feeling Stockholm syndrome for, and going out of their way to ‘help’, their oppressors.

And most importantly; no one, woman or otherwise, can help a person who doesn’t want help. No woman with any sense of self preservation will willingly engage in ‘trying’ to heal a person who a) hates them and b) isn’t asking for help.

“An overwhelming majority of us come from dysfunctional families in which we were taught we were not okay, where we were shamed, verbally and/or physically abused, and emotionally neglected even as we were also taught to believe that we were loved. For most folks it is just too threatening to embrace a definition of love that would no longer enable us to see love as present in our families. Too many of us need to cling to a notion of love that either makes abuse acceptable or at least makes it seem that whatever happened was not that bad.”
—All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks

What men are suffering from is the same fucking childhood traumas we all suffer from PLUS the dark side of their supremacist status in patriarchy. I truly hope you break free some day. To do that, ‘men’ need to step up to the plate to heal themselves, and then one another. Men need to learn how to do that, rather than insisting that the ‘women’ they benefit from collectively (and often subconsciously) erasing and raping and blaming step up to help them fucking do their god damn work for them.

pa·tri·arch·y
ˈpātrēˌärkē
noun
a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.

The nature of this sad state of affairs that none of us signed up for is: This is your fucking supremacist shitshow. Without your active engagement as the empowered group, we all stay fucked in this soup of fuckary. You are the ones who need to use YOUR fucking resources to pull your shit together and then help US pull this bullshit paradigm apart. Use the fucking money you’re making to get some fucking therapy, use the power your voice inherently has to influence others as you learn, stop trying to suck your healing from us for free using your fucking sideways patriarchal shitbaggary against us. Grow some fucking integrity.

If you want help to heal, I will fucking walk with you through burning pillars of dog shit to do it. I will bare compassionate witness with you through your patterns worst petty death throes. I will stand firm while I get hit with the ripples of your previously unfelt agony. I will hold a safe, intentional container for you while you lose your fucking mind and everything you thought you knew about yourself dissolves into a shadow. I will teach you every fucking thing I know about overcoming that shadow. I will fucking remind you over and over again how brave and powerful and strong and viable and good you are even when you make mistakes. And I will call you on those mistakes so that we can work together to ensure you have what you need to do better next time. I will blow your fucking mind by being the best teacher and champion you’ve ever had, if you want (and pay) me to do that for you. To HELP you, support you, guide you, as YOU make the effort to work through YOUR OWN fucking shit.

What I will not do is cater to those who presume I should spend even one more moment of my life martyring myself for stubborn, privileged men who deeply, profoundly, subconsciously fucking hate me AND WANT TO KEEP HATING ME.

What I will not do is ever, ever be in an intimate relationship, professional or otherwise, with another person like that, ever, the fuck, again.

What I will not do is spend another fucking moment of my life making the pain of wounded manchildren with their fingers dug into their fucking ears more important than the devastating impact their sickness has on me.

What I will not do is pretend that these unwoke guys don’t sit on thrones with fistfulls of cake while insisting that women set aside their fight for their own sovereignty and female equality to bring them fuckers more fucking cake. Often so that said cake can be thrown back in our pretty painted faces for us not being capable of magically chewing it and swallowing it for them, as well.

What I will not fucking do is spend even another second of my life ‘trying’ to do your fucking work for you so you can sit around fat and happy and fucking ignorant, syphoning the energy I generate.

If going back to doing any of that is what it is you think I am good for, if that’s what you think I should be doing with my life and my work and my social justice efforts: FUCK YOU.

Truly. Fucking fuck you. I been through way too much growing and pain and subversive fucking abuse to fuck around with y’all. Not even a little. Block, delete, go fuck yourself, byebye.

Finding Amanda: An internet love story

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Amanda Palmer and Courtnee Fallon Rex Photographed by Steve Kuhn The Art of Asking Book Tour. Sat, November 22, 2014. First Unitarian Church – Los Angeles

When I was young, I thought I had all the answers. Or at least, I thought I knew the problems, the deeper causes of the things I was seeing in people, that needed answering.

And I thought, since I seemed to be the only one who really *saw* what the problems were, saw them and felt them in my guts and talked about seeing them and feeling them in my guts, I was naturally responsible for fixing them, too.

All of them. Everywhere.

That turned out to be a bit of a problem for me. One I’ve since largely solved in my growth, accepting my role as a healer, an activist, and learning about boundaries.

Back then, I kept wishing I had been born earlier, so I could have been a part of the uprising in the 60’s, when “shit mattered”, when the ambient rage against this profoundly sick world order had a focus and a voice.
Now, I really really miss the 90’s.

I did my best to rebel and find my own way, but internalized a contempt for my own perspective and an intense hate for my sensitivity.

As a tiny girl I had started cussing and spewing sexist racist shit like a motherfucking truck driving military sailor, and I basically hated everyone. I lied about my age (when I was 11 I was 14) and hung out with older boys. I started smoking when I was 9, drinking when I was 10. I stole shit and resold it at school. I experimented with drugs.

In middle school I had found my niche as a leader of a small group of nerdy weirdos. I, like most middles schoolers, was bullied and pushed around, once by a large group in my own front yard.

I was the girl who peed her pants laughing, daily, at lunch. I was the girl who responded to being given flowers by immediately eating them. I was the girl who stayed at school until 6pm hanging out with the uncool teachers because they cared about me and I didn’t want to go home to an empty house and I secretly loved and adored them even though that wasn’t cool and I don’t think I ever told them how much they meant to me and I wish I had now (Thank you Mr. Pericone, Mr. Ebi and Mrs. Wollard).

By the time I was 15 I was so acutely aware that the system was a sham, I was going insane. I saw so clearly the dynamic of perpetrated violence in society, and in my life. I saw the pain hiding in peoples eyes, but I didn’t have the support to find my ground to stand against it. Everywhere I looked what I saw was how we were killing each other, and how I unconsciously contributed to that cycle.

I hated High School, even though I barely attended, and once I went there, I immediately fell deeply into drugs. I’m talking deep. Few know how bad it was. I quickly dropped out to join the workforce with a fast food job, so I could go on USEnet and use my minimum wage to buy Nirvana bootlegs, and more drugs.

I had no direct examples of self-supporting ways to cope with the cruelty of the world, and if I did come across them indirectly, they weren’t cool or appealing anyway because they weren’t ‘powerful’ like domination and violence seemed to be.

Emotionally, I was broken open and rawly empathic, connected with attrition and the damage we inherently do to one another simply by existing, and enraged at my impotence in fixing it. Physically, I was, frankly, killing myself.

I hadn’t lived enough then, well enough, to have the decades of varied experience and intense healing it would turn out I’d need in order to break out of my patriarchal conditioning and trust the instincts I was trying to snuff out. I was going crazy in part because that’s what I believed I was.

A new (digital) hope

In early 1995, in Sacramento California, from a commodore 8088 connected to a shell account with crl.com on a screechy modem with an actual WIRE, my dad showed me how to get on this Internet Relay Chat thing he’d told me about.

CRL’s root .ircrc file had a bunch of dead servers referenced in it, and I’d spent likely not nearly as long as it felt like I had being suicidally-frustrated with trying to figure out how to get the fuck online. Dad swooped in, figured out there was a /server command, and my life thus changed forever.

There were words on a screen attached to real-yet-fantasy humans who, when they weren’t talking about overthrowing governments and anal rape, were telling me I was not alone. That the social system we inherited was fucked and we were going to unfuck it by fucking it. There was a space, suddenly, to tell people what I saw.

There were vulnerable conversations about emotion and loss and pain where the ‘real’, world had been about image and learning how to be an expert on being fake. I’d found people who weren’t afraid to talk about the despair we all felt, through a medium that protected us better than any person had.

That was where, I thought, I found salvation. And for a while, I suppose I did. I wasn’t a sad sack high school nerd druggie statistic everyone fucking picked on, I was a social engineer in the thick of a god damn underground hacker revolution that only some people picked on.

My social life was with criminals on IRC, where I could explore my rage, screw the man, and say whatever the fuck kind of offensive abusive shit I wanted. I spent my time on meth and anything else I could find, listening to The Prodigy, chain smoking reds, fucking around with linux and waiting for the years to cycle to the next DEFCON.

I started maintaining my own web pages, gnashing my teeth about the worlds fuckedupedness (and how it caused me to feel), in 1995. I was one of the first webcams on the internet. I had my own irc channel (#nee). I had fans.

People emailed me often to tell me they’d found my site and how much what I was writing mattered to them. That my words mattered to them. I kept expecting waves of hate. They sent me fan art. They shared their stories. They told me I had saved their lives and that my spews of misery and hopelessness gave them hope. They told me I helped them feel less alone.

The first time someone told me I should write a book of my life I had been alive 15 years. I was a social advocate without really knowing it, a musician without accepting it, a community leader without being responsible for it, a digital artist. A flawed and miserable human being, with an intimate community online that fueled and supported me, nodding, saying; I see what you see, thank you for saying it.

mainhttp://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/main-404x348.jpg 404w" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px" />

As a musician I had a bit of a business on the original mp3.com in 1999/2000, but had started recording cover songs long before. I went by the name Not Applicable, and I insisted, vehemently, proudly, that my music would always, always be available for free, on my site.

But things change, and so did all that.

The RIAA destroyed mp3.com, and with it, my faith in the world supporting my niche-y emo-enya never-gonna-sell-shit-for-sony music. I went from identifying as an empowered independent artist with a support structure that validated me, from being featured and interviewed by ABC news (and my cam images being used in the original piece as well) regarding the success of the movement I was a part of, to feeling displaced and bullied and utterly rejected, with my dreams in flames at my feet.

With the fall of mp3.com, I also went from being a part of a community of artists and musicians who were, once again, revolutionary, by collaborating worldwide via audio files online, to drifting alone in space. I was always in the top 3 of the ambient electronic charts, and many people sent me remixes of my work and collaborated with me by finding me there, including one of the trance musician idols I’d had at the time, and lots of unknowns who are still unknown.

We were a creative artist economy birthing cross-pollinated artwork existing inside the payback for playback and DAM CD models for making money. It wasn’t going to make us all filthy rich, but it was a god damn fucking internet revolution utopia all the same.

I shrugged it off and didn’t let myself think about losing that community part all that much. I spewed anger at how unfair mp3.com’s demise was, and suddenly focused on the money, the wopping $2700 I’d made in a year, because of course it was just weak and selfish and shitty to want support and connection and love from people.

It had taken such immense courage for me to share my deeply personal and vulnerable music, music that made me cry from being so good and double over in pain for being so raw, music that rose out of me from a dark place I didn’t understand. I kept waiting for the hate to come, especially after I joined the mp3.com community from sharing my songs by DCC sending to friends in my IRC channel.

mp3.com was my taste of vitality as an artist. It was the first place I was confronted with irrefutable proof from strangers that my music was good. It was my bridge, back when I was still the only Courtnee on the internet, and the internet was all the connection with the human race I had that fucking mattered to me. It was a community that I’ve never found a comparable replacement for.

The hate never did come. Perhaps because it never had the chance to. For my efforts, for my courage, I received virtually nothing but waves of acceptance and love, feature after feature on the site praising my work even though I was a screwed up crazy hermit making weird whiney sad music that would never end up on the radio.

Losing that relevance changed me, reconfirmed my doubts in myself. I utterly loathed the music industry, threw up at the thought of playing shows. With mp3.com, I had let myself open up, and feel some hope. The loss of this flow of connection for me was staggering. And because of it I hardened.

I turned to the other revolution I was a part of for comfort and belonging while grieving my artistic self, to find it wasn’t there anymore, either. The geeks, the remaining foothold of my revolutionary home base, are no longer the underdog freedom fighters, and they haven’t been for a very long time. They’re the ruling class in the same system we despised.

It hurts to see your revolution become the system. Maybe even more than it hurts to see the revolution get flat out crushed by it. It’s a fucking betrayal I can only barely wrap my head around, but I feel it in my body. It’s a fucking betrayal I keep seeing over and over again in my life. Seeing the entropy, seeing the fear, seeing how the people who are doing what is most needed in this world are getting fucked and assimilated.

It got under my skin when the powers that be managed to napalm the countryside we were beginning to settle with mp3.com. Feeling like I almost had it, like I was almost valid — and then I closed my eyes and covered my head while the power in the world which already had way more than it needed clubbed me, and when I opened them again everything was different.

I didn’t realize how much I was still hurting. Not until Amanda walked into my office.

I can articulate now, after a lot of processing, and galvanizing our connection a few weeks ago by performing for her and her fans in Los Angeles, I hated Amanda Palmer because she represented for me the person I was who died with mp3.com and the internet as I had known it. Died “because” I didn’t have what Amanda Palmer had — a stream of fanbase supporting her when her conventional link to them [a record label], which I knew would have fucked me, fucked her, too.

She represented who I could be now if I hadn’t divorced from my core and spent years of my life chasing money and stability betraying myself in the tech industry before finding my way back to myself.

She represented for me the damage I did to my soul by choosing to take that path, for going through the motions while shutting down who I really was, for taking the RIAA attacking the home I’d found in mp3.com so unbelievably personally.

She represented the pain in becoming even more isolated and quiet as a musician, my most vulnerable and profound form of art, the paralyzation of being introverted and insecure and losing my foothold.

She represented the reality of only knowing how to be a solo musician making music in the safety of my dark little cave and posting it on the internet.

Healing is a pretty important aspect of being a revolutionary. It’s hard to cheer someone on who breaks through the glass ceiling you’re still concussed from smashing into and weakening for them.

In the rise of the digital music revolution, the unsigned artists of mp3.com got royally fucking fucked. As we grew in closer path alignment over the years, Amanda served as a screen for me to project that disembodied grief.

I had it first. I was there first, I had it, I had the following, I had the waves of love, I had the future, I WAS the future, I was AHEAD, and then I fucking wasn’t. In utter projective emotional simplicity that makes little logical sense, I was an Amanda Palmer before Amanda Palmer.

And then I wasn’t.

In the decade after the blow of mp3.com, and countless other events that knocked my fragile sense of self around back in those days, I am finally beginning to feel and trust in the ripples of reward for the tremendous amount of exertion and surgical accountability it’s taken to come back to where I am ready to step into myself again. Into my seeing, into my caring, into my vulnerability, into the vivid authenticity that steams off of me as a performer and a music maker and a singer, into my talents, and into my contributions.

It’s been a long decade.

Finding that I was still so emotionally fucked up over a website going down a decade before was an embarrassing reality to resign to in order to write this, but it’s just the honest truth of things. The impact to fragile hiding 22 year old me, losing mp3.com and what it represented in my life, at that time and at that point in my delicate career, caused a painful rift between me and myself that has taken a long time to sew back up.

Thank you for helping me heal it, Amanda. Thank you for helping that part of me come back.

Revenge of the nerds.

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Due to recent experience and lessons therein, I am purposely avoiding reading about the sorority murders or following the story right now.

But what’s most interesting about that, is how little I need to follow that story in order to grasp what’s going on.

Of all the murmurs I have heard about Elliot, and what this all means socially, the write up I chose to read ended up being this one by Arthur Chu:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/27/your-princess-is-in-another-castle-misogyny-entitlement-and-nerds.html

Reading that dailybeast link made me cry with somber recognition. Crying for the vulnerable little girl who thought she was safer and more respected by these nice timid geeks than I would be by the other manifested forms of sexism and misogyny that plague our interpersonal landscapes.

I am crying for all those times my illusion of escaping that plague unraveled when trusted friends crawled out of the woodwork asking for romance whenever a relationship of mine ended.

Crying for all the chances I gave people I knew weren’t up to snuff because they were around, appreciative, and not violently raping or overtly abusing me.

For all the confused acceptance and inclusion I have done in my life when I didn’t feel right about it, and how that furthered this unintegral dynamic.

For how few — how absolutely very few — men; people, in the geek subculture have an understanding, or an interest in understanding, how rampant this problem is, and most importantly, how they play into it.

For how I have played into it.

“So, a question, to my fellow male nerds:

What the fuck is wrong with us?

How much longer are we going to be in denial that there’s a thing called “rape culture” and we ought to do something about it?” – Arthur Chu

As part of my recent wake up call, I ended a 16 year friendship with a nice geeky guy who was loyal, generous, available, and among many things, perpetually incapable of accepting my sexual disinterest in him.

The connection I had with him had been limping along for years, and had been peppered in the distant past with ill consented sex, bad boundaries on both sides, opportunistic leveraging of substances, obsession, and a lot of whining about how he only wanted me and didn’t know how to move on from that (but also hadn’t really tried).

I blamed solely myself for his attitude for many, many years. I had at times slept with him, after all, even cheated on my husband with him a lifetime ago, and felt responsible for his paralyzed inability to accept when I had moved on. …Or to even take a small step in the direction of moving on; like take down the myriad of images of me in his house.

For years, I attempted to integrate this waning and uncomfortably pressuring friendship from my misguided youth into my intimate life, with infrequent pity sex, ambient inclusive gestures like including him in the description of ‘my boys’, ignoring that we had less and less in common, and constantly stuffing down my creeped out feelings about what we both had done.

Once it became clear I could no longer maintain that, I cut him off from any sex officially and I mostly avoided him, again for years, unable to determine how I would be capable of ending such a long complicated friendship without doing more damage; until I was raped, and he reached out to offer support to me, and found I could not pretend to trust him any longer, or pretend that he hadn’t done the same.

This friend, while of the extreme, was not an isolated dynamic in my life.

“What did Elliot Rodger need? He didn’t need to get laid. None of us nerdy frustrated guys need to get laid. When I was an asshole with rants full of self-pity and entitlement, getting laid would not have helped me.

He needed to grow up.

We all do.” – Arthur Chu

It is not just the men who are suffering from this Princess in Another Castle syndrome and need to wake up and grow up; women are bred and conditioned to give chances, make exceptions, and throw a guy a bone because they’re ‘nice’, claim they are ‘nice’, and gosh darn it, they really like you.

Don’t shit on the nice guys, we are told, and are telling each other. Don’t let that nice guy get away, cause they’re a rare breed, honey, and to be an evolved woman means leaving the cheating jerk bad boys behind.

Even now, removed from the intimate relations, I see more evidence of this culture in my solo life; It’s piling up, like sightings of the make and model car you just bought, showing up everywhere in my memories, in media, in the interactions I witness between people. And it’s profoundly disturbing.

“But I have known nerdy male stalkers, and, yes, nerdy male rapists. I’ve known situations where I knew something was going on but didn’t say anything—because I didn’t want to stick my neck out, because some vile part of me thought that this kind of thing was “normal,” because, in other words, I was a coward and I had the privilege of ignoring the problem.” – Arthur Chu, you may just heal my long-learned distaste for Asian men yet.

And why would these guys think they weren’t entitled to what they want from me, whatever that is, or that I would actually stand by what it is I am asking for, and be capable of letting a connection go that continues not to fit?

I had told them all no, first. And then I eventually said yes; Because he was nice, and available, and persistent, he didn’t push me to have sex with him or pester me about it (or he did), but most importantly: he’d decided he had found his princess.

From the first male figure in my life until now, he wasn’t who I needed, but neither was I; So his princess is who I became. Over and over again. Because that’s normal. And romantic.

When these people let me down; by raping me, resenting me, stalking me, empathizing with one another, defending rape jokes, stewing for years in their stale self-pitying mediocrity — as horrifying and devastating and frustrating as all that was — it was actually on me to recognize that as being the only honest response they were capable of.

Rather than asking how they could choose to be so perpetually fucking clueless and self centered, what I really should have been asking was why in the world I expected anything other than that?

Rather than chastising myself for not having respect for these people, thinking I was somehow defective for not accepting their ‘niceness’ at face value, I really should have recognized that by standing on their pedestals I had no choice but to look down on them.

“Other people’s bodies and other people’s love are not something that can be taken nor even something that can be earned—they can be given freely, by choice, or not.

We need to get that. Really, really grok that, if our half of the species ever going to be worth a damn. Not getting that means that there will always be some percent of us who will be rapists, and abusers, and killers. And it means that the rest of us will always, on some fundamental level, be stupid and wrong when it comes to trying to understand the women we claim to love.” – Arthur Chu

I really must thank these boys (and Arthur, for growing up and writing what he wrote) for the light they collectively switched on for me; for the role they formerly played in my life.

It took me a long time, but this is now one of those things, like the day my boyfriend punched me in the face for the first, and the last time, that will go down in my history as one of the most illuminating and transformative experiences in my life.

Like finding that wall with my intolerance for being hit, I have made my way to this edge, and what I have here seen cannot be unseen. My landscape has changed, my world is different, and I will not tolerate this shit remaining in my life.

Once again, I am shedding ties, and leveling up.

I’m sorry, but your Princess is in Another Castle; and that is not my fucking problem anymore.

Brothers: A tale of two sons

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

The game itself was equally amazing.

If London is a watercolor, New York is an oil painting.

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

“For in that city there is neurosis in the air which the inhabitants mistake for energy.” ― Evelyn Waugh

The New York subway has its own distinctive scent, like a cocktail of black tar and metal shavings, that I immediately find familiar and comforting every time I retun. You’d think it would mostly smell like pee and refuse, but for the most part it doesn’t.

I was periodically thankful for having that sense memory, and generally a lot of time, the half dozen or so instances I took the train in the wrong direction during the week I was visiting; also a bit of a staple experience for me here.

In the first day I was back, I remembered one of the reasons I considered moving to New York City – all the free stuff on the streets! Within a few blocks of walking a neighborhood, there’s always some motley crew plethora of building materials, toys, electronics, old furniture (much of it antique) and, of course, actual trash laying around. I remember fantasizing about having to purchase nearly nothing for my shoebox apartment should I have moved, back in 2005.

I also remembered one of the reasons why I decided not to move to New York City; There’s, uh, fucking trash everywhere. And with trash, comes vermin, which is also everywhere, including squashed on the streets and scurrying across all manner of floors, sometimes even near my stuff. Humph.

Slow Start

For various reasons, including working my way through the antibiotics I started in Sacramento and actually getting a ton of shit done in between, I spent a couple entire days in PJ’s (or rather, the clothes I slept in, because I didn’t really bring PJ’s) without going out or eating much of anything. With the exception of a few days in which I had plans already, I found that I didn’t have the motivation to do much, and was rather steadily depressed with a few spikes of life in between.

Sitting alone in a small, tidy NYC diner. A white nondescript plate of steaming corned beef hash that most certainly came from a can sits half eaten in front of me, its ridiculous portion blanketed in eggs over medium. I’m listening to Dido seeping from the ceiling, remembering my trip to Toronto when I listened to her a lot. The cold, mostly, and the alone time on the vibrating street cars. My heart is lighter than yesterday, allowing for sweet sadness to spread to my throat and the furrow of my brow. A small wise smile finishes the edges of my lips that feels like a gate to the knowing field. Everybody seems to want to ask me about myself. Perhaps it’s because they know, too. I’ll stay here until the plate is clear. Two more rest periods, I’ll bet. – June 7, 2013

It rained as much as it was nice while here, complete with the signature humidity of an NYC summer, but thankfully it never got agonizingly hot. On the few days it never stopped raining I pretty much hung out in bed with Bejeweled, which I had played for the first time on the plane ride out.

That said, there were plenty of standout times, starting with seeing my friend Rob Paravonian (for the first time in like 6 years) opening and MCing for his friend Liam McEneane’s live show taping at Union Hall in Brooklyn, the day after I arrived. They’re both funny as shit and super sweet – buy their stuff.

Saturday

On Saturday I went to FIGMENT NYC with Donia, my friend from Seattle whom I originally learned fire spinning from, and my host in NYC. FIGMENT is a giant not for profit public collective interactive free-for-all art event on Governors Island, an amazing retired military base converted into a public park, complete with dozens of huge, gorgeous Victorian era houses and lots of green hilly things. The weather, thankfully, was perfect for it.

The day before FIGMENT (a Friday that was lost to the rain and the comfort of Donia’s guest bed), after looking over the website and really liking what I saw, I sent a little introduction mail through their contact form explaining a small portion of my background in the arts and non-profit work and expressing my interest in putting on a FIGMENT event in Seattle. To my surprise, I was quickly responded to by the Executive Producer and given contact information to be utilized when I arrived.

Within about 3 hours of meeting, wandering, philosophizing and effectively interviewing one another, I was given a nametag, shirt, and was being introduced as “working on Seattle”. Suddenly, I had plans to return for the second day to attend the producers brunch in the morning, which I did, and it was pretty glorious too. One of the things that traveling to the east cost illuminates is just how fucking passive aggressive and flakey people in Seattle are. It’s a wonder anything ever gets the fuck done.

I feel confident that there is intense possibility here, though. Many more things need to fall into place before I know exactly where I fit into the Seattle plans with FIGMENT, however, it’s safe to assume based off my experience with the organizations core assets and many representatives from other areas, including Washington D.C., Boston, Chicago, and even Australia, that it’s rather likely I will be involved in some sort of leadership role in the process. (Unless, of course, I decide to stay in Sweden.)

Hack tha planet, bitchez

After my first day of FIGMENT, and discovering my notable sunburn, I stopped by a place in midtown for some Summercon afterdrinking with my hacker boys, and to pick up the convention badge I never ended up using. I had supposed to attend con and meet up the night before but I simply didn’t feel well enough yet.

I did, however, show up eventually. In turn I got to visit with a few of my favorite people in the world, many of which I hadn’t expected to see, and got a little bit of my drink on.

I was met almost immediately with a pretty awesome exchange with my longtime friend and hobbiest photographer Weld, who happened to notice some time ago that I borrow the SLR camera I often use. He also happens to have a Canon 40D he is not using, and happens to think I need to be taking WAY more pictures. What can I say, the man’s a problem solver – He offered his old camera to me, and I’ll have a 40D of my very own shortly after I settle from my trip. I live a charmed existence indeed.

I invited my distant ex to join us as part of our shenanigans and we ended up having an awesomely entertaining and rather public series of heart to hearts, in which we aired out a lot of the crazy shit we’d pulled on one another, sometimes for the first time since it had happened, and recounted some pretty awesome memories in there as well.

There was a lot of laughing, from both us as well as the people around us who were listening to these tragically hilarious recountings, and a lot of recognition between us. Much Good Stuff was had from our interactions, especially for him, as he’d been slower to process and grow out of the place we were back then and had apparently been holding on to a lot of stuff I’d put down some time ago.

It felt really good, and I was aglow with the familiar feeling of having contributed profoundly to another persons inner world by being generous with mine, though I never stop being surprised when that happens. Nothing we talked about triggered me and I felt a lot of gratitude and connection about it all. It’s sort of amazing how healing admitting to your ex you were kinda happy when you saw he got fat can be.

I ended up spending a night in Manhattan which consisted of very little sleep, not enough dancing, and long awaited connections of multiple types. It was a welcome contrast to the work emails, event coordination mode, recovering from infection, actual work, etc. I got to just be myself for a while, say what came to my mind and be with people who’ve seen it all and stuck around anyway. It really felt great.

Sunday

Spent some time at MOMA in NYC yesterday, mostly mouth agape at the ridiculous piles of shit that the elite seem to think constitutes as artwork. A few things stood out for me, including an antique slideshowing depicting horrific facial deformities, many appearing to be the result of bombings and shootings to the face in the world wars. Some of them were so brutalized it was difficult to imagine how they continued to exist, missing large portions of their bone structure. Something about it captured me but I couldn’t put my finger on it; I realized this morning that the exhibit spoke to my experiences regarding the uncertainty of the results of healing. I expect a scarless, flawless result from mine, particularly when addressing emotional and spiritual injuries. But sometimes, no matter how much more you fiddle with and stretch your skin over the giant hole collapsing your face in, there comes a time to accept that it’s just always going to be tender and unsightly. Disturbing.

I have decided that most Modern art is a bunch of fucking bullshit, and the Museum of Modern Art kinda sicked me out. It’s almost impossible not to compare my work to the work that’s displayed, and so much of it is SO BAD it’s just unbelievable.

Indecipherable pencil scribbles on torn pages of newsprint? Horrifying greenscreened clunky dancers in garish bedazzled zentai suits on video, chunks of which are invisible because the colors of the costumes matched the screen too closely? Chunky paper with strands of human hair swirled sloppily on its surface and put in a frame? Duct tape squares on fucking cardboard?

It seems that any old piece of trash is modern art as long as you make it a series. Who the fuck decides to put this shit in a museum, anyway – cause I’ve got a pile of my crap smeared to a 2×4 to fucking sell the pretentious fucker.

The one thing we were actually there for, the Rain Room, was an hour and a half wait when the exhibit closed in an hour and 15 minutes. No pictures in the Rain Room for Will and I on Sunday. We decided to try later in the week. BLECH.

A Case of the Mondays

Low energy and fairly uncomfortable, strumming the uke without much direction. I’m traveling, taking antibiotics and have pooped twice all week. Help a sista out and suggest some songs you’d like to hear me cover. If any of them work out well I’ll post the progress to soundcloud.

Once that eventful and potentially life altering weekend was over, New York City spent another solid day raining. The last time I was around these parts for this kind of weather, I spectacularly wrecked on the NJ turnpike with my ex after hydroplaning over a temporary lake I couldn’t see.

That was about 16 years ago now and the sound still shoots me up with adrenaline, but that’s about the only thing that remains in me from our ridiculously abusive (both self, drugs and one another) history, for both of us now, I think, and I found the weather to be almost communicative, like a final nod goodbye to all that fucked up victim bullshit. I found myself wondering if I would still periodically panic when I heard hydroplaning anymore.

Monday also happened to be the day that I traveled farther east in Brooklyn to meet with Dese’Rae Stage of the Live Through This Project (for those who know NYC, I was staying on Atlantic Ave near the Nostrand stop on the A, and went to Saraghina off the Utica stop for my meeting) to talk about life after an adolescence wrought to the core with suicide attempts.

When I had originally contacted Dese’Rae after discovering her project, I was in a pretty solid mindstate. I offered to talk about my experiences because I felt I had a lot of encouraging words and insights that could help people who weren’t feeling that life was very worth living, or were questioning if it was all worth it. I’d been there and done that and was proof that it got better.

Of course, when it came time to actually talk to Dese’Rae, I felt like total fucking shit. I was worn down again, tired, sad, alien, weird, alone. My trip wasn’t freeing and energizing like I was expecting, the time off felt like an emotional prison plagued by sickness and conflict, all these fucked up emotions kept surfacing and for much of the weeks leading up to this commitment I’d been stifling tears and avoiding feeling what was calling them out.

As I sat at the table with her chatting and occasionally advising about the administrative challenges of her project, what felt most real to me as my time to speak and be recorded loomed in the distance was how hard it still is. How hard it is at least a portion of almost every single day of my life. How hope for living is a constant battle, a constant struggle to remember that year that gets farther and farther in the past where I didn’t see suicide as an option, or a concept that was just at my fingertips, at the ready, waiting for me to slide down far enough to have nothing but it to cling to. How hard it is to remember the tiny strands of that reality, to remember when I feel bad that it is possible for me to feel better, for what felt like a long time, and maybe some day if I work hard enough I might feel that way again.

So, that, and ideas and insights surrounding that, was what I talked about, once I got through the basics of my history, which took a while in and of itself. I’ll be interested in seeing what she chooses to include in my story on the projects website, which as far as I can figure is about 6 months off from being published. I’m glad I did it, and I know I will be touched by what comes out of it. For now, though, I am comforted by the fact that I’m likely to forget about it entirely in the meantime.

The Final Act

This vacation, thus far, has turned into a lot of work, very little movement/exploration, and laptop forearms. Considering unplugging entirely while in Sweden.

The last few days in NYC were pretty typical. I slept a bit, scheduled a shoot in Sweden for the 17th, checked a lot of email and took Donia for Indian food as a thank you for letting me crash at her place.

Will and I did get some good pictures in the Rain Room exhibit first thing in the morning the day I left, and I was reintroduced to SnapSeed, which I had tried but didn’t really get into before, for post processing arty images.

Up at 7am preparing for a second crack at getting into the MOMA rain room exhibit to have some pictures taken of me. After that, a final couple of hours in NYC which are likely to include central park and stopping by the piano stores I noticed in the neighborhood last time. Then back to Brooklyn to pack up, and the long flight to Sweden.

I had the opportunity to play a Yamaha C7 grand piano at the recommendation of my friend and musical collaborator Aaron Marshall, who suggested I try a Yamaha after reading about my experience with Steinways. We hit up Central Park for a walk and some ice cream and had a ridiculous lunch at a place called the Jekyll and Hyde club in Times Square. It was good to see Will again, it had been since 2005 that I had, and he is what one might call Good People.

The plan is to return to New York for FIGMENT next year. We shall see. I have a lot of travel, still, this year, and next year might need to be a year that I stay home and tend to my various businesses. Especially considering a majority of my commitments in the near future include SEAF and FIGMENT which are volunteer. I really need to figure out how to get paid for this shit.

Packing up and soon to be out of communication until July. If you’re planning on having any big news or have something to say to me before then now’s the time to speak up. Otherwise, see you on the flip side.

Given my penchant for spiraling into the social networking abyss, I will be offline apart from updating my blog until I return from my trip.

Living lean: cleaning out clutter in my life.

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

I’ve been thinking a lot about my house, and how I got to this place of being EXCITED to live in ~200sft, from where I was when I was younger.

At one point when I was about 15, I realized that I’d never be able to run away from home unless I figured out what of my belongings, only enough that could be stuffed into my acoustic guitar case, were actually important to me. There was something beautiful about the fantasy of having only what I carried with me.

That year I went from having a closet full of notes, papers, stubs, and random shit that reminded me of things, to one giant box. Over the next 16 years the giant memory box morfed to a smaller box that morfed info a small shoe box, and now no longer exists.

I think of my memory box as being symbolic for the rest of my life which has gotten smaller and lighter, too.

Though often exhilarating, getting rid of my material bloat wasn’t always easy, and it took a long time. The v2.0 me never would have believed it, but I am far, far happier, with less.

A few people in my life are coming to the first steps of working through organizing and minimalizing theirs, which has incited me to think about how it was that I did it over the years.

Here’s what I’ve figured out so far


1: I Made a Mess

Transition is messy, and when I am doing it right, paring down is messy. It means emptying out all the drawers of my dresser and putting my clothes into piles all over my bed (3 of them – keep, give/donate, trash) that sometimes take a while to address.

It means emptying boxes out onto the middle of the floor and dealing with the disaster. It means being ok with dishevelment in order to have the opportunity to see the big picture.

And it also means being dedicated and determined enough not to give up and just leave shit like that.

Trying to be tidy and doing things like taking out each dresser drawer individually and looking through the folded things inside doesn’t give me a real sense of what I have. And I have found the existing organization, itself, when trying to think in a new way, becomes a limiting perspective.

I am far less likely to be real about how many 3ft USB cables I need (hint: not 5) when I am sitting there staring at how they fit perfectly all coiled up where they are.

2: I Got help

I am naturally organized, good at packing, and creative with storage, but if you aren’t, get help from someone who is! And even if you are, get help from someone who is!

It can be really nice to have a person to bounce things off of, joke around with, help run loads out of my sight, for emotional support if I needed it while going through things that may trigger memories, for accountability, and to celebrate with when the task was done. When I was first starting purging, I really needed the accountability and boost of energy having help brought.

3: I scheduled it.

I usually go through my less-used cupboards and boxes a couple times a year to take inventory and get rid of things I just don’t need anymore. I put it on my calendar, have a reasonable goal, and give myself the entire day to achieve it.

There is simply no substitute for making the time to clean out my closet and my life.

4: I (probably) only need one

Ok, yes, it makes sense to have a selection of teas, and a few different mustards, because HELLO, MUSTARD IS AWESOME. It makes sense to have more than one glass, so I can entertain. But seriously, do I need 3 colanders?

No. No, I do not need 3 colanders. Not even a little bit.

5: I made mistakes.

Mistakes are ok. I’ve gotten rid of art supplies and musical instruments that I wish I hadn’t. There are a few letters I no longer have that I would have liked to have read again. But I learned that mistakes are ok most recognizably when I wiped the wrong hard drive and I lost all my memories and photos and original files for my art/music for a few years.

I was paralyzed with fear and remorse the moment I realized what I’d done – a feeling I remember well when first attempting to change how I viewed my stuff. I survived it, and now come to a place of ease much more quickly when similar losses happen.

Attrition and destruction are a natural part of existing, even if they come from a mistake you’ve made. When deciding whether to let go of things I am often reminded that the world will not end if I realize a week later that I would have liked to have worn a shirt I gave away or I end up having to procure another USB mouse because I hastily got rid of mine thinking I wouldn’t need it again.

In reality, there are very, very few things that I own that would actually impact my life if I did not have anymore. It took testing and experience to differentiate a self destructive impulse to purge from a life affirming one. By doing this I am able to handle my mistakes gracefully.

Not only has that realization freed me of a lot of the pressure I used to feel when tasking myself to pare down, it’s also given me a more keen sense of appreciation for what I do choose to keep.

6: I let go

A big part of letting go of attachment to a lot of my material things has stemmed from learning in my personal growth that there is an inherent value in memories fading over time.

Memories are designed to fade. They are supposed to muddle and eventually go away, mostly. It’s how we grow and move on. Realizing that, at first, incited an intense feeling of loss and about a week long grief period. After that, though, it made getting rid of most of my nostalgic belongings relatively easy.

Accepting the value the statute of limitations of human memory has also significantly shortened the amount of time I needed to keep stuff around before I was ready to be without it, and helped me to reorganize my perspective around momentos.

Now, I keep things that remind me of an atmospheric time in my life more than I keep reminders of specific memories. This meant I could keep the best letter I got in middle school as opposed to 50 little things from that time like I had done in the past.

7: I Embraced Technology

Digitizing things is awesome. If a piece of paper is around to remind me of something, I put it in a spreadsheet or on my calendar instead.

If a picture of a sculpture that’s taking up 2sqft of counter space would make a good substitute, I take the picture and re-gift or sell the sculpture.

Some people would probably find scanning documents to be helpful too, but I haven’t gotten into it – takes way too much time. Perhaps that will be an element of Courtnee v3.4.

8: Bonus round: Clothes

From Kurt Cobain lookalike to kept Microsoft trophy wife with a walk in closet the size my house will be, and back again, my approach to clothes is this:

If I haven’t worn it in a while and I know someone who will love it, I give it to them.
If I haven’t worn it in a while and it’s worth money, I sell it.
If I haven’t worn it in a while and neither of the previous things are relevant, I donate it.
If I haven’t worn it in a while but I feel a deep electrical pain in my heart when I think of being without it, I keep it.
If I HAVE been wearing it, but I look at it and go “bleh”, I get rid of it.

Combined with “I only need one”, I have found this method works well.


My shift from being a pack rat to nearly everything I own fitting into a 10 foot truck happened fairly organically, and is attached to my growth into my life over the last 18 years. That doesn’t by any means imply that the process was always easy, or always pleasurable.

When I am purging, I am pressing up against my unconscious identifications with my stuff, my identifications with scarcity and poverty, my resistance to change, and my fears of not being or having enough. I think to some extend we all have our shit around our stuff, and that it’s generally some big shit to take on, taking courage to approach.

It took repetition and practice for the panic impulses to dissipate when I got rid of things. Some of my belongings are truly precious and fueling for me, but I found over time that my attachment to most things was fearful, more often than not, and that identifying with the stuff I owned was creating a monster that owned me.

It’s funny to me how much easier it is to let things go now that I have so much less. How much more I value and cherish what it is I have, now that I’m no longer attempting to fill a perceived void in myself with a bunch of insignificant shit. The process and questioning myself has been incredibly educational and enriching.

Maybe that’s not your story, but nonetheless, I hope that sharing what I’ve learned helps you along your way.

Entrepreneurial

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

I’m batting around an idea that would address a few of my short term goals in one plan. The fledgling concept is: a paid subscription, to be added to an exclusive G+ circle, that I would broadcast my music rehearsal/experimentation to, via Google Hangouts. Or something to that effect.

I’d like to be on for an hourish two times a week. Content would be anything from practicing well-rehearsed sets, figuring out a new song by ear, practicing with other musicians, to cussing and throwing things in frustration, depending on what the motivation was at the time.

The appeal for me is that I’d be rehearsing consistently, like I was when I offered rehearsal hangouts for Embodied, in a medium that can be witnessed and shared in the moment like a show, while also making a little bit of money, and offering a unique and personal entertainment product that’s also educational.

I’m thinking $20 a month, first hangout is free to test your tech and see if it’s something worthwhile to you.

Would there be interest out there for something like this? Is this a cool enough model to integrate into my notapplicable.org site?

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Sometimes you just gotta get a little tipsy, smoke some weed, make a little music and watch a fuckin’ action movie. Ya know?

Safe House is SNAPPY so far. Woooo!

Friday, August 24th, 2012

I was thinking on the bus ride home today, after sleeping until 1pm at the office, that maybe I’d be a good idea to find a gun and blow my brainstem out.

I worked on this instead.

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

My hands hurt and I can’t feel my ass. Must be working on websites and designing shit a lot lately.

More innovation: Now offering iPhone cases

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

As a working artist I’ve found that it’s easy to get people to ooh and ahh over your artwork, but it’s not so easy to sell the art and make a living, even when you have a supportive following. Part of the cause, in addition to cost factors, is that often people don’t consider themselves art collectors and have a hard time imagining where they would put a piece of art in their home or how to make space for it.

My solution: Artify something you already own.

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Taking myself to dinner after a frustrating day of raging PMS and unacceptable tech cuntery. At least my dinner is awesome.

Monday, June 25th, 2012

I am developing quite a dislike for large format printers..

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

My experience with Breathing Color (http://www.breathingcolor.com/) has been exceptionally satisfactory. They shipped quickly, had great prices, and a tech followed up with me the day I was supposed to receive my stuff to give me his contact information in case I ran into problems, and make sure I had all the information I needed to use what I’d ordered. 5 stars on service, very interested in what the quality is like as I work with my materials over the next few weeks.

Bye Bye Baby

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Packed up for the Synth Spa, thanks to a keyboard case, grocery bags, packing tape, and an entire roll of purple duct tape. Complete with working wheels and top handle. Godspeed little buddy.

Life in a Box – Update

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Hello Life in a Box backers and enthusiasts,

I’m excited to let you know that I’ve just ordered the materials needed to do my own canvas printing and stretching for Life in a Box!

After comparing multiple price quotes for printing the project that literally wiped out the projects budget (the online promotional price I was originally quoted was no longer available once Kickstarters funding came through), I’ve decided to purchase stretcher bars and canvas directly, and to print and stretch the project myself at Metrix Create Space in Seattle, WA.

This is a really cool development for multiple reasons:

  1. Self-printing will ensure I have some money left over to create a hanging solution and to purchase the epoxy/acrylic mediums I want to use to finish the canvases.
  2. Self printing provides me the opportunity for a much more enriching experience in creating these pieces of artwork. I get to be part of the entire process and take advantage of the chance to learn a new set of marketable skills.
  3. Metrix is a small local Seattle business that I am pleased to support financially as well as become more familiar with for future projects.
  4. The in-progress pictures are sure to be a hell of a lot cooler now!

As of now, the estimated cost of printing the canvases has gone from $650 online ($5 more than Kickstarter net) to $393, while estimating 2 additional feet of canvas printing for testing and trial/error and 6 hours of time at Metrix working on the project.

Sounds pretty good to me.

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

http://www.getshitter.com/

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

“It’s really hard to hate someone for being different
when you’re too busy laughing together.”

-George Takei

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Just an FYI for pandora app users on the iPhone: If you use rotate lock, you may have been missing out on some important functionality, like me.

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

Video game collaboration idea: Mixed gameplay, dramatic plot-driven, 60 playable hours — varied and beautiful high production value, in chapters, with cinematics to continue the story. It would be difficult to die, however if you do, you will have to start the entire story over, even if you die at hour 56 of it.

150 dev teams from 150 game companies, 150 different storylines to play, at 60 hours each. When you die you either replay from the story beginning, or start another story and abandon your current one. You’d move on to a new story knowing that you will never know the ending to the one you died playing.

Title ideas: Abandoned. Afterlife. Abandon afterlife.

This could be how I finally enslave you all. I wish I had written it on a napkin.