“Mama Told Me Not to Come”

On the heels of my “How Can I Write This Crazy Drug and Sex-Induced Book?” comes Three Dog Night’s “Mama Told Me Not to Come.”

“Want some whiskey in your water?
Sugar in your tea?
What’s all these crazy questions they’re askin’ me?
This is the craziest party that could ever be
Don’t turn on the lights ’cause I don’t wanna see”

Clearly, it’s encouraging me to just keep writing.

Everywhere I turn, there is The Message.

“She saw Fancy pressed up against a wall in Leo’s room while a muscular man held his head by the hair and, through gritted teeth said, ‘Spread your legs. I’m gonna fuck you, faggot.’” – In the Bushes/WIP by Barb Herrera

“Write, Barb! No matter how crazy. Just keep writing.”

I’m am! I am.

“More Kicks”: Me & the Faggots

I’ve been struggling with parts of the book I’m writing. I was talking to Meghann about them, how hard the sections with crazy, anonymous sex and copious drug and alcohol use are to write about with the post-AIDS knowledge we all have.

What Will People Think?

The book Faggots by Larry Kramer, written in 1978, that, when it came out, was hated and trashed, especially in the gay community.

A great read from the Hurray for Dead White Males’ blog post called “Faggots,” in part, explains:

“Published in 1978 to a storm of controversy, Faggots was one of the most infamous novels of its time, a giant glitter-smeared Fuck You to the gay community it satirised so ruthlessly.”

“What happened next is even more interesting, and nearly unparalleled in the history of satire. Within three years of its publication, New York was in the grip of the AIDS epidemic. The dire predictions in Faggots about the devastation caused by a life of hedonism had come true, in the most horrific way.”

Larry Kramer Didn’t Give a Shit What People Thought

When the AIDS crisis began, Larry did not just sit and say, “I told you so.” He went to work co-creating the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and worked his ass off to get politicians, medical researchers, and doctors to hurry up and save these gay lives. He was especially vitriolic towards Anthony Fauci who, decades later, became a friend, thanking Kramer for helping to save so many lives.

There are reams of articles, speeches, and books written by and about Larry Kramer’s intense and angry thoughts regarding those in and around the LGBTQ community and AIDS.

And how he was right all along.

Kramer died in 2020 at 84 years old after 60 years of work as an activist.

Larry Kramer’s Faggots & Roger Taylor’s “More Kicks”

I’m grabbing from Kramer’s frenetic energy in the book Faggots and adding Roger’s memories of his wild days in Queen as he sings “More Kicks” – both, for the most part, before AIDS hit our realities.

“Of the 2,639,857 faggots in the New York city area, 2,639,857 think primarily with their cocks.
You didn’t know that the cock was a thinking organ?
Well, by this time, you should know that it is.” – Larry Kramer

“I was young and stupid
I didn’t feel no pain
I was looking for trouble
I didn’t feel no shame

I was heading for a long day’s journey into the night… life
I wanted more kicks” – Roger Taylor

“I Didn’t Feel No Shame”

It is that line Roger wrote that’s bouncing around in my head.

Is it shame I feel about my/our hedonistic behaviors from 1978 until 1981? Is that why I’m struggling so much to get these sex and drug stories down? Why can’t I let go and write the truth of those days?

“Opening her eyes wide again, she saw the Top in a leather harness reach into the ubiquitous can of Crisco, slathering it onto -and into – the bottom’s ass before wiping his greasy hand on the bedspread, then jamming his dick into the collared man underneath him. The loud ‘umph’ came not only from the inserted, but several of the folks watching as well.” – In the Bushes/WIP by Barb Herrera

I want to be like Larry Kramer and Roger Taylor. I want to just write.

Can I ever climb over this hurdle?

I am hoping so.

Disney’s EPCOT Turns 40!

Four Days Earlier

I was there!

I was at EPCOT’s pre-opening on September 28, 1982, nine months pregnant with Tristan.

EPCOT, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, was a complete unknown and took several years to find her feet. I loved it from the beginning and it remains my favorite park. Early on, it was quiet and easy to wander around, not contending with lines or cranky tourists. We went often.

And they offered alcohol! Not that I was drinking since I was nursing a baby once I went back, but it was a crazy concept to have a Disney park with alcohol. I will say most guests did drink and loved being able to. I’m sure it was one of the most beloved choices Disney decision-makers ever made.

Entering the Park

These next two pictures were taken as we walked into EPCOT that first day.

EPCOT 40th Anniversary
Sept. 28, 1982 EPCOT – Stepping off the monorail at the brand new park.

 

EPCOT 40th Anniversary
9-28-82 EPCOT – Walking towards Spaceship Earth from the welcome fountain.

EPCOT 40th Anniversary
9-28-82 EPCOT – China Pavilion

 

EPCOT 40th Anniversary
9-28-82 EPCOT – World Showcase Lagoon

EPCOT 40th Anniversary
9-28-82 EPCOT – American Adventure Pavilion

 

9-28-82 EPCOT – American Adventure Pavilion, Voices of Liberty

 

9-28-82 EPCOT – Pregnant with Tristan in The Land. He was born 10-20-82.

EPCOT 40th Anniversary
9-28-82 EPCOT – The Land, Kitchen Kaberet

 

EPCOT 40th Anniversary
9-28-82 EPCOT – Kitchen Kaberet in The Land

EPCOT 40th Anniversary
9-28-82 EPCOT – The Land

EPCOT 40th Anniversary
9-28-82 EPCOT – Last look at Spaceship Earth from the monorail.

Happy 40th Anniversary EPCOT!

My family has a date to be at the 50th Anniversary in 2032 for Tristan’s 50th birthday.

Meet us there!

Under-Appreciated: Hate/Love of Artists II

In Part I of Under-Appreciated: Hate/Love of Artists, I shared thoughts about critics, one in particular, John Rockwell of the New York Times who critiqued a Queen concert on the Jazz Tour in 1978. I saw a concert on this tour in Lakeland, Florida two weeks before he did in New York City.

Roger Taylor and Brian May
Roger Taylor and Brian May 1970s

More Recent Judgements of Queen

While I have not seen a Queen concert live since 1978, I have watched as many as exist on YouTube showing the Queen + Paul Rodgers tours beginning in 2005, continuing with the Queen + Adam Lambert tours beginning in 2011.

Being a Queenie, of course I love the following reviews, most taken during a Queen + Adam Lambert tour, and I agree with them wholeheartedly.

Amsterdam

“The show at the Ziggo Dome was nothing short of majestic and overwhelming.”

‘”…a setlist that goes from climax to climax.”

Cologne

“… in the sold-out Lanxess Arena in Cologne, the 51-year-old Queen presented itself breathtakingly vital, and it did not seem that this rocking monarchy with masterfully staged theatricality and glitter pomp is anywhere near its end.”

Berlin

“Champions, that’s what Queen were on that night…the show must go on, and that for years to come, it certainly wouldn’t be a mistake.”

“One could literally see their joy to play in May and Taylor’s eyes.”

Roger Taylor Brian May Getty
Roger Taylor and Brian May – Getty Images

“Queen anthems such as ‘Another One Bites The Dust’, ‘Crazy Little Things Called Love’ and ‘Love Of My Life’ all sounded really fresh…and May happily demonstrated again and again with impressive, but never too long, solos why he and his guitar have created a sound for eternity.”

Birmingham

“Brian and Roger put on an energetic display that would put most younger bands to shame. Cracking gig!! 5 Stars.”

“A wonderful night and a wonderful show. Queen still rock.”

“…an emotional universe and beyond.” 5 Stars

Belfast

“For any Queen fan, this will be the closest thing to a religious experience.”

“Two and a half hours of jaw-dropping spectacle and euphoria.”

“The rock icons blew the roof off the SSE Arena with a simply electrifying performance.”

What I Love

Roger Taylor Brian May
Brian May and Roger Taylor

Knowing the critics can see the joy and love in Bri and Rog’s eyes while they perform propels my continuing to read reviews at all. Queenies can’t be the only ones who get why Queen still performs.

If you have not watched or listened to Queen in awhile, it’s time you do.

Start with the last album they completed before Freddie died, Innuendo. It has become my absolute favorite. I still love Made in Heaven, of course, but Innuendo is incredible.

Enjoy!

12-Year Old Nandi Bushell Drops “The Shadows”

If you have not discovered Nandi Bushell yet, now is the time. Nandi’s YouTube channel will introduce you to her amazing talents that include incredible drumming, great guitar and bass playing, time on the piano, and now professionally showing us her singing skills.

Not only singing for us to hear, but she is demonstrating her beautiful songwriting talents, too.

Nandi Bushell Shadows

Nandi Sings for Her Father

As she tells it, her father fell into a depression earlier this year so she wrote him a song to let him know how loved he is and how he is not alone. What 12 year old understands the depths of depression in a parent so intensely, she writes a love song to him?

“When your fears have taken their toll
When the demons have gotten control
When the shadows won’t leave you alone
I’ll be there
When all your rainbows turned into black
When the sun has turned its back
When all of your power bled itself dry
I’ll be there
For you”

Nandi is that child.

Her family is so blessed to have each other.

Listen and Pass It On!

Roger Taylor Drops The Outsider Tour Live

Roger Taylor drops his new double album The Outsider Tour Live today and I love it!

Roger Taylor Outsider Live Tour

Rog, as he is affectionally called by Brian May and others, is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter in his own right, and the drummer as well as back-up singer and songwriter for Queen for the last 50 years. Besides his own songs, he’s written such hits as “Radio Ga-Ga,” “I’m in Love With My Car,” “A Kind of Magic,” “The Invisible Man” [which I adore], and more.

As I’ve written, I had a serious crush on Roger Taylor when we were all younger. Cute as fuck, he glows with sexuality and charisma.

Roger is also snarky (exhibited on this album by calling the movie Bohemian Rhapsody, a movie he helped make!, “Bohemian Raspberry” despite professing to love the movie) sarcastic, sometimes very rude, and, at least in his earlier incarnation, quite oversexed. Of course, all of this is based on what people have recorded and shared on YouTube and in the press over the years. So, I could be way off, but suspect he would laugh and nod along with my/their assessment. 

22 Tracks & Many Sooooo Good!

What shines through this music is Roger’s kindness towards humanity, usually an obvious trait reserved for Brian May. It is beautiful to hear Roger sing about the pain of domestic violence in “Surrender,” and our collective need to take care of others in “Foreign Sand.”

“As far as we know it’s the only way to be
Try to plant a seed, fulfill, the need
To make it grow, just say hello
And though you’re far from home try to learn what you could be
Your heart will tell you everything you need”

These Days…

“These Are the Days of Our Lives,” a song written by Roger for Queen, continues to bring me to tears, knowing where the birth of the song came from. As Freddie was dying, Roger penned this beautiful ballad as a reminder for where they had been and that they were, even in darkness, still all together. It was Freddie’s last recording on camera.

Roger’s solo version remains a beautiful gift for all of us, Freddie included. His voice, perfectly nuanced, pulls the emotion we share with each other into the time we have left and the reminder to stay present, even when things are impossible to accept or understand.

Who Has Control (And What Do We Do About It?)

“Gangsters Are Running This World” illuminates another part of Roger’s gentle consideration of humanity and what it does and should look like.

“I wanna fly on the wings of love
I want the clean fresh air in my face
I wanna tear down every border and wall
I wanna take part in the human race
I wanna fly on the wings of love
I wanna run down a path of hope
I wanna fly on the wings of love

Gangsters are running this world
You can shout but never be heard”

This is one of my favorite tracks, one I had not heard before this morning. It’s perfect. A deep ballad with a beat of walking feet that keep moving even with the realization that we don’t have all the control over our destinies. Roger implores us to reach higher than we think we can and not to give up. 

I promise, Roger. I promise you, I will.

Click Here to Buy or Stream The Outsider Tour Live by Roger Taylor.

It’s magnificent!

Under-Appreciated: Hate/Love of Artists

Nothing New

Critics are unable to decipher good music/art/books/fill-in-the-blank. This is not news to most of us, but when looking at a band like Queen and knowing how reviled they were for decades, yet are beloved now… this has to offer hope to other artists of all types.

“Good Company”

Painters not appreciated in their lifetimes include: Vincent Van Gogh, Johannes Vermeer, Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, and more.

Writers not appreciated in their time: Zora Neale Hurston (one of my favorite authors ever), H.P. Lovecraft, Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, and surely many more.

Composers that had no acceptance during their lifetimes include: Johann Sebastian Bach, Igor Stravinsky, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and many others.

And Then There Is Queen

Queen

I remember when I was an older teen and Queen was hated by critics as well as by many of my friends. Of course, I was one who loved them and found other Queenies of the day who did, too.

Sitting back 44 years later, I’m amused at how things have changed over time. Sure, there are still Queen-haters, but, from what I can see, there are far more Queen lovers now than there were then. Especially with the critics.

The article “Queen Draws Fans With Flashy, Semiprogressive, Semimetal Rock” by critic John Rockwell oddly semi-s their music’s description several times. It came out on November 18, 1978 in the New York Times. He speaks about how Queen’s music is “mostly pretty empty, all flash and calculation.”

Empty? Queen needed to create a wide variety of styles and sounds in order to survive their tenure (with Freddie Mercury). It was a hallmark of the band. Queen refused to be pigeon-holed. They had an intense desire to be heard in a thousand different ways.

“Lyrically, Queen’s songs manage to be pretentious and irrelevant.”

I believe the intelligence of the band members remained a mystery to those who judged their songs negatively. Either they didn’t know each member had a degree in various specialties or, and this is my best guess, Queen’s band members’ smarts were so far above their heads, they used the word “pretentious,” as an epithet instead of confessing they didn’t understand the nuances of their songwriting or compositions.

Rockwell’s article came out two weeks to the day after I attended my only Queen concert at the Lakeland Civic Center outside Orlando. I had just seen the same concert on the Jazz Tour as he saw at Madison Square Garden, so feel good sharing my young opinion with you all.

Queen Ticket Nov. 4, 1978
(not my ticket)

“Bohemian Rhapsody”

Rockwell continues:

“Musically, for all the virtuosity — though it was cheating a bit to turn over the complex middle portion of their “Bohemian Rhapsody” to a taped version, with empty stage and flashing lights — the songs still sound mostly pretty empty, all flash and calculation.”

Empty? Flash? That baffles me.

I’ll agree with calculation. For fuck’s sake, they were incredibly perfectionistic!

If he means formulaic, that is absurd. Queen was/continues to be anything but formulaic.

With regards to “Bohemian Rhapsody” in concert, I have to wonder how the reviewer expected Queen to do the operatic section. I think they handled the dilemma perfectly.

I remember listening to/watching “Bohemian Rhapsody” in concert as if it was yesterday. The gong hung behind the drum set and it caught our eyes as we walked into the arena, the anticipation of its being slammed palpable from the beginning of the concert.

1977 BoRhap Concert
This is a photo of the stage during BoRhap on the same tour in 1977. You can see the gong in the back.

As the concert unfolded, Freddie playing piano and singing to us was exalting, his voice pouring over everyone in the arena. I remember having tears in my eyes from the gloriousness of that song.

Judgement of Freddie and Queen

Some reviews just suck.

“With this sort of (seemingly deliberate, but who can say?) pandering to an obvious need in the late‐teen and early 20’s rock market, Queen has won an audience, and that audience’s more flamboyant members certainly gave every sign of rapture Thursday. But it will be hard for the band to reach a really huge market this way, and at the same time, it will be equally hard for many people to take them seriously in ‘artistic’ terms, or even pop‐artistic terms. Still, it’s a living.”

Freddie Mercury 1977 Jazz Tour
Freddie Mercury on Jazz Tour in 1977.

Ahh, that word “flamboyant.”

In 1978, more than now, flamboyant meant gay. The underlying sentiment is Queen is “pandering” to the gay population and “regular” (straight) folks are left out of the mix, unable to have their musical needs and desires met.

With the word “artistic” in quotes, Rockwell uses yet another euphemism for gay and seems to be saying that even if the public can accept Queen’s gay terms/actions, they won’t be able to take them seriously musically.

Love Eventually Arrives

I have a Part II planned that shows the love Queen has gotten decades later and how they have grown on critics and the public. I wonder what took them so long to see what I saw way back in the olden days.

For you folks struggling to make it in the arts, hang in there.

You are in good company.

Tiny Boxes (via Scribbled Verse)

Afzal Moolla of Scribbled Verse put up this Pete Seeger version of Tiny Boxes (aka the Ticky Tacky song aka the Weeds Theme Song).

You know if it’s on YouTube, I am going to jump on it. This was a fantastic way to wake up this morning! Thanks, Afzal!

I wanted to put up the original by Malvina Reynolds, which is the one sung for the Weeds opening credits.

It is so darned perfect for today’s world, which is kind of sad since this originally came out the year I was born: 1961.

Enjoy!

Bipolar Diary: Stabilized (I Think)

My clock numbers are flat again. The blue has stayed, but not nearly as pronounced as it was. I swear they used to be red, so am really confused why they are blue now. Whatever.

I don’t feel sad or depressed… or even as flat as I did yesterday

I hope this is as low as I go.

I’m trying not to be bummed about losing the hypomania, enjoying what I have and glad it isn’t depression.

Tattoo

I want a tattoo. I usually get tattoos when I am manic, but right now am wanting one. A half-sleeve on my upper left arm under my Pulse tattoo.

Queen Innuendo

Queen, of course. From the song “Innuendo.”

“You can be anything you want to be
Just turn yourself into anything you think that you could ever be
Be free with your tempo, be free, be free
Surrender your ego, be free, be free to yourself”

I want to “Be Free with my Tempo.”

“We’ll keep on trying.”

 

Thanks to Brian May & Roger Taylor

A quick note of thanks to Bri and Rog for keeping their mouths and fingers shut about what happened behind the scenes with Queen, Freddie Mercury, John Deacon, and their own foibles.

What we saw in the movie Bohemian Rhapsody was not only fairly public information, it was also a consolidation of events created for dramatic effect. That was fine by me.

Brian May has been open about his own mental health issues (and Goddess love him for it, too!) and his life as an astrophysicist, but he has been delightfully silent about the inner workings of Queen.

While there are snippets of arguments online and Roger and Brian have talked about their own head-knocking behaviors together, generally, very little is known about what went on amongst all of them.

I don’t expect any tell-all books after the remaining three from Queen are gone, either. They all respect each others’ privacy too much.

It makes me weep with gratitude they love and care about each other that much.

Too many others can’t wait to blab their dirty laundry.

Queen has class.

Queen

Bipolar Diary: Sharp Edges Being Rounded

My hypomania is fading and I am quite cranky about it.

I’ve been gloriously productive the last three weeks and now to have this needing-a-nap bullshit again is pissing me off.

My clock face is still glowing some, but nothing like the 3-D it was giving me last week. The blue color is almost flat.

Like me.

My Color Draining

For most of my life, I’ve been able to detect my mood just by looking at my imaginary mental health watch. I could look down at my wrist and gauge where I was at any moment. Good? Depressed? How depressed? (As if I could measure the depth by the minute hands on the face.) I have not thought about my mood watch in ages… until the clock on my bookcase became that touchstone.

Just a few days ago, I wrote about my digital clock glowing a 3-D azure blue, it having once been red. Today, the numbers are not dancing as much and the blue is less glowy. I am watching my mood’s colors dribble down the drain.

Bipolar Diary

And In Comes the Flatness

“Flat” is a term used with depression. “The lows can be flat and devoid of colour…” (It does also mean a flat affect, but that isn’t how I am using it.)

Like the clock face, I am becoming flat.

I’m still early in losing the hypomania, but I can already feel the pressure on my mood. It’s slight still, but it is most certainly there.

I’m crying knowing what is coming.

Hallucinations Vanish

The hallucinations have all gone. Nothing.

No random scents.

No ants crawling on me.

No seeing things.

All gone.

Would I rather have the bugs crawling on me and around the room? Probably not, but you see, there is a trade-off. I would take the bugs if I get the great energy and wonderful productivity.

Now, I have neither.

Too Short and Very Sweet

This episode was very short, but so wonderful, even if for only three weeks. Now I am left with the memory of that time and it, too, will fade. My words here in the blog will be the way I can recall where I was and when. If I had not written them down, they would have been erased by my brain within a few more days.

I’m so glad I did not agree to the Risperdal. I would be headed to a major depression at this point. I’m hoping to avoid that, but know it is always a risk and that I have very little control over the depths into which I will fall.

My Status Quo: Low Level Depression

I will most likely fall back into my baseline which is a low-level depression. Not terrible despair. No suicidal ideations. No inability to move or think. Just a place where I exist without fantastic joyous feelings. I feel love for people, family, kids, grandkids, but it isn’t an overflowing power I feel when I am not in my everyday skin.

That makes me sad.

Writing

We’ll see how much I continue writing. It was so nice writing a lot those few days.

Why isn’t there a pill to keep me in hypomania?

Bipolar Diary

“What’s a Centerfold?”

I heard that question today.

What?!

I came across J. Geils Band’s video “Centerfold” and listened to the Reactor ask what a centerfold was. They did not even understand the song, which shocked me.

Thinking it was a fluke, I watched another Reaction. Then another. And another. One after the next, people under 45 missed the obvious (to me) storyline of the song/video.

Litmus Tests of the Elderly

I’m one of the elderly now.

My life includes these experiences:

  • Party lines
  • Life without microwaves
  • TVs with three channels
  • No remote controls for TVs
  • Having to hang clothes on the line
  • Phones having cords on them and dialing the number one wanted to call
  • Prank calls
  • Rolling car windows
  • No seat belts
  • Phone booths
  • Waiting for pictures to be developed
  • Few divorces
  • Moms who didn’t work
  • Running around outside until the streetlights went on, never checking in
  • Driver’s Ed classes in high school

And surely dozens more we had in the olden days.

Ultimate Test of Age

Now there is the centerfold.

The young have never, will never, experience the joy of opening a Playboy (which stopped printing magazines in 2020) or Penthouse (which stopped printing in 2016), inhaling the wafting scent of manufactured pages, before immediately turning to the centerfold.

She, the woman whose body graced those double pages, opened herself to us, allowing us to see her body close-up, her eyes staring right into ours.

The Young…

…will never have the experience of having two pages stuck together.

That’s just sad.

YouTube-Gasm

Not an ad, I promise.

I did what was necessary to get YouTube without commercials and it has transformed the experience.

I’m weeping with relief from political ads. And every other mother-fucking ad they cram on there.

Added Bonus

Watch Roger Taylor kick ass singing and playing drums at the same time. (below)

He’s so pretty, so there is that, too.

Bipolar Diary: Hallucination Day

Sometimes when I don’t think there can be anything weirder than what I’ve seen, smelled, felt, new things materialize.

No sooner did I tell my psych yesterday I was not having Auditory Hallucinations, they pay me a visit.

Today’s Fun

  • I could smell the inside of my Flipper lunchbox from first grade all day long. It was there, then gone, sometimes there for half an hour, sometimes a flash. Olfactory hallucinations are odd because I would swear the item/scent was right under my nose. It isn’t a memory thing, it’s a real scent. Like lunchbox perfume. No idea what brought that to the forefront. I have not been thinking about first grade or lunch. I didn’t even know I still had that scent-memory!

Hallucinations

  • My clock numbers have become floating 3-D. They float out of the clock mechanism and glow a beautiful blue. They are usually red. 

Hallucinations

  • I am trying to think of the name for the blue. Azure.

Hallucinations

  • I had to keep YouTube off today because Steely Dan’s Aja was playing around the room. I did just watch a documentary about the making of Aja, but I didn’t expect my mind to bring the studio into my room. If I closed my eyes, I could hear the speakers in the corners near the ceiling and one floating speaker in a horseshoe around my head that followed me around the house. I had no headphones on. Aja was not on anywhere, TV or stereo, Alexa or radio. Yet, it was as if I was engulfed in the music. You would think I would love a studio surrounding me, but it was disconcerting after awhile. I put my headphones on, trying to play some Queen, but Steely Dan would have none of that. I surrendered and put Aja on and that made a Steely Dan cacophony for a few minutes, but I concentrated on what I had in my ears and the other music faded eventually. If I put anything on but Aja, the music came back. Loud. Insistent bitch, that Aja. That one album has been playing for 18 hours now, headphones on or off. Good thing I love it.

Hallucinations

  • The visual ants seem to be fading, thank goodness. They have not been replaced with other insects, so I’m happy about that. I still feel them crawling on me, but at least when I look where I feel them, I don’t see them too often. I hate things crawling on me, so am way glad to see the ants fade into nothingness.

Hallucinations

That’s pretty much been my day. I tried to meditate and/or nap, but Aja could not take a breath with me and I just laid there singing “Black Cow.”

Join me, won’t you?

 

Psych Visit Hilarity

Psych: “How are you doing?”

Me: “Great! I’m in hypomania.”

P: “Tell me about that.”

M: “Oh, just some funky olfactory, tactile, and visual hallucinations, but they are no big deal.”

P: “Okay. No auditory?”

M: “Nope, which is unusual.”

P: “Okay, just watch for them.”

M: “I quit taking the Risperdal. I hate it.”

P:  “No problem.”

M: (whew)

P: “Do you have any obsessions happening?”

M: “Oh, no… doing fine.” (completely avoiding YouTube and Queen)

P: “Are you sleeping?”

M: “Some. A couple three hours a night.”

P: “Well watch that and try to sleep more if you can.”

M: “I feel fine on two or three hours.”

P: “As long as you’re feeling good. We can up your Latuda for the hallucinations if you want.”

M: “Naw, they don’t bug me. (haha how punny am I?)”

P: “I think you’re doing great. No med changes. See you in three months.”

M: dancing like Disco Deacy

Disco Deacy
John Deacon of Queen, aka Disco Deacy

Roger Taylor Discloses the Realities of Domestic Violence

You are not alone.

National Domestic Violence Hotline – call, chat, or text

Roger Taylor Surrender

A song about domestic violence?

Yes.

A song about a common outcome of domestic violence?

It’s about time.

“Surrender” by Roger Taylor

Roger Taylor is not only a singer, songwriter, and drummer for the band Queen, but is an incredible solo artist as well. Roger has a new album, The Outsider Tour Live, and the first single released is “Surrender.”

This song has affected me in ways other songs about DV have not; given me shivers and tears of sadness for my friend Silvia who was killed by her husband, Wilbur Frank.

Silvia Frank was a midwifery client of mine through two pregnancies. During our visits, we discussed the domestic violence occurring and her need to leave, but, as is typical of abused people, she minimized the violence she was experiencing, even as she acknowledged the need to escape.

Silvia went to nursing school, becoming a labor and delivery nurse on her way to becoming a midwife. She saw this as the economic way to get out of the emotional and violent ways Frank used to control her.

Sadly, Frank ended her attempts at freedom.

He killed Silvia in front of one of their teenage daughters.

Wilbur Frank was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

“Surrender” Addresses Death as the Escape

The most chilling part of the song “Surrender,” is found in these lyrics:

“You can’t hurt me now, I’m gone from you
You can’t hurt me now
You can’t hurt me now
You can’t reach me where I’ve gone to
I surrender”

It is left open in the song whether the woman was able to leave, was killed, or died by suicide. I find the lyrics brilliantly vague because the possibilities are all accurate.

Hope Versus Reality

Most people believe all the abused person has to do is pack up the kids and leave in order to save themselves. The reality is the most dangerous time for them is within the first 18 months after leaving the abusive partner.

This is exactly the window in which Silvia was killed.

Thank You, Roger Taylor

Thanks, Roger, for illuminating the sad reality abused people face in order to escape the pain of domestic violence. I hope the song reaches those that need to hear it most.

Bipolar Diary: When Fire Flies

I light a candle each morning when I start writing. I have the candle in front of my Baby Buddha who wears a mala I had made for me by my dear friend Sherry.

Buddha

I got up at 3am this morning after going to bed at midnight and was wide awake, wanting to write.

Do I Have to See Things?!

About an hour into writing the previous post, out of the corner of my eye I saw a flare of fire mid-air. It looked as if someone lit a match and was holding it up, but the hand and matchstick were erased.

Fire

I assumed it was not really a flame flying around, but turned to look at it and it vanished, not quickly, but it didn’t dawdle, either, starting at the bottom and finishing at the top lick of the fire. Along with that came a strong sense of smoke which took me on a field trip around the house a couple of times to make sure nothing was on fire.

Nothing was on fire. There was no flying flame. But, they thought they existed and revisited several (random) times throughout the day.

Oh, What a Mind Can Conjure

Hypomania

Happily, no dead carcass smell for a couple of days. That makes me happy.

The parfum du jour has been mint toothpaste. It is so strong it’s as if I had the tube held right under my nose.

There is no toothpaste around here.

It’s a tad disconcerting to have the floor boards slithering. Especially since they are laminate and all one piece across the whole floor. I sneer at it because I don’t want to fall and will be very angry if I do. It behaves, for the most part, when I am sitting and holding it down with my feet. But if a foot leaves the floor, the game is on.

How Much to Reveal

Bipolar Diary

I see the psych early this week and am still having loads of fun being awake and productive as hell.

I know that hypomania (for me) is a one-way ticket up (to mania) or down (to despairing depression). My hypomania doesn’t usually last long. I can often get a sense of which way I am going, but am either ignoring it or unable to decipher the clues.

Not Sooooo Bad

Bipolar Diary

My previous manias have not caused me to lose touch with reality. When it gets really bad, the hallucinations make it hard to remember they aren’t real, but I can remind myself they are a figment of my tilted brain.

(I’m laughing to myself as I italicize words for emphasis but you can hear me saying them out loud, right? I get quite emphatic in this state. I want to be understood. Clearly, understood. And I assume italics makes that happen?)

Just Sayin’

I don’t want meds to fix/change this.

Peter Frampton’s Mistakes Inspire Me!

As I’ve been listening to music, I connect a lot of what I’m hearing to writing.

When I watched Rick Beato‘s interview with Peter Frampton (the YouTube video is at the bottom), I found it interesting how Frampton’s words anticipated some of the questions I have had for decades: “What happens if I hate what I write after it’s written?

Frampton Comes Alive!

Peter Frampton Comes Alive

I was 15 years old when this album took the top spot in my stack of records. I memorized every word, including the rise and fall of drums and guitars. As I have gotten older, I now also recognize the piano and backing vocals more and love them, too.

His use of the talk box had me moving the needle back and back again so I could try and figure out what he was doing on “Do You Feel Like I Do.” We didn’t have the Internet to search questions like, “What is that sound Peter Frampton makes on ‘Do You Feel Like I Do?'” It was decades before I learned what a talk box was or how he made those word-sounds on the album.

Probably just like other 15-year old girls, it was listening to “Baby, I Love Your Way,” that had me swooning as I stared at Frampton’s curly locks on the album cover.

46 Years Later

And now I’m quite the seasoned lady and being able to watch this love of my youth in an interview brought tears of happiness. I sat rapt watching Beato talk to this distant love-idol. It was great listening to Frampton share about his writing and making music.

Then, he said several things that had me squinting-watching-replaying-taking notes, and replaying a few more times.

Frampton’s Lines of Impact

38:48 – “It’s hard for me to listen (to my old songs) because I hear things that should have been done that weren’t done.”

39:50 -“I can always find something that I don’t like about something I play, but that’s what makes you better because you go, ‘Well, I’m not going to make that mistake again.'”

40:10 – “Sometimes the mistake is good to leave in because then you wouldn’t have played all the stuff around it.”

40:17: – “I know it’s a mistake. Maybe some people don’t think of it as a mistake, but I do.”

Am I My Own Worst Critic?

Hardly. I’ve had almost 50 years of criticism for the words/opinions I’ve written. Sure, there are accolades, too, but the bites of judgment cut deep and leave gnarly scars.

I do judge my own writings, too. In blogs, I can go back and edit (and have). In print and email, that’s not so easy. I wince when I come across grammar and punctuation mistakes. When I make errors in judgment, that’s when I howl, “What was I thinking?!” and want to hang out on a deserted island for 1000 years. Sure, many of my views have changed over the years. And while I wish I could add a post script to those writings, I try to offer myself grace for my young woman naïveté.

Echoes of Big Magic

Elizabeth Gilbert wrote Big Magic: How to Live a Creative Life, and Let Go of Your Fear and it’s become a book I re-read every few months, hearing the perfect tidbits just when I need them.

Big Magic

When speaking of perfectionism (something I do not have), she also speaks about mistakes and judgments (something I do contend with).

“No matter how many hours you spend attempting to render something flawless, somebody will always be able to find fault with it. (There are people out there who still consider Beethoven’s symphonies a little bit too, you know, loud.)”

Gilbert’s best advice when worrying about mistakes, glitches, or utter failures:

“You don’t need to conduct autopsies on your disasters.”

I’m going to put my scalpel away and just keep writing.

Thank you, Peter Frampton!

The Color of Music

When I wrote the “Old Rock Stars,” post a few days ago, I had not thought of something I’ve heard in several YouTube Reaction videos about the musicians of today versus the musicians of the past.

Musicians now (since 1997) have the ability to “fix” their voices and music , making it more perfect, via something called Auto-Tune (the brand name). There are also other autotune (the process) applications and software that do the same thing. Autotune has become the generic name for correcting the pitch or entire keys of singers and musicians.

I know I am very late to the autotune game, but if I am, others might be, too. Many people on the Internet share their thoughts about autotuning music and instead of an out and out opinion, I would like to share information from three knowledgeable sources: Fil of Wings of Pegasus [YouTube channel], Dr. Brian May, writer, songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist for the band Queen as well as of Brian May Official [YouTube channel] and Rick Beato of Rick Beato [YouTube channel].

I Have Miniscule Knowledge or Understanding of Auto-Tune…

…but I have seen the graphics of singers with and without it and am learning to decipher the autotuning just by listening.

What I see with my eyes is how autotuning perfects the singer’s or instrumentalist’s pitch, pulling it from out-of-tune to in tune.

Fil from Wings of Pegasus shared what Freddie Mercury’s voice graph/wave forms without autotuning looks like next to what Michael Bublé’s autotuned singing looks like. Note that Fil said the producers can absolutely autotune without the singer’s knowledge or consent. We don’t know if Bublé asked for it, suggested it, or was surprised by it when he heard the finished product. Please watch this video to get the full explanation from an expert producer and musician instead of my novice and stumbling explanation.

Auto Tune Wings of Pegasus
Freddie Mercury is on the left and Michael Bublé is on the right. See how haphazard Freddie’s voice is on the graph? (Each line represents a musical note.) And then you can see Bublé’s graph is neat and on the lines and not squiggled all over. The squiggly lines are their vibratos. 

Wings of Pegasus Auto-Tune
Again, you can see the neat rises and falls of Bublé’s voice on the right side. If you look at the notes/lines, the program has taken all “out of tune” sounds (off the lines/notes) and brought them into tune (on the lines/notes). On Freddie’s side, there is one time he hits a note/line. Freddie had wonderful pitch, but no person has perfect pitch 100% of the time. Autotune takes that individuality away from voices. Again, the squiggly lines are their vibratos.

Queen’s Multi-Tracks

Yes, Queen and other bands around before Auto-Tune did make course corrections, but they were few and far between because they were working with tape and it was a bitch to cut and tape the recording tape together. Instead, what Brian May has said is Queen would sometimes do 12 tracks and then pick the best one for the record.

When recording moved to digital, it was easier to take the tracks recorded and piece them together like a puzzle, taking the best of each track to create the whole.

If Queen/Freddie Mercury were taking tracks and piecing them together (as some have suggested), why would he still be so “out of tune” that we can see above? Wouldn’t they have corrected it to make it more perfect?

Live Autotune Is Here

I can’t even begin to share my horror (Oh look! I do have an opinion!) at having autotune for live performances. I find it disgusting that during “live” shows, singers are using autotune software that changes their key/pitch as their voices hit the microphone and before it leaves the speakers. Never mind all the other technology “artists” use to shoot for a perfect performances.

Here’s an example of live autotuning gone wrong with a Michael Bublé appearance on TV. Apparently he does know he is being autotuned.

That’s about all I can say about that. (As Forrest Gump would say.)

Voices & Instruments

Autotune does the same thing to instruments as it does to voices; fixes/changes the out-of-tune notes.

In “Inside The Rhapsody – Queen” (Full Documentary) [Queen Official YouTube channel] (video below), Brian May discusses the making of the song “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He takes the different tracks apart so we are able to hear the nuances they created to make this iconic song.

At 14:45, Brian begins sharing how the layering (overdubs) of the voices that made Queen unique were done. Layering over layering over layering, voices can be heard and, for me, it’s flabbergasting how intricate BoRhap is when pulled apart.

I’m bringing this up because Brian specifically talks about parts of voices and instruments that are not in tune:

16:25 – “You might hear a little glitch on the piano, but it would stay that way. That’s the human way it was.”

19:51 – “A little glitch there, but who cares? It’s live.”

35:42 – “It’s not perfectly double-tracked. Freddie could have done that if he wanted to. (It’s) just slightly out. A bit of a different expression track to track.”

Imperfection is Perfect for Music

Brian May speaks throughout the video about the “color” and “size” of the music and voices. He speaks about the layering, but also the different sounds the instruments make and how different placements in the room (and the placement of the microphones around the room) add that uniqueness to the piece. His implication is the differences, no matter how minor, can add color and “fullness” to the finished song.

Therefore, mistakes, while making the musician wince sometimes hearing it with every replay of the record, might be just what the song needs to create the sound of a real human voice/human-played instrument communicating feelings and the messages they want to get across.

Rick Beato Has the Last Word

“Modern Music’s Death By Auto-Tune” – Rick Beato [YouTube channel]

Hypomania. Oh, How I Love Thee!

I am a cleaning dervish.

My vocabulary is exemplary with clients. My mouth is pouring out words I rarely use. My brain is on fire!

I am writing like mad.

Writing Like the Wind

I am lost as to time. I thought yesterday (Friday) was Monday all day long. I have appointments on Monday and was ready for them wondering where my connections were… why were they so late? I still barely know what day it is. I keep looking at the calendar to see where I am.

I no longer care one whit about the hallucinations. They are worth this glorious activity and brain power.

I’m tempted to cancel the psych appointment next week, but I can hear all of you now… “NO!” so I won’t.

But, oh my Goddess, is this so delicious!

I can do anything