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Saturday, March 27, 2004

Another Friday, another beer...

My boss really pissed me off today, but I ENDEAVOR to stay positive, so I'm going to let her fall by the wayside. I find her petty and ridiculous at times, and this is not how I want to spend time on this blog.
As the clock turned midnight EST (I'm in Central Time), my sister turned 45. She's nice, but naive and completely unrealistic.

I just realized that I've begun this blog tonight taking pot shots at two women. I don't want to give the reader the impression that I'm a chauvinist. I happen to live with Lovely Lady Leslie, the most wonderful woman in the world (she's in bed; she craves sleep; I'm a ghoul). Up until Leslie, I had a horrible track record with women. I now realize that I kept getting together with women that were FAR too much like my mother, who's a sadistic bully and a traitor to her own children. You know how Dylan said, "If you see her say hello", well if you see my mother say "Fuck You". Thanks to Leslie, I now realize how sick and evil my mother's approach to parenting is, and I shall strive for SOOOOO much better when Leslie and I eventually marry and have children. Leslie makes me realize how wonderful life can be. I'm in her debt for the rest of my life.

And so I'm hanging, listening to Stephen Stills' "Manassas" (a forgotten classic). I'm on my second beer (Goose Island Hex Nut Brown Ale- straight from the variety pack - not a bad brew). I get a hair cut tomorrow. Since I moved to Milwaukee, I have YET to have a decent haircut. The thinning hair and greying genes are not heavy in my family, so at (nearly) 38, I have a thick head of brown hair. I HATE cutting it. As I get older, my hair causes me great guilt, as some of my greatest friends have no hair whatsoever. I used to go to a Russian barber who told me "you hev very nice heer. Very tick". He was an avid fisherman and a great fan of 40's and 50's jazz standards. I'm a Russophile, but it's hard to watch people from a distance who've never known freedom in their lifetimes stumble so badly. Russia, unfortunately, is slowly slipping back into dictatorship, and it seems like they don't even care. I used to think I'd never see the Berlin Wall come down. Until the last Russian election with Putin, I thought I'd never see an East Bloc dictatorship again. I guess I'm not an oracle. The world is repeating itself in frightening ways, but with transistorization, the speed at which the world repeats history has reached about one generation of actual time. I wonder where the true visionaries are hiding nowadays. It is ironic that the greatest mind of the last 10 or 15 years, Stephen Hawking, is more machine than functioning human being. Is he the harbinger of things to come?

I'll leave now to urinate, ruminate and meditate on all I've written here. Live well, dear reader.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

It's been a few days...

And so we find ourselves in the midst of March Madness. Being from Philly, I have to root for the St. Joe's Hawks.
When I was younger, I spent a lot of time in a bar called Ray's, that was just behind the St. Joe's campus in West Philly. It was a place where you could get a drink before you turned 21. Walt the bartender was usually more lit up than the patrons. I remember one night when I had a heavy dinner, and went to Ray's to drink up. I ended up throwing up on the sidewalk across the street in front of a thrift store whose dollars went to a campaign for the homeless. Then I turned 21. I went there on my 21st birthday to say goodbye. I was too old for the place.
My good feelings are still flowing. I'll let the readers in on a little secret. As of this moment, my name isn't John Paul Spencer, but I will be changing it sometime soon. I see it as a rebirth. There will never be a force on Earth that will be able to wipe the smile off of my face on the day that the world knows me as Mr. Spencer. Things inside me are beginning to change, and the name will seal the deal.
Good night. Vote Democratic. Give love a BIGGER chance.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Well, it's been a few days.

I'm looking forward to the weekend. On Saturday, I play my first childhood love; street hockey. We have an informal group of mostly English grad students who play on designated Saturdays at Ellen Park in Milwaukee. It's messy, it's unskilled, but it's VERY fun. Afterwards, a cookout with my meat of choice. I chose Andouille sausage. I love that stuff.

I'm working on a song called, "The Other Side Of The River". It's rather dark, but I like that. It owes a lot to me listening to the work of David Ackles. It may take a while to find just the write language to tell the story of this one, but thus far the payoff has been quite remarkable, at least to my ear.

And forward I go, awaiting my tax refunds.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Lunch time finds me behind my desk.

I'm a medical coding supervisor for a small medical billing company in the Midwest. This is what I'm doing this year. I tend to change jobs a lot. With the economy being as decimated as it is now, it may be awhile before I can change jobs again, but one never knows.

I think I'll play the Open Mic tonight at the Miramar theatre downtown. I'm going to look into it in a few minutes after I complete this post. I need to re-oil the vocal pipes in public for a change. My dog is getting sick of me. It drives him nuts when I sing Laura Nyro songs at him. Poor guy. Poor Laura. She died.

Monday, March 08, 2004

An uneventful Sunday, but a positive one.

I went with Leslie (from now on to be referred to as "Lovely Lady Leslie") to the local mall just to get out of the house. Wisconsin winters are fairly unforgiving to the point that we've been in virtual hibernation for the whole of the winter. We walked around for a little while.

At the mall they have this little circular train track that the kids can ride for $1.25. I noticed that every time the train went around and passed the lady who ran the train, she waved to the kids inside the little cars. I thought to myself, "What a GREAT train lady!".

After the mall, we went to the Old Country Buffet. I don't make a habit of this. I usually go there when I feel like my body is down a quart of starch. True to form, I ate turkey(twice), rice (twice), stuffing (also twice), a salad (HA! Fooled ya...I only had one salad), a few glasses of Diet Coke and two small desserts. We got home after going shopping for pet supplies (we have a dog and a cat). Almost immediately, I fell asleep for 4 hours (starch overload).

And I have enough recycled all-starch-burned energy to share my day here. My residual happiness is bleeding through to today. I bid all a good night. It's just that simple.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

The most heart-opening experience happened to me a few minutes ago...

As previously stated, I live in Milwaukee. The radio stations up here play unusual oldies from time to time. A few weeks ago, one of them played "One Toke Over The Line" by Brewer and Shipley. Other than that one song, I didn't believe I had ever heard any other song by them...

Fast-forward a few weeks, and I decided to use some of the bonus points I'd accumulated through one of my 5 CD club memberships, and I bought "The Best Of Brewer & Shipley". So, I listened to 6 tracks, including the wonderfully quirky "One Toke..." and the rest of the music was ok. Then I started to listen to track 7, a track called "Witchi-Tai-To".

I can only guess that this was a song I used to sing in kindergarten in 1971. Sometimes, sounds, faces and memories from the distant past hide in your mind just waiting to be rediscovered. It's so easy to let them just lay there when you get older, stuffed in a cobwebbed space of your mind, with your innocence, your optimism and all of those feelings of indestructibleness that come from youth. When I heard this song again, I could only smile. The words echoing in my head like an awakening mantra. I wanted to cry, but I was too happy to do anything else but smile, shake my head and sing along.

At this very moment in my life, I forget all of my failures. I forget all the things that have hurt me. I forget that I threw my innocence away like a lint ball on my t-shirt. In one 6-1/2 minute burst of song, I feel reborn and immortal all over again. The world has grown as big as it once was when I viewed it with the eyes of a child. I remember that I have senses that I've probably set to the side for far too long. The world has lost its tarnish and shines like a brand new dime. I truly love, and I must become a friend to all things. In the long-forgotten-now-unearthed words of Brewer & Shipley "What a spirit Spring is bringing 'round my head/makes me feel glad that I'm not dead".

I bid all readers peace. I bid all things the sweet breath of life.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Well, I warned you about the beer...

I'm about 7-8 beers into the evening. If it wasn't for Leslie (the significant other) being tired, I'd have more than 8 ounces of beer in front of me at this very moment.

So, I find myself listening to "Electric Music For The Mind And Body" by Country Joe and the Fish, drinking a Leinenkugel's (a local Milwaukee microbrew) and generally enjoying life. I'm currently IMing with my old friend Brian. We go back about 10 years through a common employer. To this day, we entertain each other simply by once sharing space. THIS is the stuff of life. The goal of life is the following: you're in Heaven, you're just hanging out, and someone says a name from your past and you either smile or laugh or both. Ladies and Gentlemen, BE THAT NAME!!!

I have nothing more to add this evening.

Friday, March 05, 2004

March 5, 2004
12:03 AM CST

Bless me computer, for I have existed. It has been two days since my last blog and....oh nevermind. Just a Catholic flashback.

Well, it's raining like I'm Noah in Milwaukee, Land of Beer and Cheese, Home of the Mullet, where heavy metal is still inexplicably worshipped. It's an interesting change from Philadelphia, that's for sure.

Yea, I'm from Philly. Actually I'm from in order of appearance) Drexel Hill, PA; Enfield, Connecticut; Phoenixville, PA; Plantation, FL; Wilmington, North Carolina; Havertown, PA; Philadelphia, PA; West Chester, PA; Greensboro, NC; West Chester, PA (again, in three different places) and finally, here in Milwaukee.
I enjoy the Midwest. After years and years of kneejerk bad attitudes in the Northeast, it's nice to meet people who are nice OUTSIDE of their job descriptions just because. I also like that both of my senators are Democrats, unlike the ignoramuses in Pennsylvania.

I think in order for this to be a successful blog, I think the length of it needs to take time to read roughly equivalent to walking the length of an average-sized apartment, so I'll end here. Thanks for reading. I hope you're drier than me right now.

Oh, and as a warning, I REALLY wanted to recommend the new Johnatha Brooke album "Back In The Circus", and then I heard the dreadful covers of "Fire and Rain" and "God Only Knows" that are on it, and I was crushed. Some songs are untouchable. "God Only Knows" off of "Pet Sounds" is a masterpiece. I'm NOT on a major label and I KNOW to cover that one is to have a death wish............Good night.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

As is obvious, this is my first entry.

I am doing this primarily to keep my mind working. Given the current leadership crisis in America, it's easy to let the mind calcify. I figure if I have something to do every day, such as this blog, I keep moving forward. It's been a difficult personal journey up to this point (this will become apparent in future posts).

I'll be throwing anything in that comes to mind. Hopefully I keep my OWN interest, let alone the interest of any possible readers.

I'll keep this post short. As I stated, who I am and where I'm going will become clear in future posts. Sorry I'm starting with a wimper. Hopefully, through experience, love and a touch of beer, this will be a worthy read in the future.