Ronzani III

Toeing The Line Since 1999

I didn’t realize that when I vowed to leave the gambling world forever, forever meant two weeks. I was seeing life like a gambler again and domestic life had no thrill to it, no stakes. The bzzzzz of the toothbrush sounded like the drone of daily drudgery, of monogamy, madness, and death.

—Beth Raymer

I needed that. I didn’t know that I needed that because I didn’t even know that existed.  But my god did I need that. The urgency. The eye contact. Wide and intense. Hers told me, “I’m giving myself to you. This is not easy for me.” I looked back as if to say, “We’re safe together.”

Then we slept. I had the good fortune of waking up before her and seeing her beautiful yet burdened face. Ordinarily bearing the weight of things she’s unwilling to talk about, I finally got to see it relaxed. Her heart had slowed. She and I were at peace, however momentary.

I needed that. 

How Lucky Can One Man Get by John Prine on 1984-02-06, Houston TX, Rockefeller's, SBD

Colbert quoted this John Prine song on Monday’s interview with Jeff Bridges & Lois Lowry which really caught me off guard. It was surprising to hear him quoting Prine at all much less a song that isn’t even all that famous. It isn’t even on his 41 track anthology. Colbert must really be a fan.

He used the quote to make the sarcastic point that forgetting is actually a good thing, after which Lowry exasperatedly replies, “You remembered four lines of poetry! I can’t do that!”

It was lovely.

Update: Colbert actually interviewed John Prine at one point and said that he, indeed, was a big fan and that “How Lucky” is his favorite song. He quoted the same line to Prine and followed up with the question, “What are the things you don’t remember?” Nice.

Update: Holy moly! When Prine was on they did a web exclusive performance of the song “Paradise,” one of my all-time favorites. And Colbert freakin’ duets with him. Then afterwards he tells Prine that that was a lifelong dream. How awesome is that?? Unfortunately I can’t embed Comedy Central videos in the Tumblr dashboard, but that little box at the bottom links to the video.

Riot Fest is fast approaching, which has me thinking about last year’s, namely what happened while the Replacements played this song. Bodi inexplicably wanted to go ride the ferris wheel and was badgering me to join him- I guess because it was Sunday night and it was the last chance we’d have to do that. That said, it’s a fucking ferris wheel! And I’m watching the fucking Replacements! I failed to see the conflict. Nevertheless, he left defiantly to go ride alone while I stood pat and watched the Replacements by myself. It wasn’t ideal, but I’ll tell you, I would’ve felt like a real bitch if I found myself harnessed behind that safety bar next to him about a quarter mile from the headliner I’d paid a pretty penny to witness.

And this got me thinking, who could’ve gotten me on that ferris wheel? I’ve boiled it down to 3 manic individuals. What they share is a magnetism, a beauty, a scattered intelligence and a sense of purpose within their mania. It’s a demanding combination that crushes my convictions and sucks me into their gravitational fields. Everything I may have wanted dissipates and I become a slave to their whims. Nothing else matters. It’s like getting knocked over by a giant wave and momentarily being pulled under. And for a second or two you’re scrambling against competing currents until you finally regain your equilibrium. When you do your eyes are wide, your heart is racing and your breathing is intense. It’s crazy and dangerous and you just want more and more.  

And then it ends, as things do. And a crushing, dangerous despair enters me. It’s counterintuitive, I know. But for me, that kind of exhilaration has always been met by an emotional crash. I’m too overwhelmed to rationally conclude that all feelings pass. To tell myself to wait it out. So I binge. It’s vital that I get rid of whatever this is. And I do. And I make ill-advised phone calls while blacked out. Then days later I ponder whether a quiet, brutal, internal despair would’ve been better or worse than the embarrassment suffered. But I’ve always been too scared to find out.

So that’s who would’ve gotten me on the ferris wheel. The one’s who’ve gotten me closest to the sun. The one’s who’ve left me at the bottom of the ocean. 

And Jenny Lewis.

I was properly medicated during this show. I went off the deep end later when stakes were low. In my world, that’s a success. Mercy though, I was swept into the tornado of an extraordinary young woman last night. I’m gonna have the image of her smiling eyes peering through her Eyes Wide Shut mask branded into me for awhile.

We went from the 300’s to front row in the lower bowl to the floor to backstage in a matter of hours, starting before the show and continuing during. Absolutely wild. 

I’m pretty sure all of that didn’t happen (it did though)

Wow. Matt drank my limited edition Jenny Lewis Voyager wine while I was in Portland. I went to the tracking info today because it seemed like it was taking a long time to get here. Then - oh shit, it was delivered on the 15th. It was signed for. Maybe someone accepted the package, stashed it somewhere and forgot to tell me on my return. So I go rummaging through shit looking for it. Nothing. Then what do I find? Under the sink in the basement is the bottle, uncorked and sadly drained.

I really wish there were some way he could plead ignorant on this. Like oh, it was just sitting around like your average bottle of wine and it was a mistake. But no. Impossible. My mail was opened. The bottle was looked at. He knew what it was. There was probably even in a receipt in there that said how much I paid for it. And even if he just blindly uncorked it, it was in the fucking mail! Have I ever had a bottle of wine shipped to me before? Of course fucking not! I’m not one to pay shipping costs on wine I intend to drink. I go to the gas station and pay $3.50 because I’m a drunk, not a connoisseur.

So in that moment one of the following possibilities occurred:

  1. He was so lazy that instead of just going to said gas station for said $3.50 bottle of his own wine, he just flagrantly disregarded feelings and property and went with the closer option.
  2. And this is clearly the one. He was having one of his increasingly common erratic tirades and was butt hurt about something, likely related to me being in Portland, and decided that it was a suitable form of revenge. Well it worked. Congrats. I’m pissed.

I got it because I thought it was a fucking cool promotion. I never buy collectors shit, but this seemed like something that would actually be cool for the shelf. And it came with a download of the album, which felt good. I buy music on a depressingly rare basis due to cost and the existence of Spotify. But that’s a separate tangent. 

This fucking brat. He’s the only fucking person I know who feels wronged about something (dubiously most of the time) and exacts his revenge with an inequity so massive it’s unfathomable. And he feels fucking vindicated. It’s sick. Probably literally.

So naturally I throw a WTF hissy fit. His response: “Grow the fuck up.” If I didn’t know better I’d think he was trolling me. But he’s not. He believes I was the one who was wrong. I shouldn’t be mad. I need to calm down.

It’s impossible to understand. And in time I’ll be more in tune to the bigger picture of whatever the fuck is going on with him. But right now I just want to fucking break shit I’m so fucking mad. Fucking hell.

Maria Bamford is one of the top comedians in the country, but like many other people she suffers from bipolar disorder. Maria has discovered a website that helps her cope with the stigma of treating mental illness by using humor and community.

(Source: zerosara, via paulftompkins)

I went to therapy today. I have a tendency to rattle off hypotheses about my shit while there in the hopes that at some point the guy will either confirm or refute them based on his years of experience. But that never really happens. You go there hoping for wise old Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting, but instead you get someone who’s primarily quiet and looks like your worst dressed, nerdiest co-worker on Casual Friday.

What he does do, however, is he constantly tries to counter hyper-negativity with an alternative perspective. For example, I talked today about how I thought the experience of going to the wedding in Portland was a test (going somewhere alone and being surrounded by and having to socialize with people I mostly didn’t know). And I failed that test tremendously because I was a fucking nervous wreck the entire time.

So he says, “Well that’s just one opinion. I could say to you that just going there with the knowledge that you wouldn’t know a lot of people was tremendously courageous.”

And I said, “You could say that. And maybe you even mean it. But I certainly don’t believe you or feel that way.” I suppose that was pretty dickish, but it’s supposed to be an honest environment.

Anyway, I figured that was that. Nothing gained from that exchange. But now I’m thinking that perhaps the goal is not to have an obvious verbal breakthrough, but merely to implant that positive counter-thought into the way I process shit.

Case in point: I was telling him how I was worried that I’m Daniel Johnston (I’m always making loose musician and athlete comps in my head, only because I like music and I like sports- not because I think their lives and mine are comparable). Anyway, the point was that maybe I’ll just end up getting worse as I age and have to end up increasingly reliant on family versus becoming more independent. He didn’t know who Daniel Johnston was, so the thought was a bit lost. 

But then tonight I had this thought:

In doing some quick math, John Darnielle was born in ‘67 and Tallahassee came out in 2002, so that would mean he was probably writing those songs when he was about 34-35. And I know the subjects aren’t autobiographical, but I like knowing that he was older than me when he was having these dark, dark thoughts (referencing the lyrics from the album and the song above). So if I’m going to project an unreasonable floor on myself (Johnston), I suppose it’s only fair to project a concurrently unreasonable ceiling (Darnielle). At least that provides the head space to quietly and contentedly fall somewhere in the reasonable middle.

It’s not much, but maybe that’s the invisible hand of therapy at work- incrementally altering thought patterns enough to eventually turn a corner and get to an okay place.

Or maybe that’s thorough and complete bullshit. Maybe believing the right bullshit is what gets you through. I don’t know. This song is fucking great though.

Update: I shouldn’t think of Daniel Johnston as a “floor.” He’s very talented and wrote tons of great songs and he still plays shows and what not. It’s just that the whole needing to be taken care of in your 50’s because you’re severely mentally ill thing is horrifying. But I love him. He’s not a “floor.” If he’s that then I’m a basement right now.