My Humble Abode

or… the life and times of a computer addicted guitarist

Rain

Posted on by Joe

1.

They complain about the weather. Grey wet cold blowing down the streets along the canal. Cars splashing plumes of dirty wet onto the sidewalks, rotting leaves turning to sludge, feet wet, pants wet, jacket soaked through, cold.

I can’t help but notice the glow of the lights and how much more magic it seems in this dark wet air. Ripples in reflections on the water coating everything. Everything glistens, everything is clean, the air is cool and wet in my nose.

I love the rain. Let it pour. Let the streets flood. I want a canoe and no portage between us. I’ll paddle my way to your house, climb in your window. I would make a campfire in the middle of your floor, cook you dinner upon it and yes I brought a bottle of wine.

2.

When I was thirteen I went on a canoe trip with the Boy Scouts along the Minnesota Boundary Waters. Our guide was 18 and this was his first trip out on his own. He couldn’t canoe. We spent more time waiting than following him. It rained the first two days. We were soaked. He got his canoe stuck in a stream and he tipped it, soaking our radio, my clothes and his.

He got hypothermia and was airlifted out. The trip was magic after that. I caught a Pike, a good 24 inches, thought it was dead. It just floated in the water beside the boat. Until I pulled it out. That was a fight! Flip flopping in the canoe between my legs, I had it in my hands then it was back in the water. It was so beautiful.

I saw how the splash from my paddle made little water beads that shot across the surface tension. We swam in the lakes in the rain, ate slow cooked grains. We were all so sad to come home.

3.

I lived in Monroe Washington with my Uncle for a year. It’s farm country, lots of horses. I was forced into babysitting weekdays and working off the cost of boarding their horses at the farm where they kept them. It rained everyday for six months.

The horses would work the ground into the thickest, knee-deep mud imaginable. I’d have to bring them out in the mornings, clean their stalls, bring them back in and feed them. There were 51 of them, mostly quarter horses. They were huge.

There was one day it was really pouring down. I had finished feeding all the horses and was heading home when I saw I had left one of the stallions, Lucky, out in his pasture. He was pissed. I grabbed the lead went up to his gate, a single thin electrified wire, stood in the knee-deep mud and opened it.

He shook his monstrous head over me, bellowed loudly and ran off along the perimeter of his pasture. He made his way around and was heading straight at me at full gallop. I couldn’t move, I was stuck in the mud. The only thing I could to was stand my ground.

He stopped so suddenly not two feet in front of me. My heart was pounding. I go to clip the lead on his halter, he shakes his huge head knocking my hand away and tries to bite me. I’d had enough. I took the heavy metal clip and smacked him hard on the nose. His 2000 lbs sulked down and he let me put the lead on him. He walked back to his stall like a kid being told to go to his room.

4.

I’ve been all of these things again in the last year. The unexperienced guide getting hypothermia and being airlifted out, the onry stallion throwing a fit because he’s wet cold and hungry. I’m the streets glistening under the lights, the reflections rippling gold, a canoe silent on the water, water beads gliding on surface tension. I’m all those things everyday.

I’ve been caught in the rain with the woman I love, soaked to the skin, even our underwear. We get back to her place and peel everything off, have a hot shower together, tea, blankets and tv by the bed.

I love the rain. Let it pour. Let it flood the streets. I want a canoe and no portage between us.

The end of a chapter, and the story continues

Posted on by Joe

Tomorrow I go to Divorce court. I was happily married for five years to a wonderful woman. She is the reason I am here in Berlin. I followed her across an ocean, two culture shocks (German and Turkish) and a few times back and forth between Berlin and the West Coast.

We had a lovely time, it wasn’t always easy, in fact it was down right hard sometimes but we always made it through. Until 2008 when it became clear that we were going different directions. That is the simple version. The truth is much more complicated and unclear and this is not where I want to go into that. The point is we separated and started new lives away from each other.

Now, after three years of living separate, the divorce is finally going through. It has thrown up a whirlwind of emotions from that relationship, my relationship with Jovanka (I was “married” the entire time we were together which was a huge weight on us both) as well as my general state of being. It’s been one key factor in all this craziness and desperate need for change that I have been going through. I’m fortunate enough that we still talk and have a nice relationship, though very minimal. It’s still hard for both of us as well because there is still a lot of love and respect for each other.

I’m hoping this official end will give us something. I’m hoping for a release of some sort, to not feel like I failed and the space to be me, untethered by the weight of the past, at least that past. And I wish the same for her. She’s an amazing woman who deserves an amazing life and all that goes along with it. I hope she goes and gets it.

So, where does that leave me now? Well, if all goes well, I have a date of Friday with my dream woman. The only catch is, I cannot contact her until then. I already messed up and sent an email asking for help with a computer problem and almost blew it. Why no contact you ask? It’s complicated, but the short version is we’re both pretty shaky and trying to rebuild ourselves as well as the relationship and the relationship was all encompassing, meaning we did everything together and she gave everything to us and the band, while I tried but mostly floundered about not able to decide if I could deal with it or not. So now the goal is to give each other the space we both need to live fulfilling lives and to be able to come together and share that in a healthy way.

Does that sound good? I think so. I’m still trying to figure it out. How to make it work, how to be the best Joe I can and be the best partner I can. You see, I would love to spend my life with this woman. It’s not going to be easy, not at first anyway. I have a lot of work to do on myself before I can be a good partner, but I know that the man I want to be is in here, and he’s a badass.

The most amazing thing is that J. takes me seriously after all the flip flopping I did in our two year relationship. This actually doesn’t amaze me so much as give me real hope. I’ve been fighting myself for months now trying to rebuild this ship and get myself seaworthy again. She sees that and sees the real changes that I’ve made and is willing to give this another go. I’m going to make it my best.

•j•

From here on I climb

Posted on by Joe

These words warm me up, get my engine rolling until I start to tumble forth with the wobble of a bent wheel, slowly at first, jolting with each turn.

I think of you and my wheel straightens. I build handlebars from your collar bones and I drive this poem towards the star that sits above your house.

I circle the block, laying tracks of words just wide enough apart that your icemaschin can travel their length and follow me out.

I stop at your window. The city is gone. I’m outside your house on green grass beneath a large San Franciscan oak. I am a river. My collarbone bike and the tracks of words parked by your door, waiting.

I felt your heart trembling like a delicate bird as you dreamt next to me those nights ago. I held it for you, cradling it gentle in my hands. It is covered in downy white feathers.

It is so soft.

I could still make out the briuse from where I dropped it. Deep purple and green seeping through the flesh, hidden just under the feathers. I kissed it and placed it back in your chest with a piece of star to keep out the dark.

Come in, under my skin. I’ll show you this new architecture I’ve built myself upon. It started as matchsticks glued in neat triangles, stacked neatly point to point. It’s become math, golden geometry, strong as the stars in your eyes.

I have found a way forward. There’s a path rolling out before me. It leads up, over mountains and clouds. You can see whole countries from it’s summit.

I can see yours unfolding next to it.

Come into my arms. Ride with me. This river has changed direction. It’s a blessing I’ve worn my knees out praying for. Come feel the cool waters ripple and curl soft over your golden skin.

I will wash the glass from your eyes, clean the blood from your tears and heal the wounds left in your soul. Your swan heart can swim in my gentle current. My hands are huge, lie back in their strength. There you can find rest, now and forever.

Keeping going

Posted on by Joe

I went out to run this morning and wasn’t feeling it. Not one bit. I was tired, my body didn’t feel good, I was sad and wallowing in things that I can’t change. I almost broke down and quit just before the bridge to Görlitzer park. I was just so tired, phisically, and emotionally tired.
One of the reasons I started running was to push myself. I got the feeling over the summer that I’m a hell of a lot stronger than I give myself credit for. I’ve tried to incorporate that into every part of my life since then. It’s been a lot of work and I don’t always win. Today these two states of mind came head to head right there in the first kilometer of my run. It was quite a fight, a few tears were shed and today I won with one of my better times. 9.5k in 42 min.
December is going to be an interesting month for me. I have no concerts planned, the catering job I do has no work this month, I’ve got this job as a barista but no scheduled shifts yet, so things are looking tight. But, I’ve been talking myself up to busking. Now this is something that works amazing for me in the summer, going from Cafe to Cafe, playing four songs and passing the hat. I Average about 50€ an hour. It wasn’t easy to start, I felt like I was begging, up until I started selling cd’s as well, there were nights I cleared 150€ in two hours.
Winter is tougher though. You have to go in to the cafe’s, it feels more intrusive and it’s cold and wet out, there’s a thousand more reasons why it won’t work. But I’m going to give it a shot this month. If it works out, I’ll be golden and It’ll give me space to try out the new music that has started coming.
I’ve also started work on a new EP. It’s the first time I’ve set out with the goal to make an album on my own. Jovanka was such a huge help with Watch Now, she really pulled me through the whole process. I’m curious to see what comes out of this on my own. I have five songs sitting here waiting for me to do something with them, two of them are screaming for lyrics, vocal melodies are more or less there. There are a couple of brand new ideas that are floating around finding thier shapes as well as two covers I’m going to play with and see what I can do with them.
The goal is to get demos done this month then record them in January. Where and how that will happen is a mystery. I’d love to do it myself at home but don’t have the equipment and my computer is starting to give up the ghost. There is the possibility of going back into the studio again but that always stresses me out and frustrates me to no end. I enjoyed recording the Scheining songs in Jovanka’s Leuchtturm, it was cozy and warm and we got good results. I also like the idea of capturing the sound of this space I’m in.
So today I lay out the plan for the Ep in my EP journal, time to start building this little world, fill it with earth. air, water and fire, mix it all up and see what atmospheres develop.
Here’s to keeping on.

On the train again

Posted on by Joe

It was an incredibly beautiful morning. I don’t know if you can see it in the pic, but the moon was still up and almost full. Amazing start for the tour. I was up at 5:00 with only three hours sleep. I’m much to excited to be tired yet. But, now that I’m on the train I’m sure it won’t take long for me to relax a bit.

One thing I did notice though is Google maps doesn’t account for heavy baggage when calculating walking time. I’m quit happy I left early.

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And I brought reading material for the trip. Let’s see how much java I need to learn java today :-)

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Poster and traveling nerves…

Posted on by Joe

Rough draft...

I just did this rough draft for a show we have coming up in Ummanz on August 11th. I really like the idea of this but feel it’s too busy. I had tried it without the mountain collage, but it felt to mepty. Hmmm.

On another note… I was also supposed to be playing two shows this weekend. Unfortunatley the concert in Wien got canceled because of street construction.

Very lame.

But I’m heading out there anyway because I already have tickets and I’ve never been to Vienna. I leave tomorrow for St. Gallen, Switzerland and am pretty excited about that. geuss I should get packing ;-)

just got some great news! A friend of mine offered his house for a concert.
Phil Rocks!
And can’t for get the gig tomorrow in La Buena Onda

baritone and renters woes

Posted on by Joe

I’m loving my baritone more and more these days. Instead of working on the beats yesterday like I said I would, I spent a good three hours playing bari. I started out playing to the drum tracks I recorded for M., then started on a couple of new themes. It was a great session.

My baritone in her natural habitat.

The day wasn’t perfect though. Our landlord came over to check out some damage from last winter and to note the non-heating-heater. I started to ask him about our deposit (which we still haven’t paid) and he told me that’s it’s on its way to court. Awesome.

The things he came to look at, are the same problems we told him about last december. He came in january, took pictures and said he would take care of it. He didn’t. So, I looked up online what one does here in germany in such situations.

I wrote a letter with all the points and set a deadline saying when they should be taken care of, as well as a “mietminderung” (lower rent) when the deadline wasn’t met. I brought it to him in his office and the first thing he did was to draw a big x across it (with a pencil mind you) and say he was pissed. He threatened to send us a “Kundigung” (evict us) if we did anything like that again.

Frustrating. I can’t even start on the relationship issues that plague me. At least busking went all right last night.

This is harder than I imagined…

Posted on by Joe

So, I’ve been working on this thing for probably close to 16 hours now. It’s a great way of doing nothing else. The most difficult thing about it is that I had a layout planned that I can’t implement because of my nonexistent knowledge of php and this whole WordPress mess.

I’m really new to this “web-design” thing and thought after having done the three sites that I could handle this.

So I’m going to take a much needed break from being frustrated with why this element won’t let me float it there, and finish working on the beats for two new Scheining songs.

I’m tempted to post them tonight to try to get some feedback. The only problem with that is, my other band mate doesn’t like when I post things without her approval. grr…

Hello world!

Posted on by Joe

I’m currently experimenting with creating my own WordPress theme… If you happen to be here now, while things are under construction, please bear with me.
Thanks,
Joe