I only ever started using social media (back in the days of MySpace and Loopt and Brightkite) with the intention of promoting my music. That's worked out OK, at best. While I've made it to ReverbNation's top 40 local artists in Lyndhurst, NJ and managed to stay there over the past week or so, and I thank everyone who's listened and helped me get there, it's obvious to me that most people aren't really paying much attention to my music. I've got several Facebook friends and Twitter followers who are "Doctor Who" fans, yet no one's said anything about the line in one of my songs that's taken almost verbatim from one of the more powerful episodes of the past four years. (No, I'm not going to tell you which line and which song; if you're honestly interested, listen and find it.) I'm linked to hundreds of people on the different networks listed above, and have been shamelessly plugging my ReverbNation page and my "Everything's Different Now" music video, and if all of those people listened or watched once, my stats would be higher... so clearly not all of them have.
Not that I'm bitter, or upset, that they haven't. My music isn't to everyone's taste, and people are busy, and some people don't spend much time on social media to begin with... I get it. I can't expect everyone I know to support me or care, and I'm certainly not hoping to make a living at it. I can't keep pushing either, though, and I can't be too supportive anymore of those who can't spare me a click or two once in a while. There are, frankly, also too many people on the various networks who seem to post mainly for affirmation, to get people to like their selfies or favorite their tweets, so they can feel better about themselves. If you don't actually have something original to say, pardon me for not listening any longer. I won't even address the spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes... ;-)
So, yeah, the daily posts on social media shall hereby cease, at least for several weeks. I'll still write the occasional 'blog post here, though most of you don't seem to read those either. Heh. And my photographs will continue to be added to the Gallery... of Death! even though I won't be posting any more to Facebook, Twitter, and G+ for now. There were always many, many more pics in the Gallery anyway, and I should be getting some more of the older ones up this weekend, too. I'm still going to write and record my own music (I was never doing it for you anyway, but for me; it's nice when someone acknowledges my tunes occasionally, however); I'm hoping to get at least one new song done this weekend, in fact, and a new album, whether it's called Tougher Than Flannel or something else, should be released in 2015. I'm still working with Greta's Unmentionables, too, and I think we're just about ready to get "The Bite" behind us and start putting together a new song.
I'm still not particularly happy, and maybe that is a good thing for my music. Depression washes over me, then washes away, then comes back. While there were negative events in 2014 (my dad taking seriously ill back in January, my beloved chinchilla Meggy passing away just days after Valentine's, downed airliners, conflicts in the Ukraine and Syria and Palestine, Ebola, my kitty Preeti getting sick toward the end of the year), there were positive ones, too (my dad bouncing back, my doing three mud runs and a 5K and the No Pants Subway Ride and Pillow Fight Day, acknowledgment and exposure of wrongdoing by both the CIA and civil police departments, my trip to London, the refreshing humility and humanity of Pope Francis, détente with Cuba, seeing Monty Python and Tori Amos and Nine Inch Nails and Paolo Nutini and the Offspring and Goli and Xenia Sky and Tania Stavreva and Tessa Makes Love and Bob freakin' Dylan live). I met several people in real life I'd previously only interacted with via social media, and that was pretty cool. I hit all five boroughs of New York City in a single day. While some days are better than others, my microcosm and my macrocosm are mostly balanced.
Mostly. This was a hard Christmas season to get through, possibly the hardest I've ever had. Odd, considering the big break-up happened in the summer of 2013. Though I was (and am always) aware that I have family and close friends who love me, it was extremely difficult to shake the feeling that I was very much alone. It was nice to get a pile of Christmas cards, however, and a few goodies, too, so thank you for all of that. (My cousin, Helen, maybe the coolest cousin in the world, used a Batman stamp on the envelope! lol)
I haven't been running since, well, probably October, and I've found myself eating more as the holiday season brought me more and more stress; as a result, I've put on about eight pounds over the past eight weeks or so. Not a big deal by most people's standards, I know, and I'm hardly overweight, but I can feel the difference in my body, and I'm not really likin' it. I'm not carving any resolutions into stone this January 1st, but I am going to start eating better again, and running again. Right now, I don't intend to do any of the mud runs this year, but that could change. I just can't really focus on it at the moment. I do intend to do at least one 5K, with the goal of improving my time from the last one (28:45, or approximately a mile every 9m15s). I want to continue putting time and energy into playing guitar and making music. I've decided to stop wearing the claddagh ring, effective today. It's not any kind of backlash against Laura (with whom I haven't really spoken in a few months, but I suspect that maybe we just don't have anything else to say to each other, at least right now), and the ring itself still has sentimental value to me. I'm still wearing the silver chain and "Imagine" guitar pick my ex-fiancée gave me. The claddagh has a different connotation, though, and I don't want it reminding me of ties that are no longer there any more than I want it to mistakenly send the message that I'm involved with someone. Not that I expect women to flock to me now that I've taken it off...
I am hopeful for better things in this upcoming year, though, and coming up in less than two months, I'll be seeing Sleater-Kinney, not once but twice. I'm really psyched that they're back together, at least for the moment, and I'm looking forward to both the new album and the experience of seeing the same band two nights in a row (a first for me). It's been about twelve years since I first heard them and saw them live, and I still love their music. It probably doesn't hurt that Corin Tucker is a Danelectro fan, too. Preeti's health seems to be making slow improvement, though she's still not eating the way I'd like. I think I've gotten paranoid and overprotective after the sudden loss of Meguilla Chinchilla last year. I do know that Preeti's still got enough energy (and tortitiude) to do some real damage to my hands as I attempt to get her antibiotics down her throat!
All right, that's many more words about me than I tend to write. Maybe I'm just giving you plenty to read and think about while the weeks go by without any Facebook status updates or tweets. Heh-heh. I still have a little more to say, though, starting with the first post I did make on social media this year, at midnight: May we all learn to better live with each other, and ourselves, in 2015.
Too many people see everything as black or white. Being against police brutality, against people looting, and against violence against the police are not mutually exclusive positions. You can stand with the protestors who don't want to see another person wrongfully killed and still believe that most police officers are doing a great job, the best job they can. You can despise terrorists and their brutal actions and still demand that our government operatives treat them in accordance with international conventions - not with kid gloves, but with the humanity they'd deny their victims.
I understand the outrage caused by an unnecessary killing, whether it's a cop, or an innocent civilian, or even a not-so-innocent but unarmed suspect. What I don't understand is the polarization, the mentality that "if you don't stand with us and support us, you're wrong or you're stupid or you're laughable or you're evil." Life isn't that simple, even if some people are. Yes, I think Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo should have been indicted (though I have no opinion on whether or not they should've been convicted of anything; that would've been for the courts to determine), but no, I don't harbor resentment of, or hatred for, the police. Police officers are human like the rest of us, but get put into volatile, dangerous, high-stress situations, and sometimes get scared and sometimes overreact and sometimes make mistakes. We would do well to remember that, but they would do well to acknowledge it and apologize when mistakes are made.
We would also all do well to remember that peaceful protest is a right in this country and has led to many injustices being corrected. You don't have to agree with every cause being protested for (or against), but if we start deciding which ones are legitimate and which ones are not, we risk becoming one of those many countries that keep their citizens on short leashes. And yes, I know there are libertarians out there who will argue that we're already one of those countries, and they've got some compelling things to say, but I'm not going to drag this 'blog post out that long. Let me just summarize the last few paragraphs by saying, we shouldn't boil every issue down to "us vs. them" and "we're right and they're wrong," negating any chance of real discussion and understanding and compromise. And if your reaction to that statement is, "Well, they're the ones who won't compromise," then you're likely part of the problem. There are extremists on each side of any given argument, who may not be reasoned with, but there are also more sensible people who may.
There's too much rage in the world today. Even when it's justified, it's not healthy, and it's more likely to make things worse than better. We as individuals and as a society need to take the occasional breath and the occasional step back, to make the effort to try to understand each other, and ourselves, better, and acknowledge that the vast majority of the human race just wants to live and prosper in good health and in peace. Let's not let the few rabid bad apples convince us otherwise. May we all learn to better live with each other, and ourselves, in 2015.
I'm done. I'd like to think that more than a handful of people will have read this, but... whatever. I needed to get it off my chest either way. If you've got anything to say about any of it, there's an empty Comments section below. There are other ways of communicating with me, too. Feel free to partake of them, and I wish you all the best for the New Year.