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Entries in richard heinberg (1)

Thursday
Jan202005

January 20 Disease

If ever a nation needed a leader of the caliber of Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, or Gandhi, this is that nation and now is the time. Instead, we have a pampered and not-too-bright opportunist with fascist tendencies who can't even claim to have been elected fairly. The omens are not favorable.

These are the words of a man who is fast becoming my hero. Richard Heinberg is a college professor and critic of the industrial/capitalist/corporate machine, and an outspoken voice on the matter of peak oil. His words above are particularly poignant today, on the day when Dubya takes the oath for the second time. The problem is, Heinberg wrote these words FOUR YEARS AGO.

Four years ago! His website doesn't yet have anything about today.

Today, even before I woke up, as Kelli left for work, she made a comment like "if you want to stay sane, leave the TV and news off today." Something to that effect. When I went to work, I turned on the radio to my trusty NPR and listened to a couple minutes of Talk of the Nation. There was one guy who called in who was soooooo damned over the top and excited, spouting the usual Republican drivel like he had a gun to his head. He had this urgency like there was a terrorist incident and he was the town cryer. He not only took the party line hook, line, and sinker, he really put some of himself in. He was saying the usual shit like, 'if those liberals would just put down the hate and get some moral values, then we could talk.' He cited Zell Miller as an outstanding example of his notion of what a good cooperative Democrat should be. Pathetic. There were some liberals who called and had some delightfully pointed remarks that didn't mince words, and that was good to hear.

About as soon as I heard that stuff on air, I entered my Linda Vista lunch center a little late, and it happened to be the day that my immediate supervisor for that job was there to announce the end of that site's service a week from now. She was talking to people to see how they were taking it, see how things were for them with the program. I sat down to do the little money counting thing I do there, and she came to me and said something about there being complaints that I never talk to the clients, oh, and the same thing has been said about my time at the main office (which usually is a 15 minute period most days—hardly the stuff of deep friendships). Oh? I don't talk to anyone? I don't know who told her that, but the way it came to me put me on edge in a hurry, and I wasn't even prepared for it, so I just locked up. I think it's BS. I talk to a number of clients, and sometimes sit with them for lunch. There are some that I never connected with, but to be told that I don't talk to anyone is offensive. I tend to talk to some of the more progressive ones (but these are mostly old New Deal era democrats anyway), but I'm cordial to them all. So my supervisor was there to look over the place some, and I tried to confront her about this business. The guy before me used to be a lot more gregarious, but he also had only that job to do. I was not particularly expected to match his enthusiasm or the little things he did (threw parties for people, had some other things like that). No one told me that I wasn't talking enough. I did have a review in maybe July or so that cited me for sounding too pushy a few weeks before when I talked up Fahrenheit 9/11 to some of the coworkers. Their response and my review was cause for me to stop talking to most of them about such things. I work out of the office, but even for the few minutes I am there, I tread carefully most of the time. There are a few lefties in there, and we've had some talk, but around anyone that doesn't know the secret handshake, I just shut up and do my thing, smile and get the hell out when I'm done. It is one of the few things I don't like about my job. But at the Linda Vista center, I am a lot more chatty because these are clients and we don't have office politics to get in the way. I've had some really great times talking to some of these people, so to be a week before the graceful end of my time there and be accused of not talking to them is pretty upsetting. It took me an hour to decompress.

Then I eventually got home. Checked my favorite discussion board and read the usual partisan shit being bandied about. Boring. There are only so many times you can tell the same story to a bunch of dimwit Republicans. Tonight I had a loose audition with a couple girls who answered my ads, or however we found each other. I played drums. It was brief—maybe an hour. I'll have to try them again to see how I like the stuff they're doing. I've always felt very awkward auditioning on drums. This was no exception. Something about wanting to come off as competent enough to show a little imagination, but not so clever as to lose the basis of the song in cute fills. So I play real conservatively (boring) until things gel. Tonight, I really only played about four songs, so I didn't get any real feel for it. Drumming for rock bands tends to be brainless stuff, but my technique isn't much more developed than that anyway. That's why I wanted to play bass more; you can still play a mindless rhythm but have some real power within a band context by what note is played against what chord. But on drums, for more rock bands than I can recall, the parts are usually pretty easy to establish in a rehearsal situation. Coming up with a more permanent part is the challenge, and thats why I liked recording. The girls were nice, very enthusiastic for their own work, and delighted at being able to walk in and play, bringing nothing but their instruments, so we talked up another meeting to see better what I could do, possibly a few steps beyond drumming.

Going back a little, just as they were tuning up, Kelli opened the studio door to ask a question that had an easy answer. I had called her to tell her that when she got home, I'd be busy. I didn't mind the initial question, but one of the girls asked innocently enough if Kelli played music, and Kelli just floored me when she recalled a time about a week ago when I didn't "let" her play guitar after weeks of making little comments about how she and I could jumpstart some latent creative urges (she is a poet and likes to sing to her favorite songs, and also played guitar at one point, but is as much into that as I am into plastic models now). She had turned me down for that offer for most of the time, even being sharply opposed to it. But a week ago, Paul Horn came over and the three of us chatted and had wine, then I invited Paul in for a little musical interlude, just to see if things had changed from the days when we only ever made cacophonous noise. Kelli had some spur of the moment idea to come in and play guitar. The whole idea of Kelli playing guitar was just jarring, and I thought it would just be a matter of her joking, sort of like me offering to go up on stage and do poetry with her all female troupe—but instead of actually doing poetry, it would be me reading a cereal box in pig latin! The last I saw of Kelli playing guitar, she was trying to remember some G C and D chords—hardly the stuff of a jam, and even more out of place in a jam with Paul, with whom I often feel frustrated as hell because in two years and more of our acquaintance and playing together, I have only five minutes worth of stuff that was ever worth keeping. I didn't know Kelli was going to take it so personally. So tonight, after the two girls left, I told Kelli that her little comment about my not letting her play was pretty unwelcome in the context of my audition with people I just met ten minutes before. For me it was really embarassing, given that I was there trying to carry on in a professional manner. We've had these sorts of things happen before, when I have unfamiliar people over, somehow she has just put me in a really wierd spot when I am trying to use my studio in some sort of quasi-professional way. I don't know how it happens. Then we had to get into some argument about it.

So now my night has been as bad as my day, and the most joy to come of the day was playing unfamiliar songs on drums with people I don't know. With my brain off. Oh, and I also decided to defrag all my drives. Nothing but a good time over here today. Man. Happy fucking Inauguration Day.