Monday, June 6, 2011

i live in these sounds as i stumble around

i was only going to grab a piece
and you, you were waiting for the fires to cease
and now, now is finally here
but its yesterday
no, no, i cant, i cant
yes i can, i can

all is a perception
no cure and no direction
misinterpreted suggestions
fear is fates progression
so we grow cold as we grow old
 paint on our face, scars on our souls
suffering smiles perceived as bold
diving in to stay afloat
dynamic / tragic, stop then go
bounce around to feed your ego
but you cant float on shallow people


stability is demobilizing

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

maybe you're less than the sum of your parts

After a few months of procrastinating and then multiple trips and phone calls to the hospital, I final got some really relieving news.  I ended up with five different bills from my one amazing visit there.  Although only 2 of them are actually through the hospital.  Luckily,  Wheaton Franciscan has a financial assistance program thats super generous. I got signed up for it a few weeks ago and just got an approval letter yesterday.  Its only for the two bills that are actually from them...but 100% coverage!! Thats $3,850 less that I have to pay...that doesn't even make sense.  How could they ask for that much for so little, and then just say "eh, you don't make enough money, don't worry about it."  I mean its great, but what does that mean?  I called the "companies" for the other three bills when I signed up to see if they'd accept that coverage...two of them do, and the other will take 25% off once they see proof of the coverage.  So thats $1122 total covered on those three.  So it all went from $5550 to around $580 if Im understanding and calculating it all correctly...crazy. One huge thing out of the way or at least significantly reduced.

In the middle of so many things right now...a lot of music, mixing, recording, writing, and projects. Trying to finish a new mix of "it should be" for both a cupboards and sproink compilation that will be going out with their next issues.  Im putting together the compilation for sproink which needs to be ready to go for the chicago zine fest on saturday.  Most musicians aren't the best at being responsive or quick to get on top of Im still waiting on some tracks.  I may put a new song of mine on it, if I have time to record it.  The whole idea was just decided this week, so its a bit rushed and will be an odd mix, but I think thats perfect.  It'll just need the right order and a little bit of mastering.  Have to keep it diy...or at least a little shitty.

Next weekend theres 2 springtide shows and a hey alright show / cupboards zine release. These are the things that keep me going.  Still don't have my piano back from the nerdbomber who is fixing it.  I went in there last week and he assured me it'd be ready...but we decided if its not, we're going to put a hole in his pocket protector so ink will get all over his shirt. That'll show him!  But really, I will murder him. I've been insanely patient and understanding the last few months, but there are some things I just need and refuse to wait for anymore.  Call me crazy, but I fucking need that piano.

maybe a little extreme...but admirable

not very extreme...but admirable


Monday, March 14, 2011

just dust

i sent an email to gabe hascall's (the impossibles/slowreader) booking guy offering to help set up a show in milwaukee/madison and asking for a physical copy of gabes ep. it didnt seem like it exsited since all i could find was an itunes download, but i offered to send some sort of payment if they had any.

he said theyd love the help getting a show together and that theyre hoping to set something up this spring. i may have also suggested that springtide could open for him...

he send me a link to a download of a new song thats not posted online, and the ep at no charge...nice guy.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Saturday night we played at the "Thoughts for Food" benefit downtown.  We pretty much had the least desirable location and the earliest time slot, which led to a predictable scenario...its rough, but its still always worth it.  Some people didn't show up or cancelled last second as usual, but this is always expected so its never a big deal. Ill never understand these things.  It went well overall.  I also got to see some people I didn't expect to, and some I haven't gotten the chance to.
I recently came across tickets from when we played for this in high school....then I remembered I had these photos somewhere, which I'm pretty sure are from that night or from one other time we played at the eagles club.  Dirty, greasy hair.  Classic.  When I walked in there on saturday I got flooded with images and memories of it all.

I went to the grocery store and decided to indulge in some oreos...its been awhile.  I was hoping to get about 8 packs.  Luckily, they were on sale...

I've had a clogged ear for almost 2 weeks and its starting to freak me out.  Its somewhat sore to the touch and sounds like theres water in my ear.  Its been a challenge playing the last couple of shows because of this.  
Its 415 in the morning.  Saturday I got to sleep around 5am and yesterday around 6am. I've been on no schedule of any sorts the last couple of months...its all a blur.  I've tried, with no consistency or stability.  I don't remember the last time I was asleep before 2 or 3, or the last time I slept for more than 2 to 3 hours at a time. Assisted insomnia in full force. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

now we take it all back

New Eisley record...finally. Record labels, money and business can be such a huge hindrance to music and art.  A band called "This is Me Smiling" from Chicago just put out a new record about 5 months ago...also after a couple years of 'industry' set backs...(you can download it here for free) and Death Cab is set to release their new record in May.  Good to have a solid chunk of new, anticipated music.

First impressions of the new Eisley, is that its Eisley -  beautiful, smart, and on point.  Its hard not to be biased towards the songs I already knew. "The Valley" and "Ambulance" were already on an EP and are both amazing.  I honestly think every song is strong on its own...but "Watch it Die" and "Kind" stand out to me right now.  There was a clip a long time ago of them recording "Kind" and it blew me away.  As good as this and their last record are, there is something so ethereal about the first one that just isn't their as much.  Maybe thats more of my nostalgia with that record than anything else.  But dammit...they are definitely still keeping it real and interesting, and thats the way to do it.  


This is a song from This is Me Smiling's new record that he posted long before they recorded it, around 2-3 years.  This guy has spider fingers and plays some weird/difficult/impressive chords and patterns...super good song.

Maybe this is a foolish idea, putting something I'm working on alongside these pieces of gold...but I put this together last night.  I've had the very first part for maybe 6 months, the middle from about 4 months ago, and then rest and the end in the last couple of days.  I guess you sometimes have to let things take their time.  It seems like this will end up being a springtide song.  Right now its essentially chunks that may get erased, rearranged, twisted, added to and polished. blahblahblah

Monday, February 28, 2011

equanimity ~ abide with the energy

Its been one year this weekend since a house fire took over our lives.

At some point the year before, I told my dad that if he skied in the birkebeiner, I'd do it with him.  He had done it a few other times, but with him and my mom separating and all the other strangeness, challenges and changes that came along with, and after it, it kind of got left behind.  He loves skiing and being outside and being active, so I wanted to do what I could to get him back to all that.  Nearly all of our childhood trips were to hidden waterfalls or bridges or scenic landscapes, and huge hills with little to no pathway.  It was always something natural and outside.  There were definitely times where I was not into it...especially when kids would come back to school with excitement in there eyes and amazing souvenirs from places I had only every heard about on disney world.  But all of that is so formulaic and doesn't have the real magic that nature can have. A few years ago I really started to appreciate the things he showed us. Anyways...I knew this was a part of him and that me saying I'd do it would get him going on worked.  I cant say that a part of me didn't regret promising such a thing once I got more of a grasp of it.  Granted it was the shorter race...but still 15 miles of some pretty intense ground.  On top of that, I hadn't stepped on skis in I think 13 years. (no, really)  So I did what I could to prepare myself and stick to my plan for him, skiing when we could before the day of the race. Dane came along with us, just to join the adventure, but also to take photos and a some video.  

We made it. It looks like the corner was burned...

I took this picture after we were done and watching other people finish downtown.  I remember sending it to Amanda because it looked like Ava.  

     The rest of the day went well. A huge relief to be done, and a solid feeling of accomplishment.  Besides that, a good time spent with my dad and brother.  Later on we went back to the house that we were staying at.  There are so many people in town, that all the hotels fill up and its sort of tradition for people to rent out there houses or rooms to people coming to ski.  The mood was super light and everyone was celebrating and eating and enjoying company. There were even some fireworks for a short while. Im not sure what time I went to bed...but I know it was somewhat early as I was completely drained. I usually sleep with my phone on silent, or set so only an alarm wakes me.  I cant remember exactly what time I woke up, it was sometime between 7 and 9 I think.  I remember reaching over half asleep to see what time it was so I knew how much longer I could sleep before we had to go.  Thats when I saw I had 7 missed calls, all from a 262 number I didn't have know or have saved.  It was one of those moments where you immediately know something is wrong.  It was Mike from his grandmas house.  I don't recall anymore, but I think he just said that I should call him as soon as I could.  At this point I honestly had a feeling as to what happened.  I called him and he told me while I squirmed and froze as my brother and then my dad sat by nervously waiting.  It didn't make sense, as Im sure all things like this don't.  Not much does.  I did what I could to compose myself, pack my things, and sneak by the others in the house so we could leave.  It was one of those (as I would soon have to get used to) 'what can you do?' you just keep moving.  I still remember it all so clearly.  Getting in the car and driving back, in the complete opposite direction and mood as which the journey had started. ( is this life? )
     I remember getting a call from my grandma but I didn't pick up.  Then from my mom.  They both somewhat casually said to give them a call, I didnt.  At some point Amanda sent me a text, I think just saying to call her since she didn't know if I knew yet.  It was one of the hardest phone calls I've ever made.  I knew once I spoke with her I would have to confront it. (which maybe I never really did until more recently)  I knew she would feel horrible herself, and for me.  Ava was a part of her life too.  I remember her being scared to really say anything and asking if I knew.  It was horrible, and even worse not to be with her.  
The next week or so was a blur.  I dont remember feeling much of anything, just going through motions with spurts of emotions.  I think I avoided it for a few days, but eventually Amanda and I buried him.  It felt so ridiculous.  We got some sort of heavy duty plastic container to put him in. Amandas dad had taken Ava from the house before I had gotten home the morning after the fire.  He's a great guy, and stepped in to do what he could, and Im really grateful for that.  He saved me from having to handle that myself.  We went and got Ava from out of their garage.  He was wrapped in a blanket from the neighbor and then in a garbage bag. This was really strange and difficult.  In the midst of it, I knew this was something real that I was experiencing.  I remember wanting to open it up and see him so badly, I knew I shouldn't, and Amanda wouldn't let me.  Im really glad she was with there.  The ground was cold and hard, and I shoveled for a pretty long time.  We put a few toys in there with him and said our goodbyes.  Everything gets a goodbye someday.

     Everything to follow would be ugly and full of what would turn out to be empty promises and 6 months of headaches, replacing, dismantling and cleaning.  My parents and my brother helped a lot. My mom jumped in right away to help me get some clothes and necessities, and my dad helped out with replacing other things and some financial support.  My Grandparents also helped and had Mike, Amanda and I over for dinner, which was really nice. The support and offerings from people that I don't know very well or talk to much was the most shocking.  
I spent the next 6 months living with Amanda trying to piece things together.  She was more than patient, and more helpful than I probably thanked her for.  She stood by while I complained, while I didn't say a thing, and while I invaded her space with my things and my messy, unsettled mind.  She gave me space and gave me support.  I didn't know what I was doing or how to do it.  I made bad decisions, and I made no decisions.  I couldn't have made it through without all of her goodwill and understanding, and I'm forever grateful for it.  I could have done so much more during that time, and at first I feel like I did a lot...but I just got tired, and stuck.  How are you supposed to know what to do sometimes with such heavy shoulders, and without error?  It was a quick and slow time filled with happiness, sadness, anxiety, comfort, companionship, cats, music, shows, plenty of ice cream and movies, laughter, tears, friends, deceit, rummage sales, thrifting, new things, old things, going, waiting, playing, good food, flickering friendships, mikes grandma, cookouts, lawn darts, bike rides, experience, love, frustration, arranging, arrested development, avoidance, plans, no plans, and laziness.  

     From right when it happened, I started to fight it.  I fought getting back to the house, back to the way things were, just so it wouldn't beat me and so I wouldn't have to let go.  I didn't know that then.  I should have let go. I should have moved forward and kept moving - I wish someone would have stopped and shaken me.  I didn't know what I was doing.  I was frantically, blindly, numbingly waiting and working to get it all back...unwilling to accept the change and loss and move on and forward with my still abundantly well off life, circumstances, and opportunities.  Without knowing that what i was really doing was ruining things I had left and working backwards - digging myself a bigger hole.  It was an oversight in more ways than I could have imagined.  Looking back, a part of it felt wrong and detrimental the whole time...but how was I to know?  I thought when the fire happened I had learned a lot and that it really opened my eyes. It made me appreciate people and situations so much more, and not care so much about things.  Typical, I know, but refreshing and freeing.  I may never really understand why I put so much time, hope and energy into this house - this place.  Especially when it was never mine to begin with and I already had the things I really needed.  You never know, we must plunge into things that have substance, meaning, and real value.  I ended up facing and learning so much more.  Its hard when tough things happen, its harder when so many other things aren't lining up at the same time in your head and life. Its hard to always know what to do, and its impossible to not screw up from time to time.  Its the extent of these trip ups, or how long they continue, that can tear you down or open you up.  Its learning - and life.

The cause of the fire was never determined beyond that it was probably electrical, and that it started on a pallet in the basement.

     I still struggle with all of this nearly every day, especially the root of it - if I wouldn't have made that decision to bring the skiing thing up to my dad that one day, I wouldn't have been gone, and could have saved Ava.  Maybe I could have even gotten help sooner...I probably would have been awake still.  Maybe other things in my life would be better right now.  I know thats an impossible and foolish way to think...but its hard not to.  Really, the important thing is that Mike wasn't hurt or worse...things could have been much more tragic.  Hes a great person, friend and musician - it could have been so much more painful.  Also, all of our instruments were only water/soot damaged, and most electronics that weren't directly touched by flames were repairable with a lot of time and patients.  In the end, I think we're smarter, stronger people for having to go through everything.


This is the last video and photo I took of Ava.  It was within the week before the fire.  It really freaked me out and made me feel guilty in a way, when I saw that last picture.  From what I know, he was under Mikes bed when everything happened.  And I always thought there was something erie and sad about how he looks like hes scared and reaching out.

At the end of all of this, we're fine.  As I felt even when it first happened, I'm extremely thankful and lucky for the position I've been handed in this life...and for even having things to loose.  Circumstances could always be worse, and with all the ugly and horrible things people have happening everyday in their already incredibly difficult lives, this is nothing. You can't live in your past, your misfortune, or your mistakes.  So here I go, writing this off right here and now. Leaving regret, frustration, anger, questions, self pity, and loss behind me.  Moving forward with a lighter head and heart, going where I need to go.  Leaving it as it is and taking only lessons and wisdom with me.  You're only stuck if you stay.

While I was staying with Amanda...we brought in a couple foster kittens that we're rescued from under a porch in Milwaukee.  I think somewhere in the back of my head, I knew she intended for me to keep one - and now I'm glad.  I was resistant for a long time, but I think she chose me.  She was born the month of the fire.

Little Shwam

Friday, February 18, 2011

bound to a tender existence


today i learned that feelings can go unanswered, and that things can be taken away in a second. i learned that forgiveness and understanding are not always where you expect them, and that epiphanies can be empty, lonely dreams.  i learned that friends you've known for ten years can still slowly assist in tearing down all you hold dear, all behind your back, all without tact.  i learned that this can happen with soft lies and turning eyes in your bed by your side - oblivious. i learned that open communication and raw determination can save us, or leave us. i learned that words and reason can be met by a cold wall. i learned that promise, passion, and praise can be laughed at, and that love and compassion can disappear and aren't enough. i learned that photographs, sharing, growing and memories can loose their strength and be left with one face. today i learned that sometimes people just make a decision, and thats it - leaving possibilities and incomplete visions to sit. today i learned that you never really know anyone, not even yourself. i learned that what might mean the world to you, may be passively, ineffectively floating by another. today i learned words from an open soul may not mean a damn thing, especially if they're too late.  i learned that emotions and messages and smiles and friendliness can be left behind, forgotten and left out. i learned that no matter how rough things get, at some point there is no excuse, acknowledgement, or patients. today i learned how much ive really been fucking up for far too long, and the extent of the lonely regretfulness its brought upon. i learned that you can be full of light and confidence and strength and excitement and dreams and desire and ambition, until one piece doesn't fit. today i learned that you can be stable and optimistic one minute, then erratic and pessimistic before its finished. i learned that hope is one with time, and time is one with understanding and forgiveness.  and sometimes hope and time is all you have to lean on. today i learned that nothing is what you think it is, and that growing up is letting go and realizing how sad life really is - and you can except this, or live in the trenches. 

today i realized that if i am to survive, i have to compose myself and live a lie.

today i realized that i might be absolutely insane.

today i realized im alone. 

today i realized that no matter what, i have an honor and love so deep, that ill always be here within reach. i realized that im willing to step back and step down if theres no solid ground - for the good of the cause and the beautiful sound. today i realized that we all make mistakes, that nobody knows what they're doing, and theres no room for hate. i realized that words and tone can mean nothing, and movement and time can be prompting…that compassion, understanding, learning, and growing, can be a sketch to something worth sowing - a monument. 

today i realized that we're all completely wrong.

today i wrote and recorded this song:


February 27, 2009, 2:57 am 

The aching will come
Before the night is over;
Passing hot waves
Through heavy shoulders.
My eyes will droop,
The silence will scream,
And I will fall far away
Into deafening dreams.