The “Subjectively Positive” One

This is gonna be another really long one… it’s more fun for me this way. 😏 Settle in and enjoy.

Now, this is something that’s almost impossible to explain to someone who doesn’t or hasn’t experienced severe social anxiety. πŸ€” But last Saturday, after spending about a week and a half without even leaving my house, while trying (and failing) to adjust to a new medication, and still tending to my gimpy knee… I had to go to a concert in Columbus. 😐 At the Schottenstein Center, which holds about 18,000 people. 18,000 loud, screaming, drinking, super enthusiastic, having an awesome time, concert-goin’ people. 😏 (God bless ’em… heh) Oh, and we had “Meet and Greet” VIP passes for Debbie Gibson and Tiffany after the show.

The story begins last year, when my friend Jim got us tickets to see Phil Collins at Nationwide Arena. I had seen Genesis before, but never Phil on his own… so it was a bucket list thing. We had a great time, so in the fall of last year when “The Mixtape Tour” tickets came available – I went ahead and got our tickets, sort of as a birthday gift / way to pay back his generosity re: the Phil Collins tickets.

Flash forward to last Saturday… and it took every ounce of oomph that I had to make myself get up, get ready, and go to the venue to meet Jim. πŸ₯Ί My anxiety was so bad that up until the minute I was finally able to make myself get in the car, I wasn’t even sure I was gonna be able to do it. 😬 But I had already cancelled on Jim on a few other things, and I would feel like a giant shit if I bailed on him again, and he ended up just going by himself. So I honestly went more because of Jim, rather than a desire to actually go. Well, no… that isn’t entirely accurate… because I absolutely wanted to go… heh… like I said, it’s hard to explain how anxiety can overrule anything that you think you might want or be able to do. πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Heh… I’m realizing that this isn’t gonna sound like a positive experience, so let me go ahead and interject here to say that I did have a good time while I was there, and was glad that I went. πŸ™‚ It was the getting there and getting home that were the biggest hurdles for my uncooperative brain. And of course there had to be construction all along the freeway on the way there, which is always fun – anxiety or not. And then when I got there, because I left so late, I ended up having to walk… *consulting google maps* … I had to walk “Total distance:Β 2,885.24 ftΒ (879.42 m)from the parking lot to the venue. 😧 But I had my cane, I took my time, and didn’t die too much. 😏 In fact, not only did it help me to unwind from the traffic, but it continued my DIY physical therapy that I’m trying – to avoid the costly, painful, inconvenient, time consuming, real thing.

The thing that probably saved the night for me, once we found our way to our seats, was that we were at the absolute top of the seats. Literally everyone in front of us, with the backs of our chairs being against the wall. 😊 Plus the seat next to me was empty. 😁 I can’t stress enough how much of a difference it makes to be “outside” of the humans rather than surrounded by a sea of them in every direction. So for the duration of the actual show, I was golden. πŸ™‚ Me and Jim, catching up on shit, no assholes around to be a nuisance, a decent view of everything due to the big LED screens, despite being in the very definition of “the nosebleed seats” for the concert… and it was awesome. I was glad that I “made” myself go.

Then the show ended. 😳 At which point we had to navigate through the herd of exiting humans, trying to figure out where we had to be to do the Meet and Greet part of our experience. 😬 Buttloads of people, slight confusion of where to go, the prospect of meeting a couple of celebrity singers… so, again, I found myself *this close* to just walking out one of the nearby doors and just waiting for Jim to go and do that part on his own. But he said the right things I needed to hear, I took a few woosah moments, and once a lot of the people were gone we found our way to what was essentially the basement under all of the seating. 😯

Sorry, I’ll try to tighten this up a bit. 😏 There were different M&G packages, some with just Debbie, some with just Tiffany, some with both – so thankfully, even though they had us all crammed into a relatively small waiting space, we got to do our thing pretty quickly since we had the dual package. Got a hug from Tiffany, they both autographed my lanyard, and while there was a little confusion with the official person taking the photos – it gave me some time to actually talk with Debbie while we had a short wait.

She asked if I had a good time and I told her “Oh, absolutely…” with a smile, but since other people were distracted I was able to lean over to her and kinda quietly say “… but man is my social anxiety kickin’ right about now.” Heh… probably a little weird, but it would have been awkward just standing there silently as we waited for the photographer to get ready. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But she just smiled back at me and said she actually knows what I mean, and that before each show she usually stays in her dressing room with her piano and just plays some random jazz or classical to help her get rid of herΒ pre-show anxiety. πŸ™‚ And that was a comforting thing to hear… since rather than her thinking I was a weirdo, she could actually relate. Then we got the pic, I got a hug from her as well, and that was that.

Well, that was it for me I mean. 😏 Jim still had to get his picture with them… but keep in mind, Jim wasn’t Jim for the night… he went as Squirtman. πŸ˜³πŸ˜„ The orange body suit, the cape, the Squirtman puppet, flashing LED glasses, the cowboy hat… heh… the whole deal. That was actually another good thing throughout the night – because when you’re next to Squirtman, you’re essentially invisible – which was perfect. πŸ‘πŸ»

He got there an hour before the doors even opened, so he was parked right in the first lot and was able to give me a ride out to my car – since all of the walking and stairs and such did finally take its toll on me. πŸ˜•Β I did have the typical “I need to be home”Β voice repeating in my head as I was driving, but the goody feeling from the concert buzz made the long drive home much more bearable than some drives I’ve made in the past. πŸ™‚

So yeah… yay me. 😊 I did a thing. 😏

If you remember any of these bands or singers and wanna check out some clips, here ya go:

Alrighty, that’s about it. Congrats if you made it through all of my (hopefully) descriptive weirdo rambling. πŸ˜‰

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By The Numbers? Not So Quick…

I can’t remember the last movie that I saw in a theater. πŸ€” I mean, I still haven’t even seen Avengers Endgame… even though a bunch of us had a plan to basically reserve an entire rowΒ of our own for that movie, but then Bri had to go and delivery a baby… 😏 I guess that’s a sufficient excuse.

So I’ll be anxiously awaiting for Rocketman to come to Redbox or available through Video-on-Demand or whatever. It’s not fair though… Mom has loved Elton forever. Like, really… for as long as he’s been Elton, Mom has loved him and his music – and of course by musical osmosis during by baby / toddler / kid / teen years, he became one of my favorite artists as well. πŸ™‚ But man, what I would give for me and Mom and Dad to all be able to go and watch this movie together on one of the big, loud screens. πŸ₯Ί

To be honest, it’s still difficult to listen to any of his songs when they pop up at random while I’m driving. Some days it makes me feel good and smile, but most days it’s just too much and I skip to whatever song gets served up next… heh… which is sometimes another Elton song. πŸ™„πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ But this guy’s review… I almost always agree with the things he says about movies that I have seen, so to hear him give such a glowing review makes me feel that if it’s that good for the “normal” folks, then it’ll probably be something special for those of us who’ve had him as part of the soundtrack of our lives for the better part of five decades. 😊

You Got Your Hulu In My Spotify

I’ve been reading about how we’ve already passed the “heyday” of video streaming. It makes sense… because back when it started catching on you really only needed Netflix and you’d have pretty much everything you wanted. But now, each company that licenses (or used to license) content to Netflix – now they wanna keep that content and start their own streaming service. So now you have Netflix, Hulu, CBS All Access, Disney Plus coming soon… basically any corporation that has its own content, they want it on their platform instead of someone else’s – so to end up having access to everything you want, soon you’ll need to subscribe to four or five of these things at 10 to 15 bucks a pop. Not ideal, and not likely to get better anytime soon.

I only bring it up today because I realized that by having a subscription to Spotify for my music, it also has the option of activating an ad-supported version of Hulu to go along with it for free. I suppose Hulu has nothing to lose, since they still get to play commercials, and if anything it may entice people into paying for the ad-free tier. Not me, most likely, but I did go ahead and set Hulu up today to see what the free version is like. I ditched my $50 YouTube TV a few weeks ago, which makes paying a little more than ten bucks for all the music I can listen to, and some sort of half-way decent TV/movie streaming, seem like quite the deal. Check into it if you’re already a Spotify subscriber.

Buncha Nothin’

While I’m technically ready to start doing all of the adulting that I’ve got planned for the first couple of weeks of the new year, I am glad that today was essentially a “paused” day… where even if I wanted to, nothing significant could really be accomplished. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚ I didn’t go out last night, nor did I have any company over, but I still didn’t fall asleep until around 3am. And of course I woke up too damn early, so my brain is thankful that the only real work that I’ll be doing today will be the stuff that I can address by mail. Which leaves all of the phone calls for tomorrow. 😳 Yay. 😟

Last night wasn’t totally lonely though. Brianna also stayed at home, although she was also babysitting for her sisters, so we ended up keeping each other company via messages up until the ball dropped at midnight and then a while after. β˜ΊπŸŽ‰ I think my adulting may be rubbing off on her, because a lot of what we talked about was both of our growing lists of “Shit We Gotta Do” in the next week or two. 😏 I mean, nobody is really a fan of responsibility, but I think it made her feel good (the same way it does me) to spend some of her evening coming up with a game plan of her own. πŸ“’πŸ–ŠπŸ‘§πŸ»

I wish that I didn’t have to take Cassi back home earlier last night, but she did end up staying later than we originally planned. It was a rough, dark, rainy, stressful drive up to Columbus in that horrible weather – with 80% of the traffic still breaking the speed limit, and the other 20% either scared, creeping slowly, or completely stopped along side of the highway as they waited for the rain to stop. β˜πŸŒ§πŸ˜―πŸ˜£πŸ˜§πŸ™ˆβ›ˆπŸŒ§ While she was here though, we started watching a new Korean rom/com/dram called Strong Girl Bong-soon. It’s strange how easily I take to Korean songs and shows now that I’ve been doing it for a bit. πŸ˜πŸ‡°πŸ‡·

But yeah… this is kind of a rambling post since it’s been a leisurely kind of day for the most part. All of my upcoming doctor appointments are still heavy in my mind though… I’m just trying to not let them bother me today. 😟 I will say this though. I haven’t been feeling great for the past couple of weeks. 😐 Not awful, but not how I normally feel either. So while I’m not gonna try to predict anything when it comes to my upcoming tests, I think I’m subconsciously getting myself ready for some potentially bad news. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

It doesn’t help that I’ve been having a lot of anxiety filled dreams lately as well. 😳 Not exactly nightmares, but dreams that definitely had a negative feel. And twice now I’ve had dreams where I died. πŸ˜• One was strange… I had already passed away, but I was still around to console people and to help with all of the arrangements needed in that sort of circumstance. 😬 But the bad dreams, the specific “not feeling well” things… right now I am choosing to attribute it all to the Wellbutrin that one of my docs put me on. πŸ€’

I haven’t felt this mentally and physically shitty in a long while. πŸ˜” And it’s so much so that I’m going to stop taking that new med until my next appointment with that doctor, so I can let him know the side effects that I’ve been experiencing. Over the years I’ve probably tried half-a-dozen different meds to help with depression or anxiety, and never have I made it past a month or two before the side effects outweighed the potential benefits – and I’m pretty sure this one will be the same way. 🀨 I’ve also got something more immediate for anxiety, but I haven’t noticed any bad side effects from that one, so perhaps I’ll be able to keep one-out-of-two in my rotation this time.

Alrighty then… time for some football. πŸ™‚πŸˆ Ready to push the scary thoughts to the back again for now.

Sing, Sing A Song

My injury that resulted in the c5-c7 disk removal / spinal fusion over a decade ago… it stole so much from my life. 😞 Not the surgery itself so much, but the resulting nerve damage that made my left arm rather useless. There are still days when I’m surprised by the discovery of something else “new” that I’m no longer able to do.Β πŸ™ I should have kept a running list… but boy would that have been depressing to have everything I’ve lost, all in one handy notebook.

Well, my most recent neck “thing” seems determined to steal something from me as well. I’m still in the middle of the whole “cancer treatment” thing, with the first step having been the removal of the thyroid… and now while I’m waiting for the radioactive iodine treatment in a couple of weeks, in the mean time I can’t help but be a little bitter about a particular side effect of this surgery. 😠

I dunno… for all I know, this might not be something permanent – but considering that I’m about a month and a half out from the surgery, it’s probably gonna stick. You may or may not know, but music is everythingΒ to me. 🀨 Whether listening to it, playing it on a keyboard, crafting it via Amiga / PC tracker programs, or just singing in the car or even at karaoke back in the day. Well I’ve lost a big chunk of that passion, because I can no longer sing. 😟 At least in no way that I used to.

At first I just couldn’t hit the notes at all. Songs that I’ve sung out loud or in my head a thousand times… I now sound like any other shlub that might try to sing it at karaoke somewhere, to the cringes of the peanut gallery.Β πŸ˜’ With a conscious effort, thankfully I’ve been able to get someΒ of my “pitch” ability back – but I’ve lost a huge amount of my higher range. 😒 I’m not sure if it’s because things got tightened up inside my neck, the same way the skin has on the outside (due to the new incision and stitches), but during those moments when I’m not hitting the higher notes – I can actually feel it pulling. 😣 It’s a difficult sensation to describe without the listener having experienced it themselves.

And yeah, I know… considering that I lost some of my range as a side effect of trying to free my body of cancer… I know that it probably sounds silly or greedy for me to be complaining about something that many people would see as frivolous, given the situation.Β πŸ™„ But seriously, when so much has already been taken from me, and singing was one of the few things that I just endlessly enjoyed, whether by myself or in front of people… it’s just another kick in the nuts that life has decided to send my way. 😑 “So… that one thing you’ve always loved doing? Yeah, well that’s about enough of all that.”Β Fucking awesome.

Meh… it’s not gonna stop me from singing, at least not when I’m by myself, so maybe, hopefully, things may continue healing in a way where I can get a little more of my voice back. If I would have known this was coming my way, I definitely would have recorded as many songs as I could before going under the knife. Years ago I recorded enough songs to fill 3 CDs, which I then shared with Mom and Dad and a few other people… but I never thought those would be all that I’d ever do, at least not until now.Β πŸ™

I’ve never claimed to be a great singer. I’ve never even really claimed to be a good singer. It was more that I was good enough, and I recorded the songs that I did because I just love singing, and trying to sound like I love singing. 😏 I wanted people to be able to hear me doing something I loved, because of how it made me feel. Meh… it sounds dumb when I try to put my thoughts about it to words.Β πŸ˜• Oh, and I don’t care if anyone thinks that this is all self-pity… because it is, and I think I’ve earned it.

Phil Collins: Not Dead Yet

Last night was concert night in Columbus, seeing Phil Collins with my friends Jim and Adam at Nationwide Arena. 😊 I was already nervous the day before, thinking of the handful of things that could make my day difficult, and despite doing my best to screw it up from the start – waking up at 4am and not being able to fall back to sleep – everything ended up alright and the show was great.

For anyone that’s a fan, it’s common knowledge that Phil is pretty gimped up from a failed back surgery and a “fucked foot” as he put it, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. 😳 But despite remaining seated for almost all of the performance, he seemed to get along reasonably well with a cane, so it didn’t feel as… um… I guess I was just worried that it would feel a little “Wheel the old man out and make him sing.” but that wasn’t the case at all.Β πŸŽ€πŸ‘΄Β It was a relatively long show too, playing his stuff and some Genesis songs, and he seemed to be enjoying it all. (And another “bucket list” concert checked off for me.)

Since he’s unable to play the drums, his son Nic filled in for him.Β πŸ₯πŸ˜Ž The kid is pretty amazing… he’s 17 now, he was 16 when the tour started in the UK, which means he was probably learning and perfecting all of his dad’s songs by the time he was 14 years old… knowing that he’d eventually be going on a huge tour like this. 😯 (Oh, and he plays piano too πŸ™„) It was all the way back in May of 1992 that I saw GenesisΒ in The Shoe at OSUΒ (26 years ago… holy shitballs)Β but I never thought that I’d get to see him perform his own songs solo, since he swore quite a while ago that he’d never tour again.

Jim’s an awesome friend, surprising me and Adam both by getting us all tickets.Β πŸ˜ƒΒ (Five years ago this month we were in Kansas thanks to him as well) And like I told him, I have enough “concerns” about myself that I wouldn’t have even thought about buying a ticket for myself if he hadn’t. The neck and shoulder pain, the thyroid stuff, the random back stuff, the anxiety that comes in times and ways of its own choosing… I don’t think I would have trusted myself to be able to go – but when a friend makes not going not an option, you just put your head down and keep moving forward.

Oh, there were moments that I still wasn’t sure… even up until the point that I was standing in line, waiting to get in…Β πŸ˜³πŸ˜¬πŸ‘«πŸ‘¬πŸ‘«πŸ‘­πŸ‘«πŸ‘«πŸ‘¬πŸ‘«πŸ‘­Β … but I’m absolutely glad that I went.

I’ve been a mess since getting home last night around midnight though.Β πŸ˜• The “post-concert buzz” ended up keeping me awake until about 5am, and man did I hurt. 😣😒 It’s mostly better now, but between the cold, the sitting, the standing, the singing, the recording of video, the crowds, the traffic… as usual, my body and brain eventually weren’t having any of that nonsense, and they let me know as soon as the show ended. 😟 I think Jim and Adam could see it in me once the lights came up, so we all sat for a bit and let the crowd clear. After we left the arena they walked along at my pace until we parted ways at the parking garage. Luckily Jim gets me though, so he knows that all of that “beat-up old man” stuff doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t do it all over again.Β πŸ™‚

Saranghae, Naleul Tteonaji Mala

Cassi is starting to become a fan of South Korean pop music, of all things… heh… and every now and then she’ll suggest a song or video that she thinks I should check out, to see if she can get me to share in some of her excitement. 😏 Normally it’s something okay but ultimately forgettable – but with this video and song, she found a winner. πŸ˜ƒ I can’t understand a damn word of what they’re saying… but thanks to the story of this video, and the 90s pop-rock sound, I love it.

I was confused during the first part of this video, so I’ll give you a hint as to what I think’s going on… πŸ€”πŸ€¨ He’s attending the funeral of a girl that he had gotten involved with about a week prior to her passing, and at some point during that time she had gotten him a watch. At the funeral, the watch causes him to jump back in time to a point right before they originally met. See what you think…

This band… and they are a band, unlike a lot of K-Pop groups… they cover nearly every genre that you can think of throughout their discography. Their lead singer has a voice that lets him handle anything he’d want to sing, from ballads, to pop songs, to actual rock/metal tunes. FTIsland doesn’t have a cult following since they don’t stick to a single genre, but I can respect a group much more when they play what they want to play, and because they can play any instruments in the first place. πŸ˜†πŸ€˜πŸ»

It’s nice to find new music that gives you the feels πŸ˜… even if it’s in a language you can’t understand. I like these guys, and I’ve added some of their tracks to my Spotify playlist, but it’s also encouraging me to try and find some new music like this in my native language. πŸ˜‹ Sure, I’ve got a couple thousand songs on my car’s USB drive, but there’s just something about experiencing new music…