Raised by the bastards of 1969

Gimme Gimme Revolution!

Green Day has been a big part of my life from a very early age. The first album I can remember buying was Nimrod. I was 8 or 9. My sister was a fan around the Dookie era. She was the one who introduced me to them. From then on they became my favorite band. I have been very fortunate enough to have seen them 4 times now. The first time was during the 21st Century Breakdown tour in the summer of 2009. They came to my home town of Orlando, FL. It was at the old Amway Arena venue. This was before they opened the Amway Center. Before being the Amway Arena, it was the TD Waterhouse Centre. That was when I got to see The Mars Volta and System of a Down perform in 2005.

In 2000 the album Warning came out. This was the next Green Day album I had purchased. It was played quite a bit for about a year or so. I was 10. It was the first sort of departure from their signature sound from the 90s. They faced some criticism for this. I, on the other hand, loved every bit of it. It was the perfect album at the perfect time and remains to this day my favorite album they have released. It was just very fitting for me at that age. I don’t know how to explain it. But it was definitely a sign of maturity from them. In 2002 Shenanigans came out and I was very excited for it. It was an album of covers and b-sides. Of course, we all know what came in 2004.

American Idiot fucking exploded onto the music scene that year. From the titular opening track to other radio hits like “Holiday” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends”, American Idiot was and remains to this day one of the greatest modern rock operas of this generation. Billie Joe Armstrong really showed new depths in his songwriting and musical arrangements. This album went on to inspire a musical that went on to play on Broadway and continues to tour today. I was lucky enough to have caught the show when it was in St. Petersburg, FL a couple of years ago. In fact, I’m wearing the shirt I purchased at the show right now as I type this blog post.

After American Idiot created a completely new foundation of fans we got a little break from the boys. However, in 2009 we got the great 21st Century Breakdown. That’s what I’m listening to currently. Like I mentioned earlier, I got to see the band live for the very first time on the tour supporting this album. It was an epic show, but anyone who has been to a Green Day show recently will know, this is nothing out of the ordinary. “21 Guns” was arguably one of the biggest hits from 21st Century Breakdown. “Last Night On Earth” is one of my favorite songs to play on guitar.

I don’t mean to chronicle their entire catalog. Although, that may make for a good series to do on the blog at some point in the future. For now I will l just say that if you thought you knew Green Day, you are completely mistaken. They are the chameleon of modern rock music. Adapting and changing styles with every release. I can’t wait until I get to seem them again and again. They are just incredible as a live band. If you think the studio recordings are good, just go to a show. It’s a blast!

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Riding in Vans with Idiots – Last Ride In…

Today is September 4th, 2017. Labor day. We are officially more than halfway through the Green Day festivities and I’m rather sad to see it draw to a close so soon. I’ve made lots of new friends and memories to last a lifetime. And that’s only after one show! This really is starting to sound like a Green Day summer camp. The night of the 2nd we had a few late arrivals but fun and silliness was had by all. IMG-4033We made signs to help direct those who arrived late around to their sleeping arrangements. Sleep wasn’t really something that happened that night for most of us because we were all so excited for the show the following day. We got up early yesterday morning. Pretty much like an hour or two after IMG-4034everyone went to “sleep” we were “waking up” to start the first concert day of this trip. After a quick pit stop of crashing the local Starbucks we were on our way. The drive was a long one. We listened to a mix of like 500 different songs played for like 30-45 seconds each. About halfway through the drive we stopped at a rest area to fill up on gas and take a restroom break and to stretch our legs. There were a bunch of crows walking and hopping around. One of them only had one foot. So the awesome band name “Peg-legged Crow” came to fruition. That’s what a lot of the riding in the van was like. Sporadic wordsmithing. The opening band on this tour is Catfish and the Bottlemen. That band name is very unique. So much so that it begs to be fucked with. So for the nearly 3 hour long drive back to the apartment from the venue after the first show was spent just rambling the various alterations of “Catfish and the Bottlemen” that we were all coming up with. Most of them don’t make any sense… “Whack, whack and the wham!” “Soap dish and the jellyfish”, “Enchilada and the freight train”, just to name a few. We were delirious. The show was an interesting one for me. I’ve only seen Green Day in concert twice at this point, and both times I was in the pit. Last night in West Palm Beach I was watching the show from the lawn. I still had a great time. A lot of us were wearing pink bunny ears in homage to Green Day’s drunken bunny who comes out on stage to get the crowd all riled up to “Blitzkrieg Bop” by The Ramones before the band comes on. Even though I was on the lawn and nobody on stage would likely notice the ears, I kept them on for the entire show. About an hour before the show started the lawn started to fill up pretty quickly. There were also beach balls being tossed around. At one point one of the beach balls came flying and hit my bunny ears. It was clear that someone had been trying to play “whack a drunk bunny” for a while now. I thought it was hilarious. So when the ears got hit I held up my (very expensive) beer and took a swig. Normally I wouldn’t spend $13 on a beer – or even drink at a show – since I’m usually in the pit. However, shortly after I finished my beer, and Green Day took the stage, the guy who knocked my ears down came up to me with a fresh beer as a sort of olive branch. That’s the sort of community that Green Day attracts. In the morning we will be getting up early yet again to take the van on one last Green Day trip, this time to Tampa. But now it’s time for sleep.

 

Riding in Vans with Idiots – ‘Twas The Night…

September 1st, 2017.

I’m probably not going to be sleeping much tonight. I feel like I’m a kid again going off to summer camp for a few days. But like, a Green Day summer camp. The best kind of summer camp. The idiots will be gathering together at the home base tomorrow and we will be renting the van. The vessel of our journey that will carry us to the shows in West Palm Beach and Tampa. We’ll have a cooler packed with snacks and water. PLENTY OF WATER. If you’ve ever been to a rock concert, in the pit, in summer, in Florida… you know that you must hydrate all day in line. It is required for your health, safety, and enjoyment of the evening’s festivities. I’ve made this mistake both times seeing Green Day now where I won’t really eat or drink anything while I wait all day in the sun for the show, go super hard during the show giving it my all – as the boys do for us every night – then nearly passing out after the show. This most recent experience in Duluth, GA this past March ended up with me projectile vomiting out the window after the show was over. Not doing that again. The first Green Day show I went to I was 19. The second show – the one in GA this past spring – I was 26. These two FL shows coming up I am now 27… and I’m not getting any younger. I need to hydrate like a madman. Life is better when you’re hydrated. Also food. I must have nutrients. It doesn’t have to be a 5 course dinner… but regular snacking throughout the day plus a decent, sustainable lunch should do the trick.

I am a little concerned about the weather forecasts but I dare not speak about it here or now so as not to… jinx it. Tonight the band is in Raleigh, NC and despite dangerous lightning and a ton of rain, they still are performing. As seen on the Green Day social media pages, Mike Dirnt and crew set up a giant slip-and-slide on the lawn section of the venue, with Mike being the first one to test out the inaugural slip and slide. This is very reminiscent of the Woodstock ’94 mudfest that took place during Green Day’s set way back when. I just hope nobody gets hurt and the band doesn’t get in trouble. I mean, Billie Joe did already try to smash a Subaru with his guitar on this tour so who the fuck knows what could happen? I’m super excited. I get to experience both the lawn and the pit during these two FL dates. The first one on Sunday, the 3rd in West Palm Beach I will be on the lawn with a few of the other idiots, while the rest are in the pit. Then for Tuesday, the 5th in Tampa I’m pretty sure we all have pit tickets. It’s a little ironic. I’ve never seen Green Day from anywhere other than the pit, nearly at the barricade if not on it completely. But at the venue in Tampa, I’ve only ever seen bands from the lawn there. So yeah, that’s kind of a twist. I’ve been having some really vivid dreams lately and a few of them have been about these shows. There’s something so magical about seeing your favorite band with a huge family of fans – or in this case “idiots.” It makes my hear swell to know that we will all be… having a blast together. Singing along to “Jesus of Suburbia” in line or hearing the band play various songs during soundcheck. I am so excited. I’m sure you’ve gathered this by now if you’ve been following the “Riding in Vans…” series of posts. Tomorrow starts something I’ll never forget. It’s going to be Awesome as Fuck!

Riding in Vans with Idiots – One Week!

Today is the 27th of August, 2017. In one week I, nay we will be in West Palm Beach, FL waiting in line all day long. For what? Well if you’re reading this blog you should know by now that it’s not a ‘for what?’ but rather a ‘for whom?’ and the answer to that is – of course – Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees, Green Day. The whole crazy crew of die hard Green Day fans – aka “idiots” – will load up into the rental van and make our way to the show bright and early. Those of us who were fortunate enough to get pit tickets for this show will want to get an amazing spot at the barricade no doubt. And the rest of us will be… scattered throughout the venue. It will still be a great start to an amazing couple of days with the idiot family. The ragtag bunch of us will be blasting the Green Day catalogue the entire ride from Orlando to the venue which is nearly 3 hours away. We will be arriving early and most likely will be hanging around after most of the crowd clears out to try and get a chance to see or meet any of the band members. As I write this I feel like one of the crazed fans of the days of “the British invasion” with The Beatles.

We will be returning to the homestead in the Orlando area late that night – or early the next day depending on if you’re a glass half full or half empty type of person. There is going to be a day of “rest” in between the show dates. But as the band Cage the Elephant claims: there “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked.” This is true because as tired as we indeed will be from having… the time of our lives the night before, I’m sure we will be hunting the band down by way of their social media posts. You see, on September the 5th they will be performing in Tampa. That’s one day between both coasts of Florida. And the band’s day off at that.

So once we’re back in Orlando we will be keeping our eyes peeled for the boys and co. until it’s time to… hitch a ride back in the van and on our way to Tampa for the second and final show in Florida for the Revolution Radio tour. As far as I know, we all have pit tickets for the Tampa show. I mean, to the best of my… knowledge anyway. I will post again when the urge strikes a little closer to the start of the trip. Who knows when the inspiration will strike? It may come with no… warning.

Riding in Vans with Idiots! – The Final Countdown

August 25th, 2017 12:43am

My hair is now green. I am ready. I have my tickets. The final countdown has begun. In just a week and a day will start the party, with the following day being the first of two shows. The headcount has been counted. Travel arrangements have been made. Cash for the van rental and gas has been set aside. Tomorrow the funding for food and merch will also be added to my budget. This is what I need. I am struggling so much with anxiety and depression lately. Especially at work. Everyday I feel like I can’t go on, like I have no other option but to throw in the towel. But with these shows coming up I know that I cannot do that. I must at least see my favorite band at least a couple more times. A Green Day show is my happiest of places. There is no drug or substance that can even compare to seeing my favorite band perform live.

I am slightly jealous of the Facebook friends of mine who are fortunate enough to travel the country to follow the band on this most epic of tours. Yet I am completely ecstatically happy for them at the same time. I have seen the band live two time now, and will have the chance to see them two more times at least. That’s 3 times in the span of 6 months! I am very fortunate indeed. I just wish the struggle with my mental health will balance out over time as I need to retain my income in order to continue to support and see my favorite band again in the future. I don’t know what’s in store for me in terms of my mental stability but I try to hold on to sanity one day at a time. The Green Day Slumber Party is just around the corner. I worry about the post-concert depression which is a very real thing.

I have bipolar disorder and so while my highs can be very high, the higher they are the lower the lows that follow. I must find a balance in the force as George Lucas would imply. I’ve had to take another semester off from school since I did not receive financial aid and cannot afford to pay out of pocket and wait for tuition reimbursement from my employer at this time. I’m borderline giving up on school altogether for right now. They always say it’s never too late to go back, right? However, that’s not what this blog is about. This is another entry into the Riding in Vans with Idiots! chronicle series and I intend to keep it on track with that as best as I can. I am super stoked to see “my boys” soon and the rest of my newly formed Green Day family. It is going to be an adventure I’ll remember for the rest of my life. And yes, we will have the time of our lives.

Heavy Thoughts

We are so infinitesimally small in relation to the ever-expanding universe and/or multiverse(s). So how is it that our minds are so expansive and can conceive beyond the boundaries of the physical medium of flesh and bone? Where is the mind? We often like to think that it is in our head. That a series of synapses and enzymes working together that form chemical reactions in our brains that equal out to thought and feeling. While this has proven to be true in some sense through years of scientific study, how much does a thought weigh? Is it possible to measure something that we know not how to measure? Also, at what point would we be measuring our thoughts and not just our own method of measurement? What I mean is that when we dive deep into the mind and how it works we begin to spiral into an eclipse of thought that feeds itself upon itself. Infinity.

So consider this, what if our minds are their own universes, each a reaction to the next. Intelligent design may just be the result of clashing universes from all living things. So where did this all start? That’s one of the faults in the mass populous’ idea of the universe and space-time. That there has to be a beginning, a big bang. And anything before that just didn’t exist, nothingness. However, if we remove the limit of a beginning and accept that existence is not something that begins and ends but is continuous and always has been, it becomes a little clearer on how we may be able to measure thought.

How much does a thought weigh? Right now there are far too many variables to consider a mechanism or device that could measure such a thing. Sure, we can map thoughts in the brain. We can monitor brain activity. But that doesn’t give us any insight to how much a thought weighs. Gravity is a universal constant (at least in this universe). So we at least have a control of sorts. But the thoughts of our ancestors whom discovered fire and how to use it to their advantage have indeed carried their weight through time. Thoughts are elements in the universes of our minds. These elements, like the physical ones in our everyday lives, combine and become manifestations. I think, therefore I am. I am, because I think. We are all made of the same “star stuff” as Carl Sagan once said. And he was right. We certainly are. But what does this mean for our thoughts? If we can measure how much air and other gasses weigh, then surely there must be a way for us to measure the weight of a thought.

If gravity is the constant… the control… then that must mean that thoughts vary in weight. Do bad thoughts weigh more or less than good thoughts? That’s a matter of opinion and relativity. Abstract thoughts must surely have their own signature measurements of weight, right? Again, this is subjective. What I consider to be a good, bad, or abstract thought can – and probably does – differ wildly than your consideration… or thought. What’s the point of all this anyway? With so many people on this planet, and other lifeforms that are surely inhabiting the many planets of the (at least) 200 billion galaxies in the observable universe, maybe the weight of a thought… of all thoughts combined is the constant of gravity. We think, therefore we are.

Depression is a disease that plagues some people who tend to overthink. It makes them physically tired and disinterested. Maybe their mental gravity is a little stronger than someone without depression. Maybe those who are depressed are not just those with a mental illness but dips in a pattern of space-time’s fabric of gravity. Time only goes as far back as we are able to observe by way of light years. This is what I was mentioning before. That the idea of there being an absolute start, a beginning of everything, a big bang. We may not have discovered a way to see beyond “the beginning” of time as we know it. The observable universe is just that, observable. There are limits to everything, except the mind. So again, I propose that the mind is a universe in and of itself. The meaning of life? That’s as trivial as picking your favorite flavor of Slurpee at your local gas station. We exist because space-time has always existed. We just happened to come along here and now.

There’s so much more power in thought and one’s mind than any renewable resource, armies or militia. It is a balance of chaos and peace. It always has, and always will be. Space is as vast, dark, and cold as it is teeming with color, brilliance, and life. Gravity is a constant but thoughts are not, and therefore they must have some weight to them.

Panic Blog

Anxiety is one hell of a roller coaster ride. One that you don’t need a ticket for. One that has no safety harness or lap bar or restraint of any kind. Anxiety can be – and often is – severely crippling and disabling. When you feel like I feel while writing this, you are mentally all over the place while physically being in one place. You’re like a duck swimming across a still body of water. You may appear to be calm, cool, and collected on the surface. However, just below the water line the duck’s feet are paddling up a storm. That’s your brain. Everything gets overwhelming. Suddenly you’re on Jupiter and everything, every action, and thought weighs 2.4 times heavier than on the reality of everyone else’s Earth. It’s easy enough to try and dilute the stress and anxiety by way of chemical interference. Whether that means using medication as prescribed by a doctor, or abusing illicit drugs or binge drinking alcohol. I have been guilty of this in the past, as many a young person have before me. This is not a healthy coping mechanism as it can lead to a lifetime of addiction and other dependency issues.

Instead, I am attempting to do something to distract myself. You are currently reading the result of this attempt. It is easier for me to express myself through the written word as it just comes most naturally to me. I am taking anti-anxiety medication as prescribed by my psychiatrist. While it does help maintain a certain level of calm through my day overall, it does nothing for the random panic attacks that I get. Like the one that is happening right now, they have been happening more and more frequently. Often they are triggered by me stressing over things that I cannot control. Sometimes they are triggered by things that I can control, but not knowing how to just builds it up until I’m in full blown panic mode. My brain races a million miles per hour. I’m hyperactive in my frontal lobe. Every sensation is heightened and I can’t sort it all out. My heart races… trying to keep up with my mind.

So far, this blog post hasn’t helped me calm down entirely quite yet. I am tempted to alter my state of mind in the unhealthy chemical way. I do not want to do this. However, if I were to try and reason or justify a poor choice on my part, that would just be a fallacy. I don’t need chemicals to feel normal. Except that I certainly do need chemicals to feel “normal.” That’s what normal is… just specific chemicals and their reactions with other chemicals. In the grand scheme of things everything is molecules of one chemical or another, right? Endorphins are some of the chemicals that we share that alter our sense of being. My brain has a “natural imbalance” of chemicals that control or alter mood. This is why I take medication as prescribed by my psychiatrist. Recently, the drug Ativan – the generic name being Lorazepam – has been suggested by numerous friends on Facebook whom also suffer from a general anxiety disorder and panic attacks. I have a check up with my psychiatrist on Monday morning. I will certainly ask about Ativan and if it may be what I need to control these attacks on more of an as-needed basis.

For now I will resist temptation of an extra dosing or introduction of alcohol to my system. Despite how shitty I feel right now. I need to follow the rules. I tried playing my guitar, that’s my go-to stress reliever. That was only making me more anxious. That’s how you know it’s a panic attack for me. That’s one of the ways, anyway. Right now I am listening to some music by way of the Apple Music streaming service. It is helping a bit. I think I will continue to listen to music. I may write some more, but it might not be on this blog. I would paint since I haven’t done so in quite some time. However, when my anxiety is as strong as it is right now, painting does nothing but frustrate me more. I need to be inspired to paint, not dependent to paint… if that makes sense. Anyway, I’m rambling. I need to focus on my breathing and listen to some more music. That’s probably the best thing I can do right now.