Letters to Old Bob: #1

October 16, 2016

Dear Old Bob,

Hope you’re hanging in there Pops, what with you being so old and all. If you waited forty years to read this (and managed to stay alive) you’d be at least what, 85, 86 now? Damn. I’m surprised you made it, given the lack of octogenarians on the family tree. Not sure why I’m calling you Pops, considering your stubborn refusal to pass on your genes. At least, I’m assuming you still don’t have kids. You never know, considering all the potential medical breakthroughs between my time and yours. Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about this “Trans-Humanist” movement, where people are lining up to become cyborgs, to have chips implanted in their bodies that automatically open doors and turn on lights, that sort of thing. Frankly, I don’t see that going anywhere but to that scene in the Matrix where the people have all become batteries, or whatever. It’s been a while since I’ve seen that movie. Anyway, at the very least I’m sure there will be a period between my time and yours when there will be a whole lot of fat guys living in basements who never take off their virtual reality goggles. Anyhoo, where were we? Oh yeah, potential parenthood. Maybe they’ll figure out how to grow babies in vats, along with those fake meatballs I’ve been hearing about, or maybe you and the wife decided to adopt a 35-year-old at some point. Truthfully, it’s harder to picture you as a transhumanist than as a father. I mean, I still don’t own a smartphone in the year 2016, and I sure as hell wouldn’t want some corporate-controlled piece of technology embedded in my body, literally tracking every move I make. Fuck that shit, Old Bob. Of course, there’s always a caveat attached to all this transhumanist horse-shit, and it’s that these amazing technological advancements can only happen if we don’t destroy ourselves first. A pretty big IF, if you ask me.

If you are around to read this, then I suppose full-scale destruction has not set in. Yet. Not sure if you can remember the whole social media thing that cropped up in the late aughts and spread like a dandelion infestation throughout the twenty-teens. You know, Facebook and all that shit. (Please tell me Facebook went away at some point!) Anyway, I had fun with the sense of connection, at first, but now I’m not so sure I want to know so much about what’s actually bouncing around in everyone’s heads. Social media has lifted the veil, and the hideousness of what I’ve seen can’t be unseen. It’s just an undeniable fact that a scary percentage of my former and current associates cannot think critically and reasonably about matters which are of the utmost importance to the future of civilization: namely, politics and religion. You know, those topics we’ve been instructed to avoid at the dinner table over the holidays. Now I understand the sentiment behind those instructions. It’s just too depressing to expose oneself to so much irrational thinking. At this very moment the American people are strongly considering electing Donald Trump to the highest office in the land. Of course, you know how all that plays out, OB. If Trump does end up winning the election, maybe reasonable humans eventually flee to Mars, and you’re reading this missive through the inter-planetary wi-fi.

Who knows anything about anything. Not me, Old Bob. Not me. I’m starting to feel a bit old myself, with 46 waiting for me at the end of next month. I’m sure that 46 doesn’t sound too old to you OB, and maybe you’d like to stick your leg through a wormhole and give me a transtemporal kick in the ass. Maybe that’s just what I need. Despite being part of the most fortunate cohort of humans to ever exist, I still find myself feeling weighed down much of the time by the very things that the vast majority of humans on the planet are desperate to enjoy, such as having a full-time job. “Do what you love to do?” Who put this nonsense in my head? As if engaging in an enjoyable pursuit necessarily involves the transfer of other people’s money into your bank account. Ah fuck… No sense going around in those circles again. I hope that you’ve freed yourself from that orbit by now OB. Or else that you’ve been forcibly pushed from it by one of the many asteroids the universe has no doubt hurled at you. I’m thinking you probably just don’t give a fuck anymore. I mean, isn’t that the beauty and horror of old age? Knowing that there’s nothing to be done about anything anymore? Supposedly there are a few among my own age-mates who have already figured this shit out. Not me, Old Bob. Not me. I’m still fighting the same stupid, pointless fight. I am getting tired though, and my hands are starting to drop. It’s almost like I’m hoping to be knocked out cold, so that I can be spared another round of nauseating gut punches.

Well, I’m glad we had this talk bro. Hope it brightened your day a little bit at least. It actually felt good to reach out to you in this way. Maybe we’ll do it again sometime soon.

Peace out,

Young(er) Bob.

The Old Man Reading a Letter -Fyodor Bronnikov

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HTG Podcast #18: Aller Retour

In this episode of the Head The Gong Podcast, I notice that the path upon which I’ve been traveling for the past twenty years or so just might be a loop. Maybe I’ll pay better attention this time around.

Stuff referenced in this podcast:

  • Barbara Kraft Interviews Henry Miller (via the Anais Nin Podcast): http://skybluepress.com/podcasts/podcast17.mp3
  • allerretournewyork

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    Pod smack

    I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but sometime in these past couple of years I’ve become a podcast junkie. Listening to podcasts is now far and away my go-to form of entertainment. I listen while I do chores, exercise, — even while I’m sitting on the toilet. Yeah, it might be problematic. In any event, there are many podcasts that I absolutely love, including:

  • The Waking Up Podcast, by Sam Harris
  • The Joe Rogan Experience
  • Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History
  • Common Sense, with Dan Carlin
  • Philosophize This!
  • Star Talk Radio, with Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • We The People Live, with Josh Zepps
  • And that’s just to name a few of the programs I listen to on a regular basis. Again, I might have a problem. Here are a couple of gems I’ve listened to in the past few days:

  • Waking Up With Sam Harris #47 – The Frontiers of Political Correctness (with Gad Saad):
  • Barbara Kraft Interviews Henry Miller (via the Anais Nin Podcast): http://skybluepress.com/podcasts/podcast17.mp3
  • 1200x630bf

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    HTG Podcast #17: The grind

    In this episode of the Head The Gong Podcast, I find a spare moment to whine about not having enough spare moments.

    the-grind

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    Liar

    “Don’t go to bed yet. Just push record and see what happens…”

    Photo 29

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    HTG Podcast #16: Job hunting, illiberalism, and the Wachowski sisters

    In this episode of the Head The Gong Podcast, I babble about job hunting, the ascent of illiberalism in progressive circles, the Wachowski brothers — er, I mean, sisters –, and the latest from the Las Cruces indie/singer-songwriter scene.

    dth=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/J4DbSodhKLI” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

    IMG_0507

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    HTG Podcast #15: Graduation Day

    In this episode of the Head The Gong Podcast, I metamorphose from graduate student to societal leech.

    grad-cap-question-mark1-e1337041294267

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    Las Cruces rocks

    It’s been a full year since I ventured out to Art Obscura and got my first taste of the local indie rock scene here in Las Cruces. I blogged about that show here, and since then I’ve quietly supported the scene by buying CDs, promoting new tunes on social media, and even creating my own music every now and again. Unfortunately, my work/grad-school schedule has conspired with my personal demons to keep me from experiencing very many live shows over the course of this past year.

    Tonight is no exception, as there will be another big show at Art Obscura that I can’t make, this time celebrating the release of Back of a Car‘s excellent new record, Unconditional Loathe. Check it out right here:

    Another local artist I will be sorry to miss tonight is the wonderful KT Neely. KT has been busy this past year putting out great music, including the lovely, heart-wrenching tune, Coyote.

    Kt Neely | Coyote from The LNG Company on Vimeo.

    One of my local favorites, Alabama Deathwalk, will not be performing tonight, but they continue to put out great, soulful songs, like their latest, 2-Weeks.

    Simeon Beardsley, another soulful, acoustic guitar-strumming maestro, who may or may not be playing tonight with KT Neely, has also put out tons of great music over this past year, including this gem (On your way).

    Last, but not least, is a brand new (to me) musical discovery who goes by Mosaic Mountains (Not on tonight’s bill, but I’ll keep my eye out for a future show). Cut from the same cloth as KT Neely, Mosaic Mountains is a young woman named Courtney who has produced some gorgeous, stripped-down, soul-bare, acoustic tunes that are pretty freaking awesome, including Protocol Soul and Melancholy My Good Friend.

    Great music is indeed alive and well in Las Cruces. If only I could catch a show!

    Next time…

    show

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    Being in love

    Being in love (Jason Molina)
    Being in love means you are completely broken
    then put back together
    But the one piece that was yours
    is beating in your lover’s breast
    She says the same thing about hers
    Is beating in your lover’s breast
    She says the same thing about hers

    However I have gotten here
    I have plans to be with you
    And for the first time
    It is working
    It is working
    It is working

    And I am proof that the heart is a risky fuel to burn
    I am proof that the heart is a risky fuel to burn

    What’s left after that’s all gone
    I hope to never learn
    But if you stick with me
    you can help me
    I’m sure we’ll find new things to burn

    Cause we are proof that the heart is a risky fuel to burn
    Yeah we are proof that the heart is a risky fuel to burn

    04

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    Louis C.K.’s Top 10 Rules For Success (Video via @EvanCarmichael)

    There’s a ton of great shit here that is relevant to anyone who is trying to live a creative life.

    1. Try new things

    2. You can’t please everybody

    3. Always try to improve

    4. Don’t waste time

    5. Get rid of your best weapons

    6. Survive failure

    7. Be interested

    8. Be calm

    9. Use pressure to motivate you

    10. Appreciate life

    [Bonus]. Speak from the heart

    louie-season-4-review

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