Not making entries into this thing is a sure sign I'm overdoing something, somewhere. It's easy to look back on the time between March 25th and June 22nd and throw down a lot of "should haves" and "could haves" and maybe even a few "would haves" for good measure. I'm not going to do that. What's done is done. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, here's the gist: at the end of March I decided to throw the entirety of my being into a livestream experiment, whereby I'd broadcast every day for twelve hours a day. I just wanted to see what would happen.
For many of those 89 days, I kept the program exclusive. Only people who'd paid the five-dollar minimum to subscribe could view the actual broadcast. There were no recordings made available. If you didn't catch the show live, you didn't catch it at all. I managed to collect a small but loyal (to a point) audience. I found myself in a long tunnel of simply doing a thing, which I think is really what I wanted. I needed to escape from certain realities for a while. And I did. For a while.
The problem, for me, always comes down to people. Ever since my first days of kindergarten I've been one of those "doesn't play well with others" cases. Over the years I've become accustomed to the isolation that brings, but exposing myself for half the waking day, every day, for three fucking months, really brought it into screaming relief.
The old lady gets it—thank Christ—even going so far as to say "the world needs both types of people". Bukowski would tell you that isolation is a gift. Me? I just think far too much importance is placed on digital relationships. Maybe it's because I was born in an era where the majority of our so-called friendships were still grounded in the physical. Back when you had to look people in the eye when you professed your feelings for them. Nowadays people throw themselves around the Internet with such violence it's no wonder that the vast majority of the active players are depressed, desperate, or mentally disturbed.
People are not so precious. That's the hard pill to swallow, I think. I can't count the number of times I've had past and present livestream audience members tell me that I was one of their few friends (!) or that they just couldn't form social groups of their own. That's such bullshit. It's just fear. People afraid to go outside of their protective bubble, people who've forgotten what it's like to smile at a stranger and say "good day". I feel sorry for them. There's a world full of potential friends just outside the door, a world full of people with the same fears and ideals and morals—good and bad—just waiting to make those delicious, sparking connections. But the things that happen in the virtual world? That's all they are. Facsimiles of feelings. Facsimiles of love. It's all got potential, sure, but until it's manifested physically we're all just shells, fragments of beings presenting our best (and sometimes worst) versions of ourselves.
Whatever the case, I'm very glad to have reclaimed my days. I did the best I could with the livestreaming thing, and my major takeaway is this: it's a vector to leverage preexisting fame. I don't know when this happened. It's likely been this way for years. No one is going to spin livestreaming into a career simply by livestreaming. There's no discoverability, and there's really no reason to watch a person who's "just streaming". You want to know the real key to making it big as a streamer? Do something amazing outside of livestreaming. And it really needs to be amazing. The thing we all need to face is that if you're doing something, be it visual art or music or writing or sports or craft or whatever, there's a good chance there's thousands (if not millions) of people doing the same. You want notoriety? Attention? Make what you're doing worthy of attention, and put it in front of people. That's it. You may starve. In fact, you probably will. At the end of the day we're all playing this fucked up popularity contest that only the very thinnest slice of any given crowd can "win".
I hope I'm not sounding too sour about it. Reading this back to myself, I don't think I am. I've always been realistic when it comes to this kind of thing. This will be the second time in my life that I made a major push into a hit-driven industry and fell flat on my face. I'm okay with it.
So where do we go from here? I'll still stream. I might as well. As long as I continue to play video games, I think I'll keep putting myself out there. The biggest gain for me, from all this, was reducing myself from a full-blown production that required hours of prep every week (Dark Acre Church) to having a comfortable set-up where I could just push "Start Streaming" and not worry about having shit audio or video. I've got that part down to a science. Now it's just a matter of managing both my—and the potential audience's—expectations. But it's time to write. It's time to learn music. It's time to read more, to breathe more. It's time to sit up straight and get back to actual work.
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I heard it in the wind, and I saw it in the sky...
The further that I move away from the consecutive 12-hour days, the more absurd the enterprise seems to me. I spent an enormous amount of energy servicing a handful of people's entertainment. I feel like I well and truly burned away my desire to do it with any seriousness. This is a good thing. There's no road on that journey that doesn't lead to madness.
I've been spending some time doing character studies on Twitter. I'll take an individual and scroll as far back through their time line as I can, and see how they evolved (if at all). It's been fascinating and very useful fuel for the writing. It's too early to see if it's a recommendable practice, but I've been enjoying it. It's nice, too, when it reaffirms my earlier judgments of certain individuals. Spoiler—I haven't been wrong yet.
I've been using Tenuto, an app extension of musictheory.net, to practice note recognition. For the first phase, I want to get so proficient at reading notes that I can just look at one on a staff and know what it is. For the second I'll do the same with the keys. After that there's scales signatures. I'm starting with 100 staff notes a day, and we'll go from there. It's tempting to just dump all my free hours into learning to read music, but I think it's important to establish a maintainable rhythm first.
Speaking of maintainable rhythms, the diet and exercise have been moving apace. I'm confident that by the end of summer I'll be well on my way to the physical form I've been after for more than a decade now. I need to assemble a new program, one that covers six of seven days with an emphasis on splitting muscle groups right-left. It'll be similar to what I did when I was at peak. These kinds of programs are designed to make use of the freedom of time I have. More on this as it develops.
There's a new poem up.
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Solid enough day. It still feels weird to have reclaimed so many hours. It's like going off THC for a month and then taking a big rip on a fat joint: stunning.
I audited yesterday's completed items to include the livestream hours. I might as well keep a record. I also started formulating the gym program. I have a week to nail it down, so I'll compose it as I go and add the notes to the current program page.
I think I need to spend a few more hours reading. I'll replace the movie/television-watching time with book time. I feel like I've seen everything worth watching on demand for the time being anyway.
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I've been vaccinated against COVID-19. It should fully take in a week. Eighteen months ain't shit.
I spent three hours on the phone with Microsoft and Xbox support trying to sort out an issue I'd been having with Xbox Game Pass for PC. Games weren't downloading. I got fed up with being passed around in their departments, so I hung up and implemented the fix that the Microsoft site itself recommended. Things seem to be working again, although I can't install games to my H drive. Whatever.
I watched something on Netflix, but sitting here I cannot for the life of me recall what. It'll probably come to me as soon as my head hits the pillow. Either way, I didn't really live up to yesterday's promise of reading more and watching less. I still managed to sit with this Céline book for an hour. It was one of Bukowski's favorites. It's a difficult read, but I'll get through it.
As I put together the upcoming exercise program, I find that much of what I'd done in years past is still applicable. It's comforting, in a way. I can't wait to see how my body reacts to the shock of resistance training.
It was somewhat warm this evening, so I only did a short show. I'm starting to get into the swing of just going live whenever. I don't like how things self-organized during the full-time push. I kind of despise it now. Never again.
I need more booze.
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That's the first week of July down. Am I getting done what I wanna get done?
"Sure," he said. His breath smelled of blackberries and moonshine, and the sloe look in his eyes betrayed his inebriation.
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I took it pretty easy today, and ended up spending most of the evening playing Darksiders. Drank some very tasty beverages from Vancouver Island Brewery. I used to walk past that place every time I left Club Phoenix, a gym my father paid for when I was getting clean. I never really got into any kind of shape from that, but it did help me kick the nicotine habit. Turns out it's pretty hard to do intense cardio and maintain a smoking habit, you kinda gotta choose one or the other.
Not much on the creative front, but it's so important to regulate that stuff. My hand itches though, it wants to write something of substance in the longhand journals. I haven't transcribed much into the website, just a couple of poems. There's already some twenty pages of random musings that may never see publication. I like that, actually. It used to be I'd just sit down like this and pump out the words direct to the public. Having something that's well and truly private is something of a blessing in this day and age.
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I may have ate and drank a bit much today. For whatever reason, there were twelve cans of premium beer sitting in my fridge, alongside a ton of rich food. I feel bloated, and it's been a very long time since I've felt this way. The beer and food will run out. Things will go back to normal. I think it's important to mention the fact that I'm not complaining, just observing.
I feel like I've been spending a bit too much time playing video games. After managing to get off the livestreaming project I'd hoped to tone things way down, and get around to more reading and writing. I'm not sure why it's taking me so long to escape the gravity of the livestream. Conditioning, perhaps? Some kind of fucked up Pavlovian slavery to "being live"? I mean, it's not like I don't want to play games. And if I'm playing games, I'm doing it live on the Internet. I don't want to go back to "just playing games". Either way, I need to focus on reducing the time investment. Evenings only would be a good start. I have things to say about why the project self-organized into a six- to eight-hour session from 4 AM, mainly that I ended up broadcasting for a small circle of people and catering to their needs over my own. I'm still kind of stuck in that mode. The switch needs to get flipped back, especially considering that most of those people ended up fucking off a long time ago. There's more to say on that, too. I'll wait a few years before writing that story.
For fuck's sake, livestreaming isn't even in the plan.
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Very chill Saturday. Minimized the livestreaming, maximized the reading and writing. Pro tip: bring a book instead of a phone to the bathroom.
Cobbled together the foundation program I'll be following when I hit the gym next week. Also managed to shit out a new draft for a longer poetic work. I wrote it longhand, and once I got it into the machine I became immediately dissatisfied with it. This is the first time in a very, very long time that I can recall being actively put off by something I've written. I think this is a good thing. I need an editor. It's a shame that my editor of choice would never agree to work with me.
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Today was pretty chill. I'd planned to sleep until after 10 AM, but ended up waking at 8 and doing the walk. The walk has been so therapeutic. It's a bonus to be able to just throw the shoes on and go. I'm well ready to start hitting the treadmill and weights, so ready in fact that I've moved the start date up to tomorrow. I'll go in for registration around 11 AM and just do the first workout then. There's zero sense in waiting. Here's another hot life tip: don't ever make long-term self-improvement plans that rely on specific days of the week. Always come up with rolling schedules that run when you do. Be beholden to nothing but your own will to succeed. Holidays and weekends are meaningless, time is a human construct, own your fucking destiny.
Took the day off of trying to write (aside from this) and the music theory. I also haven't shaved in a few days.
While the livestream-time was kept to a minimum, I did end up spending a few hours off line playing UFC 4. It's got such an addictive cycle to it, one that really kicks hard once you start winning. Huge boon for Xbox Game Pass.
I'm waiting on replies from emails I sent in a weak attempt to revive some kind of written correspondence with an old friend. It's been six days since I last heard from them. I wish I'd never been poisoned by the modern direct message paradigm of supposed perpetual and instantaneous access. It's how things are, though. It really is better to get used to the direction the train is heading, particularly when you're locked in one of the box cars with no hope of escape. The best you can do is pray for a derailment.
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It was first day back at the gym in eighteen months, and it was incredible. I feel fantastic. Energized, motivated, calm, focused, and determined. I can't wait to get back there tomorrow. The program takes about an hour, which was expected, but with an additional forty minutes walk bracketing the whole enterprise. My caloric allowance is kinda through the roof, so much so that I could have two-and-a-half Dairy Queen cheeseburgers for dinner and still have almost five hundred calories in the budget. We'll see what the morning brings, I believe I lifted safely and fully stretched. All that's missing is a deep tissue massage, and I think I can find one of those lying around here somewhere.
The gym was really the big thing for today, and because I couldn't get it going until 11 AM it pretty much shunted everything else to either side. Tomorrow I should be starting my day with the training and then I'll be free from 8 or 9 AM. I'm just so blessed to have the freedom to tinker with my days like this. I almost wish I was doing more creative work, but hey: we're creating a stronger, healthier body. That's gotta count for something.
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I may have strained my right triceps, or perhaps a tendon leading from the upper arm into the elbow, doing chest work at the gym today. If I were to guess, it happened during the bench press. At the time—as with all injuries like this—it didn't feel like anything got hurt. It wasn't until I got up from resting at home, hours later, that I realized I was having a little difficulty raising a glass to drink. It's not an excruciating pain or anything; it feels more like a lactic acid build-up than a strain. I'll keep an eye on it. Tomorrow is arm day anyway. If any complications are gonna arise, they're happening then.
Another more or less uncreative day. I think it might go like this for a bit as I adjust to being back at the gym. I'm halfway to a "day off", and I'm still considering how best to use that day. I keep feeling called back to gamedev, or at the very least 3D modeling and texturing. I need a plan for that.
There's 55 days until Labor Day, but 12,985 days until I hit my life expectancy. Plenty of time for everything, even love.
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Two weeks of July down, and have we gotten done what needed getting done? I'd say yes. Got away from the livestreaming, got back into reading and writing, got fully vaccinated and have started the journey to rejoin real human society. It's a sight different from the hellscape of the all-digital confinement that was self-isolation. Eighteen months! I'd fooled myself into thinking that it hadn't affected me as badly as it had. I'm only becoming aware of the peculiar side-effects now that I'm re-integrating. Peculiar. That's a great word for the whole situation.
The gym work—the only work I'd ever do, mind you—is starting to take its toll. Fortunately I'm in a position to absorb whatever fallout comes from the tearing down of muscle tissue and the pains of rebuilding. Spiritually, I'm there. Physically? It's going to take time. Tomorrow is leg day, and the last day of the first sequence. After that it's full rest and relaxation for something like 45 hours. There'll be more to say on this on the evening of the 16th, I'm sure.
Another non-creative day. Didn't even bother with the notes. It's fine: the physical process is everything now. Once that evens out, everything else will fall into place. I'm certain of it.
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Eight days, eh? What's happened since the last post? Not a whole lot of creative work, unless you consider bodybuilding to be creative. Which, in a way, it is. But it's in a gross, physical way. Not in an elegant, metaphysical way. Which is what I'm feeling I need more of. It's a gnawing urge, once that's yet to supersede the urge to play video games and generally lay about. I'm assuming it will eclipse the laziness at some point. And if it doesn't? Well.
I made the Dean's Honor List at my university. It turns out that pursuing courses in material that you've already mastered is a great way to cheese the system. It's like playing the tutorial for a game you know inside and out. It's trivial. But my name's posted somewhere in place of reverence up at the hallowed halls of education. I'll have to head up there and take a picture.
This journal is supposed to document development. Do I need to sit down and hash out yet another plan for making things happen? Why can't they just happen on their own? At least the kilometers are being walked and the weights lifted. That is a far sight better than anything that's happened over the last eighteen months. A far, far sight better.
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I don't know. There's a pace to this living. No more excuses to fall back on, no more hiding away in dark corners. This reflection time has been the best medicine I've had since rebounding off of drugs back in '97. Has it really been 24 years? More than half this lifetime ago. And in that time I've managed to alienate almost everyone I've ever come in contact with. Remarkable, really.
The scary thing is that I have no regret. I mean, there might be something that gnaws at me from time to time. Things that prevent me from falling asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. Nothing that outright prevents sleep, mind you. I've always been able to sleep, and dream. Good dreams, too. There's just something about that inability to form a durable connection with people that's always been an outstanding flaw. So much so that I have to wonder if it even is a flaw.
I think it comes down to having unreasonable standards. Expectations for others that I lay on myself. How the ship can be sailing along under fair skies and strong winds and I'm in the hold, punching holes in the hull. Smiling and singing while I do it, too.
It's time for long period of sobriety. Let this rebuilding of the physical self continue, unabated, until it spills over into the spiritual. Let's rub the surface so raw that it gleams as though newborn.
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I want to personally thank whatever twist of fate it was that granted me that last lull. That brief reprieve, in the middle of Nature blistering us with a heat bubble where there shouldn't have been a heat bubble, that let me get off the cycle of livestreaming and, equally important, drinking caffeine. It's only been three weeks since we kicked both of those toxic habits. Time has moved very strangely since. Without the seeming inevitability of the daily split-shift-twelve-hours of sitting in front of the computer wondering what fresh hell I was going to cast myself into, I find myself instead lounging back in the ice bath of awakened privilege.
I shouldn't even be here. I'm a disabled aboriginal kid whose mom grew up in a residential school. They call them "survivors", but I'm not so sure. I think they managed to get them, in the end. It was just a lot slower than being buried in an unmarked grave. Either way, for myself, someone who's supposed to be all marginalized and shit, I'm doing pretty fucking well. Fully vaccinated, haven't had to work a day in the last thirteen years, and surrounded by all the creature comforts a modern tech-savvy nerd should have? There's more blessings than curses to count, for sure.
I guess today I just wanted to acknowledge my privilege. I know it's there. And I fucking love it. It's a lot less exhausting than feeling like I have to apologize at every turn for not suffering enough. Fuck suffering. There's other rails to ride.
I need to Bootstrap this god-damned website.
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I wrote a new piece today.
Another four days worth of strength rebuilding have passed, marking the third such sequence since returning to the gym after an 18-month layoff. So far it feels like the program is working out very well. No major complaints, no injuries, and the pace is brisk. Getting three, full-body workouts done in the space of two weeks is monumental. I only hope I can maintain and regulate.
It was a great day for cinema. I've been watching a lot of movies recently. I think the hope here is that I reach some kind of tipping point where I finally get off my ass and write my own damn screenplay. I felt pretty close to that point today. When you think about it, it's a lot easier to write a 90- to 120-page script than it is to write a novel. And I've already written five novels. I suppose this counts as talking about shit rather than doing shit, so I'm gonna stop myself here.
Still need to Bootstrap this site.
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I had a whole heap of stuff to say about today's scrolls through social media, but when I sat down to write it out I realized that it was all inconsequential bullshit that had zero bearing on my reality. So I decided to save the both of us the trouble.
I really enjoyed this second "day off" from the strength rebuilding. I managed to get a bunch of domestic stuff done, livestreamed a bit, and watched a couple of movies. I also fully developed an idea for an exorcism video game. Now I'm gonna crawl into bed and continue reading that book that Bukowski held so dear.
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The goal here, in whatever this is, is to make an entry a day. That's the discipline of it. In that regard, I've failed. But I'm rather used to failure at this point, and that's something to be used to.
Around the start of this month I made something of a pledge to myself to "read more, to breathe more". In this, I have overachieved. Looking back, I'm rather glad I only promised that much. More music and writing would have been nice, but I'll take a stronger back and a renewed enthusiasm for going outside over everything else. With regard to the writing, I feel as though I'm actively stopping myself. I could write. I could write a lot more than the handful of poems and meager longhand journal entries I've made—not a one since July 10th, a rambling attempt at summarizing the 1,000-hour "springtime of livestreaming"—but I choose not to. Instead I lounge around watching film and television. I'm certain there's method to this madness, most likely fueled by the desire to avoid heat exhaustion, but it's not readily apparent to me. What is known is that there's a pressure building behind this self-imposed dam. A great and violent pressure.
I'm also still unready to disclose my findings with regard to livestreaming, aside from how I've always summarized it: an enormous waste of time and human capital. I wonder if I'll ever get it down with any degree of concision. It's a muddy water of a play, commingled with so many other actors whose voices fit no logical script. Perhaps it's best left as a footnote, rather than an essay. Suffice it to say I'm now far more comfortable 'streaming nothing to no one. It's simpler this way, and if there were to be any definite mantra to the coming months it's that simplicity must rule.
I think I've said all that I need to, for now. Tomorrow's another month.
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