All I Want Is A Normal Life

Musings from a girl named Normal.

Archive for the ‘bohemian culture’ Category

You say you want a resolution?

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(sorry, I couldn’t resist the gratuitous Beatles reference)

So, here’s how this generally works: I write out some really general 5-year plans, then I struggle through some really far away 3-year plans based on the achievement of the far away 5-year plans, then I write some 1-year plans (again, based on the 5 and 3 year), and then I write some 6-month plans, and finally some 3-month plans, and then I review it all and go, “ok, what did I forget in my Memento-style approach to goal setting?” Usually, it’s quite a lot. In 5 years (2014, to those who want to be surprised by a year that looks very far away, but is actually right around the corner), I am not thinking about how much I’ll owe in taxes, whether I still have this 20 lbs to lose, visiting G’ma before she dies, and stuff like that. I’m thinking in huge generalizations like “have friends,” or “have a good relationship with my family.” But if I worked it from the 3-month out, I wouldn’t ever get to the bigger goals like “Hike the Pacific Crest Trail,” since that requires a lot of foresight that I typically don’t have when thinking of immediate needs…

Which brings me to why I think goals are important. When I’m unhappy with my life, goals give me a hope for the future. Instead of waking up every day and slogging through an endless march of shitty monotony, I know that I’m marching through this shitty monotony to the FABULOUS FUCKING CASTLE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MARSH! OOH a castle! But if I didn’t have that castle, I’d just look at the grime on my shoes and mutter about how no one knows the trouble I’ve seen. And also, I usually start wondering why I’m in this monotony and start taking actions –often quite drastic actions– to break the monotony, which sometimes isn’t the best from a long-term perspective. Likewise, when I’m happy with my life, it’s easy to coast through the years without noticing that time is passing, waking up at some later time wondering why I didn’t hike the Pacific Crest Trail [before I lost both my legs in the Revolution/before I got married and had children/while I was still insane enough to try it]. Don’t get me wrong… everything is great with loving the time you’ve got and being present in the moment and just being happy (in fact, Buddhists would say that this is the absolute in enlightenment, and that wanting all these goals and stuff is the path to unhappiness), but I think I’ll be happier knowing that I accomplished many things and had many experiences at the end of it all. I mean, I had to decide far in advance that I wanted to bike the Lifecycle, otherwise I never would have started training in time. And some day, I will want to accomplish things far greater than the Lifecycle that will require training of years, not just months.

So, that’s goals. Or resolutions. Or whatever.

Last year, I totally phoned it in. Those goals down there aren’t goals. Most of them weren’t even things that I cared very deeply about. Not that I’ll have more attachment to my goals that I’m working on now, but you’ll see the behemoth task of goals when I finally finish them up.

Right now, I’ve done up a 5 year plan and a 1 year plan, but I was distracted and people were talking to me and doing yoga and stuff like that, so I missed some stuff. My dad and I are getting together in a few days for more hours of goal-setting. It’s always great to do the goal-setting with my dad, since he’s so ambitious and taught me how to do them in the first place. Also, he’s wildly proud of me and it’s kind of nice to have someone cheering and who I can cheer for.

And as you’ve probably inferred from the manifesto above, you should really work on your goals, too. I’ve got some handy tips about categories and what type of things to include.

Anyways, off to do yoga!!

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First of the “Where The Buffalo Roams” Series

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Ok, this is a TOTALLY UNRELEASED set from Splat, my brother and best friend.

Snuggle

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January 7, 2009 at 2:34 am

What is “normal”?

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On this eve of the first of the new year, I get to opportunistically reflect on the things I have, the things I want, and my purpose in life. I’ve always wanted to be “normal” and have a “normal life” (though most people I know would laugh if they heard me saying that, since my life bears little resemblance to the boring slog that most people think of when they hear “normal” — something I think of more as “quiet desperation”).

Ever since I was a little kid, I didn’t fit in. I looked like a boy until I was 9 and had to get into the habit of asking for the “ladies’ room” because service staff always directed me to the men’s room. I was too tall. I had no friends. Kids made fun of me. I wouldn’t wear a “training” bra and ended up needing a real bra earlier than anyone else I knew. Boys would dare each other to ask me out and then run away laughing. I got picked last in any athletic event I was forced to participate in. “Normal” seemed like this unattainable golden state that everyone else existed in… so when I got to pick my name, I decided that, by hook or by crook, I was going to be normal.

And that’s how I got to be “Normal.” And it really fits me, I think, since I have a regular job that I go to every day at roughly the same time. I have fairly un-exceptional thoughts on a day-to-day basis. I’m not very fashionable, but I’m also not notably unfashionable. I have hobbies like normal people: hiking, camping, hanging out with friends, blogging, photography. Yes, some of my hobbies are un-normal: collecting taxidermy, listening to Cracker all the time, modeling for unconventional photos (right), camping in the desert and applying spark to combustibles.

One thing I think I want to look into for the new year is what really *is* “normal life.” I want it… but do I? And what is it to other people? So I’ve set up a Google alert and will set out to figure out what a normal life is. Wish me luck.

A short video from Saturday night’s set

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[blip.tv ?posts_id=1274774&dest=-1]
My camera ran out of room right after this song. If you were there, you know that this is nearly the first song (if not actually the first song). It totally killed me, but at least it’s a pretty fair recording and it’s a really great song.

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September 17, 2008 at 1:25 pm

Desert Doubles -or- How the Hi-Desert Changed My Life (part 1)

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We’ll see how far into this I get. Since I’m blogging for my own personal record, the pressure’s kind of off to be either thorough or entirely factual. The account that follows may be more truthful than factual. Take that however you want to.

After work on Thursday, I drove out to see Dave Lowery and John Hickman play their acoustic set. I wasn’t expecting much at first -I was early for Cracker- but almost all the members of Camper were up on stage doing their own acoustic band thing and they were really good. If you’ve never been to Pappy and Harriet’s, I need to set a little stage for you … specifically, about 4″ of stage off the ground. The musicians are really there in the crowd playing only a few feet from the front row (I have to imagine that it’s a little awkward playing there at first).

Some friends showed up and we moved to the front between sets. Like, really really really the front.

And then Hickman came out and did a set just by himself. He’s all smiles. He seemed to be having a really nice time during the set and I could see the sheer enjoyment of the experience of playing music for an enthusiastic crowd. It’s hard not to feel like you know him since he’s so accessible and friendly. And he was really amazing. It was the first time I had seen any of them live, so it was amazing to hear the components of my favorite band deconstructed into their individual parts… and here was the phenomenal guitar of John Hickman playing right in front of me. Which led right into…

… Dave Lowery. As I mentioned, I’d never seen Cracker live and I’d only seen photos of Dave Lowery in concerts. He’s not the most, ah, um… “excited” person I’ve ever seen live. Basically, it seems like he’s an incredibly shy person who just loves to do his songs without a lot of socialization or showiness.

But they started playing and -I hope this isn’t heresy- it was like a pilgrimage to see them… all the driving, all the money, all the effort… it was all suddenly worth it for those few acoustic songs when I was so close to the stage, just hearing their perfect and unamplified set.

And then it was over. I was stunned and stood around for a few minutes talking with Arlette and Justin and Beth, and meeting Judy, Arlette’s friend, who would later turn out to play the most central role in the whole weekend… but that’s later.

And that later will have to be tomorrow, since it’s bed time now.

Photos from the most amazing weekend since the Amani weekend

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I’m going to try to keep this short and sweet, more for my attention span than for yours. All the photos link to a bigger version on Flickr.
IMG_0024Wizards of Warlock are playing in SFI took this photo for Shady
me and arlette are having an amazing weekendat the Yucca Valley swap meetJoshua TreeBob goes in for a head bonk

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September 16, 2008 at 2:22 pm

Johnny Hickman Is So Fucking Awesome

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Johnny Hickman and I pose for our Christmas Cards

Originally uploaded by Monstrously Normal

I wasn’t going to post anything about the concert tonight after my earlier post, but then I saw this photo in the flickrstream on my blog and darn it all if I couldn’t resist at least saying a little something about the weekend and this photo in particular.

Fawning over celebrities isn’t really my thing. For the most part, I don’t think I could even recognize celebrities (Britney Spears yelled to me on the freeway and it took me a while to put together that it was even her), but I have a pretty wide line between celebrities and heroes. I would have recognized Hunter S. Thompson anywhere (see our photo) and here I am with Johnny Hickman, which I put at about the same level as Hunter, except that Hickman isn’t completely blotto drunk and waving a cigarette, and was completely a nice guy.

And Bob, an old friend of his who is working on a film about Cracker, introduced me and brought up the “Dave Water Story,” which I wish I could tell right now, but is so fucking funny and requires more photos and more “telling” than I really have time, attention, or creativity for. So I told Hickman the Dave Water Story and he was, um, kind of taken aback by it. Most people are taken aback when confronted with the level of absurdity that Arlette and I try to exercise on a daily basis.

Judy said we’re lucky he doesn’t file a restraining order, but if Lucas Mann didn’t file a restraining order, Johnny Hickman sure doesn’t have cause to. Pff.

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September 16, 2008 at 4:49 am