Jeff's online journal, ramblings, whatever.

Oh, what have I unleashed? (Also, ABC Monsters)

(The above is a picture of the Cruncha from the ABC Monsters album, by Johnathan Whiting. For the music MP3’s, see the bottom of this post.)

Nearly a week ago, I made an infamous blog post. For me, it was just another one of those angsty posts I make on occasion, the kind where I get all my issues out so I can go on living, the kind that this blog used to be entirely comprised of, but in recent years tapered off after Facebook and such allowed people to find the blog more easily. This one was not really different. I’ve been going through some hard times recently, and needed a place to unload. At first I considered making it a private post, or keeping it public but deleting the Facebook notification that pops up due to my RSS feed (which I have done for this follow-up post). However, when enough time passed that the note popped up in Facebook, somebody had already “liked” it and another had made a comment, so I thought, “what the hey, let’s see where the chips fall.”

And fall they have. My most popular posts according to my site stats may still be the one with the picture of Frederic Chopin and Michael Jordan, and the one where Mickey Mouse tries to commit suicide, but this post has generated more feedback among people I actually know than any other post I’ve ever made, even more than the Glenn Beck post where I offended people. It’s probably due to the publicity that the robbery brought, as well as the reposting of it that Nate did on the robbery Facebook page, but for some reason everybody is giving their two cents, both in comments here and on Facebook, and in real life. I’ve never had so many people say to me, in person, “I read your blog post, and (etc.)” before. Frankly, it’s a bit surreal. I haven’t figured out quite how to respond to it all. So I’m going to do my best here, addressing a few points that seem to be common among comments and offering a little more insight into what I’m feeling and stuff.

First of all, as I said in the comments previously, it’s funny that so many people have complimented me on my courage to follow my dreams when I’ve felt like it’s just an inability to settle down. It’s rare that people follow their dreams to the bitter end, and apparently that’s impressive. But what people may fail to realize is that most people don’t follow their dreams to the end for a reason. That reason being, even though it’s inspiring and makes for a feel-good story, it’s really difficult and probably fairly stupid, and the failure rate is way higher than the success rate. Also, a whole lot of luck is required, luck which I seem to be running low on.

Secondly, just to address common responses to the robbery itself: we have no leads. Yes, it does sound like an inside job, or at least the work of somebody who had been into the office before. However, we have no method of figuring out who it could have been, since Nate and I can’t think of anyone we’ve offended recently that would do something so heinous. At this point we’ve pretty much resigned ourselves to the fact that we may never figure it out and, barring a miracle, we’ll just have to rebuild. Donating would help a lot on that front. This stuff is expensive, man!

Thirdly, one of the more curious reactions I’ve personally had is the fact that suddenly there’s a lot more support than I thought I had at first, both in words and in donations (Thanks to those who have donated, by the way! We’re on our way to rebuilding, but Nate would appreciate some more). I really do appreciate the vocal support. It’s just that, at the end of the day, I’ve still got to deal with everything. I can’t monetize good intentions. Actually, my gut reaction makes me think of times like when a certain relation of mine said he was very proud of me, then turned around and refused to pay $10 for a CD of my music I was trying to sell. Experiences like that have turned me into a believer of the “talk is cheap” principle. And before I offend anyone, this is really my fault, not anybody else’s per se. It’s my inability to turn people’s good impressions of my work into something I can make a living off of that’s causing me a lot of my stress. Maybe I need an agent? Or at least a good marketing person? I apparently can’t do it myself. Of course, I also can’t afford to pay a marketing person right now, so damned if I do, damned if I don’t.

The sudden publicity and responses have been a little disconcerting. I’m really not used to getting any sort of emotional support from any quarter. I didn’t really grow up in a loving, huggy family, and my natural introversion has precluded large groups of friends. In fact, I get along best with people that also have kind of a cynical edge to them (like Johnathan, who wrote a long, awesome comment about our friendship on the last post and still called me a jerk). Because, like Johnathan said, a lot of the jerks of the world are really people who want to be kind and caring but don’t know quite how to pull off the good first impression. The world frowns upon such people, which dampens their enthusiasm to try to improve themselves. So I make it a point to befriend those types of people, because everybody needs somebody to believe in them. Because I know what it’s like to be there. I’m there almost all the time myself. And believing in someone isn’t just saying, “Hey, you’re great!” because talk is cheap. On the other hand, the people who have responded, both in word and in donations, are certainly doing what they feel they can, and it wouldn’t be fair for me to marginalize their contribution because I have a personal bias against perfunctory, superficial kindness. I truly am grateful for the thought. My point is, I’ve gotten a bunch of support, but I’m ambivalent about a lot of it. And, hard to hear or say as it might be, that’s the honest truth.

Also, basically everything I said in the previous post had been percolating for a while. The robbery just brought it to a head. As a result, I think people have assumed that all the opinions I expressed came about as a reaction to the robbery, which may be another reason I’m not quite sure how to deal with it all. This is stuff I’ve been dealing with for a loooong time (and even posted about on occasion) but now suddenly people are concerned? Intellectually I understand the external circumstances that garnered that post a lot more attention, but I’m just not used to people caring, so I probably come across as kind of a jerk about it simply because I don’t know how else to react. If I just say, “Thanks to everyone! I love you all!” I don’t feel true to myself. In a way, it’s the same problem that I posted about years ago, where I compared myself to Arnold J. Rimmer from Red Dwarf in a few ways, one of them being that my psyche just doesn’t know how to deal with people being kind to me.

In many ways I just wish I could go back a month or two, where my concerns were my own and nobody else really knew or cared. It may have been hard, and a canker on my soul, but at least I knew how to deal with it. However, at least now I feel like I may have turned a corner. I can’t wallow in misery knowing that people out there do care, no matter how easy that may be. People need a reason to get up in the morning, and for a long time I haven’t had a compelling one, but now there may be a sliver of light. Come the day when I finally do get organized to start selling professional-quality work, I may have a base.

To conclude, I apologize to anyone who might feel marginalized by my lukewarm response. This has been a rather rambly post, and perhaps not the kindest way to respond to people, but at least it’s been honest. And the world needs more honesty. That way love becomes love unfeigned.

And truthfully, thanks for the support!


On a different topic, since all the work from the ABC Monsters album Johnathan and I were working on got stolen, we are going to have to do the whole album from scratch. Therefore, so you can at least get a taste of what could have been (and at least partly of what is to come), I’m posting all the demo tracks we had made up to this point. Most of these tracks just have my non-polished vocal tracks with MIDI accompaniment, but I still like ’em! Please leave feedback!

Link to the Youtube playlist


2 responses

  1. Marne'

    Thanks for the honest response. If you had given a “I love you all!” kind of thank you, I would have accepted it, but probably be very confused (and questioning your mental state). I liked your (and Jonathan’s) comments about coming off as jerk. I also try to befriend the jerks, but I do it because I figure the reason they offended me in the first place was because they remind me of a part of myself which I don’t like. After all, It’s much easier to accept others’ shortcomings than your own. Unfortunately, for most of us introverts, it is difficult to accept open compassion from others. I haven’t quite figured out why, but it feels awkward. Not necessarily like pushing against the grain, but perpendicular to it.

    All I can say about the attention you’re receiving, is that I would recommend getting all you can out of it right now. As stated before, “talk is cheap” (and it doesn’t keep).

    January 8, 2011 at 10:41 pm

  2. You know what I like about you, Jeff? You’re an honest man. (Also you have excellent taste in art. You should introduce me to that Cruncha artist. I like his style.) But seriously, forks… Your post reminded me of an experience I had in high school. I was hanging out with my friend Chuck at his place, watching TGIF or some nonsense, and I thought to myself, “Self, Why is this kid Charlie my friend? What’s so special about me that he wants to hang out with me?”

    Now, to preface that thought, you gotta understand that most of the time growing up I had very few friends, and even fewer my own age. In fact, in 6th grade I hit a really low point and realized I didn’t have anybody that I could call a true friend. This actually lead to my habit of staying up until way past midnight. I was so sad that I didn’t want the next day to come, so I thought by staying up I could stretch out that day and put off tomorrow. Of course, that eventually made me feel worse, but that’s another story…

    What I was getting to was that this kid Charlie and I had known each other since preschool, we had been friends when we were very young, and had even been enemies for awhile (especially in junior high-don’t get me started), but somehow we ended up as best friend’s in high school and we hung out all the time, and I had no idea why. Why did this kid like me? Especially when I felt that no one else did, and I didn’t real even like myself.

    I don’t remember what conclusion I came to, but I think it was something like this: somehow, he could see something good in me that he liked. I mean, this kid and I would still get in fights every once in a while (verbal and physical), but somehow we ended up still being best buds. He was my first real friend.

    I think now that even with all the flaws I saw in myself, he could see thru them to find something admirable about me, and that gave me a little more confidence in myself. Since then, I’ve been able to make friends with a lot of people. Even this arrogant, cynical red headed estep child I had to be roommates with for a couple of semesters at the BC 🙂 (On a side note, Charlie had red hair also. Coincidence? I think not!)

    Do you see where I’m going with this Jeff? (If so, please remind me, ’cause I think I may have forgotten…)

    Where I’m going with this is that if Chuck could see something good in me, then I could see something good in me, even though it took me a long time to realize it.

    The same thing goes for you, man. I see so many admirable traits in you that far outweigh the negatives. (And in fact, I even like some of the negatives. Like that time we were playing Settlers with Paul Chavez and you were totally being the typical “Chairman Mao-Jeff-is-such-a-stickler-for-the-rules-that-he-comes-off-as-being-a-Jerk.” I mean, the interplay between your two personalities was the stuff of legend. You made the kid so mad that he had to drive to the Uintas! LOL Man, that was good stuff.

    It’s stuff like that that I appreciate. You’re such a strong character. But, you’re not always a jerk, either. If someone with half a brain actually has a conversation with you, or read any of your posts on this blog, I would hope they realize how much insight you have into art, music, religion, politics, social interaction, Star Trek, you name it!

    It’s those strong character traits that have always defined you. You have have a bold personality. You refuse to live life diluted. And I think you need to realize and appreciate that about yourself.

    I know I’ve said a lot, but I thought of another example from my life. You remember Kelli Thomas? She was that girl from the Rocki Balboa movie who I used to hit on so aggressively (not in any innappropriate way, of course, for anyone else who’s reading this) that you and Steve would put a pane of glass between her and me to protect her from my ridiculously overbearing advances. Now, some may say that I was in the wrong for acting that way, that if I had tried a softer approach I might have had a chance with her, but for me it was all about the act that made it fun. I enjoyed playing the villain, the scoundrel if you will. Sometimes, I would even think to myself that maybe I was coming off too strong, that I could have dated her if I’d been more of a “gentleman,” but I’ve learned to let go of thoughts like that.

    What helped me was reminding myself of situations where I had acted like a gentleman with other girls. Sometimes it had worked and the girl had appreciated it, and many times it hadn’t and the girl still gave me the cold shoulder or was a total jerk to me. I also reminded myself that there were some girls that liked me acting like a scoundrel, and were actually attracted to that sort of behavior! The key was to remind myself that I was capable of being a gentleman, but I was also capable of being a cad, but I still liked myself no matter whether I was playing the good guy or the villain. Whether or not the chicks dug it was up to them and their preferences, but I really enjoy being an obnoxious, immature, mischievious brat sometimes.

    Now, since this has turned into a sermon, I can officially accept that I have my mother’s bad habit of writing letters-as-novels (although I affirm that this is far more coherent than any of the long letters she wrote to me.) (Geez, maybe I should get my own blog, since I’m taking up all your space anyway.) (and why do I always write in parentheses?) (but I digress…)

    The point is that you, like me are multi-faceted and you gotta accept that and appreciate it. You can be nice, you can be mean, you can be prideful, you can be humble, you can be religious, you can be secular, but can you live with that? Can you accept your own strengths AND your shortcomings and even learn to like them? Because those of us who are your friends have come to accept them and do like those things about you. Otherwise, we would have jumped ship and let the the USS Jeffery Parkes (NC1701JP) sink long ago. Get used to it, Jeff (or should I say, Rimmer?), we’re your friends and we like you even if you don’t like yourself.

    (And on a side note, I can’t stand a lot of people who other people consider to be extroverted. I find a ton of them (especially a lot of people at BYU that I could name, and I think you’d agree with me) to be shallow, insensitive, unintelligent pricks that other people only like because they come in shiny packages.) (Wow, I used parentheses inside parantheses, that’s a new low for me!) (But I like that about myself, so it’s okay 🙂

    Anyway, go watch some DS9, cause that’s what I’m about to do.

    January 15, 2011 at 1:00 am

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