10 Bukowski Quotes To Live By

Charles Bukowski was the fucking man. He was a drunk, crotchety old man that just wanted to be left alone, and I respect the hell out of him, and his writing style. Let’s see the hits.

1) “Find what you love, and let it kill you.”

2) “An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.”

3) “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”

4) “Things get bad fir all of us, almost continually, and what we do under the constant stress reveals who we are.”

5) “Stop insisting on clearing your head-clear your fucking heart instead.”

6) “If you have the ability to love, love yourself first.”

7) “I wanted the whole world, or nothing.”

8) “Beware of those who seek constant crowds; they are nothing alone.”

9) “We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone shoukd make us love each other, but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.”

10) ” I want so much that is not here and do not know where to go.”

Limbo

There is something special about the time between 12 and 4am. It’s like the world stands still, and everything is in limbo. I get my best work done during this time, I don’t know what it is about limbo, but it crystallizes my thoughts, and gives me a different perspective on life. Since the ‘Rona struck, I’ve been staying in my house and trying to ignore the constant suffering that seems to have bled into every aspect of life in 2020. At first, I thought that I would adapt, and thrive, but that isn’t the case anymore.

In order to keep from losing my mind even more, I’ve started looking for ways to get out of my head, which for the front half of the year meant mixing bourbon with more bourbon, and writing whatever came to mind. This worked for awhile, but like all things, the usefulness faded over time until I looked at that fucking blinking pixel I hate so much, and had nothing to say. As the weather got warmer, and my insomnia got worse, I needed to find ways to tire myself out. This is where I discovered limbo. It all started one night when I was having one of those days that turn into one of those nights, that turn into that delightful feeling where you stare at the clock at 3am and count down the hours, minutes, and seconds before you have to wake up and be a person again. Obviously, my ” Go to Sleep” cocktail of 20mg of melatonin, a 100mg edible, 6oz of Eagle Rare, and a Zzzquil wasn’t working. At around 3:30, I had an idea: get up and go for a jog. Now, since it was the dead of night, and I’m a degenerate, I figured it’d be fun to roll a joint for my jog, so I did, and after a half-mile and a gram, my eyes started to feel the much-needed embrace of sleep.

This went on for a few days in a row, until I realized that while I was trying to beat my brain into submission, some interesting things came out. First and foremost, I had to make a playlist that encapsulates how I felt, because life is so much better with a soundtrack. After making a 4-hour long “‘Rona Radio” playlist, I started thinking about why people are afraid of the dark. I think it’s because they are afraid of what’s out there, and as I walked around my safe upper-middle class neighborhood, I started thinking about how many people are ruled by the fear of the unknown. I know I definitely am, but the more I walk around at night, surrounded by bears and coyotes and God knows what else, I started to become less afraid. After a few more weeks of nightly walks, I became more comfortable walking around at night than during the day.

As quarantine continued, I started to look forward to these night walks, they were a stable, crystallizing moment of my day where I could think clearly for a change. I think there is something beautiful about night time: it’s incredibly peaceful to be able to walk around by myself and not be bothered by anyone, to have complete silence in a world where everything is so loud all the time.

I’ve been thinking about why this time is so special to me, and I think I can finally put it into words: this is where time stands still. Since most people are asleep, it seems like time freezes, which gives me time to stop and think. I need that now more than ever, and since I’ve had crazy bad sleep problems for a long time, I’m already up, so it fits together very nicely.

On Escaping

I’ve always been obsessed with escaping life. I don’t think I’m built to handle this world, so I look for ways to make it more tolerable. I like to think that I can exist without society, but deep down, I know that’s bullshit. I need all the distractions, but I can definitely live without all the people involved with those distractions. Unfortunately, they’re kind of a package deal, so I’m stuck dealing with them.

If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know that I’ve recently gotten back on my meds, and that life is starting to turn around for me, albeit in the slightest sense of the word. I’m still struggling to keep it together though, I feel like I’m trapped in a box, and that there is no escape, so why bother trying? I think that escapism is common in people with ADHD; for the most part, they are outsiders looking in, and after a while, that shit gets old, so it’s easier to avoid society all together. I know that I’m not built to live in conjunction with neurotypicals, as much as I desperately want to.

This is where escapism comes in: I know that I’m weird, I know that I don’t fit in, I know that people talk shit about me behind my back. I couldn’t care less about that though, being weird makes me stick out from all these boring-“I’m just trying to live my best life”- looking-ass people. My “best life” isn’t my best life: it’s hard work and discipline, it’s saying “no” to getting blitzed and watching Family Feud on a Tuesday night, because I have Analytics homework, and the professor was rude to me, so I have to get an “A” in the class to show my professor that they were wrong in thinking that I’m a moron, because I have a huge ego. This is one of my many glaring character flaws: I’m incredibly competitive, and will throw everything I’ve got at anyone I deem an opponent. Due to this wonderful personality quirk, I tend to focus my energy on things that aren’t productive uses of my time. For example, I used to run track in high school, and one of the coaches criticized my start off the blocks, so I spent hours making sure my start was perfect, just so I could shove it in their face. I know I’m petty, and vindictive, and whole bunch of other shitty things, which is why I try to escape that as much as possible.

I feel like one of those anime characters that goes off into the forest for years to hone their skills, but instead of becoming a stronger ninja or whatever, I just get more awkward, and I lose whatever social skills I had before. I idolize people like Justin Vernon, Henry David Thoreau, Kevin Parker, Prince, Mac Miller, and (sadly) Kanye West because they exhibit everything I’ve ever wanted out of the creative process: I want to be able to create no matter what, I don’t want anyone else fucking up my vibes and ruining my work by telling me what to do. Does that make me selfish? Fuck yes it does. I’m trying to make more personal content, because I want to be able to let people into my mind, but it’s super hard when I realize that someday someone I know might discover this blog, or I might get drunk and send a link to one of my friends because I wrote something I’m proud of, and feel the need to brag about it.

Truthfully, I’m terrified that someone I know will read this blog, I’ve been more honest here than I have anywhere else, mostly because shouting at the void is much better than shouting at people who say they care about you. I desperately want to separate my writing from myself, but I don’t know how. It’s much harder to lie in my writing, mostly because I think that writing is the purest form of communication between myself and my fucked up brain. Part of me thinks that I want to make good content that people connect to, but I know that’s not true.

Tears of a Clown

It’s kind of wild to watch yourself lose control. It’s like being trapped in a sound-proof glass box while someone else controls your body; you see yourself say and do all these things that you hate, and no matter how hard you punch and kick and yell at the box, you can’t break out of it and stop yourself.

I haven’t worn pants since Sunday. I haven’t eaten much, and I definitely haven’t gone outside. Sometimes I don’t do anything but sit in bed and stare at the wall, hoping that I’ll fall asleep, and that today will be over.

It’s getting worse. Usually I can fight it off, but I’m getting tired now. I know that I should stop drinking, that I should find a job, that I should work out like I used to, that I should reach out to my friends and see if they’re okay, even if I’m not. I know I should do all of these things, but I can’t for some reason. It’s like my car is out of gas, and the nearest gas station is 20 miles away, and I’ve got to crawl there.

I really just want to pretend I’m okay. My mom told me the other day that she feels pain when I’m hurt, even from small things. I don’t have the heart to hurt her by telling her how miserable I am. My parents are amazing, they’ve given me every advantage they could, they’ve loved me even though I’ve been a piece of shit, and they deserve to live the rest of their lives in happiness.

I want to be better. I want to make my family and friends proud, but I don’t know if I can. My friends haven’t noticed that I’m slowly losing my mind, but I’ve worked very hard to keep it that way. I don’t want them to worry about me, and I definitely don’t want them to tell my parents, there’s already enough pain in the world today, I don’t want to add any more to it.

Harvesting Happiness

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately, so I haven’t writing too much. I haven’t been doing much of anything lately; my job is indefinitely postponed, I’m worried that if I go outside, I’ll kill my whole family, I feel like a real-life Peter Pan, and I don’t know what to do about any of it.

There’s just so much sadness in the world right now, I can see it in the air the rare times that I go outside. People are scared, uncertain of what the future holds, and angry that it’s gotten to this point. I’ve had to fight for those fleeting milliseconds of happiness, but now, after every attempt to make life tolerable, I’ve come to the conclusion that it just isn’t enough. 

So many people I talk to say that happiness is a feeling, something that you can’t control. I think that’s bullshit.  I keep a note in my phone of everything that makes me happy, and every time I feel empty and numb, I look at that list and try to imagine the things that make me happy. It’s not a complex list, there are things like “filling your gas tank all the way up” or “finding new music” that don’t take much to achieve, but still briefly help me feel like a real person for a moment or two, and that’s so important these days. 

I’m the last person you should listen to for advice, but in this one instance, I think I’m on to something. Try it out: list the things that make you happy, and whenever you feel worthless and devoid of feeling, check that list out, it might help, it might not; I don’t know, I’m not a fucking psychologist.  

My Musical Journey

As I’ve said before, I think music is a wonderful thing that influences us and helps make us who we are. My musical journey started when I was young, and hopefully won’t stop until I’m dead.

The first memory I have is listening to “Born to Run” on one of the first trips up to Maine, and to this day I still love it. I’ve always had a soft spot for classic rock, it’s what my parents played in the house, it’s the first genre I delved into when I started to get interested in music, and some of it’s still in my rotation today, but I like to ease off for a while and get that nostalgic feeling that comes with it. I was that weird kid in middle school who thought that today’s music sucked, and that 60’s and 70’s music was the best there was. I was kind of a pretentious little shit back then.

Toward the end of middle school up into high school, I started listening to some more contemporary music, things like Metallica, Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, and Linkin Park. These artists spoke to me more than the artists my parents listened to, and I felt like they understood what it was like to be an sad, angry suburban kid in the 21st century. I don’t really listen to most of the albums I was obsessed with back then, I revisted them recently, and a vast majority of them suck, but they still meant the world to me, and those feelings I had when I was 13 make up for it.

Toward the end of my sophomore year of high school, I was looking on YouTube for something new, and I stumbled on an Eminem video. This was my introduction to rap. I was blown away by The Eminem Show and the Slim Shady LP, but my parents hated it, which made me like them even more. As I listened to more and more Eminem, my YouTube suggestions lead me to discover artists like Ice Cube and Cypress Hill. I didn’t even smoke weed yet, but I still loved Cypress Hill. I remember seeing tickets go up for a Cypress Hill show nearby, but when I thought about how my parents would react when they heard their music, I reconsidered going, which was probably for the best, since I don’t think a nerdy 14-year old white kid from a small farm town would fit in with the weed-smoking 90’s rap fan.

I really don’t want to admit this, but when I first started smoking weed, I was obsessed with the Kottonmouth Kings. I was 16, and convinced that they were better than Eminem and Dr.Dre. I’d play Long Live the Kings and Rollin’ Stoned for my friends, but they were still into hardcore and metal, so while it wasn’t really their thing, I have to give them immense credit for putting up with it and soldiering through.

My music tastes started to really evolve when my friends and I started partying. Nobody wants to here “A Little Piece of Heaven” at a party, it scares the girls away. As we met more people, we listened to their music too. One of the first people to expand my rap knowledge was our friend/friendly neighborhood weed guy Tom, who introduced me to some of the most important artists in my life, people like Mac Miller, Logic, J.Cole, and Kendrick Lamar. He also introduced me to a lot of garbage that I can’t stand to this day. I related to these people, mostly Mac and Logic, because at the time I was partying a lot, looking forward to college, to getting out of my town and making something of myself, and I looked up to these people a few years older than me doing exactly that.

As I began college, I was still listening to all of the music I’d always listened to, but as I went to frat parties and hung out with douchebags, I started getting into people like Jay-Z and Kanye West. I was blown away by the production, I still am. As college proved to be a really tough environment, I started using music to cope with the fact that sometimes I couldn’t get out of bed or do anything else. Specifically, Watching Movies With the Sound Off was my soundtrack, and it’s still one of my favorite albums, but hearing certain songs like “I’m Not Real” and “The Star Room” brings back memories of smoking joints by myself at 2am, thinking about how bad my life was getting.

I was stuck in a funk for a long time, leaving college because I was failing classes because I was either too depressed to get out of bed to go to class, or because I was too hungover to do my homework because booze temporarily made me feel like a person. This lead to me coming back to that sleepy farm town I’d worked so hard to get away from. I started working at Dunks, and with that, started having time to kill, so I filled it by listening to albums. Now, at this time I was working 10 hour days 6 days a week, so I had a lot of time to listen to new music. This period of time is when I discovered a wealth of new music that I adore to this day.

The first album I heard was Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and it blew me away. I’d listened to Kanye in college, but it was usually just the older albums and the hits, so when I heard “Runaway” for the first time, I was blown away. I’d never heard so many good songs on one album before, back to back to back, and I finally understood why people put up with Kanye’s shit.

During the Dunks Period, I started to branch out my tastes, which lead me to discover Anderson. Paak. I was blown away, it was like the music I used to listen to as a kid got a makeover, and became fresh and relevant. Malibu was my entrance to soul music, albeit in a modern sense. As I dove into soul music, I started listening to jazz and big band music, and started to value live instrumentation in all forms of music, especially rap. I discovered Avantdale Bowling Club, a project by New Zealand rapper Tom Scott, and I was blown away. It was everything I’d been looking for in an album: it had great rapping, it had live instrumentation, it had a message about coming home and growing up that spoke to me on a material level, and it was a cohesive piece of art. Hell, I’m probably going to go play that record right now, it’s one of my favorite in my collection.

As time went on, I started to get bored with listening to the same ol’ music all the time, so I looked for something new to scratch that itch. I found myself listening to a lot of indie music, Speedy Ortiz, Portugal the Man, Bright Eyes, Beach House, Gorillaz, The Internet, Tame Impala,and many more. This new influx of sounds and ideas really hooked me, and I still love all of the music I discovered back then, and I’m super looking forward to hearing the new Bright Eyes album.

Recently, I’ve gotten more into jazz, specifically modal jazz, from people like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Duke Ellington. I like the creativity and musicality involved, no structure, no limits, just artistic expression. It does make me feel hella old and lame when I put on Frank Sinatra songs in the car with my friends, but fuck them, they can walk if it bothers them that much.

I like to think that the music I’ve listened to shaped me in a way, made me a better, more rounded person. I’m still immensely curious, I’ll listen to just about anything, except for EDM, because I’m not a 20-year old frat kid on Molly, but anything else, I’ll probably give it a listen. I’ve been collecting records, not only because they definitely sound better, but they also serve as a sort of time capsule for me so when I get older I can look back at these records and remember what it was like to discover them, and how different life was back then.

My Last Day

Today’s the day. It’s finally here. I’ve thought about this moment so many times that whatever happens, I know it won’t live up to the fantasy I’ve created. I’ve decided that instead of doing all the usual unnecessary shit that I do throughout my work day, I’m going to take stock and think about what I’ll miss about this place, and what I look forward to never doing again.

What I’ll Miss:

1. Free Coffee.

2. The few nice Customers.

3. Getting out at 7 on Sunday’s.

4. Fucking with rude people.

5. Locking the doors on people after we close.

6. Listening to music on the store speakers.

7. Trying new flavor combos in my coffee.

8. Hashbrowns.

9. Customers leaving nice reviews on Yelp.

10. Customers leaving ridiculous reviews on Yelp.

11. Giving stressed-out people free coffee, because we’ve all been there.

12. Listening to Raj yell at people for unreasonable things, like using the bathroom he just cleaned.

13. Listening to Raj act super nice when his boss is around.

14. Scaring new Dunks employees with customer horror stories.

15. Listening to full albums at work.

16. Introducing customers to music.

What I Won’t Miss Even A Little:

1. That On-The-Go ringtone that never shuts up.

2. Getting yelled at by entitled morons who think this is an upscale restaurant.

3. People throwing money at me like I’m a bad stripper.

4. Customers complaining because the prices aren’t the same as they were in 1976.

5. Coming home covered in greasy fat and coffee stains.

6. Customers assuming I speak perfect Spanish because I work at Dunks.

7. People placing $50+ orders, and not tipping after.

8. Customers taking money out of my tip jar to avoid breaking a bill.

9. People snapping their fingers while I make their food because they think it’ll speed things up.

10. Blatant heroin users coughing on their money and handing it to me.

11. Drunk people asking if I can add liquor to their drinks.

12. Customers making up flavors and expecting me to know what they are.

13. Parents who bring their crying kid in, and leave them at the counter.

14. Getting 4am calls from the District Manager, asking where the TV remote is.

15. Getting calls at 4:15am from said manager after she finds the remote.

16. Getting called in at 8:30am for a 12pm shift.

17. Having to work 3am-8pm because someone didn’t show up.

18. Coffee “connoisseurs” who can apparently tell the difference between 17 creams and 18 creams in their small iced coffee.

19. People who want their coffee “extra extra light”, then complain that their coffee is too light.

20. Having customers talk on their phone at the counter when they should be ordering.

21. Getting called racist because I ask someone to repeat themselves after they order in another language.

22. Getting cold brew thrown at me because “It’s not cold enough!”

23. Customers getting angry that we don’t have Pumpkin Spice in July.

24. Customers getting offended when I ask if they want their coffee iced or hot.

25. Old people telling me that “Hey Yeah” is The Devil’s Music™️.

26. People who try and order food 45 minutes after the ovens are off.

27. Customers who order small coffees in extra-large cups because they think they’re beating the system.

28. Getting yelled at because I didn’t finish the work that someone else was supposed to do.

29. Getting asked 6 times in a row if the decaf coffee they ordered is actually decaf.

30. Customers who don’t understand what “regular” means, and get mad when they order a regular and it’s not what they wanted.

31. Being told I got a raise, and making the same amount of money every week.

32. Having to do my boss’s paperwork because she wants to go home early.

33. Customers paying for big orders with change.

34. When I greet customers at the counter, and they look at me like I’m offending them.

35. Confused customers who try and get me to pump their gas because they don’t understand how 2 stores can share a building.

36. Customers who get mad that their coffee is on the counter, and not wherever they want to wait for it.

37. Parents who point at me and tell their kids “This is what happens when you don’t go to college!”

38. Overly-complicated sandwich orders that make no sense

39. Having to fix at least one piece of equipment every shift, none of which is ever replaced.

40. Always being out of something that multiple customers want

41. Getting yelled at because we’re out of something a customer wants.

42. Being treated like I’m less than a person because I work at Dunks.

43. Having to pee outside like an animal because the bathroom doesn’t work.

Goodbye, and good riddance

The Best Two Weeks of Your Life

So I put in my notice a week ago, and I’ve got to say, this is the most fun I’ve ever had at work.

It’s not that I’m slacking off, I still do my job because I don’t want to be an asshole and leave things for everyone else because I’ve checked out. I’m still working hard, but I’m also kicking back and relaxing a lot more.

I’ve worked at Dunks for longer than Jimmy Carter was president, so part of me is worried about moving on. Did I make a mistake? Is this new job going to suck more than my previous one? Should I stay afterall? Will I really be happier at the new job? These are probably thoughts everyone has when they’re about to start a new job, so I’m trying not to think about them too much.

I’m hoping for the best, but it’s still a job; there will still be terrible days where I want to quit, there will still be days where I regret leaving Dunks, there will still be days where I wish I didn’t get out so late, but it’s still a change, and people tell me change is good. I guess we’ll see.

Music Is The New Religion

I’ve always noticed a connection between music and religion; they both try and explain the world around us, they both inspire us to be better, they both try to take us out of our heads. Kanye West literally featured God on Yeezus, solidifying my theory that he might actually need to go therapy and stop jerking his ego off so much.

Music is undoubtably art, but is religion? To me, art is anything that can make you feel something, and religion was called “the opiate of the masses.” Does that make religion art?

Those pastors at superchurches in Texas whip their crowds into a frenzy, and help them feel better about themselves, albeit for a fee. Are they not artists? Now, some of them might be con-artists, but I think the majority are just skilled public speakers who want to make a difference.

Let’s get back to music for a second. I’ve been on Twitter long enough to see some wild things, but the craziest of them all has to be “music Twitter”: where people debate who’s the best, who’s the worst, who makes them feel what emotions where, etc. This is where I started to realize the power these artists have, some of these people say that so-and-so’s music kept them alive, or helped them quit drugs, or acted as a safety blanket after a traumatic event. Isn’t that what religion does?

There are even some people who worship artists. I saw one person talk about Frank Ocean like he was a God amongst men, and attacked anyone who said any different. Is that any different than arguing about Bible interpretations or the Old vs. New Testament?

Almost everyone listens to music, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t, and truthfully, I don’t think I’d trust someone who isn’t moved by anything in any genre. Even Charles Manson liked music. It helps people see the world from different perspectives, which is something the world desperately needs right now. It teaches lessons to people who won’t listen to anyone else. It entertains us and turns the volume down when we have a bad day.

Music has helped me immensely, when I have a really awful day, I don’t want to watch TV, I don’t want to overeat, I just want to sit back and listen to my records and tune the rest of the world out.

Productivity is a Pain in the Ass

Why do we have to do things? Why can’t I just give in to that little devil on my shoulder that wants me to drink whiskey and watch re-runs of Parts Unknown all day?

Every day, I make a checklist of what I have to do. Usually, most of those things don’t get done right away.

I go days without achieving anything, but when I get things done, I Get. Things. Done. Maybe it’s the ADHD, maybe it’s because I like to be efficient, maybe it’s because I only get a certain amount of energy per week, like some sort of terrible solar battery. For example, for one of my English classes, I’d slacked off all semester because I was depressed and couldn’t get out of bed to go to class, and as a result, I had a semester’s worth of homework to do. I banged out over a dozen papers in day, and aced all of them. I wish I could do that for everything else in my life.

I’m sure there are numerous internal factors that are responsible for my lack of productivity lately; I haven’t been to the gym in awhile, I’ve been eating like shit, and I haven’t been sleeping that much, in addition to school and work responsibilities.

Hopefully, I’ll figure it out and crush it like I always do, but there has to be a limit to how far I can push myself before everything comes crashing down.

I think those bursts of energy can be stretched out and lengthened, so I’m going to try and figure out what brings them on, and try to do that more and more, until it’s just second-nature, and that lazy demon is banished, or exorcised, or whatever you do to demons.