Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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Well hello Dambreaker Nation!!

I am finally able to return to a keyboard and computer where I am able to write this to you.

There’s plenty to talk about. So let’s start at the beginning, which is the 17th of October in 2018.

The attached image was taken from my cell phone on that day around approximately 4:00 in the morning on the 17th.  My apartment building was on fire.

I was awakened by the sounds of someone screaming “Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!…” over and over again.

The first thing that I remember was that I could smell smoke. But I did not identify it s such. I thought that one of the neighbors was burning incense or something and it got out of hand. But that didn’t make sense at 4:00 in the morning.

As I opened my eyes, my window was just filled with a bright orange glow. Something was in fact, on fire.

I got up and went to the window and looked out, expecting to see the apartments on the other side of the fence burning. But I saw nothing but darkness. Then I looked up above and saw more of the orange glow. The neighboring building was not on fire…. I WAS ON FIRE.

I ran for my desk and quickly had to make a decision on what was most important and vital for me to take with me. Keys, wallet, cell phone, rings, cash, coins, etc. Thankfully these items were all in the same spot.

My wheelchair did not have the foot rests attached so I reached for them in the dark, the smell of smoke was becoming more and more apparent.

But I could not see in the dark what I was doing. My next thought was to quickly turn on the light to see. However, as I turned I noticed another bright glow from the ceiling inside of the air conditioning vent. Inside the vent in the ceiling was in flames.

It was at that point that I had decided to abandon everything else and get the hell out before something serious happened.

As I approached the front door, I felt around to see if it was hot. When I realized it was safe to exit, I opened the door slowly and was met by much more fire and smoke. Once I opened the door, I went as fast as I could to get away from the building. And in the process of it all, I felt and heard snapping noises from beneath my wheelchair.

The frame broke.

The neighbors began to pour out onto the sidewalks and I noticed that it was starting to rain. I thought to myself: “Great! From fire to water!!”

The fire department and the police department was swarming all over the property. A police officer made the suggestion that we leave the area because the smoke was about to get worse.

A school bus was sent to pick up the neighbors and I and take us to a local high school gymnasium in order for us to get away from the area and out of the rain.

There are eight apartment units in each building here at SGC. With the exception of two buildings. In the building where I was, there was one unit vacant due to a move out, leaving seven residents living in that building. Four people with walkers and three wheelchairs.

ALL SEVEN OF US GOT OUT WITHOUT INJURY!

The displaced sat inside that gymnasium for just under an hour before they brought us back to the property and placed us inside of the community building where the offices are. It was a mad house but at least we were back.

The apartment manager made some phone calls for those of us who were displaced. My sister and brother were called.

Within the next hour, my sister arrived to SGC. She was ready and willing to help out with the immediate needs. By then I was mentally gone.

I remained inside the community building with only one thought running in my head, “I need a place to stay. How the hell am I going to pay for it??”

The American Red Cross was there and they gave some aid to the displaced. It was not a lot, but it was more than what I had before now that I had lost everything to the fire.

I am thankful for my sister and her efforts to help me. Especially during those first few days. She and her son was in a fender bender the month before and it seemed like their situation was just as bad in their declined health. But she came out to help me.

My brother in Georgia jumped into action as well. Making phone calls and talking with connections to see if he could help in some way.

By the end of the day on the 17th, I still had no idea where I was going to go. The apartment complex just kept asking if I found a place to stay. And I just had to ask them for help.

I was going to use the funds that were donated by the American Red Cross for a hotel for the night, but after that I had no idea where I was going to end up. The social worker found a hotel and tried to use the funds but it was refused. So the apartment complex used a corporate card and paid for the first night of hotel. My brother paid for a second night. It is the one and only time that management paid for a room.

My sister taught me how to connect the Wi-Fi to my cell phone. Thankfully it has been free. So it is a struggling and learning process to figure out how to remain on the Internet with a cell phone.

Nobody who was displaced had insurance. The fire was determined to be an electrical problem in the roof.

During the day, I had people reaching out to me asking questions and what not. And one of the local bands here in Austin, whom I cherish and love so much, created a GoFundMe account. And it was shared around the Internet those first few days.

Those first few days were brutal. But today, is just a memory of hardship. I stayed in the hotel for a few more days after that. But after paying over $325 (before taxes) for just three nights, I knew that I needed to find some place else to stay.

The GoFundMe account has really saved me. I am so thankful for each and every person who decided to donate.

I left the hotel and my sister and I went hunting for something more affordable. Something that I could do from week to week. We went all over Austin and couldn’t find much.

After a reservation finally was made, we went to the front lobby and immediately was met by a woman who said that they had NO ground floor rooms available and there was no elevator on the property.

But eventually, we found a place to stay which had much more room and was on the ground floor. And I have been there since. And I will remain there.

In the meantime, my sister has given me help in transportation so I could find a more permanent place to stay. I have applied everywhere in Austin. But it is all the same. There is a waiting list. And those lists are usually six months up to three years.

Eventually I was told that there was a place willing to open their doors to those of us still displaced. However there is a massive pile of red tape and paperwork ahead and I just don’t have any idea when this opportunity is going to open up.

It would be nice as far as the social life is concerned as it is only about a mile away from the downtown area. And I could stay there until SGC rebuilds. The word on the street is “six months” but nobody believes that time frame. Everyone has their own theory that the rebuild will take about a year.

In the meantime on the day that I am writing this. It has been 34 days since the fire. I’ve been blessed to be able to get out of the hotel and still see live music. However taxis are super expensive. So I have to really pick and choose who I want to see.

I find it necessary to go because of my own mental state, which is shot by now. So it provides me with a distraction from this awful situation. AND…… it is important that others see me at their shows, so that they know that I am still alive and unharmed.

But I can’t afford to go to every show that I had originally put on the calendar to attend before the fire.

This morning I jumped on a city bus and returned to SGC because they are having a Thanksgiving meal. This is usually the only opportunity that I have to do something for the holiday. Usually November and December holidays are just another day.

So I arrived early and had some coffee, spoke to some of the neighbors, and sure enough the gossiping still thrives around here! As if I should have been expecting that.

Today, Day 34 since the fire, I have learned that out of the seven people who are displaced. Two people have left the area and found a place to live. Three people remain to displaced (including myself).

And to my surprise the remaining two residents displaced have been moved into other apartment units that were vacant at the time of the fire.

I am pissed!

Like…. SUPER pissed off!! But I am trying to hold it together because I don’t know just how these two residents were selected to stay here and how the others were left to fend for themselves. I don’t know and I don’t get it. And that is frustrating. Why them and not me? And so on.

While I am back in the neighborhood, I’ll stop by the stores and markets to help myself out as much as I can.

But because there’s no ending in sight, it is a massive struggle so I have included the GoFundMe page below. I hope that the URL works.

I only ask that if you cannot donate that you share the campaign as much as possible. This campaign is the only thing that is keeping me afloat. Nobody else is giving aid. I fear that because nobody wants to talk or give answers as to what’s going on in the near future, that if those funds run out that I will be in deep trouble.

The GoFundMe account is keeping a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in. And sometimes food in my stomach.

Not knowing is the worst part. I have to have faith that the light at the end of the tunnel will soon be brighter. I’m doing my best to stay living in Austin, Texas for the time being until this situation gets corrected.

I know that this will come to an end eventually. However once I get out of the hotel and into a place more long term, I’m going in there with literally NOTHING. And I am going to have to start over again.

It still is true today since I started saying it on day one. I am not in any position to say no to anyone who wishes to help.

 

GoFundMe Campaign

PayPal: send funds to the e-mail address:
joelhaskell@hotmail.com

 

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“I want chicken
I want liver
Meow Mix Meow Mix
Please Deliver”

Just when I thought I was done  writing blog entries about concerts and shows that I have recently attended, I became eyewitness to the weirdest thing I have seen on stage.

I know that there are some bands out there that have done stranger things, but this was something I personally saw.

September Mourning was the touring headliner. But local band, Resisting Vegas, was the winner of the night.

Costumes and props are the standard, but this will take it to the next level.

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Rico Kallirgos of Resisting Vegas

Resisting Vegas was in the middle of a lengthy guitar solo, and lead singer Rico Kallirgos stepped off stage briefly and when he emerged again, he was struggling to lift a very large bag of what looked like to be pet food of some sort.

It was dry cat food.

He knelt down and began to tear into the bag to open it. When he got it open, his fist plunged down deep inside of the bag. The audience was intrigued and some where terrified as they did not know what was going to happen next.

Fistfuls of cat food were then placed into a plastic container.

Then he stood up with the container in hand and he reached for a large wooden spoon, and proceeded to eat it until the end of the guitar solo.

He ate so much of it that when it was that final moment to say thank you to crowd, he still had cat food in his mouth.

One band stole the entire show.

After it was over, many people said that they were scared that he was going to throw the cat food. But none of them had expected him to actually eat it.

He admitted that he never told the rest of the band of what he was going to do. Some of them not really knowing what was going on when it was happening.

“Keep Austin Weird” they say.

Well done, Resisting Vegas. Mission accomplished in keeping that city tradition proud. The bar has been raised.

To the other local bands out there: It’s your move!

74990904 - delivery man with cap and cardboard in hands

It’s very HOT in the state of Texas right now. Record temperatures are being broken almost daily. And there’s no relief in sight for well over the coming week.

For me to get anything, I have been staying inside and using online delivery services for what I need.

I created a small order for groceries. I found this second online delivery service that is far better than the first. Maybe one day I will write a post about it and show you the comparison. But that’s not important right now.

Living in a gated property, instructions were given on how to reach my front door along with the delivery and waited for the selected time in which it was to arrive.

Then the telephone rings. The driver is outside one of the many gates that stretch along the property and wants to be let in.

I verbally repeated the instructions to this woman. And the following responses from her were less than professional or nice.

Over and over again she kept telling me which numbered apartment she was parked in front of. But couldn’t find a key pad to enter a gate code to get on the inside.

A second and third time of repeating the instructions to her, she shouted back “Can’t you just let me inside?? I see a door. Just come open the door.”

I told her she was at the wrong gate and she needed to drive a little more to get to the correct gate. And more argument came from her as she screamed “Just come get me and open this door. I see a goddamned door.”

The first thing that came to mind was to tell her that I was not dressed to come outside.

She then began to cry and whimper about it. She said that if I was not going to come outside and open the door that she was looking at that she would not know how to get my delivery to me. She was obviously starting to give up and was probably getting ready to leave.

I told her that I was on the way.

I had a feeling inside of me that told me that if I actually went around to the other side of the building and opened the door that she kept talking about that she was going to find a person in a wheelchair attempting to make their way down the path and she was going to instantly regret it.

Needless to say, that I hung up on her as she was in the middle of another whining fit.

So out into the horrible heat I went. Today with another record breaking temperature today of 103°F/39°C.

As I rounded the building and she turned and saw me…. the look on her face was PRICELESS. Maybe even Internet worthy.

I did not think of it until now, but I should have went up to the door inside of the gate and told her that the door was locked and I didn’t have the key, or that the door was welded shut to keep people off the property who don’t belong here.

So I opened the door and she immediately went into this wave of apologies and excuses and then back to apologies. She claimed she saw no other gate. And I physically pointed it out to her. She still said she could not see it. So I gave very descriptive terms to her along the lengthy gate on where to find where she should have gone in the first place.

The bags were heavy and she did offer to carry them for me to my home. But I did not want her inside of my home.

I led her to the front door. And as we went along the path I explained to her how roads work and how much easier and more convenient it would have been for her if she would have just followed the instructions that I had provided for her already several times.

She walked in front of me and then I told her which apartment to walk towards. She got to the door and then she proceeded to open it. That is until I told her NOT to open the door and just leave the bags next to the door on the patio area.

Again she gave me another priceless look of disbelief. I really think she’s got a problem with following instructions. Perhaps she’s one of the many kinds of people that don’t like being told what to do. And I would think that if that was the case, she shouldn’t be working as a delivery driver.

I understand that it is hot outside. And I also could believe the possibility that she was running behind on her deliveries.

And I also understand that trying to find where I live can be very confusing. My family had plenty problems of their own when they first tried to visit me here. However the screaming, the whining, and the not following instructions is deplorable.

Just another day in the big hot sweltering city of Austin in the summertime, I guess.

Freakin’ idiot.

angels_are_not_redheads_by_pathyelisia-d51vugf“I’ve put up with more humiliation than I care to remember.”~ B.B. King

I am going to tell you this story before I start digging a hole in the ground to hide in for the next week or so.

Life is filled with joy and it is filled with lots of humiliation.

This is a story of the latter.

This morning, I was hunting for some change. And finally I pinned down the apartment manager only to find out that he had no change. In total frustration, I started to spew. And the apartment manager started to spew back.

And then I heard and saw someone walk out the front door away from the office doors. I was curious because I thought I saw someone leaving that I had not seen in probably well over a year, possibly two by now.

I asked the apartment manager if I just saw who I thought I saw and his answer was “Probably.”

I tore out of his office like a lightning bolt, hoping that the person I was chasing was in no hurry to get into their vehicle and leave.

When I got outside, I saw her by the gates and I waited for a second before whistling at her.

And yeah I know, someone’s going to have a problem with that. But this is someone I’ve known for years and years and years and I know that once she saw that it was me that was whistling, she’d just giggle it off.

But whistled LOUD and PROUD. I was definitely making a bold statement to get her attention.

Then I waited for her to turn around and look in my direction.

IT WAS THE WRONG WOMAN!!!!!! 

Ohhh, what have I done? What have I done? The wave of shock and humiliation warmed over me like a cloud of death.

The strange woman looked in my direction and then proceeded on her way. She did nothing, she said nothing. And that was the end of it as I scrambled to turn around and go back inside of the office building.

She could have yelled and screamed and chewed me out. And I would have deserved every last bit of it, but she went away.

And now I sit here and think of all the different times I saw someone with long hair flowing down their back, only to find out that it was man. And that has happened more times than I want to admit.

Similar situation here.

I know that I am not the only one that has gone through this, but it is still humiliating nonetheless.

My Monday is starting out to be embarrassing. How’s your Monday????

 

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“More people will come if they think we’ll have punch and pie!” ~ South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut (1999)

I am going to share with you a tale of humor and humility.

I suppose that I would have to admit that with my love for live music, I’ve been kind of a super troll lately towards local bands whenever they are promoting/announcing an upcoming show.

They are only doing what they can in order to get people into the venues. It’s their job. I know that. But whenever I see something like that, I always ask if there will be “punch and pie”.

This past weekend I went out to see several bands play live. One of which was “Skunkfest 2018”. Ten glorious rocking bands at one venue. One of those bands is “Inch of Dark”.

In the days leading up to the event, the band would just promote, promote, promote all over social media. And I kept messing with them about having “punch and pie”.

Well, I think the promotions worked because there were so many people there. It was so hot outside in the Texas summer heat that I wanted to go back inside, but there were so many bodies inside that it drove me almost crazy.

I had received a message several hours from one of the band members of Inch of Dark, and they said that they had a surprise for me when I showed up. punch

Inch of Dark wasn’t playing. They called me out to the max!

As I arrived at “Skunkfest 2018” I saw so many people that I knew that it was hard to say hello to all of them.

Then I saw members of Inch of Dark and they began to laugh and said “Wait here!”

They LITERALLY bought a pie and a bottle of Hawaiian Punch!! And they had saved me some. (I do wonder what happened to the rest of it.)

I was busted….

I was grateful for the surprise, even if it was a joke.

Inch of Dark is a bunch of great guys.  And I think even greater music. But I warn you, don’t mess with them because they will mess with you right back!!

I look forward to seeing them play live once more.

Check them out:

Inch Of Dark

 

 

 

 

Penske+Truck“There is nothing more provocative than minding your own business.” ~ William S. Burroughs

Apartment complexes are starting to become a fascinating hobby. Especially the one that I reside in.

Early this morning there was a Penske moving truck in the parking lot.

Neighbors were amazed at the presence of the vehicle. I personally did not see it though. I guess it was on the other side of the property from where I am.

I did hear about it over today’s episode of morning coffee. It seemed as if nobody could figure out why the moving truck was in the parking lot at all. Nor could they figure out who it belonged to.

They failed to remember that they live in an apartment complex. A place of residence. A place where people actually come and go.

I believe that where I live, could be the exception for a majority of its residents as they are elderly and they have made their own decision to live here for the rest of their days.

That could be why they get all worked up whenever they see someone in the actual and physical process of moving their stuff out.

From what I was told, people flocked around the moving truck this morning as if they were holding a vigil for the truck gods. But they just could not figure out on their own WHO exactly was leaving.

Later on during morning coffee, a gentleman walked in to get his own cup of java. He stood back with a proud smile on his face and sheepishly announced, “I’m moving.”

Well, that answered that question!

And it should have sufficed. But you know what? This is SGC. It is never going to be enough.

I bet the guy felt like he was holding a press conference as everyone moved from where they were seated and crowded around him. Flooding his attention with more questions.

Where are you going?
When are you leaving?
Why are you leaving?
What are you going to do when you get there?
Who do you know that lives there?

Geez people. Calm the piss down!!

But the man was kind enough to go through the questions one by one and answer with them with brief responses.

He said that he was moving to Michigan.

Annnnnnd…. round TWO began!

Round two really didn’t have much in the way of asking newer questions. Just the same questions over again. This time around, asked with more curiosity and enthusiasm.

He got to the point where he stopped answering questions. And I cannot say that I blame him.

When the Q&A session was done, next came the input.

“It’s freaking cold in Michigan!”

Ummm… yeah, it is. Most of the time. Especially during winter.

But there they all stood. Eager and willing to inform him of the obvious.

After he had enough of the lecture, he spoke up and said that he had lived in Michigan for twenty years before moving to Texas.

The moment he said that, I tuned out mentally from the ongoing conversation. But it did seem as if everything wrapped up at that point. After all, if he had been there for that long … I don’t think that these Texas born citizens could offer any further knowledge that he didn’t already know.

Since I tuned out, I cannot even say for sure that anyone had wished him well as he said that he was leaving in about a week’s time. Poor guy.

Usually from what I have experienced with other people in the past who have moved out. They’ve either found a better living condition OR they had made the decision to go be with or around family. And that’s exactly what this gentleman’s plan was.

Not that it is truly any of our business. But SGC seems to think so!

And with each person that moves out, we know that in a few weeks that someone else will be moving in. The turn around rate is crazy!

Most of us get to the point where we start to see a stranger walking around on the property and don’t even give them the benefit of the doubt that they could be a new neighbor and instead, they hound them like private investigators. But that is for another blog post.

I am slowly and surely beginning to understand why more than 50% of the residents who move from SGC, do so at night. And why even a higher percentage of them don’t bother with farewells.

I would hate to see what they would do or not do if/when I leave SGC.

At least it killed the monotony of a typical Friday morning.

xtumbler5“Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.”~  Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Last night I was looking at this blog and its stats and there were a few things that I noticed.

First and foremost, since the beginning of this blog I have now reached a total of 800 individual posts.

This being the 800th post. I find it amazing.

And in that time, there are 145 of you who decided that this blog’s content was important enough that you wanted to keep up with it and subscribed for whatever your individual reasons were.

There are blogs out there that have so much more for sure. But then there are blogs that have so much less. And I am grateful for all of you being here and sticking it out. Especially over the last three years or so that this blog nearly went silent and was on the edge of disappearing into extinction.

It is true. There were times where I thought about just deleting the entire blog website.

But I did not, and so here it is. blogmap

The other thing that I noticed was the list of countries where this blog website had been accessed. To me, seven years is a short time. Especially knowing the fact that this blog has reached every nation on the planet. With the exception of about seven countries in Africa. And the Federation States of Micronesia.

There are tiny islands are also not accounted for. For example: South Georgia Island. A tiny island that is claimed by the country of Argentina. Population of only thirty people! I don’t expect anyone to just happen to cross this blog from there any time soon.

Bigger surprises were countries like: China, Iran, North Korea, Cuba just to name a few. All of which had at least viewed the blog webpage ONCE.

Greenland was also a country that had not viewed the blog webpage for the longest time. But I guess it happened over the past year. So thank you, Greenland.

It was funny about Greenland because at the time nobody from there had read the blog webpage. And I thought about trying to draw them in by putting their country in the list of tags and then talk shit about them in the blog posts. Thankfully, I didn’t have to.

Maybe I should for the Federation States of Micronesia to get them on board????

At some point around 2015, I stopped writing blog posts about different live music shows that I went to. It didn’t appear that they were getting a lot of traffic. And that greatly decreased the traffic to the site. I’m not sure if that was a mistake or not. I know that a number of you who are subscribed to this blog are from the music scene, but I just could not tell if that was something that people were reading at all.

As with everything in life, this blog constantly evolves because of time, source material, and the thought of “Will anyone actually read this?”.

There was a lot that kept me busy in life in between 2015 and 2017 that I was not able to write as much here as I used to. Maybe it can pick back up again?

Now that I don’t have that burning desire to just delete this entire beast, I can once again come back and fill it with content. I still struggle to figure out what will make it and what will not. But that’s for another time.

This is 800. It seems so crazy! But in all of its insanity, thank you to all of you. Hang in there. There is more to come.