Posts Tagged ‘personal’

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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

 

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.

dscn34691“A healthy social life is found only when, in the mirror of each soul, the whole community finds its reflection, and when, in the whole community, the virtue of each one is living.”~ Rudolf Steiner

On the fifteenth of November, which is this week, there will be a board meeting by Capital Metro, which is a bus public transportation here in Austin.

They are proposing some changes to a number of routes that, if passed, would take place in June 2018. They are claiming to want to make bus routes more efficient and faster to get to those people using the service.

Out of the many routes that have proposed changes, TWO of them will be of great importance to me personally.

One of the routes happens to run just outside the apartment complex. And that has been a personal convenience. The other is in the neighborhood down the street by a few hundred feet. And it is the latter route in which I take to get to places into the downtown area for whenever I want to go see live music. Essentially the core part of my social life since 2014.

The proposed change to the route that runs outside the complex will be re-routed to where if I need to ride that bus route, I will have to make a walk of about a half of a mile up a steep hill and then down the other side. Depending on how much stamina I have at that time or how fatigued or not fatigued I am, that could take me up to twenty minutes just to get to the bus stop.

It is not a route personally often, but it causes a great deal of distress and loss of stamina if there came a time if/when I need to use it.

All for the sake of making wait times shorter.

The other route that I use VERY FREQUENTLY and is my link to the social life that I have created for myself (from what I am reading) will go into effect at the same time.

IF YOU KNOW ME FROM LIVE MUSIC, THIS WILL BE IMPORTANT!!

If I am understanding correctly, that bus route that connects me from my neighborhood into the downtown area will NOT RUN during times that public school is not in session. So, essentially during the summer there will be NO bus!!

These two routes are the closest to where I live and if they are gone (seasonal or permanently) then I honestly will not be able to maintain what social life that I have today. Unless I want to travel distances up to a mile just to get on a bus, or to get off of a bus and return home.

My physical health over the past two years has deteriorated, and I am unsure if I will have the strength and stamina to make such a journey.

The two routes in this neighborhood will effect over 1,500 city residents in this neighborhood. With a daily ridership across the ENTIRE CITY of 130,000 people, these changes will most likely cause that number to drop significantly. And usually that will mean that bus fares will go up again in price.

When I started riding in 2014, I could go downtown and back for $1.00 but in recent past, they did change the fare to go up, and now going downtown to catch a live music show is a round trip cost of $2.50, so even if you are in a band and there is NO COVER to your show, there’s always a cost of transportation, at least for me.

So I do have that concern or fear that if these changes are approved by Capital Metro, then my social life as far as enjoying live music and entertainment will die. And those relationships that I have made will eventually fail. And without having the stamina I once had, this board meeting has me completely on edge.

Ride share programs and taxis are either expensive or not an option in my personal case. And that stinks!

Yet I am unsure of any proposed changes for the Night Owl routes, which I actually discovered just over a year ago which run six nights out of the week between midnight and 3:00 AM. And since I learned about it, it has allowed me to actually stay where I am at, without having to leave or bail early to catch a bus back home. I do not know if any of those night time routes are a part of this or not. I am hoping not. If I am out and about and these night time buses are a part of it, I won’t have much choice but to call for a taxi.

I am facing a very harsh reality however that if these changes are approved that life as I know it will cease to exist. I will either have to find another way or find a totally different social life. And hope that I do by the time these changes kick in by June 2018.

selies“Life moves so fast. You gotta document the good times, man.” ~ Big Boi

According to Wikipedia,The first partially successful photograph of a camera image was made in approximately 1816 by Nicéphore Niépce.

In just over two centuries through the constant development of technology, we have been able to capture our favorite moments with our most beloved people in our lives.

In the 21st Century, we take photographs of anything and everything that crosses our sight. In the press of a button, people upload an average of 1.8 BILLION images every single day!! That’s billion… with a B.

I have done my fair share of that. And I am unapologetic for many photographs that I have uploaded. And some will never be uploaded or shared because they are taken for personal reasons. (Get your head out of the gutter!)

In 2011, I started traveling. Many of you will remember the countless blog posts of shows that I attended in Houston. I started doing so because I was so excited about traveling that I wanted to share. I have spent a lot of money buying disposable cameras to document my travel, fun moments, and loved ones. And I have spent even more money getting that film developed.

Three years later, I found myself attending events locally. Particularly in the downtown area. As you can imagine, I have met some people and made some friends along the way.

Within those three years, I received an Olympus digital camera as a gift. And since then I have been using it extensively ever since. I didn’t ask or beg for it. It came from the kindness of that person’s heart.

Yet bringing it into the world of smart phones, it seems a bit ancient and archaic. But it still functions as it is supposed to.

Yeah, the flash is super bright. I am aware. People seem to think I don’t know that. I HAVE HEARD MANY OF YOU WHEN YOU THOUGHT I COULD NOT. Gossip-1

Throughout this summer, I have heard people mumbling about me wanting to take photographs. A majority of it actually are people who are complaining and bitching about it behind my back and they don’t think I know about it or even think that I actually heard them as the words actually came from their lips.

If it comes down to you not liking your picture taken, that is your choice. But 99.99999% of the photographs I have taken, that has not been the case. Plus you simply will not receive the benefits. Again, that is your choice.

So it is time for me to set this record straight. Even though I was not asked to, nor do I feel that I should. If I have ever taken a photograph of you, and/or taken a photograph WITH YOU…. you will see that this is for YOUR benefit.

As I stated already, photographs are taken when I wish to document a special moment. Or if I am with people that I have deemed special to keep in my life that I would always want to remember those moments.

Think about for a moment. I WANT to remember that time when I was with you. Flattery should fall upon you, not loathing.

Over the last three years, a majority of my social life has involved entertainment in music. Live music mostly. The Olympus coming right along with me.

So I sit there right up in front of the stage to be able to feel in the moment when the music is playing. I take my photographs to the best of my ability with what I have.

And at the end of the night (by way of habit) I take selfies or pose for pictures with the musicians that are participating. After that I take more pictures of those who also attended. Mostly those whom I have grown to have a personal relationship with.

Then those photographs will obviously be uploaded. And just about everyone whom I have taken a photo with knows it and knows just where to find it.

Good or bad. Pretty or ugly. That is all subjective. They serve a higher purpose than your self-image based opinions. (I don’t like how I look in pictures either. But oh well!)

I have never charged any person or public entity for the photographs that I have taken over the years. It is not a business to me. Other people use photography for business and profit. Kudos to them! If they can make a living from it.. good for them! I wish them all success.

It would be very nice for people to think the photographs that I take are for the following reasons. Because it is 100% true:

  1. Promotion. 100% FREE promotion. People that you do not know are going to see these photographs. If they are ever curious as to what I am doing or what I like, they are going to look to see who and what is there. Musicians and entertainers in particular, if you want the message of what you are doing and saying to be spread to people who don’t know, the photographs I take act as that kind of promotion. And it has been more successful than you think. Just think of the different people’s faces that you see at your events that you never saw before.
  2. Personal documentation & reflection. Many entertainers share the same common dream: Making it big in the business. If nobody knows your product, nobody is going to buy it. And yet personally for those that I believe have the ability and potential to fulfill those dreams, I can hold these images dear to my heart to have the ability to say that I knew you. Chances are that I won’t be able to do so again if at some time you “made it” in your chosen field.

If you are in the entertainment industry, you should have been well aware that people such as I are going to ask to take photographs of you. If you didn’t think about that before, or don’t like your picture taken, you should probably leave the business.

“Graphs” ARE your business.  They are your life. PhotoGRAPHS and autoGRAPHS.

And finally the most personal reason of all. If by now you still are not understanding of why I do what I do, hopefully this will sink in.

In these most recent years, I have had so many people expressing their “concern” about how they wished I would do something more than just sit around the house. I made the choice to go and enjoy music. It was something that for most of my life I never thought that I could do.

I was wrong. I was totally wrong.

Man in wheelchair_0

YES I CAN!!!

Photographing and documenting gives me a reminder that I CAN do these things and that I should do them as much as possible. Life is too short to do nothing!

It is proof positive that I am living a more fulfilling life.

I recall a conversation with a colleague a few years ago. I told them that I was going out to see a particular event and I asked that person if I would see them there.

Unknowingly that person had broken their toe (or foot, I don’t remember specifically) and therefore stated that they could not go anywhere.

I expressed some sympathy towards their most recent plight as I was totally unaware of that happening to them and ended the inquiry and conversation altogether.

Then I was very discouraged and filled with frustration. This person was choosing not to go out because of their temporary situation.

On the other hand MY SITUATION is very permanent. Someone with the worst and most severe form of Spina Bifida, a birth defect is willing to make the choice to go out and have some fun while someone who has more physical ability 99% of their life decides to whine and moan over a temporary setback.

I bring along my digital camera and use it to show to the WORLD that even though I am living with the most severe of disabilities, I make the choice to get out. My photographs are my proof that I have done so. And I hope that it brings encouragement to those who sit at home alone.

So instead of whining about me “always asking to take pictures,” understand what the real reason to it is.  Even if I ask again and again and again and again.

And finally, I want to address something about the selfies that I have taken in the past. A lot of people are thinking incorrectly about them. index

If you already follow me on social media, you know that a vast majority of selfies that I have posted include other females. Not ALL, but a lot of them. That’s my choice.

However more than just a few people have told me that they are jealous of those women. And when I ask them why they are jealous, they say:

BECAUSE THOSE WOMEN ARE SITTING ON YOUR LAP!!

As fun as I think that might be, the only person that has ever sat on my lap in order to take a selfie with them, is Kimberly Freeman from One-Eyed Doll when they are in town on tour. But the last few times she has not done so. I am guessing maybe only two times in all. I also had a friend of mine do so to take a photograph together but she only agreed to do so after a lengthy explanation as to why it would look better in the photograph.

The others have stood close by me to make sure that they are within the shot and they have to squeeze in close to do so.

The truth is that other than Kimberly Freeman, two other women have sat on my lap to take a photo. But those photographs are not uploaded for a purpose. Nor will they ever be. Mainly because at the time they were extremely drunk and it could come back to bite them. So I don’t publish as I refuse to put myself in a situation to be blamed for consequences they could receive for their decision and action.

I think that the truth of the matter is that people in general are afraid to sit upon my lap. Of course again, the exception of those who are extremely intoxicated.

I hope that clears the confusion. There’s no need at all to be jealous.

I still stand firm in the opinion that a person SHOULD sit on my lap for a selfie because it is for their personal benefit so they don’t hurt their back or their legs or knees from squatting or bending over just to make sure they are within frame. But I can not convince the world of it.

And lastly I will end this post with a bit of self defense from what I touched on at the beginning.

A majority of selfies I have taken by myself. I have long arms and can stretch out a digital camera enough to get two people (maybe three) in frame. I honestly would prefer someone else to take the picture for me. I simply just don’t ask any more.

But for those who offer, whenever I hand over the camera I constantly hear comments and remarks about how the camera is a “dinosaur” or outdated technology or whatever. And remarks about the flash being “bright and blinding.”

I am a personal believer in “if you can fix it, you should.”

If you don’t like the flash on the camera or if you cannot figure out the button on the top of the camera is what you press to make the camera function or if you think it is too old, then why don’t you step up and offer to help upgrade it? I don’t have much disposable income as many other people do.

Should I just start another GoFundMe campaign to find a camera in which I can use without a flash and the photos turn out just as well?? Or am I just really stupid in believing that could really be something that someone would want to do???

If you can fix it, you should. So allow me to start you on your journey to help out everyone involved…………………………………

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RKNND2W/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I1QJMCDBR7M5ON&colid=14ORUMN2Y06CD

I started out small, I can upgrade and grow as we go along. Does that help???

dollar and Donation Box
Before I dare to mention anything that went on during SXSW 2017, I must address the issue that my wheelchair broke and has rendered me essentially home bound until the situation is taken care of.

Sadly less than two years of having a brand new wheelchair paid for by insurances, the front wheel bit the dust and I went spilling onto the floor H.A.M.

For the past two days, I have been doing what I can to bring this to the attention of many people to help get a brand new wheelchair, as well as have the old one repaired.

I started a GoFundMe campaign and for the first two days has done extremely well. If you donated and you are reading this, THANK YOU from the bottom of my butt, because its bigger than my heart.

The goal is in sight now. It is so close to being reached. It is in the final push now.

If you can, donate. Donate & SHARE. With your help, we can tackle the last bit that is left… the part that will pay for fees and other expenses in addition to the cost of repairs and the cost of a new wheelchair. This time, it is personal!!!

Anything helps. Donate here.

Thank you.

bs2Well then. I may be late for the party, but I find myself a way there. And that is the most important part of it, is finding yourself at the finish line no matter how long it has taken you to get there.

I may have been born at night, but it sure as hell was not last night.

Music is my life. It is in my soul. It has always been there, and it will forever remain.

And because of it, when I find myself surrounded by musicians in my social life, it is astounding to determine those who are fake and those who are real.

For those of you who are fairly new and for those who have foolishly forgotten by now… it is no secret that if I find something in music that I really like.. then I am 100% all for it to the point that I even promote it during my own time. I live it, breathe it, rinse and repeat.

I understand in the music business that there is a product that needs to be sold to the masses. It is a musician’s dream come true for their material to spread like wildfire, and perhaps even go viral for just a day.

The more the merrier as they say.

I am not against anyone in the business trying their best to do that and be successful at it. In fact, as I said… I will do all that I can to help make that happen if I can, if I am totally into it.

But I am on to you. I really am.

Today’s example goes international.

A band was brought to my attention from South America. And I had only heard ONE of their songs and I enjoyed it. So I did what any other human being would do, and started to follow the band on social media from top to bottom, left to right. And stuck it out with the band even though there was not much to offer in the way of merchandise. Plus coming from another continent I thought would be kind of tricky.

But the band was nice to talk about it. They gave several different options and offers that would include international shipping. And dummy-me, I took the bait. Not to say that I did not want what I paid for, but I had no idea of the shit storm that was soon to follow.

A storm that would turn me off of bands in general.

It took over two months to finally arrive from South America. And I wasn’t thrilled about it at all. But then again, it wasn’t like there was something I could do about it any way.

So from the beginning, the South American band wasn’t in a good light when it came to merchandise.

The second round came within a week of receiving my first shipment. In fact, I was asked if I wanted some other merchandise in that week BEFORE receiving that first shipment. And again…. dummy-me goes and buys more. Now I’ve spent more than $50 (including international shipping) on stuff that I bought, but haven’t received in hand.

Eventually the first shipment arrived. The second shipment came just as slow. About two to two and a half months after ordering so easily through PayPal.

Second shipment I was more content with than the first for whatever reason. And then just DAYS after receiving the second shipment, I was again given some particular “special offers” that wouldn’t last for very long.

Guess what? I fell for that sense of urgency. Shipment #3 took yet again TWO FRICKIN’ MONTHS. And yes, I was approached during that two month period with offers of something else.

I finally told this band, “I want a t-shirt and maybe the CD. And that’s all. Nothing more.”

To which I was given this rotten wrap-around about how t-shirts are so expensive and everything. And the blame went to shipping costs from South America. Whether or not that is entirely true, I do not know. I do not have a t-shirt yet.

But more and more and more and more options and offers kept coming. After three in a row, I really needed to stop and take a break. But the offers took no break. I began to feel like if I kept saying “NO” that they would stop altogether.

Needless to say, I am not a fan of shipments taking so freakin’ long. Nor am I enticed or interested in watching a “special concert” via the Internet and paying for it. If this band wants to perform for me, they can find a way to come to the United States of America and do it live in person. I mean after all, isn’t that the musician’s way of life? Isn’t that their ultimate dream?? Travel the world and spread their music to as many people as possible. Isn’t that the point of it all???? If not, it used to be at one point!!!

Here’s where it all fell apart for this South American band. Even though I was a huge fan of the one song that I found on YouTube, the live performances were an entirely different thing. And it was unsettling.

There was some teaser videos made for their performances online. Excerpts of performances from the past that were live. This band sounded awful. Absolutely horrible. And it was so full of cringe.

Some bands sound fine when they play live. Others (like this one) not so much. I understand that bands will not sound like a copied self from the studio. But if you can’t sound remotely close, there’s a big problem!!

Ever since, I have been wondering if I was going to be filled with regret to support what I could consider a “lost cause” in the end.

Just recently I saw that the band was posting photos of fans with their merchandise. To which one fan from the USA had like 30 signed photographs or prints. I exclaimed with a bit of envy of the person, and the band took that as an opportunity to jump me privately.

They were going to offer me various combinations of photographs/prints.

Three photos for $11.90.. international shipping included.

Then it went on from there:

Seven photos for $16.90
Ten for $20.90
Twenty for $27.90

Umm… it got worse from there. The original post was of 30 photos. Wanna know how much 30 of them would cost? $37.90

And the band chooses which 30 photos will be sent. Keep in mind they are not signed or autographed. As you can expect, they are leaving that up to the imagination that signing them would be extra.

However… if I wanted to be the one who selected the photographs, they were $5 each plus shipping. Suddenly, just because I want to choose… $37.90 turned into $150 PLUS shipping.

What in the hell??

They sold it as urgent. This time I did not fall for it. The moment that they realized I was not  going to buy anything, they stopped talking to me.

I went back to the person who had been contacting me all this time and I went back through every time that they had contacted me. I read over the contents of the conversation and suddenly realized that the evidence was right in front of me. This band never contacted me to say hello. They never contacted me to find out how my day was going. Every time they reached out, they were attempting to sell something.

All the times that I had attempted to initiate contact, was met up with silence and them ignoring my messages.

Let me repeat myself by saying that I fully understand that bands have something they want to sell. And that’s how their career works. But there has to be a level of reciprocity between musicians and their fans. At some type of level musicians must communicate with their fans. How else are they going to know what their fans want?

It is very clear that there is no reciprocity by the way of communication. Either you discuss buying some of their merchandise or purchasing the opportunity of watching them in their live streamed gigs…. or you don’t talk to them at all.

That is bullshit. I am on to you and every other band that has done me like that!!! I’ve received something from other countries. South America, step up your game or lose your career.The separation is soon coming.

door

“I do not stalk my crush. I simply gather information for specific purposes.” – Unknown

Meet my front door as I found it Sunday morning after returning from my trip to Houston over the weekend.

When I walked inside I instinctively called the police on my cell phone and didn’t touch anything until they got here.

Evidence was picked up and gathered and it led to an arrest of a woman who goes by the name of Jane or Janeece if you catch her on a good day.

This is a woman who apparently does not live that far away from me geographically speaking.

She had found out my name based on the amount of comments left on this blog in various posts. She had taken the time to read through most of them (if not all of them) to figure out who I was. She found me on Twitter. She found me on Facebook. And then the scariest thing of all is that she found out where I lived. Or she thought she did, I never confirmed anything.

I did tell her that I don’t invite strangers into my home. So she wanted to meet me in person because I was just the most awesome guy on the planet.

Well yeah of course, but no you are not coming into my home. Neither am I going to agree to meet with you somewhere when you are telling me that you wanting terribly to have my children. stalker-broken-window

You go into the crazy pile and labelled a “stalker.”

What else did you expect?!?!?!?!??????

So she insisted on setting up a date for us to meet in person. She went on and on and on about how great this blog is and how helpful it is for people, if they would only read it.

But the whole having my baby bit was too much.

I told her no. Emphatically no.

She asked why and I told her that I was going to Houston for a few days and I wouldn’t be here even if I wanted to meet her.

BIG MISTAKE on my part.

Nothing was broken. Nothing was stolen. Nothing was out of place. But plenty of evidence left behind to tell me that she was here, short of writing it on the walls.

She was arrested and now there will be charges filed. And there’s one less stalker left on the streets.

I suppose that I should be a lot more freaked out about this than I really am. Right now I am more focused on the fact that I had the courage to stand up to this woman and face her down and have her put in her place, which is jail. And perhaps one day I will be. But for now, there’s now one less crazy woman that I have to deal with for a while.

Never underestimate me. Several people have. And look where it got them…………..

Physically I am fine. So those who are reading this that know me personally: Fear not. I am okay.