6/18: Midstream

by Nick Smith in

It's becoming clear that I have pretty much abandoned my musical dreams. For the better. Music was always on a level just far enough over my head so that I could see it clearly, but I could only occasionally brush it with a fingertip, but never totally grab onto it. I may even have the ability to do it for a living if I really want to, but I don't any more.

Which is good because I would need a new guitar anyway. Guillermo has had it after 7 years by my side. Some of the frets have worn down so that it is impossible to play in tune. Which is basically totalling the guitar, as it was a $100 guitar. Why replace the frets when I can just buy a new guitar and lay Guillermo to rest?

So today I put away all my music stuff that I normally have out and within arm's reach. It was a significant moment. It marks me officially forsaking music for comedy. It was in the making ever since I started doing standup, but I at least kept things around so I could use them from time to time. But I decided it was time. I can't stand to look at that broken guitar any more.

It's not like I ever knew anything about music anyway. There are MAYBE 100 bands tops that I can really discuss with any measure of competence. I feel like a moron when I talk about music with most people who make a modicum of effort to keep abreast of the goings-on of the music world. Call me a goddamned heretic, but if you played me three songs and told me one was by The Arcade Fire and told me to pick it out, I would have no clue unless you did a really shitty job picking those songs. But I could hold a goddamned clinic on the Mountain Goats, or teach a full semester course about the intricacies of Explosions in the Sky's The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place. I'm just starting to catch up to the rest of the world about Radiohead. It's not MY fault people don't get jam bands the way I do. I understand why they don't. But still. Phish is awesome. Don't take the fact that you don't get them out on me.

But I don't really listen to all that much music any more. Except at work. And I don't have a free hand when it comes to the music at work. Blaring The Chronic at full volume and profanity in a coffee shop is not a particularly effective way to keep customers coming back. Except for the AWESOME ones. But in the car and hanging around my apartment I try and keep up with too many podcasts. And I keep wanting to add more but there just isn't any space. My poor brain can't take in any more. There are probably more fantastic podcasts out there in the world than there is time for one human being to listen to them. Your favorite podcast is probably very good. But there's only so much room on the cart.

But I'm going to be very funny this week. I hope.

It's good to be young, but let's not kid ourselves, it's better to pass on through those years and come out the other side with our hearts still beating having stared down demons and come back breathing.

5/31: Stasis Points

by Nick Smith in

A glowing ball of energy. In my hands. Well in my hands to the degree that I am holding it in a position. And if I don't move a muscle, it won't go anywhere. At least it's kinda pretty. I'm older now. Hooray. Successfully weathered the annual ritual of aging without the darkness pulling on the corners too much. Instead of the focal point of a depression, I seem to be managing to turn the event into the impetus. As we learned in physics, the static coefficient of friction is significantly higher than the kinetic one (or whatever the term was for shit that's already moving), so I'm just happy that the big ball of life has lurched back into motion. Part of it was the realization that I have a show in 3 weeks, and I haven't been on stage in 2 weeks. That got me out the door to the Big Deuce last night. While I was cut from the show, the thing that matters is not that I got on stage, but that I made it to the club without caving to the desire to sit home and stew things over. Doing. It is the most important of all the things. But I still have a show to get ready for.

At this point, I'd say that I have seven or eight minutes of material that is worth doing. My plan is to hone enough new material so that I only need five minutes of old jokes to fill my ten-minute set. I have a few ideas on the back burner right now, but I don't get the sense that any of them are good enough to make my set. My problem is that I haven't sat down to write in a long time. I've only explored ideas in my head briefly and jotted down a brief note of the idea in the hopes that I will write something funny based around the idea. But the last few ideas have been sitting lonely on my whiteboard for a few weeks. It's time to plow the road.

5/28: Notch

by Nick Smith in

I suppose now is as fitting a time as any to take stock of my life. Tomorrow marks the 25th anniversary of my exposure to the elements. It is most unfortunate that for the second consecutive year, the event will be marked in the midst of a rut, and the plans I was hoping to make have already taken on critical levels of water. I’m struggling to tell if it is the notch on the pole that is inspiring reflection that leads to endless doubts, or if it is mere coincidence that yet again the occasion will be marked during a period when I would be asking these questions anyway, as they occur every few months or so. It is a nuisance and I am really going to have to find an effective workaround, or I fear I won’t be able to get this heavy, heavy life off the ground. I am so fucking far behind schedule that it is preposterous. And I’m living my life in such a way, especially with my eating, that I feel like I’m hacking a year off the deadline every month. I usually attempt to avoid such discussions here (and in most places actually), but I feel it is incumbent upon me given the occasion to record the fact that I have not succeeded in entering a relationship in well over three years now. That is an awfully frustrating fact no matter how you look at it. Sure I’ve learned a lot in that time. But nowhere near enough. Not even close.

It took until I was 24 to discover what I want my career path to possibly be. I just have to do it for free for a few years. Then for not enough to support myself on for a few more. With extreme focus and devotion, I may be able to afford not to have a day job by 30. But in all likelihood not. Because there is a colossal amount of denial regarding my chances of success. But in my defense, it is impossible to succeed at anything that I want to do without tremendous denial of the almost certainty of failure.

So now all I have to do is spend all day tomorrow ignoring the mental image I just conjured of myself dying at 29 penniless and alone in a gutter clutching my replica of Gamaliel Painter’s cane. Shit. For now I’m going to tumble down a rabbit hole of Mountain Goats songs that aren’t going to help anything, and go to bed way too  late. Then wake up tomorrow and figure out what the hell I’m going to do with the day. Woo.

5/25: Do not reset the system or all unsaved progress may be lost

by Nick Smith in

I thought I had found hit a decent save point so that when I slipped up again, I wouldn’t wind up back at the beginning. I’m not necessarily back at the beginning. But it sure feels like I’ve achieved so precious little. Some of the barriers I had thought were no longer obstacles are suddenly as formidable as ever. I need to come up with some sort of alternate arrangement. Things are not going to work out like this if I’m ever going to get anywhere. I need more eggs for these baskets. The moles just come too fast.

Hard to fulfill all the promise you had when you’re the one that’s broken.

Times like these, specifics don’t make anything better. The lies come easier. And smoother.

Brain, you have accumulated a fair amount of vacation time, and I do not wish to discourage you from using it. But it is very inconsiderate of you to just not show up and shoot me an e-mail saying you’re off to Winnipeg when you know damn well that there is a critically important meeting on the schedule. Not cool, brain. Not cool.

It’s so much easier to say nothing at all. And I think that I’ve done that quite successfully.

I’m talking a lot. But I’m not saying anything. Qu’est-ce que c’est?

Turn me over.

5/22: Seasonal Affective Disorder Across Hemispheric Lines?

by Nick Smith in

So apparently the ebb and flow of my emotional state, and with it creativity, do not necessarily correlate to the seasons like I had suspected they might. I'm troughing like a motherfucker right now. This is most frustrating from a creative standpoint.  I just don't have any confidence in any of my ideas, and the mental gridlock of my current emotional state makes sitting down to right a monumental challenge. I have been fortunate to develop passable material the last couple of months without much focused writing. But I will always be reluctant to seek any sort of real help for these sorts of problems. Because in the grand scheme of things, my emotional, creative, and attention fluctuations are not posing obvious hazards to my health or anything. Well, if you really drill down and get into areas like my diet and my inability to handle most real-world responsibilities you could make an argument that these problems place a great deal of stress on my health and well-being. But still...COME ON. I'm still the same person. It's just when I'm alone the world gets a bit heavier during these times than  when I'm normally alone.

This conversation is just boring the shit out of me. I was just hoping that with the nice weather and shit my mind and body wouldn't turn into a little bitch.

3/29: On my alcohol problems...

by Nick Smith in

Busy busy.  Went out to the Big Deuce (the open mic at the Comedy Club) last night. Signed up. I was cut. Which is fine. I felt like I only had half a good set's worth of material, and I was really scrounging for the rest of it. I'll take the week to work on stuff and hopefully come back with three minutes that I'm more confident in next week. I am a disappointment as a drinker.  Not that I necessarily aspire to be a big drinker, but I feel like I have a constitution that should be able to stand up to a stiff challenge from alcohol. Somehow, despite my general resilience, I just can't handle my booze. I had three beers at the comedy club last night and came home with a great deal of stomach discomfort. A few weeks ago I actually managed to have a night where I had two drinks and threw up twice the next morning. That 1:1 drinks to times barfing ratio is downright unprecedented. This may not seem like a big deal at the outset, but being able to handle my liquor would be a helpful asset if I am attempting to pursue a line of work that involves a great deal of hanging around in bars. So that's my problem with alcohol. I fully acknowledge that that is not necessarily a bad problem to have, especially from the whole, maybe-I-won't-develop-crippling-alcoholism perspective.

But my diet has really gone down the shitter. I like that sentence so much that I'm just gonna let it sit there.

3/27: Of My Own Free Will

by Nick Smith in

Today was to be my second consecutive day off. It began with a call. New girl's sick. I hustled in and cranked out a morning shift. It was not horrible. I was out by eleven. I had the rest of the day in front of me to run errands and such. I found myself at the library to pick up tax stuff, and I found myself browsing the DVDs. It's an interesting collection. Especially the television DVDs. A lot of stuff I never thought about people wanting to own on DVD was there. I also took out all the Mystery Science Theater 3000 they had because...come on. It's MST3K. Also browsing through the movies, they had an unriffed copy of Spacy Mutiny that I strongly considered checking out. I think that would be a fun gettogether. Get a few people to sit and watch and do our own half-MST3K half-original riff of it. SMOKE MANMUSCLE! I faced down Amy's tonight. I spent a little while rehearsing my set so that it would flow a little better before I left this evening. When I was there I decided, "Fuck it. I am going to have a good set tonight." And I did. And it was great. The Snooki bit has a lot of good laughs in it. My Kickstarter bit is going well, but I need to put some more punchlines in with the reward system. Some of them are just weird and don't really hit. I dusted off the old bit about the coffee stickers and it wasn't until I was telling it that I realized that it wasn't as good as I remembered it being. But having a good set at Amy's was just what the doctor ordered. I can go to the Club tomorrow and if I get on, take the stage with some measure of confidence.

Lo-mein belly. Maybe not the best plan. But that's way too late now. I accept my punishment with the knowledge that I took this course of action of my own free will.

3/26: And a Biscuit

by Nick Smith in

I've been taking a break from the old shell the last few days. Saturday after work, I trucked up to a little town called Hartford to spend in evening listening to the California Guitar Trio in the company of the incomparable Mr. Loren Claypool. They introduced a song by telling us they would be asking us to guess what time the song was in. I correctly deduced that it was 15 and when they asked us to guess at the end, I was able to stand up and proclaim it, and it felt pretty damn awesome. Sunday was more work. But then I finally went and put an end to this stupid hiatus I've been on, and I made some people laugh, which is always a goodness. Then I decided to be a Renaissance man and grabbed my guitar and went and played the late open-mic at Mickey's. So that was pretty a pretty neat evening as well.

Today I continued the apparent tradition I've developed with these 2-day-off blocks where I just flush the first day down the toilet with video games and other inactivities. But I still got up and did my time tonight, although it didn't go that well, but I'll hammer some things out tomorrow and see if I can't survive Amy's without it being a total disaster. And then hopefully I can take what I've been working on all week and try to get on at the Club on Wednesday.

So I feel like I've finally reached a point where I'm bailing water a little faster than I'm taking it on. Maybe. Maybe it was just a fluke. I hope not.

I really need to work on my stage presence. When I'm up there, I devote so much of my focus just to remembering my poorly-rehearsed jokes that I'm stuck inside myself and not pushing myself out to the rest of the room, so I only get laughs when the joke itself is so good that shines through my shaky delivery. I think all of these things will iron themselves out with time and practice. As I spend more time writing, I'll learn what I need to do to get out of my own way and let ideas flow freely. As I spend more time on stage, I'll get more comfortable standing there alone and taking command of the room. Those things will hopefully feed into each other. I just need to do a better job of devoting myself to it. And that starts with not spending most of the day playing Plants vs. Zombies and Counterstrike, mixed in with a Benadryl nap.

Now that spring is here, the allergies make their triumphant return to fuck up my head. The return of sneezing, itchy eyes, itchy mouth (I don't know what it's generally called but the back of the roof of my mouth/upper throat area gets extremely irritated), and the classic I-know-I-got-a-good-night's-sleep-but-I-still-need-a-3-hour-nap-because-Benadryl-knocked-me-the-fuck-out Game. Not excited about that.

I'll take this start to the week.

3/21: The Hour Of Waking Has Grown Alarmingly Late

by Nick Smith in

I haven't slept through an alarm in a long time. So when the bright world slowly started to shine into me at 11:30 this morning, I was awfully puzzled by the hour. There should have been a sound akin to one used to alert a factory or villain's lair to a chemical spill or other grave accident emanating from my phone at 9:00. One that has never failed to wake me in the 8 or so months that I've had this "intelligent" contraption. I didn't have to work until 1 so it was no catastrophe, but I would've liked to accomplish some generic life-maintenance shit this morning. Instead, I basically just did the bridge of a Day In The Life  up until the having a smoke and going into a dream thing. That's the frustrating part of days with closing shifts: I've got to get myself up and going in the morning if I am going to wrest anything of value from the day. Unless I'm going out and being funny, which I haven't been lately, I don't do anything worthwhile after work. I've just been watching basketball today since I got home. I have not been watching enough basketball this year. Probably due to the whole no-access-to-broadcast-television thing. Just an internet connection. I'm excited for the fall when I will be settled into my new place presumably with cable and DVR and all those goodies. And closer to everything so I won't need to drive everywhere every day. Maybe I can bike and stuff. That would be a goodness.

Very little to report otherwise. Happy Syracuse fan. Will try not to be too gloaty with all the Badger fans I'll be seeing at work tomorrow. No guarantees, though.

3/21: Automobile?

by Nick Smith in

The weather has begun  to keep me up at night. All of my fans and my air conditioner are still back in New York. I only slept about three hours last night. Then went into battle this morning. The caffeine flying through me and the cars coming down like a hailstorm set me into a state where I am just a whirlwind of steaming milk, pouring espresso, and travel cup lids. It's a great rush, and I hadn't gotten much of a chance to do it in the last couple weeks because I've been closing so much. But then when it slowed down, I inevitably crashed. I came home and took a big nap this afternoon. I question the sustainability of this course, but I'm still young and made of rubber, so I might as well abuse it while I can. What else?

I noticed a long time ago that "Have to Explode" and "Going to Georgia" have the same chord progression. I'd been toying with the idea of slamming them together in an interesting way for a while. Today I finally attempted some sort of mashup where I alternated verses, and it kind of worked really well. I'm going to keep tinkering with it and see what it can become. It's a neat other thing I can muck around with.

I'm listening to podcasts right now, so I'm not really giving this my full attention. I think I just don't really have much today. But I wrote something. And I judged that to be good. And it was good.

Title is not relevant. 5 points for anyone who gets the reference.


3/20: The Diving Board

by Nick Smith in

Today is Kofi's birthday, so happy birthday, Kofi! Oregon is really way too far. Everything is way too far. I realized the other day that I basically have not left the city of Madison all year long as far as I can remember. Back when I lived in the northeast, people were far apart, but also kind of close together. I don't mind a five hour drive to spend the weekend among friends. But now that I am here in Wisconsin, everyone's too far away. I need to take four days off of work just to go home for two. Everyone is swamped with grad school stuff to the point where I have a hard time reaching out for fear I will disturb their fragile grad school equilibrium. Basically, the prospect of going to graduate school frightens me so that I am convinced that all my friends in grad school are so busy that a phone call will throw off their whole fucking education. I fully acknowledge that this is unreasonable behavior. But I have enough phone anxiety that this is totally sufficient for me to not dial numbers. I achieved at a modest level today. The clothes and sheets and aprons from work are laundered. I got started on the dishes. If I actually finish them, then maybe I'll have a goddamned party. I have a schedule this weekend that will probably test my limits, as I have a split shift on Friday that will result in a completely unprecedented DOUBLE clopen. Closing Thursday, morning Friday, closing Friday, morning Saturday. I'll make it. Especially since Saturday night I'm off to some random small Wisconsin town to catch a concert with Stefan's dad. That will be a nice treat.

I have failed to achieve in other ways, though. I still have not touched a microphone since that debacle at Amy's back in February. I've got a little bit of material that I've been working on piece by piece, but I still am struggling to throw myself back into comedy. I've got a good chunk of material together about Snooki's pregnancy that actually feels like it has real live jokes in it, which is a refreshing change.  I'm starting to worry she's going to have the fucking thing before I get a chance to tell it. It may be a little overly topical and hacky, but it least it is jokes, and not just me editorializing without any sort of punchline, which is a problem I felt like I was running into with my older jokes. I was talking an awful lot and only setting up one or two laughs. Also, it's gonna be a little weird when I go back, because I can only assume all the other comics figure that I've quit. And I haven't quit. I'm just trying to regain my focus, because if the debacle at Amy's taught me anything, it's that I have to be prepared to go up there or I will bomb. So if I'm not focused and ready, then I'm going to keep banging my head against the wall.

When's Phish tour again? I don't want to wait until the end of June. That feels like forever, but it feels like June right now.

Where do I belong again? These days off where I basically don't have social interaction really fuck with me. This country's too goddamned big. And I struggle with feelings that I'm wasting a lot of potential. Almost all of my friends are in grad school, or are on their own fun adventures. Today I was driving and my brain was digging and something went clank in the thought mine, and I unearthed a big shiny thought that said, "Hey, Nick. You might actually be the single least successful member of your graduating class so far." I was unable to cite specific examples to debunk this argument. Maybe I can turn this train of thought into a joke somehow. The joke would probably only work in Boston or New York because anywhere else there isn't that base of knowledge that is familiar with Middlebury College, and it would drag the joke down to explain it.

But I dicked around with the guitar again today and came up with a neat little chord progression. I miss feeling like I could write lyrics. I feel a bit of a disconnect between the way I write music and my voice as a lyricist. I always feel like things don't fit right.

Also, I want to be in a band again.  It's not something I was ever opposed to, but it's not a thought I've actively had in a VERY long time. I want to play guitar rock. Holy shit, do I want to play guitar rock. I don't even care if I'm playing guitar or bass. I want to just let it fucking rip. What all this means is that I will probably troll Craigslist musician pages with the same look-don't-touch cowardice I have with OK Cupid.

IN WHICH I ATTEMPT TO DEVELOP A METAPHOR FOR MY LIFE STRUGGLES EPISODE #324: At my parents' house we have a pool. That pool has a diving board. Often times when I am about to dive in for the first time, I will freeze on the diving board. As best I can tell it is rooted in some anxiety about the shock of the water being cold. Even though I've been in that pool hundreds of times. This can happen even on a hot day when I know the temperature of the water is a temperature I am perfectly comfortable in. I just can't dive in. Eventually I do, but it's fortunate that gravity is there to take me the rest of the way. Unfortunately, unlike the pool, all of the things I need to be throwing myself into feel like they are constantly throwing me out.

Jesus Christ I need to stop torturing this metaphor and go the fuck to sleep.

3/19: Esophegal

by Nick Smith in

Today was swallowed by the laziness monster. I woke up in the gullet of the beast, and was swallowed for the day before I could anchor a plan to a tree stump, pole, or other solid object outside its maw. There isn't much else to report. I only left the apartment to forage.  


3/18: The Struggle to Calibrate

by Nick Smith in

It's been a weird weekend. Much of it has been a struggle. But it hasn't been all bad either. There's a kink in the hose somewhere. It's frustrating to be forced to acknowledge that there are things I won't be able to do again at the same time I am trying to weather the beginnings of new paths. Work today was a great struggle. I have to learn how to handle days where I don't kick ass. Maybe I tried to do too much. I attempted to juggle a bunch of tasks that take a while to do, and I got really stressed out that I wouldn't finish in time, so naturally things snowballed and 8:00 came way too soon. So I went home in a horrible mood.

So I don't really have much to say. I was just so busy yesterday, I didn't sit down and write. Sickness, work, sleep deprivation, and a bunch of social activities kept me whizzing around in search of equilibrium. I did not find it until I resolved to drink water while everyone else enjoyed cocktails.

Now I have two days. Time to recover. Time to put something of value together. Time to go back to work on Mon(Wednes)day with something to show for the time. To drop a couple time pennies in the piggy bank.

3/16: A wise man just said...

by Nick Smith in

"If there is something you want to be, you have to be that person every day." - Nick Smith That saying is something I came up with a few days ago, and is just about the only reason I'm writing this right now. I'm trying to commit to doing this every day because I aspire to be a person who writes things for a living. Therefore, I have decreed that I must write something every day. And this new thing I've started doing can be that thing if I need it to be.

It is just important that I use this portion of my brain every day. If I'm goign to be a writer, be it of songs or jokes or stories, until I am comfortably employed in that field, I have to be a writer every day on my own. Both so I have the practice and discipline of writing, but also so that I can conceptualize myself as a writer, because I do it every day, and the will give me the confidence so I won't feel like an impostor.

Work. And following the basketball tournament. That's about all I've been up to. And continuing to eat terribly. It's gotten to the point where I have no idea what my diet consists of, but I guess today was the first day in a while I didn't eat any pizza.  I need to do my dishes...tomorrow?

I had forgotten how nice it was to sit out on the deck of a bar on a warm night and enjoy drinks and good company. I wish I hadn't been a mess coming straight from work, but that's just how shit goes. It feels like every night social things are happening, I am working close followed by an early shift. It makes me the first one to leave and I feel like a pooper. But I have to sleep sometime...says the guy who has to punch in in six hours.

But at least I committed something to ink and pulp...to be placed in zeroes and ones...today. I call that a win, if a minor one. If I win in a minor way every day, that is a pretty goddamned major win.

3/15: Sunk

by Nick Smith in

Four glasses. Six plates stacked up. These are the dirty dishes. And those are just the ones that won't fit in the sink. I am hungry. But I can't cook any of my food because all the pots are dirty. And I can't wash them because...well I just can't.\ Sometimes, I can't do things. I think sometimes other people don't really understand that. I don't want to let things like dishes and other general life upkeep tasks pile up. But sometimes I just can't do them. I am perfectly physically able. I completely understand what I need to do to perform the task. But I just can't do it. Not all the time. But enough that it impedes progress.

Because sometimes I really need to focus on getting work done, like writing jokes or something. And sometimes I just can't do that if my apartment is a mess. And I have a hard time getting much cleaning done if the sink is full of dishes. So that's why it all comes back to the sink.

I grew up with a dishwasher in my house, so washing dishes is not a thing that I am totally accustomed to doing. But somehow it has become this mental barrier to progress that I've struggled with since I've been out on my own. I try not to blame the dishes too much, though. I am sure if I had a dishwasher, the problem would be something else.

It's Monday now. I work a closing shift tonight, and I probably won't feel like writing later, so I am writing now. It is shiny. Spring. It's free out there. Good weather for driving with the windows down and listening to Phish. There was a period yesterday with the sunshine and the breeze and the Phish that I convinced a part of myself that I was on my way to a Phish concert. It felt really good.

I watched UHF last night and it was really good. Emo Phillips' thumb scene broke me, because I've seen that scene a thousand times, but I've never seen it handled the way Emo does.

I hope to get back to standup next week. I've said that every week for a month, but I really believe it. One of these weeks it will come true.

3/14: Pie?

by Nick Smith in

I sat down in the grass on March 14th. Spring appeared to have taken the reins that fall had hidden from winter. Lake Mendota opened in front of my like the unknown unfolds fear in the mind. Something always strikes me about the fact that you can see two different water towers across the lake. Something different. Something better. The grass and the trees are still dead. The birds are not back in full force. But everything else seems vibrant. The first day after winter where instead of a harsh, biting wind, there is a cool breeze that brushes you. The wind can tell you a lot of things if you are listening.

Today seems like a fantastic day to start things. Starting things has never been an issue for me. Getting ankle-deep in something and not following through has been my M.O. for my whole life. I think this is just another brick in that wall. I think I am going to post this on the internet with absolutely no vision of what it will become. Probably nothing. I might try to keep doing this on a regular basis. I may even succeed. Anyway, it looks like something is burning across the lake. Or maybe there's just a factory there, but I doubt it. The greyish-black smoke doesn't belong today. It's found a hole in the fence of the heaven that is today, and the wind is desperately trying to shove it back through. In fact, it looks like it has cleared up already.

I'll take this on a Sunday afternoon. I know the world's calendar calls this Wednesday, but the liquid calendar I live on places this weather firmly on the Sabbath. Churchless as I am,I feel no obligation. Perhaps more rituals would help to regulate my behavior. Or at least my paragraphs. But at least now, when someone inevitably asks me, "Did you get outside?" I can say yes. And having just that little way I didn't fuck something up makes me happy.

First down on the forward progress [N]

by Nick Smith in

Greetings from the....OK I haven't named my apartment yet. I have finally decided that the whole not doing nothing routine was getting a touch on the old side. Rather than treating the local open mics as a nice thing that it would be not a horrible idea for me to do, I have begun to treat them as mandatory events that I cannot afford to miss. Which to the untrained eye seems CRAY Z. But it's the type of wack shit that is going to have to become a part of me if that whole this becomes the primary thing I do plan can get its ass all fruity. I wrote a new song on Sunday. I'm hoarding the lyrics and the demo. I just don't feel like the posts do a lot of good. Plus it gives me an added incentive to do more work and write more songs so that they can be packaged together and shoved out of my brainplane to parachute into your ears and...this sentence has gotten away from me. I want to put together a full-length album.  So I'm not just going to post stuff online as I'm writing it.  I save that shit for my blog posts. Instead, I'm going to hang onto stuff, work it at open mics  and see what sticks on the proverbial wall. If you really want to hear something, you can always try to butter me up and it's highly likely that arrangements can be made. But I don't want my inability to generate a triple-digit Youtube view count running through my head when I'm deciding if it's worthwhile to sit down and write. So I'm going to go down to the open mic now. Hopefully it'll be less than a month before we meet again. Toodle-oo, go with God, and don't take any wooden nickels, Nick

Like a forest fire it burned a hole in me. I perspired.

All that wasn't broken or left behind [N]

by Nick Smith in

So I've been in Madison for about 2.5 months now (margin of error +/- 0.2 months). I have been neglecting my craft in quite the embarrassing fashion, but I have been very focused on scratching out an existence here, a process which is very near completion. I have found two jobs (and lost one), currently serving as a barista at a neat little drive-thru coffee shop on one of the main thoroughfares into the city. It is great to have a job like that that I really like. I've also found a pretty decent and cheap apartment, which is where I am typing this from while listening to an old Explosions in the Sky album.  Sadly, I have barely touched Guillermo these last months, so I really don't have anything new to report, other than that I hope to get the ball rolling here soon and build up some good positive momentum writing and going out and playing in front of some people. Time to let go of the clutch and see what this baby can do. Allons-y! Nick

Relocated [N]

by Nick Smith in

So I've finally gone and done it. I have officially moved. And it feels pretty goddamned amazing. If you seek me on the East Coast, for the first time in 24 years, you'd be hard-pressed to find me there. I have abandoned my ancestral home of Rochester, NY to make a new one of my own in Madison, WI. Why Madison? Because I felt like it and my dear friend Derek was nice enough to let me use the couch that I am typing this from until I can afford my own couch and a place to put it. I'm beginning to SLOWLY assemble something resembling an adult human life up here, and once I do, it's going to be pretty great...except for all the responsibility and such. So what does all of this mean for The Flat? Well for one, obviously, it means that The Flat is no longer based in the Rochester area, but is now a Madison-centered venture. I believe that this move will free up a lot of my hang-ups that prevented me from doing a lot of the writing and performing that I should have been doing.  It will mean I'll be able to get the next project whirring to whatever it is when machines enter full function and we bizarrely call it life. Running? I don't know. Guillermo has been living inside the trunk of Katrina the Wondercar since I've been here, so as not to provide additional crampitude to a situation where there's enough of my crap around as it is. Once I snap up one of those "apartments" for my very own, you can bet that I'll be going to town on that brain of mine, bringing the thought-smasher online and recording what word-particles come shooting out of the collisions. And I'll be going out, slammajamming open-mics and hopefully getting some gigs where I can make a few friends show up and semi-embarassedly support me while I play these little dripping tunes.

So my life's gotten all crazy and exciting kinda all of a sudden. But the juices have been flowing. I've been putting pen to paper a bit and come up with some stuff. Nothing ready to go up here or anything, but it'll come.

Y'all take care now, y'hear? Nick

We know of an ancient radiation