Loss of a Genius – Ryno is With Us Always

November 5, 2010

Ryan. Ryno is what we called him. The most popular of his many aliases. Gone. Died. Brain tumor took him at age 42, a month away from 43. My age. He fought. We prayed and fought as best we could at a distance. Some closer than others. Weird to watch someone die. I visited him last week and haven’t seen him since the benefit for his medical bills back in July 2010.

My band the World Famous Crawlspace Brothers were playing a show with my friend Vince’s Misfits tribute band in Delaware, Walk Among Us in 2006. I met Ryan because he was a friend with Vince and was video taping Walk Among Us. Ryan was a big guy and wore glasses and had that I don’t give a shit nerd look. He was very nice. He went on to video tape a few songs of my band as well.

When we were done playing Ryan came up to our merchandise table and bought our cd and T-shirt. He asked us all to autograph the cd. He was the ultimate fan boy. I relate because I can be quite the fan boy with other bands and celebrities. He made us feel really god about our performance. He wanted to make a dvd of our show for us and also post it on YouTube.

A few days later he showed up at my work and handed me 4 dvds of The World Famous Crawlspace Brothers. 1 for each band member. I offered him money but he refused and said he loves the songs and performance. I thanked him and this was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. We kept in touch through the months and he showed up at all of our shows in Delaware.

I discovered Ryan’s music projects on MySpace. He had a heavy metal band called Chemikiller that was incredible. He had a “scum rock” band called 4x that was also great. I loved his music. He was also a  huge Kiss fan and was in a Kiss tribute band called Strange Ways and he dressed up like Gene Simmons. I had the pleasure of seeing him. Despite the initial shock of seeing the big guy in tight spandex, platform shoes and make up, his performance, singing and bass playing was amazing. He took on the Gene Simmons persona and I forgot it was Ryan. One of my favorite shows to this day. He later went on to play in The Hellside Wranglers with Vince and Pat from Walk Among Us and myself. It was a more aggressive electric punk version of The World Famous Crawlspace Brothers. He joined up with Vince’s Walk Among Us, The Hated with friend Dan and eventually close friend Brian. Vince and Ryan also started a band called the Negative Zeros. He was always playing, recording, performing and out there.

As I got to know him better I realized despite his talents he was human with human problems like the rest of us. We didn’t hang out as much as we should have but we were there for each other when the chips came falling down.

My one regret is that we never did a Hellside Wranglers reunion like he has wanted to do for the last 2 years. I just lost interest in playing out. I never lost interest in my friendship with Ryan. We didn’t get together as much as we should have but we knew what we had. Once you are in a band with someone there is a universal connection and friendship that lasts forever. At least for me.

In April or May, I can’t remember when exactly, Ryan’s friend Brian called me and told me that Ryan had brain cancer. I heard many stories of how serious it was and didn’t know what to believe. I couldn’t get to the Hospital to see him but I was able to talk to him and he explained ot me what happened. He was getting headaches and memory loss. He said that the final straw was when he was forgetting how to play songs that he has been playing for over 20 years. He went and had it checked out and found out he had the tumor. Most of it was removed and what was left was cancerous. I felt so bad. I prayed for Ryan every day since I found out. Even this morning before I found out he passed, I prayed for him and his family.

July 3rd 2010, we had a great fundraising show and I actually played solo with my acoustic guitar. Ryan was there. He was bald from the chemotherapy. He had trouble speaking but had no problem singing along to my songs that only Ryan knows so well. He knew how to play almost everyone of my songs better than I do. There was a decent crowd and a lot of friend’s bands there to support him. He had a great time. This was the last time I saw him until last week.

I got a call that he is going fast and I better visit him. I got his wife Kim’s phone number and made an appointment. I saw him last week and he was in and out of consciousness. He knew who I was but could barely speak. I hung out as long as I could and left having a feeling it was to be the last time I would see him alive. It was. I wanted to visit him this week but I ran out of money and couldn’t afford the gas.

I checked my messages today and Ryan’s friend Brian left a message to call him. I could hear him crying. I knew. I went on Ryan’s facebook page to see before I called Brian back. There were messages with sympathy etc. I cried. I called Brian.

Ryan was a dedicated musician and a genius on the guitar and bass. I will remember him for these qualities as well as his unconditional love and friendship.

I’m going to go cry some more.

He will always be alive in his music and the memories of family, friends and fans.

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Want What I Have?

September 29, 2010

“I had a person say to me “I don’t want what you have” so I said “How do you think I feel?”” this guy shared at a meeting once. It was funny yet it made so much sense to me. Sometimes I don’t even want what I have. Ya know? Do you? I think most of us live in between happiness and unhappiness. It’s as if everyone has a little bipolar disorder in them. Not literally but everyone has ups and downs in life. Some if us have it in extremes.

If you ask me how I feel right now I’d tell you that I am a fucking mess. I’d list my problems that I’ve mentioned in previous blogs. Well, depending who you are. If you’re the mailman, next door neighbor or the guy that works at 7-11 I’d tell you everything is fine. Actually once I’m in public I feel ok but then I feel bad when I am alone again. I’m also sick of talking about it with most of my friends because I haven’t been good for a while. You might even be sick of reading about it as well. Are you?

Overall, I am usually a positive spiritual person with a deviant warped sense of humor and odd interests. It is a struggle lately to balance my spirituality with my mental breakdowns and anxiety. I start every day with prayer, meditation and medications. The first hour or 2 start off find and I feel fairly spiritually fit. Then reality kicks in and I panic. I choke. I find it hard to function on a daily basis. Every day is a slow progression to a freak out. I get a few things done towards moving. 2 days left before I have to clear the house. As the day goes on I feel more anxiety until I can’t take it anymore. The next day is a little worse.

The part I hate about everything right now is that I feel all alone. I try to talk to people about it and they either pretend that they understand or change the subject. The other thing is a lot of my friends offered to help me and then when push comes to shove they don’t. I had 3 different people offer to help me move heavy furniture out to the trash yesterday and they all bailed. No one wants to help me move or pack and I can’t blame them. They’ve helped a lot in the past. I did it myself. Today I moved all of the heavy furniture to be moved downstairs from my 3rd floor bedroom so when and if my one friend comes on Friday it’ll be easier. It also cleared the floor so I can finish packing. I know this isn’t a big deal in real life but in my head it’s overwhelming. Ugh.

Seems like I can write all I want about it and the feelings don’t change. Usually writing helps but it’s just a momentary distraction like everything I do.

My point is that I have no point. Ha. Actually, I’m trying to say that I don’t want what I have right now so it’s tough to talk or communicate with people and function at all. I know in my heart that it will all pass. This too shall pass. I have to go through with the feelings and move on through it. I know there’s a spirit of some kind with me at all times but I’m just not feeling him right now.

Tune in next time when the writer says “Life is grand. I’m happy joyous and free.”


I Can’t Run Away From My Mind

August 15, 2010

The past 2 days have been a living hell. This week has been pretty bad but I’m not feeling so great. Earlier in the week it was the weather that was killing me. That and the pressure of either finding a job or figuring out the hoops to jump through at the Unemployment office to get money for an education for my new desired “career”. I put career in brackets because it’s not what I want to do. It’s my “settle for”  “career”. I want to be a professional writer. I am technically but I mean make a decent living on my writing. My next choice is Drug and Alcohol counseling because it seems like the most rewarding and something that I have enthusiasm and confidence to do well. You know, a feeling of contributing to society. But this pressure and anxiety is getting bad and makes it difficult to go outside. I’m not kidding.

I moved in with my adopted parents in March of 2009 to help take care of my sick father who died in June 2009. We’ve been through and I guess my mother and I are still going through mourning. His Birthday was a couple of days ago. Also my mother and I make great living companions. We didn’t see much of each other because she was going out and I was working and going to AA meetings all of the time. When we did get together and eat or go out and hang out we enjoy each other’s company. Back in April of this year we decided to up my rent at the end of the summer and I that I would stay here for at least another year. She is eventually selling the house and moving into a senior type housing project. We were happy about the decision etc. Then came the unemployment.

I was fired from my Job of almost 6 years for bullshit reasons on May 26th of this year. It’s along story and I already wrote about that. I jumped right into unemployment and I had money away believe it or not and moved onto my creative endeavors with full force. At the time I believed that unemployment would provide free health care. It doesn’t. I had planned on enjoying the time off and getting writing done and creating and promoting. I was going to casually look for a part time under the table job to supplement the little amount of unemployment money. The halthcare situation put a damper on things and my mother has been on me about getting a job or going to school. I feel like a little kid again. The passive-aggressive behaviors have returned. “Yes, mother. You are right. Etc”,

I was really enjoying my summer besides the heat. I finished editing my long awaited novel. I self published another 2 books while I am waiting for my friend to do the final cover design of my novel. I’ve been writing almost daily and making short videos for YouTube. I’ve been forcing myself to go out and socialize because I’ve become extremely anti-social in real life. It still exhausts me even though I enjoy it. I gave no thought to a job or career until a few weeks ago.

I was at an AA meeting and I saw someone that worked at a Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center. The thought hit me that I would like to do that. I asked her what I need to do to get into her field. She said that the place she worked would hire me and are looking for people. The train you and help you get your proper credentials. The only problem is that you have to be 2 years sober and I am a few months short. She gave me a number and name to call and told me to try anyway.

I called the next day and the woman told me to call back in October. So, at first I put it in my mind that I would get that job in October and I wanted to ride it out on my savings and my unemployment checks. My mother disagreed. She wants me actively doing something. After 2 months of writing and getting my books together she feels it’s time to get a move on. She’s a great mom that asks very little of me around the house so when she wants me to do something I feel obligated to do it. The pressure is on me and I keep repressing it.

I went through the motions slowly by going to different orientations at the Unemployment office. It’s been helpful and confusing. Their web site is tough for me to navigate properly for some reason. I found out that certification is costly and so is the education needed. To top it off  the job site of unemployment has a “in demand” career section and your choice has to be in demand. Drug and Alcohol counseling is not. I’m wondering if I should just forget about it until October or just get a job and say fuck it for now. Maybe get a job until October. It’s definitely causing friction in the house now.

My mom  has one daily rule. My car has to be out of the driveway by 1-{30 am unless otherwise noted. On Friday she needed me out by 9:30 am and I didn’t get up on time and she was going away for a week. She left in a bad mood and it set me off in a bad mood. There’s nothing like the feeling of disappointing your mom. Well, my mom. The panic attacks and isolation has hit what feels like an all time high ever since she left. I thought I would feel free once she left but I feel the opposite. Ever since I was adopted at age 11 I have had my adopted mother’s voice in my head reminding me of the right thing even stupid shit like putting down the toilet seat. You can probably imagine the things I hear her saying now.

There was one point where she thought that I wanted to be mentally ill and collect social security and disability. She has no time for dealing with the mentally ill. Physically ill she can handle it and has pity and understanding but not mental illness or addictions. Maybe she’s right. Maybe not.

The problem is that you can’t see my Bipolar disorder or my anxiety. It just looks like I’m lazy or super motivated. I’m not lazy. I’m ill. I have to remind myself of that because I have no defense. The medication isn’t perfect. Even God can only do so much. I have to deal with it and live in my skin as best as I can moment to moment. One day at a time.

I feel a little better but I’m still anxious.


Build Your World

August 3, 2010

This is a daily story/ meditation I received in my email today. I hope you get something out of it. I did.

“Make it a practice to judge persons and things in the most favorable light at all times, in all circumstances”. -Saint Vincent de Paul

A religious man learned that a prostitute was doing business in his neighborhood. He found her house, stood across the street, and watched men enter and leave her home. Every time he saw a customer walk out, he placed a stone in a little pile, symbolizing the weight and extent of her sins. Years later, the prostitute died, and soon afterward so did the man. When the man was shown to his heavenly abode, he was aghast to find but a heap of stones similar to the mound he had built to mark the prostitute’s wrongdoing. On the other side of the gray pile, he saw a magnificent estate with rolling lawns and colorful gardens, where the prostitute strolled joyfully. “There must be some mistake!” he railed. “That woman was a prostitute, and I was a religious man.”

“There is no mistake,” a voice answered. “That prostitute hated her job, but it was the only way she knew to make money to support herself and her young daughter. Every time she was with a client, she inwardly prayed, ‘Dear God, please get me out of this.’ You, on the other hand, were fascinated only with her sins. While she was talking to God, you were talking to rocks. She got what she prayed for, and so did you. ”

Things are not what they appear to be. We never really know the motive or consciousness behind someone’s actions. Any act can be a tool of the ego, or an avenue for the Holy Spirit. We inherit the world we build with our thoughts.

I pray to keep You in my mind today. Let me not wander into temptation to see less than love.

I build a world of beauty with my thoughts.

———-
This meditation is an excerpt from Alan Cohen’s meditation book, A Deep Breath of Life. If you liked today’s meditation check out his book. http://www.hayhouse.com/details.php?id=4


Pre-Game Jitters (Performance Anxiety)

July 3, 2010

What the fuck? What is this? Anxiety week for Rich? Now I have performance anxiety. I think that’s what’s causing it today.

I started off with my spiritual rituals and gave my day to God. I think I did anyway. I basically chilled out after that. I wrote a little bit. I did some of those surveys I was talking about in another blog. I practiced my set for the show I am playing tonight. I worked on some video and networking and stuff. I didn’t get much sleep last night so I went to lay down in the nice air conditioning and all of a sudden a panic attack crept up on me. I came back downstairs and outside to have a cigarette after taking some anxiety medication that my Doctor prescribed for such situations. I lit up a smoke and called a friend. It helped slightly. I can barely focus n writing this.

I have never had the “pre-game jitters” before. Sure, I’ve been nervous before shows but I never had an anxiety attack before one. Now I’m panicking that I might have one on stage.

I’ve really lost interest in playing out the past year or more. I don’t like to practice. I don’t like the bar crowds. I have no patience to sit (stand actually) through a bunch of bands even if I like them. My live band show tolerance has decreased tremendously in the past few years. Maybe it’s because I have seen too many over the years between booking bands for almost two years straight or playing out so much for three years or more. I’m a decent performer. I used ot love being in front of people. I’ve had the charisma and stage presence thing down but I’m not real interested in playing out anymore.

Last month I played for a friend’s birthday. He was a fellow band mate who has done a lot for me and my former bands. I couldn’t say know and it was a pleasure to play for him. I ended up spending most of the time there with another former band friend that doesn’t drink talking outside for a few hours. I really like the people that show up for the bands. I like the bands and the members too. I just don’t enjoy the entire experience like I did years ago.

Tonight I am playing because it’s a benefit for a friend and former band mate to raise money for his medical costs because he is very ill. It starts earlier than usual and ends later than usual. He will probably only be there for a short while because he is sick. I am only playing tonight because of him. I don’t want to sit there for hours just so I can do my fifteen-minute set and then stay even longer.

Maybe all of the pressure of the night is building up combined with the fact that I barely practiced and am barely prepared. Maybe seeing my sick friend has something to do with it too. Whatever it is I am trying to take it easy. Take one moment at a time. Whew. I pray I get through this.


Anxiety Came Softly Through My- a WIndow Today

June 26, 2010

It seems like some days I just have to write off as a shitty day before it even begins. Days like today. In the middle of a decent dream. Nothing too crazy. Nothing too outrageous. I was in a deep sleep to be woken up with orders barked at me. I had to do this. I have to do that. I’m not one of those people that jumps out of bed ready to face the day. That’s why I always try to get up at least an hour earlier that I am supposed to leave or do anything so I get my “quiet time”. I usually take my morning medications then jump into my morning meditations and prayers while wait for my coffee to be made.

I realize that the coffee part of my morning is probably psychological but the meditation and prayers have become a necessity of my day. It centers me. It grounds me to handle whatever the day has in store for me. When I was younger and didn’t pray I slept to the last minute and either grabbed a cup of coffee on my way out the door or bought some on my way to work or school. Since I’ve been starting my days with prayer, I need my quiet time.

It’s funny that I just wrote a blog called “It’s Not About Me”. In the morning it has to be about me in order to begin a contact with my God so I can handle a day of what is to be thrown at me. So I can live my day being “not about me”.

Today it was anxiety from the minute I awoke. It keeps growing and I’m a nervous wreck in the middle of a very long panic attack that seems to keep growing despite my efforts to calm myself. I’m drinking less coffee so far. I’m going to eat. I’ll call someone. I am writing about it. These things seem to help along with my medication. Ugh.

Anxiety is something I developed as I got older. Things used to role off of my back when I was younger but not now. Since I lost my job a month ago the panic attacks lessoned. While I was working I would average at lest three attacks a week mostly while I was at work. I only worked four days a week. Go figure. In the last month I’ve only had about three or four for the month. It’s getting better. It seems that it will never go away. Especially when you are in it. It’s like when you catch a cold or the flu you feel like you are going to feel that way forever. It passes. This will too. I just have to do the things that help me feel better. Eat. Talk to someone. Take my medication. Even writing about it helps a little bit.

I have friends that get these attacks and in the past I never understood what they were going through. In my head I was thinking, “be a man.” Or “toughen up.” Now that I get them I understand and I turn to the people that understand. If I tell my friends that have never experiences it they just don’t get it and try to give me advice or tell me to toughen up etc. It doesn’t work that way. Most times I have a panic attack I have to ride it out and feel the anxiety.

At least I know in my heart that this too shall pass.

I hope.


God Spoke to me Last Night . . .

June 13, 2010

God spoke to me last night.

“Rich,” he said.

I was surprised that he knew my name.

“Rich, you are a miracle. You are special to me. You are loved by me and by many others.” He said.

I listened. His voice was powerful and soothing. Energetic like a self-help guru yet more down to earth.

“My son, I want you to know that your talent and wisdom can take you a long way if you use it rightly. With great power comes great responsibility.” He continued.

“I read that in Spider-Man comic books years ago.” I said.

“You’re not Spider-Man but you are a unique and special snowflake with potential. You were chosen to be clean and sober for a reason and I wanted you to hear it from me directly tonight and not just the people your 12 step meetings and your Mommy and Daddy. I hope you believe it. Believe in yourself.”

“I do. I pray to you everyday for guidance and believe in you. Sometimes I’m not sure that you believe in me.”

“I do. You are on the right path and I want you to stay on it.” God spoke his last words to me.

“I plan on it. One day at a time.” I replied.

His voice was gone but I knew that he was listening.

I fell back asleep at peace.

I woke up this morning and went back to my Morning Prayer ritual. Today it seemed more heart felt and sincere than ever. I look at the day as an opportunity to be the best Rich I can be. God will be with me with every move I make today. I wonder whether it was a dream or not and I don’t care. It felt real to me and it gave me a stronger faith in myself and God and you.

Thank you all for being there. I hope I’ll be there for you.


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