Sunday, October 19, 2014

Satanic Messiah/Scaling Back/Back Problems

First, I want to share the Mountain Goats 2008 Satanic Messiah EP. It was released during a very productive time for the Mountain Goats, and I spent more time with Darnielle's collaborations with Kaki King and John Vanderslice. I randomly put this on this morning and have listened to it five times. It's gorgeous, full of the supremely lovely piano ballads that made The Life of the World to Come such a therapeutic treat. After the splendor of the EP started to ease, I wondered what the hell happened in my life that I didn't buy this and then remembered that, like his collaboration with Vanderslice (the also wonderful Moon Colony Bloodbath) it was a tour only affair. Since no one ever comes to Lawrence, Kansas, I missed out on that (note: I've seen the Mountain Goats in Lawrence a few times, so it's not like they never come, but for that particular tour I feel a little gypped). Such is life, and if the universe wants me to have it, well, I'll probably stumble across it somewhere down the line. And besides, I can pull it up on iTunes anytime I want. It's led me to make a playlist of underheart deeper cuts from the Mountain Goats circa 2000-2014. I love this band.

Second, while I tried so hard to maintain Monday-Friday posts as a new dad, and did for a solid six months, my new job at the Kansas City Public Library takes up more time/siphons more energy than Half Price Books and I basically come home, make dinner, snuggle my child, and stare at my record collection with contempt and then sit down and read for an hour before passing out. This is who I am now. So close to the end, too! I put a little postmark in where the 7"s end and there are maybe three big handfuls left to go through in addition to a small armload of LPs. Honestly, it was an effort to become a more consistent, diligent writer. I hoped it would translate over into actually finish the book I've been working on for almost two years (which effectively turned to dust the second I found out I was going to be a father and, while I've pecked at it here and there, I mostly just stare at the stack of legal pads and pull at my collar like a cartoon character expressing worry). My back went out last weekend, and that seemed like as good a time as any to scale back. Regardless, there's no way I'm going to miss Year End List season, so maybe I'm just storing my energy for that. It has been a TREMENDOUS year for music. I feel like people say that every year, but I think there are definitely years when there are maybe only five or ten great albums. Then there are your 2005s, your 2007s where there aren't enough spots in your Top 25 to honor all the great records. 2013 was great, but I feel like there are so many great records this year I can't even get to them all (because I literally have no time for music and I can't get to them all, which is heartbreaking. I haven't even listened to the new Antlers record and I love that band!) It's currently a neck and neck race between Andrew Jackson Jihad, Sun Kil Moon, Open Mike Eagle, Cheap Girls and The Hotelier for top honors, but there's still a solid two and a half months and anything can happen. This is what I live for (other than, you know, my beautiful baby girl and her wellbeing. And fantasy football.)

Third, TAKE CARE OF YOUR BACK BECAUSE WHEN IT BETRAYS YOU, IT BETRAYS YOU HARD. This is the third time my back has gone out. The first time was in January of 2012 when I idiotically dislodged some integral bit of my back's structure changing a tire. I was laid up for 3 days, couldn't move. Couldn't even sit up. My wife had to hold a jar for me to pee in. That's real intimacy. Of course she laughed so hard, and then I laughed and it hurt so bad and I almost pissed everywhere. I don't think our marriage could have handled it if I had had to go #2. That's honestly the real motivation to focus all your healing energy and find a way to get out of bed. The second time was in March of 2013 when I innocently bent down to pick up Panda's poop, felt a twinge, and was bedridden for another three days. Insanity. Third time, October 2014, and I don't even know what I did. It just didn't feel right when I got to work on Thursday. I assumed it would go out that night but it didn't and I made it in on Friday. On Saturday morning I tried picking up Rosie out of her high chair and felt it. I got about halfway down the road before I realized something was really wrong. I couldn't get out of the car. I couldn't even bend far enough to get the door closed. I had to empty my messenger bag and chuck it at the door until I could close it, then right myself into a position where I could drive back home without causing a wreck on an empty dirt road. It took about 20 minutes for Jenny to help me out of the car and into the house where I was stuck on the couch for two whole days. Of course, I had built up about 200 hours of sick time at Half Price Books and I had maybe 7 accrued at the library. Of course. I think people have this idea that your back goes out, but you can still perform essential functions like it's not that bad. I think it varies, I've only ever known the totally debilitating kind that sends razors through my nerves if I even try to move. I went through an entire bottle of prescription painkillers saved from my root canal; pills I'd been saving for the next time my back went out. I honestly think this happened because I stopped exercising regularly, because Jesus Christ lord knows I don't have the time. But I have to make the time, because goddamn. That hopeless, kill-me-now feeling when you yell for your wife to bring the jar ("No, the big one") is bad enough the first time, and dehumanizing the third. If anyone knows any quality exercises or daily stretches for lower back health, I will absorb them like a sponge.

Fourth, seriously, take care of your back. You never know when it will betray you.

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